Every thrilling postseason comeback needs a guy losing his mind in the dugout
The postseason is defined by wild emotional swings. Every moment comes with heightened stakes, adding intensity to every run, every out, every strike. To be successful in that environment, a player has to endure the waves of the moment -- not getting too down when things look bleak or too eager when it's going well.
That's where the bench comes in. Freed from the consequences of getting too caught up in the game, these players can live in the moment in a way their teammates can't. So, when the comeback is on, they can party just like the fans -- just with a little extra room to pump their fists and kick their legs.
The Braves trailed the Cardinals for most of Sunday's NLDS Game 3 after Marcell Ozuna scored on a sacrifice fly in the second inning. But, in the ninth inning, they finally broke through.
Josh Donaldson led off with a double and was replaced by a pinch-runner. Although this prevented him from being able to score the tying run, it allowed him to assume a far more crucial role -- guy who loses his mind on the bench.
Clearly, it was a role Donaldson was born to play. When Dansby Swanson hit a two-out double that tied the game and put the winning run on third base, Donaldson nearly climbed out of the dugout, screaming like a warrior leading the charge into battle:
But that only tied the game. Donaldson had yet another gear to shift to in his cheering. When Adam Duvall followed with a hit to give the Braves a 3-1 lead, Donaldson lost all control -- screaming at the top of his lungs and pumping his fist with no regard for the safety of those around him.
Donaldson may not have scored or driven in any of the Braves' runs in their ninth-inning rally, but he provided a contribution that too often goes overlooked. It's not really a postseason comeback without someone freaking out in the dugout. In that sense, Donaldson made the entire thing possible.