It's not that Randy Arozarena dashed fearlessly toward the plate to become the first player to swipe home during the postseason since Jackie Robinson in 1955. It's that everyone in the building and watching on television knew he was going to do it. Like a collective inside joke at the Boston Red Sox' expense. Tampa Bay's hitting machine had just raced from first to third on Wander Franco's second double of the night and seemed hell-bent on scoring until base coach Rodney Linares put on the restraints. In the moment, Fox's Joe Davis said Arozarena was ready to run through a brick wall.
It would only be a matter of time until he broke through one that had been standing for 66 years.
Davis and his partner John Smoltz marveled at the suicide lead Arozarena marked off one confident shuffle at a time. With two outs, a four-run lead and a shift to the right side of the infield, all the elements were in play for magic. And then it happened. The most exciting few seconds in sports. Davis' voice rose to a crescendo and a fearless blur of kinetic energy came flying in from nowhere, sending bits of clay and chalk into the frenzied Trop air.
To steal home is to be an astronaut. To blast off knowing full well the danger and that if any little thing goes sideways, there will be disaster. Doing it with two strikes is especially harrowing. One needs to have ultimate trust in the batter at the plate to not decapitate them with a swing.
Arozarena had homered earlier in the game and is now the only player to go deep and steal home in the same postseason game. In only 21 playoff contests, he's homered 11 times. Only Babe Ruth has more longballs over such a stretch. He's notched 30 hits in 79 postseason at-bats and carries an OPS in the 1.2s. All of this from a guy who had fewer than 100 career plate appearances entering last October.
He's been a constant blur, emerging from out of nowhere, demanding our attention. He has it now and shows no signs of relenting.