The Yankees are back where they belong, where they must be, in 2015: the postseason.
This could be a short trip to October baseball, though.
If the team doesn’t win the Wild Card game against the Houston Astros in the Bronx Tuesday night, they’ll be sent home for the winter like it never happened.
Robert Casey, who runs the blog Bleeding Yankee Blue, says enthusiasm is tempered by the team’s backward path into the playoffs.
“It’s a different feel if you’re losing and you clinch right before” the postseason, he said.
Fan Conrad Beltran (no relation to Yankees star Carlos), expressed less-than-total optimism before the team officially clinched their postseason berth last week.
“They’ll make it. I don’t know how far but I know they’ll make it,” said the 43-year-old electrician from Manhattan.
“They’re a mediocre team going in compared to other teams,” added Yankees fan Nathan Williams, 41, from Flatbush.
That’s not exactly a giant dose of confidence.
Despite the team’s improved play in 2015 after missing the playoffs in two straight seasons, the Bombers suffered a decline in attendance.
An average of 39,430 fans attended each home game this year, according to Baseball Reference, a decline of more than 2,000 from 2014 and the lowest total in the history of the new stadium, which opened in 2009.
Casey expects a better showing in the playoffs, certainly tomorrow night.
But it’s impossible to predict whether fans will have more than one postseason game to root on their team.
The win-or-go-home nature of the contest is discomforting, Casey said.
“When you have a lot of momentum and you’re playing a lot of games, you always have a better chance,” Casey said.
On the other hand, not everyone is feeling gloomy.
Some fans of the Bombers believe they have history on their side as the team begins its pursuit of a 28th world championship.
“As a Yankee fan, you have to be very optimistic,” said Mark Arreaga, 23, an assistant manager at the franchise’s clubhouse store on East 59th Street.