Should it stay or should it go? Ranking the best deep fly outs of the playoffs

Aaron Judge made sure that Francisco Lindor’s long drive in Game 3 of the ALDS did not leave Yankee Stadium. 

Used to be somebody’d hit a deep fly ball and you’d get to hoping and rooting and trying to will that ball over the fence, the announcer’s call getting progressively more excited, the first wave of premature cheerers overwhelmed by the more prudent, wait-and-see cheerers. It was five seconds of drama, with you in full suspense until the ball came down from the sky and back into the camera shot and safely on the other side of the wall. A home run!

This postseason, the home run feels like the default. If it looks good off the bat, it’s almost certainly a home run. If it looks lousy off the bat — well, it might be, too. Thanks to a combination of the probably juiced ball, two lineups filled with home run hitters, and a couple of homer-friendly ballparks (yes, Dodger Stadium is, despite being otherwise pitcher-friendly), home runs are no longer the zebra, they’re the horse.

So let me posit a theory: The home run has been replaced, for suspense and excitement and major stakes, by the deep fly out. The deep fly out is now one of baseball’s most exciting plays.

We can test this theory: Is the deep fly out exciting enough to sustain an entire listicle? We will soon know. We’re counting down the best doggone fly outs of the 2017 postseason!

10. Todd Frazier off Ervin Santana in the AL wild-card game
Stakes:
Fourteen percent of a win. By which I mean: The Yankees would have been 68 percent likely to win if it were a home run, and 54 percent if it were an out. That’s what this will refer to for the rest of this piece.

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