Here are the stakes, as New York Times writer Harvey Araton sees it:

“Fear is not something Steinbrenner hides well. You can smell it on him all the way from Tampa. His Yankees have not won the World Series since 2000, not a very good advertising campaign for his cable network, which is dedicated to propagating the myth of all things Yankee.

“This postseason had win-or-else written all over it before the A’s made the Red Sox look like ultimate survivors. Now, as David Wells said yesterday, ‘All hell’s going to break loose.’ And Wells wasn’t even contemplating the extent of the damage if it turns out that this is the Red Sox’ time, finally, to beat the Yankees in October.

Priceless. Read more.