A funny thing happens to baseball as it enters its final, most exciting month of the season.
Unfortunately, for the sport which was once, without a hint of irony, known as America's "national pastime", September also is when the nation's truly most-popular sport returns.
Both college and professional football begin to dominate sports coverage and drain attention from baseball parks.
Sixteen MLB teams are in a do-or-die state for 10 play-off spots, and everyone is suddenly giddy over punts, passes and paralysing hits.
These next few weeks, the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds and St Louis Cardinals will play an intense, fiery kind of round-robin competition for the National League Central title as the postseason approaches.
Highlight shows will mention them, of course, right after they are done with the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
While American League East rivals Baltimore, Boston, New York Yankees and Tampa Bay scramble down the stretch for the play-offs, talk radio will churn itself silly over Southeastern Conference football dominance versus the rest of college football.
It is like proudly showing off your new Honda for your friends, just as your neighbour drives up in the latest Mercedes.
For the national minority of diehard baseball fans, their most exciting month is also their most humbling.
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