I've never forgotten something Tony Gwynn told me when I played my first Major League game for the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in 1992. He hit a double and came around to second base, and I was standing there, and Tony said, "Remember these two things: play hard and have fun."
He knew it was my first game -- Tony's a very aware individual. That's something I've always carried with me. I try to pass it along to younger players whenever I get the chance.
The playoffs are different. There's just nothing like it. You know you're going up against the best. Every pitcher you face is a No. 1 or a No. 2, and you have to take that as a challenge and make every pitch, every at-bat, count. That's the challenge of it, the beauty of it.
I was in the playoffs in 1995 with Colorado. We faced Atlanta, with all that great pitching. The energy in those games was amazing. I went 7-for-16 (.438) in the series and hit a home run against John Smoltz. Man, that was a tremendous thrill. We're talking John Smoltz, one of the best pitchers in the game.
That's the kind of thing you carry with you. We had a great club, and we played those guys tough. I went four games and we could've taken that series with a break here or there, a big hit. That was the year they won the World Series. That's what the playoffs are about, making memories that last. I still remember those games in detail, that's how vivid it is.
On this club right here, we don't have that big thunder we had in Colorado with Larry Walker, Dante Bichette, Andres Galarraga, Ellis Burks -- those guys. We're not a team to sit around and wait for the three-run homer. We have a lot of guys who can hit gaps, get doubles. Look at Ryan Klesko. He's been walking, getting on base, keeping the train going.
That's what we have to do here: keep the train going, any way we can. Walk, hit-and-run, keep the ball in play and put pressure on the pitcher -- that's our game. That's what we have to do to be successful.
I like the way we're playing, coming into this series. We're playing with a lot of energy, and we've got everybody involved. Some guys who were struggling have come around and are feeling a lot better about themselves.
Our pitching has been solid lately. We always like our chances with Jake [Peavy] out there. We just have to execute, play smart and be aggressive. Play hard and have fun. Just like Tony Gwynn said.
Eric Young's diary appears as told to MLB.com reporter Lyle Spencer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.