Heyward saw the shattered expressions on the faces of some of his teammates and, though normally soft-spoken, initiated an impromptu team meeting right then and there.

He was, in his words, “heated” and “venting.” He challenged teammates: “Where’s that fire we’ve had all year?” But then he told them he loved them. He called them his brothers.

“Fight for your brothers!” Heyward shouted.

[Addison] Russell and rookie Willson Contreras both admitted later, when the champagne-soaked clubhouse had turned into the center of the partying universe, that they’d cried listening to Heyward’s words and while trying to express their own feelings to teammates in the ensuing minutes before play resumed.

“He looked at us and told us we were all winners,” Contreras said. “He said, ‘I’m so proud of you guys. We’re not giving up. We’re playing Game 7 and we’re going to win it.’ It was amazing. A bunch of us were crying.”….

“I don’t need to take any credit for anything,” [Heyward] said. “I just love them so much that, win or lose, I would hate to see them not be themselves.”