1. In the bottom of the 9th inning with one out and the Yankees down a run to the Baltimore Orioles, the game was on the line. New York decided to pinch-hit for the highest-paid mediocre baseball player in history: the ice cold A-Rod.
2. Yankees manager Joe Girardi chose instead to go with the power-hitting outfielder off the bench, Raúl Ibáñez.
3. It’s not that Ibáñez isn’t good, but he’s old, and has been relegated to the bench this year. His best days are decidedly behind him.
You can tell that A-Rod was super excited about that decision.
4. But then…
5. Ibáñez hits it out! Tie game!
6. Even A-Rod looks happy!
7. No seriously, he was really impressively gracious! He was the first one up in the dugout to meet Ibáñez.
8. I know. It’s sad to be impressed by what should be a natural reaction, but this is a guy who literally kissed a mirror in a photo shoot and was rumored to have a portrait of himself as a centaur in his room.
9. “Natural” isn’t often in the same sentence as “A-Rod.”
10. Then Mariano Rivera seemed to make fun of A-Rod, and that made him super serious again.
But for that one fleeting second, it seemed as though a breakthrough might have happened. Fittingly, Mariano was there to close the door on that. (The injured closer had thrown out the first pitch before the game.)
11. The game stayed tied until the bottom of the 12th inning, when…
12. Who came to the plate, but Mr. Raúl “I hardly make over a million dollars a year, while A-Rod makes 20” Ibáñez.
13. And what do you know…
14. HE DID IT AGAIN!!!
15. The cameraman had the good sense to use beer advertising to add some commentary.
16. It was a moment that had everything:
17. The celebratory helmet toss!
18. The mob at home plate!
19. The sad opposing manager!
Sorry Buck Showalter. Not your night.
20. And most importantly an unlikely hero, who will not soon be forgotten.
Congrats, Raúl. What a night.
With the win, the Yankees take a 2-1 series lead on the Orioles.