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Bench Player Replaces A-Rod, Becomes A Playoff Legend

Not only does this story have an unlikely hero in Raúl Ibáñez, but it legitimately humbles Alex Rodriguez. I didn't know that was possible.

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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.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi chose instead to go with the power-hitting outfielder off the bench, Raúl Ibáñez.

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.

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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.

See the mirror-kiss photo here. Read about the centaur painting here.

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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.)

The game stayed tied until the bottom of the 12th inning, when...

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