Monday, January 9, 2012

My favorite Posada memory

Jorge Posada will most likely retire from the MLB at some point this week. I wanted to share my favorite "Posada memory".

The 2003 ALCS - 8th inning, one out, runners on 2nd and 3rd, 2-2 count. Yankees trail 5-3 vs. Boston Red Sox.

This moment was memorable for so many reasons - the "comeback" versus Pedro, the Curse of the Bambino, Grady Little's decision to keep Pedro in the game instead of opting for Alan Embree to face the Yankees left handed hitters (Matsui).

We all know what happens on the fifth pitch of the at bat: Posada hits what Joe Buck describes as a "flare" into center. The ball falls in as a bloop single, 2 runs score, and Posada is able to hustle into second because no Red Sox player covers the base. The game is tied at 5, which sets the stage for one of the greatest moments in postseason history - Aaron Boone's walk-off home run in the bottom of the 11th that sends the Yankees to the 2003 Fall Classic.

In preparing to write this post, I went back and watched the bottom of the 8th again. Comebacks in sports are magical to watch, and to this day I still get goosebumps watching Jorge, in celebration, pump his fists as he reaches second base (see picture above). To me, this was Jorge's proudest moment as a Bronx bomber - in typical Jorge fashion, he was batting near the end of the order (6th in the lineup that day), yet managed to take on the underdog role like he had for his entire career and turn it into something positive. Jorge is a great player that played through the end of the steroid era (or at least until baseball took notice and enacted rules to stop the juicing) and he was often left out of the "best MLB players" conversation because he was overshadowed by those that were higher run producers, better home run hitters, and more approachable and marketable figures (Derek Jeter comes to mind).

In my view, during Jorge's career, he symbolized the heart and hustle the New York Yankees strive to embody. Don't believe me? Tell Jorge that as he took second base in the 8th inning.


I continue to quote Joe Buck's call from that game and will continue to for the rest of my life... In Posada We Trust.

That's the image of Posada that I will always have in my head.

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