The scene was set. Like the Batman symbol glowing eerily in the Gotham night sky, the call went out, Captain Clutch was needed in The Bronx. With the Red Sox clinging precariously to a 7-0 lead, A-Rod came to bat with no one on base in the bottom of the fourth inning. As most Yankee fans gorged on $12 hot dogs in the plush confines of New Yankee Stadium, A-Rod stepped in against flame-throwing Red Sox veteran Tim Wakefield.
Wakefield reared back and fired a 63mph, rolling, tumbling knuckle ball down the middle of the plate. A-Rod was ready, and swung out of his shoes, connecting mightily and launching it a whopping 390 feet to right field. He hit it so hard the hide nearly came off the ball. The Yankee fans not swilling $10, 1% beers in the depths of Yankee Stadium cheered wildly, once again their hero had come through. The Yankees were right back in it against their hated rivals, now only down 7-1.
The previous night, in a far more meaningless game, A-Rod struck out to end the contest on a hard fast ball from Red Sox closer Jonathon Papelbon. Asked about ending the game with a swing Joan Rivers would have been ashamed of, A-Rod said
‘’I was just finding my range, man. You all saw the outcome of that today. Papelbon just got me mad, Angry. I was ready today.’’
Without A-Rod’s clutch blast, the Yankees could have been looking at an 11-5 scoreline, instead of the much more palatable 11-6. A-Rod timed his blast perfectly, launching the 63mph knuckle ball into the New York sky early.
‘’I was just trying to get my pitch, I was just trying to you know, set the tone. I know the guys feed off of me, off of my energy. I just wanted to square a ball up, hit it hard somewhere and, you know, lead by example’’.
The wildly under-paid, $24 million a year A-Rod inspired his team mates to a fifth inning rally also, as he stood in the on deck circle the Yankees started to chip back and got the score to 7-4, before A-Rod flied out to center to end the inning, with a runner at third. After the game A-Rod looked back at the rally killing moment and said
‘’You know, right there, I had already hit that massive home run, and I was thinking to myself, get the guys back in the dugout, they already had 3 runs there, get in the dugout quick, and let’s start again’’
More than ever, as each clutch bomb leaves the plush confines of New Yankee Stadium, A-Rod’s former Texas Rangers team mates look incredibly foolish for the nickname they appropriated the clutch slugger, ‘The Cooler’.
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