It happened on Friday night, in the middle of another in a series of epic beatdowns that seem to be taking place in the new Yankee Stadium since the second half began.
For the first time since the Yankees clinched a playoff berth in Anaheim on Tuesday, the seventh inning stretch did not feature the grainy, campy 1900s stylings of Kate Smith doing "God Bless America."
I was already smiling wide. Our magic number to clinch the division was down to five, and soon to be three. The Yankees were up 9-3 and had beat the living hell out of the man the baseball world is calling the Red Sox' number-one starter. Joba Chamberlain had done a yeoman's job against the second-toughest opposing lineup the American League could throw at him and quieted his doubters down, at least to the usual New York decibel level.
Everything was going beautifully. And then the big man appeared.
Since 2001, he has been a fixture of big games at Yankee Stadium. His presence on the field brought home the point in stark relief, his marvelous Irish tenor singing out the Good Tidings of Great Joy.
October is almost here!
He has the ability to freeze opposing pitchers in their tracks. He wakes the crowd up and throws them into the proper frenzied state of mind for the last three Yankee at-bats. He is larger than life, out at home plate. Just him and a microphone, and the faithful at rapt attention.
Ronan Tynan is part of the Yankee legend. He is Playoff Santa. And after a long, hard year, he's finally back in town.