Jorge Posada had become something of a forgotten man around the Yankee Universe this season.
He's always stayed in the shadows of New York's starry landscape when you think about it, which is pretty amazing when you realize he's one of the greatest offensive catchers to ever play the game.
If the Core Four was U2, then Posada would obviously be drummer Larry Mullen, Jr.—all brooding intensity, happy to stay in the background and do his job, but the first to call out a member of the group if they get out of line.
For posterity: Bono = Jeter (face of the franchise, polarizing, iconic), The Edge = Rivera (quiet, remarkably consistent, wholly unique), and Adam Clayton = Pettitte (likable, gray hair, profoundly underrated).
But Posada is 39 now, and his age doesn't allow him to be the consistent factor he once was.
He was shelved for most of 2008 with a shoulder injury, missed 51 games in 2009, and has sat out 38 of the Yankees' first 145 contests this season.
Meanwhile, there are approximately 14 catching prospects at various levels of the organization looking to put the old dog down for good.
He's still our Georgie Boy after all these years, however, with those ears, that smokin' wife, and the maniacal glare that can melt an ice cap. And oh yeah, an uncanny ability to produce big hits when they truly matter.
Posada's home run to beat the Rays in extra innings last night was incredibly important for the Yankees. In a game shaping up to be their most brutal defeat, it became the season's greatest victory.
Not bad for one swing of the bat.
It was the type of win the Yankees haven't had enough of this season. It showed character, and a sense of the moment. It was positively 2009-esque, which is obviously a very good thing.
There's little doubt in my mind that the Yankees lose that game if Posada doesn't step up. They had already squandered a 6-0 lead, and the bullpen—with the notable exception of Boone Logan—had kept their finger in the dike for too long.
Luckily, Posada (with a little help from the G.O.A.T. and Greg "Was that Jessie Barfield?" Golson) made sure the Yankees would wake up back in first place.
- Golson's game-ending throw to nail Carl Crawford at third was incredible—as was A-Rod's pick—but what is Crawford doing there? Rays manager Joe Maddon defended his star after the game, but that was just plain dumb.
- The Ivan Nova era is quickly losing steam. He was great for four innings, but didn't show much resiliency in that fifth inning (in fact, he has a 18.69 ERA in fifth innings with the Yankees). He should start watching some Andy Pettitte game tape.
- Speaking of Andy, he's on the journey back to the Yankees after another minor league playoff appearance yesterday. Also of note: He's on the journey to comfort.
- Give credit where credit's due: Good Joba showed up last night. And while I'm dishing out accolades, I must hand it to Brian Cashman on the Kerry Wood trade.
- Cash was still wrong about Nick Johnson though. He broke seven bones pouring a glass of milk last night.
- That was an awesome catch, Mr. Granderson. You may earn your keep just yet.
Dan Hanzus writes the Yankees blog River & Sunset and can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Dan on Twitter @danhanzus.