For Jason Giambi, it came in the form of a granny, in the rain, against the Twins. This afternoon, for Alex, it was a 12th-inning clout against the Braves, a two-run, walk-off homer that will serve as Alex's Bomber Bar Mitzvah: today he is a Yankee.
It had been, up until that last pitch, a miserable June for Alex, his problems compounded by the persistent late-inning genius of David Ortiz, to whom he is inevitably compared. Last night, he struck out in the eighth with the game on the line, one more in a series of failures, and as he walked back to the dugout banging himself on the helmet with his own bat, there was a sense that maybe the pressure had taken it's toll, and that A-Rod the MVP, Superhuman A-Rod, who exuded a cocky confidence that has put off so many fans, was gone, and maybe for good. An error this afternoon, again in a crucial situation, brought out the boo-birds, reinforcing the perception, and it was hard to blame the fans for their frustration. For Alex, the MVP, it was time to produce. Thankfully, it is a short distance from goat to hero. Alex covered it with one swing. Wasn't it pretty?