New York Yankees' Raul Ibanez is producing an amazing postseason. His earnest efforts were always appreciated when he was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies as well.
Ibanez, who is playing in the twilight of his career, has hit three home runs in the ninth inning, or later, in the 2012 postseason. Most adult baseball fans, whose emotions have matured beyond their teenage years, appreciate these dramatic accomplishments that have set a major league record.
Despite Derek Jeter's season-ending injury in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers, I'm hoping that "Rauuul" and the "Bronx Bombers" can advance to the World Series.
It's a business
Ibanez signed a free agent contract with the Phillies after left fielder Pat Burrell led the 2008 World Series' victory parade through the streets of Philadelphia.
After a torrid first-half of the 2009 season the team's new outfielder was beset by injuries, but still managed to hit 34 home runs. He swung a productive bat during his next two seasons in Philadelphia and also sported a fielding percentage that never fell below .991.
Fans understood why general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. made a business decision last offseason that allowed the long-time veteran to become a free agent. Change is part of the game.
Balanced baseball fans
Hyper-competitive personality types have disorganized priorities. These poor souls actually believe that baseball represents some overly meaningful part of their lives.
Fiercely defending that mentality, they refuse to support any player (or team) that is seen as the opposition. These people shouldn't be confused with those individuals who naturally don't want a current opponent to defeat whatever team they are choosing to support. In other words, balanced baseball fans have no problem enjoying the playoffs every fall if "their team" has been eliminated.
Along with many Phillies' loyalists, I was glad that Ibanez had the opportunity to continue his career this season. We are also thrilled that a good guy is having a tremendous playoff run and remember the sincere efforts that he gave when he was wearing red pinstripes.
Sean O'Brien is based in the Philadelphia region. He began his professional career in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons' front office (the Philadelphia Phillies former Triple-A affiliate), later worked as a freelance sports writer and is currently a Featured Contributor in Sports for the Yahoo Contributor Network! You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and also read his daily Sports Blog: Insight.
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