Work in Sports
Sojo is no Jeter, but he is a Bronx hero
NEW YORK (AP) -- Luis, Luis -- oh baby, did the Yankees need you.
Always in the right place at the right time. Always smiling.
For four long months, they had sputtered, wondering if this year would be the end.
Only when Luis Sojo returned in August did they finally feel all right.
Most nights, Sojo makes the Yankees smile. On Thursday night, he sent them jumping for joy.
"It's the happiest day of my life," he said.
The utility infielder, let go after last season and brought back Aug. 7, finally got the hit that fought off the pesky Mets, a tiebreaking ninth-inning single off Al Leiter that led the Yankees to a 4-2 win, confirming their legacy as one of baseball's greatest teams ever.
"Wow! The way I did this is unbelievable," Sojo said.
Three in a row. Only the fourth team ever to do it.
Four titles in five years -- all with Sojo.
And to think, they let him sign with Pittsburgh after last season.
"I don't know how to explain it," he said. "Today they gave me a chance to come through."
Now he was standing out by shortstop. The game had been over for 10 minutes.
And 50 reporters and half a dozen TV cameras were surrounding the 34-year-old Venezuelan, the Yankee who left and came back. Yankees fans in Shea Stadium were chanting his name, over and over and over.
"To beat the Mets," he said, "is something very special."
He is more Bucky Dent than Derek Jeter, never destined for greatness, just destined to be where the Yankees needed him most.
"He stirs things up, makes guys smile, keeps it loose," Chuck Knoblauch said. "You have a good time with him off the field in the clubhouse. With all the additions we've made, he certainly has been, I guess, one of the most key."
He was in Game 5 in the eighth inning only because of a double switch, taking over for Jose Vizcaino in the bottom of the eighth.
Al Leiter was tiring. He had thrown 141 pitches. The Mets were hoping to extend this Subway Series to Saturday, send it back to the Bronx, wanting one more shot at Roger Clemens.
But Sojo, like always, was in the perfect place.
And that's where he sent the next pitch.
As soon as he hit it, it was like slow motion. It was a slow roller, up the middle. All of Shea Stadium seemed to take a huge gasp.
Posada scored, both arms raised in triumph, and when the throw bounced away from the plate, so did Brosius.
Now the Yankees were three outs from their third straight title, their fourth in five years.
Sojo had been around from all of them.
They let him go to Pittsburgh, then brought him back. And with Sojo, the Yankees' magic returned.