Shane led off with a single. Alphonso hit a pop fly. Jeet singled, and Bernie drew a walk. Jason - aged 31 and still creaking from his "Welcome to NY" slump - hit a grand slam that will be remembered forever on official Yankee bottle openers, as called by the blind poet John Sterling. From then on, through peaks and valleys, Jason was a Yankee - and trust me, there were valleys. But the bonding was forever. The Pinstripes were seared into Jason's soul, and he will return some day... or so the story goes...
"The Bronx is" Vernon Wells entered last night's game with a sinking average and a sinking feeling that the Angels had seen his future, and right before our eyes, the man was transforming lycanthropically into Andruw Jones. He homered in the first, then scored the go-ahead run in the ninth. Then - because the Yankees have severely misjudged their roster - Vernon played 3B and threw out a runner at first. It was every bit as cool as Giambi's slam.
Does it make Wells a forever Yankee? Hard to say. But if the ball had gone through his legs, it might have signaled Brian Cashman's ultimate embarrassment: A $200 million team that cannot field a lineup. Juju cannot help a team with only seven positions.
Brooks Wells saved our butts last night. He has already outlasted the nobodies we gave up to get him: Exicardo Cayones and Kramer Sneed. (Unfortunately, the player we had to drop from the roster, David Adams, is the 3B we are waiting on.) But Curtis Granderson is heading to Scranton, and he won't stay long. His arrival will likely signal the end of Brennan Boesch, another hero of last night. It means less ABs for Wells, who could platoon with Travis Hafner. Grandy's return won't help the Yankees where they need it - infield depth.
There are valleys yet to come. The Angels prophesy still looms. But six or seven years from now, at Yankee Stadium's Old-Timers Day, John Sterling will call out Vernon Wells, and on an eternal tape loop, you will see him playing 3B. He probably won't wear a NY cap into Cooperstown, but at least a part of Vernon Wells - the thirdbaseman - will always be a Yankee. Last night, he became the Verniambino.