Juan Soto's game-winning at-bat vs Josh Hader displayed tenacity Yankees have lacked

This is it.
New York Yankees v Houston Astros
New York Yankees v Houston Astros / Tim Warner/GettyImages

The New York Yankees have not been the New York Yankees for quite some time now, even though rival fans still treat them as such, roasting them at every turn, trying to make them the center of the laughingstock conversation. They carry the big profile whether or not they're succeeding. Tough life.

Brian Cashman aimed to turn that all around this offseason when he traded for Juan Soto, who, again, was written off by rival fans. "One year of Soto? What's that going to do?! He's as good as gone in November!"

Well, what about April? May? June? July? August? September? October? He's here for all of those months! And the early returns have been exactly what Yankees fans have dreamed of.

Soto is 9-for-17 with two runs scored, a homer, four RBI and three walks. He notched three game-winning hits in the four-game sweep against the Astros (and in Game 1 he got the scoring started with an RBI single to kick off the rally).

But nothing was more satisfying and representative of what Soto brings to the table than his ninth-inning at-bat against Josh Hader on Sunday afternoon. The patience, tenacity and ability to take the moment and own it propelled the Yankees to victory.

Juan Soto's game-winning at-bat vs Josh Hader displayed tenacity Yankees have lacked

Earnestly asking: when was the last time you saw something like this? Soto made sure Hader knew he was dialed in for the entire at-bat, staring back at the reliever after every pitch. Shuffling when he wisely let a ball pass through the zone. Nodding at Hader when he acknowledged the lefty threw a nasty pitch. Protecting the plate with a purpose on a 2-2 count.

Then, finally, aggressively approaching the 3-2 count knowing he was going to rip Hader's next offering into play. He didn't try to do too much with his swing, either. He stay on top of the fastball and poked it to the opposite field to drive in the game-winning run.

Far too often, Yankees players remain patient when they don't need to be. They're aggressive in all the wrong moments. They go down on four pitches without much of a fight.

Soto's approach has nearly been perfect in every facet. He's adapted to each scenario, giving the Yankees' offense exactly what it needed at that point in time.

This team finally as a semblance of "edge," which could really change everything for a championship-or-bust 2024 campaign. The sooner this man is paid, the more easily we can project this team's future success.