By Jeff Capellini, CBSNewYork/WFAN.com
NEW YORK (WFAN) — Legendary Daily News cartoonist Bill Gallo probably would have had a field day Sunday morning, using all of his skills to create a sketch of Jorge Posada sitting on the Yankees’ bench dressed in nothing but a pinstriped diaper and perhaps sucking his thumb.
And Gallo wouldn’t have been wrong.
Even though Posada apologized Sunday afternoon for the circus he created on Saturday night at Yankee Stadium, he has somewhat tarnished his image. He basically put a black mark on much of what he has accomplished when he decided to embarrass his organization and act like Manny Ramirez.
In case you have been living under a rock for the last 18 hours, Posada flip-flopped on his acceptance of being dropped to the ninth spot in the batting order on Saturday night against the Red Sox. He went from being an understanding teammate to the biggest of babies inside of two hours. And then he made matters worse four hours later.
At around 4 p.m. Posada told the media he was the only one to blame for his horrendous .165 batting average and deserved to be batting ninth, if at all, in the Yankee lineup. However, two hours later, the often fire and brimstone-induced, soon-to-be-40-year-old sang a different tune. He didn’t say anything publicly. He just decided he didn’t feel like playing and told manager Joe Girardi as much.
Then, after the Yankees batted Andruw Jones ninth in their lifeless 6-0 loss to Boston, after the media had taken by force GM Brian Cashman’s box at the stadium, and after word had leaked out over various social media and television outlets that the veteran had basically quit on his teammates, Posada exacerbated the situation by alluding to that word that drives everyone crazy, especially when they hear it from professional athletes — “disrespect.”
You can’t make it up. What’s worse, there was a “core 4” Yankee, a longtime model of the team concept and excellence, throwing everyone but himself under the bus — to the media no less. He admitted not really liking the idea of no longer being a catcher, and admitted basically making up a tall tale about back stiffness as cover to ask out of the lineup. He got on Cashman for holding an impromptu press conference during the game — “You don’t do that. You’re not supposed to do that,” he said.
Well, Jorge, you’re not supposed to quit on everyone that loves you, either.
Now, I understand that Posada is frustrated. I don’t think there’s a Yankee fan alive who doesn’t think Posada takes his role with this club very seriously. But there is a right way and a wrong way to handle a demotion — whether it be on a seasonal or night-by-night basis. Posada failed miserably in this regard.
I’d love to know what went on in his mind between 4 p.m. — when he was still the good teammate — and 6 p.m. — when he decided to become the pinstriped equivalent of ManRam. Did outside influences convince him that he didn’t deserve to be (that dreaded word again) “disrespected” by the organization he has given so much to over the last 16 years? Or was it something more? Did Posada’s ornery side, which is well known and often looked at as part of the reason why he’s been so successful for so long, simply just overwhelm his logical side?
Who the heck knows. The bottom line is Posada made the Yankees’ already hot seat flammable. It’s bad enough they have lost eight of their last 11 and have been utterly disgraceful with the bats collectively. Now they have to deal with one of the guys they count on to be a leader by example — no matter how dire his personal circumstances are — turning into a monster that is acting as the posterboy for an organization that has temporarily lost its way.
And the rest of the sports world absolutely loves it. Even Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, a guy who has no business throwing stones in any glass house, thought it wise to rip the Yankees for their alleged mistreatment of Posada. Who’s next? Donald Trump?
Posada saw the error of his ways and apologized to Girardi on Sunday and was to also speak with Cashman later in the day. It’s a good thing, too, because Cashman needed to walk up to a bunch of microphones somewhere and say a meeting was held, the organization is satisfied and the matter is closed, so the Yankees can get back to the business of fixing their many problems.
But if Posada’s ego refuses to get out of the way, or there’s another episode, going forward the Yankees must wash their hands of him. He’s still owed a large chunk of the $13.1 million he’s due for 2011, the final year of his final contract in pinstripes and probably in Major League Baseball.
Does he want to go out lying down, or with some semblance of his head held high after a career worthy of the day he will receive in the Bronx sometime down the road?
It’s up to you, Jorge.
Would you rather be remembered as the guy who played an integral role in five world championships and largely viewed as one of the greatest players to ever strap on the gear for the Yankees, or be “that guy” who did “that thing” when things went south?
And this whole sordid situation does nothing but “disrespect” not just the organization but the entire fan base. It forced people to pick sides, to maybe abandon their principles because they are blinded by what No. 20 has done on the field for so long. Did the fans deserve to be put in this type of moral predicament? Absolutely not. Fans should be worrying about wins and losses and how to get more of the former, not be concerned with sideshows and selfishness, especially when the behavior in question has come from such a revered figure in the storied history of the franchise.
Posada likely needs a refresher course on the concept of the name on the back of the uniform being microscopic compared to the name on the front.
Oh wait, Jorge, I forgot. The Yankees don’t have names on the backs of their uniforms.
I wonder why that is.
Read more columns by Jeff Capellini
Do you think the Yankees disrespected Posada? Or do you think Jorge was nothing but unprofessional? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.