Sweeny Says: The Jorge Posada Saga

By Sweeny Murti
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For weeks now Jorge Posada has been in a slump. Fans kept asking me how long the Yankees were going to stick with him. Posada wondered that himself about ten days ago, thanking Joe Girardi for keeping him in the lineup and believing in him.

Posada gets a lot of love for being a Yankee with championship pedigree. But the masses turn quickly when you’re hitting .165.

Put yourself in Posada’s shoes for a minute. You’re 39 years old, and you’re the full-time DH for the first time in your career. You come to bat once every 45 minutes then go sit down and watch the rest of your team play. When you’re winning, it’s ok. But when you’re losing, and losing because the team isn’t hitting, you look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, “Exactly what am I contributing right now?”

When the season began you thought maybe you had a couple years left in your career. Now you aren’t even sure you have a couple more days left. You’ve been a confident hitter your whole life, and now doubt is really creeping in.

As your slump and the team’s sloppy play continue, you find yourself batting ninth in the lineup. You know it’s nobody’s fault but yours, and you freely admit that. But the fact that still eats at you is you aren’t helping the team at all, and now it’s getting harder. You try to work off some of your frustration by doing some extra work during batting practice and then your back tightens up.

Maybe you think to yourself, “What else can go wrong?” And then you tell the manager that maybe it’s better that you just don’t play today.

Posada wasn’t lying when he said he needed to clear his head. And he wasn’t lying when he said his back locked up. Maybe it wasn’t enough to knock him out of a game under normal circumstances, but with his head on another planet and his stroke somewhere in the Twilight Zone, this was the last straw.

Posada did admit that it gave him the excuse to tell Girardi he couldn’t play, but he also admitted a day later the whole thing was something he wished he could take back, that he just had “a bad day.”

It’s easy to say Posada quit on the Yankees Saturday night. But if you had spoken with Posada nearly every day for the last few weeks, or even three hours before the game Saturday, you would realize that batting ninth was not something that made him quit. He wasn’t being a baby.

Here are some highlights from Posada’s session with reporters Sunday afternoon. Listen to the emotion in his voice and tell me if that’s the sound of a man who threw a middle finger at Joe Girardi and deserves the overspill of hatred thrown at him from the airwaves and the internet:

Don’t get me wrong—this was not Jorge Posada’s finest hour. But Posada has played over 1,700 games for the Yankees. He’s been a major cog in the World Series teams of the last Yankee dynasty and the 2009 team. And he gets no benefit of the doubt, no chance to explain himself?

For a while on Saturday fans thought Posada might retire and they welcomed the idea. That day is coming sooner rather than later, but it wasn’t going to happen that fast, and it wasn’t fair to think a professional athlete and competitor would quit that abruptly.

It’s no fun watching stars of the past get old. They’re going to stumble a lot more than we remember them doing before. It doesn’t mean they should get a free pass. They still have to perform because it’s about winning in this town, with this team.

Posada knows he handled things poorly on Saturday. He wants a do-over. Are you ready to give it to him? If you aren’t, then go back and listen to him again.

Sweeny Murti

Your thoughts on the Posada saga? Let Sweeny know in the comments below…

  • http://marcys.wordpress.com/ marcys

    Thank you so much! I’ve been stunned by some of the vitriol aimed at Posada. We had to turn to our rivals, the eloquent David Big Papi Ortiz, for words of kindness. I love and agree with everything you said.

  • mp

    I think Sweeney wrote a very sound and sensible article. We all have emotions and money earned does not make up for being a human being. Many fans are unreasonable. As far as the trades and strategy suggested by certain fans- well you are ridculous. If we don’t want a player why would someone else want that player and especially making alot of money. The Yankees are paying way too much for seasons players had in the past. Is there more than one or two Yankees (Granderson and Cano) who you would like at bat in an important rbi situation? We are stuck with A-Rod for another 7 years (that should be fun!!). Swisher is horrible- Teichera is a streaky 255 hitter- and the list goes on and on. We need to be patient and not get rid of the minor leaguers destined for the Yankees. No panic- take the medicine of a less than great season and build for the future (like the core was in the 1990s).

  • Aetenb

    Definietly time to get rid of Girardi, and blow up the core now. Trade Posada before this goes any further south. If they can pick up Reyes in August, and move Jeter out of shortstop, move A-Rod out and negotiate for some younger, hungrier players, maybe bring back Torre to manage, they’ll have a chance in the fall.

    • Patrick

      Where are you going to trade him? I really do not see much of a market for a 39 year old DH who cannot run, Cannot hit any longer, makes 13.1 mil a year and has a bad attitude.

  • Master Shake

    Give the poor guy a break. He’s a human being first, then a Yankee. He still wants to be a productive member of the team -which he always has been- but now fills the roll typically given to guys who are in their golden years. It’s got to extremely difficult. I have no idea what “being a Yankee” means, but if it’s a good thing to be, at least in the eyes of Yankee fans, then Jorge certainly is a Yankee.

    • Patrick

      At 13.1 million for this year, he cannot be called a “poor” guy. He is not the first player to be approaching the end of his career, seeing declining numbers and becoming less important to the team. Deal with it. 99 percent of them do not refuse to play . Funny, he thought it was cool when he got to replace girardi at catcher…girardi took it like a man..even schooled posada. I guess he forgot the lesson on being a man about things

  • Matt

    When David Ortiz was going through similar production issues at the beginning of 2009 and 2010, Red Sox fans were calling for his ouster just like some Yankee fans are now for Posada. The big difference was that Francona and Epstein stuck with their full time DH and didnt throw him under the bus ala Girardi and Cashman.

    • ACE

      Ortiz at that time didn’t refuse to play on any given day, AND was moved down in the lineup!! Ortiz said it was wrong of Posada to refuse to play, make sure you GET YOUR BIAS STRAIGHT!!

  • Joel

    Sweeny, Getting old is no fun, believe me, I know 1st hand. It’s frustrating, especially when you can’t do what you once did, and took that for granted. I can feel Posada’s pain, but that’s life, and there isn’t anything we can do about it.

    On the other hand, he’s still making a huge salary, lives the life that few of us can even comprehend, and he’s still a Yankee. No matter what his job may be this year, he needs to act and conduct himself as a Yankee.

    He gets a pass from this old Yankee fan this time. But not the next time.

    With that being said, he still needs to produce, and if he can’t, then he needs to be sat down, sent down, or retired. The Yankees as a team need everyone to step up their A game. They are starting to look like the Mets did last month, while the Mets now win game after game, and are on a roll.

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