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Monday, May 16, 2011

Quit, Quit, Jorge: Yankee Fans Cheer Jorge Posada's Selfish Behavior

Watching the Yankees get swept by the Red Sox Sunday night left a bad taste in my mouth. And the fact that Jorge Posada received two salutes during the evening -- one from the Bleacher Creatures, and then a standing ovation when he pinch-hit for Andruw Jones, made it even worse. Not to mention the dopey "We stand behind Jorge" sign shown on ESPN a gazillion times last night.

Look, I am not a fan of booing your own players. But vociferously cheering Posada was flat-out ridiculous. What, exactly, was he being hailed for? Was it for quitting on his own team? Insubordination? Pretending to be injured, when he really wasn't? Getting his wife to spread that phony story on Facebook and Twitter? Making a rather lame -- and late -- apology the next day? Sitting in the dugout making the Nomar face? Sorry, but there is nothing Posada did this weekend that was worth giving him a standing ovation for.

I don't often use the money card, as all the players, even the rookies, make more than the rest of us. That being said, I don't really have a whole lot of sympathy for somebody making $13.1 million this year (around $81,000 a game) whose .165 average is the worst in the league among hitters who have enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title, begging out of a game because he was put as No. 9 in the lineup. Boo bleeding hoo.

The fact is, Posada should have been moved to that spot weeks ago. But Joe Girardi has been way too deferential in keeping the "core" guys happy, looking fearful of starting a media firestorm. Derek Jeter gets to stay in the leadoff spot, no matter what his stats show. Incidentally, after all the "Jeter's back" stories last Monday, Jeter's back, alright -- back to hitting poorly. He's just 3 for his last 23. And Posada's 9 for his last 62.

Posada has hit mostly in the No. 7 and the No. 6 spots this year, even though, other than the first week of the season, he's been hitting terribly. He's only been in the No. 8 spot once. Meanwhile, Curtis Granderson, the team's MVP so far, has hit in the No. 9 spot four times, and eighth in the order three times. And Russell Martin, who has done a seamless job at replacing Posada as catcher this year, and hit well to boot, has hit 17 times in the No. 8 spot, and 11 times as ninth in the order.

It's funny, Joe Girardi gets such grief about being Joey Looseleafs, the manager obsessed with the stats binder. But can anybody really say that the Yankees' lineup is based on statistics? No, it's based on keeping certain people happy, no matter what their numbers are. And the one time Girardi actually tried to put the .165 hitter where he belongs, in the No. 9 spot, he gets grief for somehow, in the words of Posada, disrespecting him. Puh-lease. (And yes, before anybody brings it up, if it makes sense to move A-Rod further down in the lineup, I'm fine with it.)

I heard a lot yesterday on Facebook that we fans should give Posada a pass, because he's been on the team a long time, and has five rings (he actually has four, but I digress.) No, him being a veteran Yankee makes it even worse. All these years on the team, and he hasn't figured out that it's not cool to throw a hissy fit and refuse to play because he doesn't like his spot in the lineup? Spare me.

But we're all supposed to hail Jorge as some hero because he mouthed a few words of supposed remorse, perhaps because he could be facing a suspension if he didn't do so. Let's talk about that pseudo-apology a bit:
“It’s just one of those days that you wish you could have back,” Posada said. “I talked to Girardi and kind of apologized to him. I had a bad day. Reflecting on it, everything, all the frustration came out. I’m trying to move on.”
No, A-Rod had a bad day, when the ball went through his legs, Bill Buckner-style, last night. Quitting on your team a la Manny Ramirez isn't a bad day; it shows some bad character. And isn't it nice Posada is trying to move on. Whoo-hoo. Also, nothing shows sincerity like saying he "kind of apologized" to his manager for being insubordinate.

In addition, Jorge said, "I did tweak my back a little bit. And I took that as an excuse to tell you the truth. I just needed a day." What a weird coincidence, that he would hurt his back, and need a day, the very night he happened to be penciled in the lineup at No. 9? What, exactly, did he need a day for -- to recover from a bruised ego?

Posada also said, "Everything happens for a reason. You learn from it." But this didn't just happen to him. He is the one who pulled himself from the lineup less than an hour before the game because he felt disrespected. If he hasn't figured out that this isn't a good thing to do, then I don't really know what to say.

And how about the Yankee captain's defense of his best friend? First, he was MIA after Saturday's game, not talking to the press at all. Then, he defended Posada's behavior, saying:
My reaction was that I didn't think it was that big a deal," Jeter said about the Posada incident. "If you need a day, you need a day.


"It's over. It's done," Jeter said. "It's not the first time a player asked out of a lineup. Joe says if you feel like you need a day, let him know. It's understandable."
Of course, the fact that Posada is Jeter's best friend had nothing to do with his reaction, right? 

Jeter is right that this isn't the first time a Yankee has asked out of a game. But when it involved another player, he didn't have quite so blase a response. Page 241 of Ian O'Connor's book "The Captain" details how angry the captain was when Jason Giambi asked out of Game 5 of the 2003 World Series, with Jason telling Joe Torre that his knee was bothering him.

The book characterizes Jeter as "furious Giambi had begged out of the lineup on a night he was healthy enough to hit a home run." O'Connor writes, "Asked if players were upset with Giambi, one Yankee said, "It was more like rage, and Jeter was hotter than anyone. It was like, 'Are you [bleeping] kidding me?'"

Anyhow, I can get that the Yankees want to sweep this brouhaha under the rug and move on. And I get that Posada is only part of the team's problems. But sorry, I am not going to join the mob cheering like Jorge Posada cured cancer or something. What he did Saturday was completely unacceptable, and should not be celebrated, no matter how many rings Posada has.

What do you think? Tell us about it!

9 comments:

The Captain said...

Yes, yes, yes, a million times YES. Everything written here is right on and there's more that I can add other than to say I completely agree with it.

I felt the exact same way when I heard the fans cheering for him when he pinch hit last night. How can you just blindly cheer for someone who a day before quit on his team and essentially quit on you, the fans?

Jeanne said...

Brava! You hit the nail on the head.
I was at the game last night; in 30 years of attending ballgames I've left early 2 times...last night was the 3rd time. The team just looked old, slow, and inept. And, when you can count on Jeter to hit a soft one to the 2nd baseman to end the inning you know it is time to go home!

Uncle Mike said...

Comparing Jorge to Manny Ramirez for quitting on his team speaks volumes. Finding it hard to accept that you're in a nasty slump -- or even at the end of your career, if that's what this is -- is one thing. But this...

If Jorge had simply said, "Joe, if you think my hitting is bad enough to put me in the 9 hole, then maybe you should give me a few days off, to clear my head and maybe get some practice in and get straightened out," that would have been fine. But that doesn't appear to be what happened.

Then again, plenty of players have done worse. Babe Ruth punched an umpire. Joe DiMaggio punched his wife. Ty Cobb, don't get me started. And, sorry, Bob Costas, but you're wrong: Ted Williams was not a saint. Yet they still get honored with monuments and highways and statues.

It's up to Jorge to decide whether this was just a regrettable blip on the radar screen, or the way he wants to be remembered.

Josh said...

This is the first honest article I have read about this whole incident. Every time I heard "Jorge Posada is a proud man" I wanted to throw a brick at the TV. He cried to get out of the line up and those frauds at the stadium gave him a standing O? It was difficult to watch. All I wanted Cashman to say when they asked him about Posada during the game is. (Cashman Voice)"Well Jorge asked out of the line due to a strained vagina and we will probably put him on the DL"

The Reviewer said...

As much as I was disappointed in Jorge who I have loved all these years, tht was a classless thing to do an there is no excuse for it. I understand the criticism of Jeorgie, but where is the criticism for Yankee management as well. They completely have mishandled Jorge from the start of the season, from forbidding him to even catch a pitch at all at any time this year, to how they disrespected Jorge on Saturday. Girardi should've pulled Jorge aside and told that he was going to be batting 9th, rather than just seeing him at 9th in the order, which as we all know, in the AL;, 9 hole is like another leadoff hitter, need someone with speed in there, so "Torre" wasn;t far off by saying to put Gardner in there instead.

All in all, I hate to say this but Boston management have handled their aging vets with more class, like Papi and Varitek. Plenty of blame to go around. But, Jorge apologized, let's move on. We are in dire straits right now.

Lisa Swan said...

The Captain, thanks for your kind words, and your shoutout to me in your blog -- http://ablogforarod.blogspot.com/

Uncle Mike also had a good take in his blog:

http://unclemikesmusings.blogspot.com/

Jeanne, I noticed how lethargic the crowd looked all weekend. And how many empty seats? I saw tickets Sunday afternoon on StubHub for $5 each!

Lisa Swan said...

Josh, thanks for your nice words! I felt totally disconnected from the Yankee fanbase during last night's game. I'm glad to hear that I wasn't the only one thinking that same way.

The Reviewer, it is my understanding that Girardi talked with Posada, he said he was okay with it, Jorge then talked with reporters, and a half hour before the game, Posada threw his hissy fit and changed his mind. That's on him, not the Yankees.

I understand why Cashman told him no catching -- ever. Aside from the injury risk, and his inability to throw, it would have been impossible for Russell Martin to do his job with Posada lurking in the background as a backup. Posada needs to get over it, like he said he would, and work on his hitting.

The Reviewer said...

Lisa, if that is the case about Girardi talking to Jorge first, than you are right and I will stand corrected. Jorge was never a very good pinch hitter, he definitely needs to keep working on that.

fabled1 said...

I couldn't agree more with Ms. Swan. No one could say it any better.

I've been watching the Yankees since 1959 and have seen some pretty bad teams and players over the years but never have I witnessed such an exposition from a Yankee.

I can not and will not watch another game as long as Posada is in the dugout. I no longer have any interest. This self centered player can care less about his teammates and even less about the fans who pay his salary and even though Jeter is another topic altogether I can't believe the contract he got and his statement about the incident afterwards.

I wonder how Billy Martin, Sparky Anderson or Lou Pinella for that matter would have handled the situation.

I feel Jorge's first three letters of his last name pretty much sums it up about what I think he is.