…Because without him, last night’s loss to the Red Sox would have been insufferable. Don’t get me wrong. Last night was terrible. The Yankees left too many runners on base. Their play was sloppy and uninspired. Hell! Fox couldn’t even find a celebrity Yankees fan willing to talk on air. Sure, who wants to talk to Joe Buck? But, really? No one could be found anywhere in a Yankees/Boston game in New York? Who was I watching? The New York Yankees or the Pittsburgh Pirates?
However, around the 5th inning this game took on a new level of interesting. It became less America’s Pastime and more “The Real Housewives of the Bronx”. It was less about the game and more about who was sitting on the bench. Did Jorge Posada decide that he couldn’t or simply didn’t want to play last night?
Manager Joe Girardi released the lineup for last night's game. Posada was slotted into the 9th hole as the team’s DH. Interestingly enough, this was the first time Posada batted ninth since 1999. A fact not lost on reporters in the Bronx. Thus the barrage of questions began.
Posada had been getting heat for his lack of contribution to the team as of recent. He hadn’t hit a homerun since April 23rd, was far too expensive to sit on the bench and wasn’t hitting his own weight. Come to think of it. He was barely hitting my weight.
Undeniably, the lights have been far more glaring on Posada than on fellow “Core Three” teammate, Derek Jeter. Is there a double standard? Perhaps. Nonetheless, if the pressure was getting to Posada, he didn’t let on during the pregame press conference.
But by the first pitch, Posada is out of the line up. This was strange, but not unheard of. Players are pulled from the line up all the time. They fall ill. Injuries are uncovered. Family issues come up. Maybe Posada was under the weather? Girardi must have had a good reason to take him out of the line up. This is 17-year Yankees veteran, Jorge Posada, after all. He wouldn’t just pull himself from a line-up because he was having a “bad day.” He would never put himself or his ego before the team. Or would he?
By mid-game, things get juicy. Yankees GM Brian Cashman met with reporters. He claimed that it was Posada who pulled himself from the game. Cashman didn’t offer a reason for the removal, causing rumors of insubordinate behavior by the beloved Yankees veteran to spread like wild fire.
Adding fuel to the fire was Laura Posada, Jorge’s wife. She took on the role of PR rep and took to Twitter and Facebook mid-game saying, "Jorge loves being a Yankee…He's trying his best to help his team win. Today, due to back stiffness he wasn't able to do that." What back stiffness? This was new to everyone. Better yet, why wasn’t Jorge speaking for himself? Within a matter of innings, a spot in the lineup developed into the most uncomfortable “he said/he said” since Charlie Sheen and CBS.
Is it out of the realm of possibility that Jorge Posada’s frustration and ego got the best of him? No. This once proud Yankee is hitting well below the Mendoza line and there are plenty of young bucks itching to take his place. Has there been a giant double standard applied? Yes and maybe it’s starting to get to him. He might be a member of the “Core Three”, but that doesn’t mean he’s not human. Face it. Derek Jeter didn’t receive half the scrutiny that Posada received when he hit the schnied.
Should Posada be coddled because of his past contributions to the team? No. Baseball is a game of what have you done for me lately. Nonetheless, in a post-steroids era, perhaps we all need to learn that we’re supposed to get old. Our bodies break down and its ok. There comes a point in time when perhaps even our heroes have to hang it up.
But is it fair to judge players by different standards? No. But when was life fair?
Ultimately though, should Posada be given the chance to explain his actions without his wife’s twitter account? Yes. He is at least owned that.