Baseball in the Bronx hasn’t been better.
The Yankees are six games straight without a win. They’re a mess in the outfield, producing 6 defensive errors in those last six losses. They’re injury plagued, most recently with a $35 Million dollar arm belonging to Rafael Soriano that wasn’t able to throw a ball against his first place former team tonight. And now there’s the Posada situation.
Joe Girardi, Yankees manager, in a revealing post-game press conference over the weekend, first unveiled how un-manageable Jorge Posada ailing relevance with the team had become by insisting that Posada “needed a day” off, and that he was given one on Saturday (presumably for back pain.) But my colleagues in the trenches at Yankee stadium can smell a story when they hear one! And weren’t buying it. It was quickly revealed that Jorge Posada had in fact thrown a fit upon finding out he would be batting an embarrassing 9th position on a nationally televised game against the Red Sox, and that he had refused to play, some reports state he even allegedly threatened to quit the team.
After that game, enter Derek Jeter, who rallied behind his teammate like the good Captain should by saying an apology wasn’t necessary to teammates if one needed a day off for personal problems or injury (something he would later get chastised for by Yankee management after the true nature of Posada’s absence from the lineup was expanded upon.) Then Posada, realizing things were spinning out of control got into it with a near-tears apology press conference on Sunday, basically admitting his back pain had little to do with his absence Saturday; he just “needed a day,” because, let’s face it, anyone would need a goddamn day off when they realize the writing of their career is on the wall. Which is exactly what has been happening in New York as of late.
Since then, Jeter has had to explain to press and fans why he was hauled in front of Yankee management for his post-game “no apology required” statement, and Posada pinch-hit in a Sunday game that had Yankee fans give him a standing ovation. Still, drama is brewing! A.J. Burnett had a terrible outing Monday against the Rays, and A-Rod went 0 for 4 at the plate. Jeter’s play hasn’t been great all year, and he’s been attacked with “over-the-hill” debates on all sides since the beginning of the season. Let’s not forget how 2011 started, with Yankee owner Hank Steinbrenner getting into it by accusing Jeter and “other players” of putting too much energy into building their mansions instead of getting the mansion known as their BODIES ready for the 2011 season. GREAT START!
The real story though, right now, is Posada. At 39 he is facing what every man must face in life — aging and the realization that you are becoming obsolete. Unfortunately, Jorge has chosen a career path in which those questions come sooner than usual, and under the intense scrutiny of the public eye. It can be a crushing experience.
Is Jorge Posada handling his eventual fade into history well? No, he is not, and that’s what makes it GREAT BALL! Oh sure you can talk RBI’s, strike-outs, ERA’s and win percentages all you want, but they’re merely measurements, cooler talk, as important as the weather to what baseball is REALLY about — a series of movements and activities repeated over and over again, which allow the true drama of life to expose itself, one of which is failure.
The Yankees are losing. They will likely get their ego’s in check, managers and players will eventually get their stories straight and start saying the right things at press conferences so as not to entice writers into digging deeper to find the juice of gossip. They’ll start hitting the bat, winning games and then we’ll have to go back to talking numbers. But for now, with Jorge Posada, and with the Yankees, we can talk about the stuff that is so much more important, like a man dealing with his eventual slide into obscurity, while we all watch.
Baseball in New York is indeed, on the air.