Why I would cheer Posada too

But I expect some condemnation of Posada to persist, if only because this sort of machismo is always going to exist in the culture of professional sports. But this, to me, is more than a little over the top:

What the fans don’t realize is they cheered for nostalgia. They cheered for posters on the wall, not the current performance of their beloved core Yankees. You know what nostalgia gets you? Ask the Celtics when Bird, McHale, and Parish broke down. Seattle saw what nostalgia gets you when they brought back Ken Griffey Jr. last year. Keep praying and hoping the nineties return for these guys when the process in front of us dictates otherwise.

And you know what, this is right, to a degree. The crowd at Yankee Stadium was cheering the past, because it’s just not possible to forget that and live in the here and now, in part because, if you get too carried away, time will pass you by before you know it. Four years ago, Jorge Posada had the best year of his career at the plate. Two years ago, Posada had an OPS+ of 125 as a catcher for a World Series champion. And now we’re all wondering if it isn’t all gone, and Posada simply doesn’t have the ability to hit at a big league level anymore.

Baseball fandom is a funny thing. The 162 game schedule means that, for six months, there’s a baseball game nearly every night. Many an over-dramatic paean has been written to the sport, but it really is there, every day, for over half of the year. How many people have had a rough day and washed the day away with a baseball game that night? How many times has a person gone to bed feeling just a little bit better than before because their rooting interest won a game that night? How many childhoods have been enriched by watching these grown men play a game, and then heading out to the yard to emulate their favorites?

In this respect, the last 16 years have been very good to Yankee fans, about as good as baseball has ever been for a fan base since the early 1960’s, probably, and Jorge Posada played a central role in that. Yes, he’s struggling now as he gets older and his physical skills start to decline, but a couple of bad months at the plate and one rough day at the office simply can’t wash away years of success, goodwill, and happy memories. Being a Yankee Legend doesn’t guarantee you a good batting line, a prime spot in the order as long as you want it, or even, frankly, a roster spot, but it does get you the affection and gratitude of countless pinstripe clad fans.

So yes, Yankee fans cheered the past Sunday night. They also cheered a player and a person who probably made their lives just a tiny bit happier at some point in the last 15 years. More than anything, Yankee fans showed their support for Jorge Posada, because in his own way, he’s always been there for us.

About Brien Jackson

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

5 thoughts on “Why I would cheer Posada too

  1. Perfectly stated post. I happen to think that Jorge Posada has little left to offer. But I hope like heck that I'm wrong. As he stated, he had a bad day on Saturday and since he plays in the biggest spotlight in sports, he got grilled. Maybe that's right and maybe that's wrong. But he manned up and apologized on Sunday and you have to respect that. Posada has had a good career and like you said, some great Yankee moments. Unfortunately, he's fighting Father Time and Father Time is winning.

  2. Agreed. However, it sounds like he asked out because he was upset about batting 9th. I consider that much differently than a player just asking for a day off to clear their head.

    • Well, even if he did, Posada chalked it up to frustration boiling over, he apologized, and everyone accepted it. If that's the worst day he's ever had at the office, we should all be so lucky. So assuming it's a dead issue now, I don't think that changes things much at all at this point.

  3. I'm no psychologist or baseball coach, but why didn't this situation play out like this:

    Saturday, Jorge arrives at park. Joe calls him into the office. "Look, we're dragging lately and I'm shaking up the lineup. We want you in there but you're batting 9th today."

    Jorge protests, possibly angrily and demands the day off. They argue briefly, but in the end Joe responds with "Look, I know this ticks you off. But I've got to do what's best here. You want today off, fine. You're not starting tomorrow but we want you back on the bench against Lester. And when you're back in there, you're hitting 9th. I'd like you to be on board with this until you get your swing back. We'll cover for you in the media."

    Jorge stomps off and leaves. Joe, covering his player, concocts the 'sore back' issue, then plugs Jorge in at the 9-spot in his next game. The 'sore back' gives Jorge an honorable way to accept the demotion. OR If Jorge is too forthright to hide behind an invented injury, he has a couple days to come to terms and be the good soldier again. Controversy averted.

    Did I completely miss this part of the story, or did Joe forget the 'ego management' part of his job?

  4. Well written post, Brien.

    Chris, Girardi had given Posada a heads-up before he posted the original lineup. Posada had actually commented to the media that he was OK with it, and then he stewed a little and threw his tantrum.

    Girardi supported Posada by sticking him in middle of the lineup night after night and standing up for him to the media. You would think that after a quarter season of batting .160, Posada owed it to Girardi and the Yankees to just suck it up and go out and play. This isn't Torre dropping MVP ARod to 8th in the lineup after a couple bad games in the 2007 playoffs. Girardi and the Yankees were rightfully surprised when Posada went diva.