As the whole world knows by now, Jorge Posada released his first book - The Journey Home: My Life in Pinstripes. A memoir of his time as a Yankee and the events that led to his love of baseball, Jorge took the opportunity to share some of his poignant moments, as well as some of his more honest moments. I use the word honest because I do not want to cast judgment on the things he said. To me, he had some things to get off his chest, for better or for worse.
You really could not expect anything else from Jorge. If you watched him play for any length of time, you know that he wore his heart on his sleeve all the time. If he was upset, you knew immediately. Rarely did an opposing team pick a fight where he was not one of the first to respond. None of us can forget the 2003 ALCS when the yelling went back and forth between Jorge and Pedro Martinez, each point at their head as if to make a threat. How about the time when Jesse Carlson threw behind Posada, and Posada waited until he came around to score before clocking Carlson as he was backing up the catcher. Posada is neither mild-mannered nor introverted. His openness about his feelings in his book should not have surprised anyone.
I am not going to judge whether or not Jorge Posada had a right to be angry. Nevertheless, I will say that he has the right to tell his story as he experienced it, with all the ugly feelings that came out during the journey. Have you ever had something that was so important to you that you put your heart and soul into it, only to find out you just missed, or that you came in second place? I have, and I can tell you it is FRUSTRATING. Now imagine that you found out later that the guy who came in first cheated, and there is no way to go back and fix it. It would take superhuman willpower to keep quiet about it. I certainly would not be able to keep my mouth shut.
When he reflects back on 2003, when he came in third in the American League MVP voting behind Carlos Delgado and Alex Rodriguez, you might understand why he wants to vent. That was the closest he ever came to winning it, and the popular belief was that Rodriguez was using PED’s at the time. Do you really think it is unreasonable for him to feel robbed? Add to that the frustration of seeing some of these people get into the Hall of Fame, and I understand why he said what he said.
In 2011, Jorge Posada played his final season. It was not the farewell tour that Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter got. In fact, it was arguably the worst full season of his career. He had to know that he was close to the end of the road. Like all of us, he probably wanted to go out with a bang. It did not work out that way. Sometimes those are the breaks – not everyone gets to go out into the sunset. Nevertheless, when he was effectively demoted, losing the starting catcher spot, losing at-bats, it had to suck. Look, I am not blaming Joe Girardi. It is hard for a manager in any line of work to deliver hard news, especially when the person cannot do the job anymore. Personally, I have been on both sides of that conversation in my career. I can tell you there are good ways to do it and bad ways, and I have been on the receiving end of both. Therefore, when you are the 17-year veteran catcher and you find out – as Posada alleges – via text message that you are not in the lineup, it might sting. Again, I am not shooting Girardi. Maybe he thought it was better to text it to him so he would not have to find out in the clubhouse. Maybe Girardi just is not good at delivering bad news. I have no idea. However, when someone who works for 17 years at a company is handed a box and told he has 30 minutes to clear out his desk and leave the building, that person is going to feel a sense of betrayal. While the Yankees didn’t exactly do that to him, I am 1000% sure that is how it felt to Jorge.
I said earlier that he wears his heart on his sleeve. The good thing about people like that is that you always know what that person is thinking – there is no game or runaround. The bad part is that they can sometimes run their mouth off and say whatever comes to their mind, with no filter. He was honest, but maybe a little too open. You have to give Joe Girardi and Alex Rodriguez credit for taking the high road, and to Jorge Posada for sending an apology when he recognized that he was wrong to say what he did. With all the emotion of having your life on a stage for the entire world to read, I can understand why his emotions got the best of him and he felt somewhat cornered. Others might disagree. He spent his career helping the Yankees win, and except for his final season, he kept whatever negative feelings he had under wraps and conducted himself as a professional. For that, he gets my support and this defense.
--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Senior Staff Writer
My blog is: Shots from Murderer's Row
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