Jorge Posada, who has been hitting worse than Alcides Escobar (hell, worse than TPJ), was moved to 9th in the batting order on Saturday. When he heard of this, Jorge went into Girardi's office and told him that he wasn't going to play.
Both in New York and elsewhere (but especially in NYC), Jorge Posada is revered as a consummate professional who plays the game the right way and only wants his team to win. He is full of grit, fire, determination and he's exactly what every team should want in a player and teammate. At least that is how he's portrayed.
Even when Joe Buck and Tim McCarver discussed the issue during Saturday's game, they spoke of Posada in reverential tones. They bemoaned how unfortuante it was that he was hitting .165 and that what we're seeing is a very proud man who is valiantly coming to grips with being 39-years-old and not the hitter he once was.
Others are having a similar reaction. In the above linked piece in the New York Times, William C. Rhoden, talked about how "transitions hurt" and that this really is understandable. And he ended with this poignant tidbit, "perhaps, an aging veteran was simply fighting back." How beautiful. How noble. I think when Dylan Thomas wrote "Do not go gentle into that good night" he was actually writing about Jorge Posada's refusal to play on Saturday. Rage, rage against getting bumped down in the batting order, Jorgie!
Algonquin Roundtable Baseball Tonight panel at ESPN could manage to come up with was that it looks like there are some issues between Posada and management, so there should probably be more communication there. Way to go out on a limb, Nomah.
Writing for ESPN.com, Jim Bowden says that Girardi and Cashman should "have compassion" for Posada and "protect him." Why? Because "he's Jorge Posada" and "he's going through a tough time. You owe that much to him." So they should just nod and smile when he says he refuses to play? Or should they just ask him which spot in the batting order he'd prefer?
Why can't they and the rest of the sports media tell it like it is? Posada's ego was hurt by being rightfully demoted to the bottom spot in the batting order, so he pouted and took his ball and went home. He did not act like the consummate professional. He didn't act like a great teammate and wonderful clubhouse presence. He acted like a selfish kid who puts himself before the team.
Is the power of the prevailing narrative too much for the mainstream sports media to overcome? The narrative says that Posada is a gritty, team-first professional. Well, the narrative just took a hit. So call a spade a spade. Maybe he really has been a paragon of sports virtue up til now. But what happened Saturday is what happened Saturday. He quit on his team. His manager assigned him a particular role and he said, "no thanks, I'm not playing today." This is unacceptable and if the sports media took its job seriously, they'd say so.