Monday, May 16, 2011

Posada-Gate Had Some Upsides

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The weekend soap opera between Yankee DH Jorge Posada and manager Joe Girardi had some upsides and downsides depending on which angle you see it from.

In a nutshell: On Saturday, Girardi penciled the slumping DH (.165 BA) to bat 9th for the first time in 12 years. The slumping DH took it personal and bum-rushed Girardi's office half an hour before the game and said something to the effect, "I ain't playin' tonight! Batting ninth is for amateurs with no tiger blood! I'm a 5-time champion, part of the "Core 3" and I deserve mo' respect!" Well, maybe he didn't say it exactly that way but you get the point. Anyway, Girardi was forced to make a quick line-up change and penciled in Andruw Jones as Posada's replacement.

Ok, call it Posada-gate or Lineup-gate or whatever, but the story had some strong legs with the media as it dominated the headlines this whole weekend. Should Posada be sanctioned? Is he thinking of retiring? Why did he make up the "bad back" story? But what was lost in the whole mess was the fact that the Yankees were playing a HUGE weekend series with their arch nemesis the Boston Red Sox and in the past few weeks the Red Sox have been sizzling and the Yankees have been fizzling, so a distraction was the last thing the Yankees needed.

The end result: A 3-game sweep by Beantown.

The Downside:

From a Yankee perspective it was a nightmare of a weekend. At 20-18, they have lost 7 out of their last 10 games and have relinquished first place in the AL East to the red-hot Tampa Bay Rays who are 23-17 after a woeful 1-8 start. So it's safe to say the Yankees are in a funk right now, although I do think they'll be OK once their bats come back from their 2 weeks (and counting) hiatus.

Another Downside:

Posada still has a .165 BA. In other words, disgruntled behavior doesn't improve the mathematics in this business.

The Upside:

From Beantown's perspective it was a weekend for the ages. They swept the "hated" Yankees at Yankee Stadium and perhaps most importantly, they FINALLY reached the .500 mark for the first time this season. The Red Sox are now 20-20 and can officially begin their assault on the AL East which many, including me, still believe is theirs to lose. Reaching .500 was a major hurdle for Boston to clear after their 2-10 start, no doubt about it.

Another Upside:

From a historical perspective, something rather interesting came out of Posada-gate. By Posada refusing to play, Girardi was forced to replace him with Jones, who batted ninth for the first time in his career. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Jones (with 408 career home runs under his belt) became only the second player in major league history to have over 400 HR and bat 9th in a major league game. The only other player to do so was the legendary Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx (534 career HR) who at the tail end of his career batted 9th while playing for the Philadelphia Phillies. Go figure!

Anyway, for the record, Posada has supposedly apologized to Girardi and the Yankee brass and the incident was laid to rest. "Hip! Hip! Jorge!"

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Man, that Adrian Gonzalez dude is a monster! Isn't he?

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