Thu Sep 22 07:25am EDT
Before the regular season started, New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi told Jorge Posada(notes) he wasn't fit to catch anymore. Posada didn't face the indignity well, especially at first, and he sulked. It wasn't the first time the two had a disagreement, and it wouldn't be the last time in 2011.
And even though the Yankees kept him around because they thought he still could hit — and because, well, he's Jorge Posada, and they couldn't just kick him to the curb — he went out and had the worst season of his career at the plate. Though much of the tension over Posada's delicate situation waned as the season progressed, it seemed a lousy way for a modern Yankees legend to spend his twilight moments.
And then came Wednesday night, when Posada came off the bench to hit a tie-breaking, two-run single in the eighth inning that propelled the Yankees to victory, along with the AL East title.
See? He's still useful, even after turning 40 a month ago, in helping the Yankees win their 12th division title since Posada broke in during the 1995 season. And he was damaging to the playoff chances of the Tampa Bay Rays, who lost precious ground to Boston in the wild-card race after the Yankees took a doubleheader by identical 4-2 scores in the Bronx.
In an ironic twist, Posada wasn't fully aware of the situation against the Rays; he didn't know what inning it was.
Anyway, Posada's big hit led to a champagne celebration in the Yankees clubhouse — even though they had technically clinched a playoff spot after winning the first game of the doubleheader. Happy times.
Nick Swisher(notes), don't you know Jorge can't move out of the way like he used to? Even though he was smarting from getting hit in the leg, Posada walked it off like a champ. Swisher, as is often the case, seemed oblivious. But Posada obviously was OK, and good to go later on, when Girardi called on him during Game 2.
"This is a guy who has been a great Yankee, has had a wonderful career and has had a lot of big hits in his time," the manager said. "He's found a way to enjoy this season, which I think was really important. The thing about this game, we all want to believe we can play it forever."
No need to keep defending yourself on this, skipper. We respect your authority and all. And good work with the binder. Also good for Posada, and the Yankees, that he still has a little something left to give the game.