Hip, Hip (sob), Jorge.
This weekend Struming was inspired by our daughter, Carolyn, and her thoughts about Jorge Posada’s retirement earlier this week.
There comes a time for all great players when they realize, often grudgingly, that they can no longer perform at the same level. Sometimes the player beats father time and retires “prematurely” (Jim Brown in football is a great example). Sometimes a former star hangs around merely to collect a paycheck (alas my boyhood idol, Mickey Mantle, is an example here). Sometimes the former star bounces around a bunch of teams (Steve Carlton) desperately trying to hang on. I do not begrudge any player for trying to extend their career as long as they can. Because once it’s over, it’s over.
Earlier this week, 40 year-old Jorge Posada, the Yankee catcher since the mid 90s announced his retirement. The Yankees had already realized that Jorge, an extraordinary hitting catcher, but average defensively, could no longer catch. They had moved him to DH last year. He had his ups and downs in 2011, but ironically was a shining light in the disappointing elimination in the divisional series in the 2011 playoffs. He knew well that his days with the Yankees (and his contract) were done. He flirted with the idea of hooking up with another team. He could have done so, but decided it was indeed time to leave.
Our daughter, Carolyn, who writes a blog, Ladies Love Sports 2, wrote about it earlier this week. I find it interesting that she now has seen the full cycle of a player coming up as a rookie, have a brilliant & long career, and then fade & retire. Unfortunately she’ll learn those lessons again with Jeter and Mo in the near future. Here are her thoughts from her blog post, Jorge Posada: A Yankee for Life
Today is an incredibly emotional day, a day where one of the greatest Yankees of all time officially said goodbye to the game of baseball. It is another mark of an ending era in Yankees baseball, and in my life. Jorge Posada was a staple of my childhood, one of the faces I remember from when I first started to understand and love the game of baseball and sports in general. It was those Yankee teams of the mid-late 90s that ignited my passion in sports, and it was that passion that eventually inspired my decision to pursue a career in sports, and I consider Jorge a huge part of that.
Watching Jorge in the press conference this morning was really tough and surreal for me. Watching him get emotional when speaking about his family, and his Yankee family and brotherhood with Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, I could not help but cry (Luckily, my puppy Jeter was there to lick away my tears, he was sad too). But I was not at all surprised to see Jorge so emotional, because that’s who Jorge is. He played with an unparalleled fire and passion and wore his emotions on his sleeve always. He was consistently real and honest with the media and the fans, one of the many reasons he is so loved and admired by all who followed his career.
Today I want to congratulate Jorge Posada on a phenomenal career worthy of heavy HOF consideration, and I want to thank him for all the moments: that bloop double in the 2003 ALCS, placing the tag on the flip play, talking smack to Pedro from the dugout, hitting the first homer in the new Yankee Stadium, to his final postseason where he was the only Yankee to show up for every last at-bat. Thank you Jorge for the countless number of wonderful Yankee memories that I will cherish forever, and thank you for being a true Yankee from beginning to end.
Well said, sweetie.