New York Yankees: Does Jorge Posada Feel Caged Inside the Bronx Zoo?

Lake CruiseAnalyst IMay 15, 2011

May 14, 2011: Jorge Posada, left, discusses things in the Yankees dugout in the Bronx.  He was disgusted with Brian Cashman after the game.
May 14, 2011: Jorge Posada, left, discusses things in the Yankees dugout in the Bronx. He was disgusted with Brian Cashman after the game.Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Has Jorge Posada already marked the end of a glorious baseball career in New York?  I’d say he has.

The 16-year Yankees switch-hitter flipped sides it seems last Saturday night against the archrival Boston Red Sox in a game played in Jankee—I mean Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. 

The Sox smashed the Yankees 6-0 and climbed to within a game of .500 and two behind the Yankees.  But a Bronx Zoo-type saga—Posada’s—stole the corn-fed portion of headlines and television coverage surrounding the game.

Instead of trying to help the Yankees beat Boston, Posada was seen “clearing his head” or otherwise stewing in the dugout during the game.  General manager Brian Cashman apparently felt something was awry. 

Before he announced during the game being played on the diamond between two of Major League Baseball’s archest of rivals, Cash was evidently incensed that Posada asked out of the lineup to “clear his head.”  I wonder if the Steinbrenners put Brian up to it.

According to a story at, linked above, the Yankees’ veteran met with manager Joe Girardi at around 6 p.m. ET Saturday.  The game was going to start in about an hour.

"I told them I couldn't play today and I needed time to clear my head. That was it," Posada said. "My back stiffened up a little bit. I was taking a lot of ground balls at first base and worked out and wasn't 100 percent."

This is all 100 percent speculation on my part, but it looked like Cashman saw Posada in the dugout stewing and decided to tell the world why Jorge was feeling blue.  What’s known is Posada did in fact take himself out of the lineup—out of the blue. 

The former Dodger blue, back catcher Russell Martin, 28, is now wearing Yankees navy blue behind the plate and batting as high as sixth.  Posada, meanwhile, looks like he no longer wishes to wear navy blue in the Bronx. 

The NY Yankees’ pitching staff almost needs the navy to come rescue them from the pit of pitiful performance, and Posada isn’t the savior behind the plate any more.  Perhaps he needed to clear his head because he didn’t want to bat ninth against Boston.

There are a variety of reasons why he might feel this way.  Maybe he didn’t want to get trash-talked by the Red Sox for being demoted in the order.  Maybe he didn’t want to be embarrassed in front of the Yankee Stadium crowd.

New York drafted him in the 24th round in 1995.  The career Yankee is a four-time World Series champion, a five-time All-Star and won the Silver Slugger award five times, too.

Whatever the case, the Yankees have a crowded backfield behind the plate.  The baby-faced Martin just turned 28 in February, while Posada turns 40 in August.  Jorge’s gut looks like it’s starting to crowd his Yankees jersey.

The Santurce, Puerto Rico born back catcher, Posada started his career playing second base.  Now he finds himself taking grounders at first base and near the end of his catching days—while playing second fiddle to a backstop 12 years his junior.

The age difference is sort of a tweener.  Jorge is almost old enough to be Martin’s papa, but young enough to be his older brother.  Posada’s face still looks young—ask your Latina chick—but his bat looks shriveled.

He’s batting below the Mendoza line of .200 and was demoted to the ninth spot in the Bronx Bombers’ poor hitting order this year.   He’s also been basically removed from playing catcher.  Posada is one of the only power-hitting DH’s in the majors batting ninth.

The next move is probably out of the order.  Posada probably saw it coming and asked out of the order before Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi could get at him.  At least Jorge didn’t send a text message; that would’ve been out of order.

He had the decency to go to his manager’s office and ask out of the lineup.  The classy Posada probably wanted to keep it a secret, and he expressed his disappointment with Cashman telling on him.  Jorge didn't mention anything about the Steinbrenners.

Loose lips sink ships and this could be the revelation of a major hole in the U.S.S. Jankee.

Similar to how defense secretary Robert Gates accused the White House Situation Room of gossiping about bin Laden, the Yankees can’t keep a secret.  For reasons unknown, Cashman announced during the game that Posada had asked out of the lineup.

Posada wasn’t thrilled with the tattle-telling and basically said that’s how Cashman rolls.  Ouch.  Cashman had no public comeback…yet.  It’s bound to happen, though.  It’s the Bronx Zoo.

This latest riff could rank up there with Reggie Jackson-Billie Martin-George Steinbrenner.  Nah, that’s hyperbole, but it’s still big.  The Yankees were knocked out of the playoffs by the Rangers last season and recently gave up first place in the AL East to Tampa Bay.

With the collapse of the NBA’s perennial contenders—Boston, Los Angeles and San Antonio—in the playoffs this season—it begs comparison to the Yankees in MLB.

The Posada drama could be a foreshadowing of the end of an era in the Bronx all together.  I believe he feels caged and will do his best to break free. 

Stay tuned, it's free.  I’ll be watching and bringing you the latest developments and news of escapees from the Bronx Zoo.  Time for me to escape—I need to see a man about a boat.  Catch me next time right here on the next edition of Lake’s Bronx Zoo Report.