Joe Girardi's Pettiness Cost Baseball Fans an Iconic Moment

Harold FriendChief Writer ISeptember 20, 2011

An Unyielding Joe Girardi
An Unyielding Joe GirardiJ. Meric/Getty Images

Joe Girardi’s actions are inexcusable under any circumstances. He has acted in a petty, unacceptable manner at the most inopportune time.

Joe Girardi prevented one of the most poignant moments in baseball history from happening.

Jorge Posada should have been behind the plate when Mariano Rivera set the all-time saves record. Posada was the catcher for the majority of Rivera’s appearances. Never a Joe Girardi defensively, Posada filled in with adequate defense the few times he was needed this season.

“Rivera gets the signal from Posada.” How many thousands of times have we heard that sentence since 1997?

There have been some iconic moments in New York Yankees history that remain indelibly etched in the minds of all baseball fans.

The image of Posada, running out to greet and then hug Rivera after Chris Parmelee took a called third strike, would join the picture of Yogi Berra jumping onto Don Larsen that wonderful day in 1956 after Dale Mitchell took a called third strike.

It would rival Joe Girardi jumping on top of a group of delirious players demonstrating their joy at David Cone’s great feat on July 18, 1999.

It would rival Bernie Williams getting down on one knee after he caught Mike Piazza’s fly ball to end the most important World Series triumph in New York Yankees history.

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But Joe Girardi continues to disrespect Jorge Posada. Girardi told the media that the game against the Minnesota Twins was too important to allow Posada to catch the ninth inning with the Yankees leading, 6-4.

Does Girardi really believe that the fans and the media are that stupid?  Does he honestly think that the Boston Red Sox have any chance of finishing first this year?

In a nationally televised game against the Red Sox earlier in the season, Girardi dropped Posada to the No. 9 spot in the batting order.

Despite the fact that Posada was hitting only .165 does not excuse Girardi’s move. Great managers know their players and even Girardi, who is and never will be more than a mediocre manager at best, knew how Posada would react.

You don’t exacerbate a bad situation by inflaming an all-time great Yankee.

Girardi also knows that Posada has earned the right to not be shown up by the manager, but the two catchers have never had much use for each other.

Only Girardi will know if he was taking advantage of the situation to put Posada into an untenable position that Sunday night against the Red Sox.

What didn’t happen in the ninth inning of the game in which Rivera set a new saves record was the antithesis of what Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mariano Rivera represent.

After getting the save, Mariano Rivera stood alone on the mound.

"For the first time in my career I was on the mound alone, without my teammates," Rivera told the media. "I can't describe that feeling."

When he entered the dugout, it was Jorge Posada who pushed him out for a curtain call, which was reminiscent of the 1961 Yankees pushing Roger Maris out of the dugout after he hit his 61st home run. Neither Maris nor Rivera ever wanted or needed the spotlight. Winning was all either needed.

There have many great Yankees managers. There have been some controversial Yankees managers. Some, like Billy Martin, were both.

Joe Girardi is merely controversial. He should be ashamed.