Sunday, March 28, 2010

Jorge profile glosses over controversies

The latest Daily News profile in its Modern Yankees Heroes series is of catcher Jorge Posada. The story does a good job of breaking down the path that got him to the big leagues, his work ethic instilled by his father Jorge Sr. and his place in the great lineage of New York Yankees catchers.

But the story glosses over some of the more controversial elements of his career. For example, AJ Burnett isn’t the first pitcher to have problems throwing to Jorge, but you would never know it from the story, which says that he has successfully meshed with the vast majority of big-name pitchers in the New York Yankees rotation. But how can they forget his epic, on-field battles with the equally feisty Orlando Hernandez? Watching the two of them go head to head was pure theater. But even CC Sabathia has reportedly had issues throwing to Posada, most recently in Game 1 of the American League Division Series last year when two pitches got away from Posada and helped the Minnesota Twins get on the board.

At various times, Posada has also let his temper get the best of him with opposing pitchers, leading to altercations on the field. The most famous incident, one that the News story mentions but doesn't elaborate on, happened in the American League Championship Series in 2003, which ended with Don Zimmer being tossed to the ground by Pedro Martinez. But he also instigated another nasty incident against the Blue Jays last year when he elbowed pitcher Jesse Carlson shortly after the pitcher threw behind Posada in an attempt to protect his hitters, two of which had already been hit that evening. I remember that fight well because I was in Toronto at the time watching the game with a friend and could not justify Posada's behavior. It could have led to major injuries and numerous suspensions of key players, which could have been a devastating blow for a playoff-bound team.

I gave the News credit last week for not glossing over Andy Pettitte's human growth hormone use so I have to give them the blame for not getting into Posada's controversies. Did they even bother to ask him about his negative interactions with some pitchers or why he lets his temper get the best of him? It's something we can't really tell from the story and it's a big hole.

Thanks to Googie man via en.Wikipedia for the photo.

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