Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Soriano will be bigger pariah than Posada

Rafael Soriano is going to end up being a much bigger pariah in the New York Yankees clubhouse than Jorge Posada.

It's probably a good thing that Soriano was sent back to New York and put on the disabled list because it would have been very uncomfortable for him to walk into the Yankees clubhouse after he publicly blamed the hitters for the Yankees’ recent struggles. It was probably worse when he went on to say that he wasn’t at all upset about missing crucial games against the Boston Red Sox because the Yankees were always playing the 8th inning behind in the score. In fact, the treatment by his teammates probably would have been downright hostile.

The Posada situation is garnering all the headlines and attention from the media because of his long tenure with the Yankees and the fact that the dispute brought to the surface underlying tensions between the organization, including Joe Girardi, and core Yankees like Posada and Derek Jeter. But I think Soriano's comments are just as bad as what Posada did. I don’t doubt that Soriano could be legitimately hurt (it would certainly explain why he’s been so terrible this year). But to not even pretend he was disappointed not to pitch in the heated rivalry with the Red Sox speaks volumes about his character (or lack thereof).

It doesn’t matter that Soriano had a legitimate point about the Yankees offense. The media can say things like that, we bloggers can say things like that, but teammates are not supposed to break that inner code that says you don’t criticize a fellow player in public. The fact that Girardi even hinted at irritation about Soriano's remarks is a good indicator that the reliever broke the rules.

The reliever doesn't have anywhere near Posada's cache of good will to allow him to overcome such unwise comments. I don’t think his teammates will excuse Posada’s quitting on the team, but he can probably repair any damage he caused with enough time. But the Yankee hitters are unlikely to forget what Soriano said about them. Perhaps any hurt or anger they feel will have abated, at least slightly, by the time he comes back, but I seriously doubt it.

The fans will be even less forgiving considering he went to the DL already pitching poorly amid escalating doubts about his heart. I hope Soriano doesn't expect the same standing ovation that Posada received from the Yankees faithful Sunday night whenever he comes off the DL. He’s more likely to receive an equally loud, enthusiastic series of boos.

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