Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sobbing Posada rides off into the sunset

Jorge Posada was not the only one crying yesterday.

I watched Posada’s farewell press conference yesterday with mixed emotions and a lot of tears. I am incredibly grateful that Posada decided retiring as a lifelong member of the New York Yankees was more important than playing another year of baseball, but also so sad that Posada, who has been a fixture for more than 15 years, is no longer with the Yankees. I wonder how they are going to fill the void left by Posada’s departure. I’m not talking about him in the designated hitter role, with Brian Cashman saying he is looking at potential trades for a hitter. I’m talking about whether the Yankees will ever be able to replace the passion and fire Posada brought to the team and the tough love leadership he gave to his teammates.

“I could never wear another uniform,” Posada said. “I will forever be a Yankee.”

I was also sad because Posada is clearly still hurt by the way his Yankees career ended. Posada was not even given a chance to compete for his catcher’s job in spring training last year and was embarrassingly demoted before nationally televised games against the archrival Boston Red Sox. Cashman and Joe Girardi can say whatever they want about Posada being a great Yankee, but knowing his temperament for so long, they could have handled things a lot better last year.

But for the most part, Posada’s press conference was a lovely tribute, particularly when Diana Munson, widow of former Yankees Captain Thurman, praised Posada and said she has loved two catchers in her life. I sobbed uncontrollably when she said that Jorge and Thurman would have been best buds. She knows they were cut from the same cloth.

It was really hard watching an emotional Posada fight tears during his speech, when he saluted his parents and sister in Spanish and told them he loved them, when he expressed his love and gratitude to his wife and kids (with his daughter Paulina, who is quite the ham according to her parents, widely smiling back at him), when he choked up trying to thank his teammates, especially his “brothers” Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, and finally when he praised the Yankees faithful for standing behind him all these years.

“You kept me going when I needed it the most,” Posada said.

It’s a good thing Jorge put the words on paper because otherwise he never would have made it through that speech. I almost didn’t make it through and I was only watching on television, knowing that a great Yankee was leaving a large hole in our hearts, leaving not on his terms, but on the right terms, forever a Yankee. 

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