Joe Dimaggio, who was the Yankee Clipper decades before he was Mr. Coffee, was famous for saying “I want to thank the Good Lord for making me a Yankee.” Tuesday afternoon, another Boy of Summer from a different decade of dominance, Jorge Posada, took his leave from the N. Y. Yankees and professional baseball and the Almighty deserves at least a tip of the cap.
Seventeen seasons, seven World Series and enough championship rings for a hand, to include the thumb, and the Core Four, Jeter, Petite, Posada and Rivera, are now the Dynamic Duo, Derek and Mo. When you’ve rooted for the Yankees your entire life, suggested a friend in Germany a lifetime ago, it’s like cheering General Motors (or applauding Consolidated Edison). In this case, fans feel like they've known these guys their whole (public) lives because they have.
No one, sorry FC Barcelona, Manchester United, AC Milan, Montreal Canadiens, or Boston Celtics, no one in professional sports has the tradition of continuous competitive excellence and success of the Bronx Bombers. I’m not a kid anymore, despite a degree of childishness some find disturbing, but following the Yankees is something I, as an old man, share with the boy I once was. They are like breathing out and breathing in-and if you root for a baseball team, any team, your aspiration and respiration are the same.
Jorge Posada was one of the homegrown players harvested from the Yankees farm system, transplanted to the most inconspicuous place in the entire media universe, The House that Ruth Built, who bloomed brilliantly and allowed a legendary franchise that had suffered a decade long doldrums through the early nineties to blossom once again.
Baseball, beneath all the myth and romance of “The Show” and “Field of Dreams” is a business. That’s why we fans can love Yogi Berra and Johnny Pesky while the owners fear Scott Boras (and why the latter is far more influential than the former in our National Pastime). Only in professional sports is a forty-year old man considered old and Jorge Posada is forty. His time for leaving had come and gone.
Pitchers and catchers will report for spring training in three weeks. This year Jorge Posada will join us in a bleacher seat somewhere while we root, root, root for the home team even though every time someone of his caliber leaves the field for the final time it gets just a little harder to remember when we were all kids at the sandlot and harder still to remember we were gonna play this game forever.-bill kenny