According to Stephen A. Smith, the Yankees have somehow done wrong by Jorge Posada. Terribly wrong. True to form, Smith expounds with great conviction about something, although in this case, perhaps because this is not professional basketball, he has no clue what he is talking about. Smith's foray into baseball analysis may simply be an indication that he is prepping himself for the prospect of an entire year without professional basketball to holler about. If so, he needs a lot more prepping.
Smith writes that the Yankees have begun "humiliating [Posada] at the most inopportune and conspicuous of times" – so much so that "there is no doubt some belligerence [on Posada's part] would be justified at this particular moment in time". While acknowledging that Posada didn't have a leg to stand on back in May when he opted out of the line-up rather than face the ignomony of batting 9th, Smith asserts things are different now, noting that Girardi "yanked" Posada out of the lineup and "exiled" him to the bench. (I just love how yellow journalism plays with such words — Posada "pulled himself" out of the lineup while Girardi "yanked" and "exiled" him…of course we could also describe the same events as Posada "threw a temper tantrum and refused to play" while Girardi simply "sat" him).
The most perplexing part of Smith's "analysis" is this: referencing Posada's .205 BA with 0 HR and 4 RBIs in the 26 games leading up to the benching, Smith concedes "There is no way to argue the substance of Girardi's decision". OK then, so what is he talking about??
Smith says that the Yankees should show more patience with Posada based on his track record of success and his role in the Yankees' most recent dynastic stretch. Never mind that Posada has played in no fewer than 90 games this season and racked up over 300 PA.
Perhaps now is the time to point out the obvious: every minute of playing time you give Posada takes away from someone else's playing time - in this case primarily Eric Chavez whose performance has been leaps and bounds ahead of Posada's this year and Andruw Jones, who has been mainly swapped out for Posada against LH pitchers, and with good reason:
Posada in 317 PA: .230 BA; .309 OBP; .372 SLG, mediocre to poor 1B skills, worst baseurnner on team
Chavez in 70 PA: .310 BA; .380 OBP; .423 SLG, strong fielder, mediocre baserunner
Posada in 64 PA vs. LH pitching: .103 BA; .188 OBP; .121 SLG (I would laugh but am too busy crying)
Jones in 100 PA vs. LH pitching: .264 BA; .360 OBP; .506 SLG
Maybe Smith's most annoying leap of logic is this: "Posada…needs to talk about his love for the Pinstripes. How being a Yankee has meant so much to him, and how things just aren't what they used to be. But more importantly, how things need to be, if you don't want more players to react like Cliff Lee did last winter when he demonstrated his belief that there may actually be better places to play than in the Bronx." He even goes so far as to propose that maybe the reason Posada hasn't been treated better is because George Steinbrenner is now gone. George Steinbrenner. The paragon of treating employees with respect.
No one knows what factored into Lee's decision. Maybe it was the prospect of slotting into a starting rotation with the chance of being one of the greatest of all time. Maybe it was the prospect of playing in the NL East instead of the pitcher-brutalizing AL East. Maybe it was his 4-year old son's leukemia condition and the fact that Philadelphia is home to arguably the best Children's Hospital in the world. Or maybe the reports that Lee's wife hates the city of New York and loves Philadelphia are true.
One thing I'm certain of: Stephen A. Smith hasn't got a clue.