Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Whew! THAT Was a Long Day

We woke up at 3:45 A.M yesterday and left Mom's by 5:15 for the airport. The first plane took off at 7:00 and landed in JFK at 9:30. Then we had to wait around that very boring airport until 1:30 P.M. and then boarded a flight to Portland. We landed in Portland at 2:55 and called the motel (we did a park and fly) to come pick us up. At 3:30 they did and by 3:45 we were in our car and headed north. After picking up our dog in Houlton at his doggy hotel, we got home at about 10:15 P.M. Man, that's a long day.

Along the way, the Fan had lots of time to think and one thing kept coming to mind, the Fan's brother's reaction to the Posada post the other day. The Fan's brother was also vacationing with Mom this year and his first day overlapped with the Fan's last day, which was nice. But he blew up when we discussed Posada. "He's the best offensive catcher in the history of the game and you want to sit him!?" The Fan wilted and did not respond to such an emotional outburst.

But isn't that typical? Fans of teams latch onto biases and never let go. There are probably a lot of fans in Milwaukee who think that Prince Fielder is the best first baseman in baseball. There are a lot of fans in Florida who think that Hanley Ramirez tries hard and concentrates every game. There is no way to refute that kind of thinking.

But then that thought led to a new one. It's no wonder that the Yankees are so hated. Sure, we've already seen that fans are passionate and they are biased about their own players. But there are simply more New York fans than there are...say...Tampa fans. They also probably have triple the media outlets of most teams. So the biases of the fans and the bias of the media overwhelm all others. That forces the biases to go mainstream and thus cause smart baseball fans everywhere to say, "Yeah, right."

Posada isn't even close to being one of the best offensive catchers in the history of the game. He might be one of the best offensive catchers during his career. Though guys like Ivan Rodriguez (in his prime), Joe Mauer were probably better than Jorge Posada in his youth and now at his old age. But guys like Bill Dickey, Yogi Berra, Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk and others blow away Jorge Posada offensively. And every other catcher mentioned so far in this piece had one thing that Jorge Posada has never had: Defense.

But Posada has five rings. That's impressive. This Fan has been a Fan of Posada. No doubt. But there has always been this huge and nagging doubt about him. That doubt has been crystallized by stats that supported good reason for the doubts. The facts at the end of the day are that Posada has had his share of clutch hits in crucial situations for the Yankees over the years. His defense has probably cost as many runs as he's driven in though. The Fan cringes to type this, but the Yankees have probably won five rings more despite Posada than because of him. His defense, his game-calling skills, his receiving of pitches, his passed balls, his throwing, his blocking of balls at the plate are all sub-standard.

Look, the Fan loves Posada. Truly. But that's the Fan's heart. The Fan's head is looking forward to the day when Posada is in the Hall of Fame and the Yankees have a star catcher that can actually catch and that the pitchers actually enjoy throwing to.

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