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Why Yankee Fans Owe Jorge Posada An Apology

Posada set to announce retirement at Yankee Stadium Tuesday afternoon.

As Yankee fans, we pride ourselves on having a sense for the moment, a nose for history and a superior baseball IQ.

But we blew it when it came to Jorge Posada’s last game as a Yankee. And we owe him an apology.

Flashback to Nov. 1, 2001, to Game 5 of the World Series. My girlfriend and I were lucky enough to be sitting in the first row of the Loge, just above Paul O’Neill in right field.

We all know what happened when O’Neill trotted out to his position, down 2-0 in the top of the 9th inning, in what would be the last home game of his career. The moment doesn’t need to be detailed, for it stands as a great Yankee moment in the history of the storied franchise.

Now flash to Oct. 6, 2011. The Yankees are behind 3-2 at home to the Tigers in Game 5 of the Divisional Series. Detroit’s Joaquin Benoit is on the mound in the bottom of the 8th when Posada steps to the plate for what was likely his last at-bat as a Yankee after 15 years in pinstripes.

Again, I was lucky enough to be at the game with a group of Patch editors, one of whom I reminded a handful of times that it could be Posada’s last game. I wondered aloud what type of sendoff he would receive from the crowd at the new Yankee Stadium.

As Posada stepped to the plate, I moved to the railing (we were in standing room behind first base) and applauded, hoping to spur the crowd’s sense of history. It was wholly absent.

Jorge grounded out to shortstop and jogged back to the dugout. The moment had passed and what I’ve come to know to be true about the crowds at the new stadium was again confirmed.

This is not the same crowd as across the street. The people at this game were not among the more than 100,000 who lined up around the old ballpark for playoff tickets in 1996.

Here was a Yankee great, who has played more games in a Yankee uniform than all but seven players. Eighth on the Yankee home run list. A five-time all-star. Owner of five World Series rings (though he only had a cup of coffee in 1996).

Jorge, who is retiring, deserved a proper goodbye, and we blew the chance to give him one on Oct. 6. On behalf of all Yankee fans, I’m sorry Jorge.

John Hahn January 24, 2012 at 02:02 PM
I like Jorge. I have been a Yankee fan since the early 50's. We thank Jorge, Derek and all the other well compensated Yankees, with our hard earned dollars. They are blessed to be able to play the game of their youth and make it their source of a very decent income as adults. The fact that the fans did not give a proper farewell is an example of some fans view of the world. To each his own.
Al Scala January 24, 2012 at 03:14 PM
I am a Yankee fan and always liked Jorge. He was a good Yankee. However, it is time for him to retire. It must be difficult to give this life up, especially as a Yankee.
Bruce Packer January 24, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Even as a Met fan I am willing to do my part as I applaud all Yankees as they walk back to the dugout after getting out.
Aaron De Groat January 24, 2012 at 05:00 PM
yankee fans dont owe jorge anything. perhaps with a 3-2 in the eigth inning fans contemplated that joe girardi might make another switch to keep posada in the game,,,,he was clearly the bombers best post season hitter this past season. probaby more likely, real yankees fans werent there ...the fact of the matter is pro sports has priced the true diehard common fan out of its stadiums and arenas and sadly this is one example ....huge concrete palaces that are sterile...in his last book howard cosell foresaw the day where arenas would be glorified tv studios...sadly that day has arrived
William Lang January 25, 2012 at 03:47 PM
It was great that he was a Yankee his whole carrer, but he was not the greatest catcher of all times. He was good (no arm (could not throw to 2nd base on a bet), decent hitter (only 273 BA) and he played on great teams....and sometimes players make to the Hall of Fame on the backs of their teammates and this will be the case with 'Hip Hip Jorge'....

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