The toughest thing for any professional athlete -- yes, even baseball players -- to cope with is getting too old to produce the results they are accustomed to producing. As Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada are quickly finding out, your franchise tends to be a lot less considerate of your feelings and inappropriate emotional reactions when the end of your career is nigh, and you’re batting on the wrong side of .200.
According to ESPN baseball guru, Buster Olney, a relationship between Jeter and the New York Yankees brass that wasn’t at its strongest to begin with after some tense offseason negotiations, may be getting all the more heated these days. As per Olney’s sources, team management was surprised and mildly annoyed by Jeter coming out and publicly refusing to deride Posada for his poor reaction to being dropped in the squad’s batting order.
Posada -- who had been struggling against left-handed pitchers this year -- was moved down mostly because of his inability to be effective at the plate, as evidenced by a .165 average going in. Unfortunately, the seasoned veteran reacted poorly to the move, taking himself out of the starting lineup of the Yankees’ next outing versus the Boston Red Sox.
Posada would eventually acknowledge that he was wrong for his actions and apologized to manager Joe Girardi, after the fact. He admitted that he had felt disrespected by the change in batting order, and that he lashed out as a result.
On Sunday, Jeter, the team's captain, made it a point to avoid criticizing Posada’s actions, and even went so far as to note that he didn’t see a reason for his friend to apologize.
Needless to say, the Yankees management wasn't entirely happy with this decision.
Part of Jeter’s ambivalence towards what Posada did no doubt stems from understanding that he will soon be in a similar position. Despite the very -- and possibly, too -- reasonable contract that the team rewarded him with this summer -- moreso for years of loyal service than future promise -- the lead singer of the most popular show in baseball realizes that his slipping production will eventually result in the same actions being taken against him.
As always, winning is the best cure to any and all lockerroom drama. As long as the Yankees can right their ship and set sail to the top of their division, it will be a smooth trip from here on out. If, however, the team experiences more rough waters in the coming months, it wouldn’t be particularly shocking to see the most active team in baseball history look to make some more serious changes – changes that the old guard won’t be particularly happy with.