Ahhh it is that time of year again when there is drama in the Bronx Zoo. The Evil Empire also known as the New York Yankees seem to hum along magically when all is going well. They are winning games, they are enjoying the YES network, they are getting up the ire of Baaaahston fans .but this year has been different. The Pinstripers are struggling, They have not enjoyed their normal success of recent years early on in the 2011 season. Now this past week they have one of the biggest on the field and off the field distractions in the Majors involving their long time catcher Jorge Posada.

Now on any other team this may not be a big deal. But we are talking about the New York Yankees here folks. The geographic center of the Universe. Remember the Sun itself orbits around New York City.

This past week Jorge bailed out of the lineup on his own accord. He is only hitting .165 this year and has yet to get a hit all year off of a left handed pitcher. Manager Joe Girardi had dropped him to dead last in the batting order. Jorge was so angry at being demoted to ninth in the order Saturday that he not only said he wanted out of the lineup, also indicated he might want off of the team. Allegedly a heated discussion took place before the game between manage Joe Girardi, a former catcher himself, and Posada. These two have had some issues over the years that seem to stem back to their playing days when Girardi was still in the league as an active player.

Yesterday Derek Jeter the modern day version of Joe DiMaggio in the eyes of Yanks fans stepped to the defense of his comrade in arms, essentially condoning Posada’s behavior indicating he had nothing to apologize for, he obviously was struggling and he was caught off guard with this and had a bad day.

The New York front office brass did not seem too impressed with their team captain taking this stance and called for an internal meeting to discuss the entire situation.

It appears all is well on the Eastern Front now and the over-reacting drama surrounding this incident is over. But it does bring up a valid question. When a great player become average, or gets to the point when their skills have deteriorated significantly, whose responsibility is it to call it a day, sit down for the betterment of the team, or even hang up the cleats for good?

Too many players have held on way past the point of no return. Some retirements seem to come suddenly such as Barry Sanders or Ken Griffey Jr. Others seems to go on like the end of a bad movie (Brett Favre)

By their nature professional athletes are confident, bordering on cocky, and have achieved the successes they have endured in their sport because they are better than most, even at the heightened level of competition. It must be very difficult to make that decision on your own as an athlete.

Here is hoping that Posada won’t have to stare his .165 batting average in the face to accept that maybe the end is near, and can make a decision on his own before the team is forced to make it for him.


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Johnny Goodman writes a weekly sports column for The Soap Boxers. His articles can be found in The Goodman File.

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