Archive for May, 2011

Thank You Steve Henson for writing this piece, and for showing us a side of “Sparky” we never knew … Rest In Peace George Anderson … We’ll Always Miss You … BLESS YOU!!!

The Other Side Of Sparky Anderson

Monday, May 30, 2011 7:51 pm
Written by: Steve Henson
  • There was no funeral for Sparky Anderson when he died last November. No memorial service, either. No one from the legendary baseball manager’s family attended the opening day ceremonies in his honor in Cincinnati or Detroit. And no one named Anderson showed up at an awards dinner for him last week in Los Angeles.

Many in baseball are perplexed by his dying wish that his passing go without traditional observance. Understanding the reason begins with recognizing that Sparky Anderson and George Anderson — Sparky’s given name — were vastly different sides of the same person. George administered last rites to Sparky years ago.

When he and his wife visited a dying friend in a hospital, a priest dropped in to comfort the friend but saw the familiar face sitting across the room and excitedly began talking baseball. George was mortified. He’d been a devout Catholic his entire life, often rising at daybreak to attend Mass. But he decided then and there: no church service when he passed.

George was committed to putting his family first. Sparky was folksy and friendly and a diamond icon as manager of the Reds from 1970 to 1978 and Tigers from 1979 to 1995, but at a cost familiar to many who make baseball a career. He was immersed in the season nine months a year and unable to say no to charity organizers, writers, friends and former players the other three.

Sometimes nothing was left by the time he got home, sometimes he barely recognized who his children had become and they could barely stand who he’d become. But once he took off the uniform for the last time and left the broadcast booth for good, he morphed back into George. He found sturdy common ground with his two sons and daughter, and relished time with his grandchildren, nephews and nieces. As he lay dying Nov. 4, 2010, even through the thick haze of dementia, he knew who he wanted to be in death.

He’d go as George Anderson.

***

The intent of the Rod Dedeaux Award dinner last week was noble, and giving the honor to Anderson wasn’t contrived: The late Dedeaux — who won 11 national titles as USC baseball coach — had been Sparky’s childhood mentor, and proceeds went to the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy. But the event confirmed that George made the right decision for his family.

Joe Morgan, Tom Seaver, Doug Harvey, Vin Scully and others reminisced about Sparky, the nickname George took on as a hot-tempered minor league manager in the 1960s and his persona until he retired as one of the most successful big league skippers of all time.

A funeral and memorial would have included a parade of well-meaning baseball people paying homage to Sparky — the Dedeaux Award dinner by a factor of 10. They would have thought they were doing the right thing. They wouldn’t have known better. It would have been miserable for George’s wife of 57 years, Carol, and the kids.

George’s final days were all about family. By his side was his oldest son, Lee, whose long hair and rebelliousness at a time his conservative father enforced strict grooming rules on the Reds in the 1970s was described in Joe Posnanski’s excellent book The Machine.

Lee Anderson, a successful concrete contractor and man of integrity, still wears his hair beyond shoulder length at age 52. George not only learned to accept it, he came to love it dearly because his son’s locks were the same gleaming blast of premature white as his own.

***

My insight into the Andersons comes from being their neighbors since the 1960s. I played on a 12-year-old team with Lee. My mom and Carol Anderson sold baked goods together to raise money for the Little League. Later I coached Lee’s younger brother, Albert, and their cousin Mike Sheehan, who has remained a lifelong friend. I observed George and I observed Sparky. Then I observed George again.

Throughout our 40-year acquaintance I addressed him only as Mr. Anderson. I’ve been a sportswriter my entire career and never wrote a story about him until now. I didn’t tell him what I did for a living; why complicate a perfectly good friendship with that sort of information? To Mr. Anderson, I was the local guy he called Stevie who coached teenagers year after year as a volunteer. That was something he could respect.

After the infrequent seasons when his team didn’t make the playoffs, he would help out with our fall league. He’d show up in paint-splotched pants, hit mile-high fungoes and give the kids funny nicknames. I’d recklessly wave a runner around second while basecoaching, and after the inning he’d shake his head and say, “Never make the third out of an inning at third base, Stevie. Never.”

The kids would pile into his wood-paneled station wagon and we’d drive to the farm communities of Oxnard and Fillmore for games. Opposing teams would see us approach the field and blink hard: The man with the white hair was instantly recognizable, and the kids would form a single-file line to have him autograph their gloves before we’d play ball.

Days like that blurred the line between George and Sparky. He was there for the love of his son and a love of the game. Nobody called him Captain Hook and nobody expected him to run away with the pennant. Baseball can be a simple pleasure, and Mr. Anderson enjoyed reminding himself of that out of the spotlight in Thousand Oaks.

***

Home openers at Detroit and Cincinnati this season were odes to both cities’ most successful manager. The Tigers raised a flag with his name on it at Comerica Park and will retire his No. 11 on June 26. The Reds had retired his No. 10 in 2005. Both teams are wearing patches on their jerseys that say “Sparky.”

All are fitting nods to a manager whose 2,194 victories ranks sixth all-time. While he was alive, the ceremony Anderson most cherished besides his Hall-of-Fame induction came Jan. 29, 2006, at a small private school a block from his home. California Lutheran University christened its new baseball stadium the George “Sparky” Anderson field. It was appropriate because his 40-plus year relationship with the school was an effective blend of George and Sparky.

George took brisk early morning walks around the university track with matronly school secretaries and nerdy professors. Sparky held a celebrity golf tournament each year that raised money for the baseball program.

George occasionally sat quietly in the corner of the dugout during practice, and he’d pull aside marginally talented Division III players and whisper sage advice. Sparky would show up at a Cal Lutheran game in February before heading to spring training and sign autographs until the sun dropped behind the Santa Monica Mountains.

***

Dennis Gilbert, a Chicago White Sox executive and former superagent to Barry Bonds and others, surveyed the well-heeled throng sipping cocktails before taking their seats at the Dedeaux Award dinner. He was disappointed no one from Anderson’s family had come, but he understood.

“Sparky felt uncomfortable at places like this,” Gilbert said. “He’d say, ‘I don’t want to be a greenfly.’ ”

That would have been George talking. Ridding his backyard garden of those plant-sucking greenflies, or aphids, was a challenge he took seriously. Sparky would have had the Dedeaux Award crowd eating out of his hand; George would have avoided it with a polite wave of the same hand.

Sparky was an entertaining speaker, unsophisticated yet insightful, ungrammatical yet pointed. He was best off-script, talking not about baseball but about life. It was then that George’s sensibility sneaked into the message.

A son of Lance Parrish, who caught for the Tigers under Anderson from 1979 through 1986, played at Biola University, another small private Southern California school. Anderson came to the team’s banquet at Parrish’s invitation a few years ago and the coach asked him if he’d say a few words.

“He jumped at the opportunity, which kind of surprised me because he wasn’t asked to do it in advance,” Parrish told The Sporting News. “He poured his heart out to everybody. He talked about the importance of being a good person and caring about people and doing the right thing.

“I don’t think he talked about baseball one sentence, but he let everybody know what was on his heart. It was just a great night.”

One of Anderson’s favorite pieces of wisdom was simply to be nice. “It doesn’t cost a nickel to be nice to people,” he’d say. “It’s something you can give away for free and it means more than a million dollars.”

Since his death, that’s all anyone wanted to express. His former players and friends needed a place and time to say nice things about a man they admired: the great manager Sparky Anderson. A few were able to do so thanks to the Dedeaux family, who knew well the story of the big-eared 14-year-old kid in 1948 that lived a block from the USC campus asking Dedeaux if he could serve as the Trojans’ bat boy.

Dedeaux called him what his mother called him: Georgie. Along the way he became Sparky, an iconic figure who belonged to baseball first and family second. He retired at 61, young for a manager, giving him ample time to adjust his priorities.

The Andersons didn’t need a funeral or a memorial service to convey any of that. Their strength was ensuring that Sparky went quietly. George Anderson rests in peace.

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Jim Tressel has been Fired in part due to the incompetence of Rich Rodriguez, and for that we say THANK YOU RICH-ROD!!! That’s right Michigan Fans, and Buckeye haters at large have Rich Rodriguez to Thank for the Sweater Vest being Unraveled. Tressel’s misplaced loyalty to a talented athlete who has only himself as an interest, ultimately led to his downfall today as Tressel resigned from his job as Head Football Coach at Ohio State University. The fallout we’ll witness from this loyalty will be unrivaled in the history of the NCAA, when the sanctions do come down in the coming days/weeks/months, they will be so severe that Woody Hayes will feel them. Jim Tressel will likely never coach above Pop Warner again in his life, and YES we have Rich Rodriguez to thank for all of this.

Had Rodriguez succeeded in recruiting Pryor to Michigan as everyone expected him to do, not only would Michigan have now Fired him for sucking as a coach and ruining 3 years of history at the Legendary school, but also for his own practice hours scandal; and what surely would have been an international incident had Pryor attended Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI a mere 45 min drive from the United States and Canadian Border. Pryor would undoubtedly have found Tattoo and Pawn shops in both countries to sell School Property, Apparel, and Memorabilia to.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/recruiting/football/news/story?id=3300355

So, Yes; THANK YOU RICH RODRIGUEZ for not simply being half a failure in your time at Michigan, but for being a COMPLETE failure. Your inability to do your job, has now led to your own firing, the firing of our most hated rival, and the soiling of the Ohio State Football Program at a time in which Brady Hoke has Michigan ready to play Big Ten Football again … LET’S GO BLUE!!!

And now late word comes in that the NCAA has launched an Independent Investigation into Terrelle Pryor himself for receiving cars and other extra benefits … Stay Tuned … This is about to get even better!!!

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=6608432

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SPECIAL REPORT: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/magazine/05/30/jim.tressel/index.html# 

 

 WBNS-TV Columbus:  http://dai.ly/iHEa41 Terrelle Pryor has lost his Coach, but in fact shows he’s learned nothing as this video shows him arrive to a team meeting the night of 5/30/11 in yet another Late Model vehicle with temporary plates …

The only thing worse than a corrupt Coach, is a corrupt Coach who runs before they can be brought  to Justice!!!

The Sweater Vest has taken the cowards way out of the situation he cultivated at Ohio State, the Columbus Dispatch is reporting this morning that Jim Tressel has tendered his resignation.

This comes as a bittersweet moment … On the one-hand, The Sweater Vest has fallen, The Buckeyes are in a complete state of disarray, and Brady Hoke is set to Restore Glory to the Maize and Blue of Michigan … On the other hand however, Jim Tressel has committed the ultimate act of selfishness, he has resigned leaving the players, coaches, school, and fans who trusted and adored him to hold the bag, and pay the price for his transgressions.

Did Jim Tressel deserve to lose his job? Absolutely, and without question he deserved to be fired for his part in a scandal that has involved illegal sales of team apparel by players, illegal sales of automobiles to players, tattoos for autographs and memorabilia, and cover-ups by the coach himself who had knowledge of it all from day one!!!

The manner in which his exit has occurred should not have been of his choosing, first he was given a mere 2 game suspension while players received 5 games for selling apparel. He told the University he’d like to sit for the same 5 games as his players, some called this loyalty, others more wisely called it an admission of guilt and acknowledgement of his involvement. It then came out that players received free cars in exchange for signed memorabilia, yet there was no further punishment for the coach. This of course was because he’d already admitted after giving himself 5 games, that he had knowledge of the events, but pleaded ignorance in his not having reported the information to ANYONE. Now, rather than face the NCAA, Tressel has resigned, likely to never set foot on a College Athletic Field again, for fear the NCAA will catch-up with him forcing him to actually serve a penalty for ruining the lives of the players with whose education and futures he was entrusted.

Congratulations Jim Tressel, as you sneak off into hiding, you’ve left a legacy that Ohio State University will not soon forget. What will be forgotten is that you ever lifted the Crystal Ball, the legacy you’ve left is one which will cause people to burn Sweater Vests, and ban your name from use by their kids … Hey Coach, I hear there’s a vacant Mansion in Pakistan, maybe they’ll let you live there … Promise, nobody will look for you!!!

http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/sports/stories/2011/05/30/ohio-state-news.html?sid=101

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=6606999

http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/news;_ylt=Ar.ymeW7Z_vhdw4nxOCIAAI5nYcB?slug=ap-ohiost-tresselresigns

http://www.ohiostate.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1226572

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=6598929

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=6592185

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=6562597

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/andy_staples/05/30/Jim.Tressel.OSU/index.html?eref=sihp&sct=hp_t11_a2

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/football/ncaa/05/30/tressel.resigns/index.html?eref=sihp&sct=hp_t11_a3

http://www.freep.com/article/20110530/SPORTS08/110530011/Ohio-State-coach-Jim-Tressel-resigns?odyssey=mod|breaking|text|FRONTPAGE

http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/30/jim-tressel-resigns-as-ohio-state-football-coach/

http://www.foxsportsohio.com/05/30/11/The-downfall-of-a-Buckeye-legend/landing_ohiostate.html?blockID=529482

Next up on the Chopping Block is Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith who has steadfast in his support of Tressel throughout this whole ordeal and cover-up. At the end of the day, Tressel is gone, Smith will be as well, and the Football Program will be a forgotten program for the next decade at least. Once the NCAA has had their say, the local Bowl-o-rama is the only Bowl the Buckeyes will be allowed to play in for a very long time. Scholarships will be forfeited, Trophies will be returned, Banners and Flags will come down, and Players will pay restitution as they are stricken from the record books. Jim Tressel and his Football Buckeyes have single-handedly made Michigan and the FAB FIVE look angelic, at least all they did was take some money …

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SPECIAL REPORT: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/magazine/05/30/jim.tressel/index.html# 

 

 WBNS-TV Columbus:  http://dai.ly/iHEa41 Terrelle Pryor has lost his Coach, but in fact shows he’s learned nothing as this video shows him arrive to a team meeting the night of 5/30/11 in yet another Late Model vehicle with temporary plates …

Buster Posey Injury

Posted: May 26, 2011 in Baseball, Uncategorized

The Play was Clean, it’s a part of the Game, but the question must be asked … With so many Marque Players playing as Catchers in today’s game … When does the line get drawn between upholding the tradition of Baseballs most dangerous position, and protecting its Superstars???

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=6594099

Buster Posey is now lost for 6-8 weeks at a minimum with a Broken Fibula and Sprained Ankle after his collision with Scott Cousins in last night’s Giants Marlins game. Posey is arguably the Offensive Face of the Defending World Series Champion Giants, and the fact he may now be lost for the season is an enormous blow to the Giants. You don’t replace your 24-year-old Cleanup hitting Catcher, if you’re the Giants, you simply hope to survive, and pray that he is back by sometime in August.

The Fact is, The Giants, Posey himself, and Baseball fans everywhere are left to hope this injury doesn’t lead this Would-be-All-Star down the same post collision career path as Ray Fosse.

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=13099647&topic_id=&c_id=mlb&tcid=vpp_copy_13099647

ESPN Coverage:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=6593598

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=6592212

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=310525126

He may not have been the #1 Pick in the Draft … But Madden knows Best … Peterson is the #1 Rookie on this years game!!! So it’s time to leave the College Drama behind. The Pay for Play talk is no longer a concern, and once the Lockout ends … Patrick Peterson will be the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year!!!

Patrick Peterson is ‘Madden’s’ top rookie

May, 19, 2011

MAY 19
3:23
PM ET
By Jon Robinson
Patrick PetersonChris Trotman/Getty ImagesLook for Patrick Peterson to make an immediate impact on the Cardinals … and “Madden NFL 12.”

I’ve been obsessed with cornerbacks ever since I first saw Lester Hayes dip his hands in a bucket of Stickum.

And growing up in the Bay Area, I’ve seen some greats run by me backwards, from a young Ronnie Lott to Mike Haynes to even a season of Deion Sanders.

Next in line to go “primetime” is the Cardinals first-round pick, Patrick Peterson. With P-Squared, we’re talking ball hawking, blanket coverage, and the type of return skills that make you think back to the days of Deion dripping in jewelry.

But I’m not the only one high on Peterson, as “Madden NFL 12” ratings guru Donny Moore has informed me that Arizona’s electrifying corner will be the highest-rated rookie in the game with an 82 overall, including 97 speed, 96 agility, 93 acceleration, 93 jumping, 77 catching (highest for any rookie CB), and 91 return. In terms of his defensive skill set, Peterson clocks in with 89 man coverage, 82 zone coverage, and 90 press.

Not bad for a kid who grew up gaming, dreaming of the day when he’d finally see his face in the “Madden” franchise.

“When I was a kid, my grandmother bought me and my brother every game that came out for PlayStation,” he told me at a recent EA Sports event showcasing “NCAA Football 12.” “We had like 72 games in our room, and we’d just play everything. My favorite was ‘Grand Theft Auto,’ but then my grandmother banned us from playing that game once she found out what was going on. So we’d play games like ‘Madden’ at home, but then sneak over to a friend’s house to play ‘GTA.’

“I have the PlayStation 1, PlayStation 2, and the PlayStation 3, and when Sony comes out with another system, I’ll get that one too. I guess I’m just a PlayStation kind of guy.”

Jon Robinson: When the player ratings come out, how serious do you take it?

Patrick Peterson: Once the game comes out, that’s what everybody looks at, whether you’re a fan or a player. You immediately go to the depth charts and try and see what the numbers are. There are all kinds of guys in the locker room like, “Ah, they didn’t get this right!” But it’s all fun and games.

Jon Robinson: Any advice for EA Sports in making your “Madden 12” character?

Patrick Peterson: Just make me really, really fast. As someone who plays the game, I know, you need cornerbacks with speed. Make me one of those guys everyone wants on their team. Make me a shutdown guy.

Patrick PetersonDerick E. Hingle/US PresswireAnother day, another interception for “Madden’s” top-rated rookie.

Jon Robinson: What was the whole draft process like for you? It’s not everyday you have 32 doctors pulling on you from different angles.

Patrick Peterson: That was definitely something new. [laughs] The doctors were pulling on me each and every second. The process was fun, though, and you just have to go in and enjoy the moment.

Jon Robinson: What were some of the crazy questions teams asked you as part of their evaluations?

Patrick Peterson: I got the usual, like would you rather be a dog or a cat. But then I got this one as well: What’s the difference between a pen and a pencil? Do you know?

Jon Robinson: Ink?

Patrick Peterson: Exactly. [laughs]

Jon Robinson: What does this have to do with being a shutdown corner?

Patrick Peterson: I have no idea. They asked me what’s 7×3, how many days are in a year … all kinds of things like that. Luckily, I passed that test.

Jon Robinson: Cornerback might just be the toughest defensive position to play in the NFL. What does it take mentally to be a shutdown corner out on the field?

Patrick Peterson: You have to not only be a competitor, but someone who wants to get better at their craft every time you go out and step onto the field. You need to have that confidence, that swagger to know that you’re trying to be the best, and it doesn’t matter who you’re lining up against, you know you want to get the best of him.

Jon Robinson: Is there a corner in the NFL you look up to?

Patrick Peterson: Actually, I look up to a few guys. Charles Woodson is one. I think he’s a phenomenal athlete. I love watching Darrelle Revis, of course, and Asante Samuel is another guy. I just love watching defenses play, not just corners.

Jon Robinson: Any advice for fans who are going to play as your character in “Madden” this year? How should we best utilize your skills?

Patrick Peterson: The biggest thing is to just be aggressive. I’d like to see the guys who create the game give the corners a little more awareness out there, though. Sometimes you’ll be playing and the corner will get beat so bad or look like he doesn’t know what’s going on. I just hope that doesn’t happen to my character. [laughs]

Read below to see how the New Ownership of the Chicago Cubs has done their part to continue the Jinx that started with the Throwing of the 1918 World Series … Continued with a Billy Goat … and is now Revived with this weekends Cubs v. Red Sox at Fenway Park.

https://nachosaddpeppers.wordpress.com/2011/04/20/cubs-threw-1918-world-series/

The Boston Red Sox beat the Chicago Cubs by a humiliating score Friday night in their first meeting at Fenway Park since the 1918 World Series.

Losing, even 15-5, is something the Cubs have gotten used to these past 100 years or so. But what happened during one of Boston’s home run trots truly was something the Cubs won’t get over for a long time.

Team president Crane Kenney, sitting in the coveted Green Monster section that rises above Fenway’s famous 37-foot high left-field fence, caught a home run hit by Jarrod Saltalamacchia(notes) in the bottom of the fifth inning. The blast ricocheted off an advertisement high above Kenney’s seat and pretty much fell right to him. How’s that for bemusing happenstance?

To make matters worse, Kenney — in clear violation of widely accepted Cubs fans programming — did notthrow the opponent’s ball back onto the field. Instead of acting like one of the Bleacher Bums, he sought a young fan and tossed him or her Salty’s dinger ball. Well, harumph!

Get a load of this guy

It’s one thing for a clever ball hawk perched in the Wrigley Field bleachers to defy protocol and keep the souvenir homer. To deflect the peer pressure, some even treacherously switch out the homer ball for a ringer and throw that one back.

But the team’s own president — not quite at the Ricketts ownership level, but close — acting oblivious to bleacher tradition? And in front of Red Sox Nation, the more successful junior franchise? Unacceptable. Scandalous!

Watching him, it’s doubtful Kenney thought for even a nanosecond of throwing back the ball. The guy wouldn’t last three innings in Chicago’s bleachers. He’s just so hard to figure.

Hey, it’s time for a confession: If I ever catch a home run ball at Wrigley, or any park, I wouldn’t be one of the sheep who throw it back. I’m keeping that sucker. Literally rejecting the opponent’s home run ball is perhaps the weakest fan tradition in sports. For example, imagine a Cubs fan telling his grandson he once caught a home run by Jason Heyward(notes) who, in 25 years, is about to be inducted to the Hall of Fame.

“What did you do with the ball, grampa?”

“Uh … I threw it back.”

See how silly it is? And it’s not like the umpires are going to be fooled by the ball bouncing back on the field and so they wave off the homer. OK, maybe some umpires would get fooled.

Like an infection, the practice of tossing back the home run ball has spread to other major league parks. Some folks even throw back foul balls hit by the enemy. Cardinals fans, you know who you are. Admiring Cubs fans for their loyalty, patience, persistence, blind devotion — whatever — is OK. But wanting to ape some of their worst behavior is unconscionable.

Fans in some parks still can be thrown out by security for throwing a ball on the field. But it’s a shrinking minority.

And now that Kenney — who already was unpopular among many Cubs fans — has ignored tradition, there’s little chance that throwing back the ball will ever go out of style soon.

It will continue, if for no other reason than to spite the suit in the front office who refuses to lead by example.

I have a crazy feeling that what happened at Fenway was a missed opportunity. Perhaps, if Kenney had thrown back Saltalamacchia’s homer, Cubs fans would have seen how uncool the act was, and a seed would have been planted. It could have been the beginning of a counter revolution. Inside of a decade, we could have wiped out the exercise entirely.

But Kenney’s pseudo-thoughtful and charitable action in flipping the ball to a child ruined any such remote possibility. They’ll be shouting “Throw it back!” at Wrigley — and elsewhere — for a long time to come.

Thanks for nothing, Crane Kenney.

The Mavs are absolutely taking it to the Thunder tonight in Game 3 of the 2011 NBA Western Conference Finals. The worst part of this is that the Thunder’s own marketing department is fueling the Mavs energy. In an attempt to boost the Home Court effect, the Thunder marketing team asked all fans to wear “Blue” which is in fact one of their team colors. However it also happens to be the color of the Mavs road jerseys, the Thunder are in “White” tonight. This looks like a home game for the Mavs, and they’re playing like it.

Can’t wait to see a Mark Cuban NBA Finals!!!

So You Had a Bad Day …

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=6553976

… Posada is a poor excuse for a Man, and an even worse excuse for a Ballplayer!!! YANKEES SUCK!!!

NEW YORK — A day after lifting himself from the lineup, Jorge Posada went into manager Joe Girardi’s office and apologized on Sunday.

Posada also was not in the New York Yankees’ lineup Sunday night for their series finale against Boston, one day after the slumping star’s request to sit out — after he was dropped to No. 9 in the batting order — ended up in a messy public spat with management.

“I kind of apologized to him,” Posada said Sunday. “I had a bad day. I had a bad day [Saturday.] Reflecting on it, everything, all the frustration came out. I’m trying to move on.”

Girardi appreciated Posada’s effort.

“We had a nice conversation,” he said. “We talked about being emotional, and going through struggles. What defines who you are. Just a lot of things. He apologized. He said he had a bad day yesterday. And I said ‘Jorge, I’ve had bad days too, and I’ve done stupid things.’ I’m not saying what he did was stupid, but I did things that I wish I wouldn’t have done. And you have to live with them, but it’s what you do after, and you move forward.

“I know you have a passion and a love for this game. I know you want to win and you want to play forever. But the reality is we don’t play forever and that you need to enjoy your career in the midst of that.”

Posada also apologized to general manager Brian Cashman in a face-to-face meeting prior to the first pitch of Sunday’s game.

Cashman relayed Posada’s apology and all of the day’s developments to team owners Hank and Hal Steinbrenner and team president Randy Levine. A team spokesman said that the Yankees’ hierarchy accepted Posada’s apology and considered the matter to be closed.

Before batting practice Sunday, a contrite Posada calmly answered a string of questions from reporters and then went out to hit with the other backups.

He said he was healthy enough to play — he had mentioned a stiff back after Saturday night’s game, but acknowledged Sunday that even though his back was bothering him, he used it as an excuse.

“Everything happens for a reason. You learn from it,” Posada said.

Added Cashman: “Family members can have problems from time to time.

Posada and Cashman disagreed on how the news of Posada asking out of the lineup was handled. Cashman, in an in-game meeting with reporters Saturday, said that Posada had no injury. Posada, and people close to him, including his wife on Twitter and Facebook, said he had a stiff back.

“It’s just one of those days that you wish you could have back,” Posada said.

During batting practice on the field Sunday, Posada hugged Alex Rodriguez and chatted with other teammates. Yankees captain Derek Jeter, one of Posada’s best friends, said the matter was resolved and he saw nothing wrong with what Posada did Saturday.

“From my understanding what he told you and what he told me, he said he needed a day to clear his mind and it’s understandable,” said Jeter, who is extremely close to Posada.

Jeter did not think Posada needed to apologize to his teammates.

“If he said he needed a day to clear his mind there’s no need to apologize because I think everyone understands that,” Jeter said. “Everyone here understands that sometimes, this game can be tough on you mentally. Everybody’s struggled. Everybody’s been in a position where things don’t seem to be clicking the right way. If that’s the reason he came out, then he doesn’t need to apologize. If it was something else, then yeah, but not for that.”

Regardless of the strange saga that played out Saturday, Girardi might have been planning to put Posada on the bench Sunday. The switch-hitter is 0-for-24 against left-handed pitchers this season, and the Yankees were set to face Red Sox lefty Jon Lester.

“[Saturday] did not factor into my lineup tonight,” Girardi confirmed. “The real struggles that Jorge’s had have been against left-handers. So, I decided to DH Andruw Jones today.”

Posada is hitting just .165 in 32 games as designated hitter. Andruw Jones was the Yankees’ designated hitter on Sunday, batting seventh.

During the first inning of Sunday night’s game, the Bleacher Creatures at Yankee Stadium saluted Posada. After they did their traditional roll call chant for each player, they ended by saying, “Jorge! Jorge! Jorge!” From the dugout, Posada waved with his left hand.

Posada may be out of the lineup on Monday as well, when the Yankees are scheduled to face Tampa Bay lefty David Price.

Hitting .165 this season and struggling to adapt to his new role as DH, the 39-year-old Posada was dropped to the No. 9 spot in the original lineup Saturday. Posada had last hit in the ninth spot in the lineup on May 14, 1999. A proud veteran and respected clubhouse leader, he said he put himself in that position and understood the move.

But about an hour before the game, Posada went into Girardi’s office and requested that he be removed from the lineup. The five-time All-Star said he needed a night off to clear his head.

After the game, Posada said his back had stiffened up while taking practice grounders at first base, but also acknowledged that he feels “a little bit” disrespected by the team.

That’s where it got complicated, though.

Posada never mentioned to Girardi or Cashman that his back was bothering him. And the Yankees weren’t pleased that he didn’t play.

“I honestly haven’t talked to him yet. I don’t know how he felt,” Yanks closer Mariano Riverasaid Sunday.

“Sometimes things like that are gonna happen. You don’t want them to happen because it’s a distraction to the team, but at the same time we just have to work it out and get back to winning games.”

Andrew Marchand covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com. Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com. Information from ESPNNewYork.com’s Mike Mazzeo and The Associated Press was used in this report.

It turns out that Reggie Bush was in fact not talking about leaving the Saints with his Draft Day Tweets, but rather about the Hornets/Lakers Series after-all.

I now fully expect based on the following that Bush and the Saints will announce a re-structuring of his Contract once the Lockout ends.  Bush had this to say at his Football Camp at Tulane today …

Bush says he still prefers to be a Saint

9 hours, 6 minutes ago

  • NEW ORLEANS (AP)—Reggie Bush(notes) is back in the Big Easy, where he’s backing away from recent Twitter posts that indicated he may not see the New Orleans Saints in his future.

“I would love to retire here if possible,” Bush said Saturday. “I would love to play for the Saints for however long my career, God-willing, allows me to play. First and foremost, I want to be a Saint.”

Bush spoke during his annual youth football camp at Tulane, on the same fields where he’s been absent while teammates have been taking part in workouts organized by Saints quarterback Drew Brees(notes) during the NFL lockout.

Soon after Ingram was drafted, Bush wrote: “It’s been fun New Orleans.” He has since wrote that he was making the best of the lockout by relaxing and taking vacation. The timing of the latter tweet, after about 40 Saints players had started working out together at Tulane, drew criticism from a number of fans in New Orleans.

“Obviously sometimes you write things and you say things and it may come off the wrong way,” Bush said. “It may be taken the wrong way. You may not even mean it that way or you may regret it. At the end of the day, I probably shouldn’t have tweeted that and I probably shouldn’t have said that and I’m sure a lot of people took it the wrong way and I apologize to the city of New Orleans if they have.”

Bush added that he thinks Ingram is “a great player and I think he’s going to have a huge role here.”

“He can help us, you know? We need all the help we can get and that’s part of what happens in the NFL draft,” Bush continued. “You get help and you get great players.”

Bush said he is healthy and that he has been working out hard on his own in Los Angeles at a gym owned by former Saints teammate Billy Miller(notes).

“Look at these guns,” he said, chuckling, as he flexed his right bicep.

He added that he has been “messing around” with some ultimate fighting training with FOX Sports personality Jay Glazer.

Bush is due about $11.8 million for the 2011 season, but the Saints expect him to take a pay cut. Bush said he remains willing to negotiate, as he initially stated after the season. However, he stopped short of saying he was confident a deal would be reached.

“That’s something that me, my agent and the Saints have to collectively come together and talk about and just come to a meeting point, a happy medium,” Bush said. “Obviously, we know that there’s going to have to be some type of pay cut and there’s going to have to be some type of re-negotiation.”

Bush and his agent, Joel Segal, cannot negotiate with the club right now because of the lockout, which could drag on for months.

In 2010, Bush missed eight games because a broken bone in his lower right leg, and during the other eight games was used as a role player—with 36 carries for 150 yards and 34 receptions for 208 yards and his only touchdown of the season.

When a federal court ruling compelled the NFL to briefly lift the lockout the day after Ingram was drafted, Payton called Bush to ensure the five-year pro that there was still a place for him in New Orleans.

Brees said he also sent Bush text messages of support. The quarterback said Bush should see Ingram’s addition as an opportunity to reduce the pounding he takes on carries into the line and focus more on an array of runs and pass routes that let him use his speed an agility in the open field.

“Drew’s the leader of our team, he’s our quarterback, so of course it resonates definitely, a lot,” Bush said. “I hear it and I know they want me here and I know that the coaches want me here and the team wants me here. So it’s just a matter of handling the business side of it. It sucks, but every player is going to have to deal with it at some point in time in their career.”

There is absolutely nothing sweeter than to see the Core of the Yankees Self-Destruct … Jeter is old and deteriorating, and Posada after being dropped to 9th in tonight’s lineup … asked out of the game, and was so removed from the lineup prior to game time.

No matter what level of Baseball or Sports you’re playing, you just simply don’t do this to your teammates, this is inexcusable!!! Jorge Posada has taken a massive shot at his own reputation with this, and I for one hope the Yankees Ownership and the Commissioners Office stick it to him!!!

YANKEES SUCK!!!


Dropped to 9th in order, Posada asks out of lineup

By MIKE FITZPATRICK, AP Sports Writer21 minutes ago

  • NEW YORK (AP)—Jorge Posada(notes) asked to be taken out of the New York Yankees’ lineup Saturday night after the slumping designated hitter was dropped to No. 9 in the batting order.

Posada, hitting .165 this season, was in the original lineup posted by manager Joe Girardi for the game against the Boston Red Sox. But general manager Brian Cashman said Posada went into Girardi’s office at 6 p.m. and requested that he be removed.

Posada’s wife tweeted that the five-time All-Star had back stiffness. But a person familiar with the discussion between Posada and the team told The Associated Press that he “refused” to play. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the situation was still not settled.

About 40 minutes before gametime, the Yankees announced that Posada had been scratched from the lineup and replaced by Andruw Jones(notes) at DH, but the team initially provided no explanation.

With specualtion swirling, Cashman met with reporters in a workroom behind the press box during the third inning to give an update. In an unusual scene, the GM said Posada is not injured, but wouldn’t comment on whether he had been insubordinate.

Yankees spokesman Jason Zillo said Posada planned to speak with reporters after the game.

During the game, Posada’s wife, Laura, tweeted that her husband “loves being a Yankee” more than anything.

“He’s trying his best to help his team win. Today, due to back stiffness he wasn’t able to do that,” she wrote.

Before batting practice, Posada insisted he was OK with hitting ninth. He said he put himself in this position and he understood Girardi’s decision.

Posada was on the Yankees bench during the game, wearing a cap and sweat shirt.

Slumping all season in his new role as DH, the 39-year-old Posada has six homers and 15 RBIs. His batting average is the lowest for any player currently in the majors with at least 100 at-bats, and he hasn’t homered since April 23.

With the Yankees struggling to get big hits lately, Girardi said it was time to make a lineup switch in an attempt to get some of his sluggers going. He moved scuffling Nick Swisher(notes) down to eighth in the order and put Posada in the No. 9 hole.

“It’s all right. Just move some people around, get a W or two and get rolling again,” Posada said, adding that Girardi informed him of the lineup decision earlier in the day.

It was Posada who gradually supplanted Girardi as New York’s primary catcher in the late 1990s. The Yankees say the last time Posada hit ninth was exactly 12 years ago, on May 14, 1999, against the Chicago White Sox.

“The only way I’m coming out of hitting ninth is just producing, and that’s the bottom line,” Posada said before BP. “I put myself in this spot. It’s not like I want to hit ninth and it’s not like I want to hit a hundred and whatever I’m hitting. Just a matter of really coming out of it.

“We’re going through a little funk right now and it’s a matter of really producing.”

A proud and respected veteran who has helped New York win five World Series titles, Posada does have four hits in his last 12 at-bats. But after getting ahead 3-0 in a key at-bat Friday night, he grounded out against hard-throwing Red Sox reliever Daniel Bard(notes) to strand the potential tying runs in scoring position.

More than three hours before Saturday’s game, Posada said he’s felt much better at the plate since a series at Detroit last week. But he said he understood the decision by Girardi, who moved up Russell Martin(notes) andBrett Gardner(notes) in the batting order.

“I don’t feel like I’m in a slump,” Posada said. “My average is not what it’s supposed to be, and I understand that. But I think my at-bats are a lot better and I feel a lot better at the plate.”

Posada isn’t the only aging Yankees star who has been under scrutiny this season. After getting off to a slow start of his own, good buddy Derek Jeter(notes) has found himself in an uncomfortable spotlight as the Yankees and their fans search for signs that his skills haven’t left him.

Posada has caught at least one game for New York in each of the past 16 seasons and is one of only six major league catchers to hit 20 homers eight times, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

He lost his job behind the plate, however, relegated to DH duty this season. The switch-hitter is 0 for 24 against left-handed pitchers, and Girardi wouldn’t commit to staying with Posada against southpaws.

“I’ll worry about that as we get to left-handed pitchers in the next few days,” the manager said.

And how long can he keep playing Posada if his struggles continue?

“Our hope is that he gets going and we don’t have to cross that bridge. So I mean, that’s my thought process. I don’t necessarily think that a guy’s not going to be able to do what he’s done over the course of his career,” Girardi said. “He’s struggled more right-handed than he has left-handed. His at-bats left-handed have been better. I just felt that it was time to make that change. You just keep playing it out and you look for guys to turn it around.”

Girardi said he had thought about the move for a couple of days but acknowledged it’s not easy to make this sort of change with a player of Posada’s stature and accomplishment.

“It is. I have a ton of respect for what Jorgie’s done over his career and the success that he’s had. No one wants to be bumped down or moved down in the order, I don’t care who you are. I don’t care if you’re a young guy who is struggling, you don’t want to be moved down. But with what Jorge has meant to this franchise and the success that he’s had, you know, it is a little more difficult,” Girardi said.

AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum and AP Baseball Writer Ben Walker contributed to this report.

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_ylt=ArCs0XX2BncpEbaz51f9.Wo5nYcB?slug=ap-yankees-posada

http://sports.espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/news/story?id=6548896

The Next day coverage from ESPN:

Updated: May 15, 2011, 9:54 AM ET

Jorge Posada removes self from lineup

  • By Andrew Marchand
  • NEW YORK — After being dropped to the No. 9 spot in the lineup, the struggling Jorge Posada went into manager Joe Girardi’s office and asked out of Saturday’s lineup.

“The conversation was really short,” Girardi said. “He came into my office and said he needed a day, he couldn’t DH today. That was basically the extent of the conversation.”

After the game, Posada said that he was dealing with back stiffness and told Girardi that he needed a day to “clear his head.”

“I told him I couldn’t play today and that I needed time to, first to clear my head,” Posada said after the Yankees’ 6-0 loss to the Red Sox. “That was it. My back stiffened up a little bit. I was taking a lot of ground balls at first base and worked out and I wasn’t 100 percent.”

However, Girardi said Posada never mentioned the back injury to him.

With speculation swirling, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman met with reporters in a workroom behind the press box during the third inning to give an update. The GM said Posada was not injured.

That irritated Posada.

“I don’t know why he made a statement during the game. I don’t understand that. That’s the way he works now, I guess,” Posada said. “I think we should have waited for the game to be over to talk to whoever. … You don’t do that. You’re not supposed to do that.”

When asked explicitly if he was mad at Cashman, Posada hedged, but said he wished the general manager had at least waited until after the game to discuss the matter.

“Well, we’ll see. I think we should have waited for the game to be over to talk to whoever’s doing the game. It’s kind of like, you’re not supposed to do that,” Posada said.

Cashman, however, said Posada was aware he was going to address the media and even told the catcher and of one his agents, Seth Levinson, exactly what he was going to say.

“The situation that was created by him, then he would have to explain himself after,” Cashman told ESPNNewYork.com via telephone. “It was as simple as that. It is common baseball practice to explain after someone is a late scratch in the lineup, they give a reason why.”

Cashman also said he discussed the situation with Posada and Levinson for an hour and attempted to convince Posada to play.

“In one instance I was on the phone with Seth and I actually had to hand the phone to Jorgie. I said, ‘Here,'” Cashman said. “Jorgie knew exactly what was being said. This is not a surprise. I’m disappointed about what he said.”

The Yankees believe that they have grounds to suspend Posada right away but will wait for more conversations about the situation to occur, a source told ESPN The Magazine’s Buster Olney.

The Yankees have not ruled out docking Posada’s pay, especially if he refuses to play Sunday. The team was in contact with the commissioner’s office as it considered its options Saturday night. But there was hope that a cooling-off period could settle the situation.

Posada admitted he feels “a little bit” disrespected by the team, but said he hopes to move forward.

“I hope we can move on and go on and play the season,” Posada said.

If the Yankees do fine Posada one day’s pay, that would be $71,978 on his $13.1 million salary. If a player declines to play two days in a row, he could be put on the restricted list.

“If he feels good tomorrow, and Joe Girardi has him in the lineup and he’s batting ninth, he’s playing,” said one of Posada’s agents, Sam Levinson. “Where he hits in the lineup is irrelevant. This is about his back, not about where he’s hitting.”

Girardi wouldn’t comment on whether Posada might play in the series finale Sunday night.

“His struggles have been tough on him,” said Girardi, ejected by plate umpire Mike Winters for arguing balls and strikes following Adrian Gonzalez’s three-run homer off CC Sabathia in the seventh inning. “I hope for his sake we get through this and we can move forward.”

Posada’s wife, Laura, took to Twitter to defend her husband.

OrtizThey’re doing that guy wrong. They’re doing him wrong. You know why? That guy, he is legendary right there in that organization. And dude, DH-ing sucks. DH-ing is not easy.

— Red Sox DH David Ortiz“Jorge loves being a Yankee [more than] anything,” she tweeted. “He’s trying his best to help his team win. Today, due to back stiffness he wasn’t able to do that.”

Posada said he needs to talk about his future with his wife. Posada, who entered Saturday hitting .165, said he has not thought about retirement.

There is a good chance Posada won’t be in the lineup Sunday anyway, because the Red Sox are throwing lefty Jon Lester. Posada, a switch hitter, has yet to get a hit this year in 24 at-bats as right-handed hitter. On Monday, lefty David Price is scheduled to pitch for Tampa Bay.

Posada’s plight even garnered attention — and empathy — in the visitor’s clubhouse.

Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek was asked if he could appreciate the level of frustration Posada is feeling.

“We’re dealing with a lot of speculation right now with the little bit I just heard,” Varitek said. “I do know and respect what the man has done behind the plate for many, many years. Like I do with most things, I’m going to wait for the truth to come out and I’m not going to respond to something on hearsay.”

David Ortiz was more outspoken on the issue, saying the Yankees were doing a disservice to Posada by insisting that he serve as DH exclusively and no longer catch.

“They’re doing that guy wrong. They’re doing him wrong,” Ortiz told reporters. “You know why? That guy, he is legendary right there in that organization. And dude, DH-ing sucks. DH-ing is not easy.”

Varitek, who at 39 is the same age as Posada, managed to make light of his own struggles at the plate. When he was asked if he thought Gonzalez had a chance to win the triple crown, leading the league in home runs, RBIs and batting average, Varitek feigned confusion.

“Who, me?” he said. “What are you laughing at?”

Posada was on the bench for the beginning of Saturday’s game, an hour after having gone into the manager’s office, according to Cashman.

“At 6 o’clock he went into Joe’s office and asked him to remove [him] from the DH spot and the ninth hole,” Cashman said.

If Posada had stayed in the lineup, it would have been the first time he batted ninth in 12 years to the day. Against the White Sox on May 14, 1999, he went 0-for-4.

When the Yankees took away his catching gear this winter, Posada did not publicly complain. On Saturday, when he met with the media, he didn’t make a scene.

“I’ve put myself in this spot,” Posada said to the media before the game. “It is not like I want to hit ninth. It is not like I want to hit a hundred and whatever I’m hitting, just a matter of really coming out of it.”

Girardi said he has mulled pushing Posada to the bottom of the order for a few days. Before posting the lineup, Girardi talked with Posada, telling him he is still in the lineup but must produce.

If he doesn’t, the Yankees are facing a big decision. Earlier this week, a Yankee official told ESPN New York that the team doesn’t know what they would do with Posada if he continues to fail to hit.

Posada doesn’t play the field anymore and doesn’t run well, so if he doesn’t hit, he would seem to have no value on the roster.

“We’re hoping he gets going and we don’t have to cross that bridge,” Girardi said.

Girardi also moved down Nick Swisher in the order, pushing him to eighth. Brett Gardnerwas moved from ninth to seventh, while Russell Martin was pushed to the sixth hole behindRobinson Cano.

Swisher, whom the Yankees have a $10.25 million team contract option for next season, is hitting .221 with two homers and 14 RBIs.

“If I need to be down there to help this team, I’m going to be there,” Swisher said.

Andrew Marchand covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from ESPN The Magazine’s Buster Olney, ESPNNewYork.com’s Ian Begley, ESPNBoston.com’s Gordon Edes and The Associated Press was used in this report. 

The Foundation has Crumbled … The Core has Rotted … The Mystique of the Yankees has been replaced by In-Fighting … Life Is Good!!! Yankees Suck!!!