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POSADA'S MID-MAY MADNESS + A BRAD BERGESEN REVIVAL?

POSADA’S MID-MAY MADNESS + A BRAD BERGESEN REVIVAL?
[this post originally appeared on booktrib.com]

Suzyn Waldman, utterly wasted these past few years as the sidekick to self-absorbed John Sterling in the Yankee radio booth, once made the keen observation that to play baseball in NYC is to understand that you play 162 one-game seasons. Well, Saturday May 14th produced more than the average One Day Season for the Yankees. It made Friday the Thirteenth seem downright pleasant.

Struggling dh JORGE POSADA, batting only .165 and without a HR since late April, took himself out of the lineup an hour before the night game against the Red Sox because he was disrespected to be batting ninth. Ah the ego of the aging ballplayer that fails to face reality. It happens all the time in baseball and it is never easy to deal with by either player or manager.

When the incident occurs before a rare Saturday night national TV game, imagine the brouhaha. The Red Sox shutout of the Yankees Sat night took a back seat to the incessant digging for more details about the story.

During the game FOX network field reporter KEN ROSENTHAL made almost a half-dozen appearances on camera sharing his latest digging into the story. I guess it is a sign of baseball’s health that Fox opted for a prime time broadcast so early in the season.

Yet it is also a sign of the blurring of sports and entertainment these days that comedienne Sarah Silverman made a mystifying fifth-inning appearance in the booth with broadcasters Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. She wasn’t funny or baseball knowledgeable but Buck informed us that she got the gig because a Fox executive saw her wearing a Red Sox cap on a transcontinental flight.

A similar Fox mentality turned the All Star Game from an exhibition to a game that “really counts,” determining home field advantage for the World Series. Lord knows what Fox and the other “TV partners” of MLB will come up with for the added wild card teams likely to be installed for next season.

LET ME STATE FOR THE RECORD: I am against the further cheapening of September baseball. Only if the season were shortened back to 154 games could I accept more teams in the playoffs. And only if the schedule reduced if not eliminated the annoying number of two- and four-game series instead of the traditional three-game series during the season that a team wins or loses and thus has a better idea of what direction it is heading.

Back to Posada’s surly action. Undoubtedly it was caused by his inability to adjust to the dh role after his years as starting catcher and member of the so-called Core Four, now Core Three with the retirement – so far – of pitcher Andy Pettitte.

(BTW Pettitte is one of four players in baseball history to have four “t”’s in his last name. Mickey Tettleton is another but I cannot think of the other two. Answers would be truly appreciated.)

Posada apologized on Sunday to Yankee manager Joe Girardi whose job as starting catcher he had taken years ago. And now attention can return to the declining run production of The Captain Derek Jeter and the general sloppy play of the Bronx Bombers who are making key errors on defense and have aging oft-injured veteran pitchers Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia in their rotation.

After rising to nine games over .500 in the early season, the Yankees are showing their age. They were just swept at home by the Bosox and are now saddled with a five-game losing streak as they travel to Tampa Bay and Baltimore for a pair of two-game series. They are not hitting with men on base relying instead on home runs. They will hit, I predict, but reliable pitching and defense cannot be turned on and off like a faucet.

HAS SINKERBALLING BRAD BERGESEN RETURNED FROM PURGATORY?
The Orioles pleasantly surprised me by winning their second series of the year in Tampa Bay after being swept by the Rays in Baltimore last weekend. Brad Bergesen somehow recaptured the form of the first weeks of his rookie 2009 season by shutting out the Rays 6-0 on Saturday, thereby beating Tampa for the first time in his career.

Injuries and ineffectiveness have plagued Bergesen since his impressive 2009 debut was cut short when a vicious line drive by the Royals slugger Billy Butler caromed off his leg. Bad things often happen in the beautiful though dangerous game of baseball, but Bergesen’s injury while filming a promotional commercial for the team during the winter of 2009-10 has to rank up there with one of the dumber injuries ever.

Bergesen was goaded into “throwing like you mean it” by a photographer and hurt his arm and never really found a groove in 2010. Bird-watchers can only hope the Saturday shutout gets Bergesen on a roll.

The Angels’ Kendry Morales’s broken leg caused by his jumping the wrong way into home plate after his grand slam remains number one on the Dumb Injury list. He lost most of the 2010 season and now all of 2011.

It is nice to look at the standings and see “Balt.” one game under .500 and just 3 ½ games from first place. I belong to the school of thought that says standings don’t make a difference until late August when the number of games remaining have dwindled.

But I also believe that every game won in April and May means one less game that HAS to be won in August and September.

That’s all for now. Remember: Take it easy but take it!
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