Jorge Posada's been around more than a few blocks with the Yankees over the years and, as well as anyone on the team, knows how hard it is to win a World Series. That's why it's confusing as hell to try and figure out what he was thinking when he decided it was best for his team to get into a bench-clearing brawl during a 10-4 Yankee loss Tuesday night.
Make no mistake, Posada started that brawl -- and now he's suspended for three games because of it. His little chicken wing elbow while crossing the plate assured that there'd be a response because it unbalanced the table after Jesse Carlson, who was also suspended for three games, threw behind him earlier in the inning. Posada's no naif, he knows that Mark Melancon hit Aaron Hill on purpose to touch things off, and he'd already registered his distaste for being thrown at earlier in the inning. By taking a swipe at Carlson, Posada went out of his way to look for a fight and given his experience that's baffling.
Posada's not exactly been a picture of health over the last couple of years, what if he broke his hand throwing a punch at Carlson's noggin? It would be pretty tough to win a title without his bat in the middle of the lineup. Or what if the wrestling match happened to find its way to CC Sabathia's ankle? Or any of the other hundred things that could have gone wrong because Posada started a fight in a lost-cause September game against a team whose season ended a long time ago because a pitch came nowhere near hitting him.
“We can’t afford to get anyone hurt or get anyone suspended,” Joe Girardi said. “In the heat of the moment, sometimes we get caught up. We make decisions that maybe we wouldn’t have made if we weren’t in the heat of the moment. It’s an ugly incident that probably shouldn’t have happened.”
Girardi's right that it shouldn't have happened, but he's giving his catcher too much credit by saying it was in the heat of the moment.
Look, if Posada got hit and charged the mound in that spot it would be much harder to blame him. Split-second, emotionally driven decisions aren't subject to the same scrutiny. But this was a belt-high breaking ball nowhere near Posada's body that Posada knew was meant to say "Hey, we know what you did to Hill and we don't like it." He's gotta be better than allowing that to continue eating at him through three more at-bats, a time span that eliminates the excuse that emotions were running high.
The Yankees are an old team, they're a fairly injury-prone team and they need to tread delicately in the waters that seperate them from October. Andy Pettitte's shoulder fatigue is the latest illustration of the way that aches and pains will help define their season. That's why you don't go looking for them.