That's Jorge Posada right there. The catcher for the Yankees for the past 15 or so years. I've been thinking about Posada a lot this year while watching the Yankees play. Just like the rest of the Yankees players, I've always rooted for him. But he has never really been a favorite. And I don't know why, because recently I've come to appreciate his game for one very big reason.
Look at him. No batting gloves, no crazy tattoos all over the place, a batting helmet covered in pine tar, a little eye black to take away the afternoon sun's glare. The only way you would know he was playing in a more modern era is the ankle guard he uses on his right foot. Protection from a repetitive injury. That's it. Just a ball player in shirt sleeves gripping the bat ferociously and quietly putting up numbers that may one day get him into the Hall of Fame.
I think Posada would have fit right in with players like Rogers Hornsby or Lou Gehrig or Jimmie Foxx or Joe DiMaggio or Ted Williams. He's that kind of old-school. He even looks a bit like he could be from those eras with his big dumbo ears.
Plus he's got a bit of a red-ass in him. You don't want to fuck with Jorge. Back when Pedro Martinez was on the Red Sox, he made a habit of beaning guys like Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano on a regular basis. After one game in which he nailed both players, Jorge started jawing at Pedro from the top step of the dugout. He pointed at his head and told Pedro to throw at him next time. "Bring that shit to me" as Pedro Cerrano would have said. Martinez jawed back at Posada, as he should have. But he didn't throw at him. Not that game. Jorge would've killed him.
Same thing a week or so ago when Josh Beckett suddenly lost control in the 6th inning of a game and started beaning Yankees left and right. Jorge wasn't playing in the game (after being hit in the knee by a pitch a few days earlier), but he was perched on the top step with his arms crossed just eyeing Beckett. Almost daring him to make a move. A-Rod and CC Sabathia were going a bit more nuts next to him in the dugout, but Jorge's quiet stare spoke volumes. I dig that about Jorge.
There are other guys out there who are like that. Kevin Youkilis and Jason Varitek on the Red Sox are old-school. I wouldn't mind having either of those guys on my team. Well, at least back when Varitek could hit a bit more effectively.
Oh, and the no batting gloves thing? Most players wear them to prevent blisters and such. Swinging a wooden bat is tough on the hands. So to toughen up his hands, Jorge (like others before him) pees on his hands to toughen them up. That's right. He pees on his hands to toughen them up.
Old-school, my friends. Old-school.
___________________________________________________Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Never shake hands with Jorge Posada...ever.