Monday, May 16, 2011

Retire Already! [Mondays with Gus]

Seeing Jorge Posada attempt to be the first person in MLB history with a negative batting average got me thinking about how players decide to retire. There's a lot that goes into a decision like this. You have to not only be ready to walk away from your chosen career, but you also have to have something you want to walk toward. It's a complex decision, but I think it's one that is worth discussing.

As a fan (read: customer) of the game of baseball, it's important for me to at least be able to understand the product that I pay big money for (tickets, jerseys, commercials during the game, etc). In looking at when players decide to retire, I want to know what these guys are thinking when they play for so many years that it becomes tough to watch. The cliché answer is that they can't walk away from a game they love so much. But logically, if they love the game so much they should also be concerned with what they're doing to the game.

For Jorge, this is the third year in a row that his batting average, slugging percentage, and on base percentage have all gone down. He can't possibly be walking into Yankee Stadium thinking he's helping his team, his fans, or the game of baseball. There's bound to be some selfish reason for wanting to be out there. Maybe he wants the $13 million he's making this year. Maybe he wants to hang on to the fame, or reach some statistical milestone. I can't, nor would I want to answer for him. But I can't sit back and watch a guy struggle like this. To me, it just seems inherently bad on every level. It's like watching the Pirates play. It's depressing.

Here's what really kills me about this whole thing: There's absolutely nothing the fans can do about it. If you have a guy who has played his entire career for you like Jorge has, you have to show him the respect that he has shown your favorite team. I could not in good conscious boo someone like that. If Yankees fans were to stand up and tell Jorge to get out of town in a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately kind of way, it would be pathetic. That's not to say it won't happen. But it would really be an awful thing to do. This whole situation feels like a divorce case. Even if you “win” and take a bunch of money, you did it by taking it away from someone that you promised your whole life to. Ugh.

With that analogy, I want to suggest a solution. I want all players to sign a pre-nup before every season after they turn 32. The players get to pick when they walk away, and how they do it, but we fans at least get a little bit of a warning and some closure knowing when is the last time we're going to see a certain player. It could read something like “When I get dropped to ninth in the order while I'm a DH, I'm out!” At least then we could focus on how much we loved each other and how to move on instead of always wondering when it's going to happen.

-Gus Rafeedie

No comments:

Post a Comment