Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ruminating on Jorge Posada's legacy, Penn State's new coach & the quest to own the Dodgers

Hip, hip Jorge! to Jorge Posada for his decision to retire as a New York Yankee and not prolong his fading career as a bench-warmer for some other club.

Posada is a fiercely proud man and this had to be incredibly difficult, knowing how much he loves playing the game. But it was the right decision because injuries and age (40) had reduced him to a shell of his former self in recent years.

He leaves the game as the fourth best catcher in Pinstripes history in my book, trailing only Yogi Berra, Bill Dickey and Thurman Munson. Posada finished with 275 home runs, 1,065 runs batted in and a respectable .273 average. I don’t believe he is a Hall-of-Famer, but I do believe his legacy is much better than some are giving him credit for. Consider this: Posada’s combined on-base percentage (.374) and slugging percentage (.474) is exceeded by only three catchers in baseball history – Cooperstown enshrines Mickey Cochrane and Dickey and future inductee Mike Piazza.

Posada also scores well with intangibles. He was the most underrated of the Yankees “Core Four,” playing Ringo to the Bronx Bombers version of John, Paul and George – Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte. But while Jeter gets credit for being the Captain and leader of those Yankees teams that won five World Series titles, it was Posada who got in teammates’ faces or doled out encouragement, depending on the situation.

Here’s hoping that the Yankees convince Posada to coach or manage in their minor-league system because the guy is a winner.


I think Bill O’Brien said all the right things at the press conference announcing his hiring as the new Penn State football coach and I think former Nittany Lions were wrong in trashing him the way they did. I also think O’Brien has a monstrous challenge ahead of him, following in Joe Pa’s legendary footsteps and attempting to navigate through the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky mess. I don’t know who could really succeed in this situation. I harken back to the old adage that it’s better to be the guy who follows the guy who follows the legend. To me, O’Brien will wind up being a place-holder. His successor will be the coach who has a legitimate shot at getting the train back on the tracks.


Hopefully, that boring “Rematch of the Century” championship game between ‘Bama and LSU last night, along with the proliferation of mediocre bowl matchups preceding it, will finally convince the NCAA and Bowl Championship Series muckety mucks to take a serious look at a playoff system.


So the various groups in the bidding for the Los Angeles Dodgers now includes Disney, Magic Johnson, Larry King, Joe Torre, Steve Garvey and Mark Cuban. Personally, just to shake things up a bit, I’d like to see the bombastic Cuban become the new owner. His antics might be tough to take at times, but he’s never boring. And, as his ownership of the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks has proven, he’s thoroughly committed to winning. Won’t happen though because MLB Commish Bud Selig doesn’t want anything to do with Cuban, whom he rejected from buying the Chicago Cubs.


Happy Birthday to my Dad - Andrew Edward Pitoniak - who sacrificed so much for me in the 15 years I had with him before his premature death. It's hard for me to fathom, but he would have been 99 years old yesterday.

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