“Who’s Mike Schmidt?”
This was the question that had my head shaking last night, asked by a Yankees fan who admittedly doesn’t know a great deal about baseball other than the abhorrent number “27” as in “27 championships” and that Joe Girardi isn’t a good manager.
Where the discussion began was with Jorge Posada, the Yankees’ long-time catcher now turned designated hitter except Posada’s really more of a designated swinger. If all you have to do is swing the bat and you’re not batting .200, then “hitter” shouldn’t be in your job description anymore.
This other person’s argument was that if Posada had been allowed to catch a couple of times a week, and Russell Martin allowed to wallow on the bench a couple of times a week, then he’d be hitting much better. Because, as we all know, the strains of catching are such that 39-year-olds naturally would perform better at the plate after the heavy work rather than strolling to the batter’s box while rested from watching the game as a DH.
Remembered are the days when Posada was younger, productive and leading the Yankees to five of those miserable championships. Ignored is the reality that the Posada of today isn’t the Posada of yesterday and the echoes of “Hip, hip, Jorge!” are long gone.
In a word, Posada’s old. His time has come. The only difference between Posada now and Bernie Williams a couple of years back is Bernie Williams knew when to retire.
So did Mike Schmidt, who wrote an article on ESPN explaining how hard it was for him to realize he couldn’t play at a major-league level anymore.
I played with that nagger, missing hittable fastballs and catchable groundballs the entire series. I can see one now, a high chopper over the bag that I used to have fun with, and it went by me to the left-field corner for a double. An inside fastball I used to hit 500 feet foul was popped up to the right side. The reaction was not “stay with ’em.” It was, “Could this be it?” The edge of confidence I had for 20 years gave way to doubt now that retirement got in my brain.
We lost the last two at Dodger Stadium, the start of an 11-game losing streak. I left for Frisco with what would be my last hit, a drag bunt. Don’t go to Candlestick contemplating retirement. Back in the day, playing at the ‘Stick made everybody wonder if another job made more sense. Cold, windy, nasty crowds and tough pitching were waiting.
Being a man of faith, I decided to put the decision on God. I prayed that some sort of sign would present itself to make my decision. I weighed the reasons pro and con, the issues mentioned above were prevalent — fear of the real world and life without the game, as well as settling down as a father to my young children. I asked God for a sign.
In the final game of the series, with men on second and first, Robby Thompson hit a ground ball that went through my legs, loading the bases with two outs. I felt like I was 50 years old playing that ball, like I couldn’t bend over. Will Clark followed with a grand slam and watching him circle the bases was the “sign.”
I suddenly felt very old, responsible, embarrassed and unable to seek revenge. Maybe I was looking for something to push me to retire. Clark could have made an out and who knows, I could have hit a homer in my next at-bat and played for years.
Mentioning this article brought up the question, “Who is Mike Schmidt?”
And the entire discussion reminded me of life in the Phoenix real estate market, a place where several years of declining prices ought to have sold the current day reality to the area’s homeowners when they wish to sell.
This isn’t 2005 anymore. It’s not even 2008. Despite what the local news may tell you, to sell a home here it has to be priced competitively with the foreclosures. There’s no benefit to a seller to assume all of the foreclosures are trashed, because they simply aren’t.
Not to say your home has to be priced absolutely as low as a foreclosure; there are some reasons why you may be able to list your property slightly higher and still get some benefit. But for all intents and purposes, the foreclosure market is your market.
There’s a home in Anthem I keep thinking of … I met with the owners and suggested a certain list price. As of today, it’s still on the market with the agent they selected, an agent who priced the home about 10 percent higher than what I suggested and 10 percent above what the market says the home is worth.
The seller already has lowered the price once, by $7,000; another $22,000 and it will be at market value.
Maybe a buyer will come along and ignore all the evidence to the contrary and buy the home at the inflated price. And maybe some other team will decide a catcher hitting .180 and making a small mint is with trading for and Posada will be freed from the bench.
Who knows … but in either case, I’d be hard pressed to rely on such a miracle.
Photo credit: Sillygwailo via Flickr Creative Commons