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Better be glad your job doesn’t work like a baseball player’s (unless you’re making baseball money)

August 15, 2011

Look, I love Jorge Posada, but let’s be objective – his career is pretty much over. He’s had a really great run with the Yankees. It’s just that he’s not all that good anymore, at least by professional baseball player standards. Which, of course, is pretty important if you want to play professional baseball.

I think something that we tend to overlook is how different the career of a professional athlete is from pretty much every other career a person can have. Being a professional baseball player is not something you decide to do when you’re 22 years old and just getting out of college. It not a career you can test out to see if you like it. A person has to be on the pro-baseball track from the time they turn 10. The same cannot be said for you or me.

You don’t decide to go to law school when you’re 6. And even if you do, you don’t have to in order to actually go to law school. Technically, I could decide go to law school right now; and I’m 32. If I applied and was accepted, I could enroll in the classes and that would be that. I could not, however, decide right now to be a baseball player. That ship has sailed (actually, it sunk when I was about 8). It is beyond the scope of possibilities for my career track.

Which is why I think it must be hard for players like Jorge Posada to let go of their chosen career – literally the only one they’ve know for their entire lives. Fans look at Posada and wonder why he’s still clinging to the game when his skills are so obviously fading, but none of us have any idea what that would be like. In what we do – writing, acting, baking, managing, etc. – we get better at it the longer we do it, and it stays that way until we get very, very old (like you’ll be dead soon kind of old).

We don’t peak at 27 years old and go downhill from there, stumbling along the way to the doom of all we’ve know for our entire professional lives. Can you blame Posada for not wanting to go? What else does he know how to do well enough to make another career out of? Coaching maybe, but that’s not nearly the same as playing.

Anyway, that’s what I’m thinking about when I watch Jorge Posada play tonight. He’s not the same any more, and that has to be a little scary for him.

On a side note – as I watch this game tonight, I do know one thing; and that is that AJ Burnett needs to come out of the rotation. He’s a trainwreck… Not because he’s old though, just because he’s terrible.

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