Reports have surfaced that Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira is set to announce his retirement effective after the season. News that brings me, not to tears, but a shrug.
What really needs to be retired is the notion that all fans in Baltimore still lose their collective minds whenever Teixeira comes back to town.
The mere mention of his name over the PA system at Camden Yards used to elicit a deafening chorus of boos and expletives. But lately, I’d more accurately describe the response as a smattering.
Alex Rodriguez brings down the house, the noise level reaching the point where reporters lift their heads from their laptops to check out the scene. Same with David Ortiz, who also is retiring after the season.
Do baseball villains go into retirement together the way women go to the ladies room?
Of course, there are exceptions and I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m comfortable in saying that Teixeira no longer is public enemy No. 1, 2 or 3 in Baltimore. Jose Bautista has surpassed Teixeira based on his feud with Darren O’Day and his relevance.
Teixeira is breaking down physically, which apparently has led to his decision. He’s batting .198/.287/.340 in 77 games. The Yankees aren’t the team tied with the Orioles for first place.
The Severna Park native’s decision to spurn the Orioles is a tired storyline and one that hasn’t always been reported accurately.
The Orioles knew from the beginning of the free agency period that Teixeira wasn’t signing with them. Agent Scott Boras made that point clear, according to multiple sources back in the day. They weren’t counting on a hometown discount. They made one offer for seven years and between $140-150 million and waited for the inevitable.
We lived with the mistaken assumption that Teixeira would rush into the Orioles’ collective arms because he was a local kid.
He naturally said all the right/wrong things at his press conference after agreeing to an eight-year, $180 million deal with the Yankees in December 2008. He was right to fawn over his new team and claim that he always dreamed of playing for it, since he had just signed a lucrative contract and was, you know, attending a press conference that it set up for him. He was wrong to discount how much those words hurt the people here, infuriated them, hiked up the comments total on my blog to record proportions.
I’m pretty sure the record finally was broken when I posted the lineup for Matt Wieters’ debut. But I literally was trapped inside my house following the Teixeira news because I had to approve each comment before it would post, unlike today’s system with Disqus, and my dinner plans no longer were in play.
I did have some fun with Teixeira over the years, twisting his words to suit my tweets. For example: “It was always Mark Teixeira’s dream as a kid to commit a two-base error for the Yankees.” I’ll miss those opportunities.
The Orioles lost out on Teixeira during the 2001 draft because the Rangers picked two spots ahead of them. Pitcher Chris Smith wasn’t a good consolation prize.
They lost out on Teixeira when the Rangers traded him to the Braves and again when the Braves traded him to the Angels. They never were in the running to sign him as a free agent - the Nationals reportedly had the most money on the table - and Teixeira went on to win a ring in 2009 while also placing second in Most Valuable Player voting in the American League.
Teixeira worked out for the Yankees in the short term - he was limited to 15 games in 2013 due to a wrist injury and hit .216/.313/.398 in 123 games the following year - and he’s had a wonderful career with 404 home runs, three All-Star berths and five Gold Gloves over 14 seasons. Aubrey Huff was the Orioles’ opening day first baseman in 2009 and Garrett Atkins in 2010, but Chris Davis came along and they haven’t looked back.
Not a bad plan at all.
The Yankees make their final visit to Camden Yards on Sept. 2-4. They close out their season against the Orioles in the Bronx, where Derek Jeter’s last game in pinstripes ended with his walk-off single off Evan Meek.
More chances to boo Teixeira if you wish. A full chorus or a smattering.
Just know that he’s not coming out of retirement in 2017 and signing with the Orioles.