Bernie Williams Still Won’t Admit He’s Retired

We’re all familiar with the Athlete Who Doesn’t Know When to Retire. Far too familiar, in fact. But Bernie Williams is a strange case: He’s the Athlete Who Doesn’t Know That He’s Already Retired.

Say what you want about Brett Favre, but at least teams are still willing to pay him money to play football. There are plenty of folks — Rick Spielman, Chris Berman, this guy — who think that Favre could gun-sling like a kid out there for another season. But no one truly thinks Bernie can still play. If the Yankees, his employer for sixteen seasons, wouldn’t even offer him a major-league contract back in 2007 (coming off a not completely terrible 2006 season), he’s surely aware that he’s not getting one now, at 41. He knows as well as we do that he’s played his last major-league game.

But Bernie showed up at Yankees camp yesterday (not with glove in hand, but to see his old teammates), and though Mark Feinsand says on his blog that Williams appears to have “finally given up the dream of making a comeback,” he still refuses to say the words “I’m retired.” From Feinsand’s blog:

“Someone said it takes a player 3–5 years to get used to not playing; I’m in my fourth year now, so I’m right in between,” Williams said. “I like what I’m doing, but I miss it.”

Maybe that explains it, actually. Maybe Williams equates “retirement” with “being used to not playing,” in which case we’re at most a year away from his official retirement. That’s a lot better, certainly, than refusing to hang up your spikes because you’re waiting on a call from a general manager that you know, deep down, isn’t coming.

Bernie Williams Still Won’t Admit He’s Retired