Thursday, August 21, 2014

Yankee formula for success: A complete game shutout

They. Are. Toying. With. Us.

They. Are. Trying. To. Raise. Our. Hopes.

They. Think. We. Will. Bite.

They. Think. We. Were. Born Yesterday.


From the mouth of Mustang...

Spoken last night, during beer number three:

What is the only cure for Lou Gehrig's disease?

Tommy John surgery.

What Does It Take?

I have said this all year.  I have said it for 2, maybe 3 years, actually.

The problem with the Yankees is Brian Cashman.  Get rid of him.  Bring in a talent.  Clean house.

And begin anew.

Cashman has only one strategy and it consists of the following tactics:

1.  Have idiots in charge of the draft.  Waste picks by trading them, or focusing on family friends like Mariano's kid, Dante Bichette's kid, or Cito Culver.

2.  Trade everything we have, picks and prospects, for pitching.  Which, as it turns out, is not the fuc**** problem.

3.  Keep making the team older and slower.  Pay outrageous sums to players whose best years are so far in the past as to create laughter from the teams who deal them to us.  It must be like Christmas every day during the off season for them. Wasted players whose contracts other teams were prepared to eat, all of a sudden are redeemed at par and usually we throw in a bonus in the form of a, " player to be named."  The shock and laughter at the Yankee's stupidity must bring tears.

4.  Fire the guy who cleans the locker room when we fail to make the playoffs.  But keep the incompetents who are in charge of scouting, evaluating and developing talent.  Doesn't anyone notice that we have no one we are willing to bring up from the minors at any position other than pitching?  Whose responsibility is it that we have no talent?  Whose?

5.  Constantly, without fail, make trades that hurt us and help others.

6.  Sign 15 year-olds from the Dominican, and give them millions.  By the time they are major league eligible, they are zonked out on drugs and/or don't give a crap.  They are already
 millionaires ( zillionaires compared to their lives in the Dominican), and could give a crap about working hard, traveling forever and, perhaps, being revealed as without talent.

I am telling you, as I have endlessly, that  Cashman and his band of useless hangers on are the problem.
Incompetence, incompetence and incompetence.  The three musketeers of Cashman's approach.

We have spent millions, loaded and re-loaded the team and, if Derek were already gone you would see a total collapse.  These .225 hitters are trying as hard as they can because they are on his team.  Don't even contemplate what next year will be like.

They score 2 runs a game, and have no clutch hitters at all, save perhaps Ellsbury.

Cashman has failed in front of everyone's eyes.  Isn't it time?

What will it take to dump him?  His damn contract will be up at the end of this season.  Which, to us, is today.

Our fate....

It's time to celebrate some personal milestones on this great Yankee team

When outfielder Ichiro Suzuki drives in his next run, 
it will be his 15th RBI for the season!

Speaking of RBIs, Yankee team leader Jacoby Ellsbury
 - with 54 - is currently on course 
to finish the season above the magic number of 60!

With his impressive .291 on-base percentage, 
Yankee hitting machine Carlos Beltran is now 
within just two of reaching an elusive 40-run season! 

Bullpen lug nut Rich Hill's scoreless inning streak 
is now up to 2!

The Yankee Contracts Poem

Three more years of A-Rod,
Each, twenty million-plus.
Three more years of C.C.,
Blown tires on the bus.
Six more years of Ellsb’ry,
Just where did we go wrong?
And two more years of Beltran...
I will not live that long.

Two more years, Teixeira,
McCann, until ’18.
Gardner through the following year,
By then, I'll have no spleen.
We’ll play no one at shortstop.
Our system's hit the wall.
And two more years of Beltran...
Who cannot throw the ball.

Six more years, Tanaka.
Already, looking frail.
And Prado for another two.
By then, we'll own Chris Sale.
We punted in the bidding,
And so jettisoned Cano.
For two more years of Beltran...
Dear God, please let me go!

Our Father, up in heaven,
Where contracts loom so large,
Two hundred million buys a boat
That steers just like a barge.
We’re dead throughout the order,
A slugger? No, not one!
With two more years of Beltran...
God, wake me when it’s done.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

It is time for Yankee fans everywhere to start demanding a new plan

Sometimes, the fulcrum point of history hinges on a person who otherwise would have been forgotten.

Hence, a question to be shouted at the unblinking, unresponsive Mount Yes:

Jose Pirela? W.T.F?

Down at Scranton, Jose Pirela is a 24-year-old 2B-utility fielder, who might just win the International League's MVP award. He's batting .306, with 9 HRs, and playing almost everywhere. Pirela has slowly risen through the Yankee ranks, year after year, on a steady climb to Mt. Nowhere. He's just another piece of organizational fodder, I guess.

The "line" is that the Yankee scouts don't see Pirela as a true major league 2B. And let's be realistic here: They certainly know more than clods like me, who simply read box scores and yell W.T.F? Maybe the guy has a critical flaw. Maybe he bats cross-handed, or throws underhanded, or has a contagious rash - I dunno - but it doesn't show up in the stats. At a certain point, we simply must trust the Yankee scouts, just as we are supposed to trust the NSA, or the EPA, or the CDC, or whatever formal apparatus is supposed to protect us from the Martians, or the Redsocks. They are the experts, right?

Ah. But that's just it.

What if you've lost faith in the Yankee scouts? After all, they're the guys who said Eduardo Nunez could play SS, and assured us, over and over, that Jesus Montero was a future MLB catcher. (Wait: On that note, they were famously lying to us, right? So they could peddle him for Michael Pineda, right? It was a campaign of disinformation, designed for our own good.) Yep, those Yankee scouts.

In a perfect world, Jose Pirela would seem to be the perfect September call-up. He plays five positions. Good grief, we only have three guys on the bench. But now, we are told the Yankees simply have too few roster openings to pour poor Pirela a cup of coffee. There's just too much outstanding (definition: high priced and injured) talent on this team, as it chases the coveted Bud Selig Memorial One-Game, Away-Field Wild Card Trophy. (Can we call it The Selig Cup? When a team clinches the last spot, the Cup should appear, and the captain should run around the field, drinking from it.) There is no room for Pirela. Forget about him. If he wins MVP at Scranton, well, maybe he can do it again next year. Maybe he can become "Mr. Baseball of Scranton."

But something seems wrong here. The Yankees spent the entire first half of 2014 with Brian Roberts at second base, (before cruelly waiving Roberts, just two at-bats away from a significant bonus payout.) They never gave Pirela so much as a sideways glance. After all, playing 2B at Scranton, Pirela made made six errors - a .978 fielding percentage. (Note: Roberts this year made 10, a .974 percentage.)

But again, that's just statistical stuff. The experts know better than me. I accept that.

Listen: It's a lost cause for me - or you - or any fan - to argue the fate of Jose Pirela, as if we know something the Yankee coaches don't. When we make such arguments, we sound like loony coots or a 12-year-olds with an internet connection.

But as a fan, I hereby reserve the right to throw up my hands - as high as I can - and yell at the unblinking YES mountain: 

W. T. F?

Over the next month, every Yankee fan in captivity should be doing the same. Why NOT Jose Pirela? Why NOT try youngsters? Why NOT look to the future?

It is time for a loud, angry fan-based Yankee s*t storm. We may not be the experts. But you don't have to be a cow to know that the milk is sour.


The NY State Fair announced its 2014 butter sculpture today.

Food Bank. Do gooders.

Derek Jeter is leaving. Twenty years of sacrifice and leading the Yankees, and he doesn't even warrant a butter sculpture?

This is the same State Fair that once unveiled a butter sculpture of Daryl Strawberry. DARYL STRAWBERRY. AS A MET.



As far as I'm concerned, there is no 2014 Butter Sculpture. It's a margarine sculpture, and the brand is, "I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S NOT JETER."

For the 20th time this year, the Yankee season is over

Remember the great Torre teams? How every night, a new guy stepped up and delivered a key hit, a shutdown inning, or a great play in the field?

Girardi's Yankees are the team that always, somehow, springs a new leak.

Last night, it was David Robertson, who was just starting to be appreciated. But the loss wasn't his fault. If Robby had pitched a perfect ninth, would it have mattered? It would have been Rich Hill in the tenth. Some new pigeon would have stepped forward, booting a grounder or leaving the bases loaded. Somehow, Brian Cashman built a team destined to lose, to be forgotten - that is, if we can drink enough to forget.

Now, we're supposed to settle for winning the home series, 2-1, against the Astros? Gimme a break. Haven't we already seen this episode of "Lost?" Of course, we have. And we know the outcome: THEY DON'T EXCAPE THE ISLAND. NOTHING GETS EXPLAINED. AT A CERTAIN POINT, THE SHOW ENDS, BUT THEY'RE STILL STANDING THERE, LOOKING EMBARRASSED FOR HAVING WASTED OUR TIME. IT DOESN'T TURN OUT HAPPILY.

Last night, Martin Prado did look solid - just as Alfonso Soriano looked 10 years younger last August. Already, the YESIRs seem to have anointed Prado as "Yankee 2B of the future." Yeesh. The same experts seem to think Cashman should re-sign Chase Headley, who two weeks ago sported a Soriano splurge, but now is settling back into the LOB machine he was reputed to be in San Diego. Are we going to add him to the long-range payroll?

Listen: When you sign players from the scrap heap or the municipal salary dump, you eventually face one grim reality: There is a reason why the previous team decided to part ways. It may not show up tomorrow. Just wait, and it will.

And when it does, your team will have sprung a new leak.

And a game you desperately had to win will fly out the window.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The ice bucket challenge and t-shirts

It's all for charity, a good cause, etc. So I can't complain. (And I wouldn't anyway.)

But has anybody else noticed that part of the Ice-Bucket Challenge's incredible viral success seems to stem from it being basically a gigantic Internet wet t-shirt contest?

Things that John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman do NOT like

(Hat tip to Local Bargain Jerk & Ken from Brooklyn)

1. The overbearing, obnoxious sound system in the Tropicana Dome.

2. The Major Deegan Expressway.

3. Sunday night getaway games.

4. Pitchers who take too much time on the mound.

5. Batters who do not exploit a defensive over-shift that virtually guarantees a base bit from a bunt or well-placed ground ball.

6. Streakers.

7. The ridiculous distance of the broadcast booth from the field at Nationals Park.

8. Reporters who try to stir up controversy when there isn't any.

9. The Wave.

10. So called "experts" who think they can predict baseball games.


11. Umpires who don't signal strikes quickly and clearly.

12. The really loud fan right under the booth.

13. Opportunities the Yankees fail to capitalize on.

14. The booth window in Fenway that doesn't close when it's freezing.

15... ?  (Anybody... class?)

One last thought about Tampa Bay

John and Suzyn hate the relentless sound system in Tropicana Dome. But the guy in charge of the music showed one stroke of genius:

When Girardi came out to change pitchers, they played, "Hey Joe (Where you goin' with that gun in your hand?)"

Had to laugh.

The Yankees play most of their remaining games against cupcakes, also known as the AL East

Remember back in the long, hot summer of '14, back when the AL East was a pennant race? Back in the good ol' days - remember Lana Del Ray, and the FIFA World Cup? Back then, the YESIR Network assured us that the AL East would go down to the wire, because almost the entire month of September involves intra-division play. The Yankees play eight against Baltimore, seven against Toronto, and six apiece against Boston and Tampa. Twenty-seven games against the bare-knuckled, always hard-scufflin' AL East.

Then, one of two things happened:

a. Baltimore emerged as an actual force.


b. The AL East turned so utterly rancid that Baltimore appeared to emerge as an actual force.

Take your pick. Doesn't matter, really, because last week, the Yankees stopped chasing Baltimore and began pursuing the one-game, three-hour, away-field, cheapo, crap-shot, cynical Bud Selig retirement pay-out wild card mirage. In that slimy competition of also-rans, the Yankees play seven critical games: Four against KC and three against Detroit. (Actually, all games are critical, but you know what I mean.) They take place next week, after we finish with Houston and Chicago (two tomato cans that - should they sweep us at home - could reasonably tank our wild card hopes even before Labor Day).

Here's the deal: We need to win at least four of the next six, against the Lastros and White Hawks (as in Harrelson). Five would be much nicer. At that point, we could chase the Wild Card directly - against KC and the Tigers. (Both teams with much more youth and/or firepower, but in a short series, who knows?)

After Labor Day, the 2014 season boils down to games against the disappointing AL East, a collection of teams that are a) rapidly fading (Toronto), b) playing for next year (Tampa and Boston) c) comfortably ahead (Baltimore) or ready to be tarred and feathered (the Yankees, unless they start winning.)

Of course, not matter how far ahead Baltimore may be, the angry O's will not go horizontal against the Yankees. Buck Showalter hates New York with the heat of a billion suns. I'd like to think the eagle-eyed Commissioner will watch the lineups Buck plays against New York, compared to other competing teams. But who are we kidding? Boston will do the same against us. Nobody ever gets accused of lying down against the Yankees.

Still, cupcakes are cupcakes - and the AL East this year is full of them, fresh from the oven.

New Jersey dot com says the Yankees have passed on the Cuban Brett Gardner with power

I hope they are wrong. But if they're right - well - the Gate-Keeper just slept with Zuul, and New York City is about to meet the Marshmallow Man. This is what happens when a team is so larded, so addicted to overpriced veterans, and with trying to win tomorrow's game, that it cannot make a long-term strategy. This is how franchises suck for 10 years.

Supposedly, Hal Steinbrenner is flinching at the prospect of paying a no-name Cuban player up to $10 million a year. Of course, he flinched with Puig, Cespedes, Chapman, et al - prefered Ronnier Mustellier and Adonis Garcia, who were purchased from the Cuban Dollar Store. They are currently the Little Cuba of Scranton.

Well, for the next two years, Hal will pay Martin Prado $11 million per season. Yes, that's Prado, with his 6 HRs and the .265 batting average - and he might be holding down right field! And frankly, he's peanuts compared to what Shell-Out Hal will pay for the aging likes of Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, CC Sabathia, A-Rod, et al. What a gristly collection of bad long-term decisions.

If this Cuban guy does turn out to be Brett Gardner with power - as one scout famously described him - and the Yankees couldn't outbid Boston - well - I shudder to think about the things I will write next season.

Frankly, I will need a new dictionary. I will need to learn a new language, because English doesn't offer enough excretory adjectives to describe the pungency of the aromas that will be rising from Yankee Stadium. I will have to use emoticons and hundreds of extra exclamation points. I will write in capital letters, large fonts and boldface. I may end up in jail for the things I say, for the furies that I call upon, to avenge my wounded soul. Damm... just thinking about it, I need to soak my head in a bucket of ice water.

The Yankees will have paid about $20 million to free agents to extend by a month their thin strand of a chance for the 2014 Wild Card! Then THEY START POOR-MOUTHING?

If Jersey is right, a hell storm is about to form over New York City. The Gate-Keeper just diddled Zuul. Who are we gonna call? Martin Prado?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Listen, you Devil Ray fans....

I know I told you we play Legion Ball around here but will you PLEASE stop rooting for Jeter?

As you read this, A-Rod is feeling the burn, turning fat into muscle

George King on Alex Rodriguez: 

The suspended slugger has been spotted working out at the University of Miami, where the baseball stadium is named after him, and at UCLA in Los Angeles. Rodriguez is hitting off a tee but not against live pitching. Rodriguez also is taking ground balls and working in the weight room at each facility.

At last: Proof that crop circles come from outer space

What do the Yankees take us for? Do they think we're going to fall for another false hope? We will not be deceived

As Scotty once told Captain Kirk, "Fool me 100 times, shame on you; fool me 101 times, shame on me." That's what the '14 Yankees plan to do: Fool us... for the 101st time.

Nope. Sorry, Hal. Tough beans, Cash. So long, Joe.

Aint'a gonna hap'n... Cap'n.

Team Evil finished its road trip with two wins over the Tamptown Tiddlies. Yesterday, the way David Cone was gurgling, you'd think Liz Taylor and Michael Jackson just vaulted from their crypts to take the ice bucket challenge. (BTW, shouldn't Dick Cheney take the ice bucket challenge? Come on, Dick! Put that iron ticker to the test!) All season, Girardi's Germs have feasted on crapola teams, then soiled themselves when a contender's bus came into view.

Tomorrow, we start a week-long bucket brigade against canned tomatoes - the Houston "team of 2020" Astros and the White Sox, franchise of the most relentlessly obnoxious human being in history, Hawk Harrelson. If Hal Steinbrenner's overpaid Yankees win five of six, we might gaze at the leader board and find ourselves one stroke behind on the 15th hole - chasing the elusive Wild Card away-game advantage freak show. By then, John and Suzyn will be planning their parade along the Canyon of Heroes, and Coney will be tattooing his butt with images of Steven Drew.

But me? Nope. Bah. I shall remain morbid... deathly morose... no smile, no breathing, a perfect billboard of abject hopelessness. Optimism? For the Yankees? Bah. Aint'a gonna hap'n... Cap'n!

Nope. I've evolved. I've seen this movie. The Yankees win four, rev the believers, pass the fake rattlesnake, empty everybody's wallets, then drop the tent and run for the next town. These are the .500 Yankees. They win one, they lose one. The tide comes in. The tide goes out. Boy gets girl. Boy loses girl. Lassie gets lost. Lassie comes home. Lassie gets lost again. But I'm not signing on.

Oh, OK... I guess it could happen. What if Martin Prado heats up? Did you know, if you finagle a few letters, his last name spells Parade? As in Parade down the Canyon of Heroes? Tanaka is throwing off a flat surface! With him and Pineda returning, it'd be like adding Koufax and Drysdale! Any day now, McCann and Beltran could start hitting! What if Ichiro comes on strong? (He's only 40, you know. For some reason, I had it in my head that he was 41.)

Why... we could snatch that away-field advantage wild card slot from Seattle and leave Cano's team crying in their 10-year contract. Wouldn't that be something?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Speaking on behalf of depressed people (aka Yankee fans), I'd like to ask Gene Simmons to kill himself

Dear "Demon,"

I am depressed. (You would be, too, if your $20 million outfielder, whom you have for two more years, is hitting .235.) But I'm not killing myself. Nope. Not gonna happen. Not with three years left on A-Rod's contract.

Instead, I have a suggestion.

You... Go kill yourself.

Go, go, go! Shoe! Be gone! Out, damned spot! I don't care how you do it! Adios, Gene!

And if ever again I yearn to hear your music played live? Well, that's why we have tribute bands. Go!

Dear Mr. Jeter: If you want to see a final post-season, you will have to do it yourself

Dear Sir,

Last week, the world shuddered in sadness over the death of Robin Williams. Almost immediately, viral videos appeared showing people climbing onto their desks and re-enacing a scene from Williams' first movie, reciting Walt Whitman's "O Captain, My Captain." You couldn't watch without tears forming.

And every time I saw one, I also thought about you.

Sir, your fearful trip is almost done. Unfortunately, the Yankee ship has not weathered every rack, and the prize certainly has not been won. Yet we are still floating...

Yesterday, after a vicious fastball nearly removed your front teeth, you drove in the winning run against Tampa. Joe Girardi said later he's never heard your name chanted so loudly in a foreign park. I didn't believe my memory book could hold another Jeter entry, and - truth be told - yesterday's game may not matter enough to justify its own page... that is... unless something crazy happens.

Unless yesterday turns out to have been a fulcrum point.

Sir, I don't know how to put this, but remember how Hal Steinbrenner was going to spend $500 million last winter to surround you with stars, so the Yankees could guarantee your final post-season? Well, so much for that! The money's gone, the stars fizzled, and nobody wearing pinstripes is going to prop you up for the stretch run. To win a World Series this year, the Yankees must: a) Go on a hellish winning streak to take the final Wild Card slot, b) Win that game on the road against a rested starter and lineup, c) Win a five-game shoot-out against Oakland or Detroit - teams we have no business beating, d) Stay hot through the ALCS against whomever is left, and e) My God, why bother? Nobody expects us to make "a," much less "e." 

Sir, if anything good is going to happen in 2014, you're the one who must deliver it.

No, it's not fair. I know you're feeling old. Yes, you're body aches. Good grief, nobody expected you to still be hitting .275 by now. They wrote your obit in April. Some were even furious that you returned, thinking your "farewell tour" would sidetrack the victory bandwagon. (That's a joke.) But now, with 41 games left - with 41 bullets in the chamber - it's up to you.

Over the last month, can you hit, say, .400?

You don't have to hit .400 with power. Think 40 hits in 100 at bats. A bunch of doubles. Maybe 10 walks? A triple or two? A couple sacrifice flies? If you can't do .400, how about .350?

I hate to ask. You've already done your bit. At this point, you should be sitting back, writing speeches, and siring kids with new supermodels.

But here we are, tugging at your elbow one more time...

Sir, one more great month?

O, captain, my captain... rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up--for you the flag is flung, for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribboned wreaths, for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call the swaying mass, their eager faces turning...

One more month?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Cashman vows not to just scan newspapers again, promises to read more carefully from now on, admits "I assumed that those Amish girls were kidnapped by a little boy that looked kind of like Tom Brady or Alfalfa, or if Tom Brady and Alfalfa could somehow make a baby . . . it would like kind of look like that in my mind's eye"

Cashman:  "I had no idea Amish beliefs precluded use of photography.  How do they get Driver's Licenses?"

Blast from the past: Baseball America's top 10 Yankee prospects from 2006

I saw this on an forum yesterday, and it got me a-thinkin'...

Here is Baseball America's snapshot of the Yankees' best prospects of 2006. The red marks are mine. Seven out of 10 players have had productive MLB careers (I'm nixing Tabata, a disappointment, otherwise, you could argue 8 of 10.) To this day, some scouts claim the oft-injured Chris Garcia had the best stuff of anybody; he pitched for Washington in 2012 and is still going at Triple A; (don't count him out.) Only Cox - who once looked like a RH-bullpen monster - went poof.

Basically, eight years ago, the Yankees had one hell of farm system, even if we didn't reap all the benefits. But even the losses weren't total losses. We flipped Tabata to the Pirates, traded Kennedy and Austin Jackson for Granderson; we gave away Tyler Clippard, and dealt Melancon - who's been been up and down - for Fat Elvis, Lance Berkman - a disaster in pinstripes, then a star in St. Louis. Go figure.

I want to believe the Yankees are fixing their system. The last few years have been dry. Maybe by next August, a wave of youth will be visible, enough to lift this team in 2016. But next spring, if you're thinking of impact players, we will have only 2B Rob Refsnyder and the usual smattering of pitchers. The reality is that Baltimore, Boston, Tampa and Toronto will bring up much more.

Here is BA's equivalent list for the start of 2014.  The scratchings are mine, representing what I consider to be their trajectory, based on this season.

Heathcott has been hurt - but he's always hurt. Williams has been a huge disappointment. Katoh is too young to dismiss, but he hasn't hit well. Most updated top 10 lists look different, with Severino at the top.

I don't see seven guys having solid MLB careers on this list. Maybe next year.

It's almost time for the Yankees to win five in a row...

... so they can raise our hopes, and we can actually start to believe in them...

... and then they'll lose five straight.

Rest assured, this team from Hell is not finished with us.

Time For Action

I have two things to say, today.

1.  Cashman's contract expires at the end of this season.  So now is the time to do all we can to rid ourselves of this plague.  He has ruined the franchise, and everyone needs to know it.  Terrible trades, horrid drafts, lousy player development and talent evaluation, franchise-killing contracts, a strategy of proven failure repeated again, and again.

Write letters, send tweets, call the offices of the Steinbrenners, post things on FB, send instagrams, and snap chats.  Do everything possible to get this man fired.  If anyone works at the NSA, do your magic.

It is our last chance.  A contract extension exponentially extends the disaster that the Yankees have become.  If we can save a bunch of arabs on a mountain from lunatic religious murderers, we can surely save the Yankees. a 10 year wasteland can easily become 50, if Cashman remains.

If we fail at this moment to rid the Yankees of Cashman, we just lazily float down the Niagra river until we feel our speed increase, and a freight-train like roar begins to pierce our senses.

2.  This last point is driving me crazy.  I watch all the games I can.  So I see Brett Gardner bat about 4 times per game.   Every time he has an at bat, he begins with a 1-2 count.  It can happen
differently ( there are 6 possible configurations to arrive at a 1-2 count), but it always happens.

At 1-2, he begins to get a better batting eye, and often works the count up to 3-2, and fouls off several pitches.  Then, he either grounds out, busting it down the line, or strikes out.

I know his average is decent and he is, for this season, one of our better hitters with runners in
scoring position ( of course those 7,8,9 hitters are not often in scoring
position ), but it cannot be to his advantage to always watch the best pitch of every at bat grooved right down the middle for a called strike.

Watch him today.  It is as predictable as fog in San Francisco.

He always starts with a 1-2 count.  Always.  And the regularity of it is driving me insane.

The one thing I should do is have " bar bets."  Always, when Brett is coming to bat, bet the guy next to you a drink that Brett will start with a 1-2 count, before anything happens with his at bat.

You will be so shit faced.

Fearing their fans will shoot them, the Yankees install metal detectors

O! the whimsical merriment of baseball! They say it's a metaphor for life! or for America! or for something having to do with W.P. Kinsella!

You know the deal. Three strikes: Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Four bases: Four seasons. Pitcher-catcher: Man and woman.

And now, the newest jewel of cosmic truth: Starting next week, every time you enter the turnstile, some sweaty meatball with a size-15 neck and a G.E.D. will rifle through your belongings.

Insert aged, wise, sad-sounding sigh here.

I've been reading blogger comments about this change, which the Yankees secret CEO, Lonn Trost, announced Thursday. The general view: This sucks, but - hey - who are we to question public safety? They know what they're doing, so accept it. This is the price of our freedom, and I don't care what you say, dammit, America is the greatest company in the world! 

And that, my friends, is baseball's newest gift to our troubled national psyche: You live in a world of complete and utter terror, but inside this concrete bunker, thanks to our highly skilled security professionals, you shall be as safe as clams. So pay your money, shut up and watch.

What once was a game played in pastures is now - like everything - an intricate chess war of logarithms and insider formulas, and we should never question those in the know, a group that will never include us, as long as we live.

Friends, there is a good reason why your sheriffs department now has an Abrams tanks parked outside your door. We can't tell you, because it's classified. There is a good reason why the NSA goes through your email. We can't tell you, because it's classified. There is a good reason why we traded our best home run hitting prospect in the minors for Martin Prado. We don't need to tell you, because the YES announcers already declared it a winning Yankee strategy. There is a reason for our dead farm system, for our lack of hitting, and for any sense you may have that the Yankees - the great metaphor for America - long ago went off the rails.

Another sigh. Let me now return to pointless Yankee gibber-jabber.

Last night, I once again watched the rancid and hopeless Yankee lineup piss away the 2014 season, if not the team's brand name and legacy. It's just not fair, letting the opposition score TWO runs in the first inning. TWO runs? The game is over! It's like a 5-goal lead in soccer, a 36-0 deficit in football. The notion of the 2014 Yankees scoring three runs? Man, you must be tripping.

I should walk away from this team. We all should run. The bus is overturned on the side of the road, there's blood everywhere, and the cops are yelling, "Move on, people, there's nothing to see!" But I can't move. I keep watching, paralyzed by the scope of this team's mediocrity. I am in awe of this franchise. I thought they would be bad. I never dreamed they could be this bad.

We all knew giving three years to Beltran, five to McCann, and seven to Ellsbury was a terrible long-range strategy, a ticking time bomb. But we figured: "At least they'll challenge in 2014."

Then when the AL East looked so weak in June, we figured, "At least they'll stay in the race."

And then, when Baltimore pulled away, we figured, "At least we have the Wild Card."

Now, all we can say is: "Holy f----n crap!"

With metal detectors! Expect delays, Yankee fans. Smile for the cameras. It's just the price of happiness!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Screw "Rainout Theater" ... it's time for "The Yankees are Batting Theater"

... because no one should have to endure the agony of watching the Yankees actually try to score a run.

(and by the way, if you didn't know -- "4" is Canadian for "3")

For posterity: Robin Williams recalling his visit to Yankee Stadium

Keep in mind, he's talking about the real Yankee Stadium, not the current copy.

Who's Really 8 Games Back?

In dark and putrid days like these, when the once-great Yankees look like a so-so AAAA team, when Duque has lost all hope and Alphonso seems more like the Oracle of Delphi every day, the best we can do is grab at very slender straws to maintain our sanity. Even if that means suspending our belief in reality just a little tiny bit and letting our hardwired-for-denial brains run amok.

In other words, I'm really reaching here. 

In 1901 and '02, the Baltimore Orioles stunk up the league. They finished '02 in last place, 34 games back, rounding out the bottom half of the league along with the Tigers, the Senators and the Cleveland Bronchos (yep, with an 'h'). By midseason the team was heavily in debt. By the offseason, they were gone.

The AL sold the Orioles to Frank J. Farrell and William S. Devery for $18,000. The boys promptly moved the franchise to New York and the Highlanders were born. (That's Jumpin' Jack Chesbro up above, the Highlanders' great pitcher.)

You probably remember that this summer the sages at Baseball Reference decided that the 1901-2 Orioles were not actually the 1903 Highlanders, and those woeful Birds were erased from Yankees team history. The excuse being that "of the 39 players who appeared for Baltimore in 1902, only five appeared for New York in 1903."

I beg to differ. In my mind, the Highlanders were the old transplanted O's. And never more so than this year. 

You see, the Orange tweeters may think they're in first place and cleaning our clock...but in reality, it's the Orioles who are 8 games back--they just happen to be the Orioles from an alternate timeline.

In fact, it might be a good official policy in years of pain and suffering to always remember that, during those seasons, IT'S NOT REALLY US OUT THERE. It's the cellar-dwellers from Baltimore overlapping the time-space continuum and inhabiting our uniforms. The Yankees are winners. Champs. These guys? No way.

When we are great, we are the New York Yankees.

When we suck, we are the time-warping, bumbling birds from Baltimore.

And keep this in mind. Babe Ruth was from Baltimore--and started his career with a minor league contract from the 1914 Orioles. 

As any police detective or prosecutor on any TV show will tell you, there are no such things as coincidences.

Should we worry about the fact that the Scranton Railriders now have used position players to pitch in two straight games, and Matt Thornton is doing well in Washington?

I recognize that Triple A games don't matter, that Scranton-Wilkes Barre doesn't really exist, and that the real key to International League play is to never ask a pitcher to take one for the team. When a staff is tired, compromises must be made. I'm all in. Still... two games in a row?

Last night, here's the Scranton box score. Keep in mind: Jose Gill is a catcher.

The previous night, in a game that went 13 innings, the farm club trotted out Taylor Dugas, an outfielder, to pitch with the score tied. 

Check out the names here. The starter was Pat Venditte, the famous switch-pitcher, who surely will never set foot in Yankee Stadium, unless it's with another team. Next came Jeremy Bleich, a former high draft pick who was out of baseball for a while. The others are veteran bullpen arms. 

Not only is the Yankee staff falling apart, we can't even field a rotation in Scranton? 

Again, I hear you: I realize that it's complicated. You need to protect young pitchers - (actually, I'm not any of the above qualify for that category). But two games in a row?


Early last week, the Yankees unceremoniously ditched Matt Thornton in a waivers deal, a rare cost-cutting move. They signed Rich Hill, who has been a disaster. Maybe it's coincidence, but our bullpen has stank for the last week. I'm not saying Thornton could have made a difference - we were overpaying him horribly - but he had started pitching well. Since moving to Washington, he's thrown three scoreless games:

The moral here: When things go wrong, they go really wrong. And things seem to be going wrong for the Yankees everywhere.

Yankees should dub this "Bean a Ray" weekend

So now we're an American Legion team ...

In Seattle, they are congratulating themselves over signing Cano

Of course, this reminds me of the Yankee brown-nose brigade - alias the YES Men - which quickly announces long-term victory, whenever Cashman peddles a no-name prospect for an over-the-hill rock star. (I'm thinking the baseball equivalent of Steve Perry.) But here it is, anyway: Instant history. Read it and weep. 

A long, cold winter is coming

Grab you gear. We're headed to the other side of the wall, where it's always winter. It'll be like becoming a Cubs fan, only without the charming park.

A cold, hard wind is about to blow through the Yankiverse, and life is not going to be the same

Tonight, the Evil Empire plays the Devil Rays, a team that statistically has left even more runners in scoring position this season than the Yankees have. (Yep, I looked it up. The Yankees are actually in the middle of the RISP pack, though this could be a factor of their inability to put runners in scoring position.) Tampa has turned back into a pumpkin, back to 6th place in a five-team division, playing before 127 friends and neighbors per night, behind a sound-effects cacophony that rattles John and Suzyn, and with no reason whatsoever to bust a gonad against the Yankees. They recently dumped their best pitcher, David Price, and the smell of stewed tomatoes should be gurgling from the dugout steps. And yet, they'll run through fences to beat us. And if Tampa sweeps us, they will pass us in the standings.

Here's the sickest part of all: A voice inside me is yelling, "Yes, yes, yes... bring it on!"

I am one of those morose, bi-polar, obnoxious,Yankee fan lifers - the kind who believe the Yankees are sacred, special, and that they should always play for more than a mere one-game wild card appearance, or to win just one world series every 10 years. In my life, I've witnessed three Yankee dynasties - the teams of Mickey, of Thurman, and of Jeter/Rivera. Between each, we suffered through a cruel darkness of five to 10 seasons, when the team trotted out the Hosses and the Maases (A shout-out to No Maas, a great site.) Friends, you can feel the coldness, the brutality, on the wind. We are heading into just such a period.

Maybe it is the roller coaster ride of history, or the cruel folly of inherited money, or the law of karma, or the reality of hubris. I dunno. Maybe this has to happen, and nothing we do can prevent it. I frickin' donno. I only know what I've seen, and - friends - a cold, harsh wind is blowing our way.

Yesterday, upstate New York felt like a meat locker. A chill whipped through Syracuse, rattled your bones, withered all erections and chased people inside. You needed a flack jacket. It was football weather, apple weather, storm windows weather, October weather. Summer is on the run, and in these parts, nobody ever takes next spring for granted. A lifetime can happen between November and April. There are no guarantees - except this: A cold, hard wind is coming. You better have boots.

This wind will blow away the Yankees, as we know them. Before it's done, Brian Cashman will leave, and though he certainly has his critics, his successor - or successors - will have theirs, as well. Joe Girardi may or may not survive this storm. A bunch of players - or "contracts," as the Yankees seem to view them - will vanish. It's possible the Mets will rule New York for a while. All is not lost: Perhaps somewhere in that dense thicket of a farm system, the next great Yankee is now lacing his spikes. But we cannot buy our way out of this. The next great Yankee team must evolve from youth. If we sign John Lester, we'll simply be rewarding him for beating us while he pitched for Boston. Any veteran pitcher we sign will always be a tweak away from collapse. A cold, hard wind is coming, folks, and it's going to stay a while.

Tonight - well - who knows? Maybe we'll rise up, rip the top off Tropicana Field and launch a 10-game winning streak, which would vault us back into the Wild Card race. (That's a joke, by the way). Just as likely, we will lose two out of three. If we are swept, Tampa would pass us in the standings, leaving us to ponder a fire sale rather than a Chris Sale. (That's not a joke, by the way.) Maybe if happens now, rather than three weeks from now, we can somehow dump a contract. Would some team, within a big bat of a championship, take Carlos Beltran off our hands? That might be what we should be hoping for.

Friends, a cold, hard wind is blowing. It's going to stay a while. When it's finished with us, nothing will be the same. Stay warm.

Rob Manfred Mann

In one of baseball's most ignominious actions, Mini Bud was elected commish of this great game. This will further perpetuate the horrendous "old guy acting like he knows what the fuck he's doing" lineage of MLB.

Which has come to mean Most Likely Blows.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Open letter to the people of Boston: You're welcome

Dear Madams and Sirs, and ex-mortal enemies...

Relax. Lay down your arms. As a Yankee fan, I come in peace.

In fact, I offer my sincerest congratulations, because even though your 2014 Redsocks team fell apart, you now can live each day for that one golden moment of pure tobacco pleasure:

The Yankee box score.

Why watch Big Papi's continuing erosion, or Dustin Pedroia's latest snapped chicken bone, when you can monitor the Yankees' collapse - a tumble made even more satisfying in the knowledge that New York won't even bother to retool for next year. Nope, come winter, the Yankee front office - the same Yankee front office - will just go about its usual business, applying the same Yankee front office strategy: Sign old players at astronomical prices to long-term deals, rewarding them for their past volunteer work in smaller markets.

(Side note: Before Major League Baseball completes its long-planned corporate transition into the NFL - celebrating parity for all, and the KC Royals taking on equality with the Yankees, Dodgers, Redsocks, etc. - I hope the owners and players at least take a moment to thank the Steinbrenner family for its gracious service to the game: It's the Yankees who pay people for what they did three and four years ago at charity wages. A player could always know that, after hanging up his cleats in Arizona, he would come to New York and be compensated for his past pro bono work.)

This year, thanks to Commissioner Bud Selig, Boston fans will receive a Yankee bonus: Derek Jeter's final at-bats will not take place in New York but - of course! - in Fenway Park, where the Yankees play their final series. Unless he sits it out - and we all know that's not Jeter's style - that final Jeterian pageant of respect and admiration will happen in Boston... a brand new form of Yankee fan indignity. Start scalping your tickets now. It's free money, like fracking!

Also, as an extra bonus to you die-hard Redsock fans, check this out: MLB's official list of 2015 free agents.

Close your eyes, Bostonians, and chose from the list three future big name Yankee flops. Add 10 pounds, give them five-year deals, and shoe-horn them into pinstripes. Isn't that fun? You can picture Tori Hunter next year patrolling RF in Yankee Stadium. And look! There's Hanley Ramirez - age 32 - holding down SS with the range of a George Steinbrenner statue. No... maybe it will be Troy Tulowitski - but only after we've gutted the farm system to get him, and by then, he'll be playing with an artificial hip. Hey, Kevin Youkilis could be back from Japan! He'll have something to prove. Seriously, it's not that hard to imagine... It's something to live for in off-years, am I right?

Yes, Boston, there is a Santa Claus. He's clean-shaven... because that's the Yankee way. But we will always be there in your times of need. Remember the old days, the Curse of the Bambino? Today, it's the Curse of the Beltran...  or better yet..., the Curse of Yankee Hubris.

You're welcome.

Because the Yankees are too depressing to write about: Two conversations overheard at last night's Jackson Browne concert in Syracuse

Went to see Jackson Browne last night at the Landmark Theatre. Great show, but you already knew that, right?

At half-time, I went for a beer. Standing in line, I found myself in a crossfire of conversations.

In front of me, a white-haired guy told his friend that Browne's opening number - "I'll Do Anything" - was the song that was playing long ago, in the precise moment that he proposed to his future wife.

Behind me, a woman was saying that it was a good thing that her friend couldn't make it, after all, because she would never have navigated the theater's steep balcony steps with her new artificial hip.

Like I said, great show. But I will remember the ping-pong emotions of those two conversations as much as any song of the night. Getting old sucks.

It feels like 1978 again, with the Yankees - any minute now - ready to make their move

After last night's speed bump in Baltimore, a few of you Yank fans might feel a bit disillusioned, even ornery and cynical.

I say this... 


How quickly you seem to have forgotten the great Yankee comeback of 1978! Because we sure looked dead then - out by 14 games in July - and you know what happened? Ol' Bucky Dent homered, and we won the One Game, Visiting Team Wild Card playoff. Look at this Yankee club, and it's hard not to feel the magic bubbling up from the dugout. Hey, is Jimmy Carter the President, 'cause I'm plugging in the WalkMan and listening to some Van Halen!

Tonight, we'll lick our wounds, and tomorrow, we'll lick our chops: It's the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who technically don't even exist in 1978! Plus, we've got our Yankee Big Three starters: McCarthy, Greene and Kuroda - alias "McGreekur." All we need is to win - say - 12 out of 13, and - BANG - as fast as you can say "Reggie-Reggie-Reggie," we'll be right back in the AL, away-field-advantage, one game Wild Card pennant race.  

And Saturday, Thurman McCann comes off the DL!

You can feel Martin Prado starting to heat up, like a supervolcano in Yellowstone, ready to spew white hot emissions all over the North American continent. Boy, do those Arizona Diamondbacks look dumb - wait a minute: they don't exist either! Those desert morons traded Prado for some young guy that nobody's ever heard of. The YES announcers have already declared the deal a big win for the Yankees and their master jewel thief, Brian Cashman. Frankly, it doesn't matter what happens: We won the trade. We got Prado free, for nothing. And for two more seasons! Our second base, third base and right field problems are solved. Plus, we have Reggie Beltran! 

One huge benefit from last night: We didn't need to use Goose Robertson! In Tampa, ol' Houdini should be fresh as a can of tuna - that is, unless Catfish McCarthy hurls a two-hit gem. 

Ichiro is swinging the bat well lately. And great to see Michael Pineda back! Someday, he's gonna be real good. And word is that Tanaka is now throwing regulation nerf balls off a flat surface. He could be back for the stretch run, that big final series in Boston! 

I'm telling you, we're getting ready to make our move. Too bad the casinos in Atlantic City have closed, because a couple more losses, and they'd be ripe for the plucking. I'd say more, but mum's the word: I've got to wait for Vegas odds-makers to go a little higher before betting the house on Bucky and the boys. Can't write any more. Foreigner just came on the mix tape! Those guys are smokin'!