Thursday, July 30, 2015
Yanks coming alive in July. Best record in baseball. Building a huge lead in the AL East.
No need to deal prospects or our number one pick. Play our hand. Save our future chips.
All good. Except for one thing.
I didn't go away. I am still watching and lingering about. I have to do my work.
Just for now, I give you two names; Tanaka and Pineda.
They both end in "a."
I wonder who is the Yanks' starter tonight.
I just wonder.
In the last week, they've traded their Severino, their Judge and their Bird. (Oh, my.)
But they are eight behind us in the loss column.
Last night, as I watched Tanaka try to find command, try to find velocity, and try to find anything that would work, I kept having a nagging thought.
When we amazingly won the previous evening, after starting out down 5 runs, I thought/hoped this could be a sweep for the Yankees. Joe had played it so that our top two pitchers would cap games 3 and 4 against the Rangers.
We stole game 2 in spectacular fashion, no thanks to the departed Colter Capuano. ( Chris will be fine. He is a phi beta kappa graduate of Duke ). But Joe's strategy appeared to have worked.
Frankly, Tanaka looked more like Capuano than himself. It was a hopeless outing. Guys on base all the time. Pitching from the stretch. Walks and hits at every turn. Quite amazing really that only 5 runs were charged to him ( or scored, for that matter ).
Back to my nagging thought; Are we starting to see the effects of that lingering, and, "cured by rest," elbow injury? Are we going to hear something about Tanaka's health, today or tomorrow?
Is this a dagger that I see before me, handle toward my hand.....?
Thirty years ago, the Mets were actually worth booing. They were New York's main team, and the back pages - fueled by Dick Young's thirst for Tom Seaver's blood - covered whatever was happening in the Metiverse: Bobby Bonilla's contract... David Cone's warmup rituals... Keith Hernandez' mustache... whatever. The Amazin's always amazed.
I associate the Mets' success to George Steinbrenner's decision to finally build a team, rather than honor the Knicks-like tradition of splicing together Danny Tartabulls and Bob Shirleys. We laughed when the Mets collapsed into a low-light reel of distress-bag snapshots - most notably, Carlos Beltran watching strike three bisect the plate, his bat on his shoulder.
Maybe the joke was on us. This year, we've had our chances to watch Mr. Beltran's silent magic. (Though, hey! he's hitting lately.)
Last night, the Amazin's once again amazed the world. They announced a trade, and then took it back. They let a kid stand out there, undressed, in front of the world. Pathetic. I've railed about the cruelty inflicted by the Yankees on young players - Rob Refsnyder, for example, getting demoted a day after the team announced he would stay - but this is the new gold standard for institutional fuckupidness.
Sadly, the more the Mets lower the bar, the easier it is for the Yankees to be New York's team.
They are no longer worth booing or - more imporantly - comparing ourselves to.
There's an insult common to Yankee message boards: "Prospect-hugger." It stems from the 1980s phrase "tree-hugger," which was the coal industry's Limbaughian, bumper-sticker way to dismiss environmental causes. You don't like shorn-off mountains or rivers of arsenic? You're one a them tree-huggers. Get a job, hippie.
So we now have "prospect-huggers," according to the all-wise fans, who never get attached to the meat on the Yankee farm. They don't see Rob Refsnyder as a future 2B, whose work ethic eventually makes him into a good-hitting, solid fielding player. Nope. They see a "trade chip." They prefer some high-salaried, ex-all-star with a seasoned bat and glove.
I believe if you're not a prospect-hugger, it's because you a) Are too young to remember the 1980s, b) Were too drunk to remember the 1980s, or c) Are that rare fan whose basic knowledge of the game is that there is some guy named "A-Rod." You missed the wholesale savaging of the Yankees - the 14-year-barf - back in the days before there were prospect-huggers.
This week, decibel levels have risen constantly from a shrieking brigade of writers and bloggers who say the Yankees ABSOLUTELY MUST do something to keep pace with KC, Toronto, California - whatever. And - hm-mm, how do I put this? Well... These people are fools.
The Yanks are in first by six. The closest team - the Orioles - did nothing this week. Last year, we cut deals of desperation. This year, other teams are desperate.
Which brings me to Mr. David Price, trade target of the day.
Yeah, I'd love to get him. He always had the feel of a future Yankee. Remember how gracious Price was after surrendering Jeter's 3,000th hit? He's a gamer. He's a moose. And next winter, he will be a free agent. He'll cost us a boatload of money and a first-round pick... if we want him.
But the Tigers don't need to deal. They can chase the last Bud Selig Memorial Wild Card Slot, which is open to all. If they expect to receive the world for David Price, the Yankees should simply hug their prospects and walk away.
Yankee trade chips? We have a few. I'm thinking of Jose Pirela, the second 2B after Rob Refsnyder. Poor guy can hit, but he's on somebody's secret shitlist. There's Austin Romine, the catcher, who deserves freedom. One of the three OF amigos - Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams or Ramon Flores - probably can go. And a couple of the Scranton 10 - the bullpen of Nick Goodys and Danny Burawas - can leave. And - yes - maybe even Ivan Nova, though if we trade him, don't be surprised if he doesn't outpitch whoever we get in return.
This week, all the blather has been about the big names. Look close, and you find Toronto, Texas, etc. have given up some of their top prospects, and they were picked out by opposing scouts.
Listen: I don't want one Yankee championship every 10 years. I want five. I want an organization built up from within and supplemented through free agency. I don't want perpetual waves of old players, signed to boarish deals, trying to buttress a leaky barge.
This needs to be Cashman's last chance to build that organization. He hasn't done it in 15 years.
Over the next 48 hours, I hope Cashman never dials the phone. Let them call us. If nobody calls, we'll still be in first. Come August 1, something tells me James Shields - with his horrible contract - will pass through waivers. And he won't be alone. Because here's the dirty little secret of July 31: There is no trade deadline. It's a joke. It's just something created by the people we should most fear: The Headline-Huggers. Ugh. Get a job, yuppie.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
The little "CC," that is.
Guy gave up nine runs in his last 1 and 2/3rd innings. That'll do it.
Only reason they stuck with him this long was his $5 million salary. They wanted to get their nickel bottle deposits back.
One year deals: You win some (Chris Young, $2.5 million), and you lose some (Capuano.)
This year, though, the croaking caterpillar has become a music-fluttering butterfly.
Last night, in the fourth, with his team leading by 10, John resembled a songbird on the first dawn of spring. At one point, he launched into "Oh-Me-Oh-My-Oh," an obscure ditty about Ohio, and when Suzyn asked why he was singing, he had so answer. This was godforsaken Texas - 100-degree, bug-infested, gun-nut Texas. This had no connection to Ohio. He had just burst into song spontaneously, like Elvis with Ann-Margret.
If you're not listening to games, you're missing the happiest man alive, and - for now anyway - the most joyous aspect of this Yankee resurgence.
For years now, we've called John "The Master," a title befitting his loquaciousness, his ego and - most of all - his love for the Yankees. But yesterday, we learned that John had been captain of his WMCA Radio softball team during the 1970s. This puts a new perspective on the man.
From now on, considering the Yankee void, instead of "The Master," should we call him "The Captain?"
But Colter was right-handed, wasn't he?
We all knew that Joe was dressing last night's contest as, " just another game on a long road-trip," but, in truth, it was a "give-up" game, by strategy. He was hoping to work some magic with long relievers, keep the game competitive, and then get lucky.
By the time the Rangers undressed our latest version of the Bean ( Chris Capuano ), it looked like a nightmare was at hand. Less than one inning worked, 4 walks, 5 runs, and Rangers on the bases.
Then, the nightmare became theirs.
We have rarely seen an offensive display like we witnessed last night. I went to bed with the Yankees pushing up against the 20 run limit, with that 28 year old, just off the bus from Scranton, pitching the best long relief we have seen this year. There were so many heros last night, many of them named Gregorious, Headley and Young. Even John Ryan got hot.
But I wish to focus on Colter Capuano. I have rarely seen a major league pitcher look so frazzled, lost and hopeless. A rookie's first appearance can't get that bad ( even Mark Melancon's debut where he walked 5 straight batters ), but Chris looked as though he was playing the wrong game.
Mr. Capuano may never recover. He visage was like the deer in the headlights on the NYS thruway at rush hour. Eighteen wheelers rumbling right at him, everywhere, at 80 miles per hour. He may never even think of himself as a deer again., mush less a ballplayer.
Did you look at his face? A face of pure anguish and helplessness. He must have felt as though his arm was not connected to his body.
Colter Bean, if you are out there, please send Chris Capuano an inspiring letter. Tell him there is life after baseball.
That's why we have fast food franchises in America.
Who doesn't put me into debt.
A pitcher like A.J. Burnett...
What vet should I get?
A Price would be nice!
I wouldn't think twice!
I'd certainly bite
If the Price is right.
I could get a Cole Hamels,
For my best Scranton mammals,
Who might be Allan Trammels!
(Plus a carton of Camels.)
I could get a Martin Prado,
For a year's supply of Play-Doh.
If I got a new Craig Kimbrel,
My bullpen would be downright crim'nal!
I could get Aroldis Chapman,
What would Boston think of THAT, man?
Or I'd settle for Mike Leake,
Though that name has me feeling bleak.
What vet should I get?
And trade a guy we'll soon forget.
Who won't become the next George Brett.
What vet should I get?
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
It's a J-Bomb from Sterl-Rod: Amazing photos of young John Sterling, before The Master learned to THUUUUUUUH
Yes, the time is the 1970s. The place is WMCA Radio in New York. The shirt is - well - I'd say a Saturday night, bong water special. The eyes... let's just say he is high, he is far out, he is - gone!
This are screen grabs from a recent episode of L'Chayim, a talk show hosted by Rabbi Mark S. Golub, of which I am privileged to have been the 125th viewer on YouTube. Golub met The Master in the 1970s, when John was - get this - CAPTAIN OF THE WMCA BASEBALL NO-STARS. And John pitched and... batted third.
Check out this incredible form:
There it goes. It's a silver moment. Oh, John... you're Sterling!
Many years before John appeared in this iconic Yankee team photo at the White House...
He appeared with the WMCA All-Star team...
But John always planned to someday become THE MASTER.
Later, John took up the hair code and played for a team managed by the Rabbi. Again, he pitched and batted third.
I know what you're thinking: These pictures cannot be authenticated. In this age of Photoshop, anybody can fix images to produce anything. In fact, that leads to another theory, advanced by Pickett Burnside himself:
These are new shots: Yes, The 2015 Yankees have restored John Sterling's youth. Says Pickett Burnside.
"John's been like a kid again with the juice A-rod gave him. In Saturday's game (A-Rod's three homer game), at the top of the ninth, John said that Rodriguez, Teixeira, Beltran, Headley, and Murphy were coming to bat. I thought that sounded odd, considering there were only three outs left in the game. Then he added that if Gardner came up, it would be because the Yankees had rallied. The craziest thing: It all came true...
"Last season, all John ever said was that they have no pop, they have no pop. They would leave men on base, and you could hear his arms fall to the counter-top, plunk-plunk, in frustration. This year he's been optimistic. Stop watching the game on TV!"
Sir, you are so absolutely right.
Listen: Last winter, John lost practically everything he owned in a fire. That night, while tankers were pouring water onto the blaze, he was returning calls to newspaper reporters who had gone out of their way to savage him. Every year, the Yankees make him sweat out a new contract. He's long past retirement age, and a battalion of haters - some of whom simply hate everything about the Yankees - do whatever they can to mock him (from the safe distance of Seattle.) The guy hasn't missed a Yankee pitch in more than 25 years. He called every at bat throughout Derek Jeter's entire career.
Yep. Something has happened, all right. It's not Viagra or whatever John was smoking in 1973. It's Brett Gardner, it's A-Rod, it's Tex... It's the first team in four years to show a pulse in the ninth inning of a two-run game.
Enjoy the pictures. From now on, they shall occupy center stage in our Yankiverse. John Sterling is young again. And I bet he still owns that shirt.
"This wouldn't have happened if Ol' George were still alive..."
Yep. If Ol' George were still kicking, the Yankees would have signed Max Scherzer, James Shield, Nelson Cruz, Robbie Whazhisname, the original cast of Glee and - absolutely, obviously, without a doubt, that international man of mystery... Yoan Moncada. Every December, Yankee fans unwrapped a holiday gift from Ol' George: Look, it's a shiny new Rusney Castillo! Wow, the latest sporty import from Japan, Hideki Irabu!
Unfortunately, because Ol' George was kicking at various times, we ended up with Ol' Randy Johnson, Ol' Gary Sheffield, Ol' Crabby Raul Mondesi, young Kai Igawa, and the cast of Life on Mars (the U.S. version, not the British.) Ol' George had his faves, and for better or worse - they always swam upstream to spawn and die in Pinstripes.
Which brings us to Troy Tulowitzki, latest proof that Ol' George is not secretly living on a lung machine off Guam.
Everybody knows Tulo was supposed to be a Yankee. Ever since Derek Jeter retired, countless blogs have devoted entire Sunday morning breakfasts to calculating the package of Yankee talent that would bring Tulo's surgically repaired hips to Gotham. (By the way, considering A-Rod's resurgence, the phrase "surgically repaired hips" doesn't carry the impact it once did.) Now, we know that Tuno will not metastisize into New York. Tulo has gone to Toronto - a happy home for hitters, because they can swing away, knowing it won't matter - the pitchers will surrender more runs anyway.
This weekend, Hal Steinbrenner - son of George - didn't bite. And let me state a phrase that increasingly should be uttered in the Yankiverse: "Thank frickin' God."
Let's face it: Colorado probably phoned Brian Cashman 50 times, trying to cut a deal. (Something tells me the last player the Rockies wanted was Jose Reyes, who still carries that Metlike stink.) They must have said to themselves, "If ol' George were alive, he'd make a deal!" And, frankly, who knows what might have happened if the Redsocks two weeks ago swept us at Fenway? Right now, the Yankees are blistering hot, killing thirst for an impulse deal. If we were ice cold, would the ghost of Ol' George rise to inhabit his offspring? At least this summer, we don't have to worry about the Babadook. Ol' George is not alive. Rest in peace.
Does the trade make sense? Depends on the details. Does Toronto improve? Yep, but not as much as they would if Tulo could pitch. The Canadians will love him, but something tells me the team will miss Reyes, who made a convenient scapegoat. Now, somebody else will take the flack. Hello, Mr. Bautista? Ready to try on some horns?
Some are already saying the AL East is a battle between the Yankees and Blue Jays. If the Blue Jays sell what's left of their soul for Cole Hamels, maybe we should worry - short team, anyway. Deadline trades are always Faustian bargains. We still have our soul... because Ol' George is in the ground.
R.I.P., sir. Your son did the right thing.
Monday, July 27, 2015
It's Cashnado Week in the Yankiverse, but while we imagine who the Yankees might get, let's also ponder what we might have to give up
Something's up. Girardi has named Tuesday's starter as "Mr. TBA." Hint hint: He expects Lord Cashman to empty the incubator for somebody. Mr. TBA. To Be Acquired.
Across the Yankiverse, there is a growing antagonism for anyone who remembers the late 1980s, when the Syd Thrifts, Murray Cooks and Woody Woodwards of the world dealt away a possible Yankee dynasty... only to watch bad teams get worse. These days, nobody wants to hear the idea of standing pat and building a team slowly, from within. Those who cry for deadline deals own the call-in shows, and as soon as a kid is traded, the YES Network mirror machine gins up the Manny Banuelos treatment: "Nope, he was never all that good, was never gonna amount to anything. All that previous hype you heard from us, it was just to build him up for a deal."
In fact, lingering fan rage from the 1980s was a reason why Watson and Stick resisted the urge to trade Bernie, Andy, Jorge, Mariano, et al. (Jeter, the high-pick golden boy, was never going to be dealt.) But the Lost Boys period from 1986 through 1994 seems to have vanished from the fossil record. Come July 31, Yankee web sites yowl like 17-year-olders with exploding erections (which actually, a few of them are) - thinking about who the Yankees will get... not who they'll give up.
I don't claim to know more about prospects than Cashman, but I do know this:
Great Yankee teams don't win one World Series. They win three.
I'd love to repeat 2009... but spare me 2010-14, if winning one year means that we give away the next four.
We won't get Cole Hamels for a handful of magic beans. (It's gotten worse, because he threw a no-hitter Saturday.) Philly will demand at least one of our best prospects, plus a package of young players. Do we want to give up the next generation for 15 starts?
Hell. I'd rather take my chances with Adam Warren going against Cueto.
Last year, the Yankees were riddled with holes, which Cashman could fill via cheap solutions. Brandon McCarthy. Chase Headley, etc. We gave up Vidal Nuno and Yangervis Solarte. (Better players than the "experts" claimed, but not dynasty killers.) This year, to keep with the KC Kardashians, Cashman will have to hydrofrack our farm system. We won't get something for nothing.
Cashman hasn't yet dealt away too many greats. I think he's terrified of the one horror deal that will be inscribed onto his tombstone. Still, the more you stare into the abyss - as Freddie Nietzsche said - the more the abyss stares back.
This sudden public push to trade Gary Sanchez - a 22-year-old power hitting catcher at Triple A - is based on the ridiculous assumption that, "Oh, we have McCann and Murphy, so we don't need Sanchez." WTF? In 2017, McCann will be 33, and Sanchez will be pushing 25. Do we really want to give him up for maybe 15 starts?
Something's up. Mr. TBA is coming. Let's face it: Shriekers gonna shriek, dealers gonna deal. But for a moment, imagine the 2016 Yankees as defending World Champions! We can see them next July in fourth place, floundering with 41-year-old Arod and an injured Teixeira... or as a team of emerging youngsters - Judge and Severino, Sanchez and Refsnyder - just maybe the next Bernies and Marianos.
Damn, let's not get hung up about the next 15 starts. Let's think BIG.
Sunday, July 26, 2015
Saturday, July 25, 2015
Banuelos gave up 4 runs in 5 innings, watching his ERA balloon to 2.49. He's now 1-2 for the lowly Braves.
Last night, Michael Pineda, and his akimbo hat, looked like an overcooked sausage, looking for a bun.
The game was over before I sat down. A 2 run dinger in the first inning just sucked the air out of the Yankee balloon. Some will say, " you can't win them all." But how about waiting until the game is underway?
It turned the Ju-Ju backwards.
In the early innings, as the Yankees attempted to crawl back into the game, the Yankees crushed the ball but, in every case, for a quick and deflating out.
There are few things worse for a ballplayer, by the way, than hitting the pitch on the " screws," and then seeing it in somebody's glove, a split second or two later. All that hustle to first, all that excitement about a " perfect" at-bat, all the wondering about, " double or triple," simply reverts to that memory of when you stepped into a pile of dog crap, just before ringing the bell at your girlfriend's house.
The guy with the glove is strutting around and you have that long jog back to the dugout. Nothing accomplished. Girl friend's parents recoiling in horror. Girl friend laughing uncontrollably.
That's what Pineda gave us as his record slides ever closer to .500. Adam Warren was better than that.A number 2 starter with a near .500 record? That doesn't spell a " ticket to the big dance" to me.
Jesus is hitting for Seattle.
Did we really " win" that trade?
You know what we all fear now, so I'm not even going to write it down.
Yankees face haunting recurrence of evil spirits: Ex-Yankees rising from their graves to cause mayhem
Last week, Robbie Cano beat us with two home runs.
Last night, Phil Hughes beat us with seven solid innings.
Somehow, double-chinned ex-Yankees - when in the presence of John Sterling audio gamma rays - are mutating into superhuman draft-horses, capable of trampling through our fields of summer corn. Lo, it's happened before - long, long ago in more stable universes: We saw it with Moose Skowron as a Dodger, Roger Maris as a Cardinal, and Reggie Jackson as an Angel. A grim little secret about the former Yankee Stadium - the one we dismantled into $39 toothpicks - is some of the ghosts lurking there were not on our side.
But Phil Hughes? Folks, this is Defcon 4! This is Babadook-level... for one terrifying reason: The team that most bothers us in the AL East - the Blue Jays - just signed Joba Chamberlain to a minor league contract. Yes, everybody - including Joba - knows his arm is probably shot. But don't we also know that sometime in August or September, he will emerge from his dugout chrysalis and shut us down for two innings in a key game? Of course, he will! We've seen it happen again and again! They're like zombies, crawling up through the dirt to bite our bare feet. These dead guys lie in wait just to strike at us... and if we face Joba in a key game, we better goddamm have a former Blue Jay to act as counterweight. (Hmmm. Can we re-sign Vernon Wells?)
By the way, this is the reason why Yankee fans hate, hate, HATE the idea of packaging three or four "middling" prospects for a late-season Lance Berkman. (Imagine how our team right now could use Jimmy Paredes and Mark Melancon; that's who we traded.) It's like scattering radioactive spiders throughout a prison yard, knowing their bites will create evil-villains with super spider powers. Dammit, WE DON'T NEED ANOTHER CRUSHER CREEL!
Here are the most frightening AL teams, based on my unofficial, mathematical, Hadron Yankee-Created Monster Threat Calculus.
1. Blue Jays: Russell Martin, Dioneer Navarro, Joba
2. Orioles: Jimmy Paredes, Steve Pearce, Buck Showalter (sort of a Dr. X, emeritus)
3. Mariners: Cano, Austin Jackson, Jesus Montero
4. White Sox: David Robertson, Melky Cabrera
5. Tigers: Shane Green
6. Indians: Nick Swisher (injured)
7. Astros: Lance McCullers (wait, no, that was his dad; hm-mm, this is really scary)
8-12: Orioles, Redsocks, Rays, Angels, Rangers, Royals: Nada.
It's the trade deadline. We are on the verge of sending several future ex-Yankees into the Hadron transformer grid. Whatever happens, the beat writers and YES men will immediately cheer, assuring us that the Yankees gave up nothing in return for a new
Friday, July 24, 2015
"Might as well get something for them rather than release them and eat the money."
Gyaaaaaah, this is wonderful. It's like eating ice cream on the crapper. You want to savor every moment. This morning, I noticed last week's Sports Illustrated, which I'd missed during the drunk-blog. In it, SI baseball expert Joe Sheehan projects the second half.
"A healthy Dustin Pedroia - returning from a hamstring injury - means Boston will be at full strength kicking off the second half. There's a big run coming for this team - it could score six runs a game for three weeks and go 15-4, upending the AL East."
"Can the Sox pitch well enough? Well, they're already making some changes. Eduardo Rodriguez is in the rotation, and Brian Jonson just got called up, as the team taps its deep well of young amrs. A front-of-the-rotation starter, the team's biggest need, might be found on the farm, but the Reds' Johnny Cueto or the Phillies' Cole Hamels would go a long way toward making the Sox the favorites again in a division in which no team will win 90 games."
Gyaaaaaaaah, that felt good.
Disclosure: Two weeks ago, I was as terror-stricken of Boston as anyone on this planet. They were streaking, they were hosting us, and with best pitcher on the mound. We led 1-0 in the fourth. In a span of three batters - barely five minutes - Clay Buchholz walked off the mound holding his arm, and their IF made two errors - giving us the game. Suddenly, everything changed. It was like a glitch in the Matrix, (the one that reversed the glitch of 2004, when they exchanged places with us? Is that too much to ask for?) They've been trash ferns ever since, and I don't think they're going to go 15-4 and upend the AL East.
This older, larger planet is currently called, " Kepler 452b," and orbits its star at about the same distance that the Earth orbits the sun. Skeptical evangelicals ( pictured above ) may write to NASA for further information.
That distance between the planet and its sun puts Kepler-452b in that " Goldilocks" zone that makes it suitable for water, and life. It is the closest thing that we have to another place that someone else might, " call home." And it is only 1400 light years away.
Here is my point; if there is life, water, grass and life, they likely play baseball there.
Talk about a world series!
|The Division Race|
1. Mother Nature is a maniac. (Via Chandler Brossard)
2. Money is piss, and the sparrow is immortal. (Via Charles Bukowski)
3. The AL East pretty much sucks. (Via everybody with eyes). The Yankees' recent conga line of wins stems, at least partly, from the stunning wretchedness of the division. Boston is a certified SuperFund cleanup, (though their farm system is still rated tops by their cousins at ESPN, and - dammit - I'm still p.o.ed about Yoan Moncada.) Before Toronto won yesterday, we were the only team over .500. After watching Baltimore this week, does anyone really think Buck can suddenly win 18 out of 20?
|The Wild Card Race|
Cash claims he will not trade Luis Severino or Aaron Judge (who has not played in a week now; injury?), but 22-year-old AAA catcher Gary Sanchez and the rented mule called Rob Refsnyder have become the blogosphere's choices to go. I dunno about this. Yeah, it would be nice to plug an Ian Kinsler into our lineup. But one of the best parts of 2015 has been looking at Scranton box scores and actually seeing prospects instead of 30something retreads. Let's hope Cash does the right thing. It would be nice to think that, if he blows this, he will be held accountable. But that's simply not true. He is probably Yankee GM for life. So he's going to do whatever he wants.
|The Best Records in the League|
5. But maybe we have to do something. A few dangerous teams remain in contention for the Bud Selig expanded one-game Wild Card birth. I, for one, would NOT want to face a healthy and hot Detroit Tigers in a five-game series. Nope. Been there, done that. They eat us alive. It's well worth it for the Yankees to chase the league's best record, not the division's. Gary Sanchez might have to get sacrificed. But I do hope Refsnyder gets another shot. It just seems like he's earned it.
6. If the Yankees are going to have another great team in my lifetime - a three or four world championship team - it needs to start soon. These young players must be a part of it. Or as Russell Baker once said, "In the long run, we're all dead."
Thursday, July 23, 2015
My theory: Somewhere in our past - I'm guessing fall of 2004, the exact moment that Johnny Damon hit the grand slam off Javier Vazquez - the Matrix twitched, and we were all plunged into an evil-but-kind-of-cool universe. It has upsides: Bad Miley Cyrus, flavored hummus, phone aps that tell you the closest bagel places... But we're still struggling to deal with Donald Trump, who is totally out of the wrong reality.
He's running for President when - dammitall - he should be running for Steinbrenner.
Don't get me wrong. He'd probably wreck the team, as Old George did in the eighties. I can see Trump having traded Dellin Betances for Mike Napoli, then announcing that he had personally won the 2015 World Series. You can imagine Trump making public Carlos Beltran's cell phone number, after the guy goes 0-6. God only knows what Trump would have done with A-Rod. Let's just say it would involve a broken leg. There are 10 billion reasons (by Trump's count) why he would be the worst Yankee owner since CBS - but at least he would be more fun to watch than CBS. Say what you want about Trump, he can fill a back page.
Which is why this universe sucks. Where did we go wrong, with billionaires running for President or - worse - buying Presidential candidates? They should be buying pennants. Throughout history, one of baseball's greatest gifts to America was to distract these idiots from politics - (aside from wrangling taxpayer money for stadiums.) It doesn't matter if you favor the Koch brothers or George Soros; these bozos would do humanity a favor if, instead coveting the world, they coveted the World Series.
But let's get back to Trump. He'd thrive as Yankee owner. For starters, all those things he said about Latinos - forget it. He'd have learned a long time ago to keep his trap shut. And he'd spend whatever it took. We would never be watching Stephen Drew swinging away into over-shifts, with his average 50 points below Mendoza. If Trump ran the Yankees, Robbie Cano would not be wearing a beard. He'd be wearing Pinstripes.
Wrong universe, that's all. Beam us up, Girardi. Take us home.
Next June, the Reds, A's, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Marlins and Pirates will receive extra first-round picks - thanks to their cheap, billionaire owners. In the second round, the Padres, Twins, Indians, O's, Brewers and Rays will get supplemental "competitive balance" picks.
Imagine Robin Hood and his Merry Men bringing canned food to the starving Kardashian and Hilton families. It's a mission of mercy, helping these poverty-stricken billionaires survive.
The "small market" franchises earn the reward by keeping payrolls low. That means more money for everyone - that is, everyone who happens to own a team. It's like the farmer who gets paid to let his 1,000-acre tobacco field lie fallow. He takes his cash rather than glut the market with cheap cigs. Under MLB's new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the rules reward teams for being good sports - and being cheap. To succeed, all you need to do is finish last enough times - (and stay cheap, baby, stay cheap!) - and eventually, you'll draft a Bryce Harper.
Consider Robert Nutting, owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates. His estimated worth, according to CNBC, is $1.1 billion. He owns newspapers, resorts, you name it, he owns it. But because the Pirates keep spending low - they're in a "small market" - and they'll get an extra pick.
Or Jim Pohlad of the Twins, whose dad practically owned the state of Minnesota. He's worth $1.1 billion. You just wouldn't know it when he talks baseball. Then, his pockets come out, and the cup in his hand starts automatically rattling. So the Twins get an extra pick.
Both are said to have more money than Hal "I'm Not Cheap" Steinbrenner, (who actually is NOT cheap, compared to these bozos.) As Yankee fans know, Hal constantly battles to cut the Yankee payroll. Sadly, the New York fan base doesn't seem to appreciate his work.
OK, we all know baseball is a business, not a sport. But in an age of $100 billionaires - Kochs, Adelsons, Soros, etc - (coming soon: trillionaires) - MLB owners are worth more than most of us can imagine. (Derek Jeter hopes to own someday. He better save his nickel deposits.) I've always believed an MLB owner should be a Gene Autry type - the guy who serves as his city's greatest fan. He sits in the owner's box, fetes Lady Gaga when she comes to town, and he pays for operations for little kids who get sick. He's not trying to wring extra coins from fans or taxpayers. He already has it all. And yes, it's always a scandal - horrible, terrible! - how much these players get overpaid (while no one ponders all those who tear an elbow at 22 and never see the light of an MLB pay day.)
Today's MLB owners sit on towers of cash so high that they cannot see life on Earth. But they want more. (That's why Donald Trump, who should be owner of the Yankees, is running for president.) They measure success by the bottom line. How else can Hal Steinbrenner judge his work, other than making profits? (To be fair, Hal has the pressure of being the son of a man who viewed success in Yankee championships; Pohlad in Minnesota never worries about keeping up his dad's legacy with the Twins.)
Question: Why is Pittsburgh a "small market," but Seattle is not?
Answer: Pittsburgh's billionaire owner is cheap, while Seattle's is willing to spend.
So why does Pittsburgh get rewarded because its owner is cheap?
I love it when "small market" fans... or "small market" (courtier) sportwriters... accuse the Yankees (or these days, the Dodgers) of "BUYING THE PENNANT!"
To buy a pennant, you need someone willing to sell.
And MLB loves to reward the sellers. Oh, those poor, poor, poor "small markets." It's just not fair. We have to help them. Can we send canned food?