6-6-6... A-Rod's next HR ties him with SATAN.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Over Memorial Day, El Duque and I blathered about about the possibility that this was Derek Jeter's first weekend at his rumored mansion in Skaneateles, Central New York. Within a minute we were arguing, of course--about which of us would befriend Derek the fastest, which friendship would be deepest, which of us would get Jeter thinking about this amazing buddy he just met. I scored late by predicting I'd be living in his guest house within a week; how utterly believable that sounded to friends who know me well.

But none of us guessed--none of us could have guessed--that, along with fame, money, glory, mystique, and aura, Derek Jeter would bring...


As syracuse.com tells it:
A co-worker who visited downtown Skaneateles this past weekend asked me about the unusually large swarms of little, mosquito-like bugs flying around in the village lately.
You can see what's coming, right? All Yankee fans can see what's coming.
I snapped some pictures and forwarded them to Kim Adams, an entomologist with the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse .  

[She responded,] "These are midges."


Rick Santorum's Battle of the Bands

Rick Santorum, who certainly drafted at least one 2015 Yankee to his AL-only fantasy team, today unveiled his presidential campaign theme song, "Take Back America."

Prime features: Well-worn title; stock country groove; composer & musicians remain anonymous.

Vibe: Dull Chevy commercial.

Back in 2012 First Love--two homeschooled musical sisters from Tulsa--toured with Santorum to perform their original campaign anthem, "Game On."

Prime features: All-white cast, teens praying to Reagan, siblings forced to wave Santorum signs at a dangerous intersection and look happy doing it.

Vibe: Clean fun!

Which Santorum video convinced you?

Can Carlos Beltran's Yankee soul be saved?

In the last two years, underachieving Yankee stars have been blessed by the presence of Carlos Beltran, one of the great whipping mules in NYC history. From the moment he signed, Yankee fans wondered what form of brain oatmeal rationalized returning Beltran to a town where he was most famous for watching a called strike three, killing the Mets' last honest chance at anything. And from the day Beltran arrived, he became a poster boy for aging mediocrity.

Last year, he ran into the right field wall and somersaulted like Liza Minelli. He spent the rest of the season flailing at bad pitches and barely able to throw. It carried over into 2015. Three weeks ago, at age 38, he was hitting .181 with a bat that produced more Pop-Ups than Kellogg's of Battle Creek. Worst of all, he sat in the middle in the lineup, killing rallies the way Paul Reiser once killed sitcoms.

Yesterday, Beltran singled twice, continuing a 15-game hitting streak and lifting his average to - well, whoopie - .245! He has only three HRs, and is projected - according to stat gurus - to finish with 16. Certainly, he's not worth the money Hal "I'm Not Cheap" Steinbrenner will shell out over three years, but we fans should never concern ourselves with Hal's money. "I'm Not Cheap" excretes gold nuggets and wipes his butt with $500 bills. (Yoan Moncada now hitting .333 over 18 AB in Single A.)

The real question: Can Beltran help this team and save his soul?

A month ago, I'd say hell, no. Back then, Chris Young was viable. The Yankees had no place for a bad fielding, bad hitting, former Met. Now... I dunno. My fear remains that Beltran, just as his average approaches Jumbotron respectability, will tweak a corpsucle and miss eight weeks. The problem with 38-year-olds: They get hurt brushing their teeth. Also, it's maddening how long the Yankees go with them before cutting bait, always denying young players a chance. Yes, the hitting coaches know more than we do. But damn, it's tiring to always be watching the sad end of players' careers. It would be nice to watch a beginning, now and then.

If Beltran stars hitting with power, the Yankees could take this ridiculously bad division. (Though all five teams won't suck forever.) Beltran will never get a CF monument. But if he could put together two solid years, his career numbers would put him within striking distance of Cooperstown. Who knows? Dare we hope? Or are the juju gods just taunting us?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Redsock Nation imagining life without Big Papi

"One day, David Ortiz will fall into a slump from which he cannot escape..."

The Indiana Jones of fan dashers

For those of you who say there are no heroes. (from Redditt)

Two above .500, Yanks are cream... toasts, rulers, kings... of AL East

It must have been a bad night to be Hulk Hogan, Channing Tatum or Aaron Carter - Tampa natives, all. Their beloved Devil Rays fell out of first. Their dear Lightning fell to the NY Rangers. Maybe Stephen Stills can write a tortured ballad about it. (Tampa guy.)

Hulk's Rays last night lost to the mighty Seattle Mariners. Robbie Cano - bless his heart - had two singles, lifting his average to .257 - aka: Chase Headley Country. Tampa's bullpen blew the game. It surrendered five runs in the final three innings. But the Rays batting order won't scare anyone within sight of a Jumbotron. The last three guys are hitting .230, .091 and .152. We can snicker about Didi and Drew, but the Rays keystone is Beckham (.220) and Franklin (.091.) I'm thinking Aaron Carter would be an improvement. (He got screwed on Dancing With the Stars, BTW.)

Meanwhile last night, Boston was losing to Minnesota, 2-1. Big Papi is hitting .222. Mike Napoli is at .214. The Redsocks have no catcher, and the Rusney Castillo experiment is just starting in RF. (He went 0-3 with a strikeout, now batting .200.) Their pitching is suspect, and Mookie Betts is hitting .240. With Sanduval and Ramirez hobbling, they don't look like a franchise on the rebound. But you still have to worry.

Baltimore lost to Houston. Their SS-2B combo lately has been as bad as ours: (Hardy, .180 and Pearce .188.) They have a rickety bullpen and shaky starters. Toronto won, 10-9, but - frankly - who cares? You don't win pennants with teams that win 10-9, and that seems to be the Blue Jays best chance.

So there it is. The Evil Empire is holding sway over a mediocre division. As long as our opponents keep stumbling, our own problems aren't so bad. By vaulting back into first, the 2015 team has now outlasted the two previous Yankee clubs, neither of which stayed in first beyond May 24.

It's too early to be playing scoreboard ball, but the sheer crappiness of the AL East is the Yankees' strongest point. Don't get me wrong: I'll take it. I just can't get comfortable, not with Hulk Hogan somewhere out there, preparing to tear off his shirt.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Quick: Where does A-Rod rank on the current top 10 list of baseball salaries?

Hint: It's a Yankeecentric list.

Heathcott and Lindgren: At last! Reasons to watch

Memorable day, Memorial Day.

The Evils scored a zillion runs and played Paddington Bear with their stat lines, whacking the jerks who embarrassed us last week. No complaints here. Chase Headley entered the game batting .242 and finished at .255. You'd think he was having a good year.

One thing I'd almost forgotten about laughers: You don't feel compelled to watch every pitch. The birdies can fly on their own, and even if they hit a rough patch, they won't blow the 14-run lead.

But two players were worth watching.

One is Slade Heathcott, the OF. I recognize that Girardi must move slowly with the kid. But I can't see any reason - beyond defensive - why Chris Young should be in CF. The Yankees this weekend placed another monument in CF - Bernie - to supplement the statue of Carlos Beltran that has been playing in right. Young's batting average is plummeting like a stone, and nobody knows how low it will be, before hitting the bottom. Heathcott, yesterday, hit his first MLB home run. Good grief, Joe, make him the CF until Ellsbury comes back. What do we have to lose?

The second reason is Jacob Lindgren, the RP. Yesterday, Lindgren gave meaning to two otherwise meaningless innings. Again, Joe must give the kid breathers. But not since Chien-Ming Wang and Robbie Cano arrved on the scene 10 years ago have the Yankees energized their lineup with two young players who can be considered actual "prospects."

Alas, the trade deadline will become the central factor in all Yankee plans. Other teams will seek to unload their bums. I doubt Cashman would trade either of these guys - certainly not if they're playing well. But anything can happen when a team becomes intoxicated with the idea of bringing in Wally Whitehurst.

All I know is there is a reason to watch, which before yesterday didn't exist. I'll take it. Hey... how about two laughers in a row! Headley could be hitting .270!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Who Will Be The Mattingly Of This Era ?

Pre-back injuries, Donnie Baseball was the great shining light in the dark days of the mid to late 80s and early 90s. He was routinely surrounded by mediocrity, as assembled by the clumsy, stupid blundering of King George the Incompetent. 

(George may have always wanted to win, but it's time to admit he was a big-spending clown who got lucky for about five years from 76 to 81, then showed his total ineptitude for over 20. Only the ban saved us from unrelieved decades of disappointment. His plaque neglects to mention this truth.)

The question is, is there any Mattinglyesque player looming on our horizon? Someone who will provide an island of greatness...hell, even a peninsula of better-than-competence...that we can point to with pride while the larger team misses the playoffs year after year?

Of course, it's a selfish wish. Nothing is sadder than greatness denied the glory of post-season play, making the collapse during Donnie's one chance , against Seattle in 95, that much more heartbreaking. He, naturally, performed beyond his aging, hurting physical reality in that series.

Will Miller and Bettances be our Mattingly? Does the current state of free agency now preclude greatness from staying on a mediocre team for more than a few years? 

Or is even one pinpoint of light more than we can hope for in the immediate future?

A Memorial Day tradition: Let's celebrate the Yankees' new Bore Four

Hate to say this, but the Yankees right now are not only baseball's most boring team, but they might be the most boring entity in corporate America, after IBM and the company that imports those back-scratchers from China.

Typically, they score two runs early, and then... nothing... nada... zilch. Turn the channel, and reach for the bottle of hair tonic.

Therefore, on this Memorial Day, I propose a new Yankee tradition: THE BORE FOUR.

Think of them as the Four Bores-men of the Yankee Apocalypse.

But who belongs in this zombie-like, death-walking group?

I say Stephen Drew is a cinch, and Carlos Beltran's name pops up, almost as often as he swings and pops up. Didi Gregorious - with a few more attempted behind-the-back flips, (stick out your tongue, Didi, if you want to be like Mike) - is definitely a candidate. After that, it's a crapshot between Chris I and II - Capuano or Young, and the entire non-Betances/Miller bullpen. Garrett Jones would be there, but for his pitching.

Six losses in a row... nine out of ten... a .500 team... the Yankees

Well, here we are - right back where we started. We're like those doomed campers in the Blair Witch Project, hiking all day in the forest and finding ourselves back here... same wins as losses... except that now, Chase Headley is batting second. Gahhhh...  

An old team, hoping for miracles, watching the glaciers melt, waiting for a savior to rise up from Trenton, or Charleston, or the Dominican Summer League. We still have those 27 world championships, but it backfires to remind Redsock fans about them. They laugh at us. We're still the team of Bernie, and Mariano, and the Captain... but the gods only appeareth on special annointments, which are carefully orchestrated and monetized by management. These days, it's hard to be a Yankee fan and not be cynical. Or haunted.

Our greatest hope is the top-to-bottom, infused mediocrity of the AL East. As John Sterling repeatedly noted last night, we've played terribly, but we're still only a game and a half behind Tampa. But that's a dangerous balancing act. One of these days, Boston or Baltimore will get hot. If a team runs away from an AL East cess pool, the Wild Card will not be an option. 

Jacoby Ellsbury went out last Tuesday with a sprained knee. We have yet to win without him.

Our two front line starters - Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia - were both pummeled by Texas, a team that came to NY reputed to be among the worst in baseball.

Last night, our lineup featured nobody hitting above .279. And Brian McCann left with leg cramps.

Chris Young has turned back into a Met pumpkin. Jose Pirela has been just awful - which means he fits in seamlessly at second-base. We've been reduced to hoping that Garrett Jones will get hot - Garrett Jones (whose 2 hits last night lifted his average to .217.) We can tell ourselves that it can't get worse, but it can. One of these days, we're going to wander into a spooky old house. God help us if we go into the basement.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

On Bernie Williams Day, 'Monument Park,'' a song about him from The Baseball Project

On the day that Bernie Williams has his number retired and gets a spot in Monument Park, here's The Baseball Project's "Monument Park," about Bernie. It's from the group's recent show at the Hall of Fame. And for you trivia buffs ... before the song, they noted that Bernie is probably the only player in history who has received both votes for the Hall of Fame and a Grammy nomination.

And as for the video/audio quality ... it was taken on a cell phone, so chill out. 

(And yes, that's a redsock guy on keyboards. Sorry. It's Josh Kantor, who is actually the Fenway organist.)

Cano comes in second in Seattle Times' "biggest disappointment" poll

But three out of 10 Mariners fans see a long decade ahead, doncha know?

Will Mount Hal erupt?

Let's start with the obvious. He's not cheap.

Cheap. Not.

The questions about Hal Steinbrenner are simple: Is he alive? Is he cognative? Aware? Does he rage against the night sky? Does he scream, does he holler, does he ever go bucktooth, sit-on-a-tack crazy, the way his blustering old man did?

Is he going to do something about this sorry Yankee team? (And - frankly - does it matter?)

Yesterday, old George would have punched an elevator. Didi Gregorious would still be bussing to Columbus with a necklace of garlic and a suitcase full of strangled kittens. For weeks, George would have been huffing about how Beltran's belt is obscured by his paunch. Yesterday's Bucknerian wickets replay in RF would have sent George over the precipice. As for Stephen Drew? Dear God, let's not think about what would have happened to him. We'll only be giving the CIA torture experts ideas.

To be sure, old George probably would be shredding the organization, by now. He was Isiah Thomas before Isiah Thomas became Isiah Thomas. We must be careful about assigning too much rose-colored nostalgia to the father. There was a lost decade in there, where George messed up everything so badly that, if MLB hadn't banned him - leaving Bob Watson and Stick Michaels to clean things up - the nineties might not have brought any Yankee redemption. 

Lately, I've been wondering if Hal isn't doomed to relive his dad's chronology - but in a shorter time frame. He wins a World Series, lets the team get old, and then wanders the darkness for several years. (Which is where we are now.) Maybe it's all fated to happen. Maybe we're in a time/destiny loop, something cooked up by George Lucas in one of his Yoda deliriums.

But another loss to the Rangers, another blowout at home, on national TV... well, if George's blood runs through the veins of his son, something has gotta give. Right?

He's not cheap.

The question is, does he feel embarrassment?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

A guy who posts the best daily write-ups on Yankee farm hands

I don't know if this is legal or what, but a commenter who posts under the name "Go Win" on River Ave Blues' daily Down on the Farm report is the best thing on the Internet, if you like to track Yankee prospects. Unfortunately, most people don't go into the comments section - (life is too short, you know?) - and they miss what this guy is doing.

Thus, now and then - until they tell they me not to - I'm going to pop a few of this guy's work right here. Like I say, he posts in the comments, not as a hired hand. But check this out: It's today's write-up of last night's action in the Yankee system. My edits and additions are in italics. This is from GO WIN.

Here are today's notes:
- (Ramon) Flores (OF, Scranton) had a 3 hit game today and very quietly has pushed his batting average to .300. All the hits came on line drives, one for a double and two for singles. He now has a line drive rate over 22% which is his best career mark and a K rate that is at 14% the lowest for his career. He also has an OBP that is just a few ticks below .400. He has hit just 10 extra base hits during the season (about 23% of his hits) but he has better power than that. Flores is knocking on the door of the majors.
- (Brady) Lail (Trenton) pitched 6 innings allowing 2 runs but no earned. He allowed 5 hits and 1 walk. Lail needed just 79 pitches to complete those 6 innings showing the superior efficiency that has always (characterized) him. In his last 4 starts (including the one shortened to 0.1 innings when he was hit by a line drive) Lail has allowed just 1 run in 16.1 innings pitched. During this period he has allowed just 2 bases on balls. Lail is a very refined pitcher who has 4 offerings including a couple of FBs (in the very low 90s), a curve ball and a change up that he can control for strikes, He has middle of the rotation starter potential. I would not be surprised at all if he gets promoted to Scranton during the summer. Severino, Mitchell and Lail could provide next year the best depth of young starting pitcher at AAA that the Yankees have had in the last few years
- (Ken) Jagielo (Trenton) had a 3 hit game all on line drive singles, 2 to center field and one to the pull side to push his batting average to .302. In his last 10 games prior to today, Jagielo had been hitting 361 / 489 / 583. Jagielo's line drive rate is at 25%, the best of his career by far and the percentage of pulled fly balls is at 46%, 10% below last year showing a much more balanced all fields approach. On the negative side Jagielo made a couple of errors on defense, one fielding and one on the throw. Rough around the edges but a lot to like also.
- (Tyler) Wade (Tampa) had another multi-hit game, thanks to a fly ball double to the pull side and a grounder to drive his batting average to .324. He now has a 5 game hitting streak including 3 multi hit games in which he is OPSing over 1.000. In three of those 5 games Wade has been able to connect an extra base hit. During this stretch Wade has looked much more aggressive, selectively driving the ball to the pull side which has translated into improved gap power instead of his normal slap swing approach. If Wade can keep showing good contact skills, above average speed (15 stolen bases on the year) and improving gap power, the Yankees could have a very intriguing SS prospect in their hands.
- (Chris) Breen (Charleston) had a 3 hit game including a HR. The homer came on a fly ball to the pull side. He also had a single on a liner to the opposite field and a double on a grounder to the pull side. He now has 3 HRs in just 64 ABs in the long Leagues which is plus territory, specially for a 21 year old kid making his debut in A-. Breen was the only 20 yr old (or younger) to hit 8 HRs last year in the NYPL. There is a lot of power in this bat and the contact skills might be good enough for the power to play up. 

Could the Redsocks really be this bad?

The Boston frat-boy fan base spent last winter telling themselves how smart New Englanders are - deflating not only footballs, but baseball teams - engineering the Redsock collapse, so they would rise up and win the World Series in 2015. (I confess: I bought into this, too.)

Obviously, it's too early to count out anybody. And it's troubling to see how close Boston is to the AL East leaders, considering how few cylinders have been firing for them.

But if a few players turn out to be duds, the joke could be on Boston.

Baseball might yet provide some entertainment in 2015.

The Yankees' big problem is not pitching, hitting or fielding. It is a dark, soul-crushing boredom

Last night, I had a reason to watch the Yankees. His name was Slade Heathcott.

First time he came up, we were already down 7-0. I figured the game was over. We don't score eight runs in a weekend, much less one night. Still, I dropped what I was doing and rushed the TV. And he didn't let me down: He laced a drive to left-center, ran like a banshee, slid headfirst for a double. It was magnificent! Slade did it! Slade got a hit! (Next time up, a HUUUGE catcher's interference!) 

Listen: I putter around the house during games. Even with the speed-up rules, a game lasts far too long to sit and watch. Plus, these Yankees don't feel like a 3-hour commitment. This season, a Yankee game feels like 10 hours. It's like watching reruns of a show that wasn't good, back when you didn't know the outcome.

The Yankees' bugaboo is not mediocrity. It is that they are flat-out, excruciatingly boring.

What's the thrill in watching Carlos Beltran's quest to hit .250? Last night, John Sterling waxed apoplectic about "the new" Beltran's recently hitting spree. All I saw was a season total of 2 HRs and a .237 average. Beltan won't return to his glory days. Nor has he a Yankee backstory worth telling. They marched him in. One day, they'll march him out. When I see him - a DH playing right field - all I can think is: How long before Aaron Judge gets here?

Almost every Yankee has a concrete ceiling for what constitutes a good year. For Chase Headley, it might be 20 HRs and .260. (Which look impossible, right now.) For Stephen Drew, it might be 15 HRs and .240. When they come up, the Excitement Needle doesn't move. It doesn't even vibrate.

The current Yankees have a handful of players whose futures are not predefined by their past. There is A-Rod, who is confounding his critics. There are Pineda and Tanaka, both wild cards. Evaldi? Maybe, but he's starting to fray, as is Didi Gregorious with the bat. (Last night, the exception.) Ellsbury and Gardner seemed on the verge of breakouts - until Ellsbury got hurt.

And last night, there was Slade Heathcott.

Yes, I'm naive. A better phrase would be "dumbly optimistic." But I think Heathcott can be another Gardner. I think in his career season - maybe three years from now - he'll hit .300 and steal 30 bases, maybe add 20 HRs. His prime is ahead of him - not behind him. If he avoids injuries, who knows? Frankly, I don't care. He is so much more f==g interesting to watch than Carlos Beltran. Will he get a shot... or will we get another month of Chris Young? Or worse, will he be traded for another quick fix, somebody over 32, who is currently depressing fans in Colorado or Arizona?

This year's Yankees look like a middling team. The question is, will they be interesting?

Friday, May 22, 2015

We Score 2, They Score 3. We Score 9, They Score 10

Losing is a culture, shaped by the ability put on the field and the management thereof. We will be losers automatically by sticking to faded stars and burying younger talent.

It has always been and shall always be.

Where are they now?

Peter O'Brien, (traded to Arizona for Martin Prado) in Triple A: 9 HR, 36 RBIs, .326 BA, now an outfielder. He's 24.

Yangervis Solarte (for Chase Headley) in San Diego: 2 HR, 22 RBI, .273. He's 27.

Rafael De Paula (to San Diego for Headley): In San Diego Single A: 3-2, 2.38 (He's 24).

Manny Banuelos (for David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve) in Braves Triple A: 3-0, 2.70 ERA. He's 24.

Francisco Cervelli (for Justin Wilson) in Pittsburgh: 0 HR, 9 RBI, .286. He's 29.

Shane Greene (for Didi Gregorius) in Detroit: 4-2, 4.05 ERA. He's 26.

Shawn Kelly (for Johnny Barbato) in San Diego: 0-2, 7.59 ERA. He's 31.

Vidal Nuno (for Brandon McCarthy) is in Oakland: 0-0, 2.70 (one game) He's 27.

David Phelps (for Nathan Evaldi, Garrett Jones) is in Miami: 2-1, 3.21 (He's 28.)

Martin Prado (for Evaldi, Jones) in Miami: 2 HR, 16 RBI, 2.77 (He's 31.)

R.A. Dickey's knuckler could have been used to draw up GOP Congressional election boundries

The knuckleball. As seen on TV. 

Stolen from Redditt.

On this day last year, the Yankees fell into second place, never to rise again

Is Bryce Harper, the childhood Yankee fan, destined for LA?

Once upon a time, it was a fait accompli that Bryce Harper would become a Yankee, when his free agency status arrives in 2019. He'll be only 26... Dellin Betances' age last year. Twenty six.

This week, watching Harper come to bat, Yankee fans needed to wear bibs. We can't help but remember the drooling, slobbery eras when stars like this were destined to wear Pinstripes. Ah, but those were different times under a different ownership.

In 2019, Harper will decide where to play for the rest of his life. He grew up a die-hard Yankee fan. Maybe that gives NY an inside track. But if anybody thinks the Yankees are a certainty, they must have been smoking Randy Levine's red curly hair.

For starters, if the Nats in 2018 see Harper edging to the door, they will trade him, demanding an aircraft carrier of talent in return. Generally, the Yankees don't grow bumper crops on the farm. Nevertheless, the franchise lavished $30 million last summer on 16-year-old Latinos. That
"class of 2014" would be around 20 years old in 2018. Most would be in Single A. Hopefully, the best of them will be highly coveted, rising stars.

We would trade them, of course. The idea would be to get Harper in NY and woo him to stay.

The concern is that Harper becomes MLB's Lebron James - (who is also a big Yankee fan, and many folks thought he would surely end up coming to the Knicks.) - a star of such magnitude that he literally reshapes the dynamics of the league. If so, Harper might want to end up with a team that always contends, in a big market with nice weather, a full tap of supermodels and a media that treats celebrities like gods. Today, that team and market is the Los Angeles Dodgers. (Moreover, Harper as a Little Leaguer probably idolized Don Mattingly.) The Dodgers are currently the new Yankees. They don't seem to be worried about luxury taxes or bad contracts. Their ownership simply wants to win.

And frankly, the Boston Redsocks might be the AL version of the Yankees, too. (But hopefully, if Harper loved the Yankees, he would have hated Boston, right?)

Oh, hell... It's a lifetime away. The Republicans will be in charge, the polar caps will be a broth, California will be burning, and we'll all be dead. Why care? You can't predict baseball, I've heard it said. But, thus far, Hal Steinbrenner excels at finishing second in bidding wars. Let's just hope that in 2019, Yoan Moncada isn't the second best player in baseball. Because Lebron James liked the idea of teaming up with talent.

The Yankees may be in second, but they still lead the league in self-congratulatory praise

"I'm saying, I'm an insect who dreamed he was a man and loved it. But now the dream is over... and the insect is awake. I'm saying, I'll hurt you if you stay." 
Jeff Goldblum (as scientist Seth Brundle) in "The Fly" (1986)... summing up the 2015 Yankees.

Yesterday, the Yankees fell into 2nd place in the AL East, arguably the worst division in baseball. Unless they regain the lead, they will have failed to outlast the sorry 2014 Yankees, who held first until May 22, and the even-sorrier 2013 version, which somehow lasted until May 24. 

Already, Hal Steinbrenner is promising trade deadline deals, vowing to fortify this listing ghost ship with a new gaggle of vets who have outstayed welcomes in other cities. It's the new midsummer tradition: The Yankees' flea market splurge.

What will then follow is yet another wave of Yankee front office bow-taking. Alfonso Soriano, what a steal! The Yankees pried loose Chase Headley and gave up nothing! Chris Young, what a pick-up! How does Brian Cashman do it! 

The Yankees may be in second, but they still lead all of baseball in premature self-ejaculatory praise. It couldn't be more blatant if Brian Cashman addressed the world on an Air Force carrier in front of a sign that said "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED."   

It's not just the YES Network and John Sterling's "Driven (Insane) by Jeep" blatherings. They are paid to sell the team. But even though they know better, the NY courtier sports press seems unable to help itself in prematurely praising the Yankee front office. Stephen Drew, what a steal! The Yankees pried loose Nathan Evaldi and gave up nothing! How does Brian Cashman do it!

"... their bullpen is every bit as good as general manager Brian Cashman hoped it would be when he overhauled it," marveled MLB.Com in late April. 

And now... well... second place. The dream is probably over. They'll hurt us if we stay.

Which we will. We have no choice. Let me apologize in advance for the things I will say this summer about the team I have been blessed and condemned to love. 

In the great days of our last dynasty - a previous Millennium, by the way - the team constantly bumbled through May, like a fighter warming up. Then they gelled in July and August. These Yankee teams seem to always be built to win this week's games, with the notion that next week, somebody new will pop from the waiver wire. If you bounce around the Yankee blogs, how much time do they spend speculating on possible scrap heap pickups? We are in an endless cycle of tired players replacing tired players. 

They are nice men, for the most part. Seriously. I never wanted to dislike Carlos Beltran. He's had a great career. Why did we have to get him at the end of it? Seriously. It's no fun to rip Chris Capuano. But when the Yankees spend the last month promoting his return, as if all will be OK when he gets here, well, it's impossible not to be disappointed. Years ago, Jason Giambi had it right when he said the fans only boo because they want to cheer. Yet the Yankees consistently punt on young players and drink from well of yesterday's all-stars - (Want to throw up? Compare the stats of Yangervis Solarte and Headley) - and in the meantime, we constantly hear how smart they are... as if we cannot even see the standings.

I hope I'm wrong here, but hope doesn't buy us anything. The Yankees are stuck in an old B-movie. And they keep awarding themselves Oscars.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The 2013 Yankees held first place until May 24; can this year's team beat them?

Magic Number Revisited

The magic number is 2, remember?

Once we eke out our 2 runs, and no other offense appears via home runs, the Yankees are finished for the day.  No extra base hits, no lead-off hitters on base.  Just an endless, and boringly predictable, series of strike outs, meek ground balls, and pop-ups....some, reaching the outfield.

As soon as Washington had two runs, I knew the game was over.  Sure, it could have gone 13 innings, or 22 innings, but we had lost.  Do the math;  2 + 0 = 2.  The Yankees cannot seem to score again, once we get a two spot up on the board. Even mighty A-Rod, pinch hitting with two out in the 9th, went down looking  ( lousy call, by the way.  That ump must have had some fat chick waiting for him at Denny's ).

Seriously, the Yankees can create absolutely no threat.  They are hard to watch.  Ugly.  Uninteresting.  Boring.

So back to NYC, now, to celebrate the great Bernie Williams. 

I contrast his work with the lumbering, fat, over-paid bulbous Beltran who, last night, after chugging 40 yards after a lazy, foul pop-up, simply gave up on it.  To save his body, no doubt, for another 0-4 night.  The "out' he did not convert, by the way, became a man on base which became the winning run.  Or, ;osing run in the Yankee's case.

I really wonder what has poisoned Girardi's brain.  He has a guy in right field who can't run 15 feet, has a rubber arm, and is pounding the rock at a .220 clip when he is hot.

Just disgraceful.

Love you , Bernie.

Hal Steinbrenner to fans: Don't worry. Come June, we'll once again trade our future for a bunch of over-the-hill salary dumps

Yesterday, as the Yankees continued their new tradition - "the Memorial Day Collapse" - boy-owner Hal "I'm Not Cheap" Steinbrenner took to his media soapbox to assure fans that the franchise has learned absolutely nothing from the last two years, and that it will continue the July trade deadline practice of larding up with useless contracts in pursuit of a respectable mediocrity.

Steinbrenner said last summer's acquisitions of Stephen Drew, Chase Headley, Chris Capuano, Brendan McCarthy and Martin Prado were so successful - the team nearly won the away-field berth in the new, single-game Wild Card - that he can't wait to do it again. Hal told the NY Post:

“I’m not afraid to spend money. I never am. You know that. So when July rolls around, the trade deadline rolls around, we’re going to see where we’re really deficient and we’ll do what we can.”

Music to our ears, eh?

Cheer up, campers. Instead of whining about the team losing seven out of its last eight, let's start imagining the incoming Salary Dump Class of '15. (Doesn't "salary dump" sound like something that happens four hours after you've eaten clams?) Something tells me Ryan Howard and Grady Sizemore could be coming our way! Hey, we can start perusing that Diamondback roster as if it's the menu at Applebee's! Could Vidal Nino be ours? Let the excitement begin!

And don't worry about trading prospects. Once they're gone, multiple Yankee truth squads will assure us that they were mere illusions, who were never going to make it anyway. (SEE O'BRIEN, PETER; BANUELOS, MANNY, ET AL.) Those high prospect rankings from last winter? They were disinformation campaigns, designed to confuse other teams. And it worked! The Yankees will use their "big market advantage" to steal - dare we imagine Aaron Hill in Pinstripes? - Frankly, who cares? It'll be somebody, anybody, who played in an all-star game about 10 years ago, when he was 25.

Did you know that Chase Utley is only batting .159? For the right price, we could have Utley and Drew - the most overpaid and light-hitting SS-2B combo in history. Ladies and gentlemen... this is the stuff of mythology!

Thus, Hal's team can chase yet another Wild Card... which means hovering around .500, which means no top free agent next winter without forfeiting a 1st-round pick, but who cares? it'll be mid-round anyway. Moreover, the Yankees cannot sign a high-priced international free agent next year; they splurged last summer on a bunch of 16-year-old Latinos. They're all spending their millions now. ETA in Pinstripes? Oh, let's say 2020. Is Jackson Melian still out there?

Last week, Hal's Yankees went 1-5 against Kansas City and Washington. Moreover, they looked like a team that didn't even belong on the same field.

Those two franchises built contenders the old-fashioned way. They came in dead last for practically a decade. Under the new reality, that's how you do it: Just suck so badly that you are rewarded year after year with the highest draft picks. Eventually, a Bryce Harper falls your way.

Maybe one of these years the Yankees will collapse - so completely that Hal cannot patch the wounds with old fat guys in their career death spirals. Maybe someday, we'll draft first.

Something to look forward to, eh?