Wednesday, April 23, 2014
For starters, you surely know this letter is overdue. I've hesitated to write it, because it's only April. But after last night, you must know the reality of what I'm about to say...
It. Is. Ovah.
Yes. It's no longer 2013. And what a year that was! Your city healed from tragedy. Your aging stars returned to form. Your rookies emerged. Your team, your town, and your personal self-image rose to dizzying new heights. This was your Hoosiers, your Remember the Titans, your Brian's Song and - though I really hate to say it - your Pride of the Yankees season. You could do no wrong. When you put on a Hawaiian shirt, everybody thought you were Don frickin' Ho.
And now... It. Is. Ovah.
We both know Dustin Pedroia's body won't make it through 2014, that Big Papi looks like he's eaten several small children, and that Jackie Bradley Jr. is no Jacoby Ellsbury. You spent last winter telling yourself Xander Bogaerts will be a star - and he might be, someday - but this year, he's still learning. This year, Beanie Boy, you're facing a long downhill slog.
Believe me, we Yankee fans know what it's like. You've got your fingers clawing hard into the chalkboard, making that loud grating squeal. And it's only April. You'll be digging into that slate board for another four months. By July, your fingers will be bleeding. You'll have a week or two when everything clicks, and you think it's still 2013, and you're actually going to climb that wall... But the sound of those fingernails turning into pulp... that's what will get you. That's what will make you finally let go.
You had a good year. It was a great team. Be thankful. Tip the waitress. Toast the chef. Keep the scrapbook handy. And deal with the reality.
It. Is. Ovah.
It did look, until yesterday, that he might fool the world and become a key rookie for the Yankees. I was even thinking, " position rookie of the year " ( or not ).
What we saw in yesterday's game, was Solarte's inability to adjust as a hitter. The league initially felt they could just sit him down with fastballs. That proved a fallacy. But the league now knows it will be the "devil" breaking ball that does him in.
It is the same problem yours truly had as an up 'n comer back in the day. I couldn't hit the breaking ball, and I couldn't adjust. It is the same problem we all had, right? Otherwise, we would all be talking about our days in the big leagues.
I have to ask; is Solarte learning pitch selection from Ichiro? And by that I mean; "walks don't exist" and there is "no such thing as taking a pitch." He was swinging wildly at everything that was offered. In the dirt or over his head; it did not matter. The difference, of course, is that Ichiro does hit the ball almost everytime.
Haven't we seen this problem before with a hitter who never, ever takes a walk?
Clearly, Solarte looks better from the left side of the plate than the right, and his respective averages show that. But I doubt that the Yankees would trust him now to hit only from the left side. Although, if his right side average gets into the single digits, they can't do any worse by converting him to a full time lefty hitter.
The traditional thing to say now, for the non negative optimists in the Nu-JU environment, is that he "still fielded exceptionally well" ( even when he nearly got Tex killed on the bunt throw out at first). That steady defense is a good sign, right, even when a batter draws the "golden sombrero" on a night when everyone else was killing the Boston pitching?
I really hope this kid has it in him to overcome, be cool, develop a batting eye, improve his selectivity and score some hits. But his offense decline has happened like a fall off a cliff, and some of his strikeouts last night looked, well, amateurish. Like a young player clearly over-matched.
Think we'll see Kelly Johnson at third tonight?
I hope not. But it isn't far away.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
P.S.- Photoshop's clearly my strong suit.
It is high, it is far, it is... called back by instant replay: John's first Ellsbury home run call is nullified
Ells... BURIES one. It's a JACK by Jacoby.
The wait is over. Now, we simply need a home run call that lasts five minutes.
He must have realized when he took the money that there wouldn't be the usual Yankee Around-Rob hitters that forced opposing hurlers to pitch to him and be serious about it. What this might do to his previously HOF-lock projected stats is anybody's guess at this point. A few years of Seattle no-names and disappointing signings--by which time the ownership will disappear into their previous penny pinching prejudices--and his career stats could take a serious hit.
If this keeps up, it might 'jog' his memory about why it was great to be a Yankee. Nyuck nyuck.
As Boston prepares to unleash Ell on Ellsbury, should the Yankiverse temper our anger at Robbie Cano?
Tonight, we will once again remember why Fenway Park remains the world's largest roach motel for seething, trust-fund Harvard frat-boys and rich silver-haired harumphs, whose main contribution to society is the invention of new DWI legal defenses, based on the use of prescription sleep aids. They will boo Jacoby Ellsbury until they cough up Ambien. Then they will drink, re-energize, and boo him harder.
No problem. In a Zen Matrix type of way, this boo-fest needs to happen. They need to feel oppressed. They need an easy target. But listen carefully, folks, because tonight's loud and bile-filled thunder will be the noise made by frogs under a computer-generated full moon. They will be booing a straw man, conveniently created by the Redsocks-owned media and its billionaire ownership.
Boston simply didn't want to give Ellsbury the five-year deal that players at his age need for long-term security. In fact, since 2010, the Redsock organization had been questioning his loyalty and suggesting he would always leave for the West Coast. How joyous they were when Jackie Bradely Jr. had a great 2013 spring training (though it remains his high-water mark.) And whenever Ellsbury was hurt - diving for a ball or sliding into a base - the Redsock Nation collectively inscribed a permanent black mark on his personnel card. At times, they even mongered rumors that he wasn't really hurt at all, he was just enjoying his time off. Well, now he's an evil Yankee, and now he will pay the price. "It's out of my hands," Ellsbury told the NY Times yesterday, of his anticipated reception. "I gave that organization everything I had when I stepped on that field." He did. He's giving us all he has. Tonight, he'll hear what high-minded Boston thinks about it. It would be less cold if he were riding in the wheel-well of a Boeing 707.
Which brings us to Robbie, who comes to NYC next Tuesday. And yes, if you look into the upper left-hand corner of this blog, you'll know that I have not exactly been the most level-headed fan on the subject of the jogger. Part of my anger stems from what I consider to have been a foolish decision made by Cano. I think he would have been better off as a life-long Yankee, who would have received his final over-valued contract just as Jeter did. I think Cano was manipulated into becoming a notch on Jay-Z's sports agency's belt; a night at the Grammys with Beyonce will do that to a guy. (It would work with me.) I think Cano will spend the better part of his final years wondering why he chased so much money that he will never see, with so much of it vanishing down the hole of management fees and entourage costs. Oh, well. You make your bed.
But... should we boo Robbie?
No. No, no, no. Of course, not.
OK, think with me: Wouldn't it glorious if the Yankiverse a week from now simply decided to thank Cano for the great years he gave us, and then moved on? No booing. A pleasant cheer, maybe a standing recognition that players are human, and they instinctively chase money the way Lawrence Taylor once chased quarterbacks. Let him know we remember. Don't get me wrong. I'll still post the Robbie Goldfinger updates. (There's a difference between snark and booing. I believe snark is a higher evolved form of boarishness.) But I won't even boo the TV.
But tonight, let's take notes. Let's see how Boston does it... and let's NOT be them.
Monday, April 21, 2014
2. He's already replaced Nova, and that's how the Yankees always do everything: They go with a guy until he totally screws up, and then they make a change.
3. He's a better pitcher than Adam Warren and David Phelps, who have been getting cuffed around lately.
4. We don't have enough prospects to trade for a front line starter.
5. He's a better pitcher than Alfredo Aceves, who is still rehabbing not only his arm, but his reputation.
6. The cool name, Vidal. It has a Yankee connection! Gore Vidal wrote historical novels about the Civil War, with those "damn Yankees."
7. He wears number 57, the magical jersey that was once worn by Hensley Meulens, Ramiro Mendoza, Tucker Ashford and Scott Proctor - some of the all-time great-sounding names. Joe Borowski, too!
8. The last name "Nuno." It has exactly the same amount of letters as Nova, and it takes up exactly the same space. Weird, huh? In fact, to make the switch, the Yankees only need a "u" and a lower case "n." You could almost change it with a pen, by converting "uno" to "ova."
9. Good grief, Miley Cyrus may be dying in a Kansas City hospital. This is no time to throw a monkey wrench into her recovery by moving somebody up from Scranton that she's never heard of. For that matter, even if we wanted to sabotage Miley's recovery by bringing somebody up from Scranton that she's never heard of, we have nobody in Scranton who is worth bringing up, that she's never heard of. But wait a minute: Why would we want to sabotage Miley Cyrus? Because she's a competitor with Lady Gaga? (a Yankee fan, by the way.) Hmm. That would make sense. Still, there's nobody in Scranton except for some guy named Billings. If Miley hears the Yankees are bringing up "Billings," would that put her over the edge?
10. Because ten point lists are goddamm difficult, and if you think otherwise, you should try one sometime. The fact is, at a certain point, you just have to go with the idea that Vidal Nuno will replace Ivan Nova, and you don't need to nitpick over the reasons. Jeez. You wanted ten? OK, you got ten. GET OFF MY LAWN.
As Duque pointed out, he has 4 errors in 5 games.
Before we get too excited about the disappearance of Tex's remaining skill (offense having deserted him already, hastened by the shift, and speed never being in the mix to start with), remember what he said this past weekend. He's "a little rusty" after not having played regularly for about a full season.
A little rusty? This is a little rusty (next to the immortal Sherry Jackson). Tex feels more like the Oxidationsphere from the World's Fair out in Flushing.
Hope someone pours a few Cokes on him and goes at him with a steel wool pad very soon.
Enjoy the rest, Yankees. Relax. Soothe those aching muscles. Have a cool one.
Boston tomorrow night. They came back, late, from 5-0 Baltimore lead.
Kick back. Get that magic back in the bullpen arms. Get Tex a new glove.
Boston tomorrow night. They came back, late, from 5-0 Baltimore lead.
Sleep until noon. Have a leisurely lunch down by the harbor. Have a lobster.
Boston tomorrow night. Etc.
Last week, after the Yankees took three from Beard Town, and then stomped the Tampaoans in game one, I found myself so confident about this team that I actually pondered the possibility of winning six in a row. What absurdity! What hubris! I was drunk and stoned, babbling like Sally Field, incoherent from a cocktail of Ecstasy, Oxycontin, Boddington's and Yangervis. Most of all, I was sure we would win Friday.
Idiot. That's what I was. A pro-Yankee clod.
Sunday, after being flogged for 48 hours, and watching Ivan Nova board the Chien-Ming Wang train to Nowhere, I was sure the Yankees would lose to Tampa in some excruciating, permanently traumatizing way. I watched the late innings with remote in hand, prepared to snap-off the TV before the Tampa home run even landed. I paced the house, formulating acid-laced blog posts, planning to boil the entire Steinbrenner family in oil, condemning the Yankees in boldface italics! On this Easter Sunday, a day reserved for families, the Yankees were going to know that each of them was a disappointment to his parents.
And we won.
So... I go this.
If we think this team will win, it will lose.
If we expect it to lose, it will win.
That doesn't mean we have to constantly spit negativity. After Yankee victories, I can't always do that. But we must prime the pump. Once the juju is flowing, it moves on its own. That's how Boston won last year. You didn't find Redsock fans in April breast-beating over their team. Nobody claimed Johnny Gomes as lord and savior. They expected fourth place. That's what we must do.
If we don't believe we can win this thing, we can win this thing!
We don't have to scream about how bad the Yankees are. We can celebrate victory. But personally, privately, I am going to steel myself - discipline myself, like a great martial arts warrior - to not believe in anything hopeful that I write, even in the aftermath of a great Yankee victory. (Note: Every Yankee victory is a great Yankee victory.) For example, Dean Anna yesterday inscribed himself into Yankee lore. If he never does anything else, come 2030, there will still be lines of Yankee fans in front of his table in the Ramada, where he is signing 8x10 glossies. And Foghorn Claiborne might be sitting next to him, while a video loop shows Ichiro catching the final out. I have no doubt that these two career role players saved the entire Yankee 2014 season. Until tomorrow.
So, you are asking: Why does el Duque sound so happy and buoyant about the Yankees? That is a ruse, of course. From now on, even in the big bang euphoria of a Yankee triumph, such as yesterday, when we write and say good things about this Yankee team, we shall be secretly without hope. If we quietly expect defeat, we will win! Dammit, we can do thing! But we won't. But we could! But we won't. BUT WE COULD! (But surely we won't.)
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Will he understand that it is a baseball game, and throw some pitches that don't bounce before they reach the batter?
Will he totally suck as he did in his last relief gig?
Will he be given 90 or so pitches by Girardi, even if they are all in the first inning?
Will he be in Scanton by tomorrow, learning how to play first base?
Will any of us have any hope for the rest of the year?
Will he lay a basket of eggs or just one large one?
Sorry about the rambling. But Yankee baseball was supposed to be an escape. What do you do when you need an escape from your escape?
About last night...
1. Something tells me Ivan Nova's grand experiment with the New York Baseball Yankees has ended. The final verdict: He is the latest in a long line of Doc Medich, Bill Burbach, John Cumberland, Domingo Jean, Sam Militello... etc. Last night, he went for an MRI. The imaging is going to look like Syracuse radar during a spring thunderstorm. He will go on the DL. He will soon be pitching in Scranton again. I think this car has run its course.
2. Talk about Easter? It took two - not three - days for us to resurrect the
3. Suddenly, the rotation - our great hope - has blown a tire. Vidal Nuno and/or David Phelps (neither of whom has pitched well) is now our fifth starter. Once again, the Yankees are looking at Scranton, and once again, there is nobody there but left-overs from the past. We can try to look hopeful about Alfredo Aceves, but it doesn't negate the fact that everybody else in baseball recently passed on him.
4. Tomorrow, for the first time, Yangervis Solarte faces a team for the second time. The league will be watching to see how Boston pitches him, and what he does. It's been fun seeing him in the lineup. But the Matrix is about to change.
5. Let's face it: Our big hitters simply cannot adjust to overshifts. They will not temper their swings. They will not bunt. That ship has sailed, my friends. So in all future projections, we need to knock 20 points off the BA's and live with it. That means Brian McCann, Mark Teixeira and Alfonso Soriano could hit a collective .220. They might smack 90 HRs, and they'll walk a lot. But how far can three .220 hitters in the middle of your lineup take you?
6. Unlike last year, a couple of our top prospects have gotten off to nice starts. Mason Williams and Junior Bichette have hit well. That big guy, Aaron Judge, looks promising. So does Jagiello, last year's top pick. But nobody is going to help us this year. And the most pertinent question is probably whether we will trade some of them in June for yet another pensioner. But at least we will have chips to deal. Last year, we didn't.
7. If anybody cares, we are still tied for first. Something tells me this isn't Boston's year. (Though we could resurrect them, beginning tomorrow.) But Tampa is alive and well, the O's have a powerful lineup - soon to improve with Manny Machado - and Toronto just returned Jose Reyes. We could be a fourth place team.
8. Nova's continued elbow soreness reminds us of Pineda's sensitivity. How far dare we expect him to go? A hundred innings? A hundred fifty? Will the Yankees shut him down, if he continues to pitch well? This could be a huge issue in June.
9. Last night, John Sterling sounded demoralized. Not since Mel Allen puked on himself during the 1963 World Series has a Voice of the Yankees sounded so grim, so dismayed. The Master knows two secrets of this world. There is no Easter Bunny. And you CAN predict baseball.
Saturday, April 19, 2014
These last two days are beginning to resemble the season many of us expected, due to an aging franchise with no young talent anywhere. And we saw some signs of failure even when taking two from the Cubs, as we left too many " ducks on the pond."
I thought the emergence of Solarte might have dispelled that concern about no, high ceiling young prospects, but we are seeing a total collapse right now.
As they say in the Bible; " the wheels are coming off the fucking bus!"
Is this because we traded Jesus?
We'll learn tomorrow if Tanaka is as good as we hope.
This came from a commentator named zumiee and was posted on Feb. 28. I think it's brilliant. In the spirit of all those who would mock The Master - you know who you are - here's a send-up on the man generally regarded as the greatest baseball announcer ever.
If you can’t poke fun at Vin Scully once in a while, what that heck. After watching two Vinny-called games in a row, here’s my Vinny impersonation:
“Bill Jones steps into the batter’s box. Jones went to high school in Mountain Home, Idaho. His wife just gave birth to twins. Jones likes to watch action movies and play the guitar. He thinks french toast is over-rated.
And that’s a called third strike. I remember the time when Gil Hodges told me that the secret to avoiding the called third strike is to watch the pitcher’s eyes, and see which side of the plate he’s staring at.
The plate is 18 inches wide. But sometimes it seems like it’s 16 inches wide, or maybe 20, depending who the umpire is that day. I remember the time when Sandy Koufax told me that homeplate umpires are like birds of a different feather. Koufax pitched for the Dodgers for several years. He’s in the Hall of Fame now. And speaking of the Hall of Fame, Bill Russell won’t be in the Hall of Fame, but he was an outstanding shortstop. He used to be an outfielder, but they converted him to shortstop. That happens sometimes in baseball, heh, heh.”
I know that I did everything the same.
I sautéed up the same raw cashews in the same devil mixture. I drank the same Crown Royal cocktails with a twist. I used the same, store bought ice. I even wore the same clothes.
And we were "trippin." This was one of the smoothest repeat wins we would enjoy all year.
The Yanks blasted out a four run lead and the world looked like it was under the command of the season's first JU-JU intervention. Even my man, Solarte, started off with a solid base hit. Our Sizemore proved that he is a major league hitter, clearing the bases with a deep double to left-center.
I poured a fresh cocktail right then and there, grabbed a handful of greasy nuts and kicked back.
Before I could veg out in ecstasy, the lead was down to two. runs Then every relief pitcher we put in got rocked. I mean, everyone sucked and Phellps got nailed. Adam Warren was throwing batting practice. Dean Anna would have hit .400 against him. It was like doubles and home runs were on sale, and the Bay Rays belly'd up to the rail.
Another dark horse of mine from spring training imploded.
Note to local authorities: Cabral has to be removed from major league baseball. His pitching constituted a felony in most states ( not Texas or Massachusetts ). Either jail time or a roofing gig in Ecuador. But no more baseball. Please.
What I want to know is, " who blew it?" someone, or some cadre of followers, failed to repeat, exactly, the rituals of the day before.
SOMEONE VIOLATED THE JU-JU COMMAND AND WE HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW WHO DID IT, WHEN, HOW AND WHY.
Consequently, I have sent a formal complaint " upstairs," and await a response. I have even volunteered to pay Ed Snowden's expenses, and a "kicker " to Vladimir to help us uncover the truth.
I will not accept that the first JU-JU intervention of this young season was a trip to the toilet.
Friends, Yankees, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to waive Cesar, not to praise him. The bean balls that pitchers throw live after them; The strikes are oft interred with their bones; So let it be with Cesar Cabral...
We have now suffered two excruciating, life-sucking losses in the last week - yet they sandwiched a nice, cuddly little winning streak. So who is this team? Is it any good? Has this been an acid flashback? (If so, how? Because I never did acid!) Did we hit the ice berg last night? Or can Nova, Tanaka and Pineda reboot us?
Friday, April 18, 2014
I received the JU-JU rallying cry this morning to continue doing exactly what we have been doing to continue the win streak. And we all know that this is not a request, not a suggestion, but a command.
Last night, as I watched the Yanks, I was enjoying cocktails laced primarily with ice, crown royal, a twist of lemon and a splash of seltzer. I had sautéed some raw cashews in hot oil and sea salt spiked with the infamous, " ghost chili pepper."
Needless to say, between the yanks success, the cashews and the cocktails, I was in fine spirits. The thing is, in a high scoring game, one can consume a lot of salty nuts in nine innings. And with the added spice of that spiked sea salt, I needed to drink a lot of cold liquid. So, 3/4 of a bottle later ( I maintain that a fifth is no longer a fifth), I found myself feeling zero pain, but needing a lot of rest.
Today, I am moving slowly and cautiously. The prospect of repeating the same ritual tonight present a huge dilemma;
Do I begin drinking with YES's batting practice coverage at 6pm, or wait until the first pitch?
Penning his American saga
Will shut down many major league clubs
But for now must settle for the Cubs.
JUJU ALERT: The Yankees are on a roll, which means we must do EVERYTHING exactly as we have been doing it
Last night, I whined about the Yankees. It wasn't easy, and frankly, it made no sense. I did it anyway, because of the first (and most important) IRON RULE OF JUJU.
Never change underwear in a winning streak.
I screamed at the TV during the 8th inning, with the Yankees leading 8-2. Dellin Betances came into the game and promptly walked a batter. It occurred to me how much it REALLY, REALLY, REALLY SUCKS when every Yankee starter pitches late into games with quality outings, because our mop-up men in the bullpen don't get enough work, causing control problems. "DAMN YOU, CASHMAN," I screamed. "DAMN YOU, YOU'VE DONE IT TO ME AGAIN!"
Right now, Yankee fans are frolicking naked in a vast field of nipples. Everything, everything, is going our way. We put guys at first base who have never even played the position, and they make McCoveyian scoops on throws to finish triple plays. We lose David Robertson, and nobody blows a save opportunity. Three out of four against Boston. Two out of two against the Cubbies. We hit Tampa and find they no longer have Matt Moore and Randall Cobb: It's like confronting the Hulk, and he turns into Bruce Banner.
Whatever you doing at home, on your juju couch, in your juju pod, in your juju launching pad... MAKE NO CHANGES.
Mustang, somebody, anybody, we need another Sammy Davis Jr. video. I plan to recreate my entire schedule from Thursday, and that includes dental surgery. I don't care how ripe your socks get. This is how you win pennants. (Redsock fans last year never changed their underwear after April 17th, hence the phrase "Boston strong.") It's not easy, but we need to keep this thing going. For the team..
On that note, keeping the ancient Jerry Van Dyke 1970s/car thing theme...
In the name of Brian C, Montalban...
I LIKE WHAT THEY HAVE DONE TO MY CAR!
Thursday, April 17, 2014
It has been a long, long time since I watched a day/night double header where the Yankees shut out the opponent in both games.
It is immaterial that I recognized not a single name from the Cubs line-up. I understand they are committed to a re-building program. Good for them.
A win is a win, right? They all count.
But think about this, for a moment; The Cubs' pitching staff ended yesterday with a 2.0 ERA in both games ( I assume that the run we scored on, " catcher interference, " gets recorded as unearned on the pitcher's record).
What I am trying to say is that the Yankees are not showing enough offense to beat decent teams. If you look carefully, our efficiency yesterday with runners in scoring position was quite pathetic.
Nonetheless, two shutouts in a row was great theater.
I was pleased that the Yankees brought up John Ryan Murphy rather than Romine, and that Murphy got a hit in the nightcap. He also looked pretty good behind the plate. Could he be a legit catching prospect?
I still remember Anna's HR from a week or so ago ( his last base hit?). But what happened to the dude with a plus .400 on-base percentage from AAA? Will he get comfortable and break out, or do we have a .150 guy as our utility infielder?
Solarte is beginning to look like a real player to me, and I didn't think we had any young position players with potential ( except, of course, for the depth at catcher we always proclaim).
I am also amazed with Kelly Johnson's work at first base. And he is pretty quick, going down the line to first.
Is our Sizemore related to their Sizemore? I gather that ours has MLB experience and is not a rookie.
Needless to say, our pitching staff is getting it done. They are the key.
Ah, but then there are the wild cards, Tanaka and Pineda. What should we expect from them? Well, I dunno. Neither do you. Neither does Girardi, nor any of Gammonites, nor Tanaka and Pineda. Nobody knows. They shutout a tomato can yesterday, but they've looked incredible thus far. Who knows?
For a rare moment, the Yankees actually have young players whose ceilings are not carved into concrete blocks. It's a strange feeling, the one we used to get with rookies - remember rookies? It's the charge you felt when Bernie Williams' batting average kept rising, and one day they decided to move him from ninth in the batting order to third. It's the sensation you had when Robbie Cano started hitting for power AND average. The Yankees haven't felt this excited about a player since Robbie's first ribbie. And holy crap, now we have two!
Listen: The Master is right. You cannot predict baseball. But you sure can predict the New York City hype machinery, and you can hear the engine starting to rev.
The baseball world is about to explode with hype over the Yankees' two 25-year-old starters. Imagine TWO Matt Harveys at once. Think in terms of insanely exaggerated comparisons: Koufax and Drysdale quickly come to mind. Sports Illustrated must be pondering its covers. The tabs surely are honing their headlines. ESPN is lining up its Sunday nights. Obama and Putin are watching their schedules.
Dear God... The Yankees have TWO Ubaldos, TWO Harveys, TWO Dice Ks, TWO Darvishes - and nobody knows how good either could be. Fasten your seat belts, everybody. It's about to get really noisy, at least two out of every five days.
I'm all for the Yankees celebrating Nelson Mandela, but he never once set foot in the giant concrete dog dish where they now play
Sorry, but you can't have it both ways.
Nelson Mandela never visited this Yankee Stadium. He never ate in the Yankee Steakhouse, never perused the Grand Concourse, never frooged in the disco. He once visited the Bronx, donned a Yankee cap and told the world, "Today, I am a Yankee," and he walked in an area that is now a parking lot.
I'm good with the Yankees remembering that historical moment. But when they do, they should also be held accountable for tearing down that historical marker. If Nelson Mandela's visit was so important to them, why did they knock it down and try to sell off every single blade of grass?
Well, whenever they hold a historical ceremony, I feel compelled to note the reality of what the Yankees traded, in the name of progress and tax breaks. They once had a stadium that possessed the history of Fenway Park, of Wrigley Field, and any sports facility in America. Growing up, I never imagined anyone - not the Nazis, not the Commies, not even the aliens - could ever tear down Yankee Stadium. The last thing I thought would be that the Yankees would do it.
The British didn't tear down Westminster Abbey to build a brand new one, featuring a Hard Rock Cafe. The French don't seem inclined to knock down the Louvre and put up a modern museum, rewired for improved WiFi access. Hate to be a downer here, but New York City preferred to have a parking lot mark the historical location where Ruth and Gehrig once played, and where Mandela walked.
We tore it down.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
For Sunday night’s game against the Red Sox, first baseman Francisco Cervelli, second baseman Yangervis Solarte, shortstop Dean Anna and third baseman Kelly Johnson totaled 19 career starts at their positions. Since 1915, the previous low for Yankees starting infield had been 26 for the quartet of Mike Hegan, Horace Clarke, Bobby Murcer and Mike Ferraro on Sept. 10, 1966, according to STATS.
1966....how'd that season turn out for youse guys, Hal? Let's ask Mr. Wiki:
The team finished with a record of 70-89, finishing 26.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles...It was the first time they had finished in last place since 1912, their last year at the Hilltop. On September 22, paid attendance of 413 was announced at the 65,000-seat Yankee Stadium. WPIX announcer Red Barber asked the TV cameras to pan the empty stands as he commented on the low attendance. Although denied the camera shots on orders from the Yankees' head of media relations, he said, "I don't know what the paid attendance is today, but whatever it is, it is the smallest crowd in the history of Yankee Stadium, and this crowd is the story, not the game."
I'm looking forward to those cheap late-season tickets on StubHub. A great send-off for our Captain.
The Yankees are trying, already, to drive on fumes.
Derek and Roberts need rest and the rain gods gave them another day. Even Solarte looks a little beaten down, and could do with a game off. He got it.
The bullpen is stretched so thin you can see holes in the cheese. Robertson needs weeks of rest ( we all know how those groin injuries plague one ) but a Cubs game put off until, "sometime later," helps.
Shawn Kelly can't go three games in a row. And so it goes.
In the world series of ( fill in the correct date ), the then Milwaukee Braves had only 2 good pitchers. Warren Spahn ( 300 game winner ) and Johnny Sain. They only needed two days rest, plus the normal series travel breaks, to be effective again ( unlike the 90 pitch limits of today ). Hence, the Braves "prayed for rain" and got it.
So did we, yesterday.
In fact, today I awoke to 3 inches of snow, 25 mile an hour winds, and a high ( later ) of 40 degrees.
Not good baseball weather. Not good for aging legs and arms.
Give Derek and Roberts a blanket and let them stay loose in the clubhouse. We'll need them later.
For he hath squatted behind the plate of Yankee farms and fields, a worshipper of King Hal, son of George and partner of Rupert. And Francisco hath spent many years toiling in the trenches of Trenton, and the scrapyards of Scranton. Yet his future appeared fertile and ripe for a deal of multi-years, until one day Satan said unto God:
"O, Lord of Yankees, I see that your loyal servant Cervelli praises you each day, because you have given him hits and health. But what would happen if he were to suffer pain in the training of springs? Would his nose taketh on a different color than brown? Instead of worshipping your network of YES, would he not crouch and pray to the channels of NO?"
And God replieth:
"Get out, Satan, with thy socks of red! Thou art worse than New Hampshire shucking lost shillings upon Schilling! But I shall showeth you that my servant Francisco loveth the Yankees more than any creature alive. I shall send unto him a plague of plagues. And ye shall see that he still worshipeth the Yankee network, driven by Jeep, and protected by Cellino and Barnes."
And so in 2008, Francisco was tending the plate of home, when a barbarian from the Hooters ovens of Tampa crashed upon him, cracking his wrist. And Francisco cried out, "O Yankee God, thou hath forsaken me! But I shalt not slacken in my love for thee."
And so the Lord sent his avenger, Shelley Duncan, to claw a Tampa shortstop in his hood of man, launching a clearing of bench and spittle. And for a year, Francisco healed and then played.
But the following spring, Satan returned and sayeth: "Hey, what about our bet on your servant Francisco? Isn't it time to whacketh his mole again?"
And in a game of spring, God sent a ball of bean to Francisco's noggin, and he suffereth mighty aches and grains of mi. But Francisco still sayeth: "O, Yankee God, I shalt not slacken in my love for thee!"
And the following spring, God breaketh Francisco's foot, and he limp for months. But still he sayeth: "O, Yankee God, though this is getting staleth, I shalt not slacken in my love for thee!"
And the following spring, on the day before spring training endeth, as Francisco was packing his camel for the New city of York, God tradeth for Chris Stewart, son of Molina. And Francisco was banished to Scranton, which had itself been exiled unto a caravan on the New state of York's Thruway. And lo, Frankie sayeth: "O Yankee God, this truly sucketh, and it would not bothereth me if thou were to trade me, because how many Thruway Sbaro's can a loyal servant eat in? But I shalt not slacken in my love for thee!"
And the following spring, Francisco returneth and was named starting catcher in the House of Steinbrenner. And so God breaketh his hand on a tip of foul. And before Francisco could returneth and express his love for the Yankees, he was exiled by Commissioner Bud, son of Bowie, for fifty games, for he hath associated with A-Rod, cousin of Barry, and friend to Biogenisis. And nobody mentioneth Francisco for the rest of the season of ball.
And the following spring - the time of now - when Francisco finally returneth, he hath won the backup role in a great season of grapefruit. Yet Satan sayeth to God, "Hey, whateth about our bet? Send unto Francisco the pinch of hamstring." And God said, "Yeah, OK, why not?"
And so Frankie suffereth a brutal pull on his string of ham. And now, he shalt again miss months upon months of crouching behind plate.
And the Yankee God was asked, "Why, O Lord, hath thou forsaken your loyal servant? What hath Francisco - and King Hal himself - done to deserve such torture?"
And God sayeth:
"Hey, tis the game of ball. You guys tradeth my son Jesus Montero, and this is what you getteth."
So continues the Book of Cervelli.