Monday, October 20, 2014
He stood in the runway of Jerry Jones "Home of the Groper" Stadium and was nearly knocked down by a stampeding Tony Romo, and you could almost hear every fan in America yelling at the TV, "HA, TONY! RUN HIM OVER!"
Soon, Al will return to Florida for spring training, where he will face a relentless wave of boos at every baseball stadium he visits. And we Yankee fans will constantly hear the question: "How can you root for A-Rod?" (*Who, for rebranding issues, we will call simply "Al.")
Keep this in mind. (Or clip and save.) To our knowlege, A-Rod...
Hasn't knocked out any girlfriends.
Hasn't whipped any of his children.
Hasn't pulled an AK-47 on a cop, or driven people off a road, or taken hostages, or had dogs tear each other apart, or killed anybody with a DUI, or sent a phone text of his genitals to a female sportswriter.
In his most brutal and heinous physical attack on record - for which he shall always be condemned - he slapped the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's glove. Yep, he slapped!
Alex Rodriguez is accused of using performance enhancing drugs during a period in which they were not only legal but abundant throughout the game. In one case, he was given a waiver by MLB to use drugs - along with two other players, neither of whom has ever been identified.
Yes, he's an insecure, self-centered jerk.
The pariah. Our pariah. Shame on us. Shame, shame, shame...
Well, the NFL's ratings only went up. Turned out, nobody was listening to the sermons. And who could blame them? The fans were trying on the Lawrence Taylor jersey, practicing the ol' forearm shiv on Aunt Edna, and buying whippets for the kickoff!
Well, as fans of Ray Rice might say, the bloom is off the nose.
People, it's time to march for a better world.
Altogether now, New York Gints fans:
"ON MORAL GROUNDS, WE ARE BOYCOTTING THE NFL. FROM NOW ON, UNTIL ROGER GOODELL* IS GONE, WE SHALL HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE BLOOD SPORT OF PRO FOOTBALL, WHICH IS ON THE LEVEL OF HUMAN COCKFIGHTING."
(*In lieu of Goodell, we might consider Tom Coughlin.)
Yes, Gint fans, it's time to replace our Eli jerseys with Pope robes. Let's get 100 percent self-righteous and at least 50 percent morally clean. Another season just died in the womb. Hey, dammit, that's abortion!
Once again, it's not even November, and the Gints are done. Of course, Coach Dale Carnegie will rally the team to win the last two games and finish 8-8 (and win a three-year extension from Rooney Mara, or Kate Mara, or whomever is counting the family cash flow these days.) They'll win the final game to "establish momentum" for 2015, as they did last year.
From now on, indignation is easy. The NFC East is a race between Dallas and Philadelphia, and when those moral dwarfs play each other, if there is truly a God, a volcano will erupt beneath the stadium and blow everybody in it to Iceland. That would teach the NFL about messing with the most important Commandment, (which the Giants have faithfully upheld) - "Thou shalt do no work on the Sabbath! And that means you, offensive line!"
Once again, we see the New York City sports mediocrity model in pure form: Two teams represent NYC, and one is so rancid that it makes the other look competent. The Mets have given the Yankees a free pass for the last 13 years. And the Jets? Good grief, you must go back to Emerson Boozer.
Last spring, the Gints made a big point about "character issues" in the NFL draft. I'm not making this up: They drafted team captains and linchpins of morality. We can probably out-debate the Cowboys. No animals will be harmed in the playing of this season. But the Vegas line against Phily is 20 points and growing.
Not that it matters, of course. From now on, I'm avoiding the NFL. It's a league of wife-beaters, children-whippers and displayers of shriveled grapenuts, such as Jerry Jones. I'm not ignoring these beasts from the netherworld. I'm officially boycotting them. Stop, hey, watch that sound, everybody look what's going down...
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Since the Yankees went out of the pennant race in June, I have been drinking more and more.
Did you know that Crown Royal shots actually taste better at 10:00am than at 10:00pm?
I use alcohol to stimulate my thinking when it comes to the Yanks. Rather, I use it to forget everything I'm pretty sure I know.
And in today's stupor, my only hope remains: we have to buy the Royals.
If this doesn't happen, I will just keep drinking.
It's autum in New York, a great time for cryogenic suspension.
But why, why, WHY are NYC sports so rancid? Why does Boston get the Celtics, Patriots, Redsocks and Bruins, while New Yorkers actually ponder Syracuse as a home town college team? Why does San Francisco have the Giants and 49ers, while we have the Giants and the 13s?
Seriously. Anybody out there know? I've spent the better part of the last five minutes mulling this. Here are my guesses.
1. Pro sports owner communism. All pro teams are owned by Ayn Rand capitalists, who run their leagues like Che Guevara. Their goal is always to achieve parity, and the first salvo in that campaign is to crush any NYC-based teams, so they cannot exploit their advantage in market size. If you can't exploit your market advantage - well - then it becomes a disadvantage. If everything is equal, you have a better chance of winning in a small city, where the players have nothing else to do but chase personel records for their bench presses.
2. Obsessed wacko nutjob loonpie fans. NYC has at least 1 million drooling, loopy fans who a) make crappy players and midling prospects think they are Gods or b) scare the living hell out of star athletes. Whenever they talk about Jeter's greatness, they note that he kept his bearings while playing in New York. If he'd gone 20 years in Cleveland, would he simply be Omar Vizquel with better hair?
3. Hot and aggressively horny babes. Once the dairy princesses and prom queens, fresh off the bus from Ashtabula, realize they're not going to be Broadway's next Neil Patrick Harris, they quickly move to Plan B: Bed down some pro athlete and turn his powerful bat into Pad Thai. What really happened to Kevin Maas? (Without whom we would not have a great Yankee site in his honor.)
4. Water supply, air quality, proximity to Indian River nuke plant. Is NYC on a methane vent? Sometimes, it smells that way.
5. Yahweh pissed. NYC is, after all, Gomorrah on the Hudson. Half the Arab world still thinks God orchestrated the 9-11 attacks because Mayor Dinkins went easy on the squeegie guys. The Bible thumpers blame it on Rosie O'Donnell. Maybe God is taking it out on Brian McCann?
6. Best street drugs. Nah. Then why did Miami win in the NBA?
7. Bagels. Could there something in the delicate nutritional make-up of this magnificent New York delicacy, which undermines a highly tuned athlete's peak performance? Sometimes, after my fourth bagel, I do feel a tad gassy.
8. Keith Olbermann. Every NYC pro athlete knows he or she must face the ultimate scrutiny.
9. Owner incompetence. Let's face it: The owners of NYC sports teams are second or third generation pinheads, who make just as much money when their teams lose. I'm wondering if there isn't some inbreeding here? Could old George have had a secret affair with one of the Dolans, spawning Hank? Just asking.
10. Random sequence. We're simply talking about a small sample size (Note: On the River Ave site, this is referred to as "SSS"). If you wait a million years, NYC sports will probably rise. It just won't happen in our lifetimes, or our kids' lifetimes, or our grandkids' lifetimes. Somewhere out there, in the year 2525 - if man is still alive - a scrappy Steinbrennerian seed will find purchase in a fertile Zuckerman egg, and the ghosts of today's Yankee fanbase will enjoy the fruits of today's earthly torment. And I bet their kid will have flippers the size of surfboards.
Enough reason to consider cryonic suspension, eh?
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Apparently, the Seligian gag rule is now just a gag. The 2014 World Series is about to be forgotten, because the Yankees are on the verge of announcing... drum roll, please...
THE 2015 YANKEE HITTING COACH.
Speaking on behalf of Planet Earth, I say this:
Hold on, everyone. Try to stay calm. We're awaiting the envelope. It might be Dave Magadan. It might be Chili Davis. Good grief, maybe Hal will resurrect Babe Ruth back from the dead. (It's now been 10 years since the Yankees slayed the Babe a second time, ending the Curse of the Bambino, and we've been a declining force ever since.) Whoever is annointed 2015 YANKEE HITTING COACH, he - or she - will really make a difference. Right?
Hahahaha. Of course, they will. Hahahauhg. Just keep repeating it, over and over. A new whipping mule! A new organizational scapegoat! The one guy who - unlike the starting nine - can be fired next winter. The batting coach. Hahahaaha.
I can't wait to see how this new key linchpin of the Yankee attack will alter A-Rod's swing. Maybe he'll teach Tex a new stance! And Prado, my goodness, the things he'll do with Prado! It'll be like Mickey, changing Rocky to a lefty, by having him drink eggs and chase chickens across the barnyard. That Prado, he's gonna eat thunder and crap guitar feedback!
What's sad here is that the Yankees didn't change hitting coaches last July. We'd be in the World Series, instead of KC, and the games wouldn't be shown on your cable system's Channel No. 400.
A new hitting coach. You'd think this was the NFL, and the Yankees just hired a new Offensive Coordinator for Tom Coughlin. Next year, will we launch a West Coach attack?
A new hitting coach. This could mean an entirely different set of inspirational slogans being yelled at Brian McCann, as he marches back to the dugout after his 100th strikeout. (Sometime in June.)
A new hitting coach. Whoopie. For the first time, maybe I miss Bud, after all.
He would tell the Yankees to keep quiet. Then again, who can stay quiet with a cowbell in hand?
Friday, October 17, 2014
(Cue the classy music)... Tonight on Yankeeography, we celebrate the career of baseball hero Travis Ishigawa, the "Six-Inning Yankee."
The time is July 8, 2013. The place is New York City, in the back of an expensively seedy hotel bar and hash house near Yankee Stadium.
Brian "American Picker" Cashman has just spent the last 24 hours giving depositions to authorities in the case of Crazy Louise Meanwell, the famed "stalker from either Hell or Connecticut." Cashman has been doing massive amounts of ibogane and laxatives with fellow top Yankee official, the legal begal known as Randy Levine, who still wears his Buzz Lightyear costume, which he donned for a Fourth of July founding fathers costume party.
Cashman is worried. The Yankee team is listing, losing, lifeless. Something has gone wrong with the Murderers Row batting order... Zolio Almonte, Travis Hafner, Vernon Wells, Luiz Cruz, Alberto Gonzalez... the team simply hasn't recovered from Boesch getting hurt.
"We need a firstbaseman who can spell Lyle Overbay," he tells Levine.
"I can do it... I think," Levine says. "It's O-v-e-r-b..."
He stops when Brian slaps him, hard, across the mouth. Levine has been cycling steroids, growth hormone and lead-based paint chips for the last. He's a little hazy. The slap awakens him. It also excites him.
"O-v-e-r-b-e-y!" he shouts.
Before Brian can hit him again, his cellphone trills. It's Brian's special "MLB Waiver Wire Mix and Match Madness" ap. A new names has landed in baseball's recycling bin. The name is Travis Ishigawa. He sounds Japanese.
"KEI IGAWA?" Randy says, fitting himself onto his Yankee logoed bong. "I've heard of him. Sign him!"
"Not Kei Igawa," Brian says. "ISH- Igawa. And he could spell Overbay."
"That's easy. O-v-e-r-"
"Shaddup. I'm involved with important Yankee backroom wheeling and dealing. I should call our chief scout and baseball man"
"Don't wake up Hank," Levine says. "Last I heard, he was on a horse and hookers bender."
"Shaddup. This is big business."
"Sorry, Brian... you know that, really, I... mean well." Randy blurts out a bong hit. "MEANWELL, GET IT?"
Despite his anger, Brian simply must laugh. This mirthful scaliwag, Levine, he knows how to push a fellow's funny bone.
And so the Yankees sign Travis Ishigawa.
That night, Travis appears in the Yankee lineup - batting sixth, after Vernon Wells and before Luis Cruz. Travis goes 0 for 2 with two strikeouts, then is replaced by Lyle Overbay. The Yankees lose to Kansas City, 5-1.
A six-inning outing... Seven pitches. Six strikes.
Next night, he is gone... like Brigadoon... like that Malasian airliner... like Vanilla Ice.
And every July 8, it is said that he reappears in the clouds over New York City to say...
"I'm Travis, not Kei."
TRAVIS ISHIGAWA... NOT KEI... THE SIX-INNING YANKEE.
This week's .... YANKEEOGRAPHY. (Cue out music. Run credits. Audience applause.)
Thursday, October 16, 2014
The Yankees have three upper tier prospects in Baseball America's top league rankings. Unfortunately, they only have two players.
The Yankees also have the eternal prospect, catcher Gary "I'm Not Jesus" Sanchez, who ranked 11th in the Eastern League.
It's fashionable to say that the Yankee farm system has finally shed the air-sucking misery of its last four years, when it served up Eduardo Nunez, Melky Mesa, Preston Claiborne and Zolio Almonte. And hopefully, Refsnyder in 2015 will become the first meaningful Yankee-born-and-raised position player since Brett Gardner.
Look, I don't want to be negative all the time. But before the Yankees congratulate themselves - (and write the front office bonus checks) - a point should be made:
The Yankee farm system only looks good when compared to past Yankee farm systems.
Don't even think about comparing it to the Redsocks' system.
Boston has four prospects on the International League's Top 20 list, including two that are ranked above Refsnyder. The Redsocks placed six prospects on the Eastern League Top 20. Overall, the Redsocks could have nine highly regarded rookies vying for next season's roster. That, my friends, is a wave. We had better hope for a few duds. And keep your fingers crossed for Refsnyder.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
The Yankees October spirit lives!
In the first round, old friend Joba Chamberlain sabotaged Detroit's year.
Last night, it was Randy Choate throwing a ball into right field to kill the Cards.
Next round? I'd keep your eyes on the Royals' Jayson Nix.
Number seven - delivered by Supreme Leader Cuomo:
"Yankee Stadium now available for your October event."
"The Yankee front office, they're a bunch of relards."
"Relarding" would describe the annual churning of professional sports executives, who bounce among teams like hookers on laps in Sons of Anarchy. When somebody jumps, he (yeah, it's generally a him) is quickly replaced by a drinking buddy from the last GM convention. Make your bones in this gated community, and you'll never go hungry.
The Evil Empire is ready to hire Omar Minaya, the former Met front office bivalve, to the brain trust, according to Murdoch's fish wrap of record, The NY Post. Omar - said to be a chum of Brian Cashman - will soon turn 57 - 10 years older than Cash. Thus, Omar's hiring would mean a) this is his pre-retirement pension drive and b) he is no threat to his boss.
Listen: I have no truck with Omar Minaya. Ten years ago, he helped build the Mets, and he then helped wreck them. Surely, he is a solid "baseball man," as the Gammonites put it. He's supposed to be an "expert" in international scouting, whatever that means. I say, "Oh, hell, why not!" He can't do worse than what he we had!
But when mulling the Yankee brain trust, now and then, maybe we should read the masthead.
Cashman - the Senior Vice President/General Manager - is the 10th name on the list, after the owners (who still list George, which I didn't count), Randy "Seventies Hair" Levine (President, Godfather), Lonn Trost (Chief Operating Officer, General Counsel/Consiglieri), Felix Lopez (Executive Vice President, Chief International Officer/ In-law) and Anthony Bruno (Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer/ official money launderer.)
Minaya would land two slots below Cashman, replacing Mark Newman, who is retiring. Newman's job title is a chuck-wagon of words: Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations.
I believe you can chart the downfall of any organization by the number of vice presidents. The more VPs you have, the worse off you'll be.
In the Yankee front office, there are 15 vice presidents: one executive VP, eight senior VPs and six regular, miserable, garden variety VPs.
In the "Senior Administration," the next tier, I count 19 "directors;" six executive directors, three senior directors, and 10 directors. Overall, it's a list of 44 names.
I claim no grand knowledge of what makes a good baseball executive. But here's a thought: A few baseball organizations do stand out for their success. So what do their mastheads look like?
The St. Louis Cardinals' masthead has 33 names. It has two vice presidents. (That's not a misprint: Just TWO!) The GM is sixth name from the top. Most significantly, the ninth slot is comprised of six special assistants - all of them ex-ballplayers. Go through the top 20 names, and you see a bunch of former players.
OK, so much for St. Louis. How about the San Francisco Giants, who are leading them in the NLCS. They've won two rings in recent years. The masthead is more complicated. At the top, it has 30 "associates," because the ownership is an LLC. If one assumes that the associates are the ownership board, and thus don't directly interfere with the front office, then it starts to scale down. The top 11 names - the administration - are mostly ex-ballplayers. There are 50 names under "Baseball Operations," and most you've heard before: They're old players.
The Yankee front office? There's not an ex-major leaguer on the list. (Could it be relevant that the last regime to build a Yankee team was lead by Gene Michael and Bob Watson?)
The Yankees farm system has endured a miserable last four years. Over that period, Hal Steinbrenner barely changed a nameplate. Now, with Newman retiring, it's worth asking one simple question:
Are we changing the way the Yankees do business, or are we merely relarding the bloat?
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Good value on the contract, hard worker, smart, commands peer respect... The next Yankee batting coach should be A-Rod
Long's best year was his first. He batted .312 for Eugene in the Northwest League. He never again hit above .300. His career average stands at .273. Overall, he clubbed a total of 14 home runs. Yes, over eight years... 14 HR.
I don't say this to mock a decent fellow who just lost his job. Maybe Long was a great hitting coach. Maybe he took a course in it. Maybe he got his Master's degree in batting coachery. I say this because Long never seemed to have juice with the Yankee superstar lineups that were more interested in their hedge funds than on-base percentages. For the last three years, Yankeee hitters have steadily declined in production due to defensive overshifts. We saw Curtis Granderson arrive as a five-tool future superstar and leave as Richie Hebner with a hernia. We' watched Mark Teixeira turn into Lyle Overbay. Last year, we watched Stephen Drew - barely hitting .150 - STILL trying to drive the ball through overshifts.
When you're hitting .150, and you're not willing to lay down a bunt, is there a batting coach in creation - aside from Your One Personal God and Savior, Randy Levine - who can make a difference? What guy who hit 14 HRs in his career can get Carlos Beltran's attention?
Well, there is a guy who can do it.
Al "A-Rod" Rodriguez needs to be the Yankee batting coach in 2015.
Think about it. Why have a batting coach who once hit .312 at Eugene? Why not have the best hitter of his generation? A head case who has lived and breathed hitting for 20 years? Why not a guy who is on his last chance to do something meaningful in life, and who has a great recipe for milk shakes?
I'm speaking metaphorically, of course. Install A-Rod as batting coach. We're already paying too much for him. He can be DH/Coach. We'll save money. When A-Rod sits down next to Austin Romine, you think Austin Romine will be listening to Sheer Mag - (coolest band out there, BTW) - on his earbuds? Hell no.
Save money. Save the team.
Make A-Rod batting coach.
Monday, October 13, 2014
Cruz would be a perfect fit for the Yankees next year because:
1. He'll be 35.
2, He'll want three years.
3. We need DH backup for Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann and Al Rodriguez. (Note: To reduce fan backlash, the Official Policy of IT IS HIGH is that A-Rod in 2015 needs to rebrand himself as "Al Rodriguez." Imagine The Master's new home run call: "IT'S AN AL BOMB... FROM AL! AL THE GREAT CONQUERS AGAIN!")
4. We'll wear out opposing teams, whose fielders will have to move from the right side over-shift to the left side over-shift.
5. Who needs draft picks anyway?
6. It's what Old George would have done.
If you buy the increasingly likely notion that Hal - the Boss' son - is simply tracking through his dad's evolutionary model, then the Yankees will be hapless for at least five years - until the Mets have risen to take NYC. (Considering how screwed up they look, we might be down for 10 years.) During the 1980s, the Iron Rule of Steinbrennerian Messing Up was to always buy high and sell low - Steve Kemp, Danny Tartabull, Tony Womack, et al. What better way to honor Old George than to add a DH, who's just had his best year, to a team of DHs.
You know, the more I think of this, the more it HAS to happen. It's like one of those ancient Greek tragedies, where the kid simply has to schztup his mom before we can move on to Act III.
The day we sign Nelson Cruz will bring about one of those out-of-body moments of mental torture. Randy Levine will host the news conference. They'll fit Nelson for the cap. The sportswriters will talk about the 40 home runs he'll hit. And the fan base will be even more polarized than it is now. (Have you see the viciousness on River Ave's comments section? You can't go five comments in without seeing a personal attack.)
You'll see half the Yankee fanbase sticking to the belief that the front office has a plan, because they know things that we don't, and that even if it looks bad, that they are doing this to help - and it will be just like all the things we say about the government.
The bottom line: We'll assure ourselves that the people in power would never make a move simply for the sake of making a move, would they? It's all about winning, right? Not just getting attention. Right?
And then we'll start imagining The Master's call. "IT'S A CRUZ MISSILE! NELSON ROCKS A FELLER!" We might as well get Fawn and Ollie back together. It's 1985 all over again.