Monday, March 2, 2015

It's Spring. Duck And Cover.

There are a lot of potentially awful things about the 2015 Bronx Bummers. But the really awful thing about this team is that, when the stars align, they could rattle off a fairly serious winning streak (not a lot of wins in a row, mind you, but a lot compared to the losses during the same stretch). As has been noted a number of times on IIH, this is hell for Yankee fans, because we can't help but hope. (That should be a t-shirt sold outside the stadium: 'The 2015 New York Yankees. We can't help but hope.') 

Of course, all hope will be thrown with great force against the turnbuckle of the AL East wrestling ring, resulting in brain damage and tragedy for any fan daring to think positively at any point about this team.

Personally, I'm especially entertained by extremes. If a team wins 130 games or loses 130, at least something interesting and relatively important happened; something that was worth the time and effort to follow for a ridiculous six months. This promises to be the least entertaining team in some time by that yardstick, hovering somewhere a little over .500 on average.

Lightning isn't going to strike on the positive side, at least not for more than a month or two. More likely, nearly every starting pitcher will go down for various weeks on end, some for the remainder of the season, as will pieces of the lineup. If everything goes just right, everything will go horribly wrong, and no Fix-a-Flat that Cashman brings in will help.

Since that's the only extremity possible, that's what I'll be watching for. Complete and total disaster may force these schmendricks to play a lot of young guys, for good or ill. And it may finally teach them something about horrendously stupid signings, long-term and otherwise.

I doubt it, but a guy can hope.

Meet the new Bronx, same as the old Bronx: Assessing the 2015 Yankee Outfield

If your outfielder smacks 34 home runs and drives in 156 runs, you own a budding superstar.

If your outfield hits 34 home runs and drives in 156 runs, you own the 1962 Houston Colt 45's.

Nope, check that: You own the 2014 New York Yankees.

And if you bring them back for an encore - well, you own that, too.

Rest assured, the Yankees are NOT bringing back last year's Colt 45's OF for a return to Hell. Gone is Ichiro, with his one HR, his 21 walks and his .284 batting average, which would have led the team had he batted enough times. Instead, the Yankees apparently plan to play Carlos Beltran in RF, so A-Rod can be the DH. Good luck with that.

Beltran is coming off elbow surgery, plus practically every bone is his body aches from somethingorother. Also, he is a threat to go ass-over-tea-kettle (my favorite idiom) while chasing flies near the fence. If he goes Minnie Minoso (R.I.P.) on a hard wall, forget him.

He was forgettable last year. Beltran hit 17 HR and batted .233 - down from 24 and .295 in 2013. That was St. Louis, age 36 and no over-shifts. He's now 38, in NYC - his career dead zone - and facing those pesky over-shifts. Realistically, what can we expect from him?

In center, we have Jacoby Ellsbury in Year II of a seven-year sentence. He was our best player last year. He hit .271 with 16 HRs - about the same as his previous season in Boston. The concern is durability. He played 149 games last year - most since 2011 - and was limping at the end. Let's hope the hammy doesn't go.

In LF, it's the always-beaten up Brett Gardner, our homegrown weed. In the absence of Jeter, and considering that A-Rod is a non-entity, Gardner may be the de facto Yankee captain. It was he last year - not Jeter - who doused walk-off heroes with Gatorade. Gardner - like Ellsbury - is 31. And he played in more games than at any time since 2011. He might have peaked. He's no longer a threat to steal 60 bases, but he can hit 20 HRs. Let's hope the hammy doesn't go.

Finally, we have Chris Young - an enigma, at least, to me, because I cannot fathom why we have him. Last year, with the Mets, the guy hit .206. Two oh six. They dumped him. We grabbed him. He hit three home runs in three games and was anointed as proof of Cashman's brilliance. I don't see it. Two oh six. He's 31. Two oh six. .206. When you're touting a guy who hit .203 last year, maybe it's time to consider indoor pro soccer.

Young makes me yearn for a farm system. In fact, I plan to watch Zolio Almonte in Atlanta, where he is battling for a starting slot. Don't be surprised if Almonte doesn't hammer out a middling career outside NYC, while Chris Young does what Chris Young does: Two oh six.  Every spring, the Yankees cart in some aging obesity who was good five years ago, for the last 200 at bats of his career. We've seen Alfonso Soriano, Vernon Wells, Travis Hafner, Andruw Jones, et al. I am tired of this. Taylor Dugas would be more interesting, and he's not even on the 40 man.

This will be a year to watch the farms. Somewhere in Trenton, Aaron Judge - the de facto Yankee poster boy for the future - will either solidify his status as a prospect or go the way of Mason Williams, Jesus Montero and a bunch of others. Judge hasn't really done anything spectacular, but he looks good coming off the bus. He came out of college, missed a first year and did well at Single A last year. Keep the fingers crossed, because the Yankees really, REALLY somebody to give hope. If Judge tanks, we'll be forced to watch those 16-year-old millionaires from Latin America play in the Dominican Summer League, and let's face it: They will be lucky to reach New York while the subways are still dry.

Best case scenario: Health and happiness for Ellsbury, Gardner and Beltran. Gardner has his career year. Beltran bounces back.

Worse cast scenario: They all go down with injuries. That's a season-destroying meltdown.

The surprise hope: He's almost a punchline by now, but I'm still pushing Slade Heathcott. He missed all of last year with a knee injury, which may have taken his speed. But Heathcott's greatest talent, to me, was that unnamed Yankee scouts viewed him as a nut-job. I like that. He's at a crossroads. He'll probably start at Trenton. If he hits, the Yankees will almost surely run him up to Scranton. From there, around June, when Chris Young is being proven to be - well - two oh six sums it up, eh? - instead of trading for a new Soriano, maybe Prince of Pennies will cut bait and give the wacko a chance.

Final analysis: Decent, if everyone is healthy. In other words, same as almost every other outfield in baseball.

No Justice, No Peace: NYC sports fans need a Constitutional Convention and a revolution

In 1776, a plucky group of young revolutionaries - convinced they were getting a raw deal from "The Man" - tore down the walls of oppression and founded a nation dedicated to "fight a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way!" 

Today, comrades, we are again facing "The Man" - or in this case, The Men: A bunch of bumbling, incompetent owners of sports teams, which have made New York City the laughingstock of the male-testicled world. 

It's time to mobilize against those who shame New York City with their sports teams. 

I am hereby calling for a violent overthrow of the American sports industry, including unprecedented savagery against the bunglers who run the show.  

The Dolans, owners of the horrible, awful, very bad, no good Knicks, should be chased from Madison Square Garden into the Hudson River, with pitchforks and burning torches.

The Hesses, owners of the hapless Jets, should be put on a leaky row boat and set out to sea.

The Wilpons, owners of the ridiculously terrible Mets, should be bombarded with green gamma rays in the far-flung hope that - because it worked in The Hulk - their intelligence will be magnified a thousand times... making them average.

And finally, the Steinbrenners, owners of the lone pro franchise that used to engender pride among New Yorkers, should be given bus tickets to Cleveland, where they belong. Give them FREE tickets, and they'll take them.

Once the owners are gone: All sports teams should be condemned by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and put under the domain of the only true and effective branch of New York State government: The Thomas E. Dewey Thruway Authority. With top Dewey minds running the teams, fans and players alike will have access to EZ Pass seats and ticketing, and MLB free agents can be wined and dined in the finest Sbaro's restaurants located between Buffalo and Schenectady. 

I recognize that some of you may balk at the idea of the Dewey people running our teams. You're thinking, "What do Thruway Authority managers know about sports? They can't even run the Thruway." 

The answer is simple: 


That's right, folks. If we turn over the New York Knicks to the 59-year-old lady who sits in the Weedsport Exit booth on Sundays from 4 p.m. to 3 a.m., she can't do worse than the Dolans. It's that simple. We can't lose. We've already lost. It's time to save NYC sports.

And for those of you who think I'm just still whining about Yoan Moncada signing with Boston, the fact that we were outbid by our rival, due to a cheapskate billionaire HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS POST. 

Revolution, baby. Revolution, now. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015


A-ROD NEWS CHANNEL _ (Tampa)  Mysterious rain clouds floating in the sky Sunday threatened to drop massive loads of a watery substance over Alex Rodriguez and coastal Florida, sources said.

"This could darken the day for A-Rod, as well as millions of others," one source said. "But mostly, it could affect A-Rod."

Several sources said they hoped rain wets Rodriguez, as it shows that God is pissed over A-Rod's use of performance enhancing drugs and the many lies told while trying to escape suitable punishment.

(NOTE TO EDITOR: Insert 15-inches of B-copy on A-Rod steroid scandal.)

Sources said it could also rain tomorrow on A-Rod, others.

Yankee Hell Number 13 won't be retired, but soon, it will be gone

The Yankees' obsession with retiring numbers invokes a cool, futuristic scenario where someday, as the oceans are creeping upon Steinbrenner Field, some fattie DH waddles out of the dugout wearing No. 134. 

Eighteen Yankee numbers are retired, with three more to go this summer.

If Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra hadn't shared number 8, and Mariano Rivera and Jackie Robinson didn't both wear "42," we might have 20 numbers off the grid. And soon, another jersey will effectively vanish.

Obviously, we mean "13."

The last two Yankees to wear Satan's Horror Jersey are World Series heroes, whose dramatic HRs should inscribe them forever into Pinstripe lore. Instead, Alex Rodriguez and Jim Leyritz are monster pariahs.

I won't trowel out another "in defense of Alex"post. But let's just say his depravity did NOT include the death of a mom, a DUI, a manslaughter conviction and later, an arrest for battery of spouse (later dropped in court). That's part of Leyritz's lifetime box score, and make of it what you wish that he wrote a memoir about it and now co-hosts a radio show. I guess anybody can be resurrected, and let's wish him sobriety - and that he never again dons another Yankee 13. 

Those who wore the Devil Digit comprise an unlucky crew. Willie Banks was the 12th man on an 11-man staff in 1998. Curt Blefary was done in 1971. Bobby Brown was a flame-out in 1980. Charlie Hayes caught the pop-up. Torey Lovullo couldn't hit above Double A. Mike Pagliarulo - arguably the greatest home grown 3B in modern Yankee history - hit .198 one season. Iceman Gerald Williams wasn't Bernie. And neither was Walt, though he is and always will be the one and only "No Neck." 

Not the luckiest men on the face of the earth, eh? (Though Walt Williams might claim otherwise.)

I suspect that once A-Rod is exorcised, nobody will wear the Nether Number for a long, long time. Chelsea Clinton's kid will be President, and hopefully, my ashes will be in a haboob dust tornado over Arizona -  punishing those assholes for mocking us by playing "New York, New York" on the stadium p.a., moments after the Diamondbacks won the 2001 World Series. 

That's right, Arizona. Yankee fans don't forget. And that's why Number 13 will be going off the board.  

UPDATE: I guess I was wrong about Yankee memories. This appeared today. Apparently, Leyritz's past - for better or worse - has been erased. Hope for A-Rod?

Saturday, February 28, 2015

It's always sunny in Tampa


Last February

Buffalo: "IT'S NOT OVER"

They blew a 17-inch lead, but the Bisons are conceding nothing in the annual Golden Snowball chase.

They shaved an inch off Syracuse's lead this week.

Going into the home stretch, it's now down to four.

Brendan Ryan snags 2015 First Yankee Injury Award

Hurt himself doing curls in weight room.

Congratulations, Brendan!


A-ROD NEWS NETWORK _ (Tampa) Alex Rodriguez stunned the world yesterday by taking grounders at firstbase. The man known as A-Rod, normally a third baseman, literally moved across the diamond to field ground balls at first. In doing so, he was completely reversing the trajectory of throws, although he will not need to make the long throw from third to first, because he is already on first.

While taking grounders at firstbase, it meant A-Rod was not fielding them at thirdbase, because of one of the fundamental laws of physics, which says that an object cannot be in two places at once. For that reason, A-Rod's move to first base was especially apparent to onlookers, many of whom were heard to be yelling, "Look! A-Rod is taking grounders at firstbase." As they yelled, they pointed to firstbase. If A-Rod had been playing at thirdbase, this would not have happened.

(Note to editor: Insert 12-inch B copy block of A-Rod history here.)

Fans say A-Rod looked "interesting but slightly out of position" at firstbase.

"Normally, he's at third base," said a fan, who asked not to be named. "But he was taking grounders at firstbase. That's interesting, but slightly out of position."

Several sources said the top Yankee brass are infuriated by A-Rod's decision to take balls at first, because it shows he craves nothing more than constant gratification. "For him to be playing first base now, that it the definition of self-love," said a source, who asked not to be named. "A-Rod is human garbage and universally loathed by teammates and fans alike. And you may quote me."

A-Rod, who is human garbage and universally loathed by players and fans alike, did not comment.

Stay tuned for more updates as they happen on the A-Rod News Network.

UPDATE BREAKING: A-Rod seen jogging in outfield. MORE TO COME.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Jihadi John was a Pirates fan?

This just in. 

I'd take our Man in the Middle East any day.
The Yankee Fan who shot Khaddafi. 

He's dead, Jim: Another icon moves on

Leonard Nimoy, the sonorous, gaunt-faced actor who won a worshipful global following as Mr. Spock, the resolutely logical human-alien first officer of the Starship Enterprise in the television and movie juggernaut “Star Trek,” died on Friday morning at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. He was 83.

My favorite episode is the one where, due to a transporter malfunction, Kirk is thrown into the Evil Alt-Universe and meets Evil Bearded Spock, who - amazingly - isn't that much different from our Spock (who like the Yankees, has a code against facial hair.) In the end, the Evil Bearded Spock helps Kirk, because he comes to agree that his Evil Empire is illogical. 

This inspires my own fantasy: Hal Steinbrenner enters an elevator with Derek Jeter during an electrical storm. Lightning hits the building. When the door opens, Jeter has a beard and owns the Yankees, and Hal is a retired ballplayer. 

R.I.P., Spock.

The current Yankee batting order and their averages from last year

cf Ellsbury .271
lf Gardner .256
rf Beltran .233
dh Rodriguez .244 (2013)
c McCann .232
1b Teixeira .216
3b Headley .262
2b Drew .150
ss Gregorius .226

As the writers trowel out drivel, the Yankee season already feels lost inside an overwhelming sense of gloom

I feel like a spotter on the Titanic. The band is playing, people are dancing, the captain is drunk, and we're headed straight for the iceberg. Nobody hears the siren. And that water looks cold.

Yesterday, the Gammonites churned out reams of solid gold drivel, pumping it out by the paragraph. By the end of the day, their inch counts had to approach 40. That's a week's worth of drivel in smaller markets. They wrote drivel about their anticipation over CC Sabathia's weight gain, as if they didn't recall last year's weight loss. They produced drivel over Mark Teixeira's new protein diet, without noting that if he loses a few more pounds, he'll reach his batting average from last year: .216. 

And they rewrote the same A-Rod drivel over and over. How many times can they rerun the same empty paragraphs, the same overcooked outrage, the same tiresome snark, as if it's new? 

I'm sorry, folks. I cannot read it.  

None of it matters.

It's not even March 1, but the air has already been sucked out of the 2015 Yankee season. When I see another happy blather about the big year in store for some 36 year old pitcher, I want to scream, "YOU'RE MISSING THE ICEBERG!" And the iceberg is the Prince of Pennies, Yankee owner Hal Steinbrenner - a child who came naked into this world with more money than only a handful of people will ever know - who just allowed the best free agent prospect in baseball to sign with Boston... BOSTON. He did this over the advice of his most knowledgeable experts. He did this over the interests of his own organization. Prince Hal did it to save a few dollars, which - in the overall balance sheet - he will never notice. It's just a number on a piece of paper.

The last time I felt this sick about the Yankees, Hal's father had just traded Al Leiter to Toronto for a handful of magic beans in the form of Jesse Barfield. From the moment Barfield's name was announced, I wanted to barf. We had given up a great young prospect for a guy the Blue Jays - at the time, the smartest front office in baseball - realized was over the hill. Barfield was a bust, and the Blue Jays ate our lunch for the next four years. 

Folks, the iceberg is this: The Yankees are owned by a self-deluding fool who takes advice only when it conforms to his opinion. Consider the bad decisions the Yankees have made in recent years - each one smeared with Prince Hal's greasy fingerprints.

1. Sign A-Rod to a 10-year deal. (The Yankees now scream about it, as if they were forced at gunpoint. But they happily did the deal.)

2. Announce austerity plan to shrink payroll to $187 million and, thus, avoid luxury taxes.

3. Let Russell Martin walk to Pittsburgh, because we wouldn't give him a measly 2-year contract.

4. Trash the plan to reach the $187 million payroll, by absorbing bloated salaries of over-the-hill veterans. The austerity was all for nothing.

5. Give AJ Burnett to Pittsburgh. (Consider this: Of the big three signees of 2009 - Burnett, CC and Tex - we gave away the only one who had productive seasons left.)

6. Sign Ichiro to a two-year deal, with no room in the outfield for him.

7. Beltran for three years.

8. Ellsbury for seven years.

9. McCann for five years... all after we supposedly were going to nix long-term bloated deals.

10. Starting a season with four DHs and nobody to play 3B and 2B. (We ended up with Yangervis Solarte and Brian Roberts; neither made it to Aug. 1.) 

11. Constantly thinking old-timers (Vernon Wells, Travis Halfner, Andruw Jones, Alfonso Soriano) will suddenly return to form; letting them kill the season from the center of the batting order.

12. Letting a talent like Moncada go to Boston... BOSTON!  

I want to barf. For the next 15 years, this guy could be killing us. Not only that, but we've given him an impetus to always play harder against New York. It was Prince Hal himself who lorded over Moncada's third Yankee workout, and then ruled against spending the extra money - piddling coins, as far as the Prince of Pennies was concerned. But he couldn't be bothered to dig deeper.

Now, we're supposed to get excited about Teixeira's diet?

I'm sorry. I'm not buying it. The Prince of Pennies just traded Al Leiter for Jesse Barfield. Iceberg dead ahead. Somebody, please... stop the music. It's time to man the lifeboats.

A-Rod's first day: One man's treasure, another man's garage sale...

Which was it? A show?

Or a nothing burger?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Hal Steinbrenner is sick and tired of hearing you whine

"Well, I NEVER...!"

I hope you're happy now, Yankiverse. Because Hal Steinbrenner is LIVID. And he has a right to be... thanks to you!

After all he's done - all the money he's spent, all the owning he's done, all the time and effort he's taken, out of his own personal schedule - now, to have ungrateful fans, people who should be thanking him, complaining that his team sucks... why... dammit, he's livid... LIVID! He could scream. He should scream. "GAHHHHHHHHHHHH." That was him.


Most of all, Hal is tired of hearing everybody say he's cheap. SICK AND TIRED of it! Because nothing could be further from the truth. He is the most lavish and loving owner on this planet, and HOW DARE PEOPLE SAY HE IS CHEAP. HOW DARE YOU!

So... AS OF NOW... the smart-mouthing needs to stop! 


No more anti-Hal hissy fits will be tolerated. It's time for Yankee fans, sportscasters, writers, bloggers, commentors and people on the street to stop their twittering and their trash talking, and get on the 2015 Victory Bus. Otherwise, it will pull out of the station... without you.

There are exciting players on this Yankee ballclub. Chase Headley! He used to be pretty darn good. The Padres ruined him. A bunch of teams wanted him. Now, he'll blossom. Chris Capuano! Stephen Drew! The outfielder who came from the Mets last year and hit three home runs in three days! These guys don't come cheap. Players just don't rise up out of the ground, like on a farm. You have to go onto the free agent market and get them.

And then, after all that hard work... to hear complaints... from ingrates...

OK, we didn't get Moncada. We didn't want him. We don't need him. Five years from now, Boston will be stuck with a switch-hitting infielder who STILL hasn't peaked. Meanwhile, Headley will not even be 40! Who will be laughing then?

Why shell out for a guy who hasn't done anything yet, when you can buy a guy who did a lot, a few years ago?

Oh, and for the last time, everybody, Hal is NOT selling. In fact, just because so many mockers out there want him to sell, he's SUPER-NOT-SELLING. Before this, he wasn't going to sell, but now, forget it. He WILL SUPER-DOUBLE-NEVER SELL.

AND NO CUBAN PLAYERS, EITHER. How do you like that, you ungrateful nobodies! Maybe if the Yankees finish out of playoffs for a few years, you'll see how lucky you've had it. Maybe it's time to get a glimpse of how bad things could be if Hal wasn't running the team. The Yankees don't need you. How many tickets do you buy? Not as many as Hal. What are you doing for the team? What are you doing for anybody? Nothing, that's what. You're a drunk. You're a whiner. You're a total loser. Go follow the Nets. The Knicks Yanks don't want you. GET OUT! THAT'S RIGHT! GET OFF THIS WEBSITE NOW, AND DON'T EVER COME BACK.


GO, SHOO... SHOO, SHOO, SHOO! A certain Somebody has far more important things to do than listen to you. He's doing the hard work. He's owning.

Tex's plan for 2015: "Hit 'em where they is."

It's based on Pete Carroll's Seattle Seahawks' model for first and goal from the one.

Here's a story on how Mark Teixeira plans to beat defensive over-shifts in 2015: He'll simply swing harder and hit more HRs and doubles.

Missing in the story: The fact that Tex last year hit .216.

Deja vu all over again: Tex looking forward to big year


Last Year.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Redsocks to Pawtucket:

A new owners group that includes Larry Lucchino plans to rip the PawSox away from the struggling town.  [New York Times]

Like last February, Yankees jubilant over CC's weight


Last year.

If Ichiro is blaming Girardi for last year, he's blaming the wrong guy

Let's wish Ichiro the best in Miami. He played hard for the Yankees and never complained. But Hal Steinbrenner overruled everybody and signed him to a two-year deal that never made sense for the Yankees or Ichiro. This is what happens when a know-it-all owner meddles

I'm tired of hearing how Hal is "the smart brother." It's time to look at the record and the state of the team, and consider the possibility that he is a weak-minded fool. 

Clearly, Ichiro and Girardi didn't see the same world. From Kernan's story:

There were other moves like the time Austin Romine, batting .138, replaced Ichiro in the order late in a game the Yankees were losing by one run, even though Ichiro was the Yankees hottest hitter at the time and had three hits in the game — including a home run his previous at-bat. But Ichiro moved on, saying at the time, “As a player you just have to accept it.’’

John M

Yankees showcase burgeoning youth movement with new heir to 3B Chase Headley

YES DRIVEL CHANNEL_ (Tampa) At 39, slugger Alex Rodriguez can't be expected to play third base forever. And some fans may have wondered what the Bronx Bombers have in store as "A-Rod's" long-term heir apparent. 

Well, world, relax! Because yesterday, fans got a glimpse of the future, when young Chase Headley - up from the (cough) league last year - took grounders at third alongside the outgoing superstar.

Not since Joltin' Joe DiMaggio posed with a cherubic Mickey Mantle has a generational shift in Pinstripes stardom been so visibly on display. Headley - only (cough) years old - is part of the Pinstriped youth movement, which includes Stephen Drew, Chris Young and fire-balling Chris Capuano. 

With the "Class of '15" arriving, the future looks as bright as a supernova - wait a minute, make that an Ivan "Super" Nova! 

Keep watching YES DRIVEL CHANNEL for further updates. And spring is time to renew the freshness of your authentic Yankee Stadium dirt. Time and cigarette smoke can rob your soil of the nutrients it needs to keep its luxurious - and historically significant - brown glow. Renew your Yankee humus now at discount prices, so that when friends and family stop by to watch the game, the dirt on your wall will maintain its smooth and earthy goodness. Remember: The Yankees stop at nothing to renew their lineup, and you need to yourself freshly soiled. Yankee Stadium dirt... It's not just hardball, it's hardpan! 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Syracuse makes its move

The City That Never Sleets - (it's always flurries) - is back on top in the race for the Golden Snowball.

Buffalo's lead, which it has held since early December, is over. Think of it this way:

Seabiscuit just sprinted into first, and the finish line may be far away - but it's in sight.

It's Beltran Blather Day

Last February


Deadspin headline nails it

Unnamed Yankee executives, of course, complained. This is truly an amazing insight into the mind of an unnamed Yankee executive. (You'd think they'd get a name.) Three reasons.

1. By coming early, and unannounced, A-Rod LIMITED the media circus that would be in tow.

2. A-Rod's appearance helped DIVERT the seething eruption of anger across the fan base Monday over unnamed Yankee executives allowing Yoan Moncada to sign with Boston.

3. Imagine that: An employee showing up EARLY. How terrible.

Must the Yankees collapse to become contenders again?

Last summer, you could say the Yankees were baseball's version of Jeffrey Epstein: They spent $30 million on handsome, 16-year-old Latino boys. 

Horrible jokes aside, it was a strategy for the long haul, and we all cheered. The Yankees were investing in youth - the youngest of the young. Most of the signees will turn out to be the next Wily Mo Pena or Ricardo Aramboles - (adios, Yanqui suckahs) - but who knows... we might land the next Miguel Cabrera. 

Trouble is, he won't arrive until around 2020. (BTW, in 2020, we will all look and think like Hugh Downs)

Because of that July spending splurge, the Yankees were neutered yesterday in the bidding war over Yoan Moncada. (Actually, Boston's balls were also clipped, because they overspent their "allotment,"  too. The truth is, we just pretended to be more castrated.) The Yankees must now go two years without playing sugar daddy to the testosterone-blessed youths of the Caribbean. If the next Pedro Martinez turns up, we will watch the bidding war from a distance. Same with the next big thing from Cuba, and there is always a next big thing from Cuba. Come 2017, we'll be on it - unless, by then, as expected, it's all part of one MLB draft. 

The Yankees will find their talent in the annual June selections, where they currently sit in the low and slow middle of the pack. They can always get lucky and land the next Mike Trout - but it's just as likely to be the next Steve Trout. In other words, when you draft among the also-rans, you might just remain a permanent also-ran. Ask Toronto fans about that.

Last year, rather than be Toronto, Boston crashed its shiny and expensive World Championship team in mid-season, and started looking toward 2015. The Yankees slogged to the finish line, trading two prospects who had recently represented the franchise in Futures Games (and which the Yankees immediately started bad-mouthing to their media courtiers.) And from the looks of things, Boston is going to eat our lunches this year, and maybe for many seasons to come.

I can't remember when Boston looked so much on an upward trajectory, while the Yankees seem so old and crumbling. 

Still, a wise man once said, "You cannot predict baseball."

No Yankee fan should ever enter a season rooting for his team to fail. As angry as I feel today, come opening day, trust me: I will be revved and as hopeful as Rudy Giuliani in a Fox News green room. It's a reflex action. I have been this way since the days of Ron Klimkowski and Andy Hassey. I survived that 14 year malaise, and I will survive this one. In fact, there can be great fun in watching the hapless Yankees dance upon the high-stakes hubris of an angry Steinbrenner. Soon, Hal will start putting on weight and throwing pencils at people. It will be entertaining to see him sputter and stutter. Maybe he'll punch an elevator. Watching the Yankees sink can be an acquired taste. And it will weed out a lot of fair-weather fans. 

Get ready to see more Mets and Redsock caps, wherever you go. But we can wear our NY caps just as proudly. And a NY t-shirt that says "Beltran" will draw smiles from everyone who gets the joke. Don't run out and buy one now. They'll be marked down later.

Yesterday's message was clear: The son of George is not the next George. The Yankees let the Redsocks outbid them. We will improve via draft picks and a long term strategy that just happens to resemble Jeffrey Epstein's old summer internship program. Sign 'em young. 

Well, part of that strategy should be in striving to draft higher than 20th.

I believe the 2015 Yankees will be an abomination. The only reason we won't finish sixth in the AL East is that there aren't six teams. Each of our three starting pitchers - we only have three - is a ticking time bomb. Come July, we could be six or seven games out of the Wild Card. It may be wise to pull the plug. It won't be easy. The team will be mocked and marginalized. 

We shouldn't root for the Yankees to fail, but we need to brace ourselves for the possibility. It may be 1990 again. That Latino class won't peak for another eight years. It's going to be a long hard road.

What does Mike Lupica and A-Rod have in common?

Both have a new script but the same old circus act.

A-Rod recycles an old apology, while Lupica reruns an old column, switching the last paragraph for the lead. Works every time.

The Redsocks will pay $30 million in luxury taxes for Moncada: Maybe Hal just earned himself some FREE MONEY!

Do the math, Yankee fans:

Thirty teams = $30 million dollars... yes, a mill per team... in FREE REDSOCK LUXURY TAX MONEY.

Boston's signing of Yoan Moncada is the latest monster windfall for Major League Baseball, the 1 percent's most beloved taxation system on the planet. Where else do billionaires so happily experience the benefits of free-sharing socialism? Where else do the wealthiest of the wealthy take so much joy in the establishment of 100 percent luxury taxes? And isn't MLB the most efficient money-gouging machine that ever existed? Bernie Madoff was an amateur. 

(Question: Why can't we have the same model in American politics? Let the Koch brothers spend as much as they want to buy their candidates, but when a billionaire goes over a certain cap number, let him pay a "luxury tax" to the other owners.)

Thanks to Yoan Moncada, the Redsocks will pay $30 million in luxury taxes. What a sugary nipple for new MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. That's his first boathouse. Also, it more than fills Bud Selig's $6 million per year retirement loot bag. Let's say MLB siphons off half the money - $15 million - just for rubber-stamping the papers. Another half-million will go toward booze, food and "adult entertainment" at the owners' Booty Pinata Party.

That's how I hear they divvy up the money. They fill a big booty pinata with $1,000 bearer bonds. It's the only way to get $14.5 million to fit. They invite all the owners. Everybody eats cake and gets his face painted (a sexual metaphor, BTW.) The small market owners get to put on the blindfold and swing first at the pinata. Also, the worst team owners get to sit closest, so when somebody finally breaks it open, they can grab the most loot. 

Everybody gets some. Along with a belly full of cake, I bet Hal goes home with a couple hundred thousand dollars - and it's all because he just said no to Moncada. 

It's fun - getting FREE REDSOCK MONEY... because you didn't spend your own money.

It's like getting money from the government for not growing beets. What a great country, if you own it. The Yankees never need to sign anybody, ever. Between luxury tax money - and continued sale of dirt from the old Yankee Stadium - the Steinbrenners will be in clover forever. Soccer, anyone?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Hey Yankee fans, it's time for Hal Steinbrenner's tips on running a team!

Major League Baseball finally did it: It has destroyed the once dominant franchise known as the New York Yankees

Congratulations, MLB. You won. 

For 50 years, you envied the NFL on key element: 

Pro football had no Yankees. 

If only you could destroy the one franchise that dominated all others, make all the teams equal, then you could maximize profits. Your plan was so tight, so clean, so perfect: Apply Ayn Rand capitalism to the revenue side, and assign the expenses to socialism. No limits to taking in money... just cap your expenditures! Damn. It's brilliant! You never called it collusion. You never even called it a payroll cap. You just pulled it off!  

In American politics, there is no limit to how much money a billionaire can spend to buy a candidate. But in baseball, there is a distinct limit on how much he can spend to buy a player.  BRILLIANT! YOU DID IT!

Of course, you had to wait until that last old bugger, George Steinbrenner, died, and his sons took over. The first one, Hank, landed too close to the tree. Fortunately, he liked horses more than baseball. You ditched him and groomed Hal, the "business-minded" one. And Hal agreed that towing the line on spending is more important than maintaining a winning Yankee tradition. Because - well - he's "business-minded." 

Moreover, you managed to create a new subset of Yankee fan: He roots not just for the Yankees to win, but for the owner to be fiscally prudent. Keep in mind, the owner is a billionaire. Also keep in mind, this is Yankee fandom, a fantasy world that was once the last escape from things like utility bills and mortgage payments. When you watch a movie, are you supposed to square it with how much they spend to produce it? Growing up, I never gave a damn how much Mickey Mantle got paid. I just loved him. Now, though, I'd have to suck in my gut and watch him fly to Los Angeles, because - hey - the Yankees wouldn't want to get stuck holding the bag on his contract, not with those knees!

Speaking of contracts, hasn't Alex Rodriguez been worth every penny to Hal? Last year, he saved Hal $240 million on Robbie Cano. This week, he saved him $60 million on Yoan Moncada. All Hal needs to do is point to A-Rod and say, "I can't afford anybody else, all because of HIM."

In fact, it's perfect: Today, the sportswriters are covering A-Rod's farts, rather than the Yankees' punt on Moncada. A-Rod is God's gift to Hal Steinbrenner.

Today, across the Yankiverse, we've come to behold the new mindset: The fan who says, in essence, "Yoan Moncada might be great, but the Yankees would overpay. Boston is paying too much, ha ha!" 

On the River Ave site - which is owned by YES - this strain - I'm calling it the "KC Yankees fan," in honor of that loyal, fiscally prudent Midwestern tribe - the pro-Hal fans are arguing on behalf of this penny-pinching billionaire. (I should note that 98 out of 100 fans are enraged by what's happened, though.) 

Writes "CashJr."

if he does great then he's worth it, but would he be a bargain? I'm not sure being "worth it" is the same as being a "bargain." And it seems to me, that if you take on the huge risk of the huge up-front bonus, then if all goes well you should have a "bargain", not just someone who's "worth it." Perhaps my thinking is wrong and the $100M makes him a "bargain" but I doubt it. It's totally a financial decision, but I'm ok with a financial decision if they believe the reward just isn't worth the risk.

While you're chewing on that, here's something from "BigDan"

 think you have to start to wonder now how much money the Yanks really have to spend on baseball. I always thought George ran the team at a loss and made up for it in franchise value. I don't think Hal can do that. He may have demands on the Yankee income stream that we know nothing about.

Obviously, as fans, we should respect all the hard work that goes into owning the Yankees, right?

Since when should we, as fans, care whether the Yankee owner makes money? The Steinbrenners have more money than we can count. They have more money than they can count. If finances get low, they shake a can, and they bleed the taxpayers. Why are we even having a discussion over whether the Yankees can afford to pay $27 million for Yoan Moncada... but they couldn't go to $30 million? 

The Redsocks owner wants to win more than the Yankee owner. It's that simple. And sadly to say, he is also smarter than the Yankee owner.

It's over, folks. The swagger, the sense of hope, the feeling that the Yankees are the best pro sports franchise in America... that feeling we grew up with... it died today.

We were outbid by our rivals, because the mighty Yankees preferred to keep the change. 

Well... cheer up. Here is how the Yankees will rise again: 

They must come in dead last. That way, they can draft high. The sooner the better. They will probably have to finish at the bottom for several years. We will be good for a couple years, and then we'll go back to being bad... so that we can get good again.

Excited? I have only two words left, and I am going to be shouting them for as long as it takes. 


On A Shingle

I am still recovering from the nausea created by the Elton John " after party," so what I fashion here may be a bit wobbly.  And because I have ony an I-pad, I can't use visuals.

The simple truth is: times have changed.

The Yankees remain the Yankees in name and design only.  History, tradition, and an endless striving for success lie floating in the Harlem River.  We are now no different than the Royals, the Astros or any other non-competitive franchise.  Going no where.  Making endless changes of no meaning or impact.

Baseball glory is dead to the Bronx now.  Our team is laughable and will remain so.

Let's start the pool at 60 wins.  Anyone who wants to bet on 90 can have it for a car wash.

We are going to eat it ( on a shingle), and only empty rhetoric from the GM and manager will bark noise to the contrary.

The Yankee glory is only in history, not in the present or future.  Things do change.  And when George died, what we had died with him.  The change we experienced was from a verdant, life re-affirming countryside, to a desert.  To a smoking garbage dump.  Something in that range.

Can anyone list any reason(s) to remain a Yankee fan?  Any reason other than, " I am one and always have been one?"

Twuz the night before Moncada, and all through the house, not one lone Nascar driver was beating his spouse...

The Redsocks were hung by the chimney, with luck,
Hoping Sandoval shows weighing less than a truck...

The Yankees were nestled with hope for the spring,
That Masahiro Tanaka wouldn't blow out his wing,

And Cash, to his A-Rod doll, took pins and stuck it,
When the royal Prince Hal raised a hand and yelled "FUCK IT!"

"Screw Didi, screw Gardner, screw Headley and Beltran,
"Ellsbury, Teixeira and that Brian McCann, man.

"Screw C.C., screw Didi, and screw Stephen Drew,
"And mostly, I say screw old A-(You Know Who!)

"We're the worst of the worst in the weak AL East,
"I say, let's cut our losses and pay out the least!"

Then a thought sprang from his medulla oblongata,
And he let go to Boston young Yoan Moncata.

And I heard Hal exclaim, it was almost a gloat,
"We might come in dead last, but I'll buy a new boat."

Cheer up everybody. Boston got Moncada, but the Yankees did sign Jared Burton

He's 33, with a lifetime record of 18-19.

Hal Steinbrenner's message to the Yankiverse

You'd understand my motives if you weren't so obsessed with this silly game of baseball. Winning is not how one judges success, you fools. How many homes and fast cars do you own, hmmm??

Please Mr. Steinbrenner, please, please, pleeeeeeeeze... sell the team

Wow. Was I ever wrong about the Yankees...

All winter, I thought they were actually playing it cool. I thought they were standing back and letting the big free agents go elsewhere, so they could swoop in and sign Yoan Moncada, the 19-year-old Cuban phenom. 

I actually thought they had a plan, beyond saving their billionaire owner a few more dimes. 

Wow. Wrong, wrong, wrong... 

What got into me? Stupid hope, I guess. 

It won't happen again.

Remember three years ago, when Shallow Pockets Hal announced his "get tough" initiative to reduce the payroll to $187 million, so the Yankees could escape those oppressive new luxury taxes? Back then, it seemed like he had a plan. What a joke.  As soon as the team went south, Hal started firing money at it - trying to fix problems that directly stemmed from his poor-mouthing policy over the winter. He pulled an amazing double-bank shot of mediocrity: He scrapped the $187 million plan AND fielded a crappy team!   

Folks, this is Knicks-level incompetence. 

This is what you'd get if you combined Rich Kotite DNA with Isaiah Thomas, and sprinkle in a little George W. Bush, on the inheritance side. Usually, things like this only happen in North Korea. It's the kind of mediocrity that lasts a long time. 

In fact, we may well be ceding the first two decades of this century to the Boston Redsocks. By the time Hal Steinbrenner is done looting this franchise - selling it off like the dirt in the old stadium - the notion of Yankee dominance may be a generational hiccup, remembered only by Baby Boomers. 

This morning, we are not only anticipating a horrible 2015 season - we have reason to expect a rotten next five to ten years. I don't know if I will even outlive this boob's incompetence. 

Wow. I was wrong. All this winter, I worried that I was being unfair in my criticism of  Hal Steinbrenner. Today, the billionaire has saved more of his precious, hard-inherited money. Wow. He let the guy go to Boston. I sure didn't see that coming. 

Black Monday: Boston signs Moncada

Let the Yankees start ginning up their spin machine, assuring everybody that Stephen Drew is going to have a comeback year. Because after all, they are the Frugal Empire, and Yankee fans everywhere should be proud and excited about the money that Hal Steinbrenner is saving us! 

Today, we whiffed on Yoan Moncada.

Last year, in slow motion, the Redsocks did everything smartly. And we - excruciatingly - continued to collapse. 

Now, they have not only signed two of the best free agents (Sandoval and Ramirez - without surrendering a top draft pick), but they have added two of the best new Cuban stars (Castillo and Moncada), and their farm system is crackling with young players - far more productive than ours, (which has been dead now for nearly five years.) Boston is in a position to dominate the AL East not only in 2015, but for the next five to 10 years. 

We just let a premier young talent go to our chief rival. 

But we will surely lead in executive bonuses. After all, look at all the money we saved!

Oscar wrap-up: In a different Stephen Hawking universe, the Yankees ruled last night's awards

Best as I can figure, the Yankees' only links to last night's ceremonies were: 

1) Stephen Hawking suffers from Lou Gehrig's disease. 

2) "Birdman" could easily refer to Mark "Big Bird" Fidrych, who made his mark beating the Yankees. 

3) Julianne Moore's winning character, "Still Alice," isn't the only person who won't remember the 2014 Yankee team.

4) "The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance." There has be something in there, somewhere, relating to the idea that Carlos Beltran is going make a comeback. 

Let's hope the physicists and comic book writers are right about alternative universes: 

In a more enjoyable Yankee Matrix, last night, Jack Nicholson won an Oscar. During his emotional acceptance speech, he demanded that the Yankees sign Yoan Moncada. 

The presenter, Richard Gere, added that he hoped the world would hear Nicholson's plea, and host Adam Sandler then asked the audience to stand in solidarity. At that point, Ben Affleck was physically "escorted" from the arena - a few broken ribs, he'll be fine - and then Lady Gaga - diverting from her planned presentation - defiantly sang the Yankee theme song. 

Somehow, we have become lodged in the wrong Yankee Matrix.

Answers to all your questions about the Yankees this spring

Should the Yankees use a sixth starter?

Why not? Once you get past CC, Pineda and Tanaka, you're looking at the entire population of Delaware. Each of the "Big Three" is a ticking time bomb. Then it's Adam Warren, Bryan Mitchell, Chris Capuano, Esmil Rogers, Scott Baker, Chase Whitley - you there, in the yellow shirt - come on down! We can have a 10-man rotation. Where the hell is Chris Bootcheck?

Can Didi Gregorious replace Derek Jeter?

Of course. Jeter wasn't that good last year. The operative phase for 2015 - though it will be whispered - will be, "That's a ball Jeter wouldn't have gotten to." But Didi will never be Captain. He will never replace Jeter in our minds or hearts. And nobody else will, either.

Is CC going to have a comeback year?

Yes. Until he gets hurt.

Is Tanaka going to have a comeback year?

Yes. Until he gets hurt.

Is Pineda going-

Yes. Until he-

Wait a minute. You're just blowing crap. Is everybody going to have a comeback year, until they get hurt?

Yes. Unless they suck from the get-go, the way Alphonso Soriano did last year. Then it will be a blessing if they get hurt. 

What about Eovaldi? Can Larry Rothschild turn him into a pitcher?

Maybe. But it depends far more on Eovaldi than it does Rothschild. The notion that super coaches can salvage players... I dunno about that. Remember how Kevin Long was supposed to be "the Grandyman Whisperer?" We spent years touting Long as the best hitting coach in baseball. Then we canned him. The Yankees are basically trying to sell us on the idea that other franchises are stupid. 

What will A-Rod do?

Not enough. Whatever he does, in the minds of most people, it won't be enough. My biggest fear is that he returns to full form - hitting the hell out of the ball - only to find that the defensive over-shift knocks 30 points off his batting average - as it did Tex and McCann last year. A-Rod hasn't yet played in the new over-shift era.

Will anybody rise from our farm system?

Yes. Some Preston Claiborne, or Chase Whitley or Shane Greene will pop up out of nowhere and help the Yankees. The trouble is, it won't necessarily be the ones on those trumped up Top 10 prospect lists. They are always skewed toward Single A players, whose potential is always supreme.

What should we expect from the Yankees?

Same as always. They will go the distance. No matter how dire things look, come July, management will absorb salary dumps, trade "marginal" prospects - that's how they always describe them, when they're gone - and desperately inject over-the-hill talent, hoping to extend the Wild Card race into September. Maybe they will succeed. Who knows? It's a lifetime away.