Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Didn't I Predict This?

I am a bit hung over this morning.  And I think CC is also.  He showed for  martinis last night, or at least I think he did.

I saw him, I'm sure, sprawled on my lazy boy sucking down olives and throwing the stemmed glasses around the living room.

In any case, he left early and so did I.  When it became 3-0, I turned off the set and went to bed.  I was sick and tired of watching a non competitive team.  Through 6 or 7 innings, we had one hit , one hard hit out to deep center, and a walk.  Baseball is not an interesting game when one team has no chance of doing anything.

This Yankee team never threatened or seemed capable of doing so.

The Astros ( when did they join the AL?) were having fun.  It was like spring training for them.  Frolicking in front of all those Yankees fans, playing in the stadium, and not even entertaining the idea of a stressful inning.

 It was the beautiful game we all dreamed of in our back yards , as kids.  For them.

The Yankees, basically, didn't exist.  Yankee hitters went through the motions and, mostly, did the dance called, " three and out."

So I went to bed and CC disappeared.

What did I say in the spring?  Look it up.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust: The Yankee season ends where it began... an old, bloated team going nowhere

And so it ends... just as it began.

John Sterling was wrong: You can predict baseball.

In April, few Yankee fans offered great hopes. The infield looked shaky. Nobody understood why we invested four years into Chase Headley, while the boy owner, Hal "I'm Not Cheap" Steinbrenner was touting fiscal restraint. We wondered about Stephen Drew, we feared the inevitable injuries to Tex, Gardner, Ellsbury, CC, etc., and when A-Rod strode to the plate, you heard mostly boos. We saw a team that, with luck, would win a few more games than it lost. And you know what?

The 2015 Yankees proved to be exactly the old and tired team we expected them to be in April. It just took 163 games to show up.

You know something else? I'm glad it's over. I'm glad they shot themselves in the head rather than torture us over a week, ripping off the Band-aid, inch by inch. This wasn't death row in Oklahoma. This was humane.

Fact is, this team has been stone-cold dead for a month. We were just stuck in Elizabeth Kubler Ross's first stage of grief - Denial. Today, we can finally move into Stage Number 2: Anger. 

And let's come to grips with something: Our brief fling atop the AL East came about mostly because the AL East was - back in June - baseball's worst division. And when everything started collapsing, we turned to that ultimate crutch - no, not booze - but the extra one-game wild card slot - our mirage, our new definition of "the post-season."

It's over. Or at least, this year is.

The fact is, we are probably closer to the beginning of this long-term malaise than to the end. 

That's because the Yankees still do one thing really well: Self-congratulation. They spent the month of July handing out awards - A-Rod won Comeback, Brian Cashman would make the Hall of Fame, everybody's number would be retired - and in September, it was their incredible prospects - Greg Bird and Luis Severino - bedrocks of a future resurgence. But if you compare them to the talent regularly bubbling up in other teams, we are middle of the pack. Right where we were at the start of the season.

In any other franchise, heads would roll. (Boston, Seattle and California have all changed GMs.) But we know how this will shake out. Some obscure strength coach, or minor league manager - (they already cut loose their man at Scranton) - will walk the plank. Joe Girardi - and there is no kind way to say this - had an absolutely terrible year as manager. But he will probably return. And Cashman - by orchestrating Billy Eppler's move to California - has eliminated his primary successor. Once again, he displays his greatest genius: Surviving without success.  

Well, there's always next year: Season three of Ellsbury's seven-year deal. Does anybody expect Tex, A-Rod, Beltran and CC to improve?

In the great seasons of 1996-2000, the Yankees often stumbled in May, then rallied at the end. These Yankee teams surge in May and spend the rest of the season watching water drain from the tub.

Well, it's over. And The Master is wrong. You can predict baseball. The trouble is, when the future is as bleak as ours, who wants to?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Yankees to miss 3rd straight post-season and immediately go into rehab

Dead showing.
Dead team.
Dead franchise.
And probably worse next year.





How He Got The Nickname ( Or handle)

I did a little research with some old friends in Cleveland, trying to better discover the roots of CC's problem with alcohol.

And while I learned nothing of use to the psychologists, I did learn how Sabathia got his nickname.

The Scene :  Bars in Cleveland ( early afternoon, late at night, occasionally 8:00am )

Patron : " I'll have CC on the rocks."

Bartender :  "You got it buddy;  Canadian Club on the rocks."

Patron:  "Double CC and soda"

Patron:  "CC manhattan, up."

Patron:  "CC neat with a draft."

Patron:  "CC and coke.  Lot's of ice.  I've got a hangover."

Patron : " Double CC on the rocks."

Bartender: "Hey, CC, can I have your autograph?"

And so it began…...

Letter to the Editor: The Italian Yankees

Providence Journal

October 3, 2015 Saturday
Dear Editor

I was saddened to hear of the passing of New York 
Yankee great Lawrence “Yogi” Berra. Yogi was not only a talented player, as a big part of 10 World Championship teams, but a true ambassador for the wonderful game of baseball, and a gentleman.
When I was young, every Sunday during the summer included going to Olivo’s Beach. And, it seemed that every Italian family in Rhode Island was there. They were split between Red Sox fans and Yankees fans.
The Yankees had many Italian ballplayers who made my relatives proud. The Sox had Ted Williams, “Teddy Ballgame,” while the Yankees had Mickey Mantle, the “Mick.” Almost every blanket on the beach had a transistor radio tuned to the ballgame, while back at the “kitchen area,” where the smell of “gravy” for the pasta and fresh coffee wafted from a Coleman stove, each car radio also had the game on.
With fewer teams in the American League back then, it seemed as if the Red Sox and Yankees \x97 who did not like each other \x97 met each other every weekend.
Not until both Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle were at the end of their baseball careers did I realize how great they were, and how much I would miss them. May Yogi and the Mick rest in peace, and may America’s pastime always remain just that.
Bob Ferri
Central Falls

Dear CC;

In about 6 minutes, I dive into steak and eggs, along with my 16 oz. bloody mary.

I am formally inviting CC to come over and drink with me tonight.  A pitcher of vodka martinis will help him forget his recent publicity and, okay, " troubles."

He has to know that the Yankees will lose tonight, otherwise he will have guilt forever about abandoning his team at their moment of need.  And just for a shot of rye and a beer.

The first thing I will tell him is that alcoholism is not a problem when you have millions, stay at home,. don't drive and have no family or friends.

The second is; starting tomorrow, you  do two things.  One; you give up drinking and check into that clinic.  Be sure and converse in the group sessions.  Don't sign autographs because you are now just a bum like everyone else.

Two; give the Yankees a check for $50million.  You have been a drunk for years ( don't say it just happened ), and, in effect, have been stealing the Yankees money.  Your record has been putrid, your uniform doesn't fit, and you can go into the Hall of Dirt with the Indians' capon your fuzzy head.

No we all know why they were laughing at Brian Cashman when you got on the bus for NYC.

I really feel sorry for this guy.










Monday, October 5, 2015

The dark and disturbing plight of the 2015 Yankees

Somebody once said, "It ain't over 'till it's over." But on this 2015 Wild Card Eve of Destruction, the Yankees look as over as anything can be. They look to be over the dam, over the bridge, over the rainbow, over the hill...

Tonight, I'm still trying to fathom how CC Sabathia - a lion of a competitor, a prince of a guy - could devolve into the player who can't even answer the bell in what would likely be his last chance at a World Series. How messed up must he have been in these recent weeks? Dear God, it must have been horrible, the sequence of events that prompts him to walk away from what he was working toward all year - a post-season appearance. It blows your mind. I'm sure we'll learn a lot about CC in the next few days - it is NYC, after all - and I doubt the revelations will be pretty for both Sabathia and the Yankees. It's nice that the franchise is backing him - (we'll see how far they go with that) - but how could things have gotten so bad? This didn't happen overnight.

Close your eyes, and its almost impossible to imagine the 2015 Yankees winning the World Series. It's easier to imagine dolphins rising from the oceans to demand an end to casino gambling. Of course, yes, anything can happen. All you need is a dollar and a dream. They must win tomorrow, then get really hot and really lucky, and that's the beauty of hope: You can always find some. But these Yankees have now gone through one of the ugliest collapses in their history: A sickening end-of-season losing streak that nearly cost them the wild card. Now, they go into October with the bare shell of a staff. Even if their pitchers perform heroics, they're not going to last three and a half weeks.

It's as if the entire year has been a cruel joke by Chris Capuano. He's been DFA'ed multiple times, always returned for one last chance - and then he'd crap the bed again. Yet if the Yankees make the ALCS, we might actually see him again. Can you believe it?

OK... we have Tanaka tomorrow. He was a gamer in Japan. Let's hope he throws a shutout, because we won't score on Dallas Keuchel. Let's say we win. Then we go to KC with a rotation of Severino, Pineda and either Adam Warren or - ugh - Ivan Nova. We will expect Betances and Miller both to pitch two innings per game. And if somehow we beat KC - it's only a five game shot - we face Toronto/Texas over seven. And then the World Series. How many times can Tanaka pitch, especially with a bad hamstring? How many more innings should Severino pitch? How do you figure this team winning it?

Well, you don't. And when it's over - and it ain't 'till it is, somebody said - the 2015 Yankees are going to be remembered for trials and tribulations - and for one ultimate question: How things could have gotten this way?

It just gets worse

All season, we've heard how CC was such a team leader, how he commanded such respect from coaches and teammates.

How bad must his drinking have been if he has to go into rehab on the day before the playoffs? 

When you watch a team collapse like the Yankees have in the last week - and actually, the last month - you wonder what dynamics are at work? The Redsocks a few years back were drinking in the clubhouse during games. You wonder...

Letter to the Editor: Remember Private Yogi

Providence Journal
October 3, 2015 Saturday
Dear Editor:
It is unfortunate that in your Sept. 27 editorial “Yogi Berra, 1925-2015” you missed highlighting Mr. Berra’s heroic service as a member of the Navy during World War II, and in particular his participation in D-day.
Even as a lifelong Red Sox fan, I wholeheartedly appreciate the greats who have graced baseball’s fields of dreams, whether they have played for Boston or not. Mr. Berra was one of those true baseball greats \x97 both on and off the field.
I am grateful for his service to our country and believe that you should have recognized and acknowledged this important part of his life and its historical context. We are a greater nation because of heroes like Mr. Berra and all of those who serve, both past and present.
Anthony Miccolis
North Kingstown

The Game Plan

Just a warning;  I start pre-game cocktails at 12:01pm today.

I anticipate beginning with a pitcher of manhattans.  Then a dozen cold beers to guide me into Tuesday, where the wake-up call is a tall, 16 ounce bloody mary, along with steak and eggs.

As game time approaches, my plan is to transition to vodka martini's.

So that is  my planned preparation for this enormous, and ever rare , Yankee event.

The Yankees?  They will do the following;

1.  Score two runs early but fail to overwhelm the opponent, missing numerous opportunities to do so.

2.  Then, we fold up the offense and rely on pitching.

3.  A-Rod will strike out three times in crucial situations, and single with two outs and no one on in the 8th or 9th.

4.  We will lose by a run.

By the game's end, I will need a week off.

Not wasting one victory, the Yankees rival their owner in frugality

Somewhere within the Stygian darkness of the murky 1980s - the era of Human League, Wham and Huey Lewis & the News - the Yankees ended up with Phil Rizzuto in the WPIX booth, clinging to a distant hope that Jesse Barfield would return to his glory days of hitting. And whenever Jesse pounded a massive, sky-high pop-up into the stratosphere, The Scooter would exclaim how Jesse "jeeeeeeussssssssssssst missed that one," that Jesse came within one tiny micrometer of blasting that ball into deep space. He jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeusssssssst missed... So close.

Let the books show that the 2015 Evil Empire produced 87 victories, three more than 2014 and jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeussssssssst enough to qualify for the 5th Annual Bud Selig Memorial One-Game Wild Card Turkey Shoot.

Once the Yankees clinched this remarkable achievement, our canny team of vets promptly clocked out and went into Jesse Barfield mode, which is also known as Casual Dress October. Nobody wasted a hit. Nobody wasted a quality start. They played miserably, horribly, embarrassingly, Barfieldingly - they peed themselves in public - only to be saved by sympathetic strangers - in this case, the normally hate-filled Arizona Diamondbacks.

In this way, the '15 Yanks mirrored their owner - (or more appropriately, his son) - Hal "I'm Not Cheap" Steinbrenner, who prides himself on finishing second in free agent auctions. Last winter, I'm Not Cheap finished a close runner-up in the race for Yoan Moncada, the Redsocks likely successor to Dustin Pedroia, and he nearly signed several others, too. We're lucky. What a waste those players would have been. The fact is, we didn't need more than 87 wins - and as the YES men constantly remind us, nobody expected the Yankees to make it this far! It's been a great year, we over-achieved, and even if this team doesn't make it past the Selig Piss-Off, we won jeeeeeeeeeusssssssssssssst enough to make the 2015 Wild Card.

Hoo. Ray.

Once upon a time, there was a philosophy that the Yankees would challenge every year, that they were not the Padres or Brewers or Royals, who build powerhouse teams simply by finishing last for a half-decade. The idea was that the Yankees sit on the biggest market in pro sports, and each year, they would plow the proceeds back into the team. Thus, even if they won a pennant, they would sign a Mike Mussina or a Jason Giambi, or whatever Asian star appeared on the horizon. Rooting for the Yankees was different from supporting any other team. Other fans hated you. They would pick arguments. When you lost, they came after you. Nobody ever expressed pity for you. It was a source of personal pride, and you had to carry it, and it was likely nothing else in sports. You were a goddamm Yankee fan.

Of course, as we know, the MLB rules changed and luxury taxes became oppressive - blah-blah-blah - but somehow I'm Not Cheap became so infatuated by cutting costs that he even stopped chasing the free agents who don't affect the payroll caps. A generation of Cuban and Japanese stars came to America, and with the exception of Tanaka - a case where I'm Not Cheap was practically shamed into forking over the money (and he's been worth every penny, by the way) - the whole plan has been Barfieldian - to spend as little as possible and win jeeeeeeeeeeeeeussssssssst enough for that final open slot.

And they did it. They achieved their objective! Hoo. Ray.

Yep, the YES brigade is absolutely right. For the Yankees, it's been a wildly successful year. They made the one-game playoff - literally coasting into it. We won jeeeeeeeeeeeeeussssst enough to be here, and now - well, who knows? We are 1-5, without driving in a meaningful run in the last week, but at least we didn't waste anything. That's frugality, folks! We're just like the owner: Jeeeeeeeuussssssssssssssst enough. In fact, close your eyes and look out in right, that's not Carlos Beltran out there. Isn't that Jesse Barfield? Hey, let's put on some Huey Lewis. I need a new drug.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Ready for Tuesday?

John: "This week has been a nightmare... THIS HAS BEEN A NIGHTMARE!"

And The Master is right.

You can't pre-lick baseball. 

The Thrillingly Original Wisdom of Michael Kay

"Baseball is a game that's certainly very difficult to predict." 
--Bottom 4th, 2 0ut, Chris Capuano facing Geraldo Parra.

Letter to the editor: Was Yogi a "hero?"
September 27, 2015 Sunday
Dear Editor,
Like many Americans I felt badly about the passing of Yogi Berra and will miss him. He was a great baseball player, a gentleman, apparently kind, thoughtful and very, very charismatic. But Yogi Berra was not a hero. Hero is a term that should be reserved for people who do heroic things, things that exemplify courage, bravery and willingness to do that which most of us would surely fear.
The firefighter who runs in when we are running out, the police officer who rescues a person threatened by a criminal and our warriors — the men and women deployed in harm's way — these are surely heroes.
The ability to excel at a game, to jump high or to run fast on a football field are great traits, and the source of great income in some cases, but definitely not heroic. Playing bingo with friend Phil Rizzuto three times a week made Berra a devoted friend, a kind person, a caring person, but a hero? I think not.
Let us reserve the term "hero" for the people I cited and others like them. Let us recognize our sports figures and entertainers for the positive qualities they have, but let's not diminish the heroism of true heroes.
Fred Harris
Paramus, Sept. 24

The Art Of Deception

I finally figured it out.

As soon as the red socks came to town last week the Yankees, under the clever management of
Joe ( the magician ) Girardi, began to quietly execute "Plan B."

This unexpected bit of creative baseball planning called for the Yankees to look helpless.  To fail at every discipline.

Leave runners in scoring position.
Give up multiple homers to a broad base of up and coming players
Utilize losing baseball strategies in all circumstances
Have reliable pitchers collapse early.
Overwork the quality guys in the bull pen.
Order A-Rod to strike out with the bases loaded.
Make sure Headley doesn't bunt with the tying run on third, no outs, and the infield playing deep.
Play shoddy defense.
Have your fastest guy get picked off when representing the tying run in the ninth inning.

And it has worked.

 Who, in the American league, doesn't now see this team as inept?  As unworthy of any playoff role? As an opponent who will be crushed and demoralized by the third inning of any game?  A team with no threats at all in important moments?  With a manager whose moves can be read like Pineda's pitches?

"Plan B" has worked perfectly.  Flawlessly.

The only sacrifice is that Yankee fans won't get to see them capitalize on the benefits of this deception at the stadium.  Not getting to play the play-in game in front of Yankee fans is also part of the plan.

The sacrifices we make.

Yankees were too cheap to sign Scherzer, and now we're floundering to the finish line

Last winter, many people assumed that free agent pitcher Max Scherzer would end up a New York Yankee. I bet even Max assumed it. Why not? The Evil Emps had gone two seasons without sniffing the playoffs. We'd fallen to the second highest payroll, ($217 million), a vast drop from the Dodgers's $271 million, (accordting to Cot's Baseball Payrolls site.) Why wouldn't the Yankees chase an ace?

Unfortunately, Hal "I'm Not Cheap" Steinbrenner never picked up the phone. He spent $5 million each on Chris Capuano and Stephen Drew, then threw about $30 million at the Dominican Republic BOCES class of 2020. When the big free agents hit the market, "I'm Not Cheap" hid under the bed, counting his gold dubloons. More amazingly - the courtier Yankee media and loyal blog enables snapped into line and hailed the New Frugality, as if Yankee fans were receiving all that free money, instead of the Steinbrenner brood.

Let's forget that the Yankees right now look like the worst team in baseball, as they stumble toward the one-game playoff. Let's forget our multitude of problems - as deep as the GOP's interest in Benghazi - and let's celebrate all the money that "I'm Not Cheap" saved by not pursuing Max Scherzer.

Imagine 2015 if we had Max. We might have witnessed two no-hitters, Yankee Classics to be rerun on YES for the rest of eternity. We might be watching a future centerfield plaque, or surely a retired jersey. We might have won the AL East, because instead of being seven games behind in July, Toronto would have been 12 games out, and they might not even have chased David Price. We wouldn't have watched Ivan Nova piss away an entire second half and keep returning like a ghost, or GOP investigations of Benghazi.

Remember when "I'm Not Cheap" claimed the Yankees would have a warchest to be used at the trade deadline? Lett's celebrate that he saved all that cash - mainly because nobody wanted to sell us anything. Other teams preferred young prospects, so "I'm Not Cheap" kept his extra stack. The '15 Yankees made a playoff - they're calling it "the post-season," but they need to win the playoff to make the actual post-season. "I'm Not Cheap" pocketed more millons. Hoo-ray for him.

Word is that "I'm Not Cheap" will sit out next winter's free agent market, waiting until CC, Tex and A-Rod are off the books, so he can pursue that Dream Fantasy of Yankee fans: the $187 million, no-luxury tax payroll! I can't wait! That will be the greatest time to be a Yankee fan, knowing that "I'm Not Cheap" has achieved his goal. Won't it be great that kds like Severino and Bird save the team money, which they don't have to spend on other players.

Once upon a time, the Yankees were the gold standard of baseball, the team everybody hated and everybody watched. They might stink, but they were never boring. Then "I'm Not Cheap" took over. This week, they will be New York's other team. But, hey, let's celebrate the reality! THE TEAM SAVED MONEY! Hoo-ray.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Letter to the Editor: Not happy with management

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (New York)
September 15, 2015 Tuesday 
Dear Editor,
I am a Yankees fan who has dutifully watched every game available to me on TV this year up to the culmination of their inevitable season demise this weekend at the hands of Toronto.
Anyone could have sealed this weekend's results in an envelope thirty days ago. It is now time to place the blame where it belongs. Surprise! The Yankees' ultimate decline since mid-August is not due to slumping players but bad management beginning with Joe Girardi. You can't accept the huge salary he commands and just sit back and manage by formula. I haven't seen an ounce of creativity or imagination out of Joe all season.
Now that it is finally over with, it's time to start thinking about management that can manage, unless you want to ignore the problem and wind up like the Boston Red Sox next season.

Waiting for the Yankees opponent, wanting none of the above

Last night, Houston scored 21 (twenty one) runs, Mike Trout proved again why he's the MVP, and the only team I'd like to play Tuesday - Minnesota's finest - lost.

Whoever we face, they'll go into the one game playoff playing far better ball than we have been.

One game.

I thought this was baseball. Since when did we become the NFL? If we're doing one game playoffs, why not have a 64 team bracket, including Triple A. Have the Final Four, or maybe a double-elimination round robin. One game? Since when does baseball decide something, anything, on a one game playoff?

One game. It's not right. If Tanaka has a stinker, three runs in the first - our season is over. If we go 0 for 10 with runners on base, as we are prone to do, the season is history. If Headley sails one into the stands, or if Beltran gets hypnotized watching flies drop in front of him... if Chasen Shreve comes in, under any circumstances... if Betances can't find the plate... if, if, if... so many ways we can lose this one stinking game... if any one of them lands upon us, or if we're just unlucky... it's over.

One game.

Right now, it's Houston. Right now, it's Dallas Keuchel, who won his 20th last night. He'll pitch on three days rest, (for the first time ever.) The guy has thrown 16 shutout innings against us this season. He's been untouchable. He's a lefty. We die against lefties. In a three game series, they couldn't throw just lefties. In a five game series, we'd expose their bullpen. In a seven game series, all our advantages would have a chance to emerge.

One game.

Or it could be California. We will face Trout. It'll be like when we faced Josh Hamilton, four years ago, in his prime, last time we made the playoffs. Every time he comes up, I'll hide behind the couch. California would throw a lefty against us. Doesn't matter who he is. We die against lefties.

Minnesota lost last night. Damn. I want the Twins. Phil Hughes isn't a lefty. Give us the Twins, juju gods. It shouldn't be much to ask. After all, it's just one game.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Lift A Glass

I think Boston was getting embarrassed.

In the end, they knew the Yankees are going no where, and that the future belongs to the red socks, so they threw the Yankees a bone.  After all, it is fitting that the greatest franchise in our world should win their 10,000 game against their long-standing rival.  It just seems the right balance for baseball.

So a lot of the regulars sat out the game for Boston.  Likewise for the Yankees, though their rationale is harder to fathom.

CC pitched like the old professional that he is; Adam Warren proved his mettle as a long reliever; and Dellin got to close out the biggest game of his young career. The Yankees won the game with home runs.  This is their only path to scoring.  But Kudos to Carlos, Bird and Refsnyder ( he crushed it ).

The contributions of Bird and Refsnyder, along with Severino, Didi, and John Ryan Murphy are positives for next season, regardless of what happens on Tuesday night.  I also have high hopes for Nathan Eovaldi, unless he needs surgery.  He is still young and was about our best pitcher this year.

Can Aaron Judge and Slade Heathcott emerge?  And we have to buy a new Greg Nettles for third base.

Anyway, they all helped us get to the playoffs for the first time in a "coon's age, " as El Duque likes to say.  A one game play-in is not exactly like being named the Prom King, but it is a ticket into the dance hall where, they say, anything can happen.  One can get lucky.

So let's all raise a glass of the finest whiskey we can find, and toast this melange of coaches and players who got us here.  It will be fun, even if it,  "gets late early," again on Tuesday eve.

Today, it is only Friday.

Letter to the Editor: Yogi unique

The Kansas City Star
September 25, 2015 Friday

Dear Editor,
One of the world's great unintentional philosophers finally found the fork in the road and took it ("Yankees Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra dies at age 90"). We're all unique, but Yogi was a lot more unique than most.
Clyde Waltermate

Long may she wave! Yanks hoist 2015 Wild Card Home Field Advantage Flag o'er the House that Ruth Built


Well, here we go. One game, one last run, and a hurricane on the way.

One game. Not that we ever doubted this plucky Yankee team. We knew A-Rod would hit. We knew Luis Severino would become the Yankee Pedro. We said Refsnyder needed a chance. And we pleaded with the juju gods to do something about Stephen Drew. (Don't like concussions, though. Hope the guy is OK.)

OK, we goofed on condemning Carlos Beltran, and we didn't think CC Sabathia would ever start for us again. We were wrong on Didi, wrong on Tex, wrong on a lot of fronts. Oh well, we are in.

One game. This will almost surely be A-Rod's last run in the klieg lights. One game. With a hurricane on the way. One game.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Letter to the Editor: Yogi at the dinner table

Arizona Daily Star (Tucson)
September 26, 2015 Saturday
Dear Editor
I was 9 or 10, living in Detroit, when the Yankees came to play the Tigers. Yogi had friends in our neighborhood and came over for dinner. A large group of kids formed in front of their house, including me. We were told to line up and were led inside. Yogi was sitting at the dinner table smiling. He signed an autograph and had something nice to say to every kid. What a guy.
Michael Salkowski

I've Seen Enough !

Last night was just puke.  I have had better nights, vomiting on my shoes and peeing on myself in a bar, waking up in an alley.  Watching this Yankee team is an embarrassment.

The Yankees, under the woebegone tutelage of Joe Girardi, just can't do a thing right.  When this ends badly, as it will, don't forget that Joe has been at the helm.

Joe pinch-hits John Ryan Murphy for Bird ( who can hit lefties, Joe ) and he strikes out, extending his streak of hitless pinch hitting appearances.  Now the defense softens, as whomever Joe puts at first will rival Carlos Beltran for competence there.  I didn't stay up to see if it was John Ryan or that dweeb with the bad back we recently traded for.

Joe plays the tie going into the ninth, " by the book."  A tactic that has cost us every time.  We never win tie games in extra innings.

The reason;  home runs don't come that often.  We score early and go home.  The Yankees can't manufacture runs any other way.

But before we all fall on our swords, let us remember the early and even pre-season warnings we raised:

-An old team that is susceptible to injuries.
- A 40 year old slugger who will wear out after the dog days of August.
- A questionable starting staff ( CC seemed done; Nova is never reliable; Tanaka and his arm issue; Pineda and his arm/mental issue; Nathan Eovaldi and his bad luck.
- A replacement at SS that is not Derek.( Didi had lost his job on the team that traded him to us).
_ A New York Met "slugger"who got trashed by the Mets.
_ No one at second base.  No one.  All season.
- Tex with a history of season ending injuries.  And he did not let us down.
-  A catcher not as good as either of two we released for him (Martin, Cervelli).
-A CF who had his best days in Boston
- A farm system with no superstars anywhere near those that Boston has already elevated.

We ( I ) actually predicted that this team would not even make the one game play-in.  So what is all the fuss about?

Do they make it if they lose all remaining games, but back in?

Not in my mind.

Maybe it's me. Really bad Ju-Ju. I'm not going to watch anymore this year.

The regular season can't end too quickly for these stumbling, backpedaling Yankees.

Tonight, presumably, somebody will lose somewhere, and Yankee Stadium will finally erupt in cheers, as the Evil Army topples backwards into the 2015 Wild Card game.

What a disaster. This should be a night of celebration.

What a disaster.

Other teams are making their final drive - the Redsocks look like next year's Blue Jays - while the old, tired and bloated Yankees drunkenly backpedal, watching the scoreboard and praying to be saved by the bell.

If the season lasted another week, we'd fall out of it altogether.

What a disaster.

Last night, waiting for the Yankees to lose, I had the creeping sense that the entire season was just a practical joke. Brett Gardner comes up in the 11th, and they flash his batting average: .261. Two sixty one? Dear God, what happened to this guy? Two sixty one? He made the all-star team. He was chasing .300. Two sixty one? And with the bases loaded, Gardner swings at the first pitch and hits a meek grounder to second. WTF happened to this guy?

And then there's Didi Gregorius, who goes 0-for-5. At one point, they intentionally walk Rob Refsnyder to pitch to him. Refsnyder, in his first week of playing. And it works. Didi swings at the first pitch. Poof. He's now hitting .262. Two sixty two. For the last month, we've heard nothing but superlatives about Didi - Cashman's great pickup - but across the way, the Redsocks have a future MVP at shortstop, and something tells me, the Didi Era might not be remembered for celebrations.

Then we have our two Yankees Forever - or at least three more years: Jacoby Ellsbury is hitting .261. Two sixty one? And Chase the Overthrow Headley's at .262. Two sixty two. I'm sensing a Cashmanocci numerical sequence. .261, .262, .261, .262... what comes next? Well, how about .252 - which is A-Rod's BA, and then .234, which is Brian McCann.

Have we been so corrupted by the home run that even non-sluggers swing for the fences? That's what happened to Stephen Drew, who traded 17 HRs for a career-ending batting average. (Though, as KD pointed out yesterday, by getting hurt, Drew ends the season above .200!)

Yeesh. What happened to this team? They were seven games up in July, and Cashman was going to the Hall of Fame. Now, we've done more choking than Jonathan Papelbon, and we're aimlessly watching the scoreboard, hoping to be rescued by the Cleveland Indians.

What a disaster. Iceberg, dead ahead. And this one is going to sting for a long time.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Jesus, Mary & Michael

I might just go back to the Greyhound counter and buy a one-way ticket to Mexico.

Last night, Michael Pineda had barely placed his ridiculous "iconic" cap on his head and we were six runs down.  He just got hammered.

His expression lost all serenity, his eyes glazed and popped, his confidence went in the toilet.  I thought for a moment there, that he was going to ask for a bathroom break.  Talk about a panic moment.

I thought I was watching an act; a parody of baseball done in a theater in the west village.  Death of a Pitcher.

It was better than batting practice for the red sox.  It was like dunking your high school physics teacher at a,  " hit the bullseye," game at the county fair.

The game was over.  As Yogi would say, " It got late early."

Where the hell is Nathan Eovaldi?  All of a sudden Luis Severino is our best pitcher?

Jesus, Mary & Michael.

A team to blow the one game wild card play-in spot if I ever saw one.

Letter to the Editor: Yogi was nice

Herald News (Passaic County, NJ)
September 27, 2015 Sunday 
Dear Editor,
Berra's legacy will long endure
Yogi Berra was a sports icon and an all-time New York Yankee great. But the Montclair resident was also a Jersey guy who exhibited great integrity and humility.
For Italian-Americans of a certain generation, he was a role model and a source of pride. He was a patriotic American who served his country in World War II. But Lawrence Peter Berra, who came out of an Italian neighborhood of St. Louis called "the Hill," was very proud of his Italian roots.
Berra's legacy will live on in Yankee lore and at the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center at Montclair State University. Berra's life was truly la dolce vita. I am thankful for the memories.
Anthony Vecchione

Official Yankee view: There's nothing to fear, no reason to worry, lalalalala, everybody go home and go to bed

Everywhere, you hear the reassurances: It cannot happen. Stop worrying. There's nothing to fear. Everything is good. Everything is locked down, in the can, in the bag, a done-deal, dead solid perfect...

The Yankees won't blow this.

Nope. Can't happen. Will not happen! Those aging vets, you can count on them in the clutch. They're battle-tested, they know the score. The Yankees have carefully assembled a team of cagy, experienced warriors, and they know how to win. Lalalalalala...

Why would anybody worry? After all, the Empire has played one game over .500 since early August. They are 13-19 in their last 32 home games. A-Rod is hitting .167 over his last 11. Our lineup couldn't hit a lefty with tennis rackets. We're practicing John Ryan Murphy at 1B. Last night, Michael Pineda gave up six runs before recording his second out. Tanaka goes tonight, first time since he tweaked his hammy, which happened when Girardi started him on four days rest. Oh yes, everything is groovy!

Nope. Nothing to fear. No way the Yankees get swept at home by the lowly Redsocks, who - by the way - have five hitters in their lineup with higher averages than the Yankees' leader, Carlos Beltran, (at .274.) No frickin way can the Yankees lose two more. Go home, everybody. Eat a chicken and kiss your children. And - hey - if we do get swept - who cares? - because all we need to do is take 2 out of 3 in Baltimore, where old friend Buck Showalter will have his team take a knee. Right? It cannot happen. Big collapses only happen to the Mets, you know, when they had guys like, oh, Carlos Beltran.

It's been a great year! Nobody expected such success. What a pleasant surprise! The Yankees are contending for the Wild Card! We should be thankful. Everything is great! No, better than great! IT'S FANTASTIC, MAGNIFICENT, ADORABLE, AND I'M SO HAPPY THAT I'M READY TO EXPLODE, HAHAHAHAHA, WITH WILD CARD PRIDE! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! LALALALALA...