And you can vote too.
(A-Rod's at 70-30, out-a-here)
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
It's here. Each of them - Chris Rock, Will Farrell and Kevin Hart - have done much funnier stuff. But there is a real gem here... the video that loads immediately following this - the salute to the greatest broadcaster of all time.
The fact is, the Yankees can benefit by what happens in this hell-spawned post-season. And even if Marshmallow Hal Steinbrenner right now is sitting with a loaded Luger in his mouth, reading a job application from Sidney Ponson, we must stay the course and stay coarse - that is, root for our swine-like self-interest... because that's what it once meant to be a Yankee fan. Have you forgotten? We were feared, reviled! as "the Evil Empire." Now, we're the Evil Town Dump. Gyadammit, let's at least be eeeeee-vil.
Here's my rankings of who we should root for, and why. Tell me if I'm wrong. I don't claim to be right. Just eeeee-vil.
1. Baltimore. (And this has nothing to do with my still smoldering opinion of Buck Showalter.) Simply stated, if they win, they'll fall apart. JJ Hardy will want more money next winter. So will Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz. They can't sign them all. They'll probably let Matt Wieters walk, too. It's damn hard to repeat. If the O's win, they'll have won their championship for the next 20 years, fulfilled their quota, and they can return to insignificance, and I say, GO YOU O's.
2. Royals. Same basic deal. Let them win. Who cares? They have most of their players already signed through the next ice age. I wouldn't mind seeing them mop the floor with Anaheim. Plus, a KC win will be baseball's worst nightmare, marketing wise. All those executives in Bud Selig's office who are still congratulating themselves for the collapse of the Yankees... let them stare into the void of a Kansas City dynasty and think about the bottom line. Aint gonna be no Eric Hosmer farewell tour.
3. Dodgers. Mattingly love here. I still believe he is fated to someday run the Yankees. I would happily see them win it, especially if it causes them to keep Hanley Ramirez from us. I personally think that Hanley is the closest living human to A-Rod, in terms of DNA, and bringing him to NY as Jeter's replacement would be an incredible mistake.
4. Tigers. This winter, Scherzer and Victor Martinez will jump ship. It's now or never for Detroit. I'm still smarting over how they tortured us in recent playoff years; we've never gotten revenge. Still, I'm thinking the Redsocks will go after Scherzer, because they don't have to worry about losing first round picks. If the Tigers win, Boston's price tag goes up. (Same for James Shields of KC, BTW.)
5. Angels. Let's face it: We're never going to get Mike Trout, until he's 44 and built like Carlos Beltran. I don't see many free agents on their roster who we want. Screw them. If they win, maybe they'll be less hungry to go after John Lester or the next slugger from Cuba - (whom we really need to sign, BTW.)
6. Pirates. Our favorite trading partners. If they win, the price of their talent only goes up when Cashman calls, and for some reason, they're one of the few teams willing to deal with us. I have nothing against Pittsburgh, but why overpay in the next deal?
7. Giants. The Panda is a free agent, but we're stuck with A-Rod at third, and I don't think we want another guy shaped like Zelous Wheeler. They've won their share of championships and have managed to keep their core players. If they beat LA, the Dodgers will go nuts and probably spend the moon on Lester. I don't see any gain for us if they win it.
8. Cardinals. Screw them. A couple years ago, five or 10 maybe, they beat us with Bob Gibson, Tim McCarver and Bill White - and don't think I've forgotten or forgiven! Adam Wainwright had the class to throw Jeter a meatball, and then the gall to shoot off his mouth about it. Screw him. Screw them. We gain nothing by them winning the World Series. Plus, they've twice rolled over for Boston. Pttuuii.
9. Washington. I'm worried here, because I think it's only a matter of time before the Yankees empty their entire farm system for Bryce Harper, and I'm not sure that's a good idea. Harper grew up as a nutjob Yankee fan, and at some point, he'll want to take his act to Gotham. If Washington wins, his price will go up. We're better off with him fizzling, going 0-for-20, and creating animosity, so when the Caps have had enough, it's only half the farm system. Maybe we'll keep Aaron Judge.
10. A's. Another team always on the cusp of winning - and which never does. If they win, the price of their players will rise. Most notably, I'm thinking about John Lester. He's the one free agent pitcher out there who - because he was traded in the mid-season - WON'T cost us our first round pick. Boston doesn't have to worry about losing picks, thanks to engineering a collapse. But we can't keep pissing away first round picks. That means we want John Lester! And that means we don't want him pitching Oakland to the World Series.
See? Being eeee-vil is easy. All you have to do is think about Number One.
Monday, September 29, 2014
Boston finally sobers up: "One of the most painful baseball moments in a city’s history of painful baseball moments — a defeat during the 2003 American League Championship Series — was a cause for joy yesterday. Later, an Aretha Franklin impersonator came on the field to sing “Respect.” It’s not often you can say this, but I was just glad my grandfathers are both dead so they didn’t have to live to see this."
Those stupid Boston idiots... They swallowed the whole Jeter farewell bullshit tour thing - hook, line, sinker, pole and boat.
You know how they think they're so smart? They were too stewpid to see this! Bobby Orr? Yaz? Bernie Williams? Did you see the looks on their doltish faces? What clowns. They should have thawed the frozen head of Ted Williams. Where was Roger Clemens and Wade Boggs? Pumpsie Green! Mwah-hahahahaha.
Boston, dear Boston... you poor sad idiots, you crack me up... but listen, I hate to have to tell you this but... hey, this whole thing about Jeter...
IT WAS DONE JUST TO MESS WITH YOU.
And you bit the worm. Oh, God! Wait a minute, wait a minute, I can still see it -- "Ladies and gentlemen, we've now got a special treat, ten minutes of listening to Bernie Williams on his classical guitar, during a 9-1 game, when you could be a bar getting blottoed..." Hahahahahaha. MAN, ARE YOU PEOPLE STEWWWWWWWWPID OR WHAT?
Oh, my heart, MY HEART, I GOTTA TAKE A PILL.
Listen, hello-o-o? Anybody home? I just gotta say, that was really nice to have you people acting so cordial, so solemn that - HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA - no, I'm sorry, let me be serious now, because it was very nice to - hhahaHAHAHAHAHAHA -- ohh, please... really, guys, one last thing, because this was really appreciated, and I wanna say then little Dusty Pedroia retires, you know what? He can lick the lice from my butt crack, free of charge. I can't wait. Hahaugh.
He's 42 - the perfect Yankee age!
Cashman better not let the Redsocks get this one.
Same with Showalter: He could have walked Jeter in that final Yankee Stadium game. There was one out, a man on second, and the human GIDP known as Brian McCann following Jeter in the order. A lot of managers would have told his pitcher to put Jeter on base. Buck didn't.
Here's an exciting thought: Next year, the Yankees will be led by A-Rod, Teixeira, Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Martin Prado - some sure-to-be-disappointing free agent - and whatever old-timers can be snapped up from the salary dump scrap heap. I bet Chris Young returns! Yippee!
Are we supposed to sit around, debating whether the Yankees should re-sign Chase Headley? Is that what we should do over the next month? Because I'm out. I'd rather debate whether the front office should be boiled in peanut oil or olive oil. What kind of feathers should go best on the tar?
I feel like I'm holding a wet paper bag filled with dead kittens.
Every team in baseball honored Jeter and Mariano. But the Yankees couldn't give either a post-season
The Yankees flat-out failed them.
Does anybody but the strength coach ever pay a price for incompetence?
Suzyn questions the brain trust: "Where's (Pirela) been? Why didn't he come up on September first? They brought everybody else up. Why not him?"
Pirela's route to fame was hardly circuitous: It was ridiculous. You'd think the guy has Ebola, the way the Yankee brain trust ran from him. The poor kid - he's 24 - outhit everybody else at Scranton, yet when Brian Cashman looked for reinforcements, he only saw Antoan Richardson, Zelous Wheeler and the AARP all-star Mets cast-off, Chris Young. In July, when the Yankees finally acknowledged what every fan in captivity knew - that Brian Roberts couldn't cut it at 2B - nobody even considered Pirela. Nope. Can't hit. Can't field. Can't do the job...
Listen: I accept that Yankee scouts know more than we do. Trouble is, they have such a crappy record! It's not as if they are doing the job...
Over the weekend, John and Suzyn watched Pirela make several fine plays at second base. At one point, he ranged to his right, snagged a grounder, smartly threw to third and caught a runner off base, leading to a brilliant double play. That caused Suzyn to blow a gasket.
"WHERE'S HE BEEN?" she thundered. "Why didn't he come up on Sept. first? They brought everybody else up. WHY NOT HIM?"
Good question. This came as the news broke how Joe Girardi's secret clubhouse meeting, days earlier. Joe lit into certain players for their obesity and lack of production. But all season, Jose Pirela never even received the time of day from the Yankees. He just stayed in Scranton, played every position but catcher, and hit.
John noted that Pirela won the batting crown, but only hit .305.
"Three-oh-five?" Suzyn growled. "The Yankees don't have anybody hitting .305!"
Late September is a lousy time to get a fix on players. But this weekend, one of the reasons why Boston could afford to be so gracious is that the Redsocks are clearly moving in the right direction - while the Yankees are ready to fall into a Tampa sinkhole. Boston spent the last week unveiling next year. All David Cone and the other YES Yes-Men could say was that the Yankees have "a lot of work to do."
There isn't enough spin on a baseball to make the Yankee front office look competent.
Around now, fans are supposed to say, "Wait'll next year!"
I am already dreading 2015.
Alphonso will soon return from Norway, where he has been basking in the glow of his ancestors. If you thought he was angry this year...
Sunday, September 28, 2014
Infield hit, Baltimore chop to third, knocked in Ichiro...who continues to be our best hitter next to Ellsbury. Ich's triple knocked in two. His haters will say if we had someone else, it would have been an inside the park home run. Ah, but then it doesn't set up Jeter's RBI and hit and allows him to leave the game, which he did by his own choosing.
I respect Jeter as much as the next guy, but the only legendary player we have on the field now is the old Japanese dude. So even though he was a lifer for Seattle previously, he's ours now and I appreciate what he's done for us...especially this year.
Looking to the bleak days of 2015, it might be another thing worth celebrating, albeit in a much much lower level than the Captain, obviously.
Two future HOFers on this year's otherwise abysmal squad. It's not the playoffs, but it's something.
I say John Sterling cries.
Clearly, Suzyn will.
They've sold the merchandise. They've poured the Gatorade. They've given the gifts. The lone remaining question in the Jeterian universe today is whether John Sterling, the ultimate professional voice, will lose it, and blubber like John Boehner during the last reel of Atlas Shrugged.
I say he cries. First, he assures us that he doesn't plan to cry. He says you're never supposed to get choked up behind the mike. And Jeter in New York managed not to cry.
Still, you'll know he's crying.
Youl hear the crowd - the Boston crowd - chanting Jeter's name. In the booth, you hear nothing, not John or Suzyn. Neither can speak. John will try. It doesn't work. Jeter steps out of the box. The crowd roars louder. The radio world only hears cheering. John is too overwhelmed to speak.
Her voice heavy with emotion, Suzyn tries to tell us about Celino and Barnes, the injury attorneys. She can't get it to the eight-eight-eight, eight-eight-eight-eight. Fuckit. She's bawling like a baby.
The crowd is still chanting. Jeter awaits the pitch. John pulls it together. His voice is three octaves higher than usual. "Thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa pitch. SWUNG ON! THERE IT GOES! DEEP LEFT FIELD! IT IS HIGH, IT IS FAR, IT ISSSSSSSSS..."
Saturday, September 27, 2014
2. They beat the New York Jets, who have signed Rice Rice and Adrian Peterson, and are led by QB Michael Vick. Thus, they are despised by not only women and children, but dogs.
3. The city of Cleveland is evacuated after a train carrying NFL urine samples overturns, releasing toxic levels of steroids into the atmosphere. Later, to calm the public, officials announce that all samples passed the league's rigorous drug tests.
4. After protesting for better working conditions, NFL cheerleaders reject Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' attempt to "reach out" to them - because he literally attempts to reach out and grab their asses.
5. During Super Bowl half-time show, Rihanna and Eminem re-enact the Ray Rice elevator scene during a performance of "Love the Way You Lie," which they dedicate to Commissioner Roger Goodell. She suffers a wardrobe malfunction, and the ensuing Twitter cascade crashes the grid, delaying the second half for 12 hours.
6. In an attempt to curb wife-beatings, child-whippings and DWIs, New Orleans Saints coaches put a secret "bounty" on players who cause trouble.
7. Trying to look intellectual, Fox announcer Howie Long dons his glasses and accidentally pokes out both eyes.
8. During presentation of Lombardi Trophy, ghost of Vince Lombardi rises from grave and strangles Commissioner Goodell.
After Sunday, our biggest name becomes the nation's most hated American after Jihad Johnny.
The day after tomorrow, instead of recalling the Flip and the Dive, we've got Super Bowl flashbacks to Cameron Diaz stuffing popcorn into an open maw.
Starting Monday, Steiner Collectibles can market limited edition, keepsake vials of glowing piss.
We're about to go from receiving warm and fuzzy hugs - confirmed Yankee haters coming up to say how much they always respected Jeter - back to the days of the hairy eyeball, and the sense that somebody just spat in your drink.
Next week, Alex Rodriguez' suspension ends.
What can we do? Well... the Weasel Empire could:
a) Jettison A-Rod. Just pay him off, or trade him for scrap, and eat the remaining years on his contract. That could leave us with the only thing worse than A-Rod returning - which would be to watch him have a great season for some other team, while we pay his salary. The odds are slim, but what if he hits 40 HRs and leads Seattle to the World Series? If that were to happen, frankly, I fear the things that I would write on this blog. The authorities would put me in Gitmo.
b) Roll the dice and play him. I prefer this option, though I respect that most Yankee fans barf at the thought of him. I say this: It's nice to have the focus of the world on the Yankees. I'd rather everyone boo us - especially the Oh Dears on ESPN - than have nobody give a crap. Next year, with or without A-Rod, the Yankees could finish below .500. Why be good losers? If we're going to be bad, let's be evil, too.
Just imagine yourself at a football game with a raging, aging psycho dominatrix pressing popcorn into your mouth. That's us. That's the face of the Yankees, starting Monday. Chew, everybody, chew.
Friday, September 26, 2014
My thoughts on the game last night are summed up as such:...
There are no words.
I was at that game. I spent $300 of money I didn't even have to get a left field bleacher ticket (which sidenote wasn't that bad of a view- about 10 rows back of exactly where Jeter hit the double). I told my father, and he thought I was crazy. He was at Mariano's game last year (a 3-0 loss to Tampa with only an inning and a half of good things happening for the Yankees), and he was telling me that I was gonna spend all that money to chant Jeter's name and then proceed to miserably watch him go 0-4 in a 5-2 loss. And after the 2nd batter in the first, I thought he was gonna be right too.
But then he hits the double, then the double play overturned on review. Then Brett the Jet Gardner breaking up the double play, giving Jeter the go-ahead RBI. Then of course the 9th. The despair when that tying homer hit the seats and the jubilation when Richardson scored. I don't think I even cheered that loudly; I was too busy picking up my jaw up from the floor. I saw it with my own freaking eyes and I still can't believe that just happened.
And for the first positive Yankees piece of analysis this site has seen since 2009: that game will help propel the Yankees and current ownership to great things in the future. I left that Stadium thinking there is no way you could top that. If the Yankees were to ever jump the shark, it happened on September 25th, 2014. If you're a Yankee fan and you aren't hungover from last night, you don't have a pulse.
But there is a next season. A whole 81 game schedule where Hal Scrooge McSteinbrenner and his lovable band of front office minions will have to sell tickets to, gain TV ratings for, and shill $10 beer and $35 t-shirts at. And a preliminary look at the roster shows this list of reliable players for the Yankees:
Robertson is a free agent. McCarthy and Headley are free agents. Kiroda might not come back. Tanaka will still probably need Tommy John surgery down the line. Nova is coming off TJ surgery. Sabathia is all kinds of question marks. Pineda still is Spanish for Pavano. Ellsbury (although he was healthy this year) and Teixeira (although he was as healthy this year as that Heart Attack burger in Vegas) are still injury prone. Brian McCann still has a job. Stephen Drew proved the impossible: you could actually downgrade from a past-his-prime 40 year old shortstop.
The Steinbrenners will look at this game, and naturally want to start preparing for next season. And when they start that preparation, the rude reality will hit them like 100 tons of bricks. This team is a disaster. And the worse part is there is no retirement tour to sell next year, no RE2PECT shirts to sell, no motivation to spend $300 on a bleacher ticket to see a game where your favorite team has already been eliminated, no random sucker willing to give Brandon Steiner (who has become one of the worst people in America over the past 2 months) $450 for JJ Hardy's gameworn socks. They still might be content with Cashman this offseason out of loyalty, but the bottom line from yesterday's game and the bottom lines from next year's games will put the fire under his seat.
And if this team doesn't get better, the message will get to Hal eventually through the only language he speaks (the language of money): Cashman's gotta go
"Understand that we were a crowd of rational people. We knew that a home run cannot be produced at will; the right pitch must be perfectly met and luck must ride with the ball. Three innings before, we had seen a brave effort fail. The air was soggy; the season was exhausted. Nevertheless, there will always lurk, around a corner in a pocket of our knowledge of the odds, an indefensible hope, and this was one of the times, which you now and then find in sports, when a density of expectation hangs in the air and plucks an event out of the future."
PAGING STEPHEN KING.
I followed his minor league exploits in Baseball America, which came in the mail every other week. At night, I'd go onto the World Wide Web through a dial-up connection, which died whenever someone picked up a phone. Onto some "fan forum" I'd spew 90-proof bile about Danny Tartabull and tell the world about this future Yankee shortstop: Robert Eenhoorn was his name. Next morning, Alphonso and I would waste hours at work, shooting emails back and forth, wondering if Daryl Boston could turn it around...
My oldest son was six. Imagine that. My daughter wasn't even born. I played pick-up basketball games on Sunday afternoons, and on Saturdays, we'd visit the zoo. We hauled a massive diaper bag, where at the bottom we sometimes stashed cans of beer - security guys don't plunge hands into diaper bags. We were learning the art of parenthood, one game at a time.
God, it was yesterday...
Twenty years, a minute ago...
These days, the back always aches, the hair is thin, and the house creaks and moans, because no kids live here. Evenings used to be filled with laughter and tantrums - unbridled chaos: a mix of Barney the dinosaur, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Nirvana. Now, every few minutes, you can hear the refrigerator rumble on.
But not last night. Last night, you heard yelling. My wife and I paced and shouted, juked and cheered. I stood in the front hall, watching YES in one room and listening to John and Suzyn from another. We held our old playoff positions. And when it happened, when he singled to right and the winning run scored, you would have thought the Yankees just won the World Series. And then, when he walked out to the empty shortstop position and bent over for his last time, the lesson of Derek Jeter hit me, loud and clear:
Savor every grounder.
Some folks grumble about the pace of baseball. They say the game moves too slowly to sate the modern A.D.D. appetite. They say football is the true American pastime. And, yes, occasionally, you think you've become frozen in time, and that, dear God, the ninth inning will never, ever, get here. But you blink, and twenty years go by...
Savor every grounder, folks. Like they say at Steiner Collectibles, there is a limited supply.
We won't see another Derek Jeter. I hope you got the message.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
His latest rant is a dismantling of Derek Jeter, ranting for close to 7 minutes and mocking Jeter for the sin of ... get ready for this ... not being as good as Babe Ruth.
Yep, Keith rants -- with a passion rarely seen since Miss Precious Perfect was not allowed into his Manhattan apartment building -- that Jeter is "not the best baseball player ever" and thus undeserving of a farewell tour and the adulation heaped upon him.
To prove this point, Olbermann rolls out the statistics including fWAR, OPS+ and, yes, he even references Red Ruffing's FiP (fielding-independent pitching) numbers in his Jeter takedown. (That last point is not a joke. He honest-to-God mentioned Red Ruffing's FiP).
To Keith, I'd like to make a few points.
Everywhere, we see sadness, anger and disillusionment - and the sense that a great Yankee era has passed - (actually, it ended two years ago; we just didn't know it) - and a long, barren stretch lies ahead.
We've been free-falling now for so long that we've forgotten what it's like to actually be in a pennant race.
At some point, we must hit bottom.
At some point, we need more from the Yankees than nostalgia tours.
At some point, the Yankees system must yield more than one 28-year-old middle innings reliever.
At some point, we need a team whose average age is closer to 20 than 50.
At some point, we must stop falling.
I'm not sure this is it.
Tonight, Yankee fans deserve a starry sky, a warm breeze, a walk-off home run, a final tip of the cap, a series of loud and emotional chants and - yes - tears.
But the Yankee franchise - and the Faustian deal it made with Steiner Collectibles - deserves something else.
The Yankees deserve a hard, torrential, freezing rain that blows through the luxury boxes and shake the foundation of the new stadium - the fraudulent facsimile for the house they razed on the whims of billionaires. The Yankees deserve a flood of Biblical proportions, which washes the inherited detritus of the crony-fattened front office down through the dugouts and deep into the Hudson River, to finally bob up and go out with the Icelandic tide.
If you have tickets, may you enjoy a perfect night.
Truth be told, I hope it rains.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
River Ave. Blues has a post up about McCann finding his stroke late in the season. It makes some good points, I guess, but also kind of blames his lack of power (and lack of walks) on trying to hit the other way and beat the shift.
John and Suzyn must be spitting their coffee about now.
I think it's a lot more likely that the pressure is off and he's swinging more freely. Those outs the opposite way weren't necessarily an attempt to get hits, they were probably just lousy hitting and being late a lot. Hopefully he was just putting too much pressure on himself.
No doubt Kevin Long will straighten him out, as he's done with so many others this season. (*cough*) Guess we'll find out next year. Maybe.
Worst case, he could always learn how to bunt to third.
The link: McCann’s recent homer binge an encouraging sign heading into the offseason
Here's all that needs to happen.
1. We sweep the last five games.
2. The A's and/or Royals lose their last five. The Mariners go 3-2, and the Indians go 3-1, leading to a four way tie for the Wild Card Away-Field Single-Game Playoff Slot. (WCAFSGPS).
8. Parade down Canyon of Heroes. Speeches at City Hall. Movie deal. Peace and prosperity. Free beer and massive drugs for all. Appearance by God. Revolution against lizard people overlords.
Either that, or He hath changed His rooting allegiance, and the Yankees are no longer His favorite team. For 100 years, God pulled strings on our behalf. Now, frankly, I think He's more interested in Extreme Frisbee.
Last night, everything was aligned to prove that God still watches YES Network with a Yankee cap on His head. With two outs in the ninth, we had the tying run - Brett Gardner, who honors God's commandment: Thou shalt not steal! - perched at first base. Derek Jeter marched the plate. A gapper would tie the game. A walk-off HR would unleash a cataclysm of faith - ending war, famine and pestilence across the globe, and telling everyone that, "Yes, God lives and loves His one true team, the New York Yahwehs!"
That's what I say today. Bah. There are no New York Yahwehs. There is just random chance, natural selection, and life is just a series of dog-eat-dog, Charles Darwin-inspired knife-fights in a giant food chain cafeteria. Don't clutch your beads and wait for St. Derek to deliver a miracle. That only happens in the movies. What happens in real life is that the forecast for Thursday - the End of Days on the Steiner Collectible Yankee Calendar - calls for rain, rain, rain. And there is no makeup date. This would be The End.
Let's face it. Somewhere along the way, the Yankees pissed off God. Was it when they yanked the ripcord on Brian Roberts, when he was just two ABs shy of a huge bonus? Was it when we booed Robbie in his return to the stadium? Was it giving a CF plaque to Tino, and letting Bernie wait until next year? What did we do? How did we suddenly slide back into 1988?
Thursday's forecast is rain. Could it really happen?
Thursday, we learn just how badly God hates this team.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
MLB.com notices the man who called every major-league pitch Derek Jeter ever saw.
On Monday morning, Steiner Sports will chop John Sterling into 1,000 pieces and sell him.
As you surely remember, the St. Louis pitcher and NL starter grooved Jeter a meatball, right down the fairway, which Derek whacked for a double. The problem? Wainwright later embarrassed himself and the game by telling everybody what he'd done. Good grief, if you're going to throw a guy a bone, keep your fat mouth shut about it. But Wainwright - angry that the American League scored - blabbed on TV.
What still nags at me, though, is one issue: Wainwright never said who put the meatball idea in his head. Was it his Cardinals manager, Mike Matheny? Or somebody higher up in the food chain? I doubt he came up with the notion himself. Somebody got to him. And later, he was willing to embarrass Jeter - but not to mention who hatched the plan.
So now we're watching Jeter - clueless for the last two weeks - go on a sudden hitting spree against Baltimore, which doesn't need to win these games. Though Buck Showalter hates the Yankees with the heat of a billion suns, he's always loved Jeter - (who doesn't?) - and, no matter how hard you want to believe, you also have to wonder if something is going on here?
For the record, considering all that's happened, it ABSOLUTELY SUCKS to be wondering if something is going on here.
And nobody would blame Jeter - he's the last guy to want leniency from the opposition. Still, if he keeps driving the ball off that left field wall - well, I'm sorry... We love Jeter and want him to do well - (points that, in this current environment, must always be stated in any posting that questions what's happening) - but there's been way too much orchestration of his farewell tour to NOT wonder if we're being played.
This is what happens when an organization - be it a government, corporation or sports team - decides to sell pageantry and myth-making instead of a winning product.
"[I]t was Pirela who had a night he will not soon forget. He can one day tell his grandchildren that he was driven home by Jeter in his first game in the majors. Not in Jeter’s car. Pirela was standing on second base in the fifth inning when Jeter ripped a 3-2 pitch from Wei-Yin Chen into the left-field corner, the latest shot in his six-game hitting streak, and Pirela and Brett Gardner scored."
Unfortunately, Pirela spent the season hiding out in Scranton, where Cashman's scouts either never look - or when they do, they use the wrong end of the telescope. Pirela, who turns 25 next month, played a full year at Scranton - that's 130 games and 535 at bats - where he hit .305 with 10 HRs. (He also stole 15 bases.) He played every position but pitcher and catcher. You'd think it meant something when August ended.
Early on, the Yankee brain trust - yes, the same Brainiacs who put their eggs in Brian Roberts and Dean Anna - decided that Pirela was not a major league second baseman. So in June, when 2B prospect Rob Refsnyder literally smashed his way up from Trenton, Pirela was dispatched to left field. And when Sept. 1 came, Pirela didn't even get a coffee call to New York. It was only after injuries to Martin Prado and half the Atlantic Coast that the Yankees remembered Jose Pirela was alive. Last weekend, with the team facing a stretch with Francisco Cervelli at first base, Pirela arrived.
So last night, in his first-ever major league start, what does this No Name, who is studying to become a Nobody, do? Pirela gets two hits, including a triple. That's practically an entire week's output for Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran, the Bobbsy Twins of Sloan Kettering.
Of course, you're shaking your head - (I am, too) - saying, "But Duque, it's one game, too small a sample size. You cannot draw conclusions from one night!" And you're right. But here's the rub, and from my perspective, it's maddening:
Pirela could go 10 for 20 this week. It won't matter. Next year, he'll find himself back at Scranton. And Refsnyder, who has crushed the ball at every level, could hit .330 next March in Tampa. It won't matter. Martin Prado - thanks to his performance over another small sample size - will play 2B for the Yankees. That's written in the stone tablet of a $22 million contract. Thus, both Pirela and Refsnyder - if they're not lucky enough to be traded - will be exiled back to the Electric City of the Poconos, disillusioned and depressed, to become the 2015 versions of Austin Romine and Zolio Almonte. They'll hit .150 in the month of April, then get injured, and then forgotten. How many times does it have to happen?
Meanwhile, Brian Cashman - in his next waiver tour d'force - will pluck another Chris Young, Jesse Outman, Antoan Richardson, Zelous Wheeler, et al, from other teams' out baskets. Scranton will be larded with cynical 30-something dead-enders, and in the owner's box, Hal Steinbrenner will scratch his manicured head, wondering why the Yankee farm system does not produce players?
Here's a thought - and yes, I recognize that it comes from far left field, from a washed up, psychological misfit with nothing better to do than think about the Yankees every morning after gargling with a pot of coffee - but dammit, DAMMIT... here goes:
Could it be that the Yankee farm system does produce players? The problem is that the top of the organization simply lacks the courage to give them a chance?
"Can any other modern-day athlete have his cake and eat it, too, as gracefully as Jeter? He has repeatedly indicated he doesn’t want to make a spectacle of his last lap. Then he has repeatedly participated in or not blocked spectacle-like actions. And forget about not getting hurt by such choices. He seems to benefit from them."
Gammonite awakens, discovers himself to be cog in giant matrix of hypocrisy.
On Monday, Jeter pushed it some more, appearing at a midtown Manhattan theater where fans paid a range of four-figure prices to pose for a photo (the higher end) or just witness a mildly entertaining, half-hour conversation between the Yankees’ retiring shortstop and notorious memorabilia schlockmeister Brandon Steiner (the lower end). “The Captain’s Farewell,” they called it. Again, he emerged unscathed. Then he headed to the Bronx and contributed a two-run double, a walk and an RBI groundout to the Yankees’ 5-0 blanking of the Orioles.