Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Plague Theater: You won't like him when he's angry

CC Sabathia, the Yankee enforcer.

“We’re trying to bring baseball back during a pandemic that’s killed 130,000 people. We’re way worse off as a country than we were in March when we shut this thing down... We haven’t done any of the things that other countries have done... Sports are like the reward of a functioning society. And we’re trying to just bring it back, even though we’ve taken none of the steps to flatten the curve.”

The words of Nats reliever Sean Doolittle resonate, as MLB stumbles over testing players.  

Several camps have temporarily closed, and more veteran players are opting out of the shortened season. Texas slugger Joey Gallo is latest to be sick with the virus.

The Yankees played an intra-squad game in their deserted stadium. It was on TV. Thairo Estrada homered. JA Happ and Clarke Schmidt pitched.

MLB released its schedules: The Yankees will play the Redsocks 10 times, seven in NYC and three in Boston. Bizarre, eh?

And here's a capper: For decades, those "Cinderella" Redsocks protected a racist sexual predator. 

Virtual Off-Day: The Mets Loom. Here Come the Judge? And How About Gardy??? And, oh yeah, that Amazon Guy is Back.

The Yankees will start the season's virtual subway series tomorrow, hosting the Virtual New York Mets—and rarely have so many question marks hovered over both teams during this annual summer extravaganza.

While the location and condition of Giancarlo Stanton remains mysterious, rumors are flying that the Yanks' erstwhile superhero, Aaron Judge, has recovered from his latest lingering injury, and will be activated in time for tomorrow night's game.

For the Pinstripers, this raises the question of what to do with their aged, hobbled hero, Brett Gardner.  With Miguel Andujar, Clint Frazier, Mike Tauchman, and Aaron Hicks already playing well in the outfield, the return of Judge would seem to leave Gardy with no place to go—even if Stanton does not return.

Meanwhile, even more confounding stories are now chasing the Queens Team like the proverbial hound of the Baskervilles.

Reliable sources close to the Mets' organization are insisting that the team is about to be dealt at last—and that the buyer will be Amazon owner Jeff Bezos.  The main interest for Bezos is not, of course the ever-underachieving ball club, currently mired in fourth place, 15 games behind the division-leading Gnats, but the Willets Point development that has stalled under the direction of Fred and Fredo Wilpon.

Just how this would work is unclear—especially since Bezos is said to be interested in renaming the team, the "Amazonians," and adding the company's famous curved penis to the team's uniforms.

Asked how he would feel about sacrificing so many of the traditions of the team he has owned for so long, the senior Wilpon replied, "Yeah, but they would give us money.  Lots and lots of money.  So it's okay."

A further problem may lie in the fact that Willets Point is actually public land, and cannot be sold or given away without an act of the New York State legislature.  But Wilpon pooh-poohed these concerns as well.

"Maybe you didn't hear me.  Bezos will give them all money:  the judges, the legislature.  He has all the money in the world.  An estimated $166 billion, right now.  Do the math.  He gives us $2 bill for the Mets and Willets, gives each member of the legislature, say, $10 mill, maybe another $70 mill in all to the governor and the top judges, and what's he down to?  About $162 billion.  A billion for every game.  Get it now?  Fuck, you guys are slow!"

A spokesman for Mr. Bezos had no comments, except to confirm that his boss does indeed have all the money in the world.


Monday, July 6, 2020

This is absurd, already

Nick Markakis won't be playing for the Braves, adding to the list.

Really, guys, come on. Shut it down. This is ridiculous.

Plague Theater: Oscar rocks the House

Humble Howard: "Reggie lit the fuse, and Oscar Gamble follows suit."

Will a 60-man "taxi squad" be enough for the china doll Yankees? And could they be compelled to trade prospects for a pennant surge?

This week, James Paxton threw off a mound, and Aaron Hicks did jumping jacks in center field. In the future ledger books, nobody will suspect they were injured for the first half of 2020. They have impeccable COVID timing. 

Yet the question still hovers over each: Can he ever stay healthy?

Each is a walking tweak. Bad backs, suspect shoulders, core muscles - you name it. Their gonads need bubble wrap.

Same with Giancarlo Stanton, who also was ready to miss the spring. And Aaron Judge, still nursing a bum rib. Then there is Jonathan Loaisiga - the revolving door of shoulder woes - and Jonathan Holder, Jordan Montgomery, Miguel Andujar, Clint Frazier, Gary Sanchez and the cast of America's Got Talent. In a 60 game season, each is a bug on the windshield. One tweak, and they go home.

Coupled with COVID, which already has claimed last year's iron man, DJ Lemahieu, and the mysterious Luis Cessa, the Death Star might need to annex the Trenton Thunder by mid-September. Will the MLB's current 60-man roster be enough? It's easy to foresee Cooperstown Cashman digging into the MLB scrap piles for game-ready talent. Or worse, trading Yankee prospects for an adrenal rush in a pennant race that - in the eyes of many fans - simply will not matter. 

Paxton and Hicks may fool the future historians. (And this is not meant to blame them; injuries are a part of the game.) But 2020 will be a season far different than anything in history. Will it even qualify as a true world series? Let's hope the team doesn't have to trade future victories for a season that should not have been played.

Virtual Baseball: German Fails to Make It to Rogers, Yanks Fall.

Domingo German, the erstwhile Yankees virtual phenom who was scheduled to finally make his first start of the season today, instead caused an 88-car crash in Toronto.  Jordan Montgomery, rushed in to pitch in German's stead, was battered by the Blue Jays, as the Yanks lost, 9-4, and dropped their first virtual series since virtual May.

German was thought to be safe and secure on his way to the Rogesr Cetnre today, as he had borrowed Aroldis Chapman's new, Kevlar-lined, $150,000 armored combat Jeep.  But he inexplicably set off for the ballpark on the left side of the road, and ended up ploughing through vehicle after vehicle that had the misfortune to actually be obeying the traffic rules.

"I thought, you know, Canada is a British colony, right?  So, you must drive on the left," German explained afterwards through a translator.

Manager Ma Boone was soon heard furiously lecturing the delinquent hurler on the fine points of the 1864 Quebec and Charlottetown conferences, the 1867 British North America Act,  the 1931 Statute of Westminster, and the 1982 Canada Act.  Afterwards, the young pitcher only seemed more confused.

"Wait, so Newfoundland didn't join the Canadian Confederation until 1949?  What was that about?  And now it's Newfoundland and Labrador?" German asked through his openly exasperated translator.

Later, clubhouse cut-up Luke Voit admitted that it was he who had misinformed Domingo about Canada's colonial status, "just to see what fun would result."

The hastily prepared Monty was ripped apart by those twin killers of Toronto, Bo B. and Vladdy G., who each hit two home runs this time out.  They more than negated solo shots by the repentant Voit, and Kyle Higashioka.

The loss dropped the Yanks to 62-28 on the virtual season, still three games behind the TB Rays, who are still hanging tough in first.

On a brighter note, the Royal Canadian Mounties announced that German's battle Jeep had caused an 88-car pile-up, breaking by one vehicle the previous Canadian record for largest ever multiple-car crash.  (The record does not count the infamous, 103-donkey cart collision set on a foggy day in Labrador in 1946, when the province was still independent of Canada.  But not of Great Britain.)

Thankfully, no individuals were seriously hurt by the Kevlar Konqueror, although German also totaled 23 mailboxes, 10 fire hydrants, 3 empty baby carriages, 15 vegetable carts, and 10 plates of sheet glass being carefully carried by workers in overalls through intersections, who then squeezed their formless little hats in their fists, hurled them to the street, and shook their fists after the retreating Kevlorian.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Plague Theater: Yankees and Redsocks fight... and the Spaceman pays the price

"Things have really gotten out of hand."

Yankee streak of days without workplace injuries ends at 115

Giancarlo liner topples Masahiro.

DJ and Cessa test positive.

The Yankee season has begun. Already in jeopardy: Third starter and best hitter/secondbaseman. 

Run for the hills.

Virtual Baseball: The Master Speaks! Yanks Rally, Top Jays.

A sudden, temporary emergence from his medically induced coma enabled beloved Yankees broadcaster John Sterling to deliver a strange stream-of-consciousness monologue, drawing on language from both real and fictional characters that had neurologists scrambling for some clue to his mental condition.

Whatever it was, his words, recorded and hurriedly transmitted to the Yankees clubhouse in Toronto were pored over by Ma Boone and his staff, and by starting pitcher J.A. Happ, who at the moment was trailing the Blue Jays by 3-1, after four innings of play.

The message from the jocular, oddly coiffed Yankee spieler—delivered on his 82nd birthday—seemed to inspire the Bombers' play all around.  Happ pitched his second complete game victory of the season, striking out 10 batters in all and not allowing another run.

Meanwhile, home runs by D.J. LeMahieu, Clint Frazier, and Aaron Hicks spurred a stirring comeback that gave the American side a 9-3 victory on the Fourth of July.

But the big story on the day was the sudden awakening of Sterling at the Hebrew Home for the Aged in Riverdale, which for 100 years has helped residents live the fullest lives they can.  Sterling abruptly announced, "It is high, it is far, and I really need to pee," before opening his eyes for the first time in weeks.

The Master, who was placed in a medically induced coma to deal with a rare, life-threatening, spatial judgement malady, never regained full consciousness according to doctors, only achieving the rough equivalent of Travis "Pronk" Hafner's level of cognition during an average major-league game.

But Sterling did manage to reel off an odd collection of seemingly unrelated sentiments, beginning with "Warn the Duke!" and continuing on to "Mother is the best bet and don't let Satan draw you too fast...And you were there and you were there and you were there...Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth...Here's looking at you, kid...The horror.  The horror...Tutti fruitti, good booty...And I will always love you...The best lack all conviction.  But nothing's lacking at the Hebrew Home for the Aged, in Riverdale...Steinbrenner sucks!...It is high, it is far—oh my God, it's coming this way!" before concluding with:  "Rosebud."

Sterling relapsed into his coma before anyone could ask him about what he was saying or how he felt.   Suzyn Waldman and temporary replacement legend Walt "Clyde Frazier rushed to the phone on hearing that Sterling was talking, but could make no more sense out of his words than the doctors could.

"We found them bracing," was all Ma Boone would say after the game.  "Just the fact that he was talking—" J.A. Happ started to say, before bursting into tears.

"Wait, what did he say about me?" asked Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

You Really Think There Will Be A Season.....?

Starting a "Sick Bay " Roster for Covid - 19

Today's Entries:

Room 1.  D J LeMahieu

Room 2..  Luis Cessa

Room 3.  TBA

Today is John's 82nd birthday

I wonder if Suzyn is wearing her vest.

Plague Theater: Chris Chambliss... need I say more?

With Humble Howard calling it!

Are COVID masks a threat to the Yankee facial hair ban?

What if certain Yankee players, in conjunction with foreign powers, use face masks to hide secret beards, in violation of Hal's ban on hairiness?

Could we end up with a team of hippies?

What's going on under those masks? And why is America being told by our medical overlords that we must wear them everywhere... when we cannot even know for sure if our Yankees are clean-shaven!

Wake up, Yankiverse, or feel the rising stubble that threatens our heritage.

Virtual Baseball: Sons of Giants Chop Down Big Maple, As Yanks Fall.

The Virtual Toronto Blue Jays had the Yankees crying "Timber!" tonight in the Rogers Cetnre, as monster smashes by Bo Bichette and Vlad the Lad, Jr., brought the visitors from the south down, 6-4.

The Yanks got out to a quick lead on home runs by D.J.  LeMahieu and The Gleyber.  But the son of Bo, son of Vlad, sons of bankers, sons of lawyers, turned James Paxton around and made him say good night!  The three-run megillas off the bats of both emerging superstars were all the birds of a different plumage than the Yanks have become accustomed to, needed.

"Suzyn, something tells me we're not in Baltimore anymore," Clyde Frazier japed from the press box as the first of the rocket blasts took flight.

All sports news took a back page to the mass rally President Donald Trump's re-election campaign held at Mount Rushmore tonight, though.  Attendance even exceeded the 2 million President Trump had predicted, with red vans and RVs jamming the highways down to Oklahoma and Denver, Colorado.

In a tragic mishap, thousands of Mr. Trump's most enthusiastic adherents caused the noses of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington they had massed on to collapse, plunging them, granite noses and all, several hundred feet.  President Trump announced that repair work on the gigantic edifices would begin immediately.

With the Dow now above 50,000 and unemployment all but nonexistent, another four years for the president seems all but assured, especially since Democrats are becoming increasingly agitated about the prospect of nominating frontrunner Amy Klobuchar, a.k.a.,"The Minnesota Mesmerizer."

Friday, July 3, 2020

A Correction?

You tell me:

So, in looking up Branch Rickey, I found him listed, sure enough, as holding the AL record for allowing the most consecutive stolen bases in one game as a catcher—13—which happened in a 1907 contest against Washington, while our Branch was a receiver for the Highlanders/Yankees.

The game was a June 28th loss to the 18-37 Senators, 16-5, in New York's awful, Hilltop Park.  Rickey, whose arm was a wreck, did indeed give up 13 stolen bases.

But here's where it starts to get weird:

Three days later, in a doubleheader at Hilltop, the Senators and Yankees are playing again, and for some reason, New York's starting catcher, Red Kleinow, leaves the game after just one at-bat.  Who comes in for him?  Why, one Branch Rickey, of course.

This time, Rickey (or maybe Kleinow) gives up only 3 stolen bases, in a game in which the Yanks fall behind, 13-6, but rally to win, 16-15, with a four-run, ninth-inning rally.

In this one game, by the by, the two teams also had a combined 38 hits, 5 walks, and 8 errors.  Time of the game?  Two hours and forty minutes.

In a game in which the Senators may have had as many as 27 baserunners, in an age when all teams ran like crazy, why would they only try to steal 3 times, against a guy they had run wild on just three days earlier?

Even weirder, while Rickey's pct. of catching baserunners was 23%—well below the league average of 44%—that first Washington game seems to have been far and away his worst game of the year.  Rickey played in 52 games as the back-up catcher, and gave up 23 stolen bases, as opposed to catching 7 men trying to steal.

In other words, take away that one, horrible Washington game, and he threw out 7 of 17 runners.  Not bad—but again, how was it that nobody was running more on this dead-armed catcher?

Another curio for you:

One source I saw said that the post-1900 record for stolen bases in a game by one team is NOT 13, but 15, which was set by the Yankees/Highlanders at Hilltop Park, on Sept. 28, 1911, against the St. Louis Browns.

Now, the Browns played two catchers that day, Jim Stephens and Jay Clarke, so maybe neither one gave up as many as 13 SBs.  And both of them were usually pretty good at catching baserunners, so maybe the fault lay with the 3 Browns pitchers.

But it's true, the Yankees did steal 15 bases that day, without getting caught once.  Hal Chase and Birdie Cree had 4 apiece, while Cozy Dolan and Bert Daniels each swiped 3.

New York won that day, 18-12, in a game that also featured 24 hits, 12 errors, 20 walks, and 1 hit batsman.  There was not a DP turned all day.

So, in a game where 30 runs scored and there were maybe as many as 57 baserunners, what was the total time of play?

Two hours, fifteen minutes.

Hmm, think the game is getting too slow?

Plague Theater: Mickey throws out Garvey

O, the days before video reviews!

For Those Of You.....

....who remain optimistic about a 60 game season and playoffs....leading to a 2020 Covid World Championship ....I shall say only this:

Mexico has cancelled baseball for this season. Kaput.  Gone.  Adios.  Nada. 

I coached/played/managed/scouted in the South Mexican Dirt Field League for years, and we never didn't play.  Even when high on Mesclin and Tequila.  

We played when we couldn't stand up, or see straight. 

In Mexico, baseball is taken seriously.  And it has vanished for 2020.  

By fiat. Due to the threat and spread of Covid-19.

Today in Mexico:  You play...they shoot you.  It saves on hospital bills. 

So, I wish MLB in America nothing but the best. 

 Judging by how the good ole USA has handled the virus...and are still handling it this fine July 4th weekend...it ain't never going to happen.  Setting records for hospitalizations, new cases, and ICU occupancy is not a positive indicator ( unless, of course, the increased patient load, use of ventilators, and rising death numbers are solely due to more testing.. in which case, if we stop testing , everyone can leave the hospital.  I am going to ask the White House Press Secretary for confirmation on this ). 

The best idea I have heard , so far, to "encourage" national compliance with masking ( our only valid method of curtailing viral spread ) ....are school teachers saying;  " if you want school to open in this town, we won't be there to teach unless the community has gone two weeks without a new case of Covid." 

Maybe the baseball union should say the same thing.  

For now, anyway, Northeastern baseball teams have the advantage. But there is a lot of football left to play.

This weekend, time restarts. 

The baseball world reopens. 

For America, for us, a small sense of normalcy - the boys of summer - will return. 

For now, anyway. 

But in this current crisis, it's hard to imagine teams reopening camps safely in Texas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia and other exploding COVID hot spots. The Yankees and Mets - along with other northeastern teams - face no overwhelming wave of infections... for now, anyway.

Yesterday, Hal Steinbrenner said he expects fans in the seats this year at Yankee games. That would be nice, a wonderful goal for which to strive. 

But here we are, three months in, and this thing is still beginning. Since the pandemic arrived, every day feels like a week, and the weeks feel like months. There is, as they say on Sundays, "a lot of football yet to play." We yearn for that first night with a Yankee game on YES, or John and Suzyn bantering in the car - that first incredible moment that vaults us back to a time that - frankly -  we might not in our lives revisit.

On this July 4th weekend, when the nation seems to be on fire, I say we lace our hands together - (after washing them) - and vow to never again take for granted the wonder of a pennant race, the jubilation of a victory, the splendor of a great play. They say only pitchers can throw a perfect game. That's not true. Every game is perfect. Let's never again forget this.

Stay safe this weekend. Have I mentioned lately that we are all in this together? Huh. Once again, I buried the lede. 

This is what a genius does in times of trouble.

The gent featured here in living, added color is a young, raggedy armed catcher during his one season as a New York Highlander.  After batting .182 on the season and allowing 13 consecutive stolen bases in a single game—still a major-league record—young Branch Rickey would depart these environs for the next 36 years.

When he returned, he was already a widely acclaimed genius, whose farm-fed St Louis Cardinals had been the only team anywhere on the planet able to consistently stand up to the Yankees for the previous two decades.  Brooklyn's dysfunctional ownership allowed him to buy a quarter of the Dodgers, knowing his reputation as a notorious skinflint, and thinking he would keep expenses down during the drowsy war years.

Sure enough, "El Cheapo," as the knights of the press box quickly labeled him, peddled off some of the Dodgers' older and more expensive talent.

But he also did this:  Rickey expanded the Dodgers' recruiting budget, setting up tryout camps all over the country, even as the rest of baseball was laying off most scouts and going into hibernation.

"They figured there wasn't any sense in signing players who would soon be drafted," Rickey aide Fresco Thompson remembered.  "Mr. Rickey said, 'We'll gamble.  We'll sign every young player we can get our hands on.'"

Or as Rickey himself told scout Clyde Sukeforth, "If we win the war, it will be worth it.  If we lose the war, what difference does it make?"

The Mahatma was only kidding.  He never expected America to lose World War II.  But he did sign young players, a whole dynasty worth of them:  Ralph Branca, Carl Erskine, Gil Hodges, Clem Labine, Rex Barney, George Shuba, and 16-year-old Duke Snider.

They were about to be drafted?  So what?

Let the Army feed and clothe them for the next couple years while they grew and developed, and spent most of their time playing ball against better, veteran players on military base teams.

And when he wasn't doing that, Rickey was looking to open up the biggest, untapped pool of players:  the Negro Leagues.

I think of this because someone—El Duque, our Peerless Leader, I do believe—suggested that now that all of baseball is foolishly cutting back on its minor leagues, this is the time for the Yankees to go large, expand their system, and pick any number of players who could turn out to be diamonds in the rough.

Well, that's what a genius did, anyway.  And since we have a self-proclaimed genius in the Yankees' front office, maybe he should look into it, instead of trying to steal the next Giancarlo away from that poor, befuddled Derek Jeter.

A wartime baseball story for you.  Happy Fourth of July!



Virtual Off-Day: Yanks Set to Head North. MLB Meetings Loom.

As the Virtual Yankees prepared to invade Virtual Canada this weekend, looking to close the final gap between themselves and the thoroughly annoying Rays, speculation grew, concerning the upcoming MLB meetings, scheduled for the All-Star break on the week of the 13th.

Thanks to the influence of Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees transformed "man of knowledge," on Commissioner Rob Manfredmann, fans were looking forward to a true revitalization of the game, featuring lower prices, quicker and more interesting games, and a renewed nurturing of baseball's minor leagues.

All of these expected changes are now in question, though, thanks to the constant, behind-the-scenes lobbying by Yankees GM Brian Cashman.

Cashman, a self-proclaimed genius, has been diligently working the ownership suites in at least two dozen ballparks, trying to make the other satraps of the national game understand just what they would be losing, if they were to give up constant work stoppages, incessant price-gouging, tedious and uneventful games, and treating customers like escaped chain-gang convicts.

"It's a little hard to make out just what he's saying, what with that thing on his head" one owner, who requested anonymity because he did not want people to find out exactly how self-interested a fuck he really is, said—referring to the protective device Cashman wears after an unfortunate, eagle-based, lizard misrecognition accident earlier this season.

"But I gotta say: his message resonates!  'Live like there's no tomorrow, squeeze every last penny, out of 'em, and slam the conquistadors!'  At least that's what I think he said.  That last mighta been, 'Damn the consequences!' I dunno.  But in any case, what's not to like?"

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Plague Theater: Mickey saves Gator

He turns and stretches.

Thank you, virus: Yankees escape horrible "Field of Dreams" game.

At last: COVID has done something good for humankind.

The Yanks have been bumped from the first-annual "Field of Dreams Game," to be played Aug. 13, in Dyersville, Iowa. In the Death Star's place, the St. Louis Cardinals will play the Chicago White Sox at the edge of the cornfield where W.P. Kinsella's wondrous 1982 novel, "Shoeless Joe," was transformed into a monument for the Hollywood-corporate-Americana, Exit-through-the-gift-shop bullshitocracy. 

The Yankees' 60-game schedule, which has not yet been announced, will keep the team playing closer to home. Thus, they're done with the "Field of Dreams."

You might wonder why I feel such negativity about a baseball movie, when - after all - aren't they all the same? If anything, "Field of Dreams" sort of broke the mold: It didn't come down to two outs in the bottom of the ninth, with Lucky coming to bat. And it launched Kevin Costner, who plays a mean guitar.

What burns me is the notion that MLB will play an actual game in a nowhere location in order to promote its false innocence - after turning its back on an actual small town event: the annual Hall of Fame exhibition game in Cooperstown. For 70 years, major league teams gathered once a year in upstate New York in a pastoral setting as pure as Iowa corn. In 2008, MLB dumped Cooperstown, saying that to play in such a far flung location posed too many "inherent challenges." Yeah, right. It was all about money, that's all. 

So now, 12 years later, MLB plans to varnish its tattered image by playing in a Hollywood studio, decorated with Iowa corn. Sure. Have at it, Dyersville. But beware: If this makes money, you can bet MLB will be taking bids from other fake locations for next year. Maybe Vegas can offer an onion patch. It's all about the green, folks, and I don't mean cornstalks. 

Frankly, I'm glad the Yanks are out of it.

As for Dyersville, Iowa, well, good luck. Their list of hottest attractions - after the Field of Dreams diamond - include No. 6, the Dyersville Chamber of Commerce office. I think I speak for the world in saying my bucket list includes visiting the Dyersville CoC, when the lines are manageable. I'll have to put it off until next year. Until then, it's the National Farm Toy Museum. 

Yanks Brimming With Optimism Over Stanton.

"If you're shooting for the DH role by Opening Day, I think that's a possibility,'' Cashman

 said before saying Stanton's left field availability "is to be determined.''

Okay then.

Virtual Baseball: Mole Men Emerge Blinking In Sunlight—Still Beat Birds.

Fresh off eight straight night games, the Virtual New York Mole Men, er, Yankees, came out of the shadows today, looking pale and disoriented—but still managed to rout the Orioles, 8-4.

Masahiro Tanaka was far from his best, but "my fine fellow" managed to subdue the Birds long enough for the usual Jinga stack of Yankees home runs to start piling up.  The Gleyber homered, of course, this being Baltimore, and so did "El Matador," Miguel Andujar, Mike Tauchman, and Clint Frazier.

The team's 13th straight win over the O's got New York off to a rollicking start in July, after a June like none other (save for June Cleaver, of course).  The Yanks went 22-4 in the Caesarian month, raising their overall record to 60-26 at the end of it and closing the once 12-game gap behind the TB Rays to just 2 lengths.  Tampa Bay is still hanging tough, though, and it is anybody's guess as to which team can persevere.

Meanwhile, longtime Yankees fan favorite Brett Gardner had to be helped off the field after making a diving catch today.  He turned out only to have a sprained ankle, and was told simply, "Put a little goop on it."

But the injury, however minor, further endangers Gardy's chances of staying on in New York's already overcrowded outfield, once Aaron Judge returned from the DL.  Judge would join his fellow Aaron, Hicks; Tauchman, Frazier, and Andujar, which would be more than enough bodies, even if Giancarlo Stanton—last reported seen living and recuperating in a Texas ashram—does not return anytime soon.

In the meantime, Estevan Florial will be called up to fill in for Gardner.  Floral, recently recovered from a corridor head injury, is only hitting .217 at Double-A Trenton, but Manager Ma Boon noted that his ceiling "is as high as the Sistine's."

Gardy has 11 roundtrippers on the year, but is still batting only .194, and many think that, like sand through the hourglass, his time as a Yankee is running out.  But if so, where would the Yankees trade him?  And what could they possibly get in return?

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The Optimist In Me Says......

1.  The minor leagues are all shut down.

2.  A handful of players have already "opted out" of the 60 game season.

3.  Several key baseball states are out of control with new virus cases.

4.  No fans allowed at games.

5.  No fans = no need for vendors. 

6.  The recently signed draft choices are all working as baggers in supermarkets. 

7.  I sold my Limo for beer.

I think the trend is very upbeat. 

Can't wait for opening day ( or is it night?)

Domingo German eligible to return during game 4 of the ALCS

Plague Theater: The Scooter's greatest calls

"Holy Cow!"

Plague Theater: Happy Birthday, Debbie Harry

(Wiping tears)

Or there is the live concert version...

Happy Bobby Bonilla Day

At 8 a.m, trending #1 nationwide on Twitter,

"Without a season, several minor league owners feared some teams would fold permanently because they could not go 18 months without revenue — in effect giving M.L.B. the minor-league contraction it has sought since last fall."

The last great days of Americana?

No Mud Hens. 

No Railriders. 

No Rumble Ponies. 

No Fireworks Night. 

No Bring Your Pet Day. 

No Taco Bell Free Taco Strikeout Batter.

No Scootch, no Salty, no Presidents Race. 

No Hit a Ball Through this Hole and Win a Car.

No perfect evenings watching "the stars of tomorrow."

No minor league baseball in 2020.

Virtual Baseball: The Birds Virtually Play Ball.

Tanking v. non-tanking reached a new, virtual nadir of actual competition tonight in Camden Yards, as the Virtual Yankees—still without virtual former superstar, Aaron Judge—smashed and mutilated Orioles yet again, 16-0.

Yankees starter Gerrit Cole coasted through six innings, allowing just two singles and a hit batsman while striking out 12, and probably could have thrown a complete game if there had been any reason for him to do so.

Loading up on the hits and the home runs like so many sample packs of beef jerky at the local Piggly Wiggly, the Bombers tallied 24 safeties in all, including jacks from Luke Voit, Gary Sanchez, Gio Urshela, Clint Frazier, Brett Gardner, and—because it was Baltimore!—Gleyber Torres.  Meanwhile, of the announced attendance of 31,000 at the ballpark tonight, approximately 30,000 were Yankees fans, who entertained themselves between scoring bursts by chasing Birders around the stands and pantsing them.

Not even this year's new, seventh-inning mascot contest between competing soft-shell crabs named after famous Baltimoreans went well, as Lord Baltimore, H.L. Mencken, Alger Hiss, and Spiro Agnew all collided, and burst into flames.  Still, they proved delicious with a light butter sauce.

"To paraphrase Ogden Nash, the only great Baltimore poet ever to be killed by improperly prepared coleslaw, " Manager Ma Boone said after the game,"'Who wants my shellfish/ I'm not selfish!'"

MLB announced that beginning next year, the Orioles will get to start every game with a runner already on second base, which should ensure that sooner or later they will get a runner to third base.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Is Something Afoot?

While we were sleeping;  

     - a few more ballplayers have " opted out" of the planned 60 game season.

     -  Giancarlo and Aaron are still not recovered from their injuries

     - a few more teams have added players as " fodder " to their rosters, as emergency replacements

     - the number of Covid cases, and hospitalizations, is soaring almost everywhere.

     - a coherent national strategy remains in the hands of the Taliban

     - Brian Cashman is building a bunker. 

     - the Steinbrenner family has re-located to their penthouse in South Korea

I'm just saying....I am still of the opinion that this baseball season is simply not going to be. 

Unless, of course, they play all the games in a country like New Zealand.  

You know, where they know what they are doing....

Plague Theater: David Cone's final out

"He's all alone out there."

Today's voice of baseball belongs to Ian Desmond

He's done for 2020. 

Baseball's Kaepernick?

Yankees sign a cheap infielder because they can

The first non-COVID story of 2020 summer camp unspooled this weekend: The Yankees signed infielder Matt Duffy off the scrap heap.

He's 29, bats RH and plays almost anywhere. Last year, Duffy appeared in 46 games, hit .252 with a homer. In 2018, he hit .294 and played the season at 3B, so maybe he brings a bit of a Scott Brosius vibe. One blog compares him to Gio Urshela, at least before Urshela learned to hit. Who knows? But it's nice to see the Yankees making moves again; I have a feeling that by mid-August, teams will be tossing around players like confetti, looking to cut their losses. 

My guess is that guys like Duffy could be particularly valuable because of the virus. At any time, the flu could wipe out a team, or at least send its starting lineup into quarantine. Thus, can you ever have too many utility lug nuts? Not this year.

Some say this means Miguel Andujar will move to the OF. That seems to be a lot of speculation over a minor signing. Right now, with Aaron Hicks healthy again - (until he gets hurt) - the Yankee outfield looks like a crowded subway car. Until someone gets sick. And that's the mantra for 2020: Okay, until someone gets sick.

Virtual Baseball: Yanks Get to Play Baltimore Again, and All Is Right with the World.

Hitting the road after their tough series win over the virtual Cubbies, the Yankees got to travel to their equivalent of Disneyland for tonight's game, coasting to an 11th straight win over the Baltimore Orioles, 9-5.

In a rare start, Jordan "Field Marshal" Montgomery, still building up strength in a left arm that was never all that strong to begin with, turned in his best performance of the season so far.

Monty outflanked the Orioles' "hitters" time and again, striking out 9 in his six innings of work, and faltering only in his last frame, when he gave up a three-run homer to rookie infielder Ryan Mountcastle, the heir to Mountcastle Manor, in Castle's Mount, England, who spurned his estate and vast family fortune to come to the U.S. and show the lady who spurned him that he really can play baseball.

"I'm doing this for the woman I love," said Mountcastle, and vowed:  "I shan't return to England until I have led the Popinjays to a gonfalon!"

Mount castle's blast made the score 8-4, but the Yanks already had the contest well in hand.  Gleyber Torres hit two more home runs against Baltimore, of course, and was joined in the endless, Blair-Witch-Project circling and re-circling of the bases by Mike Ford and Gary Sanchez.  A bevy of Yankees relievers mopped up what was left of the game, mostly with grenades and small-arms fire.