Saturday, April 19, 2014

Names that have already been rejected for Bill and Hillary's grandchild

Monica
Gennifer
Paula
Newt
Rush
Rupert
Al

I Call For A Congressional Investigation !



I know that I did everything the same.

I sautéed up the same raw cashews in the same devil mixture.  I drank the same Crown Royal cocktails with a twist.  I used the same, store bought ice. I even wore the same clothes.

And we were "trippin."  This was one of the smoothest repeat wins we would enjoy all year.

The Yanks blasted out a four run lead and the world looked like it was under the command of the season's first JU-JU intervention.  Even my man, Solarte, started off with a solid base hit.  Our Sizemore proved that he is a major league hitter, clearing the bases with a deep double to left-center.

I poured a fresh cocktail right then and there, grabbed a handful of greasy nuts and kicked back.

Before I could veg out in ecstasy, the lead was down to two. runs  Then every relief pitcher we put in got rocked.  I mean, everyone sucked and Phellps got nailed.  Adam Warren was throwing batting practice. Dean Anna would have hit .400 against him.  It was like doubles and home runs were on sale, and the Bay Rays belly'd up to the rail.

Another dark horse of mine from spring training imploded.

 Note to local authorities: Cabral has to be removed from major league baseball.  His pitching constituted a felony in most states ( not Texas or Massachusetts ).  Either jail time or a roofing gig in Ecuador.  But no more baseball.  Please.

What I want to know is, " who blew it?"  someone, or some cadre of followers, failed to repeat, exactly, the rituals of the day before.

SOMEONE VIOLATED THE JU-JU COMMAND AND WE HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW WHO DID IT, WHEN, HOW AND WHY.

Consequently, I have sent a formal complaint " upstairs," and await a response.  I have even volunteered to pay Ed Snowden's expenses, and a "kicker " to Vladimir to help us uncover the truth.

I will not accept that the first JU-JU intervention of this young season was a trip to the toilet.



Friends, Yankees, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to waive Cesar, not to praise him. The bean balls that pitchers throw live after them; The strikes are oft interred with their bones; So let it be with Cesar Cabral...

Good night, room. Good night, boom. 
Good night, first place, lasting into June. 
Good night, Phelps. Good night, yelps.
Good night, bullpen. Goodnight, Beltran.
Good night, Girardi. Good night, race.
Good night to the old lady, whispering "first place."
Good night, Cabral. Good night,all...

OK, look... ENOUGH! Let me get my bearings...

I watched it last night. I saw everything. I had to move behind the couch. I cannot unsee it...

If there ever was a chance to shoot a sick raccoon, well, we had it this weekend. The Devil Rays came in without their two aces. and practically every hitter in an Andruw Jones-level slump. They were pitching Eric "the Dead" Bedard, who peaked in 2006, when Javy Lopez was still catching. After three innings, we had a four-run lead. Our bullpen was rested. We had Kuroda on the mound. I looked at that score and said, "MASSACRE! RUN IT UP! FASTER, PUSSYCAT, KILL, KILL!"

Then... poof. Blue Screen of Death. Error Message. Ouch goes Phelps, Poof goes Thornton, Ka-boom goes Warren, and Cabral - FIRE IN THE HOLE - a meltdown so overwhelming that after the game, we took him directly to the vet and had him put to sleep. Shades of Old George? IT'S BOBBY MEACHAM ALL OVER AGAIN?

We have now suffered two excruciating, life-sucking losses in the last week - yet they sandwiched a nice, cuddly little winning streak. So who is this team? Is it any good? Has this been an acid flashback? (If so, how? Because I never did acid!) Did we hit the ice berg last night? Or can Nova, Tanaka and Pineda reboot us?

OK, let me get my bearings. Thank you... Listen: I really shouldn't complain. The Yankees needed a decent April, and we're only eleven days from achieving one.. 

Last night, down in the Stygian darkkness of Scranton, Alfredo Aceves pitched five strong innings. He didn't give up a run. I suspect we will soon see Alfred the Butler. Also, we will soon get David Robertson back, (though his has hardly been the Golden Age of Closers.) On Easter Sunday, Mark Teixeira shalt be resurrected, and we will no longer play outfielders at first base. It's not like we're Kansas City, and Miley Cyrus just called in sick. We can't just sit in a tub like George W. Bush and paint our feet sticking out of the water. We have a season in front of us.

It's only April. We cannot be eliminated for another five months. Still... losses shouldn't be this overwhelming. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Alfredo Aceves is pitching tonight in Scranton

And the Lehigh Valley IronPigs are not happy about it.
Could Alfredo take Tanaka's job?

Keeping It Going: Sammy Davis, Jr. Sings the Theme From Kojak


 "Mustang, somebody, anybody, we need another Sammy Davis Jr. video."--el duque

Hangover Trouble



I received the JU-JU rallying cry this morning to continue doing exactly what we have been doing to continue the win streak.  And we all know that this is not a request, not a suggestion, but a command.

Last night, as I watched the Yanks, I was enjoying cocktails laced primarily with ice, crown royal, a twist of lemon and a splash of seltzer.  I had sautéed some raw cashews in hot oil and sea salt spiked with the infamous, " ghost chili pepper."

Needless to say, between the yanks success, the cashews and the cocktails, I was in fine spirits. The thing is, in a high scoring game, one can consume a lot of salty nuts in nine innings.   And with the added spice of that spiked sea salt, I needed to drink a lot of cold liquid.  So, 3/4 of a bottle later ( I maintain that a fifth is no longer a fifth), I found myself feeling zero pain, but needing a lot of rest.

Today, I am moving slowly and cautiously.  The prospect of repeating the same ritual tonight present a huge dilemma;

Do I begin drinking with YES's batting practice coverage at 6pm, or wait until the first pitch?

Prospective new members of the X-Men

Professor XXX
Perverine
Molestique
The ArchAnal
Roofie
Rapertooth
Juggerbutt
The Grope
Groomington


From the Ghost of Hugh "Clerihew" High (1915-1918)

Masahiro Tanaka
Penning his American saga
Will shut down many major league clubs
But for now must settle for the Cubs.

6-6-6: All we need to do is win SIX STRAIGHT, and we practically clinch this thing

Project SIX IN A ROW. 
Man your Juju posts, everybody.
One at a time...


JUJU ALERT: The Yankees are on a roll, which means we must do EVERYTHING exactly as we have been doing it

Last night, I whined about the Yankees. It wasn't easy, and frankly, it made no sense. I did it anyway, because of the first (and most important) IRON RULE OF JUJU.

Never change underwear in a winning streak.

I screamed at the TV during the 8th inning, with the Yankees leading 8-2. Dellin Betances came into the game and promptly walked a batter. It occurred to me how much it REALLY, REALLY, REALLY SUCKS when every Yankee starter pitches late into games with quality outings, because our mop-up men in the bullpen don't get enough work, causing control problems. "DAMN YOU, CASHMAN," I screamed. "DAMN YOU, YOU'VE DONE IT TO ME AGAIN!"

Mwa-hahahahaha...

Right now, Yankee fans are frolicking naked in a vast field of nipples. Everything, everything, is going our way. We put guys at first base who have never even played the position, and they make McCoveyian scoops on throws to finish triple plays. We lose David Robertson, and nobody blows a save opportunity. Three out of four against Boston. Two out of two against the Cubbies. We hit Tampa and find they no longer have Matt Moore and Randall Cobb: It's like confronting the Hulk, and he turns into Bruce Banner.

Whatever you doing at home, on your juju couch, in your juju pod, in your juju launching pad... MAKE NO CHANGES.

Mustang, somebody, anybody, we need another Sammy Davis Jr. video. I plan to recreate my entire schedule from Thursday, and that includes dental surgery. I don't care how ripe your socks get. This is how you win pennants. (Redsock fans last year never changed their underwear after April 17th, hence the phrase "Boston strong.") It's not easy, but we need to keep this thing going. For the team..

On that note, keeping the ancient Jerry Van Dyke 1970s/car thing theme...

In the name of Brian C, Montalban...

 I LIKE WHAT THEY HAVE DONE TO MY CAR!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sammy Davis, Jr. Sings the Theme from "My Mother, the Car"

I've been wanting to post this for days, but I thought I should first think of some way to connect it to the Yankees or baseball. 

I can't.

How Bad, Exactly, Are The Cubs?



It has been a long, long time since I watched a day/night double header where the Yankees shut out the opponent in both games.

It is immaterial that I recognized not a single name from the Cubs line-up.  I understand they are committed to a re-building program.  Good for them.

A win is a win, right?  They all count.

But think about this, for a moment;  The Cubs' pitching staff ended yesterday with a 2.0 ERA in both games ( I assume that the run we scored on, " catcher interference, " gets recorded as unearned on the pitcher's record).

What I am trying to say is that the Yankees are not showing enough offense to beat decent teams.  If you look carefully, our efficiency yesterday with runners in scoring position was quite pathetic.

Nonetheless, two shutouts in a row was great theater.

I was pleased that the Yankees brought up John Ryan Murphy rather than Romine, and that Murphy got a hit in the nightcap.  He also looked pretty good behind the plate.  Could he be a legit catching prospect?

I still remember Anna's HR from a week or so ago ( his last base hit?).  But what happened to the dude with a plus .400 on-base percentage from AAA?  Will he get comfortable and break out, or do we have a .150 guy as our utility infielder?

Solarte is beginning to look like a real player to me, and I didn't think we had any young position players with potential ( except, of course, for the depth at catcher we always proclaim).

I am also amazed with Kelly Johnson's work at first base.  And he is pretty quick, going down the line to first.

Is our Sizemore related to their Sizemore?  I gather that ours has MLB experience and is not a rookie.

Needless to say, our pitching staff is getting it done.  They are the key.

Tanaka and Pineda are about to become THE NEXT BIG THING

It's already happened to me: A start by CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova or Hiroki Kuroda has become a yawner. What's the point? We know what will happen. CC will give up three, maybe four runs, and he will keep us in games, until he hits an iceberg in August, and needs a rest. Nova will throw well one day, then get bombed. Kuroda will be lights out, until Joe leaves him in too long, and come August, he too might be in tatters. Yep. We've seen this movie. The boat sinks.

Ah, but then there are the wild cards, Tanaka and Pineda. What should we expect from them? Well, I dunno. Neither do you. Neither does Girardi, nor any of Gammonites, nor Tanaka and Pineda. Nobody knows. They shutout a tomato can yesterday, but they've looked incredible thus far. Who knows?

For a rare moment, the Yankees actually have young players whose ceilings are not carved into concrete blocks. It's a strange feeling, the one we used to get with rookies - remember rookies? It's the charge you felt when Bernie Williams' batting average kept rising, and one day they decided to move him from ninth in the batting order to third. It's the sensation you had when Robbie Cano started hitting for power AND average. The Yankees haven't felt this excited about a player since Robbie's first ribbie. And holy crap, now we have two!

Listen: The Master is right. You cannot predict baseball. But you sure can predict the New York City hype machinery, and you can hear the engine starting to rev.

The baseball world is about to explode with hype over the Yankees' two 25-year-old starters. Imagine TWO Matt Harveys at once. Think in terms of insanely exaggerated comparisons: Koufax and Drysdale quickly come to mind. Sports Illustrated must be pondering its covers. The tabs surely are honing their headlines. ESPN is lining up its Sunday nights. Obama and Putin are watching their schedules.

Dear God... The Yankees have TWO Ubaldos, TWO Harveys, TWO Dice Ks, TWO Darvishes - and nobody knows how good either could be. Fasten your seat belts, everybody. It's about to get really noisy, at least two out of every five days.

I'm all for the Yankees celebrating Nelson Mandela, but he never once set foot in the giant concrete dog dish where they now play

Our team once played in the greatest cathedral of American sports. Unfortunately, they tore it down.

Sorry, but you can't have it both ways.

Nelson Mandela never visited this Yankee Stadium. He never ate in the Yankee Steakhouse, never perused the Grand Concourse, never frooged in the disco. He once visited the Bronx, donned a Yankee cap and told the world, "Today, I am a Yankee," and he walked in an area that is now a parking lot.

I'm good with the Yankees remembering that historical moment. But when they do, they should also be held accountable for tearing down that historical marker. If Nelson Mandela's visit was so important to them, why did they knock it down and try to sell off every single blade of grass?

Well, whenever they hold a historical ceremony, I feel compelled to note the reality of what the Yankees traded, in the name of progress and tax breaks. They once had a stadium that possessed the history of Fenway Park, of Wrigley Field, and any sports facility in America. Growing up, I never imagined anyone - not the Nazis, not the Commies, not even the aliens - could ever tear down Yankee Stadium. The last thing I thought would be that the Yankees would do it.

The British didn't tear down Westminster Abbey to build a brand new one, featuring a Hard Rock Cafe. The French don't seem inclined to knock down the Louvre and put up a modern museum, rewired for improved WiFi access. Hate to be a downer here, but New York City preferred to have a parking lot mark the historical location where Ruth and Gehrig once played, and where Mandela walked.  

We tore it down.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Tananka?

(I missed it at first.)

We Don't Need No Stinking Drew Morales

From LoHud:


For Sunday night’s game against the Red Sox, first baseman Francisco Cervelli, second baseman Yangervis Solarte, shortstop Dean Anna and third baseman Kelly Johnson totaled 19 career starts at their positions. Since 1915, the previous low for Yankees starting infield had been 26 for the quartet of Mike Hegan, Horace Clarke, Bobby Murcer and Mike Ferraro on Sept. 10, 1966, according to STATS.


1966....how'd that season turn out for youse guys, Hal? Let's ask Mr. Wiki:

The team finished with a record of 70-89, finishing 26.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles...It was the first time they had finished in last place since 1912, their last year at the Hilltop. On September 22, paid attendance of 413 was announced at the 65,000-seat Yankee Stadium. WPIX announcer Red Barber asked the TV cameras to pan the empty stands as he commented on the low attendance. Although denied the camera shots on orders from the Yankees' head of media relations, he said, "I don't know what the paid attendance is today, but whatever it is, it is the smallest crowd in the history of Yankee Stadium, and this crowd is the story, not the game."

I'm looking forward to those cheap late-season tickets on StubHub. A great send-off for our Captain.
Think they'll lower the price of beer by then?

Spahn and Sain, and pray for rain !



The Yankees are trying, already, to drive on fumes.

Derek and Roberts need rest and the rain gods gave them another day.  Even Solarte looks a little beaten down, and could do with a game off.  He got it.

The bullpen is stretched so thin you can see holes in the cheese.  Robertson needs weeks of rest ( we all know how those groin injuries plague one ) but a Cubs game put off until, "sometime later," helps.
Shawn Kelly can't go three games in a row.  And so it goes.

In the world series of ( fill in the correct date ), the then Milwaukee Braves had only 2 good pitchers.  Warren Spahn ( 300 game winner ) and Johnny Sain.  They only needed two days rest, plus the normal series travel breaks, to be effective again ( unlike the 90 pitch limits of today ).  Hence, the Braves "prayed for rain" and got it.

So did we, yesterday.

In fact, today I awoke to 3 inches of snow, 25 mile an hour winds, and a high ( later ) of 40 degrees.

Not good baseball weather.  Not good for aging legs and arms.

Give Derek and Roberts a blanket and let them stay loose in the clubhouse.  We'll need them later.

From the Book of Job: The story of Cervelli, the most tortured servant of King Hal

Hear now the story of Francisco Cervilli, son of Munson, backup to Jorge, and servant in the House of Steinbrenner, who hath suffered more than any Yankee in the history of history.

For he hath squatted behind the plate of Yankee farms and fields, a worshipper of King Hal, son of George and partner of Rupert. And Francisco hath spent many years toiling in the trenches of Trenton, and the scrapyards of Scranton. Yet his future appeared fertile and ripe for a deal of multi-years, until one day Satan said unto God:

"O, Lord of Yankees, I see that your loyal servant Cervelli praises you each day, because you have given him hits and health. But what would happen if he were to suffer pain in the training of springs? Would his nose taketh on a different color than brown? Instead of worshipping your network of YES, would he not crouch and pray to the channels of NO?"

And God replieth:

"Get out, Satan, with thy socks of red! Thou art worse than New Hampshire shucking lost shillings upon Schilling! But I shall showeth you that my servant Francisco loveth the Yankees more than any creature alive. I shall send unto him a plague of plagues. And ye shall see that he still worshipeth the Yankee network, driven by Jeep, and protected by Cellino and Barnes."

And so in 2008, Francisco was tending the plate of home, when a barbarian from the Hooters ovens of Tampa crashed upon him, cracking his wrist. And Francisco cried out, "O Yankee God, thou hath forsaken me! But I shalt not slacken in my love for thee."

And so the Lord sent his avenger, Shelley Duncan, to claw a Tampa shortstop in his hood of man, launching a clearing of bench and spittle. And for a year, Francisco healed and then played.

But the following spring, Satan returned and sayeth: "Hey, what about our bet on your servant Francisco? Isn't it time to whacketh his mole again?"

And in a game of spring, God sent a ball of bean to Francisco's noggin, and he suffereth mighty aches and grains of mi. But Francisco still sayeth: "O, Yankee God, I shalt not slacken in my love for thee!"

And the following spring, God breaketh Francisco's foot, and he limp for months. But still he sayeth: "O, Yankee God, though this is getting staleth, I shalt not slacken in my love for thee!"

And the following spring, on the day before spring training endeth, as Francisco was packing his camel for the New city of York, God tradeth for Chris Stewart, son of Molina. And Francisco was banished to Scranton, which had itself been exiled unto a caravan on the New state of York's Thruway. And lo, Frankie sayeth: "O Yankee God, this truly sucketh, and it would not bothereth me if thou were to trade me, because how many Thruway Sbaro's can a loyal servant eat in? But I shalt not slacken in my love for thee!"

And the following spring, Francisco returneth and was named starting catcher in the House of Steinbrenner. And so God breaketh his hand on a tip of foul. And before Francisco could returneth and express his love for the Yankees, he was exiled by Commissioner Bud, son of Bowie, for fifty games, for he hath associated with A-Rod, cousin of Barry, and friend to Biogenisis. And nobody mentioneth Francisco for the rest of the season of ball.

And the following spring - the time of now - when Francisco finally returneth, he hath won the backup role in a great season of grapefruit. Yet Satan sayeth to God, "Hey, whateth about our bet? Send unto Francisco the pinch of hamstring." And God said, "Yeah, OK, why not?"

And so Frankie suffereth a brutal pull on his string of ham. And now, he shalt again miss months upon months of crouching behind plate.

And the Yankee God was asked, "Why, O Lord, hath thou forsaken your loyal servant? What hath Francisco - and King Hal himself - done to deserve such torture?"

And God sayeth:

"Hey, tis the game of ball. You guys tradeth my son Jesus Montero, and this is what you getteth."

So continues the Book of Cervelli.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Is it just me?

Tampa may leave St. Petersburg and challenge the Yankees as its own home team.


Bitterness is a hard bile to swallow

The Redsock Nation just won't let go.

High tide in Tampa

It's even worse: Cobb and Hellickson are also hurt. 

Who's on first? For now, Kelly Killzit. And when he gets hurt...?

In the last two seasons, Yankee fans have seen some memorable lineups trotted out to big horseyard. Remember the famed "Murderers Row 2013?" (Pictured right.) Moreover, we have seen ancient outfielders play positions worthy of a sandlot game. Last year, Vernon Wells held down third. Sunday, Carlos Beltran played first, for his first time ever. He was replacing Francisco Cervelli, who was playing 1B for his second time. This is The Show, Yankees vs. Redsocks, ESPN Sunday Night, and we're auditioning players for positions they've only visited while base-running. Yeesh.

OK, let's recognize that injuries forced both moves, and when your team is as old as the Yankees, somebody's always hurt. That's why we carry three two infielders, a catcher and Ichiro. Still, it's five days before Mark Teixeira returns, and we must play our regular 3B, Kelly "Killzit" Johnson at first, with everybody else filling the holes and who might ask, when Kelly goes down, who plays first? What is our fallback? Most organizations have what is known as "a minor league system." The Yankees, however, keep a four-tiered recycling bin.

Let's take a quick walk through our first base options, descending through the system.

At Scranton-Wilkes Barre - which carries a cloud wherever it goes this spring; six rain outs  in 11 games - we have 28-year-old Russ Canzler,  the International League's Player of the Year in 2011. He's the likely call up, and you could argue that we're blessed to have such a veteran minor league bottle opener at our disposal. He's hitting .276. Trouble is, Canzler must be added to the roster, which means dumping somebody with a greater long range upside. I'm betting it's Canzler for next five games. But who knows?

If we slide down to Trenton, we have 26-year-old Kyle Roller (a great name for an infielder) who is hitting .250. Yes our first baseman at Double A is 26. -Even our Trenton lineup is old. If Roller moves up to Scranton next year, he could break into the majors at 28. I'm not saying he can't have a nice MLB career, but 28? Are we even trying to develop young first basemen? Wouldn't it be nice to have a 24-year-old?

Let's go to Tampa - high Single A. Playing 1B Monday was 24-year-old Jose Toussen, who is 5 for 11 on the year. Twenty four years old. If he spends a season at Trenton and then one at Scranton, he could break into the majors at age 27. Again, shouldn't a guy at Tampa be 22 or 23?

Finally, way down at Charleston - low Single A - we have 21-year-old Mike Ford, off to a great start. Not too old, I guess. The guy we touted all winter as our breakout 1B, Greg Bird, is hurt. So what else is new?

Today, theoretically, Brian Cashman will do something to rectify our backup 1B situation. Like I said, I'm figuring it's Canzler. If we play Austin Romine at catcher, Yangervis Solarte at third, Dean Anna and SS, Brian Roberts at 2B, and Kelly Killzit somewhere, we are moving toward "Murderers Row 2014." We're just a couple injuries away. Yeesh.

Monday, April 14, 2014

And Now It's Time for "Name That Player"

Today's quote is a pip, and I don't mean Wally.

It's from our AL Player of the Week, Carlos Beltran, who said:

“_______ is a great outfielder, and here, with so many outfielders on the team, it’s unbelievable that he’s not playing [every day] like he normally does in the outfield. But today, he made a great catch and I was happy for him.”

OK, for the Grand Prize –- a trip to Scranton-JohnWilkesBooth-BarretenderGetMeADrink sometime next January -- Name That Player!

Tick....tick....tick.... 

Concentrate...concentrate....

All right, I'll give you a hint.

Last year, he had a fielding percentage of 
.989.

Tick...tick...tick...

OK, another hint. While most of the Yankee bats folded like wet cardboard against the Tigers in the 2012 playoffs, he hit .353 in those four games. (Yes, he only hit .217 against the Orioles, but we had 
that series in the bag.)

Tick...tick...tick...

Last try. In 2013, he hit .321 against left-handed pitchers in 81 games, and .297 overall at Yankee Stadium.

The clock is running out...

Ohhhhh!!! (BZZZZZZZZZZZZ)

Sorry panel, I'm going to flip all of the cards now, which means $50 for our guest.
Take off your blindfolds...

...and say hello to today's Name That Player
mystery man, Ichiro "Small Sample" Suzuki! From everyone at Revlon, good night!






It Takes A Minor League System


Another big Yankee win last night.

A few curious developments;

1.  Derek not in line-up.  He developed a quad strain giving all those high fives for Yankee homers from the day before.

2.  Roberts not in line-up.  The question here is whether his 0-April batting streak caused lower back pain, or the lower back pain caused the 0-April streak.

3.  Tex still in Florida, we think.  Getting the message that a no name called Kelly Johnson already looks better.

What are combined salaries of the above three non-participants?

4.  Cervelli steps on the rattlesnake again.  Color him out for 6 weeks, and fragile after that.  Time for a trade when he appears healthy?

5.  Robbie still tweaked from warming up too many times.  The psychologists have a name for what he has ( grab the brass ring, finally, then shoot yourself in the foot syndrome ).

6.  Beltran at first because Johnson has to play third, Solarte has to play second, and Anna has to play shortstop.  Let me say that again;  Beltran at first.

7.  McCann out for X-rays?  Nana to be back-up catcher?

8.  Someone saw CC Sabathia with a first baseman's glove in the dugout in the bottom of the 7th.

Is this working out as planned or as we knew it would?

Hope that feast of young talent in the minors is ready for the call-up.  What do you think, Mr. Cashman?

Yangervis Solarte's legend improves: He took a whack to the gonads, and that's why he was limping

Every Yankee fan who saw Yangervis Solarte hobble back to the dugout last night, after apparently tripping over first base, suffered the same reaction. Sprained ankle, twisted knee or hammy... out for a month... So long, Yangervis.

That's the way things go, unfortunately, in the Yankee universe of pessimism.

In fact, he's fine. No problemo. What happened was that Yangervis took one - how should I put this?- directly in the onions and right on the carriage return, if you catch my drift... you know, square on the billiards, splitting the uprights, straight down the Canyon of Heroes, onto the tumbling tumbleweeds, into the pumpkin patch, on the tomatoes, the Brussell's sprouts, the cabbages, the marshmallows, the baby carrots, the Kingsford brickettes... up the river and through the woods, onto the fruit tray and into Kim Kardashian's play land.

And he limped. Yes, our man is not an unseasoned rookie. He is a pro.

This swarm of injuries is not due to fracking or global warming; nor is it God's wrath: It is the natural state of the Yankees

Have you noticed that whenever some TV talking haircut blames a tornado or "super-storm" on global warming, instead of convincing dittoheads to change their ways, it only riles them? No hurricane will alter Glenn Beck's views. He'll just blame God. Twenty years from now, the erosion of shorelines and the movement of invasive species will slowly prove the consequences of cooking the planet. Nothing else will get to these folks. And that, my friends, is your free, non-Yankee life pontification for today!

Which, ahem, brings me to the Yankees...

If these Yankee injuries were hail storms, ESPN would be blaming climate change, while the popes of YES pass around rattlesnakes. Last night, John and Suzyn were - as usual - lamenting the fates, when Francisco Cervelli - a career train wreck of injuries - went down. The Gammonites of the Murdoch Fifth (R.I.P. Daily News, how could let them outbid you?) can throw up their hands and tell God he sucks, but there is no mystery here. Pre-tweaked gonads and bulging discs are a rite of Yankee spring. Everybody knows why. We are older than dirt, and injuries are our norm. 

Listen: If Job were covered with bleeding pustules, and he'd spent all of yesterday swimming in Boston Harbor, maybe yelling at God wouldn't be appropriate, eh?

Today, Brian McCann goes in for x-rays on his hand. If they show a broken knuckle, yes, we are screwed. But jeez, it aint God's fault. God would know that McCann last year played in 102 games, down from 121 in 2012. (He is not stupid; He would go onto Baseball Reference.) McCann's workload has dropped steadily every season since 2010. God would tell you right off the bat: This is what you get  from a 30-year-old catcher.

Last year, Derek Jeter played in 17 games. I think God would have moved him to 3B by now. The Yankees prefer to keep Jeet as their SS crown jewel. Fine. Personally, I believe if Jeter moved to third, within three weeks, he would make himself into one of the best fielding 3Bs in the AL, much as A-Rod once did. And he'd play more. Oh well. Aint gonna happen. But it's a long season, and if he plays 120 games at SS - age 39 - it will be nothing short of a miracle from God. Keep those cards and prayers coming, folks.

Mark Teixeira played 15 games last year. Just days before he tweaked his hamstring two weeks ago, he said his injured wrist will "never be the same." I bet God laughed about that one. Two years ago, Jose Batista in Toronto tweaked his wrist, and it took him 2013 to recover. (He's back to crushing the ball this year.) How much can we legitimately expect Tex to play this year in his prime form? Maybe God will send a healing balm instead of another barking hammy.

Francisco Cervelli's working address is the DL. Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner, two hard-nosed outfielders, are always a dive away from a broken bone. (Did you them nearly collide last night in left-center? Thank God Gardner pulled away. That was our season, folks, crashing together.) Did I mention David Robertson, who has pulled up lame twice now when handed the closer role? Or Brian Roberts, who missed the last three years? Or the advanced ages of the OF - Soriano, Beltran and Ichiro? Or Michael Pineda, who hadn't thrown an inning in two years? How many innings should we expect from Pineda this year, before we seriously compromise his shoulder? A hundred? A hundred fifty? Who wants to place their bets?

Listen: The Yankees are playing a strategy that involves signing old and oft-injured players, and hoping for the best. It's not the worst plan, if you have $220 million to piss away. And Hal has that money, thanks to Murdoch and YES. Thus, the strategy works - until it doesn't. (Remember Travis Hafner?)

Folks, this is not an aberration. This is not global warming or God's will. It is the Yankee plan. Injuries are how we roll. But for now, let's hope God has our back on McCann's knuckles. A broken finger would be a low blow, even for God.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Guy Is Obviously Washed Up



Yeah, good catch, but he's only batting .421. Just old and in the way.

The Smoking Gun

MLB's At Bat app identifies each team's broadcast, like so:


Look which team is affiliated with tonight's ESPN broadcast from Yankee Stadium, according to Major League Baseball:


Next week on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball: Baltimore at Boston.

Redsocks passive-aggressive whine of the day: MLB botches replay challenges

Pine tar? Bad umping? Doesn't matter. Boston can never lose without MLB needing to look into it.

Today is the first most important game of the season.

OK, I know what you're thinking: It's just April, the beautiful Tori Spelling hasn't even launched her reality show yet, and I'm over-whining the importance of a possible series-ending loss at home to Boston. Wait a minute, pally: Did you even read the above sentence, or were you off googling photos of the beautiful Tori Spelling? I'm talking about a possible series-ending loss at home to Boston! Yeah, that's right, buckos, this is it! This is our chance to take three out of four - as opposed to 2-2, which is nothing - I mean, it's paper food cooked in pan grease, it's a three-hour drive to Peoria, it's Tori Spelling in a wet suit - it's letting the Redsocks split with us in Yankee Stadium.

If we win today, we go two games above .500! (Like Joe Torre, the real Tori, I'm never comfortable until we're 10 above.)

If we win today, Ivan Nova isn't just another high-speed train magnetically headed off the rails, and Yangervis Solarte might be a long-term strategy (talking July) at 3B, or at least a RH platoon for Kelly Killzit.

If we win today, we can beat the Redsocks once in Boston and take the month of April from them.

If we win today, our bullpen can withstand the loss of its closer.

If we win today, we hit the Cubs with confidence and our two best starters.

If we win today, Adam Warren and David Phelps continue to anchor the bullpen.

If we win today, for all those fans who didn't get to see Derek Jeter yesterday, it wasn't for nothing.

And if we lose, well, screw it. Might as well be googling Tori Spelling.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

An "UP" Day



This was the best weather day in about 4 decades and I, happily, spent it at the track listening to John and Suzyn and drinking Juleps.

I was glad to see the home run outbursts from McCann, Sori, and the major dingers by Beltran and Johnson.  Almost immediately after Johnson hit his into the black, a comment was relayed to us about "Tex's plans to return in Florida, around April 20th."

  Do you know what?  I don't look forward to that.

I think Kelly is a better hitter now than Tex and his defense at first, inexperienced but athletic, has been inspiring.  I don't mean to suggest he will ever play first like Tex can, but I do mean to suggest that other Yankees are feeding off his effort, professionalism and results.

I can't really "diss"  Tex, but he is another guy who hits into double plays like I eat M&M's ( by the bowlful).  We can't have rally killers like him, because we are not going to win any games this year when we only score two or three runs.

It was also very important that Solarte banged out two hits.  I almost felt the league had figured him out, and he was on his way down and out.  Now, maybe we can keep hoping for a few more weeks.

When you win games with Anna, Solarte and Johnson in the infield, one has to feel  we stole one.  But that is what this team will have to do all year long.

Roberts is serious question mark at this point;  he can't have fallen so far down, so quickly.  But his at bats are not impressive.  And Duque's, "0 for April," comment  hung true again today.  If we are going to win more than the occasional game, we need him to produce.

I still like Adam Warren a lot and Shawn Kelly had an impressive 9th. It is only a single game, on a single day, bringing us back to .500.  But it beats the alternative.

Can we put together a 2 game streak?

The Spirit of '68

Every year since 2003 (with the exception of 2009, and I was a little surprised that year even with the big money additions), I haven't greeted the new season with much optimism, as I watched the great teams of the late '90s erode, develop holes that were never properly filled, and lose the chemistry that made for greatness, notably abandoning Tino in favor of a false steroidal idol (a move that, as my lovely wife said at the time, was the worst possible karma and would curse us for many, many years, proving once again that she understands these things far better than I do); as Joe and Joe played terrible veterans over young hopefuls and as even what seemed to be stellar pickups turned into mediocrities, disappointments and otherwise sink into CCness; as we could feel the crowd energy wane with the Vegas-style luxuries and empty fat-cat seats of the new stadium and the loss of all the power, history and juju contained in each and every molecule of the old stadium, on the site of which the displaced ghosts of the Babe, the Mick, the Iron Horse, Joltin' Joe, Thurm, Dickey, the Scooter and countless others now swirl in anger and confusion; and as teams in both leagues outspent us for many of the best free agents of their generation while, in many cases, we didn't even try, and had competent farm system management that produced excellent players while ours fiddled as Scranton-AshleyWilkes-RoseanneBarre burned; as an entertaining, but often destructive and tyrannical, buffoonish owner passed the reins to his boring, often passive-destructive and bumbling, self-contradictory heirs; and as Cashman went from boy genius to beleaguered strategist to stalked, rappelling, garbage-picking boob.

But so far, Solarte is having a heck of a year, this Pineda guy mighta turned out OK, after all,
Jeter is batting .300 and Ichiro is making the naysayers look at least a teeny bit foolish.

This is where my optimism has had to find shelter in order not to die, at least completely.

Is this a rivalry or a stomping?

Six years ago, Grady Sizemore and Brian Roberts were future possible Hall of Famers. The fates intervened, their bodies fell apart, and each spent the last year riding stationary bikes on the junk pile. Last night, they joined the famous Yankee-Redsock "rivalry," as seen on TV. Once again, as it has been pretty much throughout this godforsaken new millennium, Boston seems to have made the better choice.

OK, you're right: It's early, far too early to sound this dramatic, far too early to worry this much. But I'm not sure the Yankees even qualify as Boston's main rival anymore. I suspect that distinction belongs to Tampa, where games between the two teams last year nearly descended into brawls. Tampa has a young and hungry roster, and the one club it most needs to beat is no longer the cross-town grapefruit league rival Yankees. Look at the entirety of today's Boston-New York "feud," and it's a massacre - in pro football, in the NBA, in hockey and - now, yes - in baseball. If it were a fight, they would stop it. And if this weekend is indeed being promoted as a big series, it's because the Yankees desperately need to beat Boston to gain legitimacy.

Thursday brought one of the saddest moments in this old rivalry, as the Redsocks patronized us, pooh-poohing Michael Pineda's apparent use of pine tar. (For obvious reasons: Their pitchers use it all the time.) There they were, acting as judge and jury on Pineda - overlooking the respect he deserves for coming back after a career-threatening shoulder injury - as the Gammonites of the press - (another Boston heritage) - made pine tar the main story. Amazing. Boston didn't have to lift a finger to discredit the Yankees. It was all done for them on Twitter. And they so kindly forgave Pineda... grrrrrrrr...

Well, we lost last night because, along with building a farm system that actually produces players, the Redsocks also scour the scrap heap pretty well. They picked up Sizemore - who always killed us in Cleveland, and who could be the comeback player of the year. (Until he gets hurt.) We grabbed Roberts, who is practically 0 for April, and who was pulled for a pinch-hitter on the last at bat of the game. Right now, nobody knows what he's got left in the tank. (And like Sizemore, he'll soon get hurt.)

This has been a strange first two weeks of the season. The Yankees have run hard, played hard, swung hard - and gotten nowhere, unable to climb above .500. The fans wildly cheer somebody named Yangervis Solarte, in part because they suspect he won't be here in June. We have a fine rotation, but we're learning that a quality start isn't always enough. Three runs can beat us. When a team scores two, you can feel the uncertainty building like a train off in the distance: And here's a question I never thought to ask all winter: What if this team simply doesn't hit?

Everyone can see the huge crater in the lineup that was Mark Teixeira. But what if Carlos Beltran plays his age? What if the over shifts on Brian McCann knock 30 points off his batting average - dropping him to .220? Who in this lineup hits 30 home runs? Yangervis? We have two games left with Boston this weekend, seven more between them and the Rays this month. An ice cold start to 2014 is not an option. Yes, it's far too early to be this worried. But we are what we see - senior citizens and reclamation projects. There is nobody coming from Scranton, or Trenton, or anywhere. Boston has Grady Sizemore. We have the guy now known for pine tar.