Friday, July 1, 2016

The Cheatertown Fraudsox

You stay classy, Boston.

I'm Not With Duque On This

 I have been a master level Ju-Juist my entire Yankee life...meaning, since I could comprehend anything.

But I will not jump on yet another rotting oxen-pulled, bandwagon, heading out to the slag heap.  Maybe the " international" aspect of this proposed JU-JU dance will gain some traction, because all those Euro Zone fans demand is a free Yankee hat.

And we can't count on much of anything, anymore, from England.  They can't even beat Iceland in the game the English " invented."  It is as if the Yankees could not beat some local beer league team from Transylvania in a 3 out of 5 series.

No.  I want the Yankees to go down and stay down.   I do not want there to be any doubt, or ambiguity, about their failure.  I can't stand the fact that we eked out yet another one run victory yesterday, drawing our heroes back up to .500.

 I do agree with our leader ( Duque ) that it is not the players fault.  If I sucked at something, and Hal offered me $20 million over four do my thing ( something that was, at the core, a really fun game I played as a kid), I would jump at the chance.  I would happily suck as I strolled to the Bank.

So Duque is correct in that respect.  It is the pyramid of incompetence and ass kissing started, at the top, by the undeserving heir Steinbrenner, and trickling down to the GM and manager.  They are getting paid for incompetence, based on the thrill of " getting back to .500," this late in the season.

So, I am not on board for again cheering and chasing  false hopes.  We have been doing these interventions for years, now.  And I still look in the mirror, at the end, and find myself covered in cow dung.

So, to hell with the magic.  That only worked when the team, at its core, was really good.  When winning a championship was at stake.  JU-JU works for winning the WS.  Not for climbing one or two games over .500, only to slide back when it matters.

There is, simply put, nothing meaningful at stake for this Yankee team.

In truth, yesterday's win was another spirit crusher for those who feel re-building has to be done.

My Ju-Ju now is for losing.  I want to break records for losing.  Starting today.

I am, therefore, going to root for the Yankees, and feign optimism and enthusiasm.

I am also going to drink.  Alcohol will mask my true feelings.

The new rule: Root for the players, despise the owners

Yesterday, as Chase Headley dove headfirst into home, I was screaming "GAHHH!" but thinking, "Why bother?" And I had this epiphany on Headley...

For two seasons now, we've whipped him like a rented mule, because - well - he is a rented mule. He's a San Diego Padre stuffed into a Yankee uniform, a mercenary who in two years will run off to Milwaukee or Pittsburgh, and who cares? It takes years of fighting and at least one great meaningful moment for a player to make his Yankee bones, and this 2016 team is full of empty uniforms - Ellsbury, McCann, Headley, Beltran, et al - who have yet to win anything that truly mattered. Headley looms as a sour four-year deal, and if the owners are going view players as contracts, why shouldn't we fans? And if the players are mere contracts, well... why bother?

And yet... there he was, plunging headfirst into home. The fact is, Chase Headley is a good teammate, a positive vibe, who has lifted his average into semi-respectability. No, he's not worth all that money, but why should that matter? He plays hard. He gives his all. To my recollection, he has never jogged out a grounder or admired a HR ball at home plate, never flipped his bat to start a fight, never whined about the umps or whinnied some lame excuse after an 0-for-5. He's taken every bullet, and he's not the reason why this team is mediocre. He is a guy we should root for, and why, why WHY do I need to keep telling myself this?

Well, the answer is simple: It's the nepotistic, crony-suckled creeps who own and operate the New York Yankees.

The Steinbrenner heirs are now seven years into corporate control, surrounded by a handpicked gaggle of professional Waylon Smithers impersonators. They have yet to implement a long-term Yankee strategy beyond retiring uniforms, commissioning statues, monetizing the past and whitewashing the team's mediocrity via their franchise-owned media. Five years ago, Shallow Hal was supposed to shrink us below the luxury tax threshold, so he let Russel Martin walk and traded AJ Burnett for a dab of suntan lotion. That plan lasted a half season. For a whole year, he refused to negotiate a long-term extension for Robbie Cano and then - poof - after Cano jogged off to Seattle - Hal added three utterly horrible contracts to the burial mound of whipping mules. The Yankees have drafted poorly - bypassing top talent because they didn't want to shell out the money - and here we sit at .500, going nowhere, still waiting for a plan... and yet the owners never hear the booing.

Well, they get booed here.

But listen: I've been all wrong in spitting my bile. It's time to start cheering the Chases and Carloses, the Jacobys and the Brians, because they haven't given up. They keep fighting. And what has happened this season was not their fault. They came to a franchise whose fans want only to win, but whose owner wants to make money - and also win. There is a huge difference. They should not be our whipping mules.

I look at this team and cannot imagine it winning the 2016 World Series. It's just not going to happen. I see us chasing an endless string of wild card berths, which means Headley might never have a true Yankee moment. But he hasn't given up and - dammit - neither should we.


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Big Friday night doings at the stadium

If you're wondering how the Yankees plan to lure fans in late August, forget Aaron Judge. On August 26, they're bringing in Palmyra Delran and the Dopple Gang.  Get this blurb:

Wielding her guitar like a carving knife and using her voice as the most potent of spices, she sprinkles her music liberally with powerful rhythms and textures, garnishing it with sugary melodies and acerbic lyrics. 

Huh? I like to think I wield the carving knife like a guitar, but that's another story. The show is part of a Friday night concert series that is full of over-the-top, carving knife descriptions of relatively obscure rock bands - another part of the Yankees new style of embracing nothingness on the way to winning nothing.

Don't get me wrong: I have a soft spot for rock bands - my two sons are in one - and if the Yankees want to juice a crowd with a hard-driving show, I say, Rock on, Garth! It's just weird to read the "face-melting" text for these bands, especially when placed beside the obscene enthusiasm voiced by the yes-men (and women) of YES. Who writes this stuff, Paul O'Neill?  

Soraia's ferociously energetic, intoxicating live shows are their trademark calling card, showcasing a will to defy and survive. 

"A will to defy and survive?" Good grief. Here's the write-up on Wyldlife, which played last weekend.

70's-stylized punk with fast rhymes and sweet melodies. Like a leather boot filled with Hawaiian Punch. 

A leather boot filled with Hawaiian punch. That's Carlos Beltran, dammit. 

Listen: I don't want to be a Goose Gossage - that is, a fuddy-duddy who hates anything remotely associated with youth. I hate bat flips, unless they're done by Yankees. (Then I like them.) But I do hate hearing about rebellious, hell-raising, outcast, face-melting rock bands who are playing at a fucking Yankee game. 

I mean - come on - how rebellious can they be, playing to a Yankee family crowd? Do you think they'll yell "Dammit?" Do you think they'll smash guitars, rip the place down? When the lady wields her guitar like a carving knife, think anybody will get cut? Come on...

Yikes. That hurt.

I was there.  Sipping on a Jack and Coke ( not diet ), and toking on some vapor.  I don't recall the herb.

What I watched seemed like a dream.  I sensed I was back in 1996.

The hard truth is:  I did not want that to happen.  I wanted the Yankees to do what they are supposed to do when they trail by as much as 7-1.  Why?  Because now all the tables turn for a day;  " We are back in it!" ( Hal).  " This is the Yankee team I think we can be "( Joe ).  "We'll be buyers, for sure, if we keep this up" ( Brian ).

It is all wrong.  The further down we go, the better ownership might be able to see.  Truthfully, it is the only way they will be able to see.  A car , wrapped around a tree, is unmistakeable.  A car sitting in neutral, in a dilapidated parking space, is harder to read.

"This is a team in need of re-building.  This is a team that is ugly and boring to watch.  Totally uninteresting.  There is practically no one to root for.  The team is old and slow, never uses its young prospects until they are, " still only 26 after 12 years at Scranton," and whose high bar of ambition is a one game play-in, where they will fail to score."  (Alphonso).

I admit it.  I wanted the Yankees to lose.  To go down 7-1 or, at best, 7-3.  When McCann gimped around first base, I thought he might be done.  But it was nothing.  He came back.  He is today's hero, along with DIDI.  And I experienced all of this as, " disappointment and fear."

So we accomplished the impossible.  We earned a surprising one game win streak.  The kind of streak that locks in a .500 record.

Let's go down today.  Let's get stomped and buried.  Lose so badly that no question marks are left at the margin.

Otherwise, Joe, Hal and Brian will all feel "good" about themselves, and what they are doing to keep this franchise great ( translation:  non-competitive and mediocre).

We can't leave them such a choice.  The numbers have to flush them all down the toilet.

That may turn out to be a comeback victory we shall all rue for a decade.

I need a drink.

Last night, we glimpsed a universe long, long ago and far, far away...

Last night's incredible win - an outcome seemingly scripted from Game of Thrones - shows why in our pinstriped hearts, Yankee fans so desperately still want to believe... in A-Rod, in Gardy, in Refsnyder, in something, dammit -  and why we've grown so furious over this organization's long, meandering slog into mediocrity.  

Last night reminded us what the Yankees once were - a team of fantastical comebacks in a place known for those two strippers, Mystique and Aura... a team unlike any other in professional sports. Dammit, the Yankees are not supposed to be perennial contenders for an expanded wild card berth. Let the Brewers and the Padres enliven their fans by chasing wild cards. For Yankee fans, to be sniping at the last shard of respectability - a .500 record - only reminds us how far we have fallen.

Last night brought a joyous celebration, the comeback of the year. But here's the sad truth: I wasn't there. Nope, I jumped ship in the sixth, after Gardner chased the homer into the wall. In another season, for quitting on our heroes, I would coat myself in tar and roll in the kitty litter. But last night, it was the only sensible course of action. And here's another dirty little secret: If the Yankees fall behind by five today, I will again cut bait. It's a part of survival. You simply cannot expect this team to launch comebacks. To do so is nothing less than suicidal.

Last night was probably the apex moment of the 2016 Yankee season. But today brings the reality check. We are at the crossroads: We can split a series with the AL's best team, and once again sniff .500... or we can go 1-3 at home, fall 10 behind Baltimore and, as usual, follow up every glimmer of hope with a clunker, filled with runners left on base and bad bullpen decisions.

Last night, we were the Yankees of 20 years ago, saved by a young shortstop that nobody imagined could become a star. In fact, we still have a great young shortstop. Trouble is, the rest of the team was around 20 years ago, and we're not chasing a pennant. We're chasing .500... five fucking hundred. We're aiming at a bar lowered to levels that should never apply to the Yankees. If we make the Wild Card, our owner will view it as vindication. The rest of us will view it as consumer fraud.

Last night gave us a reason to believe. Today, we either move on it... or we're back to 2016 - rooting against the Redsocks and Mets, waiting for the injuries to happen, and wondering who we might get in trades come the end of July.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Quick update

The Yanks are a proud 37-39 after yesterday's trouncing by the Rangers.

In 1966, they were 34-41-1.

That tie is going to be problematic, I just know it.

We're close, though. It's within reach.

Too bad we'll blow the high draft pick when we get it.

How You Doin?

Thought I'd gone?

I discovered " fresh pickings" in the minor leagues.  And even amongst the " active " Yankee trade bait.

Someone named Kaprellian is done.  Did I spell that correctly?  You will hear a lot of back and forth from Yankee brass: terms like, " maybe this, " maybe that" let's "try rest" for a while.

Forget it all.

The longer the delay, the longer it takes for you to see him again.  He is going under the knife.   Kaprellian is not as tall as Andy Brackman, but you can forget about him in the same way that Andy is gone from memory.  Think of this:  you will all be able to say (when he makes his first start at AA in 2018,) ".... and he is still only 26...".

Same age as Slade Heathcott will still be.

And I hear that the Yankees are wavering on strategy for the trade deadline; " do they become buyers or sellers?"  First of all;  how idiotic is that?  The team is 10 games out and fading fast, and they want us to believe the one game play in game is still ours for the taking?

The truth is;  I will make the decision for them. Think of this simple reality:  If you have no one to sell ( think Beltran here.....his is  not a "day by day" tweak, as Joe would have us believe ), you can't become sellers. Put another way:  If you have no Jack Daniels in the store, no one can buy it off your shelf.

So the buy/sell conundrum reduces to one choice ;  the Yankees will buy.  They will spend freely to bring in more old, worn down, highly expensive names.   Why, you ask?

Because The Yankees never give real opportunities to healthy young people.  Not ever.  Those $20 million contracts for .500 talent cannot be seen ( by brass ) as wasted sewer water.  Management cannot be exposed as incompetent, unaccountable fools.

I am working to so expose them.

It is so easy.  All I have to do is float around the pond, and wait.

Nine out, our best hitter hurt, our best pitching prospect compromised... the Season from Hell continues

Today, the Tankees - presumptive 4th-place winners of the AL East - stand nine games behind Baltimore, the largest deficit of the season. The next loss could knock us 10 out, a magical figure for past Yankee apocalypses, and the Bronx will bloom with handwriting that only the Yankee bigwigs fail to notice.

You cannot get people to see if they refuse to open their eyes.

Last night, every Yank fan in captivity spit his donuts when Carlos Beltran gimped off the field on a single. The horror notion: What if he tore something? Beltran is one of the Big Three trades waiting in the team cookie jar: He, Aroldis Chapman and either Betances or Miller - (they'd keep one closer) - could be dealt for young players, perhaps salvaging this brutal prison sentence of a season. But if he's hurt, well... you break him, you keep him.

Today, the Yankees say Beltran merely skinned a twinkie and will be back soon. Unfortunately, the only people who believe Yankee press releases are the YES courtiers who get paid to recite them. Beltran won't come back until the leg feels right, and that could be a week, and a week can stretch into the DL. At any time, Miller or Chapman could tweak a gonad. As the Yankees merrily sift through their options on the season, make no mistake: They are holding live grenades.

But the worst news yesterday came from the Death Star in Tampa: James Kaprielian - the 22-year-old UCLA pitcher who was our first draft pick last June - unbuttoned a doohickey in his elbow, and he might require Tommy John surgery. That would mean he becomes a 24-year-old rehabber in 2018, with a scar on his arm and no experience beyond Single A, and the world has no shortage of such people. But there's more to this...

Kaprielian is the guy that the YES machine touted all last year as a great first-round pick. He generated 12-months of self-congratulation and pomposity. He is a reason why nobody walked the plank in the Yankee scouting staff after the debacles of Andrew Brackman, Cito Culver, Dante Bichette Jr., et al: Kaprielian was such a wondrous grand pick - the next Clemens, the next Maddox, the next your name here - that everybody kept his designated parking slot, and the heirs and heiresses still sit cozy atop the shitpile.

Not long ago, there were so-called "expert" bloggers predicting that Kaprielian would be pitching in Yankee Stadium by July 1, along with Luis Severino, Ian Clarkin and the ensemble cast of Hogan's Heroes. By now, we would be enjoying an explosion of young arms, lifting the Yankees into the future. What a crock.

Listen: There's a polarizing political debate in America, and I try not to inflict my absurd views on anybody, because - well - frankly, I might be wrong. But I believe the worst thing that ever happened to Conservatism in America is the "echo chamber" of Fox News and AM radio talk shows. Old right-wingers watch nothing else, and get a false read on public opinion. They think everybody watches Hannity, and they can't understand why only three other people show up at the parade, and sometimes they get wacko. (This happens on the left, too, in the closeted dungeons of social media.) And here's why I'm raising this: The Yankees have our own version of Fox News and AM radio. We get fed a constant stream of fun-house mirror crapola, which is only designed to sell tickets and get TV viewers. We actually start to believe our own bullshit, and as a result, we're stuck with a mediocre team and a franchise that cannot change.

Sometimes I read this site and think, "Jeeze, we don't sound like Yankee fans. You'd think these bloggers hate the Yankees. What's going on here?" Then I look at the standings, and I realize we have no choice.

Nine games out. Anybody for 10? Fine with me. As long as nobody gets hurt.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


To the bigoted eyes of the Rangers fan, it looked last night like Joe Girardi milked four innings of pounding rain while it lashed at his opponents, then demanded a moratorium when closer Chapman took on water. This twisted view ignited a Texas-sized hate-fest on that bullhorn for brats, Twitter, where our Skipper suffered a midnight pile-on so shameful it could only have erupted while the decent slept.

Here are just a few of the thousands of slanders that caused #JoeGirardi to trend:

@Davidcgalloway "Joe Girardi wears sunglasses to a casual poker game amongst friends."
@mmolina15 "Joe Girardi always takes the server's pen." 

@Garytown "Joe Girardi sits down when he pees."
@jakeintheBox "Joe Girardi mooches off unsecured WiFi."
@gotoburch "Joe Girardi loves Nickelback."  
@trixie6717 "Joe Girardi takes 45 items to the express lane and pays with a check."
@TXChooChooTrain "Joe Girardi goes to the bathroom right before the bill comes"
@hawk2973 "Joe Girardi cheats at Go Fish when he plays kids at the hospital."
@Doc_Hillz  "Joe Girardi needs you to deposit $500 in his Nigerian bank account."
@lonestarball "Joe Girardi tweets GoT spoilers."
@lonestarball "Joe Girardi clogs up your toilet, but doesn't tell you and just leaves it for you to discover." 
@caddyr4 "Joe Girardi reminds the teacher about the homework after the bell rings." 

It begins today...or tomorrow. What, you ask? Another win streak.

I woke up to see the Yankees ahead 6-5 in the ninth.

The rains had arrived.  The shooter was ready to come in and lock up this game.  He struggled to grip the ball, keep his balance on the emerging mud heap that was the mound, and needed eye wipes to see any of Mc Cann's signs.

So he put the first batter on and was down in the count 3-1 to the next Ranger hitter, when the ground crew appeared.

It was a deluge.

 John and Suzyn acclaimed that these were, "conditions under which this game simply should not be played."

I concurred and went to bed, as the Ranger manager argued with the umpires on the dugout side of third base.

I awakened this morning to learn two things;  England had lost to Iceland in the Euro Cup, cementing their status as a second class country, following Brexit; the Yankees gave up 4 runs at 2:15 am and we lost the game.

No matter.  We have a clean slate.  The Gods are aligned.  Things are in balance for the Yankees.  Even Chase Headley is hot.

Today ( or tomorrow ) we begin a series of one game winning streaks.

Cashman and his boss, the ever happy Hal Steinbrenner, will never have to make the " buyer or seller" choice.  Keeping things even means you don't have to decide a thing.

You need not take responsibility for a plan or a strategy. The condition of " no accountability" remains.

Just win one.  Lose one.

Stay where you are.


Kirby Yates installs himself in Yankee history, and Aaron Judge conquers Syracuse

Today, as more reports come in on last night's carnage, we are hereby adding a new name to the IT IS HIGH TERROR WATCH LIST - (Andy Hawkins, Ed Whitson, Edwar Ramirez, Kai Igawa, Reuben Rivera, Jayson Nix, et al...) The name: Kirby Yates, who seemed to bean the entire state of Texas en route to a mythic, out-of-body, for-the-ages Yankee defeat - a calamity on the level of floods, volcanoes, Kardashian weddings and the lone HBO season of "Vinyl."

For the rest of our days on this godforsaken planet, whenever you meet a fellow Yankee fan, you will achieve a state of shared misery by whispering the name "Kirby Yates." Ten years from now, I predict that he will jog out of the dugout on Old Timers' Day, and we will spit creamed corn onto our recreation lounge bingo cards. By then, we will claim to have been watching last night's game, which will be a lie, because we were passed out on the crapper.

I believe that last night's incredible loss will signify the lost decade - the 2011-2020 Bronx Barf, the first decade in which the mighty Yankees won nothing... waist deep in the big muddy, yet the big fool said to press on.  

Who knows, maybe Kirby Yates will become the safe word - the trauma that causes a new Yankee policy - transforming us from buyers to sellers at the 2016 trade deadline. Right now, it is hard to say. It's just a numbing pain, just one more measly loss that plunges us back below .500, where - truth be told - we probably belong.

Still... Kirby Yates! It goes on our list. Screw the NRA; this man should not be allowed to buy a gun. He's there beside Yoan Moncada... YOOOOOOOOOOAN MONCADA... SLOOOOOOWLY I TURN... STEP BY STEP...

Kirby. Frickin. Yates.

I can't quit without noting that I witnessed the Traveling Wilkes Barries last night in Sorrycuse, and I am awaiting stool sample analyses. Meanwhile, four Scrantonians caught my eye.
Judge wears ridiculous 99 number.

1. Aaron Judge. Goliath stroked a HR down the left field line that went out so fast that it undermines my theory that home runs are psychologically cherished by fans because their duration lasts exactly as long as the male orgasm. This one didn't. It just went Ralph Cramden - BANG, ZOOM, to the moon, Alice. I don't know how many HRs Judge will hit, but some will bring down passing jets. He will also take called third strikes with the bases loaded, which he also did last night. They are throwing him junk. He now leads the International League in HRs. Judge is coming, folks. We can't keep him there forever, can we? Gulp?

2. Donovan Solano. He's a 28-year-old ex-Marlin, plays 3B - a non-prospect. But he hits the ball all over - two gappers for doubles - and fields well. If Chase Headley gets hurt, rather than reset the infield, Solano could be worth a coin flip. Frankly, I'm not sure he wouldn't replace Headley's production, though I hear we're supposed to forget the first two months and concentrate only on what Chase did in June, right? Isn't that the new Yankee reality?

3. Chad Green, starting pitcher. We were talking yesterday about the last time the Yankees traded for a prospect who actually turned out to be worth something. Well, fuck me! Maybe this is the guy! He pitched six shutout innings, three hits, and his ERA is among the league leaders. He's no Luis Severino, in terms of potential. But he could be the next David Phelps. Last night, he was pounding the strike zone and had Syracuse under his spell, and they do have Matt den Dekker!

4. Nick Swisher. Yeesh. He runs like Danny Devito as the Penguin. He's still animated in the field, still Swishalicious, and he can turn on a fastball. He made the plays at first, but didn't look smooth and got picked off second with a brain freeze. Jeez, I dunno about this. He seems so happy, almost joyous out there, clearly doing what he loves. I hope Swish gets called up for a final Yankee hurrah. But make no mistake: That's what it'll be. He's not coming up to save us. He'll just give us a final smile. And we can use one. Kirby Yates!

Monday, June 27, 2016

John's Major Theme Tonight... how well the Yankees are doing.

"If the Yankees win tonight, they will be two games on the loss side in back of Boston!"

The jeers of a clown

The Trump-supporting, fan-loathing, fart-mouthed human hair-weave known as Randy Lewis Levine worked up a bucket of spit today, thinking about how much he hates his life. The President of the Yankees - God, I hate writing those words - appeared on the radio and was asked a legitimate question: Would the team be buyers or sellers at next month's trade deadline?

"I don't pay any attention to any of that. That's for you guys [with] nothing more important to write about that to write nonsense. When we decide to become sellers, if we decide to become sellers or if we decide to become buyers, you'll know. The difference is that most of you guys have never run anything and we have a lot of history here of knowing what we're doing. [We have] a lot of confidence in our baseball operations people. So, we'll see what happens. All the rest is just noise."

OK, breathe. Count to ten. This guy needs a Calgon Bath Oil moment. But let's study this, bit by bit.

"... you guys with nothing more important to write about..."

For starters, I, too, wish the abused altar boys of the NY media had something - anything - more important to write about than the 2016 Yankees, the most boring assembly of humanity since Utah filed for statehood. This franchise somehow manages to combine the unhinged hubris of Trump and the deadpan tedium of Hillary, and watching this team's mating dance with mediocrity is like staring directly into Randy Levine's dark soul. Here he goes, baiting a reporter who is simply doing his job. How I wish they all would do Levine a favor and simply start writing about football.

"... if we decide to become sellers..."
Let's face it: No matter how bad the Yankees are, the brass won't sell off its livestock. It's not a question about strategy or long term plans. Nope, selling old players would require the bosses to accept what they've done - squandered $200 million on a team that has lost the AL to Boston and NYC to the Mets. They won't mount a plan for next year. They'll just continue on, like Bernie Sanders, seeing that path to the World Series...

"... most of you guys have never run anything..."

Spoken like a true Giuliani bag man. Here's a guy who suckled for three years on the public nipple as Rudy Giuliani's "Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, Planning and Administration," a political oil can who greased bigwigs to get breaks for certain constituents. One day he quits the administration, and the very next day, he joins the Yankees, who soon get a billion dollar stadium from the taxpayers. In journalism, when somebody quits a job to go work for the guy they were writing about, all they really did was blow their cover. So here's Levine - one day working for "the people" and next day, cashing out with the Yankees - and he tells fans and reporters that they are the assholes. Unbelievable. John Oliver needs to do a sequel.  

Tomato Cans gone, the team of second chances, and Yankee personal milestones

So ends the Tankees' famed Solstice Run of the Tomato Cans, during which they went 6-5 against the "always tough" Rockies and Twinkies. This was supposed to be the jolly-golly stretch when the Boredoms spit their .500 bit and made a dash toward the AL East. Didn't happen. Here we are, once again... win one, lose one, win one, lose one...

Fortunately, MLB Corp. has engineered a system that makes a .500 record within range of the post-season race. So as long as Team Tepid keeps winning and losing, in equal parts, why opine on what Aroldis Chapman would bring in a trade. We already know:

Eric Jagielo (age 24, hitting .206 with 4 HRs at Double A)
Rookie Davis (23, 6-1 with a 2.54 ERA at Double A)
Caleb Cotham (28, 0-3 with 7.04 ERA with Reds)
and Tony Renda (25, hitting .326 at Double A)

Aside from Davis, who still shows promise, the Reds didn't get much for a top closer and a garage door full of bullet holes. We can put the domestic violence case behind him and hope to get more than spare parts and second chances.

Speaking of second chances, the legacy of Brian Cashman pays homage to the Yankees as the Team of Second Chances. Look at the 2016 squad - Aaron Hicks, Starlin Castro, Dustin Ackley, Nathan Eovaldi, Michael Pineda - all with one thing in common: They were disappointments with other teams.

Cashman loves to trade for other teams' flops. It's part of Yankee hubris to believe the other teams were doing something wrong, and once Larry Rothschild gets his hands on a pitcher, blahblah... Trouble is, Cashman doesn't seem enamored with Yankee farm products, even those who show potential.

Long ago, we cut ties with Melky Cabrera, Mark Melancon, Francisco Cervelli, David Robertson and Eduardo Nunez after deciding they just weren't going to make it. This weekend, Nunez was the best player on the field. He is among the league leaders in hitting and stolen bases. We traded him for Miguel Sulbaran, who is somewhere in the Yankee farm system, and who hasn't thrown a pitch this year. It's hard to imagine Melky and Melancon staying all these years with the Yankees, considering the ups and downs in their careers. Still, when you see how Boston stuck with Jackie Bradely Jr. - they waited four years for him to blossom - it hurts to think of Nunez turning into a star, and we got a bale of hay in return, and all of NY marvels over Cashman's wizardry. Yeuch.

But let's get to some exciting personal milestones:

Of course, everybody knows that Alex Rodriguez's next HR, his 696th, will make him the King of Eight Prime, because number 696 is the sum of eight consecutive primes (71, 73, 79, 83, 89, 97, 101 and 103.)

But did you know that Mark Teixeira's next two RBIs will put him at the magical number 15 on the year? Of course, he'll be in hot pursuit of Chase Headley who remains at 18 RBIs on the season. (Not that it matters, but in a handful of games, Rob Refsnyder has eight.) 

By sitting out yesterday, A-Rod lost ground to Carlos Beltran as team leader in strikeouts, with 54. A-Rod has 53, Headley has 52 and Tex notched his 51st. Of the Yankees starting nine, only Didi Gregorious looks like a sure bet to avoid 100 strikeouts on the season. We could easily be The Team of a Thousand Fans.

And come late September, that's what we might see in the seats.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The view from the left (coast)

What with staying up half the night to watch the Brexit returns, watching the stock market futures set themselves up for a downside run that should make February and last August seem downright jolly, and catching a near-dawn jet to the baking desert of Southern California, there hasn't been a lot of time to catch up with the State of the Yankees and the collected wisdom of IIH.

Here in Palm Springs, it was around 110 degrees yesterday. It will be around 110 degrees today, and it will be about 110 degrees tomorrow and the rest of the week. Sometimes physical extremes bring about moments of great clarity (on the other hand, A-Rod continues to play and Tex thinks he has years left on an MLB roster, so it doesn't always work). 

However, if you're not as dumb as a Trump voter (© LBJ Enterprises, LLC), you know that Alex is toast and Tex is a great guy who can't play more than ten or 20 games without sitting twice as many out with the Gonad Squad. And you also know that this Yankees team still has a shot at the 1966 Record of Catastrophe. (The hot desert sun is making capital letters look really good, for some reason. Or it's the vodka. One of those.)

After today's loss to the Twins (6-1 in the 8th as I write, the Yanks facing Cy Young), we'll be 38-38. That puts us only four games, more or less, from 66's 34-41-1, And this is after the sweetest spot in our schedule, which we came as close to bungling as humanly possible without being labeled Officially Bungled, something they know a thing or two about in the UK.

As an aside, I think I really don't care about Brexit beyond the fact that I'm an inveterate bear when it comes to the markets and the result saved my bacon. I was thinking I might have to go find a job again, but the good working people of Britain have seemingly made my career switch to trading a success. Were they stupid? Maybe. Were they as dumb as Trump voters (© LBJ Enterprises, LLC)? A tough bar to surpass there, so probably not. Do I love to hear right-wingers cry and gnash their teeth over how mean and arrogant lefties are, as displayed in the comments to Alphonso's post of the other day? Oh, yes. I do love the utter hilarity of hearing that from a movement that has debased our political discourse to the lowest possible level and called every Democratic leader every name in the book for decades, with the triumphant, rock-headed, hate-filled spirit that only the truly faith-based can display.

Which leads me back to the Yankees, which is and has been led and filled with staunch Republicans in and out of uniform, and is as faith-based (as opposed to fact-based) an organization as MLB has to offer. And because of that, I think 1966 is well within our grasp. We just have to stay the course and continue to make bad decisions, field the overpaid underperformers, and keep the managerial staff in place throughout the major and minor-league levels.

We can do it. If any organization can be as dumb as Trump voters (© LBJ Enterprises, LLC), it is us. And come November, who knows? Perhaps the entire country gets to be the 1966 Yankees. Or maybe we just fall into a cactus. Crazier things have happened.

The 2016 Yankees Are Not Important

There hasn't been a New York Daily News back cover devoted to the Yankees since June 10. And we only got that because our first basemen kept dropping dead.

Deuces Are Wild Again

The Yankees registered another formulaic win yesterday, thrashing the Twinkies 2-1.

With Tex back in the line-up, the Yankees somehow scrambled for the 2 runs they are usually allotted on a game by game basis.  I think I saw Tex smack one into short right field, for a routine ground out.

But our pitching was as projected:  Decent starting work for 6 innings, and then the three aces of the bullpen.

The Twinkies are not exactly an offensive threat, so they were content with a single run.

Can I be the first to say it?

The Yankees make tight games boring.

I was well into my third JACK AND COKE during inning three.  The remainder of the game gets a bit fuzzy.  I kept seeing flashes of the Croation soccer team playing against Ireland.

Were John & Suzyn talking about the Euro Cup?

Anyway, at some point, the Yankees will start playing real teams won't they?

It doesn't really matter.  As long as .500 gets us to the one game play-in opportunity, I'm down with it.

Two runs today, folks.  We hit the deuce again.

One above .500, chasing the Wild Card, with a hot kid at Triple A

First, the real news: Above .500, we're going with the taco shot! It's been our best juju this year. TA-CO! TA-CO!

Now, the secondary lead: Aaron Judge - the New York Giant - homered again yesterday. He's now tied for the International League lead with 15. Judge has lifted his average to .263 after a hell slump that dropped him to the dungeons of .220. In the beautiful month of June, he is batting .337. Three thirty seven.

He is hitting .250 against lefties, .269 against righties (he is RH). He still strikes out too much - 75 on the season - and he has a bazooka for an arm, with six assists. He's shaping up as a classic streak/slump slugger, the type who carries a team for a few weeks, then hibernates. I can handle that.

Judge has gotten hot just as the Yankees finally poke their heads above water - (thank you, Minnesota) - for a brief glimpse of the AL Wild Card race. Unfortunately, four teams are ahead of them, and each their lineups looks young and formidable.

So... if the Yankees are actually going to chase the away berth Wild Card, what do they do with their best hitting prospect since Joggie Cano? Do we leave him in Scranton and wait for his next brain-numbing slump? Trade him for a Lance Berkman? Bring him up and displace - well - whom?

Obviously, we know the answer: The god of injuries will provide an opening. It's almost time for Jacoby Ellsbury or Brett Gardner to shim a lumbago, or maybe Carlos Beltran will stub his kneecap in bed again.

Other than a blocked artery, the choice would be to sit the guy producing the least, our Hall of Fame designated hitter, currently batting .223, and chasing Babe Bonds. Several times this season, the Yankees have hearkened back to 2005, the year they brought up Robbie Cano and Chien-Ming Wang and ditched the big-money globules that were taking up space. Trouble is, this year's team didn't have a Cano or a Wang to juice the lineup. Now, maybe we have somebody worth promoting. So... now what? Aaron Judge can't stay this hot forever. Scranton will explode.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Suzyn Fell Into a Cactus

Discussing the schedule in today's fourth inning, John mentioned the recent trip to Arizona. Suzyn chimed in, "That's where I fell into a cactus." 

A quick Google search of the terms "Suzyn" and "cactus" produced no answers, only questions:

  • Has she mentioned this horrific incident on the radio before? 
  • Are any details public? 
  • Was alcohol involved? 
  • Where were the Yankee beat reporters? 
  • Is journalism dead?

Absent a picture of Suzyn's ghastly episode, here is Lindsay Lohan v. cactus.

And here is the star of the Untold Tales of the ER episode, "Naked Man Falls Into Cactus."

Back at .500, Tex returning, playing our friends (the worst team in baseball) and still less interesting than Tyler Austin

It's nice to have friends who care about you. Last night, the humanitarian Twinkies contributed three errors to our cause, serving a hot meal and four runs. They are there for us. When we get down on ourselves, they stage an intervention. Playing Minnesota is like walking into an Arby's and receiving a free meat-product thingy; you aren't sure what to do, so eat! We should challenge them to a best of 161 series! The Grudge Match of 2016! Wait... better idea: Realign MLB to play in a division with Minny, Atlanta, Cincinnati and Tampa. It is better to rule in hell...

Speaking of hell... Scranton! Last night, a former Jesus Montero-level prospect named Tyler Austin - (we do have a pile of "Tyler"s and "Austin"s in our system, but he is real, not an amalgamation) - hit three HRs against Little Evil Pawtucket. Austin is only 24, one year younger than old Rob Refsnyder. A few years ago, he made all the Mel Kiperesque prospect rankings, rising with a bullet. Then he reached Trenton. Ever since, Austin looked like a career minor leaguer. Now... well, he still does. But hey, you never know...

Five years ago, Austin made his pro debut by ripping up the Florida dirt leagues, hitting .354. The "scouts" hailed him as a gem of the 2010 draft. The following year, he hit .322 with 17 HRs at four levels, streaking through the system. He became a prospect-lover's erection. Then he reached Trenton, the place where Yankee prospects and Republican governors go to die. He hit a slimy .256, tweaked a gonad in his wrist and missed the better part of a year. He's never been the same... until, well, maybe now.  

Over the last 10 games, Austin's hitting .308 with 4 HRs. He's done this while batting next to Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira, who are doing prison stretches in Scranton. There's a limit to the amount of wild hope that can be generated over a 10-day-stretch by a middling prospect at Triple A, and we're not talking about finding a cure for cancer. But if you combine Austin's totals this season at Trenton and Scranton, he's hit 10 HRs and is batting .273. Not bad. And here's the real rub: He's still more interesting than that miserable .500 team in the Bronx. I don't know how the Yankees can become exciting again, especially because today they'll probably demote Refsnyder - one of the few players worth watching - who will take the place of Tyler Austin.

Don't get me wrong. I like Teixeira. I want him to play well. But he's another summer rerun, the same old show. He smacks a screaming line drive into the gap in right center, where a fielder waits to catch it. Baseball is full of new stat lines, which do a great job of obscuring a player's worth. He's the stat I see on Tex: In 188 plate appearances, he is batting .180. Today, he returns. I'm supposed to be excited? Sorry. Thank you, Twins, in advance. But I'll be watching the minor league box scores. (Where Aaron Judge homered yesterday too!) They matter more.

Friday, June 24, 2016

We Need A Yexit Referendum !

Who is more level headed and rational than the British?

And they have, this morning, announced the results of their national referendum to exit the European Union.  They voted to split.  England is out, or about to be, of the European Union.

That doesn't mean they are aligning with the Soviet Union ( oops, I mean Russia ), it simply means they don't wish to any longer take instructions from Brussels.

Will they stop playing cricket?  I don't think so.  Will their food choices worsen?  Not as long as there remain chefs of Asian extract in the homeland.

Accordingly, I think Yankee fans should consider a referendum to have the Yankees exit the American League.

This would help us in numerous ways;

1.  We get to keep the famous Yankee name, but no longer have to listen to the President of the American League.

2.  We get all new umpires.

3.  Our pitchers are better hitters than they are pitchers, and they will get more at bats.

4.  Records will revert to a new beginning, so instead of being at .500 we can start over at 0-0.

5.  Hal ( " I'm not cheap") Steinbrenner gets another chance to prove it.

6.  We save a fortune on fat, old, slow DH's.

7.  Bunting and pinch-hitting become recovered arts.

8.  Injuries will be reduced as fewer of our batters ( Tex? ) will get hit,  because pitchers have to have at bats.

9.  We get to play the Padres more.

10.  Maybe the baseball commissioner, who will be against our exit, will have to step down.

Hey, if it doesn't work, we can always play cricket.

After this weekend, the Yankees start running out of tomato cans... and other ponderings of the unponderable

Starting today, the New York Sisyphusians - (they eternally drop the boulder at .500) - play their final three 2016 games against their great friends, the Twinkies of St. Paul. There are still worse teams out there - (the Pads, for example, whom we visit next Friday) - but sand is running out on the theory that the Yankees are a Wild Card Away Berth-quality team. It's now or never, or it's getting there.

The month of July brings the Chisox, Cleveland, Boston, Baltimore, San Francisco, Houston and finally Tampan Bay, and August looks patsy-free. The schedule makers will spare us the humiliation of playing the Cubs and Nationals, who have competing erections over Andrew Miller and El Chapo. The question is whether El Cheapo in the owner's box is willing to call in the chips on this team or just plod onward, chasing the newly low limbo bar of success.

In the meantime, some elements to ponder:

1. Aaron Judge homered again last night, his 13th of the season. He has hit six in his last 11 games, snapping out of a vicious slump that threatened to derail our fantasy futures. His strikeouts are down, and he's hitting .368 over that span. He's second in the International League in HRs - the two guys ahead of him are both hitting below .220 - and his average is up to .259. The guy is 24, and this is his second year at Scranton. He can't fucking play there forever. If the Yankees are chasing a Wild Card, there is almost no place for Judge in the outfield, without a salary dump trade or (merciful) injury. In any other organization, a streak like this from the premier prospect would likely be rewarded with a promotion. This is what happens when contracts clog rosters like Buffalo wings clog arteries.

2. After seven strong starts - All-Star caliber stuff - CC Sabathia might be hurt. The Rockies whacked him, and he turned an ankle twice, and though they say the x-rays showed nothing, the Yankees never disclose injury information to their fans. If CC loses his command, it's just another reminder of the fragility in this lineup: Every player is a tweaked gonad waiting to happen. The OF is plate glass, Tex is on the bubble, and our best pitcher is still throwing with an elbow tendon flapping. One of these days, our Big Three bullpen could face injuries, ending our window for a future-altering trade. If that happens, Yankee front office hubris will have squandered 2017.

3. Free agent Yulieski Gourriel - the 32 year old Cuban free agent and Yankee wannabee - is scheduling workouts with several teams. At first glance, there is no place for him on the 2016 Yankees, without dislodging a Cashman Cutie, so I've given up hope. But when El Cheapo talks about being "a buyer, not a seller" at next month's trade deadline, I wonder WTF position he's discussing? Because the same problems with signing Gourriel or promoting Judge come about when picturing players we might get in a trade. Where do they play?

Well, if Tex cannot return, the answer is obvious. Somebody has to move to first base. Beltran says he won't. A-Rod can't. Rob Refsnyder will do anything to stay out of Scranton... but somebody, somehow, has to move to 1B. McCann? Headley (with Castro taking third?) I dunno. Could Gourriel play 1B? (Yeesh, Refsnyder did it, and he'd never played it before.) If the Yankees are actually planning a Wild Card run, some major shakeup in the lineup must occur, and somebody must move out of his defensive comfort zone. We don't win with Ike Davis.