My wife Whitney and I traveled Friday from our secure east coast compound across Alligator Alley to the wilds of Ft. Myers to observe our beloved Yankees in "action." Here's my report:
The area is a bit backward, I realized, when I saw a group of girls perched outside the oddly named Pubic's supermarket, selling Girl Scout cookies. They looked like extras in Deliverance. Just a little redneck-y or maybe it was the banjos.
The Yanks played the Minneapolis Twins. I didn’t see too many actual twins there but ran into some triplets after the game who must have recognized me from this blog as they were intent on having a date (they said), though they were probably fraternal triplets, as one of them was a bit lighter-complected than the others. And had an Adam’s apple.
The Twins stadium was nice. The crowd was announced as a sellout and attendance was just under 8,000 so it was cozy. The Wifi in the park worked and that was good as I spotted our pal, Pete Abe in the press box sitting right above Catwoman (I think). I had my pocket MacPus with me and we exchanged pithy e-mail messages, though neither of us attempted a face-to-face encounter due to various issues, none of which had anything to do with our disastrous guest outing on his blog in January, I assure you. (For a second, I considered live-blogging the game, but then I remembered that I had a life, so didn’t.)
The cuisine at the stadium was adequate. I was unable to locate any Hebrew National franks (or any Hebrews, for that matter) but the bratwurst was quite good. Hot, too. Would have been perfect except for the sauerkraut, which was cold and the mustard, which was yellow and not brown. I passed on the local brew, as I’d walked into the park with a cold Yeungling stuck down my pants… and a beer, too. Whitney, who hasn't eaten solid food since 1989, searched in vain for a Chardonnay. Alas!
Two doughy Minnesotans sat in front of me and were so darned nice that I almost didn’t have the heart to spit my sunflower seed shells all over their cute faux-jerseys but I resisted the temptation to desist. Besides, their pasty faces and thick arms were turning a deep shade of clotted pink from sitting in the hot sun, so I’m sure the wet shells were refreshing.
A few celebrities were in attendance including Mario Batali and/or Greg Allman. I thought I'd spotted She-Fan in the Men's room, but no; wrong eyebrows.
The anthem was sung by some white woman and was undistinguished in that maddeningly bland way that only Caucasians can achieve.
IPK pitched the first two innings followed by several fellows with unfamiliar names. Many superstars were absent. Arod must have been hanging with his cousin, Jeet might have been trying on his Minka coat and Texeira wasn’t around either, I think. CC was blogging, I guess or maybe bowling with Joba and Kei.
Jorgie was the DH and smashed a couple of hits and was replaced by a non-Arod fellow named Rodriguez, who ran for him. I read later that Brett Gardner got a couple of hits, too. Good for him!
I checked my e-mail between innings and learned that my wife had been wilting under the rays of that hot Florida sun so had adjourned to the "concourse" to practice thumb pumps on her Crackberry. Imagine that! I no longer had to ignore her since she wasn’t there!
All in all, it was an exciting and tremendous game and I was quite happy to be there. I'll return to that stadium for their next outing against our Yanks on March 20th, so if you’re planning to attend, let me know so you can bring the brown mustard and hot sauerkraut. And you can buy the beer, too.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
My wife Whitney and I traveled Friday from our secure east coast compound across Alligator Alley to the wilds of Ft. Myers to observe our beloved Yankees in "action." Here's my report:
The mystery man who would've been my miracle Mickey is off to a Doug Mientkiewiczian start for the Bush Rangers.
Seven at bats. Six strikeouts.
(Actually, it might be six at bats and seven strikeouts.)
But he has a hit. He's batting .143 -- that's only 15 points off last year's pace.
Remember: Texas isn't paying him a king's ransom. They're paying him a Cody Ransom -- the minimum. What can go wrong?
Yankeetorial: Who the Hell Are We Going to Package in a Trade, and What the Hell are We Going to Trade Them For?
Frankly, it's been THE question since we put Burnett and Teixiera into our shopping cart and proceeded to checkout.
The Gammonites won't focus on it this early in the spring, because basically, it's a being a shithead, and why dwell on bad things to players who might someday seek to write a tell-all books with you? But everybody knows it: Somebody gotta go. We can't roll them all back to Scranton, unless we want Brett Tomko leading Charleston against the Savannah Sand Gnats. And let's dispense with the fifth-grader fantasy GM call-in-show bit: "Ya' think Toronto'd give us Roy Halladay for Melky, Igawa, Cody Ransom, Jason Johnson, Juan Miranda, that Berroa guy and cash?"
Way I seez it, we got three itches to scratch:
1. We need a reincarnation of Matt Nokes. Yep, a third-string catcher-lugnut who can smack 20 HRs, block balls in the dirt and clean house in a brawl. Molina can throw out baserunners. This guy would be our third C, our fourth 1B, and our fifth DH. We need three Cs. We'll walk on eggshells all season with Jorge.
2. We need a reincarnation of Luis Sojo. It might be Cody Ransom, though he seems more the second coming of Clay Bellinger. But when we spell Jeet and Robbie, it would be nice to have an absolutely dazzling glove out there. (I really do like Ransom, but he is a viable SS?)
3. We need a ugly guy for the bullpen. With Bruney now an S.I. supermodel and Briton in prison for devouring the entire city of San Diego, who is the pug-ugly, tomato-faced, porkchop-joweled Halloween goon who waddles his fat ass out in the 7th and scares the little millionaire children in the front rows? These 24-year-olds -- David Robertson, Humberto, Melancon -- might throw hard, but we could use a David Weathers, and el Guapo, a Jack Nicholson as serial killer type.
Sidney Ponson of the Netherlands... would you like to become a Disney terror ride bridge to Mariano?
Friday, February 27, 2009
The '09 Yankees could have two Marks in the top 10 all-time list. MARKED FOR GREATNESS!
"Despite the pressures of my muse, While writing this, I did not juice. I might be subtler, more profound, With cultured people’s praises crowned..."
If performance enhancers I had downed.
Yet every morn I grab my pen...
'Tis Alibi Ike! He strikes... again!
Is it all about selling an extra model, an extra made-in-China version, for the usual $19.98?
What's going on? Are we losing something here?
Because if you've got to constantly promote tradition, then you don't have one.
Good grief. Patches?
As a follow-up to my rant of the other day, the crisis in Louisiana is worsening.
That crisis being : without a major league baseball team in the state, the society is beginning to crumble.
Yesterday, a Louisiana woman landed in jail when she attempted to trade two children for a bird.
The deal went down like this;
Paul and Brandy Romero advertised that they were selling their pet cockatoo for $1500.
A woman named Donna Greenwell ( also, Louisiana born and bred ) responded, and said she wanted to buy the bird. Greenwell then told the Romeros that she was taking care of three children whose biological parents were going through a separation.
Greenwell proposed selling two of the couple's children to the Romeros for $2000, saying that her job as a truck driver made it hard to take care of the children.
The parties allegedly negotiated a trade involving the two kids, the bird and $175. Naturally, all three parties are now in a cell at the Evangeline Parish Police station.
Personally, I would have thrown in Ian Kennedy and asked for the cockatoo and a canary.
And, as you may know, signage rights extend to the branding of all beer cups used at the Stadium and at minor league, Yankee-affiliated ballparks.
If I am successful in this pre-emptive strike, therefore, I pledge to you that all beer cups and their contents will be handed out free to Yankee fans at every game.
I am thinking that, " Alphonso's Park, " might just do the trick ( note Yankee blue ).
6. Dr. Phil
Dear Madam or Sir,
It's time for MLB, the three most magical letters in our alphabet, to address the financial blight known as spring training.
The bitter truth is, nobody gives a mouse's behind who wins or loses in March, because the games don't count. Thus, teams are failing to maximize their revenues. I know you're a baseball man, and you couldn't care less about money, but I'm talking about cash here -- cabbage, skoot, bread, yumina, keebo, parg, jumbagoo, cluct-tape!
Spring training needs a pennant.
Here is the plan.
Obviously, March games can't count for the regular season. But what if the winner of the Grapefruit League played the winner of the Cactus League in a one-game, winner-take-all series on March 27, with the stakes being this:
Home field advantage for the All-Star Game!
That would provide a horizontal, vertical and parallel marketing synergy, because the All-Star game determines home field advantage for the World Series.
Stay with me here: Have the winner of the World Series determine which league goes through arbitration hearings first during the off-season.
The native countries of the players who win the most arbitration victories over the winter should receive home field advantage for their nations in the World Baseball Classic.
OK, I know what you're thinking: This man's a fool. There's a flaw as large as the ocean in his thinking: How would we determine home-field advantage for the spring training one-game series?
Simple. A player-by-player computer fantasy baseball analysis of the World Baseball Classic, similar to the quarterback rating system used by the NFL! Pro-rate the two spring training venues' performances in the WBC. That way, you determine which site -- Grapefruit or Cactus -- has home field advantage.
Mr. Selig, this is easy parg.
You're banking $18 million a year. Earn your cluct-tape.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
The new rankings.
(Honorable Mention: Cowley, Verbanik, Lefebvre, Sewell)
1. The Hutt (movie icon)
2. Chamberlain (Yankee)
3. Jones (actress)
4. Smith (movie star)
5. Jablonski (rapper)
6. ... the whales (environmental slogan)
7. Abraham (sportswriter)
8. ... you! (expletive)
9. ... Mia! (Italian expression of surprise)
10. Peyer (blogger)
Ladies and Gentlemen, Boss, distinguished guests, Yuri, and all those other people El Duque mentioned in his intro ...
We are at a crossroads not just in our country's history, but in our franchise's history. It has been well-documented on this blog, by our fearless leader, El Duque, that as the Yankees go, so goes our nation.
And yes, as "change has come to America," so, too, has change come to the Yankees. We will move into a new home, to a new field and new stadium, where the wealthy and blue collar can both gather to watch the greatest franchise in sports history (the wealthy in the good seats and in discos and steakhouses, the great unwashed in the upper deck where the beautiful people won't have to be near them).
As we stand at this crossroads in history, a new attitude has been growing in America.
There had been a realilzation that with great economic challenges, there is a special responsibility for the successful few to make sacrifices for the good of the many; a realization that after years of conflict and war, this is a time to replace confrontation with cooperation and to reach out not with a clenched fist, but with an open hand; and a realization that the world is changing, and longtime enemies must be looked at as potential partners for the betterment of all people.
There are those who say these principals are universal, applicable to both the world at large and to our national pastime; that just as there must be a new America based on sacrifice and equality for all, there must be a new baseball world based on these same ideals.
As those voices get louder and louder, as they call resoundingly for change, we also must raise our voices to say, loudly, clearly and strongly ...
... Fuck off. Shut the fuck up. And go the fuck away.
Now is not the time for the Yankees to go bleeding-heart soft. Ladies and gentlemen, we are under attack like never before in our great franchise's history. Our enemies see a third-place finish and see weakness; they see a steroid scandal and see vulnerability; they see struggling young pitchers and see a team with long-term questions.
We must look at the 29 other teams and see snacks that we can chew up and spit out.
There are those look at the signing of CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Texieira and say that we have spent too much, that we have hurt baseball, and that we have forever destroyed the competitive balance of this great game. To those people we say: Fuck off. Shut the fuck up. And go the fuck away. Tell your teams to spend some of the luxury tax money you received (from the Yankees) on players instead of a new paint job for the owner's corporate jet and hookers to accompany him on his "business trips."
Then there are those like John Henry of the Redsocks. "The Pied Piper of Pomposity" himself, Henry has come out in favor of a salary cap, stating that "I think there are 29 teams that exist within a certain band, and there has been, in the last several years, one outlier that has been much higher." To John Henry and those like him we say: Fuck off. Shut the fuck up. And go the fuck away. The Marlins ($22 million payroll in 2008) and the Redsocks ($138 million payroll in 2008, not counting any of the $51 million "posting fee" they spent just to talk to Dice-K) are in the same "band?" Are you fucking nuts? That's as nonsensical and moronic as the average Curt Schilling blog post.
There are those who would tear us down, such as the al-Sockzeera network, ESPN; or Sports Illustrated, which believes in the right to confidentiality of 103 of the 104 players who tested positive for 'roids in 2003. To those we say: Fuck off. Shut the fuck up. And go the fuck away. Yes, A-Rod is a lying, paranoid, narcissistic, drug using, choking-dog prima donna (Madonna? Huh?). He's ours, though, and the bond we have for our team is strong enough to withstand A-Rod, no matter how big an ass he is.
We must be honest with ourselves and face one fact; years of success have given us a feeling of entitlement and -- yes, it must said -- have weakened our resolve. This was shown last year when the pathetic little Tampa Bay Rays delivered a brazen attack in a spring training games, taking out one of our brave young catchers, Francisco Cervelli. Our response, other than one love tap slide from Shelley Duncan, was nonexistent. It is as clear as the nose on Joe Torre's face -- our lack of a response emboldened the Rays, and put them on the path to the playoffs, and us on the path to third place.
My fellow Yankeeans, we must say "NO MORE."
NO MORE apologizing for our money. We reap the benefits of smart decision-making and our past successes. Anybody bitches, acquire their best player and make him a hot dog vendor. Blare the Dead Kennedys' "Kill the Poor" from the stadium's loudspeakers before every game.
NO MORE being pushed around by upstart punk teams. Remember what Nettles did to Bill Lee? Let that be our guide. Anybody runs into our catchers this year, we tell our pitchers to follow the wise advice of one Sarah Palin -- drill, baby, drill. (and remember -- any player that decapitates a Ray earns $20 in cold hard cash!)
And finally, NO MORE watching other teams play in the World Series. This is the year we take back our rightful place at the top of the heap. Derek, Andy, Jorge and Mariano deserve one last run before riding off into the Yankee sunset that is Monument Park.
The Yankeeverse must settle for nothing less.
My friends, God Bless you, God Bless America, and God Bless the New York Yankees.
And for those of you not Yankees fans: Fuck off. Shut the fuck up. And go the fuck away.
I know what you're thinking: Duque, you're crazy. Vandals are worse. OK, yeah, you got me. Nobody likes a Vandal. But dammot, let's grow beyond the superficial stereotypes that turn us against each other, and get down to the facts.
Comparison I. A Vandal has a reason for smashing windows. He's a Vandal! He was raised that way. Springsteen said it best: "They bring you up to do like your daddy done." He’s pillaging the village? He’s doing his thing.
What reason does a Redsock fan have for smashing windows? His team won a game? Gimmie a break.
First round, I go with Vandals here.
Comparison II. A Vandal burns down your town, then what? He moves on to his next job. He doesn't sit around for four months fawning over shirtless pictures of Jacoby Ellsbury. Hell, he'd rather tear up pictures of Jacoby Ellsbury. A Vandal doesn't think the world owes him a job. He goes out and makes his own trouble.
A Redsock fan burns down his frat house, and then what? Mom and dad write out a check. In the meantime, he's hanging around Boston, looking at shirtless pictures of Jacoby Ellsbury and waiting for the family lawyers to clean up the mess.
Comparison III. No Vandal ever interrupts your dinner by phoning you to report the latest scandal about Arod. You know what a Vandal would do if he got a call like that during dinner? He’d go right over to the Redsock fan's house and spray-paint it.
Comparison IV: Ever have some bozo on the beach blare a boom-box five feet from your head? Really now, when that happens, don't you wish there was a Vandal around? He'd smash that boom-box into dust!
As for the Redsock fan? Hell, you already got him. He's the bozo with the boom box.
Tomorrow: A Tartar or a Redsock fan...?
You read it here first!
1 p.m.: Beautiful day! Isn't life grand?
1:04 p.m. Every time I hear the Anthem, I get choked up.
1:15 p.m. Wow!
1:39 p.m. He was out! Ump missed the call! Glad it's just spring training.
1:45 p.m. That sucked.
1:53 p.m. Nice play!
2:21 p.m. He didn't cross himself before coming to bat. Usually, he crosses himself. Must be saving it for the regular season. Smart.
2:35 p.m. Steeeeeerike three! Yeahhhhh!
2:37 p.m. Kids getting home from school.
3:01 p.m. Sorry. Been away. What'd I miss?
3:21 p.m. Ooooooooh, no!
3:45 p.m. Mark my words: He's gonna be a great one.
4:09 p.m. Send that bum to Scranton!
4:32 p.m. Game over. Who's on "Ellen!"
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
(Honorable Mention: Cochrane, Tettleton, Hatcher, Gilley)
Cold. Hard. Cash.
Our nation’s economy is in the worst shape it has been since the Great Depression, or maybe even further back, I don’t know, because commentators (and bloggers) are too lazy to do any research beyond remembering old flicks shown on Turner Classic Movies. Our nation has lost its will to succeed. After eight years of out of control government spending and rampant financial speculation, they are wondering how $2,000,000,000,000 in wealth can be wiped out in six months and why they have nothing to show for it. Not even government cheese.
In order to preserve our way of life for our children and grandchildren, we need to reassess. If they are to have an America that they can love and cherish and protect with sandbags from rising sea water, we need to get back to the basics of what makes America great.
Thankfully, the New York Yankees have reverted to their familiar form. They’ve given up the idea that they can escape their post-season recession by growing prospects from the farm-system. Instead, they’ve opened their wallets and will fill their taxpayer-sponsored stadium with the best players that wheelbarrows of money can buy.
It matters not that other teams find a way to make it to the World Series with payrolls that couldn’t fund our national tadpole research program. It matters not that taking a family to a game at Yankee Stadium might require a second mortgage (no one’s giving them out anyway). It matters not that even when the Yankees lose, they still get more national media coverage than any other baseball team, save two.
What matters is that money talks, and bullshit walks, if it has the patience to lay off the breaking ball.
Who will support the players’ posses, trainers and nebulous cousins, if not the Yankees? Who will support the hard-hit nightclubs and golf courses and gated Florida communities, if not the Yankees? Who will inspire the young and the avaricious to sacrifice everything decent and honorable in the soul of man for a chance at an Olympian payday, if not the Yankees?
After the attacks of 9/11, former President Bush said our enemies hate America for who we are and the values we cherish. He then urged all Americans to go out and start shopping. That sentiment is just as valid then as it is today. Thank God the Yankees remember how to spend.
Which brings me to Louisiana. Yesterday, the following marked a typical day for that state:
D. Rising Republican super nova and Governor, " Pinky" Jindal ( or is it Jingle?), has indicated he will not accept for Louisiana $3.7 Billion of fiscal stimulus money from Washington.
Yes, "Bobby" Joe Jindal ( note his clever adoption of a "good old boy" first name ) would rather let free market, unregulated forces work their way to higher unemployment and misery for the citizens of the "Bayou" State, than bend, modify or question any of the fine Republican principles of torture, arrogance, unjustified invasions of sovereign nations, or "no more taxes" mantra, in hopes of carving out a killer conservative platform on which to pursue his personal ambitions in 2012.
This business of , " a government of the people, by the people and for the people is so 18th century, " Bobby is rumored to have said to his foresome while teeing off recently at the exclusive "Baton Rouge" Country Club.
At last report, word from Bobby J, issued through a spokeswoman at his tax-payer funded Governor's Mansion, was that he would only accept $3.6 Billion for the State ( eliminating $100 million to extend unemployment benefits).
" Let them eat King Cake," eh Bobby?
In order to extract Louisiana from this kind of failed leadership ( who votes for this guy?), complete societal decay, and in order to save Louisiana from having to burn all of its vegetation for charcoal, Bud Selig needs to move the Nationals from D.C. to Lousiana this year.
I know what you're thinking: You've lost your mind, Duque. Cannibals are the absolute worst, and everyone knows it.
OK, let's not sugarcoat this: Cannibals have issues.
But at least with a cannibal, you always know where you stand. Comparisons:
If a cannibal stares at you, he wants to eat you. If a Redsock fans stares at you, he's wondering what your cryonically frozen head would look like in the basement freezer of his frat house.
A cannibal won't watch the Miss World Pageant, because it makes him want to order take-out for home health care nurse, with maybe a side order of paperboy. A Redsock fan won't watch the Miss World Pageant because its on against a rerun of "Manimal."
A cannibal considers YES to be the Food Channel. A Redsock fan considers YES to be Al Jazeera.
A cannibal sees Arod and worries about cancer-causing impacts of food-additives. A Redsock fan sees Arod and worries that his shouted obscenities cannot be heard.
A cannibal views non-steroidal Derek Jeter as "free range." A Redsock fan views Jeter as overpriced meat.
Tomorrow: Vandal or Redsock Fan?
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Hank Steinbrenner has been strangely quite. The next paragraph he utters will set the tone for the season.
C.C. Sabathia and Nick Swisher are on Twitter. Let's see if they can handle 140 characters a day.
You'll hear Yankee names floated at trade deadline: Swisher, Xavier Nady, Phil Hughes.
During the season, John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman will combine to use a total of 832 adjectives to describe new Yankee Stadium.
At least one team this season will need help to make its payroll. I'm betting it's the Detroit Tigers.
If C.C. Sabathia throws one complete game before the All-Star Break, he will feel tenderness in his throwing arm -- elbow or shoulder -- sometime in late July.
Joe Girardi will be ejected five times before the All-Star Break.
Two Yankees will fight in the clubhouse and have to be pulled apart by teammates. We'll learn about the altercation in late August.
The Japanese press will resort to one or two pool reporters this season in an effort to save money.
At least one New York-area daily will stop covering Yankee road trips on the West Coast.
In late June, the public will learn about another Red Sox artifact buried somewhere under the new stadium.
Apparently, Johnny Damon and Xavier Nady are encountering some serious cash flow problems because of an SEC investigation.
"I can't pay bills right now," Damon said at the Yankees' spring training facility in Tampa. "That started on Tuesday. I had to pay a trainer for working out during the offseason. I told him, 'Just hold on for a little bit and hopefully all this stuff gets resolved.'"
Huh? Nine o'clock? Damn. I thought it started at ten.
Uhhmm... well... uhmmmm....
9:00.... Here he comes. Wow. Did you see that?
9:21.... I thought that line was specially memorable.
9:23... This speech will go down in history!
9:39... There's a good line.
9:50... Everybody cheering!
9:54... Look! Pelosi's gotta go to the bathroom.
10:11... It's over. Already?
The New Stadium channels Stephen Wright: "Somebody broke into my apartment and replaced everything with exact duplicates."
Of course, recreating Giambi will require two midgets piggybacked.
O, enough tomfoolery! Go here.
This just in.
The head coach of the Dutch Baseball National Team Rod Delmonico cut down the roster for the 2009 World Baseball Classic from 48 players to 37 on Thursday.
(Gotta love a baseball team with a head coach.)
(Later, says Rod Delmonico has made the big decision.)
Also on board right from the start in training camp is free agent starting pitcher Sidney Ponson. The 32-year-old hasn’t found a new team yet and will use the World Baseball Classic to audition for a new job.
As you can see, I put on my best finery for this speech to Yankeedomland.
I have bling, a double knit polyester, short-sleeved pull-over with red, white and blue stripes of various sizes and widths, and I just got my hat back from a fresh steaming over at the trailer park laundry.
Some I am ready if you are.
My fellow Yankees;
Economics - We have funded our 2009 payroll of $400 million with dollars borrowed from the Chinese ( why do you think we signed the first professional ballpayers from China last year ?).
They bought what I call " Yankee Treasury Bonds " for 10 years at 2.48% and an inflation kicker. Nonetheless, in a critical victory for our fans, the Chinese did not get the use of a single suite for the upcoming season.
And while our stimulus spending is projected to be 70% of Yankee GDP this year, we'll do just fine as long as everything sells out for every home game. And I include the $129.00, 4oz. steaks imported daily from Kansas City, the $12.50 baked spud from Idaho, and the $4 "add-on" buffet ( sour cream, chives, and cheese spread and, my personal favorite, jalapenos).
War - This endless war with the "stone age " minded Red Sox is wearing thin on all of us. We keep wasting talent ( e.g. Chase Wright ), pissing away money we don't have ( e.g. we not only mortgaged our future to kept A-Rod from them, but we also re-signed him when peace was at hand), and getting only to third place.
Now, with the emergence of the Devil Rays, we are forced to expand the battle to a whole new front. No more "Devil" in Devil Rays you say? A better enemy somehow?
I say; balderdash !!! They dropped " Devil" from their name so they could use the term against us...against anyone who isn't them.
And let's not lose sight of the fact that we may be looking entirely in the wrong direction. What if the real danger lies in Toronto, or Baltimore?
I think it is time to re-think what we have failed to think about so far.
In the next few months, my Adminsistration will devise a new strategy; a new policy; a way toward change that makes sense.
Let the Red Sox and the "Rays" kill themselves and then each other.
HealthCare - Every year, shoulder and arm surgeries are costing us more and more, both in terms of dollars and lost production. Countless members of our franchise are witholding medical concerns from management because they fear that they can't afford to be out of work for any time.
In many cases, players are postponing timely medical care because ( they say ) they "can't afford it." Worse, they might be sent to play for the Sea Dogs, and never see a private jet again.
While this is noble and courageous, it is also stupid and short-sighted.
Far better that Carl Pavano, Andy Brackman, Edwar Ramirez, Jorge, MO, Melancon and all our signed draft picks ( do we have more than one?) come forward and be treated early, than wait until the prognosis worsens and their care becomes even more costly.
If we have to, the Yankees are prepared to send them to Canada , the UK or even to France for affordable medical treatment. Finally, I think it is time to begin practicing " preventative " arm trouble.
Accordingly, I have formed a Task force, headed by Tom Daschle, to look into this festering problem in the Yankee's minor league system.
Education - I think we can make great progress on this front if we simply stop signing 13 year-olds from Latin America.
Most of these young men and women, as you know, are grade-school drop-outs who barely speak their native languages but can hit a fastball, or register a radar gun in the mid-nineties. And they hire " agents" to sign their contracts because they have sub-American writing skills ( can you imagine)?
If you are skeptical of this observation, I issue this challenge to Yankeeland:
has anyone ever seen or read a short story or poem written by Jackson Melian? Has he ever translated the Illiad from the Latin ?
Lastly, due to lack of both education and experience these 13 year old players' idea of a financial plan is to give their bonus money to an agent for Sir Allen Stanford, buy an Escalade SUV, and blow their per diems on super-sized whoppers and gallons of soda. And while many turn out to look like CC Sabathia, most cannot pitch as he does.
Accordingly, I recommend we immediately implement a multi-language "interpreter " program for the big club. With so many players on the team from all around the globe ( Sri Lanka where are you ?), I would like to see a United Nations kind of communication forum in the locker room.
Each player would plug in a head set while Girardi ( or any coach ) is speaking to them. The players would hear Joe in their native tongues, and they could comment back in kind.
With modern technology, this could extend to Wii ear-sets for each player on the field.
The benefit: no more dropped pop-ups due to poor communications between, Jeter, Matsui and Cabrerra.
One lingering problem with this approach ( per our friends in Japan ), is that certain American phrases like, " Come Alive With Pepsi " translate in Japanese to, " Pepsi brings you back from the dead."
Maybe not a bad thing.
Infastructure - Finally, an area where we are ahead of the curve. Our old facilities were collapsing, cement was falling on fans in left field, rust was eroding the stability of support beams, the concession stands only sold junk food, the urinals became the floor, and players had to walk from the dugout to the field.
With the assistance of the NY taxpayers, and a few influential fans in D.C. , we have snarfed $1 Billion to pay for shovel ready work, upgrade all of this mess and render the stadium a proud landmark for the next two or three years.
In the new facility, players will be wheeled in Llama-pulled gold chariots to their positions, as each inning ends. Fans will have individual commodes from Merrill Lynch in their suites when nature calls. And the fine wines and steaks at Ben Benson's in right field will be a treat for all the models and movie people.
I do feel, however, that the Yankees need to hire at least 10% American taxpayers to benefit from some of this shoveling.
Future - We are in a tough division, with risks and uncertainties galore confronting us. It will take hard work, dedication, commitment, sacrifice and maybe just a lucky break or two, for us to emerge better and stronger from this morass.
Even if it takes us as long as it took the Red Sox to finally win a big game, the Yankees will win that 27th championship one day.
Yes we can.
We spent thirty trillion billion dollars on a new stadium/spa/casino priced for rich people who can't afford it anymore.
We invested the rest of our billions in a clean, baseball-redeeming home run record to be set by a lying juicer.
Now the money is gone. Wasted. And there won't be any more, ever. The Bruce Waynes and Tony Starks who can no longer pay for a loaded baked potato at the Yankee Steakhouse certainly won't be buying ads on YES.
Goodbye, money. The Yankees loved you.
Mr. Steinbrenner, President Levine, Manager Girardi, Captain Jeter, Madam Radio Speaker, coaches, players, scribes...
My fellow Yankeeans…
Today, we citizens of the Yankiverse stand at the crossroads of Mariano and Pavano... of heaven and hell.
Last fall, we witnessed the collapse of our great organization. In the hope of righting our ship of state, we embarked upon an unprecedented surge of spending. Yet there are no guarantees.
In 2009, we either restore our greatness or become the Mets. (booing)
Our aging infrastructure has grown slow and frail. Last year, we lost our catcher, ace pitcher, leftfielder and much of our bullpen. It could happen again.
Endless wars against Tampa Bay and Boston (booing) has exposed our thin defense. Unless we play as a team -- move base runners, take pitches, hustle -- the Girardi administration will go down in history as a two-year experiment, a Gene Mauchian failure.
Simultaneously, we must welcome a new stadium and learn its mysteries. Will it favor hitters? Lefties? Home runs? Pitchers? And who will be there?
Our new home is a luxury box with a field in the middle. We will see vacant suites and golden frills, out of touch with these economic times. Many -- if not most of us -- will always prefer the old park.
We never needed a new stadium.
We just needed a new generation of stars.
We have a captain who will need days off or, worse, a defensive replacement. (Loud boos.) We have a third-baseman who may need psychiatric counseling. There is no certainty he'll play the full season. (booing)
But this is a date with Yankee history.
This is the last stand of Hideki Matsui. (Applause).
The last stand of Jorge Posada. (Applause)
The last stand of Johnny Damon. (Applause)
The last stand of Andy Pettitte. (Applause)
The last stand of the great Marinano Rivera. (Loud applause for 30 seconds.)
The home stretch (drowned out by applause) of our captain, Derek Jeter. (65 seconds, non-stop applause)
These are the final days of a team once known as "Torre’s Yankees." Yes, I will say the name, Joe Torre. (booing)
Recently, his book gave us a few jabs. We needed them. More than ever, this team needs to win... to establish its own identity, its own legacy. We are no longer Torre's Yankees.(Applause)
Ladies and gentlemen, the state of the Yankees is clear: We are exactly where we should be.
Between Mariano and Pavano.
Between heaven and hell.
God bless the Yankees, God bless you all, and goddamm the fukkin Redsocks.
Monday, February 23, 2009
That's Girardi. With a capital "G" and that rhymes with "P" and that stands for...
Tomorrow: Mixed Smoker & Casino Night.
I'm packing my bags for the annual outing to George Steinbrenner Park in Tampa, where I will send " from -the-field " updates to the IIH, IIF, IIc editorial staff. I will be at games on March 6th and 7th, at practice early in the morning, and at the concession stands all day long.
I am already getting twitters, texts and funny faxes from a few guys I know down there at Taffy's Bar and Grill ( name is disguised because several Yankees entertain themselves there after practices).
Here is what my early "Buzz" is about some key players and prospects:
1. Edwar, as this blog has already noted, is hurt. He is feeling twinges in his arm/shoulder, which are similar to those he felt in the last 5 games of the 2008 ( failed ) season.
One can only wonder what magic he was expecting to occur between then and now, rather than having his arm/shoulder checked out by professional medical practitioners. So, after 5 "loosening up" tosses in 2009, he is shut down.
He'll be hurt all year. Don't be surprised if he has surgery.
2. Our famous 6'10" third-year pitching prospect ( former number one pick of the Yankees, Andy Brackman ) is looking forward to a fine year in A ball. We can only hope.
3. Nick Swisher will suffer all year from inconsistency, due to " too few " at bats, and no position for which he is truly suited. I see him hitting again in the .216 - .235 range, and leading the Yankees in K's per at bat. Playing RF on occasion, with his first baseman's glove, will also not prove productive.
4. Derek will have "hammy" problems all year. He'll play through them, in most cases, but the All Star game will kill him ( he will go and he will play, though he shouldn't due to injury ). Those of you hoping to see him play in the grapefruit league should forget it.
Luckily, March Madness will be available.
5. Joba will be "ping-ponged " between starting and set-up all year although the likelihood of this will be firmly denied by everyone from Cashman, to Girardi to Hank and Hal. Nonetheless, Joba will be called upon to close a few games if MO shows any ailment.
As a result, Joba will again not get back to where he dazzeled us in his first season.
Not his fault. Not the fault of booze and Long Nebraska nights fighting off Red Sox fans. Just Yankee politics and poor team skills evaluating and capitalizing on player strengths.
In some circles, it is called, " putting players in positions where they can best succeed." The Yankees do not comprehend this concept.
6. Ian Kennedy will get lit up like a Xmas Tree the first time he gets called up ( if he gets called up.)
If the Yankees have any sense, they will hype him big-time off of some mediocre Spring Training outing against the Pirate's "B" team, package him in a trade, and take anything they are offered for him, including a bag of baseballs.
7. Lefties will hit over .300 against Marte, but opposing right-handed hitters will struggle, hitting only in the .230's. Girardi will get this backwards most of the season as he brings in Marte, in huge situations, to face the wrong guys.
8. Brian Bruney will clearly win the " set-up " role and perform well, prior to sustaining a Lis-Franc injury during inter-league play.
9. Action Jackson will not be coming back to NYC with the Big Club. He will again hit .282 in AAA , along with 11 HRs, 84 RBIs and an OBP of .323 , after a slow start.
I'll let you know if I still feel this way after I go get a buzz.
Mickey Mantle is like a saint to Yankee fans "Of A Certain Age" (including yours truly).
Even the diminutive Bob Costas carries a Mickey Mantle baseball card in his man-purse.
The fact that he was a heavy drinker and a relentless horndog has done nothing to diminish Mickey's exalted place in the firmament. In fact, it may have enhanced it.
So it is with some trepidation that we introduce a newly found artifact that will undoubtedly add to the mystique.
Read all about it here.
Not long ago, Yank fans celebrated the Curse of the Bambino, the hammer of God that terrorized Redsock teams, courtesy of Babe Ruth. That ended in 2004.
That year, Alex Rodriguez joined the Yankees and relinquished Number 3 -- the Ruthian homage he'd worn throughout his career -- to take #13, the universally feared digit of dread.
There were 13 guests at the Last Supper, Judas being the 13th. There are 13 steps to a gallows. Modern buildings skip the 13th floor. Formula One racing does not allow a number 13 car. Traditionally, 13 is the year when girls first menstruate and boys get to watch Seth Rogen movies.
Count the letters.
Let's consider the pain and suffering that #13 has brought upon its owners.
Exhibit A: Jim Leyritz. Before 2003, his post-season heroics overshadowed fear of 13. If anything, he was the luckiest player in baseball.
That changed in 2007, when his car crashed into another vehicle, killing a woman. Leyritz blood alcohol content that day: .13.
On Feb. 13, Leyritz was sent to jail due to apparent drinking. Jim Leyritz wore 13.
Exhibit B. Lee Mazzilli. Before 2003, the Yankee first base coach and Joe Torre disciple seemed destined to become a great MLB manager. He scored the job at Baltimore, a rising team, then... poof. Lee Mazzilli wore 13.
Exhibit C. The masses. Reliever Antonio Osuna came to the Yankees with a sterling record. He left with nothing. He wore 13. So did Mike Blowers, Michael Coleman, Curt Blefary, Mike Figga, Torey Lovullo, Cliff Mapes, Lee Stine, Walt "No Neck" Williams... or should it have been "No Luck?"
Their whereabouts since 2003? Unknown.
Main Exhibit: A-Rod. The greatest player of his era, no one ever seemed more immune to a curse.
He has played 13 full seasons in the majors. After opting out of his Yankee contract, he signed a lifetime deal with them on Dec. 13, 2007.
Two weeks ago, Feb. 13, A-Rod's moment in the sun - he was supposed to be dedicating a field in his honor at Miami - was shattered by steroid accusations. He and 103 other MLB players (that's 1-3, with a zero in the middle) tested positive. A-Rod now says he he did steroids between '01-03. (One and three.)
These days, his Ruthian legacy dangles from a test score on a clipboard.
With A-Rod, the Yankees remain mired at 26 World Championships (2 x 13). Have we tampered with a force more powerful than realized?
We at IT IS HIGH hereby call upon the Yankees to assign Alex Rodriguez a new number. He must no longer don the Jason Jersey.
Number 13 should be taken to the site of old Yankee Stadium, or better yet, one of those churches in the Da Vinci Code, where it must be burned and buried beneath stones heavier than C.C. Sabathia.
The Redsocks didn't defeat the Curse of the Bambino.
We handed them the cure... and now wear the new curse on our backs.
Count the letters.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
In a post from Timmay at MLBTR a few days ago, a buzz is in the air North of the Border. And no, I'm not talking about their Terrorist geese...
This summer, assuming the Toronto Blue Birds start the year off poorly and reside in the poverty stricken sub-.500 ghetto of the American League come July, Roy Halladay could be dealt for the right price, sure to be a king's ransom.
What if CC Sabathia blows out his elbow? What if AJ Burnett turns into AJ Burnett? What if Chien-Ming Wang breaks his foot in a "Dance Dance Revolution" dance-off against a 17-year old Korean kid at Jeepers in the Jersey Garden Mall on one of his off-days?
I would. Today.
1. Growing up, Alex rooted for the Mets.
2. Alex has no need for a ring. He has one already. His high school team won the national championship during his junior year.
3. Alex got his first major league hit at Fenway.
4. A month after Alex reached the majors, the players went on strike and the 1994 season ended.
5. Alex hit his first major league home run off future Yankee Tom Gordon, then of the Royals.
6. He's a captain in-exile. During the winter of 2003, before trading Alex to the Yankees, the Rangers named him team captain.
Before sunrise, the savages – the howling gangs of New York -- live free or die hard beneath the planet of the apes, this island, earth.
Welcome to the dollhouse from hell: A night at the Roxbury Fight Club. Fright Night. Disturbia.
There will be blood.
I spy the usual suspects: Freddy vs. Jason. Kramer vs. Kramer. Joe versus “The Volcano” Max Payne. Marty “The Wolf Man” Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, Lilo & Stich. Michael Clayton wrestling Ernest Hemmingway.
The main event? “Clash of the Titans:”
Me, myself, I… facing the enemy, the one and only champion, Charlie “King Kong” Cloverfield.
I am Sam – gladiator, slumdog, millionaire, the sum of all fears. I bury the living, traffic in cold blood I love trouble.
I am legend.
BANG! The strangers -- the unborn, frantic children of a lesser god -- rage apocalyptico!
Don’t look now: The dead zone – it’s alive!
Enter the dragon: King Kong lives.
Once upon a time in America, we were soldiers, step brothers, the King and I --dazed and confused, riding in cars with boys, being John Malkovich from dusk ‘till dawn, leaving Las Vegas, forgetting Sarah Marshall, chasing liberty -- finding Neverland.
That was then. This is now.
“I’M GONNA GIT YOU, SUCKA!” I, madman, shout.
“BRING IT ON, JACKASS!” The wrestler jaws.
Helter skelter, the king and I duel. I’m dancing as fast as I can, every which way but loose. Idle hands bounce in and out, sideways, up close and personal into the wild frenzy.
“Listen to me!” the King tremors. “I know what you did last summer.”
“I never promised you a rose garden.”
“Get smart! I still know what you did last summer.”
“Mamma Mia! Look who’s talking.”
“Look who’s talking… NOW!”
Here comes Mr. Jordan – the shining, unbreakable F.I.S.T., missing my little chickadee.
“It’s MY turn!” I, the jury, scream. “Analyze THIS!”
My giant fists of fury, “Jay” and “Silent Bob,” strike back!
CRASH! BOOM! Killshot.
My sweet Charlie… my bloody Valentine… gone, in 60 seconds.
When the screaming stops, two thousand maniacs rush the ring. A mighty wind echoes in the darkness, bringing down the house…
The day after tomorrow, far from the maddening crowd, I wake up screaming, home, alone, lost in America – Babylon, A.D., no country for old men.
Rules of the game?
Kiss the girls, bless the child, never cry wolf, never say die, never say never again. Love kills, hope floats, reality bites, diamonds are forever, and God created woman, long ago, tomorrow, when dinosaurs ruled the earth.
Sometimes a great notion shakes the clown deep in my heart.
Oh, brother, where art thou?
It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Used to be:
"AN A-BOMB... FROM AROD! ALEXANDER THE GREAT CONQUERS AGAIN!"
Not gonna work. Now...
"THAT BALL WON'T BE TALKING TO SELENA ROBERTS!"
"OHHHH, DOCTOR! FROM THE PHARMACY ALL THE WAY TO GRAMERCY, AROD FILLS ANOTHER PRESCRIPTION!"
"A MADONNA BOMB-A! LIKE A VIRGIN, THAT BALL'S BEEN TOUCHED FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME!"
"HEY, GEORGE MITCHELL! HERE'S A 450-FOOT PIECE OF EVIDENCE FOR YOUR FILES!"
"A... B... SEEYRINGE YOU LATER! A SHOT FROM FROM THE TESTOSTERONE ZONE OF THE PRIMOBOLAN MAIN-MAN!"
"HEY, THERE'S ONE BALL THAT WON'T SHRIVEL UP LIKE A RAISIN AND FEEL SORE AT NIGHT!"
"IT IS HIGH, IT IS FAIR, IT IS... A NEW BOAT FOR COUSIN YURI!"(Hm-mm, John might also reconsider his Jorge call, "Georgie juices one!")
Friday, February 20, 2009
He's waving at us.
It's either that or Atlantis.
The Twins picked Yankee pitcher Jason Jones in the Rule 5 draft.
Here's an excerpt from a Pioneer Press article on Jones:
"A day or two later, Terry Ryan called, too, ... spent almost a half-hour offering tips for fitting in with his new team, advice on how to prepare for camp, and insights into the people and process he would be dealing with.
" 'It was pretty neat of him to do that. I didn't even know who he was at the time, and he wanted to help me out,' Jones said. 'I don't think I ever talked to (Yankees GM Brian) Cashman, other than 'hi' and 'bye' a couple of times.' "
1. Mamma mia! Nick is half-Italian!
2. Eat this Redsocks! Oakland drafted Nick in 2002 with a first-round pick that came from Boston signing Johnny Damon.
3. Nick was in Michael Lewis’ 2003 best-seller, Moneyball, because everybody was convinced he’d be a star.
4. Nick finished 6th in the 2005 balloting for AL Rookie of the Year!
5. Shhsh, don't tell Arod: In 2006, Nick wrote a regular column for ESPN.com.
6. Last fall, Whitesocks mgr Ozzie Guillen benched Nick, because he was batting .219, saying, "The best lineup right now is without (Nick)."
7. Two Texes: Nick came to the Yanks with pitcher Kanekoa Texeira, then lost firstbase to Mark Teixeria.
8. Nick’s dad, Steve, was a lifetime .216 hitter.
9. Nick’s grandma raised him after his parents divorced. He dedicated his website – nickswisher.net – to her.
10. This is what Nick wrote about her: "I was in 8th grade when my parents divorced and I moved to my grandparents home in Parkersburg, W. Virginia. My grandma helped raise me and had a huge influence on my life. When I got out of line she was the first person to get me back on track. She wanted me to be the best I could be. I am blessed to have had the kind of relationship we did. What a privilege! When we lost her to brain cancer in August of 2005, I had her initials tattooed on my chest, so that she is always near my heart. I love you Grandma."