Tuesday, January 31, 2012
No, we don't have money for Johnny Damon - yet - but we have signed former Cubs general manager Jim Hendry! And he's possesses in his head all the trade secrets behind the Cubs' success, such as... how do you put toner in the copying machine!
OK, look... hiring experienced desk jockeys isn't the worst thing, I guess.... We did it last year with Kevin Towers, now in Arizona (I believe), and I seem to recall us renting others for quick blasts, during their incestuous career romps through MLB. Theoretically, when Hendry finally plugs into a new team - as he inevitably will - he'll become an unofficial friend of the Yankees, and not be inclined to demand our entire farm system when we call about some scrap heap reliever. But I dunno...
We give these guys safe harbor for a few months, which is fine... but when they leave they know everything about our system, top to bottom. And dammit, when Hendry leaves, who will toner into our copying machine?
So... who belongs in the January primary? Some nominees:
Mariano Rivera: The Grey
Cashman: So, lemmie get this straight: It they don't find the Higgs boson, we don't exist?
Hall: No, jeez, you're not listening. The Higgs is a hypothetical, ubiquitous quantum particle with a non-zero value in its ground state. When it interacts with other forces, it gives the universe mass.
Cashman: What if the whole universe is merely the figment of one child's imagination, there is no Derek Jeter, no Mariano Rivera... and no vast revenues to spend on free agents?
Hall: There would still be plenty to spend on players - in the mind of the universe-owner-child.
Cashman: But who imagines the owner-child? And where does the team payroll come from?
Hall: All of us! We are all the owner! Don't you see it? Can't you feel it?
Cashman: Wow. This is the most rewarding contract negotiation I've ever done. We're all the owner! How about $10 million a year, for five years!
Hall: Nay, Brian. As a fellow owner, I cannot accept $10 million a year. I cannot take advantage of you.
Cashman: Damn it, Hall, I've never known anyone like you. I love you!
Hall: And I, you, Brian. But it cannot be. I cannot sign.
Cashman: Is it my fate to forever have Eduardo Nunez as utility infielder? Is my fate to always know Chris Dickerson as my acquistion?
Hall: You shouldn't have traded Jesus, man. Now, we just gotta wait for that Higgs boson.
Monday, January 30, 2012
January 1, 2012 Sunday
Last September, I ordered a product from an out-of-state catalogue company. The product was a flea-and-tick control for my dog, Zipper. By November he was dead, at age 10. He had about five-plus years left.
The product according to my veterinarian had been removed from the market about six months earlier for two reasons:
On other occasions, the controversial treatment has backfired.
ALPHONSO: I am tired. We've been here six years. He must be coming soon. Surely, he is coming soon.
GIRARDI: I have news for you, and I think you should sit down before hearing it.
ALPHONSO: He is coming? Great news! What will he look like? What will his numbers be? Our wait is over?
GIRARDI: I think you need to take some deep breaths. There has been a slight change.
ALPHONSO: A slight change?
GIRARDI: Jesus is not coming. Jesus has been dealt.
ALPHONSO: Not coming.
GIRARDI: Jesus has been dealt.
ALPHONSO: So we have waited for naught?
GIRARDI: Of course not. Not for naught.
ALPHONSO: If not naught, what?
GIRARDI: Pineda. We have Pineda.
ALPHONSO: So we are waiting for Pineda?
GIRARDI: No, Pineda came. He was great for a month, and then - well - he slumped.
ALPHONSO: I don't recall him coming.
GIRARDI: Well, he didn't come unto us, but he came. And he'll be back, though.
ALPHONSO: So, we're waiting for him to return?
GIRARDI: No, we're now waiting for Sanchez.
ALPHONSO: Sanchez. Who is Sanchez?
GIRARDI: The one we are now waiting for. Gary Sanchez. Low minors. Better than Jesus. He will come. I am sure.
ALPHONSO: Jesus... isn't coming?
GIRARDI: Jesus is gone. Don't think about him. Think about Gary Sanchez.
ALPHONSO: I am tired.
GIRARDI: We're all tired. But it will be worth it. Gary Sanchez. We must wait.
ALPHONSO: Yes, we must wait. That is what we do. We must wait.
GIRARDI: Surely, he will come.
ALPHONSO: Yes, I'm sure he will come! Gary Sanchez! I wonder what he will he look like? What will his numbers be? Any day now, our wait will be over. I can feel it.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
2. Everybody gets to play.
3. If you mess up, opposition lets you atone.
4. Coaches don't berate players.
5. Everyone there for fun.
6. Nobody trying to "win."
7. Players treat each other like people.
8. If refs miss one, it's okay.
9. Everybody is a star!
10. Nobody ever gets hit.
Conference vs conference...
Division vs division...
Star vs star.
The Pro Bowl.
It's every young boy's dream: To burst into the open, slip several attempted touches and skip downfield for the winning touchdown, 77-74 -- leading your beloved conference to the greatest triumph in Hawaiian sports -- culminating a four-day drunken beach party!
For the conference.
For the grass.
For the ladies.
Who will win? Let the knife fight begin.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
At considerable expense, IT IS HIGH has found lost footage of just such an event. We offer it with the warning that some of the material is "blue" and should not be shared with younger readers..
CONTESTANT: No, Pat. Coach Lombardi passed away years ago. As a child, I met him once. In fact, he gave me some advice I'll never forget...
HOST: Uh-huh. Thash great. And here’s our other contestant… from, let’s see… Scrandon, Pennsyltucky! And my, my, my, what do we have here? Mm-mm, good. My goodness, you are Mindy Weaver, right? How did you fit into that sweater? Wait a minute, let me guess: 39D? So where are you from, sweetheart?
CONTESTANT: Scranton, Pennsylvania.
HOST: That’s a beautiful name for a beautiful town that has beautiful ladies. You look nervous. My God, your hands are ice. Here, does that feel better? So… you’re staying the week? Do you like boats?
What? OK, yeah, the rules! Let’s do the rules! All answers must be in the form of a question. That’s a joke! Lighten up. The rules are you pick a letter from the alphabet… for example, T… as in… “TALE OF TWO CITIES!”
Friday, January 27, 2012
Yesterday, the Yankiverse snapped into DEFCON-4 for several hours, after 2010 1st round pick Cito Culver tweeted this frightening, cryptic note on Twitter.
I still wake up in bed, soaked and screaming, to see the bearded Johnny Damon stepping in against Javier Vazquez...
No. I have free will and choose not to go there again! No!... happythoughtshappythoughtshappythoughts...
In 2007, the juju gods blessed us: The lowly NY Giants humbled the Super Patriots. Coincidence? Bah.
Listen: There are no coincidences.
You don't just cap a force powerful enough to hobble a team since 1917. The juju must flow somewhere. So where did the Bambino go? It sure as hell didn't go to the Knicks or Rangers. It sure as hell didn't go to Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign. Lady Gaga? Ron Paul? The Westminster Kennel Club?
How about Tom Coughlin, who - frankly - looked to be suffering from low T. How else did they beat the Patriots?
But here's the rub: In 2009, the Force re-flowed Yankeeward. We won a ring. Obvioulsy, this season it was undercutting the Redsock beer-and-chicken season-long clambake.
So where does that leave Super Bowl XLVIIIRV? Can the Gints perform a Ruthian knockout, the kind we have dreamed about since 2004? They might have to do it without the Babe...
Unless there is another force at work here...
But if so, who?
I'm studying this. Ideas?
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Today, the Yankees jettisoned Kevin Whelan, age 28, the former future closer — he of the bizarre face paint — the last prospect standing in the great Gary Sheffield debacle/trade of November 2006.
Turns out, we dealt Sheff to Detroit for a movie ticket and bag of buttered popcorn. Over the next two years, he hit 44 homeruns and 130 RBIs for the Tigers. (They also shelled out his substantial salary, so I guess some frugal Yankee fans out there must pro-rate it as a successful deal.) In return, we unwrapped Anthony Claggett, Humberto Sanchez and Whelan — who never seemed to find a strike zone that wasn’t doing the cha-cha.
OK, you’re right: Anyone can pick a bad trade and cry bloody murder. Truth be told, at the time, I liked the deal. Humberto was one of baseball’s hottest pitching prospects, right up there with Phil Hughes. Hell, he starred in the Futures Game. He looked like a raging bull. He wowed the keepers of jugs guns everywhere. Until his elbow crumbled. I think he pitched two innings in the majors.
Listen, we all know the reality: Whenever you trade a hitter for a pitcher, there is a decent chance you just gave away a sure thing for a nuthing. Cashman knows it. Girardi knows it. Seattle knows it. All the sportswriters who just finished congratulating the Yankees for being so smart... they know it. (They knew it 11 years ago, when we traded Mike Lowell to Florida for Todd Noel, Mark Johnson and Ed Yarnall.)
A month ago, we stood one free agent signing away from a near certainty of repeating as AL East champs. Now, welll, we might be on the verge of being a great team.
Or we might have pulled another Sheffield.
So why do we keep reading how he's too expensive for the Yankees to sign? The shit he is. We're the Yankees. We wash our sports cars with cash. Free cash, like in the Capital One commercials. It flows from clueless and massively evil corporate bigwigs who do sexytime in their enclosed luxury boxes. Of course we have the money! No Cuban on earth, aside from maybe Fidel himself, has ever been too expensive for the Yankees to sign. The Steinbrothers merely have to decided to spend their money, rather than park it in Cayman Island snow removal services.
Good grief, while we're crying poverty, the Redsocks are courting Edwin Jackson, practically writing the check in John Lackey's blood. We traded Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi for a kid who flailed like a dead trout during the months of August and September, and who knows if he'll be any good, because we wouldn't sign anybody. (Well, yeah, we did sign Kuroda, but for one year, relatively cheap.) We didn't want Jackson. We couldn't afford him.
OK, look... no more dissing the trade. But all we've ever had to do was grow our own players and buy a free agent or two every year. Do that, and we will win. They'll hate us, but they already do anyway. We never need to trade. It's when we choose to be cheap - to show how smart we are (and how dumb they are) - the joke turns on us.
If the billionaire Steinbrenners - yes, my friends, billionaires - simply siphoned less money for cigarettes and dip, we could have signed Edwin Jackson and kept Noesis and Montero. (Kuroda? Meh.) We wouldn't be now debating who must go so we can trade for a DH.
Why not sign Centepedes, park him in Scranton and see what he's got? Sign a DH? Dammit, we're not Greece. We're the Yankees. Spend the money, Hal. You can't take it with you.
Yankeetorial: Jorge and Bernie both belong in the Hall, dammit, and we don't need self-loathing Yankee fans to say otherwise
They don't have MVP awards. All they did was work the middle of the greatest dynasty in baseball history.
Yep. No misprint. Greatest. Dynasty. History.
How dareth me to speaketh such Stigyan bullsheth? What of the Big Red Machine? Oakland? Babe and Lou, Mick and Rog, Thurm and Reggie? The Beatles!
Great clubs, yep. None had to win three rounds of playoffs. Since the dawn of the October-long postseason, only one team has won four out of five rings. Bernie and Jorge. Nobody else comes close. That is flat-out greatness. You hear? The kind of domination exercized by Liz Taylor over donuts. They did it.
But get this: Unless you self-loathing Yankee fans out there get off your stubbled, Pete-Gammons-exploded-blue-nostril-colored butts, and quit swallowing the media cud hawked up by the ESPN anti-Yankee hate machine, the greatest team ever will barely rate a garlic fart in the Hall of Fame.
That's right, comrades. Jorge and Bernie fought for us. Will we fight for them? If no, then who will? The sportswriters? Get real. They're self-pleasuring literary poohbahs, too important to play favorites. They'll tout the career numbers of some unsung KC Royal who never sucked in the playoffs because his team never made them... while Bernie and Jorge were winning rings.
OK, I know what you're thinking: But Duque, they don't have the numbers of Carl Bumwickle of the Marlins, and since Carl isn't in the Hall, they shouldn't make it either, wah-wah-wah. And everybody says there are too many Yankees in the Hall, so we should keep quiet, and maybe people will start liking us, wah-wah-wah. Oh, I wish I were a Mets fan, so everybody would feel sorry for me, wah-wah-wah...
Listen, you delusional, Phillie-hearted, rubber-kneed guilt-lapping pugs, Yankee fans have to stop hating themselves for supporting the richest team in baseball, and we have to start fighting for our troops on the ground.
BERNIE FOR THE HALL.
JORGE FOR THE HALL.
GREATEST TEAM EVER... PUT THEM ON THE WALL.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
First Jesus, now this. Kim Jones is leaving YES. The world is collapsing around us.
Get a grip. What matters is that Coach Coughlin - the Joe Torre of football - rallies his team of concussionists for the greatest back-to-back humiliation of Boston -- wait, they're New England, right? - since Pumpsie Green.
Where was I? Kim is tired of interviewing players who are staring 16 inches below her eyes. Who can blame her?
Who should become the new First Lady of YES?
Pro: Yankees would be named "Person of the Week"
Disney has rolled over: It is now time to end the Yankees barbaric, discriminatory ban on facial hair
HOW MANY MORE FOLICLES MUST DIE FROM YOUR FATHER'S VENGEFUL BLADE, MISTERS STEINBRENNER?
HOW MANY MORE HONEST CHINS MUST BE SCRAPED RAW OF THEIR MANLY MANES, JUST SO YOU WHO CANNOT GROW A KINGLY PELT SHALL NOT FEEL PERSONALLY DIMINISHED?
Yesterday, the most devious corporation on the planet - Disney - finally abandoned its medieval rule that forbade servants to feature facial furniture. Yes, it's 2012 - not 1433. And yes, we're talking about a corporation whose cartoon animations require every bad guy shy of the Lion King to have a beard. (Remember: Disney is the group that gave us the Insane Clown Posse.) And yet, in terms of human rights, they are ahead of the Yankees.
In fact, compared to us, they are Ron Paul hippies. What in the name of Oscar Gamble's Afro and Mattingly's mustache are we thinking? Must we really be telling Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera how to look? Are we that obsessive? They're old men, damnit. If they want to braid their nasal hair, why should we care? Besides, who knows what Arod would do with a free range lip? He might grow a miniature A-Rod! Hell, he might grow a couple clutch base hits.
We are now the last organizations in the entire entertainment industry (not counting the Pussycat Dolls and Mormon Boys Choir) to ban facial hair.
Come on, Yankees. Hairy people were born this way. They have a right to live the way they want.
END THE YANKEE HAIR BAN!
LET MY PEOPLE GROW!
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
1. DiMaggio (1)
2. Louis (3)
3. Frazier (5)
4. Torre (2)
5. Cocker (5)
6. Montana (6)
7. Girardi (8)
8. Blow (u)
9. Strummer (7)
10. Mauer (u)
11. Cool (u)
12. Garigiola (u)
13. Mama (u)
14. Pesci (9)
15. Paterno (10)
16. Biden (u)
17. Morgan (u)
18. Morris (u)
19. Walsh (u)
20. Namath (u)
Mr. Girardi, Mr. Cashman, President Levine, players, coaches, Steinbrenners, spouses, actresses, ex-lady wrestlers, fake Twitter accounts, media tools, juju enthusiasts, fellow faceless and nearly non-existent fans…
And especially, seated down in front, Mr. Tom Coughlin and his New York football Giants! (wild applause)
Today, we of the New York sports base are on the verge of the greatest Boston humiliation in history. (applause)
I am talking about the most painful, diamond-tipped noogie to their billiards academy since the grand emergence of one Mister Bucky F. Dent. (Applause, chants of U-S-A, U-S-A.)
If our Brothers in Blue (applause) can rake the Patriots in the Super Bowl, less than six months after the great Redsock collapse of 2011 (applause)-- it will be the kind of confluence of events that restores belief in God, or at least UFOs. Tom Brady and Jacoby Ellsbury can go down forever as losers! remembered in the same breath as Mr. William F. Buckner.
But beware... Do not trust them. Never... (booing)
As I speak, they are scheming against us, brooding in their dark bunkers. This weekend, they traded Marco Scutero and thus, currently have no shortstop. (shout from crowd: "Let em die!")
But you don’t touch a rattlesnake lying in the middle of the road.
They have evil in mind. Rope-a-dope. A hidden bomb. Murder. We must be vigilant.
But we have the greatest homerun hitter in our generation. (applause)
We have the greatest closer in history. (big applause)
We have the greatest shortstop in history. (explosions, balloon drop, Katy Perry wardrobe malfunction, chants of USA)
And we have a chance for the greatest Boston humiliation – back to back, Giants and Yankees -– in history.
Dare we believe?
Monday, January 23, 2012
Sunday, January 22, 2012
That's ridiculous. People are actually saying we should eat two thirds of his salary and peddle him for a plate of clams. Ridiculous!
A: He might have a bounce back.
B: He's our pie man.
C: By wasting all that money on him, we spare everybody else the scrutiny of being misers.
D: We shouldn't give a damn how much he makes anyway. We're Yankee fans.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Last October, I contemplated the great Yankee Revenge Manifesto: we beat Detroit, paying them back for the Kenny Rogers October loss; we beat Texas, paying them back for the Josh Hamilton October loss; and then, in the World Series, we beat Arizona, paying them back for the Schilling-Big Unit October-November loss.
Well, we know what happened.
Now, the Giants are almost there.
They have already...
Paid back the Jets for stealing New York the last two years...
Paid back the Cowboys for stealing the thunder of a new stadium...
Paid back Atlanta for the brutal home defeat two years ago that solidified our collapse...
Paid back Green Bay for bouncing us ou of the playoffs last year...
And now, we have the chance to finally pay back the 49ers for the humiliating defeat seven years ago that cost Jim Fassel his job.
And if we win, we may get the chance to pay back the Baltimore Ravens... And Ray Lewis... For the Super Bowl blowout ten years ago.
Payback. If only the Yankees understood the concept.
Friday, January 20, 2012
There's a new Cuban on the horizon, and he's got a great baseball name. Gerardo Concepcion. Dammit, we just dealt the greatest Yankee name in a generation, Jesus Montero, and we have yet to replace the name Melky Cabrera. Dammit. We apparently plan to pass on that outfielder, Humanis Centepedes, or something like that.
This guy is a 17-year-old lefty. Dammit, let's get him. Dammit.
There is nothing sadder than the star sports figure who won’t retire. You end up watching George Foreman get pummeled and Brett Favre benched. You watch Joe Paterno’s life-long reputation burst into flames. You watch the player you loved become the player you hate seeing. God, it's awful.
It’s like a drunken party guest who won’t leave, or a lame duck president who gets nothing done. May God grant us all the dignity to walk out in style — and not be carted away in a cascade of boos.
Recently, Jorge Posada retired from baseball, taking with him his good name, his grace, and the memory of a solid post-season, albeit in a losing cause. He left against his wishes, basically because a kid named Jesus Montero had sucked the air out of the Yankee DH and back-up catching roles Jorge otherwise would have filled.
Well, we all know what happened last week. Montero is gone. But now, we’ve learned a little more about the wisdom and self-respect of Jorge Posada. He says his decision stands. He’s done. It’s over. He has made peace with his next life — which we hope will remain with the Yankees. He made a smart decision. Great performers understand the value of an exit line. (Hello, Jason Varitek?) Nobody plays forever.
Sad to see Jorge go. God, we’ll miss him. But nobody has to worry about Jorge's reputation. He left on his terms. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Rule 1. Never get excited about a Yankee prospect.
Within minutes, it belched 100 comments. Or transcribed grunts. Many could have been typed by Lyndon Larouche. Fans ranted politics. They gave Pineda nicknames: Seeyalatta Pineda... Pinata. They glinked and glonked about how we should sign Prince Fielder. (Note: We're not going to sign Prince Fielder.) One guy mentioned Sergio Mitre. He was tripping on morning glory seeds.
Listen: I judge nobody. We are what we are: Restless, boneless, slaves to Yankee bullshit - for better or worse, till death do us part.
But in my entire life, I cannot remember such massive disappointment and unease over the trading of a prospect. If we had dealt Munson's legacy for a bowl of soup, the Yankiverse would not be so roiled and disillusioned.
And we all know why. We just walked out onto a frozen lake. We want to believe the ice is thick. But Bobby V's words - if he's so good, why did they trade him? - hang around our necks like a rotting sea creature. If Pineda tanks, we will experience the Yankiverse version of that super volcano in Yellowstone, the one that outblows mounts Buhner and Drabek. We will experience nuclear winter.
The truth is this: We might have just traded away Babe Ruth. Or Miguel Cabrera.
Ugh. It hurts to think: Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas. Lou Brock for Ernie Broglio. Mark McGwire for TJ Matthews. Josh Hamilton for Edinson Volquez. Jeff Bagwell for Larry Anderson. Now... ugh...
Don't get me wrong: I really do believe. But I'm pushing 60. I got 10 to 20 good years left. And folks, here is my reality:
If this trade backfires, it will haunt me the rest of my life. Try to put that into an open thread.
The true cost of stabling the Japanese sensation is $110 million - more than 4 crisp Seligs. To meet Darvish, the Rangers had to pay ransom to his Japanese captors: a cool $51 million - or 2 Seligammas.
As you know, I wanted us to outbid Texas for the negotiating rights, then never even call him. That would force the Japanese sensation to return next year, without bidding rights. It would have cost us nothing, but it would have totally ruined the Rangers' Christmas. They'd whine and call us names, but, hey, that's Chinatown, Jake.
I try not to root against players, (aside from physically obese Redsocks). I have no quarrel with Yu. In the past, overpaid Rangers were destined to become Yankees, anyway, so why be negative? Still, it would be nice if Darvish fumbles, while the pitcher Texas tossed overboard - CJ Wilson - does well. It would be a classic George Steinbrenner 1980s move: Lust for other teams' players, while undervaluing your own. If Yu isn't worth all those Seligs, Texas is going to play like Rick Perry debates.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Anticipated great moments on July 6, when Roger “Pink Floyd” Waters brings “The Wall” to Yankee Stadium
1. After giant brick wall is built, Bobby Abreu plays a catchable ball off it.
2. Crowd sings: “We don’t need no education. We don’t need no thought control. No dark sarcasm in the classroom. Cashman, leave them kids alone!”
3. Pig flying overhead wears Big Papi jersey.
4: Don Zimmer, fighting Pedro doll, performs live rant: “If you don't hit yer head, you can't have any pudding. How can you
have any pudding if you don't hit yer head?"
5. John Sterling, during introduction, confesses to have never heard of band or any of its music.
6. Arod sings, “Money, it’s a gas.”
7. Crowd sings along with salute to Jeet: “All in all you’re just another Yank in the Hall.”
8. Ramiro Pena dedication: “I... have become... confortably slumped.”
9. Called out for encore, Waters receives pie in face from AJ Burnett.
It Is High friend and commenter Buhner's Ghost asked me to pour into Alphonso's half-empty glass this column from The Seattle Times' Larry Stone (the columnist who writes like a columnist, not the Peter Abraham-style extreme blogger, both of whom I mentioned the other day). Stone sees top Yankee Michael Pineda as a candidate for:
"The Verducci Effect" -- the theory by Sports Illustrated writer Tom Verducci that targets young pitchers in danger of "injury or significant regression"Read and weep
The perfect media!
Facts for you,
And they might be true!
Not a picky media.
No need to fight it.
I just rewrite it.
"A town in Disturbia,
"Home to Uncle Sam,
"Birthplace of Spam."
And then "Clitoria:
"Fear of euphoria.
"For more, see KAY."
"Wife of Yogi Berra." James K. Polk?
"Inventor of Coke."
"Girl in iced Velveeta."And of course, Voodoo:
And free is cheap.
Yes, blame for the Giant pitcher's overwhelming, sickeningly lustful greed falls squarely on pinstriped shoulders: The damn Yankees pay too much money, because they actually try to win each year. (At least, I think we do. This winter, I've had reason to wonder.) We chase free agents - (Damn that Curt Flood!) - and return calls to Scott Boras. We've ruined the game. Players are now seeking Selig money! Damn Yankees! Damn us!
Now this: A seemingly nice young hippie, Tim Linceum - who should be above materialism - is demanding nearly an entire Selig. (That's the universal measurement of $25 million per year, what our nylon-haired Commissioner gets paid.) What is happening to our children!
Fortunately, for the owners, Bud the Rug recently brokered a de facto salary cap, masquerading as a massive luxury tax upon anybody who tries too hard to win. Strangely, this group of moral giants has not publicly come out to support higher income taxes on America's 1 percent, which would jive with their management style in baseball.
Remember, folks: They are billionaires, pretending to be millionaires so we will feel sorry for them.
Now Tim Lincecum wants 4/5th of a Selig? Heavens to Murgatroy.
Listen: Nobody poormouths more than the owners of sports teams. You'd think they live hand-to-mouth. They own franchises worth hundreds of millions of dollars - in some cases, billions - and they tap into public money whenever needed - yet they wail like sidewalk rag ladies to anybody near.
Well, last week, we did their bidding. We traded Jesus Montero to shore up our pitching staff, rather than sign a free agent. Maybe it'll work. But if the Yankees simply used the money from taxpayers and corporate boxes - signing Darvish or Wilson or Edwin Jackson, while keeping their kids, they cannot fail.
Now, there's a chance this kid from Seattle will blow an elbow (Humberto Sanchez!), shrink from the lights (Carl Pavano!) or simply be pitched out (Javier Vazquez!), and we'll spend the next 15 years rueing the day we traded Jesus.
But at least our owners will have saved some precious pennies. They're burning furniture to stay warm, I hear, in the Poorhouse that Ruth Built.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
The blog Ptak Science Books found an "unlikely advertisement" from 1916 "for baseball players with good throwing skills to enlist in the U.S. Army" and pitch hand grenades at, it would soon turn out, Germans.
Excerpts after the jump.
El Chato signed with the Mexican League at age 17 and played there until 2009, when we snagged him. He was the regular all-star first baseman and the pre-eminent slugger. He missed much of his first Yankee year at Trenton with an appendectomy. Last spring, his HRs were the talk of Tampa.
He whacked 32 at Scranton and batted .262. Trouble was, he fanned 166 times in 455 plate appearances. I don't even want to do the math on that. His nickname could be El Whiffo. He's had a big winter in Mexico, hitting 18 HRs and batting .330.
It's now or never on this guy. Jesus is gone. Jorge II? I say, use him or lose him. He aint gonna get better at age 31.
Last year, when Hughes sat out the first three months with blah-arm syndrome, he earned 0.108 Seligs ($2.7 million.)
Note: Seligs are the universal measuring stick for 1 percenter compensation, based on contribution to humanity. One Selig - that's year's salary for the great commissioner Bud Selig - equals $25 million. Thus, Mitt Romney is worth about 6.5 Seligs... which means 6.5 Seligs is one Bain.
(Obviously, only great human beings are paid in Seligs and Bains, and in the popular mindset, they are always - unlike baseball players - "worth every penny."
Final Note: MLB has no recourse but to pay Bud Selig what he's worth on the open market. If he were to bolt to, say, the Arena Football League or Womens Basketball Association, there's no telling how much more he would make. The current NFL Commissioner receives 0.4 Seligs, which only shows how Bud Selig is the Arod of professional sports administrators.)
The highest paid Yankee, Alex, earns 1.35 Seligs per year. Over the course of his career, he has accumulated 2 Bains. Way to go, Arod!
Monday, January 16, 2012
"Give 'em a break! Doesn't every kid yearn to do silly stuff like that?"
"That durn Barack Obama, he's done it again!"
"In war, you wanna make dang sure they're not playin' possum!"
"A sixpack in the afternoon - it runs through you like Gayle Sayers!"
"I say, 'Let he who hath never peed on a dead body throw the first stone.'"
"Can ya' blame em? Everybody wants to get on YouTube!"
"Heh-heh, they broke, heh-heh, the military rule: Don't ask; don't expel!"
2. Before game, Clay Matthews horrified to find frizzy ends, damaged roots.
3. Defense thought, "Cover Nicks" meant NBA Knicks.
4. Coach wanted to see if you can really win Super Bowl without rushing.
5. Team figured since refs overturned fumble calls, they'd overturn score.
6. Whenever Tom Coughlin is one loss away from being fired, beware.
7. Team up all night cheering Wisconsin victory in Miss America.
8. Nobody wants to miss Super Bowl halftime show with Madonna.
9. Disillusioned with God after Tebow loss.
10. Really: Who can fear somebody named "Pierre-Paul?"
Awwww, tooo bad: Baseball plantation owners sad about not being able to sign Puerto Ricans at age 16
That's the story from baseball pimps in Puerto Rico, which only has 20 players in the majors - all because mean old MLB includes the U.S. territory in its annual draft - which requires signees to be at least 18 years old.
If only Puerto Rico was poverty stricken, like other Latin societies - why, everyone would be happy! A few more players would make it, and as long as the media writes about them, rather than the losers, it's a happy story all around!
The problem? That damn lack of poverty, say baseball officials in the New York Times.
Some, like Sandy Alderson, the current general manager of the Mets and a former consultant for Major League Baseball who handled issues in Latin America, said Puerto Rico’s socioeconomic status — somewhere between the United States and the Dominican Republic — left it in a peculiar position.
“From a socioeconomic standpoint, things have changed quite a bit in Puerto Rico,” Alderson said. “There are lots of other ways to spend your time. In the Dominican Republic, on the other hand, unfortunately, poor kids who are playing ball and who are from the lowest economic strata in that country, baseball is a way to escape, so there’s a greater concentration of players and effort. I think they’re just very different dynamics than Puerto Rico.”
Not to rip on Alderson here. He's got it absolutely right. But where is MLB in this?
In the new labor agreement, Bug Selig - the $25 million man - made sure MLB has a hidden salary cap - the massive luxury taxes will crush free agent spending. Thus, owners can bank more money, with nobody the wiser. Players salaries get published, riling fans. (Damn that AJ Burnett! It's his fault the tickets cost so much!) But when it's time for a new stadium, the owners plead poverty and beg for taxpayer welfare. And their books are personal business.
Now they say the new MLB agreement won't ban the signing of players at age 16. Maybe someday. Not now. Apparently, it's just not a priority.
I wonder how many Jerry Sanduskys are out there, recruiting 15 year olds for the baseball plantations of Latin America?
But it goes deeper. When you sign a player at 16, the corruption of the child begins much earlier - at 10 or 12.
No wonder these guys go in as Don Mattingly and come out as Manny Ramirez.
Twenty five million dollars a year, folks.
Well, Jesus is gone, and He will never forgive us.
Oh, well, our new savior is... Gary! Gary Sanchez. Praise Glory, praise Gary?
For you who follow the Yankees sparsely - as in, "I hear they have a player named Arod, or something..." - Gary Sanchez is Jesus II. He catches, he hits for power, and he breaks the scale at 235. We paid more to sign him at age 16 - $3 million - than we ever paid before or since. The only concerns are his attitude and defense. The party line, believe it or not, was always that Gary was better than Jesus. Yes, better than Jesus.
But dare we bother to follow him? Having betrayed Jesus, do we have unmitigaed gall to simply rewind the Savior Clock?
Last month, Gary turned 19. This summer, he probably starts in Tampa, at High Single A. Thus far, his career has been a Jesus carbon copy. If it continues, he'll ransack Tampa - Montero did - and ascendeth unto Trenton. That would have him blessing the mudfield in Scranton next year and reaching New York by 2014 - age 22 - like Montero, with the same hype but one big difference.
By then, we'll know if we blew it by trading Jesus.
If so, if Montero is the savior we gave away, Brian Cashman might not even be around in the Yankee temple anymore. You only get one Savior in life. If you trade it away, do you get a chance at a second Second Coming?
Should we believe, or does it still hurt too much?
Sunday, January 15, 2012
1. What no one is even mentioning is that Hector Noesi was also lost in the trade. Hector was a dominant, make that THE DOMINANT, pitcher in winter ball. And he is both young and battle tested in the majors.
Last September, when the Times' Bill Pennington called to ask why our blog celebrates the outdated Yankee carnivale broadcast pinata known as John Sterling, I picked his brain for dirt. Pennington had spent weeks probing internal dark dimensions of the Master's psyche that the rest of us can only piece together from disconnected lyrics of Ethel Merman show tunes and 15-minute calls to Geico. The reporter had spent an entire day with John. Ponder that, folks: An entire Sterling day. Thus, I viewed Pennington as a potential Rosetta Stone of Sterling gossip and set out to decipher it. And the juiciest bit I shall now share:
Pennington disclosed that John was not enamored with his "Jesus is loose" homerun call, used for what now will be the only four dingers Montero ever gives us. John planned a new, improved call. He had one in mind but was not ready to share it with the world.
Now, we will never know.
Friday, Brian Cashman traded away our secret map to Candy Land, to Valholler... the lost call of Jesus Montero.
Opposing batters do not receive Sterling calls, which are forged in the volcano of his Yankee soul. That is the law of Sterling, the rule of life. We will never know what John had in mind, or how Jesus HR calls would have evolved over his long Yankee career.
We can speculate, but what's the point? No one can approximate the Master's limitless knowledge of 1950s Broadway standards, and unless we can simultaenously channel both Rogers & Hammerstein and Barber & Rizzuto, we cannot come close. The Seattle announcers won't try. Now and then, Jesus will hit a "grand salami." In New York, he would have had an A-bomb, a Text message, or a flight into Camelot on the vocal wings of Robert Goulet.
The Yankiverse still grumbles about this trade. On paper, it was crafy. We dealt a young hitter for a young pitcher. It's not Buhner for Phelps, Drabek for Rhoden. But while pitching wins championships, nothing brings more instant joy to a Yankee fan - and its radio voice - than a glorious blast into the seats. It is the orgasm that comes from true Yankee love. And we might just have traded away 500 of them.
This guy, Pineda, had better be good. Because he will never bring us a home run call.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
I'm glad I clicked over because right now, instead of the scoop of the moment, this magnificent think post leads Baker's blog. It's about the foolishness of post-Moneyball fans who root for their teams' billionaire, government-subsidized owners to make cost-effective deals:
Go read the whole thing.