Thursday, June 20, 2013

R.I.P. Yankee fan James Gandolfini: At least you don't have to watch this team fall apart

A great man and Yankee fan died yesterday. I'm talking about Tony Soprano. Yes, I know... critics used to talk about some guy named James Gandolfini, who supposedly "played" Tony. That's ridiculous. Anybody who ever watched the show could see that it wasn't an actor playing Tony. Somehow, HBO managed to get a real, live mob boss. I don't know how they did it.

The Yankees were Tony's team. Any Redsock moog who set foot on his show could end up in the East River. And Tony was a faithful fan, unquestioning of Derek Jeter and Mariano, not an angry one, like Alphonso, who at times is sort of the Westboro Baptist Church of Yankee fans. Of course, Tony followed the Yankees back when, for better or worse, they embodied his own swagger and bluster. They embodied the ways of their owner.

They still do, by the way. It's just that the current boy owners do not swagger or bluster. They just say, "Ka-Ching!" whenever they can cut payroll or skimp on players. It's a common phenomenon for billionaire heirs: To prove themselves worthy of the old man's inheritance, they commit themselves to making their own fortune. And - if it makes us feel better - the Yankee owners surely are making plenty.

Yesterday, they watched future star Yasiel Puig, age 22, go Tony Soprano on them. 

The Yankees could have bid on Puig last winter. Instead, they clutched their wallets. They passed on Puig, as they passed on Yu Darvish, Yoenis Cespedes, Jose Soler and others. If old George were alive, it's not hard to imagine any - if not all - in Yankee uniforms. But the boys kept their money and, instead, managed to wheedle from the California Angels a free year of Vernon Wells. Which is what we get. A free year of Vernon Wells.

The Steinbrothers get away with this because of the best thing that ever happened to them: Kei Igawa. Whenever a free agent turns up on the international market, all they need do is yell "Kei Igawa!," and nobody complains, when he signs elsewhere. Kei Igawa! Kei Igawa! Kei Igawa!

In that mysterious last episode of The Sopranos, it wasn't a hit man lurking in that restaurant; it was Kei Igawa. We'll never know what happened to the family. But I think Igawa forced them at gunpoint to go to Japan.

Frankly, I think Vernon Wells is trying to kill me. It's the way he stares at me from the TV. He knows where I live. Of course, he delivered the clutch popup yesterday, which the Dodger pitcher mangled. But in game one, he struck out with the bases loaded. And in game two, with a runner on third and one out, Wells hit two popups - one managed to get into the seats, foul - while the other fell harmlessly to the centerfielder. But, hey, we have a free year! Batting cleanup. He's hitting .224. Right now, batting Vernon Wells cleanup is like scheduling a colonoscopy for Christmas morning.

Rest in peace, Mr. Gandolfini. Great actor. Terrible loss. Maybe we should establish a protective cordon around our celebrity Yankee fans - the way veterans thwart the Westboro Church at funerals. I'll take Tea Leone!


Thruston Morton III said...

do they allow alcoholics like alphonso in the baptist church?

KD said...

Wells batting cleanup. give me a break. that's some protection for Robbie, ain't it? No wonder Robbie's starting to give up. The man is now turning doubles into singles while studs like Puig turn singles into doubles. Joe is hitting the sauce big time.

Number 10: PHIL RIZZUTO said...

Y'know, this team may have broken Gandolfini's heart. No Pepitone. No sauce on the rigatoni. Bland. Nameless. The only genuine beavershooter out with a hip injury. R.I.P. contandino mio.

Anonymous said...

RIP Tone - sorry we'll never share a plate of gabbagool...

Yankees suck.