Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Yankees Jump the Shark Week: No one can ignore the infectious, overwhelming pessimism generated by this team

Yesterday, I read somewhere that Michael Pineda has suffered a "setback" and will drink Ensure and watch daytime TV for 10 days. Instantly, it hit me: "He's done, the fat slob will never even throw one pitch for us."

There I go. Off the handle. Everybody knows pitchers suffer issues while rehabbing from surgery. Happens all the time. No reason to count out Pineda. He's young. Who knows?

But awwww... this is the year from Hell, when no tweak is minor, no slump is brief, and everything Yankee goes kaput. We haven't been this rotten since the cougar days of Mel Hall. Whatever we did to piss off the juju gods, it worked. They are taking it out on us this year.

We are now 10 and a half games out of first in the AL East, and six games behind Texas for the last spot - that ridiculous one-game mirage - in the Wild Card playoffs. We are chasing Kansas City and Cleveland. We are certified tomato cans - kick us and we roll over - and our upcoming September is just a few clubhouse beers and chicken breasts from channeling the Death-to-Francona Redsocks of 2011.

We are laughingstocks and losers, and the cupboard is bare. Imagine the 2014 team with an older Ichiro, Wells, Soriano, Sabathia and Jeter - maybe still hobbled - minus Granderson and quite possibly without Kuroda and Cano, (who is already playing with one toe in free agency.) At a certain point, our only option is to cut spending to that targeted $189 million and just eat dirt for a year, or maybe two.

I'm sorry. But I feel utterly beaten. Last night, as Chicago scored the third run, making it a 3-1 game, I felt whatever hope I had left for the season drain from me like water from a tub. We are done, dead - so long, suckkas - and it's not even mid-August.

We shouldn't be surprised. Practically everyone predicted this. The sharks are circling. There is blood in the water. The Steinbrothers have fulfilled their father's early legacy: They have built - as he once did - the worst team money can buy. So file Pineda in the Steve Trout category, and let's start bringing up the Heathcotts. Does Adonis Garcia own cougars?


JM said...

We knew this was going to happen in the Spring. We knew, but we were sidetracked by that magical April.

Our 'stars', (CC, Tex, Granderson) all suck. Jeter is falling to bits. A-Rod fell a couple years ago, and all he's doing now is keeping some young guy from learning major-league-level 3B.

Cano is so good that he doesn't even try half the time. Gardner, bless him, plays hard every day. Ichiro, in the face of his doubters, is still a way above average player in all respects. Overbay is at least someone you can root for. Vernon, sadly, isn't the Vernon of old, although he is truly getting old. Nice to have Sori back, at least for a couple of months. Why did we ever get rid of him? Oh, yeah, that guy at third with the drug problems who hit in a grand total of one postseason. Yep, that was worth it. Good thing they resigned him when they could have been rid of him.

I miss Aaron Boone.

Romine, who is hitting and catching and throwing out runners like mad, is still not getting as much playing time as he should because Girardi likes Chris Stewart--in whom he sees himself, all defense, no hit. Like Torre, Girardi's weaknesses are more exposed when he has a team that calls for real managing. (I'll take CC for 100, Alex.)

The front office is a disaster area. Money is more important than ironic approach, since at least old George knew that winning was all that mattered because it was what generated the money, and gobs of it.

To top it off, Time Warner has blacked out CBS and Showtime over a money dispute, so we can't watch Dexter or Ray Donovan, and this season's episodes aren't on Amazon (unlike every other fucking pay-TV series).

The summer of sadness. The summer of gnashing and wailing. The world turned upside down, and yet somehow Selig's hairpiece still doesn't fall off.

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking that this year is as sad as it gets for a Yankee fan, until I ponder what's in store for us NEXT YEAR! If the front office would grow a pair and take some pointers from what was pulled off last year in (gulp) Boston, then maybe, just maybe,,,,,,but not with the brain trust ensconced in this fine organization. Finally know what Mets fans have had to endure, and it SUCKS!!!!

joe de pastry said...

Suzuki is way above average in all respects? John M, what's up with you and this guy? Are you his agent? Let's use just one significant offensive stat: OPS+. [Compares a player's OPS - on-base percentage plus slugging percentage - to the league average.] Suzuki's OPS+ is 89, which means he's 11% BELOW average.
By way of comparison: Swisher in 2013 OPS+ 108; Granderson in 2012 OPS+ 117.

JM said...

Joe, if this comes down to perhaps one of the least scientific 'stats' that the sabermetric clowns have come up with, we'll just have to disagree heartily. Some of these formulas are pretty meaningless in the reality of an actual game, and in terms of how good an all-around player a guy might be.

OPS+, for instance, is strictly an offensive stat and doesn't measure defense at all. Even as an offensive stat it's pretty misleading. Granderson, for instance, had a good slugging percentage last year, but how many times did he strike out or hit into a double play with men on or, worse, in scoring position? How many of his HRs were 'meaningless', coming in games where the team was already well ahead or too far behind to realistically catch up? How many were solo shots?

These new 'statistics' don't measure a lot things that really count in baseball, like clutch performance, defensive range, ability to rattle pitchers when on base--what the old baseball guys call 'intangibles' (Jeter very often used as one of the best examples of a player having them).

Sabermetrics are useful up to a point, but the point is reached pretty quickly. The only really great stat it's given us is OBP. Most of the rest is numerical masturbation, but that's just my opinion. I know a lot of people disagree.

Totally unscientific example about Ichiro. The guy gets benched, along with Granderson and Overbay (who is great defensively and has pulled some clutch hitting out of his hat all season), because of the pitcher being a lefty. That, in itself, is stupid in my book. If a hitter is hitting consistently or on a relative hot streak, you play him no matter what. But Girardi goes by the numbers in his little binders.

The team is abysmal offensively, pretty much as usual. (So, really, did benching those guys make a difference? Or should I say, a positive one?) And when Suzuki is sent to PH in the 9th, he gets a hit. He comes around to score, because even at his age, he's still faster than 75% of the guys out there. Gardner came through there, too, another guy who probably doesn't have the shiniest OPS+ or whatever kind of invented stat is currently in favor.

Ichiro is a better fielder than Swish (by far) and Grandy. He's a better baserunner. Has a hell of an arm (like Swish). He doesn't hit HRs like Grandy, but he doesn't destroy as many scoring opportunities. He's a contact hitter, which comes in handy (unlike Grandy). He's a professional hitter, and since his poor start has proven that.

I like Granderson and really liked Swisher. But I think their downside took away a good chunk of their upside. I would rather have players with less downside, and upside and positive intangibles that are reliable and have consistent impact.

Stats don't measure that. That's my problem with stats.