Thursday, October 31, 2013
Verse taken verbatim from the Sons of Sam Horn's "Thank You 2013 Red Sox - Restorers of the Faith!" thread.
Love Remembered, Love Restored
By Gator's 88MVP
You let me know, again,
How much I love baseball.
After the last 2 seasons,
It was tough to watch you.
But this season, you came through
When we needed you most.
Like the saying says,
You don't know what you got,
Till it's gone. Well,
Boston baseball is back!
The Greatest Season I've Ever Experienced
By The Gray Eagle
2004 was about overcoming the past,
But 2013 was just about winning,
About being the best,
With an amazing cast of characters
Who were so appealing and fun to watch
Because they clearly cared so much
About the team winning.
They seemed like us.
Where were we? Oh, yeah, the Daily News was telling us how its earnest, four-reporter team was not simply carrying MLB's water in the war on A-Rod
Last week, Michael O'Keeffe of the Daily News went tongue to tongue with radio's Mike Francesa over of MLB's bitter battle with Alex Rodriguez. It was compelling to hear. At times, it sounded like a de facto debate between MLB (O'Keeffe) and A-Rod's lawyers (Francesa).
Throughout the discussion, O'Keeffe denied having an axe to grind with A-Rod, stressing that the four-person team is simply chasing the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help him. And here's what the scribes of sanctimony ginned up yesterday.
Well... as long as you use "allegedly," everything's fine, right?
I know, I know... why bother? It's just tabloid crapola, screaming into the mike, clasping butts, trying to out-shout all the rest. Hell hath no fury like a tabloid scorned. Why are we even looking? Still, I thought the News would try a little harder to appear fair. That headline plays into everything Francesa said about the News becoming Bud Selig's personal leak farm.
What conclusion can we take? Here's one:
The News is going to attack A-Rod for the duration of his Yankee career. For better or worse, right or wrong, the paper wants to run him out of New York.
It's going to be a long winter.
Folks, this isn't a momentary glitch. This is the new order.
They have a 2B known for his clutch play, a dirty uniform, leadership and relentless hustle. Last summer, they signed him to a long-term contract for $110 million. We are about to spend considerably more - the asking price is $300 million - on a 2B who jogs out grounders, despite requests by his manager to make it at least look like he's hustling.
They have a minor league system brimming with talent, including a SS and CF who look like future stars. We have nobody in the immediate pipeline, nothing. Vowing drastic changes, our owners recently fired the strength coach. Thus far, all the suits are keeping their jobs.
They have players known for clubhouse chemistry and baseball smarts. We brought back Alfonso Soriano, known for standing at home plate and watching balls all the way to the wall, even if it means getting thrown out at second. We lost perhaps the most critical game this season against Boston, when he was thrown out trying to steal third with two outs. The Cubs were happy to see him go. And we gave up one of our few pitching prospects to get him.
They have budget flexibility and a lineup in its prime. The left side of our infield right now is comprised of A-Rod and Jeter, who together played about 60 games last year. After he's done firebombing MLB, A-Rod will turn his legal team on the Yankees, suing them on medical issues. Jeter couldn't play SS last season, and though he's now pushing 40, there is no talk of trying another position.
They are poised to re-sign a few free agents and make qualifying offers to others, ensuring multiple first-round draft picks. We are said to be considering a splurge of signings - 39-year-old Carlos Beltran tops the list- which would cost us our first pick, leaving us likely to draft behind Boston.
They play in one of the last great cathedrals of baseball. We had one. We tore it down. We promote a fantasy world where players like Jason Giambi are "returning to the House that Ruth Built," when in fact they've never before set foot in the park. It's four years old. "Yankee Stadium" has seen all the history of a Dunkin' Donuts.
Top to bottom, we are a mediocre organization. In the American League alone, Boston, Tampa, Detroit, Oakland, Texas and maybe even Kansas City, Baltimore and Seattle show superior front offices. But today, it is the Yankee fan base - people like you and me - who wake up in pain. The owners can't lose. They have the NY market and the Yankee brand name, which continually grows in value. They're now worth more money than their father ever dreamed of having. For the Yankee ownership and brass, 2013 was a great year. Pop the corks, boys! Everybody won... unless you are the strength coach.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
1. Buy off Neil Diamond. Twenty million clams would take him home. From there, we refuse to let him ever play again in Boston. We'd own his vast library of hits. We can prohibit the Redsocks from ever again playing “Sweet Caroline.” Once a game, the fans will feel sad. Their empty silence will bring us sheer pleasure.
2. Shave and waive. One by one, we sign the Redsock beards. Shave them, as per the Yankee facial hair ban, and then waive them, citing some obscure physical condition that turned up in our mandatory MRI. Make something up. A strained claviticus. They'll be damaged goods. They'll believe something's wrong. They'll have no beards. And we'll put something in the shaving cream that keeps them from ever growing facial hair again.
|In 2007, we gave Manny Ramirez the shrinking potion.|
4. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Kidnap them. Force them to fight each other to the death with bare hands. Broadcast it on all Boston TV stations simultaneously, so everybody must watch. Run it at 4 p.m., so the children will be getting home from school.
5. Buy the Boston Globe. We can get it for a song. (BTW, the Yankees should have done this last year.) With editorial control over the Globe, our reporters can plant stories, misquote players, brew trouble, sew the seeds of mutiny, suggest bad trades and, most of all, slip roofies into Shaughnessy's coffee and bust him down to Gammons' driver.
|In 2004, we hooked up Curt Schilling.|
6. New pie. A massive, $100 million public campaign changes Boston Cream Pie to "New York Cream Pie." Also, from now on, Columbia beets. Will think of something for the clam chowder.
7. Invite Dustin Pedroia to the NYC Winter Prom. Pair him with the Homecoming Queen and name him "King of the Ball." At his sexual-coming-of-age moment, as he is being crowned, pour buckets of pigs blood onto him. (Note: We will have to hang the buckets in the rafters beforehand.) Have everyone point at him and laugh. When Pedroia goes into a rage, blame Redsock fan Stephen King. Then, quickly... get out!
8. Bill Belichick. He's gotta be allergic to something. Cat dander, maybe?
9. Cape Cod. Looking for ideas here. I'm thinking... beaches full of carnivorous giant oarfish!
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
On the Princeton/MIT Celebrity Career-Trajectory Model, being eliminated on Dancing With the Stars is tantamount to being waived as a designated hitter, after batting .219 with 2 home runs. It's Andruw Jones time. Maybe you can go to Japan. The fact is, you were once a star, and soon you'll be a gym coach.
Last night, Snooki brought the lid down on a sterling eight-year reality career, clomping in the footsteps of Bristol Palin, Jerry Springer and all those who ever laced up their cleats and hit the dance floor for one last stab at the rubber chicken of fame.
I missed it. So did you, I bet. But the St. Louis Cardinals weren't the only ones stumbling in the base paths. Let the record show that the Redsocks took command of the 2013 World Series on the night they drove old Snooki down.
We are seeing an in-Ruth's-house breakdown of social morality and - yes, as a bile-spitting passer of the Yankee rage virus - I'm probably as guilty as anyone. Watching our bitterest rivals roll to victory, while our team bathes in its own excrement - well, we're lucky this hasn't happened before.
But it's coming, folks: The Yankee apocalypse. A huge ethnic cleansing of the Yankee fan base. A lot of good people are going to head for the exits, and in the name of Cito Culver, I don't blame them.
OK, here it is: I'll link to it. But frankly, there's nothing to see anymore. Much has vanished, like the Yankee bullpen in September. Chad Jennings, or whomever was on the keyboard last night, worked late pressing the delete key.
Listen: This is not our Penn State. This is more our Duke lacrosse. The Yankees aren't as bad as everything looks, but our state of hope right now is pretty horrible. The asteroid is about to hit.
The Redsocks are going to win the World Series, and next year, they might do it again. Boston did everything right this year. They get to party. We get the A-Rod trial.
It's a grim time to be a Yankee fan. And it's going to get worse. Get ready to start eating crap. The end of the world is not pretty. But at least, in theory, there is no aftertaste.
Monday, October 28, 2013
"One assumes that when the Red Sox are in the World Series, Yankee fans dutifully attend to delayed domestic matters. One assumes that during a Red Sox World Series, the kitchens and living rooms of Yankee households never look cleaner. The laundry is folded perfectly. Books are read. Hobbies are born. Puzzles are solved. Chairs are fixed. Long, elegant and possibly ruffled sweaters are knitted for the dog."
I hope you weren't eating Cheerios, because they'll hurt coming out of your nose. Well, harrumph, harrumph, we're good with a ribbing now and then. But the truth is this: This guy whiffed. He thinks we're scrap-booking and getting on with life? He should write fiction.
Listen: Yankee fans are watching the world series like Darth Vader in his pod, distilling our evil into felony-grade purity - driven by the blackness of hate, which burns in our heart with a negativity that can blot a billion suns. If there are dogs nearby, we kick them. Watching Joe Buck, I root an asteroid strike. I root for earthquakes. I want hail, falling frogs, self-immolations... with Tim McCarver screaming, "O the humanity!" One assumes that we are carving pumpkins? Hell, I'm toothpicking the Pedroia doll. At the end of the movie, Magneto may be in plastic chains, but as long as there is iron in the blood of his jailer, he's never done. The Power Rangers may win, but Rita Repulsa is still on her moon base, plotting for the next episode.
Let the darkness guide us, Yankiverse. As long as our hearts are black, there will be an Evil Empire. And at least once per trilogy, we strike back.
As El Duque reported earlier, the Yankees, after considerable due diligence, have retained their director of scouting.
And the Yankee logic is similar to the logic which allowed the CEO's of JP Morgan and AIG to retain their jobs.
Total and absolute failure does not qualify a person for change. In fact, the Yankee decision to " stand pat" is the epitome of the latest management consulting mantra: "Let's always reward failure."
Failure: The Yankees don't have an emerging talent from any draft or any trade.
Reward : The direct of scouting must be retained.
And while any obvious reasons for this decision elude me, it is possible that the Chief Yankee in Charge of Scouting only scouts models for A-Rod. Or perhaps it is his job to find the cheapest pumpkin seeds for the Yankees to chew and spit.
Time for me to relax.
For 2014, we can just give outrageous contracts to some more old guys, former stars even, and we'll be right back in the hunt.
As long as the Yankees don't care about competing, I'm pleased that the winter meetings led to no shake-ups. When nothing is working, when there is only regression, back-sliding and no hope for the future, why change a thing?
I saw this happening when Joe was re-signed for 4 years, without a thought. Then, when Larry Rothschild inked himself in for another few years, it was all too clear that the Yankees don't think anything is wrong.
Status Quo is the way to go.
Nice work, Yanks.
Very productive work in your, "organizational" meetings.
Meanwhile, Yankee fans have absolutely nothing to look forward to. Unless you like watching Boston win the World Series two years in a row.
With the Yankees, at last, showing signs of interest in a Japanese player, MLB changes the international posting rules
Now, as Team Hal prepares to chase Masahiro Tanaka, Hansel Selig: Witch-Hunter has changed the posting rules. It's hard to figure whether it helps or hurts us.
The new rules mean Tanaka would get to pick from the three teams that submit the highest posting fees, then negotiate with one. Instead of shelling out the $70-$80 million that would slam dunk Tanaka, the Yankees might bid $50 million - then increase its offer to the pitcher over the period of the contract. It might also use its leverage as the marquee team from NYC. It might help us. Or....
This new deal could allow teams like the Redsocks and Cardinals - (i.e. smarter teams than us) - to throw huge posting fees into the mix, and then sit on their hands - like the cheapskate Yankees did last year. Or the guy might want to play on the West Coast. Or with a friend on another team. Or with teams inclined to make larger year-by-year payments than the $189-million, Dollar Store Yankees.
It's not clear how this will go down. Last week, I figured Hal Steinbrenner would tell his coolies, "Damn the money, get this done." Now, there's a new wrinkle, and our front office hasn't always been on the vanguard of exploiting new wrinkles. Considering our rapidly diminishing brand name, along with the ascendancy of Boston, we're the one team in baseball that most needs to sign Tanaka. But the chances of that happening may have just taken a surgical hit.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
In fact, Boston's success in the last two World Series has obscured the likelihood of a new generational Redsocks scapegoat emerging. But I don't think the team can lose a World Series without one.
Middlebrooks may have played his hand too early. A new Buckner would probably only develop in Game Six or Seven, when the Redsock Nation is insane with scrutiny. The pitcher, Craig Breslow - if he comes in and blows another lead - he could steal the show.
But if the Cards could run the table - win the next two and never return to Boston, Will "F-----g" Middlebrooks could become the IT IS HIGH "Yankee Opponent of the Year."
The election will commence soon.
Nobody should suffer as the Redsocks did last night. If Hitler managed a netherworld ball club with Nero, Saddam, Idi Amin and Joan Crawford, the team would not deserve to lose on such a shabby call. Shabby, I say. Shabby!
I, for one, hope that every Boston fan stands up to condemn the world for what it is: A shameful sham of a blighted pock!
Dear Lord, will there ever be justice? Perhaps the Afflecks and Damons of Hub Town will be receive a karmic victory, maybe from the Celtics or Bruins, to offset the sting of a game stolen by the umps like a leaf torn on the wind from the earnest tines of their autumn rakes. O, the humanity. Words, you fail my larynx. Higgs, your bosons do no good.
It's been an hour since I wrote those last words. I have sat here, frozen in grief. The minutes mocked me, as I the pain of every Bostonian coursed through my heart and buttocks. What a horrible, terrible loss. We are all Massachusettians today. From the deepest, most bottomless of the well of my heart, may you wonderful makers of thick chowders and delicious cream pies rise up, heal, and put this dreadful smudge behind you. A shameful sham of a blighted pock. So sad. So very sad. Pass the meat loaf, please.
Saturday, October 26, 2013
Oppenheimer is the puppet master behind the last nine years of Yankee drafts, which netted next to nothing in 2012, absolutely nothing in 2013, and probably nothing in 2014. When you think of Oppenheimer keeping his job, you have to wonder what that strength coach did to get canned. My guess: He was caught on video stealing pins from the universal weight machine. I hate guys who do that.
OK... I don't want to make fun of a guy losing his job. And there is an argument for maintaining organizational stability. But one part of Mark Feinsand's story simply does not hold up.
The claim is that Oppenheimer saved his job by having a solid 2013 draft. Frankly, this is a joke. It's waaaaaaay too early to assign success or failure to the June draft. Right now, they're all future superstars. And in fact, two of our three first-round picks - Aaron Judge and Ian Clarkin - barely showed up. Both were hurt. Judge has yet to experience a professional at-bat. And this was the great, job-saving draft?
To claim such success is typical Yankee organizational crapola. By this time next fall, the 2013 draft could look like a disaster. We just don't know.
Of course, maybe scouting director doesn't matter. The real question is whether Oppenheimer next June will have any first-round picks to blow. If we sign a bunch of codgers - which the Gammonite Peanut Gallery is currently leading cheers to do - we might snag the one-game Wild Card - in exchange for another future dead zone.
Next June, I would really hate to be drafting behind Boston. And that future Yankee strength coach, whoever he is, had better keep track of the pins.
Friday, October 25, 2013
(By the way, when a newspaper in this day and age assigns four reporters to investigate a guy... well... draw your own conclusions.)
But she's a fine piece of radioin,' she is! You can hear her here.
Can't sit for the 55 minute version. Here's how it goes for nearly an hour, in this case, haggling over A-Rod's non-trip to a doctor in Houston:
O’Keeffe: We didn’t get it wrong.
Francesa: How can you say that? He didn’t go to Houston, so you got it wrong.
O’Keeffe: He was going to go to Houston, we were told he was going to Houston, we didn’t get it wrong.
Francesa:You said he was going to Houston, but he didn’t go to Houston. So you got it wrong.
O’Keeffe: We said he was going to Houston, and he was, we didn’t get it wrong.
Francesa: Did he go to Houston? No. He didn’t go to Houston. You said he was going to Houston. You got it wrong, first.
O’Keeffe: No, You Got It Wrong is on second.
Francesa: That’s what I said! Did he go to Houston?
O’Keeffe: Right. He’s on first.
Francesa: Did he go to Houston?
O’Keeffe: That's right. He's on first.
Francesa: You Got It Wrong!
O’Keeffe: Yes. He's on second.
O’Keeffe: That's right.
Francesa: How can you say that?
O’Keeffe: He's on third.
Francesa: Yeoooooogh, heeeeeeey, huminahuminahumina.... O’KEEEEEEF!
Let's say you're working for the National Security Administration - you know, manning a computer with access to celebrity emails and phones, even the chancellor of Germany. You're sick of Taylor Swift's incessant whining. How many complaints about ex-boyfriends can an eavesdropper take? Every morning, after signing on, you check Katy, Gaga, Kanye and Biebs - that's your first coffee - and then... for desert... wouldn't you poke in on Brian Cashman?
Come on, think this through. You not only get an update on the Yankees - the internal feuds and dirt - but you get Cashman's private life, too. A little spice, no? I'd go there two, maybe three times a day - have it on my Favorites list, like the beastiality in Hollywood sites I visit now. I'd work late.
Also... let's be honest. You'd want to check Redsocks and Cardinals emails. Let's face it: If you're going to steal information, steal good information. The last thing you need is a Yankee scouting report on how great Andrew Brackman will be someday. Good grief, you can get that from Yankee blogs. You don't need to hack an email.
So I'm wondering... there has to have been a Yankee fan in the NSA, right? So... if we could find that guy... what secrets would he/she know?
Anonymous... I'm talking to you: What mind-boggling secrets have not yet been revealed to the Yankiverse?
According to the Internet, Yankee scouts lately have been chasing stool samples on a bunch of international free agents. Not long ago, this would have goosed the Yankiverse, because it meant Old George was going to import a star attraction and - at the very least - put the team on the front pages of public curiosity. We might get the great Hideki Matsui. It might be the enigmatic Jose Contreras. Either way, everybody would be talking about the Yankees. (As opposed to the Redsocks' beards.)
That, of course, was a time before before Darvish, Chapman, Cespedes, Soler, Puig, Uehara, Tazawa, Iwakuma, Matsuzaka, Iglesias, Betacourt, Morales, Ryu, and Choo. Yes, the time before Ryu and Choo! (A little Dr. Seuss, anyone?)
Last year, we "signed" the likes of Francisco, Bosch, Lilibridge, Brignac, Neal, Nelson and of course Bootcheck. Did I mention Chris Bootcheck? Yeah, we signed Bootcheck too. As long as they were on the scrapheap, we wanted them.
Of course, whenever anybody criticizes the Yankees for not attending world auctions, you say the magic word: Kei Igawa. Yes, we imported the biggest Asian fiasco since pond milfoil. And, like their American counterparts, aging Japanese stars now take their pre-Medicare lap in New York: Hiroki Kuroda pitched well last summer, until the tires fell off. And the great Ichiro!... He of the .298 on base percentage!
Well, boys, somepin's gotta change. The most intriguing free agent on the market today is Masahiro Tanaka, 24 and undefeated in Japan. It'll cost $75 million just to talk to him. It's the price of doing business. NO: It's the price of NOT doing business last winter. And here's the kicker: You can't stop there.
There is a 31-year-old Korean relief pitcher named Seung-Hwan Oh. Get him. And a 27-year-old Cuban, Ordisamer Despaigne. Get him. There are others. Get them. GET THEM. GET THEM. GET THEM.
Listen: Obviously, I'm no scout. I don't know if Ordisamer Despaigne is any good. (But I took the time to spell his name. That should count for something.) You must do diligence. But this isn't a case of you needing to be "aggressive." Dammit, you need to be insane. Five years ago, you shelled out $250 million for CC, AJ and Tex. There aren't three free agents out there of that magnitude. And in this New Baseball World Order, we cannot surrender first round picks for the likes of 30-year-old Brian McCann or 39-year-old Carlos Beltran. They're just not that good.
Use your money to buy international players. If they suck, trade them. The Yankees are valued at $3.3 billion. You can take a hit. This is how we replenish our system and team, simultaneously.
LISTEN: We must not enter the 2014 draft picking AFTER the Redsocks. Get it? NOT a good idea.
Insert sigh here. Mr. Steinbrenner, I believe that in your heart, you want the Yankees to win. But I don't care anymore what's in your heart. Sir... what's in your wallet?
Thursday, October 24, 2013
I have not watched an inning of this year's world series. Nor have I read a printed word or listened to a radio broadcast.
When talking heads turn to baseball, I turn to Crown Royal.
My prediction is obvious: I'll be dumbfounded if the Cardinals win a game.
The good news about this is that the lice-bearded uglies won't get to jump around to the gleeful tumult of their own fans.
Fenway will miss the celebration. More importantly, I will miss the celebration.
In a week, we can move on to next year.
The problem is; I don't see a different outcome in 2014.
So I plan to keep on drinking.
Yes, there's some sort of green substance in Jon Lester's glove caught on film, and he's definitely putting something on his fingers. Can't wait for Peter Gammons to defend him, saying he's a great guy and it the video must have been doctored by Alex Rodriguez in a plot to destroy baseball!!!
H/T The Big Lead
Update: Not surprisingly, the ESPN guys say getting caught cheating is no big deal. The great line is from Chris Singleton, who doesn't say that a minor leaguer made an accusation, he said a minor leaguer was the one who "made an excuse." He also said that when it's cold, "you have to" cheat. Unbelievable.
Where would we be today without Hitler comparisons? Damn, we'd still be worrying about the slippery slope leading to General Cornwallis. Who would replace Hitler? The Kaiser? Fatty Arbuckle? OJ?
Well, this may be where it all began. So.. shave and haircut, and wouldn't Pedroia look like you know who?
Congratulations on another season of beating the Chicago Cubs!
You certainly must be bursting your britches with pride- winning that there always-tough NL Central. Them Brewers, nobody beats 'em without getting bit.
Now, you're getting to show your stuff at the big County Fair! Your gym teachers must be so excited, seeing how you've grown up to be so big and strong!
Listen you effing rubes... Is this it? Is what you are going to do? Let pop-ups drop in front of you? Fumble double play balls? Lose eight straight to the Redsocks?EIGHT STRAIGHT TO THE REDSOCKS? We'd have been better off with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Lose eight straight to Boston, and how about doing the world a favor: Move the team to Branson, and next year, find some player who can catch a pop fly.
A fine piece of ownin': Congrats to Hal and Hank Steinbrenner for owning the richest franchise in sports
Owners aren't taught. They're born.
And the Steinbrothers certainly know how to flash ownership.
Yesterday, Bloomberg - the news outlet, not the pixie mayor - estimated the Yankees' current worth at $3.3 billion, the priciest tomato can on the MLB shelf. The Yankee Stadium urinals should be molded of platinum. If the team switched its business to the printing of money, it would lose money.
“The Yankees are as successful as you can possibly be,” said Lee Berke, a sports media consultant. “It’s the culmination of a perfect storm coming together: the nation’s number one market, professional sports’ most successful team and tremendously savvy and aggressive ownership.”
Tremendously savvy and aggressive ownership. Yep. When you make the skootz, that's what they say. On the spreadsheets, nobody cares who came in third.
Last winter, the Sons of Savvy pinched each dime until it squealed. They recycled outfielders through May, poor-mouthing to the courtier press that they couldn't afford to give two-year contracts because of that overbearing MLB luxury tax. From NYC to Charleston, the organization shrank like a Walmart burger on a hot grill.
Monday, they bundled up all their front office failures into a "strength coach" and fired the lugnut, apparently sending the others back to their offices to practice their putting. Now, they're supposedly planning a big free agent spending splurge, because - hey - that's their style: Wait for the team to implode, then spend, spend, spend! They think it worked in 2008, though it's also why they fell into this well, and now can't get out.
They have been swept aside by their arch rivals, with nothing in the pipeline, so they'll dish out a new set of bloated contracts to thirtysomethings on their last legs. Forget the draft. Forget the farms. Just spin the wheel on more time and hope that between now and the next collapse, a new Jeter and Mariano evolve from thin air.
And throughout everything, over the last 10 months, they increased their worth by $500 million. That, my friends, is owning.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
"IT'S A FED-EX... FROM FELIX... OH, FEEL IT, YOU'RE A FINE FELINE."
"SHADOW DARKENS ANOTHER PITCHER'S MOUND."
"YOU'RE A ROUGHIE, FLUFFY! ANOTHER PUFF... FROM FLUF!"
"MUFFY CAT... A-DONCHA SCAT!"
The Curse of Choate? At some point tonight, Randy Choate- yes, THAT Randy Choate - will square off against Big Papi, and we will ponder the alternative reality that could have been
Brian Cashman likes to say the Mike Lowell trade was his career-worst blunder, and - yes sir - that's one tough booger to top. But if you think of the little ones that got away, the specialty tools that smarter teams like the Cardinals and Redsocks always seem to be stashing (David Roberts, Quintin Berry?), then it's time to ponder Randy Choate.
For 13 years, Choate has been throwing almost exclusively to LH mashers, and throughout that period, the Yankees have gone through practically the entire population of Rhode Island in search of a LH specialist. We signed Pedro Feliciano for two years; he never pitched an inning. The roll call of delusions includes Billy Traber, Damaso Marte, Ron Villone, Sean Henn, oh, God, why am I doing this to myself? If I start compiling these names, I won't make it: I WILL JUMP OFF A BRIDGE.
Choate pitched his first four years with us. We traded him with Nick Johnson and Juan Rivera to Montreal for Javier Vazquez, the man who will forever be remembered for serving Johnny Damon's grand slam gopher ball in game seven of the Series That Shall Not Be Mentioned. Yes, the moment that officially ended the Curse of the Bambino. What is it they say about a bad penny? It just keeps spinning bad juju? Well, the career of Randy Choate has certainly done it's share to us.
Frankly, he was no world-beater for the Yankees. I remember him getting pummeled in the 2001 World Series against Arizona. Excruciating to watch. But that was about 500 major league appearances ago. After 2007, he's been a solid LH specialist. He's been the guy who could have solved our lefty woes, the guy who would've pitched 100 times to David Ortiz and Josh Hamilton and Prince Fielder and - oh, god, where is the nearest bridge?
Last December, the Cardinals gave him a three year contact for $7.5 million. A pittance compared to the money we've shot through fire hoses at scrap heap outfield reclamation fiascoes. Last month, in the height of our "Wild Card" race, we were still auditioning for a lefty specialist. Cesar Somethingorother? Talk all you want about the Curse of the Bambino having been smashed into a million pieces. But the balls all started bumping into each other when we traded Randy Choate. And today, we're still facing the Curse of Choate.
Think of that tonight, when he strikes out Papi.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
That's right. Cavalea. Wow. That's all I can say. Cavalea. If you'd have asked me, I wouldn't have in a million years thought it would be Cavalea. I would have said Blerge or Pillspierre-Morris before Cavalea. But there it is. Cavalea. Out.
Surely, neither Yergen nor Cuspford will sleep tonight.
Consider the cast of characters. It's a modern OJ defense team, led by the "Fists of Fury," attorney Joseph Tacopina. There's already been one fight. He attacked an MLB lawyer. There's OJ himself - I mean A-Rod - glaring at Anthony Bosch, as if he's Ryan Dempster, while the rent-a-crowd outside chants "Drill here, drill now!" Being denied this spectacle is a blight upon free speech, access to government, and the truth-telling magnetism of Nancy Grace. In the 1950s, we were shut out of ever knowing the truth about Area 51. Now, it's happening again. Area 13.
Yesterday, A-Rod's all-star defense team conjured up an anonymous Edward Snowden whistleblower, who was primed to spill his guts about the dirty deeds that lurk beneath Bud Selig's seemingly innocent rug. The lead arbitrator - straight out of The Hunger Games post-apocalyptic nation of Panem - refused to allow the news conference. This is why Katniss Everdeen turned against them. Now Katniss - I mean A-Rod - is demanding that the trial to be open to the public, so we can all know what has been done in the name of the national pastime.
Open the trial, MLB! Let the light shine in! If you've got the goods on A-Rod, instead of whispering it to the $500 haircuts at ESPN, lay it on the table for everyone to see. If A-Rod is grandstanding, the world will know. And if A-Rod is right, it will all come out eventually on Frontline.
We are missing the best show of the new TV season. A trial of the century is going on - the greatest slugger of his generation its getting Shoeless Joed - and we're not being allowed to see? OPEN THE DOORS, MLB!
Monday, October 21, 2013
Frankly, I'll miss the guy. For all the times that his Tigers cuffed the Yankees around like a sock in a drier, he was always a respectful and good-hearted presence, smoking his butts in the runway. It was Leyland who once called us, "Murderer's Row and then Cano," a great line, even though we didn't live up to it.
But most of all, I will remember Jim Leyland for the way he orchestrated Mariano Rivera's last appearance in an all-star game. He brought out Mo in the 8th inning - so there could be no doubt that he would get into the game. In the ninth, when Mariano came out, Leyland kept the rest of the players back in the dugout. Thus, the crowd and the nation could honor the Great Mariano in one iconic moment.
It wouldn't bother me one bit if the Yankees hired this guy as a scout or part-time consultant. Can you imagine the expertise he could bring to our organization?
Welcome to the hot seat.
Twenty years ago, your dad would've known exactly what to do if the Yanks finished out of the playoffs, about $30 million over budget and with a flailing minor league system: He would fire the GM. Dallas Green? Sid Thrift? Gabe Paul? Wouldn't matter. For better or worse, he would clean house.
You are not him. That's fine, because Old George went through some tough times. But today, in the organizational meetings in Tampa, you must come to grips with a failed Yankee system and new MLB rules that equalize rich and poor teams. You cannot buy your way out of this malaise, as you did in 2009. The Yankees have more money than any other team. But you must figure out new ways to use your advantage. The old ones won't work.
So how can the Yankees to use their financial clout?
1. Buy Japanese. We should have been doing this for years. Reportedly, we're going to bid hard on Masahiro Tanaka, a 24-year-old pitcher. Damn, it's long overdue. The posting fees to Japanese teams - the big chunks of money that weed out most bidders - don't count toward the luxury tax cap. Thus, we have a huge advantage over other teams. USE IT, DAMMIT. ABUSE IT. When a Japanese player of prominence hits the posting process, we should have him. Every time! We don't lose draft picks. Bud Selig can't do a thing. What the hell are you waiting for? They intend to change the posting process soon, maybe next year, because it's wide open for big market teams. So bid big! Go after all of them! Stash them in the system! Trade them. Use our clout.
2. Cook the $189 million budget. The plan, as it's been widely reported, is to lower the 2014 budget below $189 million, which then would reset our tax structure for years to come. In 2015, we can boost it substantially. So, how about a little creative financing. Renegotiate contracts, back-ending them for 2015 and beyond. If we sign Tim Lincecum for five years at - say - $75, pay him just $5 million in 2014, then bump it up for the duration of the contract.
3. Horde the draft picks. Look at the NFL. That's the new model for draft picks. You must not lose them. If Atlanta makes a qualifying offer to Brian McCann, think long and hard before you sign him. (I think it's a horrible idea.) Same with Carlos Beltran. Look to the Lincecums and Ervin Santanas, who might not get such offers. We can sign them without paying a price. And frankly, even if he's way overpaid, why not put in an offer to Phil Hughes? Yeah, it's $14 million for a year - way beyond what he's worth - but Hughes is only 26, he's likely to get a better long range deal, and he might even have some gas left in the tank. If he signs elsewhere, we get a sandwich round draft pick. Those things are worth gold.
4. Add another farm club. Last year, our best level was the Gulf Coast League, where Baseball America reports we had six of the top 20 prospects. Three were middle infielders. They played every day because we fielded two teams in that league. If we didn't, one might have not gotten the chance to show his stuff. This was a huge advantage for us. Why not establish a second Single A team? In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Yankees had three Single A teams - one in the Atlantic Coast League, one in the Carolina League, and one in the Florida State League. This is where we can use our monetary clout. Build a stronger system by expanding it.
5. Keep Robbie Cano. Do whatever it takes. If the Yankees are outspent by another team for their best player, it will be catastrophic to the Yankee zeitgeist. Listen: I hate it when Robbie jogs to first - hate it, hate it, hate it. But he is a great Yankee, a great player, and if we lose him because some other team values him more than we do... well, there could be no excuse for that. Give him one of those creative contracts outlined in No. 2. But keep him.
6. This may be toughest for you. Somebody has to go. If you don't have the belly to fire a friend, then kick him upstairs and pay him to whittle. I don't care. But the Yankees need fresh eyes and a new perspective - some whip-smart baseball man from another organization. We don't need a bloodletting. We don't need carcasses in the cooler. But we need a new outlook on our scouting and development systems. And if Mark Newman and Damon Oppenheimer feel threatened by another executive, well, show them a picture of Andrew Brackman. If you don't know who hasn't done his job, maybe the person who needs to go is you.
7. Yes, sir. That's the final truth. This is your team, your legacy, your name. It is not Daddy's club any more. Either build it, or sell the damn thing to someone who can. There are golf courses to play and exotic dance clubs to visit. Have you tried Molly? Sir, the Yankiverse is troubled. We are a few games above mediocre, and the Boston Redsocks are about to become World Champions. Today, we either start fixing things... or that hot seat is going to get a lot hotter.
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Listen: It would be nice to have a catcher who hits 20 HRs. We know this, because two years ago, we had one: Russell Martin. Remember him? We let him walk. Too pricy. We went 2013 using a career backup catcher and a Job Corps trainee. And we paid the price. We don't want to do it again. I get that.
But lately, the Yankiverse seems to be advancing the idea that we should get excited about our big possible free agent pickup this winter: Brian McCann, the 29 year old Atlanta catcher. We'd probably give him a five-year-deal, and we'd surrender our first-round draft pick - this at a time when MLB rules make draft picks paramount to a team's long term success.
Do they think we are stupid? This is the guy for which we would dump the future?
So - if McCann drops to - say - 17 HR and .240, is he our DH? Because the Redsocks' DH is 30 and .310. Do we need another DH who bats 7th?
What happens after two years, when we have him for three more? This is a catcher entering the breakdown phase of his career. Does he move to first? By then, I suppose we will have traded Austin Romine and maybe JR Murphy? Do we want another Austin Jackson out there? Because Romine improved greatly last season. He might have been the only Yankee rookie with a future. JR Murphy made great strides. So now, they would be trade bait? And would we be trading at the height of their value? Or would it be simply to clear them out?
Listen: This would be the kind of signing Pittsburgh made over the last 15 years. (Lyle Overbay, Jason Bay, etc.) Yeah, it would be nice to have a catcher who hits 20 HRs. But Cervelli, if we stick with him, could hit 6 to 10. And Romine could do 5. That's 11-15. So the grand total of this huge free agent deal would be - what - five HRs?
Is this what will turn around the Yankees in 2014? Dear God, we are so screwed. Soylent Green is people, everybody! Soylent Green is people!