Super Poll: Which is the better management team?

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Robbie Cano jogs out a denial

How does that line go: A lie travels around the world before the truth puts its boots on... A lie travels around New York before the truth puts on a condom... A lie, o, forget it. You know how lies are...

Yesterday, Robbie Cano denied ever asking the Yankees for $300 million - this, about a month after some franchise Edward Snowdon leaked just such a claim, allowing the Yankiverse to take batting practice on its star player for a solid November.

Even now, it's hard to resist bashing Robbie: I figure he must have thought it was a grounder to the secondbaseman, and he saw no reason to hurry.

But let's face it: Robbie is surely telling the truth: He personally never asked the Yankees for $300 million. That's why you have agents. Still, Mr. Cano has a public relations problem on his hands, and if he signs with the Rangers or anybody that doesn't dress players in pinstripes, he could become in New York City what A-Rod is to Seattle: The personification of pure evil.

If a star leaves New York - and who could deny Robbie for chasing the biggest payday of his life - it will inspire five boroughs worth of negative juju. Cano would become the shorthand definition for greed, and every sports pundit in NYC would know that, when you dish on Robbie, you receive a free pass. Nobody would defend him. (I certainly wouldn't. I've got a Robbie Cano voodoo doll hanging downstairs in my torture chamber, waiting for the announcement.) Let's hope this deal gets done soon, before somebody says something stupid, and the marriage cannot be saved.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Get Used To History

El Duque's visuals from days of yore have enhanced all of our thanksgiving feasts I particularly liked game 7 of the 1962 World Series. We will all have to spend more time ruffling through such archives in the years to come, so we do not entirely forget what it is like to watch the Yankees win something of meaning. Now that we have signed a .210 hitting, 34 year old shortstop whom none of us had ever heard of prior to the 2013 season, the stage is pretty much set for 2014. We have set the bar really low for Derek. We are likely to miss every playoff option until someone from Qatar buys the team, and replaces all the old furniture now running the team.

Happy shoppers flocking to malls


YANKSGIVING FIGHT WEEKEND CONTINUES: Who needs football? The greatest battle of all! Hey Don Zimmer, wouldn't you like a piece of that punk, Pedro?

New Thanksgiving Weekend Tradition: Things I HATE

Fake rock crowds at football halftime shows.

In other words, I hate Super Bowl shows and nationally televised home games of the Dallas Cowboys.

Listen: I don't mind the fact that the NFL hires flavor-of-the-week actss - the latest boy or girl band, performing songs more homogenized than baby formula. I accept the crass, ruthlessness of bottom-feeding TV ratings-boosters. There is no sense opposing the proliferation of the Selena Gomezes and the One Directions.  That ship sailed.

But I hate the fake crowds used by the NFL to mask the reality that nobody in a stadium gives a rat's ass about the half-time show, because it's entirely aimed at the TV viewing audience. Long ago, they realized that sticking a band on a stage in the middle of a football field looks stupid and inconsequential. So they round up a bunch of human sheep to jog onto the field and pretend to be an actual rock crowd.

If these fake people had any integrity, they would run to the center of the field, and then sit to protest the fake show, on behalf of their 60,000 brothers and sisters in the stands. These people paid good money to be pissed upon by a league more concerned about its image than its fans. But the toads press up against the stage and wave their hands in collaboration with the band, making it seem intimate, as long as the right camera angles are used.

The announcers pretend to be excited, the crowd pretends to be excited, and everybody at home is making sandwiches in the kitchen. So the Big Lie - that anybody cares about this crapola - just keeps going.

YANKSGIVING WEEKEND CONTINUES: We don't need the NFL for violence. Hey, Tino, let's fight the Orioles!

Black Friday guide to Yankee bargains

Already, fights are breaking out everywhere, as general managers jostle to stock their inventories with discount Yankee talent. Some of the deals being offered this holiday weekend:

Joba Chamberlain Rolley-Polley: This wind-up stuffed animal can whip a ping pong ball 95 miles per hour. And who knows what Joba will do once his furry skin is free of Cleveland midge infestation. Now, 80 percent off the MLB qualifying offer! It's Joba the Hunt! Take him home! (Be sure to spray him, first!)

Phil Hughes Action Figure: Bend him, stretch him, start him, slap him in the bullpen. All this lifelike pitcher-bot needs is 50 feet of extra space in right field, something the previous owner simply could not deliver. Like Joba, he's only 26. Now, 60 percent off. He's a steal!

Austin Romine/Frankie Cervelli back-up doorstop: Scrunch them into place behind the plate, and you've got 60 games of MLB catcher coverage. High potential at low cost. Hey, got a broken-down player taking space on your roster? Make an offer! One of these must go!

Gary Sanchez Mystery Globe: He's the best Yankee prospect since Jesus, which means: HE'S YOURS FOR THE TAKING! It's been a while since the team dealt away a future star, and they're eager to make up for lost time. They don't need any more catchers. Rick Rhoden? Ken Phelps? We've got a deal. Turn him over and see what the future brings: "SIGNS POINT TO YES."

What was Hal Steinbrenner doing at the Macy's Parade?


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

ON YANKSGIVING EVE: As we prepare for our football violence fix, let's go back in time to an IIT IS HIGH GOLDEN OLDIE: Remembering why we fight


Red Sox complicity in U.S. torture flights

They feed their own fans prison food

They're worse racists than Joe Torre

Mientkiewicz

Their groundskeepers

Sheff

Varitek kept his mask on

Schilling put ketchup on his sock and told us it was blood

Guest editorial: "The owners of the Yankees are wanna be CPA’s, while the General Manager is suffering a mid-life crisis."

From IIH reader Absolom Bracer
Originally written Sept. 23 on his blog:

When we are winning, we think it will last forever. This time and in this place, we have discovered the secret of unending success. The price of our home will keep going up. Our stock portfolio will continue to appreciate. Our company will continue to grow. Our baseball team will keep winning their division.
 We are vaguely aware of storm clouds, but all we see is the shining sun. But then reality intrudes. Things start to go wrong. We rationalize. We make excuses that it is just a hiccup or a series of coincidences. Next year we will win again. We will go all the way.
 Yesterday afternoon, I looked into the abyss. In that black void, I saw all my rationalization and excuses for what they are. I saw no bright tomorrows, only years of futility. I saw the wilderness, a land bleak and barren where only the hopeless and defeated live. It is a land without hope, only a weary journey from one pointless year to the next.
 Yesterday afternoon, I watched a special day in Yankee Stadium. It was a day of goodbyes and sweet memories, punctuated by bitter realization of what the future holds. Andy Pettitte, the winner of so many “must win” games, started his last baseball game in the confines of Yankee Stadium. Next week he will be retired. The stadium was sold out because it had been designated Mariano Rivera Day. Mariano Rivera, the legendary Yankee pitcher, will disappear into retirement next Sunday as well.

 The two men were brought up as rookies to join the team in 1995 and have been integral to its success ever since. The Yankees have been winners since 1995. They have won 5 World Series as well as have been in the playoffs every year but one. Now at the end of this remarkable run of success, the baseball world has looked back and begun to speak of the Core Five, the players who were at the center of this success. The Core Five; Bernie Williams in center field, Jorge Posada at catcher, Derek Jeter a future Hall of Famer at shortstop, Andy Pettitte the starting pitcher and Mariano Rivera the greatest closer of all time.

 Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada departed in recent times past. Now we will be without Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte. Only Derek Jeter is left, but only the hollow shell of Derek Jeter remains. Watching Derek flail at routine grounders is painful in the extreme. It calls to mind my memories of a sad sad picture, some forty years past, of the incomparable Mickey Mantle trudging back to the dugout, with head bowed and shoulders slumped, after helplessly swinging at three straight fastballs. Time robs all of us, none escapes, not even baseball players. Blessed is he who retires before the embarrassment that is our decline robs us of all dignity.

 For those who follow sports, or for that matter, life itself, there is no surprise in the ravages of time. We understand the truth of the cry at an English King’s coronation, “The King is dead. Long live the King”. We will be replaced by another; one younger, faster, better. The Yankees will go on next year without Mariano and Andy. They will go on even after Derek Jeter accepts the truth and goes into that dark night of retirement. I will miss them greatly, but the absence of the Core Five is not the reason for my distress. I mourn their passing, but there have been many great players on the team over the past 18 years.

 But today I look into the future and see the wilderness. The winds blow, the coyotes howl and the scorpions hide in the rocks. In my despair, I imagine myself a Roman legionary standing watch on the snow-covered walls of Cologne in the Year 404 AD. As I look over the lights of the town below, I see the dark masses of German barbarians crossing the frozen Rhine River. The lights are going out, and it will be a long time before they return.

 I can no more renounce my love of the Yankees than I can stop breathing. They are my team and will remain my team. But I have no faith in the ownership or leadership of the team. The glory and the power that was the Yankees of the past 18 years was the work of leaders who have departed and are gone. The final faint echoes of the masterpiece they created were briefly visible for the last time yesterday.

 We who love the team are left with it in the hands of small men trying to fill the shoes of a giant. They are men with minds and instincts attuned to cutting costs and increasing revenue. Bequeathed by fate with a larger than life franchise, they have gone to Harvard Business School and are eager to run this team like a “business”. Never mind that their father, the greatly reviled and laughed at George Steinbrenner, bought a team now valued at $2.3 billion for only $10 million forty years ago.

The Yankees must compete in a division against two of the most well managed teams in baseball, the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays. The owners of the Yankees are wanna be CPA’s, while the General Manager is suffering a mid-life crisis. His only apparent talent appears to be finding bargains on Craigslist. The ability of their player development system to either find talent, or develop it, based on the evidence is non-existent. Their on-the-field manager, Joe Girardi, is a man of integrity and class, but we know the fate of managers condemned to endless losing seasons.

 Indeed, it is the wilderness that awaits us. In the dark years of losing seasons ahead we will remember the glow of 1996 when the years of plenty stretched into the future. The Old Testament reminds us that the wilderness is a place for spiritual renewal. The wilderness is a place to cast off the vanities and affectations of success and return to the humble virtues for an eventual return to prosperity. I only hope that we, unlike Moses and the refugees from Egypt, need not wander there for forty years before we are once more worthy to look forward to baseball in October.


(We are taking guest editorial submissions: Write me at hseely@twcny.rr.com)   

Master communicator Bud Selig tells the A-Rod story through sign language

One of the little known talents of Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is his genius for telling a story with his hands. Yes, his hands.

 "Once upon a time, there was one player..."


"He was very stubborn...

"When told the rules, he pretended not to hear...

"He turned a blind-eye to his king,
the Commissioner...

"When asked if he broke the rules,
he replied, 'Who? Me?'

 
"The king told this man, 'YOU MUST STOP!'...


"But the man, who called himself A-Rod,
said, 'Feh! Harumph! Pah.!'

 "You wanna piece a me? Come on, king..."


The King said to his court, 'We shall pray for the truth.'

"But they did not hear him properly...

"They thought he said, 'We shall PAY for the truth.'

"The King said, 'Wowzer!'


"He said, 'Somebody must grab this man, A-Rod, by the neck...'

"... And then plug him in the head!"

"And so A-Rod was put horizontal...

"The stench that permeated the kingdom went away...

"And the king went out and got really, really stoned!"

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

To become the all-time greatest Yankee "Brian," Brian McCann must out-do the man who signed him

Current All-Time Yankee Brians

1. Cashman
2. Doyle
3. McCann
4. Fisher
5. Boehringer
6. Butterfield
7. Bruney
8. Dayett
9. Dorsett
10. Little

(Honorary Mention: Due to "e" spelling and career achievements in bar-fights and crime: Taylor)

"I've often wondered how a man who knew he was going to die could stand here and say he was the luckiest man in the world." Mickey Mantle Day 1969

 

Mel Allen starts it off. Pat Summerall holds back tears. Twelve teammates are introduced from 12 American League pennant-winning teams. Joe Collins, Gene Woodling, Gil McDougal, Eddie Lopat, Elston Howard, Tom Tresh, Joe Pepitone, Bobby Richardson, Whitey Ford, Jerry Coleman and a fellow named Rizzuto.

Mel Allen introduces Mickey to an ovation that lasts a remarkable 9 minutes and has to be cut off at some point, awkwardly. Mickey rides around the field in a pinstriped golf cart. 

"Playing 18 years in Yankee Stadium in front of you folks is the best thing that could ever happen to a ballplayer," Mickey says."I've often wondered how a man who knew he was going to die could stand here and say he was the luckiest man in the world. But now I think I know how Lou Gehrig felt."

Guest Editorial Rebuttal: "Yes, the Yankees as an organization are jerks.. (but) we have nothing to be sorry or humble about."

Yesterday, Rose City Wobbly wrote about what the Yankees need to do to become the Yankees again, such as end the facial ban, drop Frank Sinatra from the post-game playlist, and apologize for past hubris.This inspired more guest editorials, which we will bring to you each day. For starters, this rebuttal, from the noted IIH theorist and clinician John M:

Boston is a small town that thinks it's a major city. It has a permanent, and well deserved, inferiority complex, compounded in baseball by the long drought between 1918 and events of the past decade. The large L lingers on their collective forehead.

Yes, the Yankees as an organization are jerks, because they're arrogant and have incredibly high expectations, always. While Boston, I think, still expects to lose somehow which, given their history, is not an irrational thought. They are so grateful for winning and hate-spewing in defeat, whereas we can be gracious in defeat because we have known so much winning, and know it will come again soon.

The facial hair thing has become an absurd piece of Oscar Mayer bologna. I would take any bet that as many or more people find the latest player beards and such to be grotesque and disgusting as there are people who genuinely like them. They visually distract from the game and the classic geometries of it.

The Yankees, true to their history, are 'The Corporation.' (Whitey was not called Chairman of the Board by accident.) They are businesslike, and try to look professional even when they suck. I define professional as equating to what white-collar professionals in every walk of life look like. And that's shaven.

Personally, I think the players and others with the lumberjack beards look like goofballs, and I grew up in hippie times and was a semi-hippy myself (with a variety of facial hair over time). They cut even less fine a figure than the Latino players who followed the craze of wearing women's jewelry (oh, yeah, you're very macho...schmuck).

I'm not sure what 'blaming the Gammonites' actually means. Media coverage is slanted, the Yankees are criticized and vilified for the same behavior that goes on with other teams' players (your positively-drug-tested-but-with-results-swept-under-the-rug player(s) here), basically because they DON'T have humility, DON'T accept losing very well and expect high performance even when the front office is making it next to impossible.

None of this should change. We go through our periods of drought, but instead of whining and complaining that LA or Texas or Boston is outspending us and it's just not fair (wahhh), we carp like crazy amongst ourselves and criticize our own failings. Let's stick with that, also.

Americans do love those who show contrition, but what do we have to be contrite about except not having a great team? Are we supposed to go on TV and cry about how badly we blew 2013 and say we completely messed up? What the hell is that? Screw it. Let Boston play that manipulative p.r. game if they want, I'll take the resentment of other teams' fans, thank you very much. Like a single mom with an illegitimate child in the Bible belt, we have nothing to be sorry or humble about in front of a bunch of hypocrites and poorly educated religious zealots.

The way I see it, we don't have a problem, past our own periods of incompetence. The rest of the country, the MLB brass, ESPN, the A-Rod haters, the daytime talk show weepers and those who give children trophies just for showing up have the problem.

The reason the Red Sox and Yankees are viewed so differently is that the Yankees set a bar much higher than 99% of people set for themselves, and many of those people resent having their own low self-expectations and commensurate performance rubbed in their faces. The Red Sox were perennial losers for so long, the losers that make up much of the U.S. of A. could identify with them. And, much like blue-collar and trailer park Republicans buy the myth that they, too, can become millionaires in this great, free market country, now that the Sox are big-spending winners, that large steaming slice of America sees their own 'potential' being fulfilled vicariously.

I root for underdogs like a lot of people. The difference is, I root for underdogs like the Yankees, too--hated, despised, unforgiven, persecuted because they refuse to be a willing participant in the sloppy, stupid, self-indulgent mess that this nation has become.

Cue Frank. Neil Diamond has always sucked. Plus, 'New York, New York' is true, and the best and truest song ever written about Boston is 'Love That Dirty Water.' Which is the apex of what you can say about the place.

The Three Tribes of New York Sports Fans

This is excerpted from my book, "The Juju Rules, or How to Win Ballgames from Your Couch." (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

(Good grief, buy the damn thing! Or better: Give it to everybody you know as a Christmas gift!)

The New York baseball market is comprised of three angry tribes:
            YANKGERS: The dominant tribe, as of this writing. "Yankgers" is an acronym of Yankees-Giants-Knicks-Rangers – YGKRs – the city’s oldest teams. At any moment, the typical Yankger’s joyful recollection of Roger Clemens beaning Mike Piazza in the 2000 World Series might segue into a weeping appreciation of Lawrence Taylor, 15 years earlier, snapping Joe Theisman’s leg like a frozen curly fry.
This fervor stems from bloodlines. In many cases, the Yankees represent the first adopted team of their ancestors, immigrants who celebrated their new life in America by watching Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig kick the emerald green snot out of teams from fancy-pants places like Baltimore and Washington. Between 1927 and 1962, Yankee dynasties romanced New York’s Italian and Irish populations like a millionaire industrialist sending pricy chocolates to a stripper. The Yankees became the gateway drug to other New York franchises – starting with the football Giants.

Monday, November 25, 2013

IT IS HIGH GOLDEN OLDIE: A-Riddle

From 2007. The good old daze.

IT IS HIGH GOLDEN OLDIE: When the Mets choked...

Histories all time greatest collapses. (With some comments.)

Thanksgiving? Bah. I'm going to start a new tradition: THINGS I HATE!

1. Thursday Night Football on the NFL Channel.

Thursday Night Football isn't the only reason to hate the NFL. But it's the most karmic reason. Thursday Night Football is the most obvious, the most naked, form of fan extortion in professional sports. 

Every week, two cities are told to dig into their pockets and ante up to watch their teams play. Years ago, the NFL network forced its way into cable systems nationwide simply by threatening to withhold games from fans who love their teams. No lizard that ever walked the earth is as cold-blooded as the NFL human briefcases who came up with the idea. Why did they do this? Because the league wasn't raking in enough money. There will be a special dung heap in Hell for these guys. It would almost be worth it to be in Hell first, just to see the looks on their faces when they walk in the door.

Listen: I yowl about Bud Selig every day. Even when not ripping him on this blog, I am shrieking into the abyss about Bud the Rug. But in his most malevolent moments, Bud can't hold a sulfur-scented candle to the grubby, old-money, Viagra-sucking toads who run the NFL. In virtually everything they do - from  ignoring the use of steroids (350 pound guards? Come on!) to their longstanding denial of concussions (somebody should have gone to jail) - they set the gold standard for sports greed.

OK, I know what you're thinking: Who am I to pretend to have some grand moral platform beneath my feet? You're right. I just get angry when the Giants play Thursday night, and I can't watch. Well, this Thanksgiving, I am thankful that the Giants are out of it, so I don't have to worry about whether they'll be playing on Thursday night. Good riddance.

From the desert

I can't post pictures and I cannot correct typos or errors. The internet help here is confined to taping messages on coyote's backs, and hoping they make it to the edge of civilization, where some lovely garbage awaits. The McCann deal is stupid and wasteful. He will hit .230 in New York, and have 8 homers, before the injury bug strikes. So what? The Yankees are now publicly admitting that they were lying about their catching prospects, as well as everything else. We have seen all we are going to see of Romine, until he is traded to a team that will give him a shot. Murphy and Sanchez will be "developing" in the minors, for at least 5 more years. I pray ( in America, that means; "I'm wishing really hard and invoking ancient names while sending out my wish") we don't sign Cano. He deserves better and, given our 10 year outlook, so do we. The Yankees have already acknowledged that they are content with their current strategy; keep all the same coaches, the same player evaluators, the same "draft" team, the same clubhouse boys and the number of Brian's stalker. So we sign a 30 ( he is either almost 31 or someone has erred ) year old, mediocre player whom the Braves can replace with 10 better guys. Cashman can boast that this is the start, " of a youth movement ." Get ready to watch the paint dry. The Yankees don't have a. Lear thinker anywhere in the organization. No one who will admit: " The run is over. We are too old. We have failed to stockpile or develop talent. Everyone here now is responsible. Everyone must be fired, and we need to re-build. Over and out."

Guest Editorial: The Yankee turnaround must start with contrition

This from an old friend, "ROSE CITY WOBBLY."


"What I don’t get is the huge variation in the way people view the Red Sox, compared to the Yankees."  El Duque – 11/2/13



I’m a lifelong SF Giants fan (with nice scoreboards two out of the last four seasons.) And while I have been out in the Pacific Northwest for almost half my life, I grew up in Hartford, CT, mid-way between NYC and Boston. Yaz I didn’t get. So on the regional question of Yanks V. Sox, I leaned hard to the South down I-95 and the mediocre Yankee teams of the 70’s and 80’s. 

On June 8, 1969, the day they retired “7,” I teared-up watching Mickey circling the field twice, in what I remember as a T-bird Convertible. (I still have the program). And I joined 32,000 others at Fenway on a cold afternoon in April 1973 and watched Ron Blomberg draw a bases-loaded walk - the first DH in MLB history. (If the Yanks hadn’t scored 3 in the top of the first, the 1st DH in history would have been Orlando Cepeda; Stottlemeyer got hammered, and “El Tiante” survived that three-run first to throw a complete game victory). In 1989 I cooled to the team after George gave Roy White's number “6” to Steve Sax - freaking Steve Sax  - two years after Steinbrenner fired White from his coaching staff.  Stay classy, George...

Let’s begin by paying tribute to a piece of Americana: The 1950’s “Faustian” musical "Damn Yankees,” whose plot line included the sale of a soul, and the drama of "the Washington Senators possibly losing the pennant on the last day of the season, resulting in thousands of heart attacks, nervous breakdowns and suicides of Yankee-haters across the country,” as summarized by Wikipedia.  Prior to that, in 1919 the “Curse of the Bambino” began, with the sale of Babe Ruth to the Yankees. This ushered in the Red Sox' pitiful story. Was it 1919 when the chant was launched?  The inanity of folks screaming “YANKEES SUCK” for nine innings is plenty pitiful, too.



So what else is going on here between the Sox and Yanks, between BOS and NYC?

1) For me, it starts with an urban-rural dichotomy. Boston is believed to be the bucolic little city – a bunch of small white puritanical towns amalgamated into one - while New York’s five boroughs are the epicenter of American density. I lived in Boston for four years in the 1980’s. The reality: There were no differences in water quality between the Charles River/Boston Harbor and the waterways around NYC. You’d never know it by the ways the two environments were depicted.

With that urban-rural perspective, New York must continually fend off the rest of this nation’s xenophobia, racism and anti-Semitism.  From being Jessie’s “Hymietown,” to the media uproar and idiocy of the Tawana Brawley/Sharpton drama; the supposed swelling communities of mostly non-white immigrants; the incompetence in quelling crime until Sherriff Guiliani came to town; and more recently, the greed and excess of Wall Street and the behaviors of Spitzers, Weiners and Pattersons….

From afar, NYC appears as a badly-assembled gargantuan circus with little community and warring class, and racial factions at odds.  But NYers know – as exemplified by the de Blasio victory earlier this month – that the Big Apple is dealing with urban woes better than any other place on the planet.

Juxtaposed, Boston lives on as small city parochial and homespun with the 19th century naturalist Thoreau, Emerson and the like - at least that's how the elites and their media describe it. Boston has become a “big-money and big-spending sports-town,” cloaked in the idyllic New England mythology, with its cute-colonial revolutionary war stories around every corner. Fenway Park is very cool and its history very real. But the other reality of class and racial segregation in Boston and the Red Sox franchise - is glossed over.

2)The Yankee franchise appeared first out of the box on “spending whatever it took to win.” Sure, the farm system produced Bernie, Andy; Jorge, Mo and Jeter - anchoring possibly the greatest team in baseball history,the 1998 Yankees. But the excessive free agent signings that began in 1974 with Catfish Hunter and evolved into Kevin Brown, Gary Sheffield, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens and A-Rod, and the current Teixeira and Sabathia – has been a mixed bag success and a p.r. nightmare.  Boston - as well as the Rangers, Dodgers, my Giants and Mets - have followed suit.But the Yankees were first and best to “Go bank,” to set the gold standard and wear that mantle of the Evil Empire.

3) Finally and most importantly – Yankee Hubris. Yeah we get it: You win, you are the “Damn Yankees.” You have 27 freaking World Series Championships. “Beat that Boston, LA, Chicago, St Louis, San Francisco!”  Well when any underdog takes on Goliath the rest of the world cheers.  But other things bug us, too:

a)     The Stadium Theme song “New York, New York” is a narcissistic treatise that begs for outsider disdain.  Find a new act. Frank is long dead … how ‘bout "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z? 
b)    Facial Hair Martial Law … it’s the 21st century folks.  Get over it.  Show a human face … in more ways than one.

c)     Stop being the victim and blaming ESPN and the Gammonites.  Sure Bristol, CT, is just down the road from Boston, and they like to dig at NY. C'mon, you would, too. 

d)    Humility. Grow some.  Have the Yankees ever said they were wrong, apologized and thrown their souls open to the fan base? Have they ever said, "OK we screwed up?" The Red Sox looked and felt human this season, but the Yankees still feel Madison Avenue-fake, like Botox and reality TV - behind a facade of corporate uncaring and dispassion. 

Coming two years on the heels of what went wrong in Boston with the beer/chicken and the firing of a beloved skipper; the hiring of that train wreck/a-hole named Valentine (CT guy, BTW)... the Sox cut bait and re-invented themselves -with humility. They got right so quickly and were amazingly rewarded by catching lightening in a bottle this season.  My favorite lefty sportswriter Dave Zirin wrote:  “Boston Red Sox Party like its1918 and my hate is on hold.” Click on it.

Americans love folks who show contrition – and the Yankee Brass as you highlight so well at IIHIIFIIC – show none.  If the Steinbrothers and Cashman tell us they screwed up, the rest of the world may be able to get with them. Eventually.


But hey, rejoice! Saturday, you spent $85 Million over the next 5 years for a serviceable catcher – with a fully vested no-trade clause. Crazy times. Good luck corralling “Cano-doncha-know.” And have a great holiday season.
 

Sincerely,



Rose City Wobbly

11/23/13 
 
(Note: If you want to submit guest editorials, well, WHY THE HELL NOT? Contact me at hseely@twcny.rr.com)

Do the Yankees have a long range plan, and if so, will somebody please explain it?

For a moment, let's imagine ourselves to be Yankee GM Brian "Ripcord" Cashman. He has the best and worst job in baseball: The best, because he gets to run America's most successful pro sports franchise; the worst, because he's expected to win every year, and anything less is viewed as a miserable, loss-of-manhood failure.

So, today, first and foremost, Ripcord understands that, if the Yankees fail to make the 2014 post-season, he might not be celebrating next Thanksgiving as the team's GM. (Note: It's possible that a personal level, he feels quite secure with Hal Steinbrenner. But there IS that Steinbrennerian firing gene, the family's genetic trait, which was designed by God's evolutionary plan to keep the servants from ever feeling secure.) So... let's throw a wrinkle into this scenario: Let's say you are supposed to win next year - and develop a long term Yankee strategy.

This weekend, we signed Russell Martin - whoops, sorry about that - Brian McCann.  (Russell Martin would have been last year's long range strategy, but the Yankees let him go, because Hal had a long range strategy - reaching the $189 million payroll.)

In fact, hitting the $189 budget number IS the current Yankees' long term plan. If we stay below it this year, we can proudly say that the rancid 2013 season was sacrificed for a worthy cause: We'll be able to shoot the moon next winter on whatever free agents are available, in an ever-shrinking base of players.

Under our long term plan, McCann, age 30, will catch this year and next, and then morph gradually into a 1B and DH. Trouble is, he might be substandard at both positions. We don't know. Let's just say in three years, this contract might be viewed in Vernon Wells territory.

Also, by signing McCann, we lost our first-round draft pick - which is central to every other team's long-term strategy. Who cares, eh? We haven't had much luck with first-rounders, anyway, right? So... we have hereby solved our catching situation, and figured out our future 1B and DH - sort of.

So... is there any position on the Yankees right now with a long-term strategy clearly in place?

Show of hands, please. Class? Anybody?  You there, in the back, wearing the Jay Buhner t-shirt!

Yes, there is Brett Gardner in CF and - um - David Robertson somewhere in the bullpen and - well - maybe Ivan Nova as our second or third starter. For 2016, everything else is a complete mystery. We have no can't-miss prospects in the pipeline, no twentysomething star on the roster. (Somebody might blossom, but we just don't have them now.) And looming over every decision is that $189 million payroll.

Next month, if A-Rod gets booted from the game, we might outbid the Angels and Rangers for Robbie Cano and stay under budget. If not, it's probably either Robbie or the $189 figure. As for 2B? If Robbie goes, God only knows! There is the Japanese pitcher Tanaka, who might be posted around Christmas. We can shoot fire hoses of money his way. But if the Dodgers want him more... If Robbie goes, who's got the bigger hose? Carlos Beltran? Ha. You make me laugh. Raul Ibanez? I speet on you. Jeter? In 2016, instead of dating supermodels each night, he's going to be hanging with Michael Kay on YES. 

Over the next month, the Yankees will make moves that define not only next year's team, but the next five years. If the New York press won't hold them accountable for that long range plan, the Yankee fan base has to do it.

The rules of baseball have changed. MLB is moving toward an NFL-like parity. Two years ago, Boston made a master stroke in building for the future. They are now the world champions. What the hell is our long term strategy? And if it is, "To win every year," God help us.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The propaganda mill revs up


So much for the Jersey Giants

Why did I do this, why did I fall for it... actually thinking the Giants might come back and make the playoffs? Why, why, WHY?

I can tell you right now that I hate the New York Giants. Yes, "hate" is a strong word. It's a terrible word. Nobody likes "hate." Nobody likes haters. But me... I hate that team.  I am a poor sport. I should be booted from the fan base, driven from the league.

I want the Giants to lose. The rest of the way... nothing but losses. I want blowouts. I want the team gone from my life. I want the best draft pick. That's all. This is what the NFL - with all its parity - does to fans. Once you're out of it, you go for the draft pick.  There is no other way to improve. And this is why it's really going to suck when baseball becomes the NFL.

Wait a minute. I am going to do some research on wins and schedules.

OK, I am back.

To get the best draft pick, the Giants need to run the table - LOSE THEM ALL - and go 4 and 12. We probably won't get No. 1. Here's the current Leader Board:

Jacksonville, Houston, Atlanta:  2 wins
Minnesota:  2 wins, 1 tie
Tampa, Washington:  3 wins
Buffalo, Oakland, Cleveland, GIANTS: 4 wins

If the Giants lose them all, they would lose twice to Washington, eliminating that team. (I am boycotting the name of that racist piece of crap organization.) Washington  would have 5 wins.
 
Jacksonville plays Houston. Somebody has to win. They also play Cleveland and Buffalo - two potential wins. They're out.
 
Minnesota will be tough to out-lose. It hurts that they tied Green Bay today. We needed them to win that game.
 
Forget Buffalo. They'll win five. They play Tampa, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Miami and New England. 
 
Tampa might not win another game.
 
Houston plays Jacksonville. After that, they'll lose them all.
 
Atlanta plays Buffalo and Washington. Damn.
 
IF THE GIANTS DO THE HONEST THING AND LOSE THE REST OF THEIR GAMES, here is the season ending hopeful projection.
 
1. Houston: 2 wins
2. Minnesota, 2 wins, 1 tie.
3. Jacksonville, Tampa and Atlanta 3 wins
6. GIANTS, Oakland (Raiders have tie-breaker) 
 
The Giants could draft 7th. 
 
Damn. Why did we have to face four teams in a row without starting quarterbacks? It's not fair. Minnesota almost beat the Giants, and they didn't even field a pro quarterback. Same with Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers' injury ruined our shot at the draft. 
 
What an awful time for New York sports. Thank God for Isiah Thomas. That wonderful man successfully weened me from the Knicks. How are they doing, anyway? I used to follow them.

To any Yankee fan who happens to read this post in the year 2018, we're sorry about the Brian McCann thing

OK, look: I'm not trying to be a downer. Really, I swear it. I understand that the Yankees had to do something, and signing a catcher is a worthy place to start.

I just wonder if a 5-year deal (with an option on six) for a 30-year-old catcher is a smart long-range strategy, and - frankly - if there will ever even be a long range strategy for the Yankees. It costs us our first round draft pick, and under the new rules, first-round picks are more important than ever. (Think: NFL.) Once again, the Yankees are paying for all the good years that a fellow had in another city. And once again, we're about to give up on our own young players, rather than watch them evolve into major leaguers.

Do the math: Cashman must now trade either Frankie Cervelli, Austin Romine or JR Murphy. It will probably be Romine, a serviceable young catcher who improved dramatically last season after a terrible start. Nevertheless, we will deal him at the low-point of his value. Whatever good years Romine has - I think he'll be a decent starting catcher - they will happen in another city. And I'm sorry, but there is plenty of historical evidence to suggest that we will not get fair value in the trade.

Like crack addicts, the Yankees are going straight to the pipe - looking for a quick high in 2014. Brian McCann is a lugnut, a good catcher, no doubt. But he caught only 102 games last year, hit only 20 home runs. The Yankees cheerleaders today are saying he'll hit 30 in Yankee Stadium. Oh? Since when does a team get to project such an improvement in a player coming to New York? Quite often, the arrival in Gotham means a tough first year, the hassles of transition. But not with this Yankee courtier crowd. 

If you want to be on Brian Cashman's Christmas list, this is a slam dunk. (Except for Joel Sherman, who in my mind is head-and-shoulders above the rest in critical thinking and guts.) Clip and save this, because if McCann tanks - they will all later claim to have had reservations about the signing. Here's what they are saying:

John Harper, Daily News: "... from a Yankee perspective, there's nothing not to like about the deal."

Newsday: "He handled their young pitching staff really well," one Yankees insider said of McCann's work with the Braves. "I like his makeup, the way he carries himself."


New York Times: "A left-handed hitter with pull power, McCann should be a perfect fit for Yankee Stadium, with its short right-field fence. He is also considered a team leader with excellent credentials for handling and sticking up for his pitchers." 

Keith Law, ESPN: "The New York Yankees' move to sign Brian McCann to a five-year, $85 million contract might be the easiest, best upgrade any contender could make this offseason."

Again, sorry about being a downer. And this is clearly the first move in a giant overhaul. But the direction the Yankees are going has now been outlined: 
We grabbed the crack pipe, and we're about light a match. You future Yankee fans, now reading this in the year 2018, I apologize on behalf of this administration. I just hope that by then, we'll have learned something.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Brian McCann is ours for five years, at $85 million and our first draft pick

He'll be 35 in his final year.  They're saying in 2016, he'll replace Tex at 1B.

Last season, his numbers basically were those of Lyle Overbay. (14 HR, 59 RBI, .240)

As of today, the Yankees will draft behind Boston next June. They have forfeited their first round pick. They would receive sandwich picks if other teams sign Curtis Granderson, Robbie Cano and/or Hiroki Kuroda. If Kuroda goes back to Japan, they will receive nothing.

Buy and eat Big Papi's beard

It's a charity thing. The beard and the razor.
I'd smart-mouth about this,
But as a beaten Yankee fans, there is nothing to say.

The elephant in the room, or at least, the infield

At this point, I guess the metaphor should not be an elephant, but a dead horse... as in, why beat one?

Altogether now: "A horse is a horse, a corpse, of course, and we shouldn't beat on its corpse, of course, that is of course, unless the corpse is the famous Mr. Jeet." (Yeah, it's Saturday morning.)

We keep hearing how the Yankees need to find a thirdbaseman to fill the void known as A-Rod, which will exist for most, if not all, of 2014. Last year, we tried Kevin Youkilis - whose name is now whispered with the same cringe-worthy effect of Lord Voldemort. The Russians didn't delete references to Joseph Stalin faster than the Yankees erased Youk.

So now, we ponder trading for a 3B - deals that would drain our farm system from its current "EMPTY" to a blinking red light on the dash. We could not afford David Freese. We cannot afford Chase Headley. Dammit, we cannot afford anybody worth affording. We have no extra trade chips, and if we bundle prospects, we could get fleeced in the magnitude of Doug Drabek, Willie McGee, Fred McGriff, Jay Buhner - those Yankee icons of the 1980s. We need somebody to step forward and fill in the holes, and we have one of the greatest team leaders in history, who is attempting to play a position that will almost surely destroy his 39-year-old legs.

I'm talking about Jeter at SS. It amazes me that we discuss signing Johnny Peralta and moving him to 3B. Why? Are we're frightened of offending Jeter? It amazes me that, while we cut the payroll, ownership dropped an extra $2 million on Jeter, like tipping a pretty waitress in a diner. Why? Were we are frightened of Jeter? Good grief, he's one of the great Yankees of all time: He has to see the needs of this team. Somebody has to sit down with him and say what's obvious: It's time to move to 3B. Cal Ripken did it. Barry Larkin did it. Practically every great shortstop, at the end of his career, moved to a less stressful position - not to be shirkers, but for the good of their teams.

Yet that's off the table in New York, isn't it? Yep. Nobody will think about it, much less mention it. Instead, we will trade whatever we have in our system for some overpriced 3B, who might be a redundancy when A-Rod returns - and it's all because we have one iron rule going into 2014 - Derek Jeter is the Yankees SS until his ankles break or his quads snap like Hershey bars. Then Brendan Ryan will field the position and bat .175.

It's hardly a perfect scenario, but if A-Rod gets 100 games or more, what if we tried this:  Jeter moves to 3B in spring training. We find a shortstop, Jason Nix, or maybe that Japanese infielder we accidentally won in posting last winter, but were too cheap to negotiate with. Or we stick with Ryan. We let Jeter play 3B, figuring the reduced stress on his body will allow him to play 80 to 100 games in the field. (Do we really think he can handle that load at SS? Because last year, we stupidly went into April, believing he would magically heal and be the Jeter of old.)

Yeah, there are a lot of plates spinning on a lot of sticks these days. Whenever a free agent's name pops up, the Yankees express interest - even when it makes no sense. (Kendry Morales? Gimmie a break.) We are willing to discuss anything. Why is moving Jeter to third so far far far off the table?

Friday, November 22, 2013

News from Yankee Country: Rick Springfield's magical butt


Scratch another trade option

Today, St. Louis traded David "Mister" Freese to the Angels for Peter "Gorgeous" Bourjos, ending a momentary twerk of speculation last week that Freese might replace A-Rod.

To get him, we would probably have had to trade Brett Gardner.  Pointless.

What is it they say... the best trades are the ones you never make?


IT IS HIGH GOLDEN OLDIE: We predicted Madonna would destroy the Yankees before she met A-Rod

We knew the threat but defensed the wrong target.

Holy Crap! The Giants play a meaningful game Sunday!

We interrupt the continuing deluge on the Yankee Fiasco News Network to bring you this bulletin:

The Yankee yang known as the New York Football Giants have won four straight games and - on the 50th anniversary of Dallas' signature link to human history - have a chance to stick it to the the Hunt brothers, the Koch brothers, the Bush brothers, the "Hell Yeah!" wing of Rick Perry's tailgate party and 130-pound Skeletor impersonator known as Jerry Jones... and do it a few weeks before Texas signs Robbie Cano.

Four in a row? The Gints? OK, we know what that means...

But frankly, I'll take anything that gets me out of another painful day of Yankees news. When the 2013 season ended, I wrongly assumed the worst had happened. For starters, I didn't see the Redsocks rolling to the World Championship. And when that finally played out, once again, I figured we had bottomed out.

Turns out, it was another trap floor. The A-Rod debacle will cruise into January, and no matter what happens, it'll be bad for us. By then, Robbie Cano may be pricing grassy knolls outside Dallas, and we'll be looking at a lineup of rehabbing oldsters, declining free agents and scrap heap mementos - and then next June, we'll draft behind Boston.

Yep, the Giants play Sunday. Lucy will tee it up. Dare we hope?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Then.. and now


104 wins

85 wins