Tuesday, December 3, 2013

In annual rite of winter, Yankees sign Russ Canzler

As a public display of panic, the Yankees last January signed veteran minor league lugnut Russ Canzler off waivers. A month later, as a show of uncertainty, they put him on waivers and lost him to Baltimore, who later dealt him to Chicago. (I don't think they ever took his picture in a Yankee hat.) It was a re-enactment of the ceremonial passing of Calvin Trillin's famous holiday fruitcake.

Yesterday, the Yankees again signed Canzler, a 27-year-old firstbaseman and outfielder, this time to a minor league contract.

If he stays in the Yankee system - and Canzler would be the first person to tell you nothing is certain about that - Russ this summer will probably patrol a corner OF spot in the hills of Moosic, Pa., not far from his birthplace of Hazelton. Good grief, if he wants, he can probably sleep in his old bed.

It's tempting to joke about players like Canzler, but they epitomize the frustration we all feel at times. You watch them tear up Triple A, but they never even get 100 at bats in the majors, because somebody somewhere decided there was a hitch in the swing, or a bulbous gonad, or hammerhead toes, or something. It's the same arbitrary decision that sentences worthy actors, musicians and artists to lives of waiting on tables, while others become stars.

Remember Thomas Neal last April? In Scranton, he was Mr. Baseball, among the league leaders in practically every offensive category - and this, after having an impressive spring training and being one of the last Yankees cut. We called him up for 4 games - four. He received 11 at bats. He got two hits and a walk. (His on-base percentage still beats Ichiro's.) Then he was gone - poof - gone. The Cubs picked him up, and he received 4 at bats. Four.

So if you're dumb enough to waste your time following the Yankee farm system, get used to seeing Canzler's name in the box scores, hitting home runs that will never lead to anything, sparking rallies that will never rescue him from Scranton.

And if something happens, if the fates line up and Russ Canzler gets the call, know that his only hope will be to go 10 for 10, with maybe 4 home runs. Otherwise, he'll be back to sleeping in his old bed.


Sayonara Kid said...

HazLEton! HazLEton! Birthplace of Jack Palance! Hometown of Rudy Giuliani's mistress... er, wife. We defy your common sense spelling of our name.

John M said...

What, you're supposed to cap the L and E? (nyuck nyuck)

Furthermore, I had no idea that Jack Palance was Rudy Giuliani's mistress. They really kept that relationship under wraps. There weren't even any rumors like there were about Koch. Or Bloomberg. And Rudy was the only one of the three to wear a dress on occasion.

Meanwhile, I have a bone to pick with IIH readers. Billy Joel? Really? I mean, I hate that Jay Z piece of crap as much or more as the next guy, but Billy 'It's Not Really Rock, It's More Like a Show Tune' Joel? Agreed, one of his better songs, but no less annoying that anything else The Dwarf has put out over the years. It was always just easy listening for people too cool to listen to their parents' easy listening LPs, which were superior simply because The Dwarf never made one of his usual cloying, hopelessly square appearance on any of them.

Jesus, I thought people around here had more grit and imagination. And better musical taste.

Regarding the poll, KD said...

We don’t always get Sinatra’s “New York, New York”. Sometimes we get the original Lisa Minnelli version, but those games are almost always loses as I recall.

John M said...

That is true. An underrated flick, albeit uneven. Liza did a good job on her tunes, though.