Monday, September 30, 2013
Feel that wind! She's a blowin' toward '14! The Yanks should hire extra Kelly Girls this week, because the fans will be swarming for opening day tix! Yesterday, the Yankees stomped their cleated toes on the exposed neck of the wily Houston nine and said, "No-no-no, fearsome Texans, you won't spoil our quest for third! We're taking home our 84th win!"
And we did. Eighty-four wins. That's seven games above .500.
For the record, this is the Yankee starting lineup that Baseball Reference will forever show for this remarkable 2013 campaign. Gaze upon it. Reflect upon it. Make a printout, and carry it in your wallet. In tough times - say, you're stranded on a lifeboat in the ocean with a tiger - take it out and relive the Yankee '13 experience.
Wow. What's particularly impressive are the HR totals: Eliminate the $300 million Robbie Cano - surely on his way to mellow California - and our remaining Murdered Row collectively whacked 62 dingers - yes, playing in a bandbox. And look at the ages! Two guys under 30.
For the record, the Yankees this season were outscored by 35 runs. We were shutout 12 times. In the month of September, during our super Wild Card drive, we went 12-14 (including our meaningless sweep of Houston.)
We went 6-13 against the Redsocks, 7-12 against the Rays, and 0-4 against the Mets. That we're not playing in the post-season is no less than a mercy killing.
The Bronze Bombers. At least it's over. Now, the question is: Did our ownership learn anything?
Sunday, September 29, 2013
We all heard the warnings. We read the accounts. From River Ave to No Maas, the Prophets screamed how the Yankee polar ice caps were about to melt, and the team would be underwater. It did no good. It's already winter, and Thrill-Seeker Cashman finds himself clinging to the building without short or long-term prospects. If we load up on hamburger helper - Eric Bedard, come on down! - we could lose the draft picks that represent our best hope for 2017, after the asteroid.
But Andy and Mariano tipped their caps and left on their own terms, an honor few players receive. (Certainly, Redsocks don't - as Carlton, Wade, Roger, Josh and Johnny learned, and this future beloved, bearded cast of "Friends" will someday see.)
So here were are, staring out at the abyss.
How often next year, when we call upon Bingo Long and the Traveling All-Stars to pitch the ninth, will we think of Mariano?
How many times - when we're picking the salvage yards for Sidney Ponson - will we remember Andy?
R.I.P., Torre's Yankees.
Hello, Dellin Betances.
Saturday, September 28, 2013
rp Clay Rapada, Cleveland
Friday, September 27, 2013
So Robbie and his agent have opened the bidding at $310 million for 10 years.
Seems reasonable, right?
I mean, isn't everyone delighted with the way A-Rod's financials and contributions on the field have added to the Yankees' success?
Robbie is far more dependable than A-Rod, so this seems a no brainer.
Robbie will only be 40-41 when this new deal expires. And he is already a great role model for all our non-prospects ( and will be for legitimate prospects, should we ever have one ).
So I believe he and his agent are cheating themselves. Robbie may even want to change agents over this.
In fact, I think he should double down; $620 million for 20 years.
That way, an entire generation of Yankee fans can be confident that we will always have a star at second base.
And can you imagine the fire, the energy, and the hustle we'll get from Robbie once he knows $620 big ones are due him, regardless of performance?
As long as the Yankees don't have a debt limit, this is doable.
We can always ask Congress to help out if the financials get tricky.
Show us some courage, Robbie. Go for it.
Because you are worth it.
Mariano Rivera was every fans' dream.
A player who could come in, under the most pressing circumstances, and bail out the team. A person who could, and did, reliably save us from our own failings.
A man who could undo the mistakes and dangers the rest of us had created. Human errors and misplays which put at risk all we hoped to achieve. Mariano would flawlessly and magically put things right again for us.
Time and time again. We expected his perfection and, most incredibly, we almost always got it.
On the biggest stage of all our boyhood dreams. He would get the last out of the World Series.
We wake up this morning to the harsh reality that our dream has now ended.
We shall never again see such a player. Most of us, that is.
Forever forward, we will be biting our fingernails whenever there is a critical "save us" situation, and someone wearing pinstripes emerges from the bullpen.
It will be like throwing dice and hoping to hit a "7".
Our days of breathing easy are over.
How do we carry on?
Can you imagine?
He was called up from AA because back-up catcher Austin Romine got a season ending concussion.
The youngster starts last night's game because winning or losing meant nothing, and the Yankees want to watch him work at the major league level.
The Yankees know he isn't ready to hit major league pitching ( especially from a team competing for a wild card ), but this kind of experience is revealing and, if some positives emerge ( like throwing out a guy stealing second ), can be a confidence builder.
So Murphy, at age 22 ( the only young Yankee ) comes to the mound, as catchers always do, when Derek and Andy come out of the dugout to remove our greatest star, for the last time, at the stadium.
I believe the entire world was watching, cheering and crying.
If Murphy never makes it back to another major league game, he'll have been a part of one of the greatest, and most emotional, moments of Yankee history.
They say that baseball will do this for you. If you hang in there, one day your chance will come.
Murphy will never duplicate such a baseball moment. Not in Scranton and not in the Bronx.
Nor shall we life-long fans.
He has already realized his wildest childhood dream.
I just hope he doesn't know it yet.
Unfortunately for us, the fans, we do realize that our dream, our fairytale, has come to an end.
But it is a ride that only we have been able to take.
Manager Joe Maddon, in particular, had a stand-your-ground thing about the Yankees. He was a mini-Buck Showalter, because - let's face it: Other AL East teams want to mimic the Redsock marketing model: If you can't sell your team, just promote your hatred for the Yankees. The Rays tried to despise us more than Boston, but - hey - the Redsocks are World Champs of Hate. And when it rained that day at Busch Gardens, well, that sealed it for me: Tampa is no Sarasota.
Last night, the Rays did us right. They stood and cheered. They took off their caps and walked to the field, and they stood with us and they cheered, as Andy and Mariano took final calls. They refused to take the field until Andy emerged for a last bow. It was a classy gesture, and it will surely cost them fans within the lucrative Yankee-hate market. But last night, they gained one fan - at least for the next month.
Why not? Somebody needs to whack Boston. (If the Redsocks fail to win the World Series, theoretically, they cannot shave their bears until October 2014. That's worth seeing.) We still owe the Tigers for multiple beatings (though their manager did the right thing with Mo in the All-Star Game.) Yes, the Dodgers have Don Mattingly, but - come on - LA is LA. The Pirates haven't hurt me since Mazeroski. I was planning to back them. But if Pittsburgh makes it to the series against Boston - yeesh: I fear they'll get massacred.
I might have to throw in with Tampa. Last night, they won my juju.
The Master's call follows the YES version.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
First, what a joy it's been to root for you all these years. No matter what happens, or where you go, I will always be thankful you played for the Yankees.
Today, your blood-sucking, shark-nado agents said you want a 10-year deal for $300 million - just $30 million per season.
Good luck with that.
If you can get it, take it. A guy gets one crack at that kind of goosh. It's OK. We get it. Money is money. That's why you're out there. To bag the green, bank the potatoes - to bathe in Lake Sheckel.
I'd hate to see you go.
But I'd hate more to see you be a $300 million Yankee.
If that's how much it takes to keep you in pinstripes... well... hello, David Adams!
Listen: If you leave, you'll make a $300 million mistake. Stay, and you become the face of the Yankees, an icon of New York, and the star of a team that eventually will challenge. (Next year, we'll suck.) With a great second-baseman, we can rise in 2015.
Chase the money, and wherever you go, you'll be defined by your salary. When your team sucks - it will, eventually - you'll be the reason they couldn't buy a closer, or a catcher, or whatever. They're stuck with you, that overpriced, greedy mercenary who is wasting their money. This spring, did you see how they passed Vernon Wells around like a plate of liver? That's you in 2018 - with five years left.
Listen: In a few years, it won't seem so easy. Those pitches that almost fool you, the ones you flick for singles: they'll get caught. In a few years, the game will speed up, and the ball will shrink. Ask Ichiro. In a few years, that two-week groin pull will become a season-ender. Do you really want to be baseball's richest player? Be careful what you ask for.
Robbie Cano, doncha go! I hope you stay a Yankee. But I'm tired of watching high-priced stars limp to the finish line. It is killing the Yankees, and - trust me on this - it is wearing out their fans.
Want the money? Get the money. We'll miss you. But we're in fourth with you, and we can finish fourth without you. Good luck. Thanks for 2009. Where's Corbin Joseph?
1. It will be the last time you get to see Mariano pitch in pinstripes.
2. It will be the final opportunity to see Andy Pettitte sit around in pinstripes.
3. It will be the last time you will see Derek, MO, and Andy together in pinstripes.
4. It may be the last time you get to see A-Rod spit in pinstripes.
5. It is the end of the season in pinstripes.
GOD ON TWITTER? We are tied for 15th and soon to get less coverage than the guy who called Jesus the "world's first tweeter."
We simply suffered unfortunate injuries.
But here's the news: A Vatican Cardinal - attempting to be oh-so-hip - is calling Jesus the "world's first tweeter."
You could not make this up. The world's first tweeter? That's crazy. The first tweeter had to be God. Think about it. Here are some of His greatest tweets.
Then one day, it came. We were shattered, depressed, beaten down - but suddenly, holy crap! facing free nights! We could travel! We didn't have to rise at 4 a.m. to let anybody out. Hated to lose that dog, hated to lose him... but it sure was nice being free.
Well, right now, that's how I feel about the 2013 Yankees. I would not compare this team's post-season elimination to the death of an actual human family member. That's sort of like the over-the-top Obama/Hitler comparisons thrown about by those right-wing radio Goebbels gerbils. But the death of a pet... yeah. That sums it up.
This week, our beloved Yankee pooch went from dying to dead. Thank God it's over.
For the last three months, we wrestled a losing battle with hope. We knew the dog was too old to recover, but now and then, he had a good day. We convinced ourselves his perkiness resulted from some new diet or pain pill, and he would at least last through October. Then we played Boston, and he crapped all over our living room carpet - I mean, it was awful.
Well, he's gone. No more nights listening to Michael Kay banter with Coney, or Paul, or himself. No more false hopes. Last night, while driving, I chanced upon The Master for an inning. He sounded like a priest at a funeral. Yeah, Suzyn droned a bit about the injuries - how they sapped our strength. (So go the talking points: It's like the Scooby Doo zombie who rips off his mask, turns out to be mean old Mr. Levine, and yells, "If not for those pesky injuries....!") But when Tampa scored, they didn't really care.
Don't get me wrong: I loved this team. I gave it everything. But we are free. No more Vernon Wells-sized turds in my front lawn. No more Ichiro, scratching a 3-0 count into a routine pop fly. No more wondering where Joba ran off to, or getting complaints from the neighbors about Phil Hughes. Old Spotty is in the grave. Treasure the memories, folks. But there are better ways to spend our evenings than with a batting order that suffers from incontinence.
The playoffs loom. Don Mattingly v. AJ Burnett? Nick Swisher v. Austin Jackson? Boston v. the World? Maybe I'll sit with them a night or two. But nobody can replace old Gardy, Robbie and Mariano. God, I loved that dog.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
This is a photographic summary of the talent Brian Cashman has assembled in the most extensive farm system in baseball ( we have 2 "A" ball teams in florida ):
Fans were supposed to receive Mariano Bobbleheads, but the team didn't have them, so folks were handed slips of paper and told to return later, creating long lines during the game, and - frankly - why would the Yankees care about dumb fans who should know better than to attend a game when the team and front office aren't even planning to show up?
The Steinbrenner-Swindell-Lopez trust fund party boaters have now steered the Yankee barge for six years. They financed one championship on the backs of a brand new stadium and a tide of political gifts worthy of a Middle East dictatorship. Ever since, they've tenaciously clutched pennies while tossing dimes into the abyss. We jettisoned AJ Burnett to make way for the great Michael Pineda. We ditched Nick Swisher because Ichiro Suzuki was in the house. We so seamlessly switched from Andrew Jones to Vernon Wells that I barely remember the move. And after each move, we congratulated ourselves for being smarter than everyone else. Now, our listing, $229 million pontoon will miss the playoffs - second time in six years - and 2014 looks like yet another nausea of free agents past their sell date, which is exactly how we got into this mess.
Instead of young players, we'll receive slips of paper promising something in the future, maybe 2015. The players change, but the bobbleheads remain.
Last night, now and then, I tuned into the game. I had to laugh. Down by three in the first. Then down by five. Then we waste the bases loaded. Finally down by seven and nobody in the stadium. Yes, I'll say it: I loved it; I wanted us to be shutout, to be booed and humiliated, and I reveled in the dark blue of every empty seat.
The record shows that when the chips were down, we lost 7 of 10.
We had our shot, and we lost 7 of 10.
Mark my words: One of these days, the bobbleheads will be there, but nobody will wait in line to receive them.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Anyway... AP lists the 2013 Retrieval Empire payroll at $229 million, highest in baseball. That's counting the exotic bath salts for Vernon Wells, plus the melted bottle-caps Cashman found near his parachute jumps. We spent $12 million more than any other team in baseball, and may still come in fourth in a five-team division.
But here's the news, and it should delight Yankee fans everywhere! The Steinbrenner-Swindell-Lopez trust fund compound can install new toaster ovens in every guest room! We could easily coast into the sainted $189 mark next season. Here's how.
For starters, we just ditched Andy ($12 million) and Mariano ($10 million; yes, he was so inexpensive.) We're already down to $209 M.
I doubt we'll sign 40-year-old Hiroki Kuroda, who they say wants to finish his career in Japan. If so, that's another $15 million. Holy crap, we're down to $194 M.
We get Vernon Wells for free next year! Woo-woo. A free year of Vernon Wells. That's $24 million off the books - plus a free year of Vernon Wells, which is sort of like a free year's subscription to the International Birding Gazette. He can platoon with Ichiro! That's like a duet between Vanilla Ice and Lance Bass. We're down to $170 M. We made it - and we haven't even begun to shed baggage.
Youk ($12 million) is gone. Grandy Man ($15 million) can be gone. Phil Hughes is DEFINITELY gone. That's $7 million. Travis Hafner ($2 million), Joba ($1.8 million) and Brennan Boesch (remember him?) is $1.5 million. Wow, we're down to $131 million.
And then there is A-Rod. Who knows what incredible savings will come from Bud Selig's kangaroo court. I'm betting we ditch Alex for half a year, which would cut another $14.5 million. That puts at $117 million: more than enough to keep Robbie Cano (if we add $5 million to his $15 million salary, that should do it) and also buy a couple Pavanos, a Sidney Ponson and three Alberto Gonzalezes.
Yes, Yankiverse, we will reach that magical number! Of course, the 2014 Yankee staff will be led by Michael Pineda, and our closer could be Dellin Betances. Let's hope Tex doesn't tweak his wrist again - (did anybody ever see Jose Bautista, with his bad wrist, this season?) - or we'll be coaxing Andy Phillips out of retirement. We could again be coveting the Bronze on the Yankee Radio Network, driven by Cheap. But hey, nobody puts on a video presentation like the Yankees. And one of these days, the Captain will be up there on the scoreboard. Something to look forward to, eh? And Vernon Wells for free!
Monday, September 23, 2013
Is there a team in baseball that has developed so few of its own players as the Yankees? The O's have Machado, and the Redsocks next year will offer their fans Bogartes and Jackie Bradley Jr. And we will once again have nothing, no impact players from the farm system. And frankly, unless somebody emerges, we might be in the tank through 2015. Under what metric system does Brian Cashman look like a success?
We are about to cede New York City to the Mets, and that's not easy to do.
Yesterday, I was absolutely sure the Yankees would win that game. Absolutely certain. We had a one-run lead and Andy pitching a no-hitter. We couldn't lose. And then, batter after batter just went down swinging, and opportunity after opportunity disappeared, and there we were: Another one run game. All season, we have watched this team come to the brink and then turn around. How did we turn into such a losing organization?
And why in God's name should we hold hope for next season?
I hate rooting against the Yankees, but why hope we win any of the next few games? So we can lose the final wild card slot by a game? So we can come in third? We are fourth in a five team division. Fourth in a five-team division. We deserve to be fourth in a five-team division.
Here's an idea: Let's hold another ceremony to congratulate ourselves for coming in fourth!
You know what stinks? In our last ditch chance to save the season - and win the game for Mariano - all we had in the ninth inning were Mark Reynolds, Brendan Ryan and JR Murphy - a strikeout machine, a career .180 hitter, and a rookie with a handful of at bats. With the rosters expanded, and a full complement of players, we still didn't have anybody who could come to bat and maybe win the game
What a joke! What a sorry excuse for a $239 million payroll!
You what really stinks? We're back to waiting for Pineda. Yeah, Pineda, who now hasn't pitched in two years. Are we going to start hearing new reports of how he's lighting up the radar gun in Tampa? Should we start getting excited because the great man will soon be coming north?
We are so screwed.
Here's our rotation for 2014: CC, Nova, Pineda, Phelps and Adam Warren. And the bullpen will be whatever old tires Cashman can find on trips to the scrap yard
But we'll still be chasing that final wild card spot into early September, so who cares?
Sunday, September 22, 2013
For the last month, we've been chasing Tampa Bay and thinking, "Wait'll we get them for those three games in the stadium." Well, we didn't even make it to those games
And it really pisses me off.
Thank you. For a while, I thought I might have to make a deal with Satan. I know he owns a luxury box at the new Yankee Stadium, and when I saw Henry Kissinger at yesterday's game, I figured I might have to sell my soul for this request. Frankly, I'd prefer not to spend eternity in Hell next to the Westboro Baptist Church and whoever is mixing the drinks in Syria. So I'm asking you for one teeny-weeny favor.
Today, throw us a bone... Let us win.
Specifically... Let Andy Pettitte pitch well. Let somebody, anybody - somehow, anyhow - get us through the seventh and eighth innings. Then let Mariano Rivera pitch a perfect ninth. This actually isn't much of a request - they've done it many times - but every now and then, well, we pull a real stinker. And we can't have one today. No sir, not today.
Listen... I'm frickin' old. I remember the farewell tributes to Yogi, Mickey, Whitey - the greatest team in history. I remember hearing the news about Thurman, and watching Reggie come back to haunt us beneath an Angel halo. Today, I'm saying goodbye to the great Yankee team of the nineties - for me, I'm practically saying goodbye to middle age. When Andy and Mariano receive their standing ovations, they will walk as memories kept until the day I die.
Sir, for young Yankee fans, this is it. This is the part of the book where the tribe wanders in the desert for seven years. This could be the greatest memory of 2013 - a year that isn't otherwise going to be cried over. This is our finale.
Three times this year, we asked you for help. Once, you came through for us. Against Boston, well, I guess we mailed our grant request to the wrong P.O. Box, because you didn't lift a finger.
Now this. Today.
I'll trade the season for a win today.
I'll throw in my "I brake for Youkilis beanings" t-shirt, which Zazzle took off the market. I'll do the dishes next spring. I'll babysit. I'll convert some of your vinyl recordings to digital. I'll help around the house. Today...
I'm hoping you get other calls. I've made peace with the 2013 Yankees not making the playoffs. (It will kick ownership in the pants, where it needs one.) What we request, though, is one final victory. Today, sir. I'm begging you. I really don't want to trade my soul for this. Last thing I want is to be sitting in that box with Kissinger for the next thousand years.
Help us. Send us a double play ball. Send us a stiff wind that holds a ball on a warning track. Send us a borderline strike. One win. Today. One win, and we're square.
Thank you for your time,
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Once we're out of it, A-Rod should start serving his suspension... and more ideas of how to enjoy the last meaningless week
1. Let A-Rod start serving his prison time. He could knock eight games off a 50-game suspension - that's 16 percent! It works for Judge Kenesaw Mountain Selig's team in Milwaukee. It works for Francisco Cervelli. It works for any player on a team playing meaningless games. Why not A-Rod? He can keep his appeal, but agree to start serving - as an act of good faith. Man, would that piss off Selig, or what?
2. Billy Crystal. Bring back the greatest-ever Yankee spring training breath of spring. He has a memoir out. It's got laughs on every page (so read it with a whisk broom.) He needs ink. Let him DH for a game. Good grief, with A-Rod gone, let him play 3B. We're not losing much.
3. Dellin Betances. Has anyone seen him? Should we file with the missing persons bureau? Last I knew, the Yankees brought him up from Scranton, and he pitched an inning. Then, poof, he seemed to vanish into a time and space continuum, while Joe salted the Yankee hopes by giving the ball repeatedly to the Foghorns and the Jobas - and we sure know how that turned out. Mount a campaign: If someone can find Dellin Betances, they will receive a toaster oven or something.
4. John Sterling must manage. We've covered this before. It needs to be repeated.
5. Finally, 1989 Day at Yankee Stadium. All fans wearing 1989 clothes admitted free. (This includes most of the homeless population of NYC!) We'll hold Rain Man impersonation contests. Maybe George H.W. Bush can skydive onto the field. Can Bernie Williams play a tribute to Madonna? The Yankees are going back to 1989. Just five quick years, and we'll be a contender again!
Friday, September 20, 2013
You can talk about legacy, leadership, clubhouse glue and Hall of Fame credentials. But whatever you say, don't forget to mention that over the last month, during this team's last gasp for a post-season birth, Andy was our best starting pitcher. Our bullpen collapsed. He never let us down.
That 1989 void we're about to enter - the one that began when Alphonso Soriano got picked off second - it just got a little darker. God help us.
Bring up Pat Venditte, humanity's only switch-pitcher. We never gave him a chance. We'll lose him this winter. Let him throw from the right and left side. Sell some tickets. And heck, we'll see what happens.
Start Joba Chamberlain! No more "Joba rules" about using him. It's obvious that his future is not as a reliever. Now is the time. Maybe he'll throw a no-hitter. Maybe this is what we should have done, all along. That would put some fannies in the molded plastic. Start him. See what happens.
In one game, play Vernon Wells one inning at every position. Bert Campaneris did it. This would enhance Vernon's resume for the Hall of Fame. He played infield for us early in the season. If he can just catch an inning and then pitch the ninth, he'll not only go down in history, but solidify his 2014 role as the perfect utility man. We have him next year, you know. Free. So he's ours.
Let Ichiro try player-managing a game. This could be a prelude to 2014, if Joe runs to Chicago. Ichiro would make a great player-manager. Plus, if he play-manages, we get good value for the money.
Play A-Rod at SS. We never tried him there. Jeter was in the way. He's not in the way now.
Change the name of River Avenue. Yes, the honor is long overdue: Preston Claiborne Lane!
And Hudson Bay can become Lyleover Bay. While we're on the subject, let Lyle bat leadoff. He's just six HRs away from the magical 20. Come on, folks, let's have fun!
Thus ended the New York Yankees, as we once knew them.
Within five minutes, Boston was dancing on our graves, and we were as dead as any bargain basement team ever assembled in the sweatshops of Houston or Miami. Dead, dead, dead. We just didn't know it.
Six nights ago, if you had told me we'd lose the next five of six, including two out of three to the cupcake Blue Jays, I would have laughed. But here we are: the ultimate Tomato Can of Cupcakes.
We will have six months to reflect on how we spent $236 million to reach fourth place in a five-team division. But short of spending another $300 million on free agents - who, frankly, won't be there - we are mired in a quicksand of mediocrity with a looming shadow of unanswered questions.
Why in God's name did we sign Ichiro to a two-year contract?
What is the point of having Vernon Wells return, regardless of whether the Angels pay his salary?
Who will tell Derek Jeter that he's not covering enough ground to play SS at age 40?
If A-Rod is banned for 75 games, do we once again turn to the David Adamses and Alberto Gonzalezes of the world?
Is there any one pitcher we would designate next year our "ace?"
Is the definition of good management - for a $200 billion operation, not counting the value of the YES network - relentlessly combing the scrapheap for castoffs, who give us two good weeks before reverting to the form that originally got them waived? (Or should we just continue to assume the other teams are stupid, and when they waived the player, they didn't know what they were doing?)
If we are determined to cut payroll to some magical $187 million figure - which will bring long term savings on luxury tax - how in hell do we can keep Robinson Cano, the only all-star caliber player in our lineup?
And if we break the bank and keep Cano, what was the point of the austerity program that was invoked all season when two-year contracts were considered? (And, remarkably, this was ignored for Ichiro.) It's like the Yankees are being run by a five-old, who is being home-schooled by the Tea Party.
What happened to all those departing free agents in 2013-14 who were likely to give us first round picks next summer? Looks to me like we won't extend qualifying offers to Phil Hughes, Joba or even Granderson - though that's a quandary in itself, eh? They'll walk, and we'll get nothing.
If we lose Cano - and who cannot help but see that as a burgeoning possibility - what part of our team - outfield, infield, battery, starters, bullpen - looks to be playoff caliber?
In one week, we have become completely undressed. Six years ago, the plan was to build a farm system and spend our money wisely, ensuring the Yankees would always contend. Now, we're looking at 1988 all over again. What an inept, horrible franchise. Will anybody answer to our predicament?
Thursday, September 19, 2013
My Liam Hemsworth-fed-up-with-Miley Cyrus moment.
Doesn't matter how great she twerks, how cool she is, or the things she can do on a coffee table. You just can't take another shutout. She strands too many base runners, which is a way of describing blue balls - midnight blue balls - and you have to leave. So you flick off the TV and drive away, and the moment you're gone, she holds a party, scores four runs in the eighth, and brings in Mo to get the save. You can't win.
Maybe if I'd left the 2013 Yankees two weeks ago, we'd still be in a relationship. But it's over, me and Miley. And it's over for all of us.
Ten games left. We are four in the loss column behind Tampa Bay. Even if we sweep them, which we won't, we can't overtake them. We are three behind Texas, two behind both Cleveland and Baltimore, and tied with Kansas City. If we win all 10 - which we won't - some team will also get hot. We are the Anthony Weiner of this wild card race: Everybody is rooting against us, laughing at us, taunting us, but because we get all the media attention, some people assume we're in the lead. We are the cupcake in this race. It's over.
I'm sorry to be this way. Really. I prefer to remember the young Miley, back in April, when Vernon Wells and Pronk delivered huge hits, and we believed the cavalry was en route. We united behind A-Rod, despite the scorn of the world. We suffered with Jeet and Tex, and we waited and waited and waited for Grandy. We battled to believe. Good grief, there are still Yankee fans out there who think Joba would have been a great starter...
My friends, hope is a terrible thing to lose. You never forget your first love - whether it was Mickey, Thurman, Mariano or Miley. Here's to you, kid. We'll always have Disney.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
As I watched RA Dickey undress hitter after hitter, it occurred to me that something beyond Yankee incompetence could be happening.
Is it possible that this team has already left the building?
That they are, " mailing it in?"
I think a number of these players ( one or two, anyway ) remember the humiliation, last play-off season, in Detroit. Where no one could do anything on the Yankees. Pitchers couldn't pitch, hitters couldn't hit, and no one could catch or throw.
Suddenly, the Yankees were a team to be bullied. To be taunted and embarrassed. Almost as if the baseball gods ( or fairies, depending ) were providing "payback" for all the years of well-earned world championships.
Who wants to be bullied?
Perhaps it is better to simply fold up the tent during the normal season and, thereby, avoid another spectacle of shame.
Imagine, if you will, winning a one-game play-in only to face Boston again, this time losing by 15-20 runs per game. Imagine having to use Cano and Romine on the mound, in relief, to close out games because everyone else has been hammered.
Who would want the great Mariano to leave with that memory?
I think the orders have come in from Cashman.
It is over. Don't score any runs.
Last time a Yankee team produced 10 shutouts: 1991.
And, oh, a great season it was. We finished fifth. Suzyn Waldman was performing in Man of La Mancha. John Sterling was in his second year with the team.
The Yankee-Indian Point Power Report did not exist. If it had, Matt Nokes would have been our leader, with 24 HRs. Next up was Kevin "No" Maas, who hit 23, mostly in the brief blitz that defined his career. We had stolen Jesse Barfield from the Blue Jays in exchange for Al Leiter. (Warning to fans of Alfonso Soriano/Cody Black?) And of course, there was Mel Hall - before his sex-abuse convictions - bringing his gun into the locker room, walking his cougars on Manhattan streets and torturing young Bernie Williams.
That team had 10 shutouts, too. It won 71 games. (And if Bud Selig's extra two Wild Card slots had been in effect, they also would have been in the race in September.)
Well, 2013 will soon be over. That's the best you can say about this team. But while we chase the Wild Card, or our tails, let's ponder the possibility of an 11th shutout.
Lord knows what magical Yankee team from the prehistoric past notched eleven zero outings. Something tells me Hoss Clarke might have had a hand in it.
That's the level of mediocrity we have achieved this year. You can blame injuries. You can talk about budget cuts. You can find magnetic fields and amulets, if you wish. Ten shutouts. That's a bad team.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Well, folks, here is the reality:
We will never, in our lifetimes, live down 2004. Won't matter if we make it to the asteroid, the zombie apocalypse, or the death panel hearing: Some caustic Redsock frat-boy will mention Mariano's blown save just to watch the last bubble from our lip, the last blip on our flat-line. Curt Schilling's ketchup sock will never go away.
So... giving the Great Mariano a big check and a bunch of door prizes was simply an excuse to hold a beery 2004 nostalgia party, like the one we ruined when Fenway turned 100. This was always fated to happen. No reason to get angry. Next year, or maybe in 2015, when Derek Jeter runs his final lap, maybe we should reconsider sanctioning such events. But we will deal with 2004 forever. That's a fact.
But there was something particularly Redsockian about Sunday night's party, and it goes to the nature of honoring a closer. Imagine Big Papi's final game at Yankee Stadium, and some misguided attempt by us to honor him. Would we post a cavalcade of his strikeouts on the Jumbo-Tron? Would we show all his errors (back when he actually played in the field.) No, of course not. Because that's not how anybody would remember him. Ahh, but a closer...
There is no role in baseball - or in all of sports - like the closer. Yes, football has the QB and the place-kicker, but they both play an entire game. The closer comes in for three outs. Thus, every game has the potential for a Buckner moment - the kind of disaster that most players experience once or twice in a long career. If you think about it, focusing on Mariano's blown saves was really a petty thing to do. Everybody knows he blew it in 2004. Everybody. It was like a comedian using the same catchphrase three times, then four, then 10 times in the same routine. They didn't have to reference it. They could have been so much above it - and everybody still would have remembered it.
So they gave him a chunk of the scoreboard, the big check, a nice ovation and - get this - a painting of them giving him a standing ovation. Yes, they commissioned a self-portrait of themselves basking in their great moment of forgiveness and generosity.
They have this self-image of being evolved from the days when they traded Carlton Fisk, booed Wade Boggs and tore down Roger Clemens' pictures. They really like the notion of a painting that shows them standing graciously for Mariano. That's how they want to see themselves: Enlightened, forgiving, fair, magnanimous.
What a joke.
Another disclaimer: I recognize that my lowest incarnation as a human being is the monster inside me that roots for the Yankees. As a Yankee fan, I am a bi-polar, borderline, psycho nutjob. Always was, always will be. I believe that because I am a bi-polar borderline psycho Yankee fan, I am not one the rest of the time. The Yankees are what saves me from living under a bridge and talking to Pez dispensors. (Take that, Dr. Melfi!) Therefore, I am going to give Boston fans a little slack here and say what I believe they were thinking, as that "tribute" played.
"Aw, this is so wrong. We are ridiculing a great player - he's the one being gracious, not us. And sometime, down the line, we will pay for this."
That's for the future. Are you watching, Slade Heathcott?
Monday, September 16, 2013
And the reverse was also true.
Now, we seem to have entered a new "Karma Zone," wherein the Yankees and the Giants can simultaneously, and sequentially, suck.
I have been saying all year, that Brian Cashman is a failure, and should be long gone. He piggybacked upon the wealth of George Steinbrenner, and helped purchase necessary, augmenting players who won numerous championships. The real work of recent great teams, however, had nothing to do with Cashman.
It was Gene Michael who brought us Derek, Bernie, Jorge, Andy and Mariano. A core that Cashman could spend around. A core that, only today, is eroding to the max.
The legacy that Cashman drafted and traded for includes; Phil Hughes, Joba, Jason Nix, Andy Brackman, a brace of .210 hitting catchers, Michael Pineda, Banuelos and Dellin Bettances. I can extend this list all the way to "A" ball, and the conclusion is the same; we are nothing, and have nothing.
If Cashman was paid a commission by hospitals for various forms of arm surgery, he'd be a hero. But he is supposed to provide exciting young talent which can thrive at the major league level. Who can deliver when we need a big hit or defensive play. Instead, we have guys who strike out, hit into double plays, get picked off bases, throw the ball into the dugout and just miss making big catches in the outfield.
El Duque says that, if the Yankees declare a re-building " ( which they NEVER will do ), we have a chance to be competitive with Boston in maybe two years.
It will take a totally new administration ( GM, coaching, talent evaluators, talent developers, scouting, drafting, and trades that work rather than suck the life out of us ) to give us any future hope. That is a five year project, minimum.
But the Yankees will not do so. Here is the plan they will execute to:
1. We had a rough year with injuries, and next season we'll be far healthier and the injury bug will bite someone else.
2. There is no need to re-build. We get a number of top ( paid ) veterans back, and we a lot of our youngsters got some playing time this season. Pitchers and position players!
3. Tex will be back at full strength, as will Derek ( our captain ). CC had an off year, but he'll come back with fire in his arm and eyes. If A-Rod can postpone his suspension, or work out a shorter suspension ( e.g 56 days ) he'll be back for the post all star break push.
Ichiro has another year and Grandy will be healthy for a full season.. Gardener and Cano, our two best players in 2013, will be rested and healthy. We just need to add an arm or two ( Pineda, for example ) and a bullpen ace ( we can buy someone from Japan ).
4. Joe Girardi did his best managing job, ever, this year. He and his coaching staff are a real strength.
What I am saying is that you will see the same team next year (minus Mariano) and plus one or two free agents ( no one on the team, however, will be under 30 ).
And the result will be the same. Actually, the result will be worse.
Boston is winning because they changed everything and everyone in the front office, and numerous old warriors on the field.
We must do the same. But we won't.
Also, I was attempting the ultimate, last-ditch juju move:
The Don't Watch.
Everybody has tried it. You don't watch, and your team wins. It's a kamikaze move of personal juju, not something to throw out willy-nilly or higgedy-piggedy. If the Yankees had won last night, I would keep not-watching until the end - theoretically, I could never see another victory. If the Don't Watch had worked - (and it has, at times) - and the Yankees rolled 12-0, took the Wild Card, the playoffs and the World Series, launching the greatest Yankee streak in history, I would have only read about it in the Gammonite Gabfestss. That's the personal hell I was prepared to inhabit.
Well, the bastards didn't even throw me a bone.
Fortunately, I am not one of those jujuists who try things like the Cut Off Your Ear (though it worked for Picasso's rugby team.) So now, there is nothing left to fling at the plaster wall. I am out of juju, like Lindsay Lohan is out of DWI arrests, and the Yankees are out of bullpen arms. Soon - I'm thinking Toronto - we will be ejected from the race like one of Hideki Matsui's famous porno DVDs, and we can contemplate the long list of Good Things That Happened to the Yankees in 2013.
It's going to be a long, cold winter.
Sunday, September 15, 2013
That's right. "Uncle." Call off the dogs. You made your point. Please untie our hand from the chopping block and put away the hatchet. Uncle.
You are a better team, a better organization, with better beards and a better stadium. You certainly have a smarter owner than we have. In two years, we might compete, though maybe not. It depends on whether we are willing to take a season to rebuild. This was supposed to be such a season. We didn't.
But listen-up, "Hub Fans:" It's time to stop obsessing over us. Good grief, you're like Jennifer Jason-Leigh in "Single White Female," the way you stare at us, convinced we're going to suddenly rise up and beat you. It's creepy. It's unhealthy. Stop it. Go away. Shoo. Leave us be. I feel like that guy in "Breaking Bad," who was all shot up at the end of last season and just sat next to the river and told Walter, "Go away, and let me die in peace." Yeah, that's how I feel. Go away and let us die in peace.
This was never our year. Yesterday, John Sterling, in the first inning, recounted the scene from "On the Waterfront," where Rod Steiger enters the locker room before Marlon Brando's fight and tells his brother, "It aint your night." John said, it aint our season. It was the first time The Master has ever conceded defeat on a year, before the number bear it out. CJ Nitkowski, playing Suzyn, immediately suggested that Ichiro might have a big day, and we might rise up and still win. John went along with the fantasy. But it's over, folks. We are too old, too weary, and too beaten up. It aint our season.
People of Boston: Maybe it's yours. Frankly, if I were you, I would stop thinking about A-Rod and start worrying about Detroit. But do what you want. Whatever. Uncle.
Saturday, September 14, 2013
And a child shall lead them... Cesar Cabral's plunking of Papi was only the second time in his career that a Yankee pitcher hit him
Jeter's been whacked 164 times.
David Ortiz: 33 times.
Not sayin' anybody should be beaned or thrown at. Ever.
Just noting it... for the record.
Because our eyes can see.
Well, God help us, we're there again. It's 2002-07, and Preston Claiborne is Scott "Torch the Equipment" Proctor. Just as Obama is turning into George W. Bush, Larry Rothschild is morphing into Billy Connor, and every seventh inning is Deep Fried Doomsday, straight from the State Fair. Good grief, the only difference is that James Spader is now the size of a truck, and little kids go to bed at night terrified that Miley Cyrus' tongue will get them.
If we're lucky enough to have CC pitch into the seventh - it once was a certainty, now it's a treat - who gets the next nine outs? The ghost of Quan-Go-Mo? For that matter - and let's be honest here - faith in Mariano is no longer scientifically justified. At this point, it's just a religious thing. We set the sacred stones in place and hope the magic works. God help us.
We are dead. We have been buried. We have officially nothing left to lose. The one-armed ghost of Scott Proctor is prowling the Yankee dugout. He's looking for lighter fluid. We need a spark, dammit. Does anybody have a spark?
Friday, September 13, 2013
"[Home plate umpire Jim Wolf] said something the first pitch, and I thought he called it a strike," Stewart said. "I assumed it was 0-1, I fouled a ball off and I swung and missed at a ball. No one said anything; the umpire didn't say anything, so I just came on back to the dugout and put my stuff away."
WTF? All the king's horses, and all the king's men are watching - on national TV - and nobody speaks up? Stewart is laughing about it today - what choice does he have? - but isn't it an umpire's job to say, "Wait, that's only two." WTF?
2. Apparently, Bobby Valentine hasn't been receiving his regular 15 minutes of fame lately. (Fifteen minutes can save you a bundle on car insurance.) Thus, Bobby V selectively remembers Sept. 11, 2001, employing the psychological blinders of his last relevant deeds on this planet: A period in which Bobby did nice things for New Yorkers who had been traumatized by the terror attacks.
The other day, this is what he said:
"It was an emotional day. I don't know if I was trying to take credit for the team. I was trying to make a fact. After 12 years of hearing what was done and hearing it reported incorrectly, I just thought I'd state for the record that there weren't any Yankees out there that week."
Listen: Everybody who was around remembers 9/11 in his or her own way. We can redraft our stories every year, if we want. It won't change what happened. The Mets did nice things. The Yankees carried the city's heart into the World Series. Everybody was good. Everybody was a hero. Everybody tried. That's how you survive things like 9/11. Everybody does a little bit of good.
Frankly, I think Bobby may be losing it. This business of always whining about the Yankees - jeez, it's like a tape loop in his head. Ask a question, and he's ripping his perennial nemesis, the Yankees, for whatever pops up. Miley Cyrus' twerking? It's the Yankees! Did he really need to stir the pot - to set the record straight - on the 9/11 anniversary? Yeesh. What happens to these guys when they're no longer in the spotlight?
3. A few blogs today are smart-mouthing about The Master's call of Alfonso Soriano's catch magnificent last night. It went this way:
“Leaping … and she’s gone! It is a home run (pause) NO HE CAUGHT THE BALL HOWDOYALIKE THAT!”
Of course, our website is based on The Master's lost home run calls - the most painful moment in the Yankiverse, by the way - so I can't blame anybody for having fun at Sterling's expense. But there are plenty of things to rip him about, if you're of the mind. Frankly, he called it last night just as he was seeing it, which is what play-by-play drama is supposed to be.
He's an easy target. Surely, John's critics would have called it perfectly, a combination of John Updyke and Norman Mailer: "A towering fly to deep left field, seemingly targeted for the first or second row! Alfonso Soriano is drifting back, antelope-like, back to the wall, springing from his powerful legs, rising on an 100 degree trajectory, raising his tan, elongated Spaudling mitt above the fence, snatching the home run from the Promised Land, bringing to the Yankees the salvation of the inning's first out. May God in heaven bless his immortal soul!"
Whenever I think of Sterling, I remember Randy Newman's lines about Lester Maddox in the song "Rednecks." He may be a fool but he's our fool..."