Friday, October 31, 2014
Sometimes, sipping Crown Royal brings you back.
For me, it is baseball, booze and Dylan. Hence; "A baseball team ( read; the Yankees ) not busy being born is busy dying."
Cashman is not a Dylan fan. There will be no re-birth for the Yankees, and no re-building. It will be the continuing game of lego where discarded blocks will be fit into other discarded blocks to build a mis-shapen blob.
While real teams are concerned with re-signing or trading the likes of Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer , and Mike Moustakas; or wondering how to re-structure the contracts of Sandoval, Bumgarner or even the super rookie Panik, Brian Cashman anguishes over what to do with Chase Headley, Stephen Drew, Chris Young, Cris Capuano, Rich Hill and Brandon McCarthy.
Are you kidding me?
Are we actually on the same planet?
I'm surprised Cashman was unsuccessful talking Kevin Youkilis out of retirement. Youk would be younger than half our "core" players. I guess it was the 5th year that Kevin insisted upon, and Brian finally said no.
We would be better off taking the best prospects ( gag ) from anywhere in our minor league system and letting them play. Failing to make the play-offs smells the same whether we gamble on untested young players, or on fully tested old players.
The difference is heart, hustle and the possibility that a Panik or two will emerge.
We all know this won't happen. Cashman might as well be blasting a shotgun into the Yankee's future.
Seriously, doesn't the world see that this team is," busy dying?"
Will they be back in 2015?
Listen: Brian Cashman will outlive us all as Yankee GM. And you know what? It could be worse.
Ten reasons - I'm not kidding! to be positive about Cashman.
1. He has never traded a Jay Buhner. The pain of the 1980s still lingers due to all the Yankee prospects who excelled in other cities. Think: Drabek, McGee, McGriff, Buhner, Rios, Gura, Tewksbury... (Gahhhhhh, no more, kill me, please!) Stick Michael's greatest gift was to simply turn off the talent fire hose. Cashman, for all his dealings, has yet to pull an absolute boner. (Yes, Mike Lowell stank, but he received several young pitchers. It wasn't trading youth for age. And yes, Ian Kennedy and Austin Jackson went out the door, but Curtis Granderson became the CF of a world champion team.) I hated seeing us trade Peter O'Brien and Rafael De Paula this summer - but they were not the house jewels. He has yet to make that one terrible deal that seals his legacy.
2. He is relentless on the waiver wire. Jeez Louise, the guy must never sleep. With three weeks left, he snags Chris Young. With days left, he grabs Eury Perez. Maybe, he churns too much. But nobody can accuse him of calling in sick.
3. He gets along with the NY media. Never underestimate this.
4, He's still young for the job. He's 47. He's got at least 15 years of cogency left, and if he can learn from past mistakes, they could be his best seasons. The Stick was in his 60s when he turned around the Yankees with fellow graybeard Bob Watson. If Cashman can grow, his best successes could be ahead of him.
5. He plays well with Hal. Don't know the dynamics here. If the Yankees were my team, I'd hire a Tony LaRussa type - someone with a track record - and give him complete control of baseball operations. The reality is this: Hal will never do that. No LaRussa or Whitey Herzog will ever take a job that requires them to be a Steinbrenner's kewpie doll. Cashman can handle the meddlesome ownership. Again, don't underestimate that.
6. He gets along with the other GMs. He's hired a few of them. He's probably an officer in their secret Loyal Order of Raccoons. A few must owe him favors. No, they won't give us Bryce Harper. But you never know...
7. He takes the beatings. Good grief, the man has been ridiculed, condemned, mocked, photoshopped, memed, pied, ice-bucket-challenged - you name it - but he's still standing. He might be one of those immortals from the Scottish highlands, which means he could show up at my doorstep and chop me into Cornflakes with his sword.
8. If he fails, we will get a shot at him in the next life. Down in Hell, he'll be called before a Yankee fan tribunal. Alphonso will personally prosecute him.Things will get hot.
9. Hm-mm. I'm tapped. Is there a reason why lists have to be ten?
10. Yep, I'm shutting this down. Alphonso is going to kill me for this.
Somehow, a sweaty, winded, nervous Chevy regional zone manager executive named Rikk Wilde found his way into the Giants’ clubhouse to present the series M.V.P. award to Bumgarner. In what seemed like a “Saturday Night Live” sketch, Wilde praised the vehicle awarded to the pitcher: the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado, the subject of a recent recall because of airbag problems.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Brain Cashman is back to his old tricks.
He has signed this year's World Series phenom to a future Yankee contract ( like buying heating oil futures contracts ), making him a rotation regular beginning in 2030.
Cashman inked the deal late last night, details of which remain undisclosed. Rumors however, say that Madison will be a Yankee for 7 years at $30 million per year.
The best news is that he will only be 39 when he dons the pinstripes. Relatively young for the Yankee team.
In the meantime, anyone want to do a position by position comparison of the current Yankee roster to either the Royals or the Giants?
Anyone think the current Yankees can take a game from either of these teams?
Anyone think we are even in the same league?
Play the same game?
It is like the Yankees are still using a horse and buggy to get across country, where everyone else is on jet planes.
Thanks, Brian, for your draft picks, your trades, your contract negotiations, your player development team, and your foresight.
You have made us what we are.
But the fact is, since the calendar turned over on Y2K, the Yankees have won more post-season games than any other MLB franchise. You can look it up.
Keep in mind that a World Championship means at least 11 post-season wins. (Twelve, if it includes the one-day Wild Card.) If the Yankees go two or three years without a post-season, they will likely be overtaken.
Also, if you wish to measure the New Millennium by World Series rings - which is quite valid - New York is already behind Boston and San Francisco. History might view them - not the Yankees - as the dynastic teams of the new century.
What's most worrisome for Yankee fans is MLB's New World Order, where the rules have been rewritten to destroy the financial advantage of large market teams.
I believe then when markets are equalized - much like in the NFL - the bigger cities actually face a disadvantage. Teams fall under ridiculous media scrutiny, which smaller, more nimble franchises don't have to deal with. (Keep in mind, the NFL hasn't even been able to field a team in LA. I think Los Angeles simply has too many distractions for the blood sport of football.)
Year after year, the Cardinals and Giants seem to fly under the national media radar until late September. They are brilliantly run organizations and deserve nothing but praise for their success. But they don't have to do it in a 24/7, NY-LA headline-scandal cauldron. They don't have 20 beat writers constantly churning controversy, coupled with the need to be ruling tabloid back pages.
In the next few years, to re-right their listing ship, the Yankees must change their ways. What's distressing here is that Brian Cashman certainly knows this - he's no idiot - so how did he allow the farm system to become so barren? It's not the old days under King George, where the Yankees have been trading away their best prospects. For all the complaints against Cashman, he hasn't done a Jay Buhner boner. Still, the team cannot seem to develop impact players.
If it's meddling by the ownership - and let's face it, we all suspect this - should we rightfully have hope that this organization can quickly reverse course? We might be facing a dark period, similar to the one under Old George in the late 1980s-early 1990s.
In the next several weeks, we will know whether the Yankees are doubling down on their old ways - that is, running out and signing yesterday's stars to long, agonizing contracts - or keeping slots open for young guys, most notably Rob Refsnyder, to play their way into pinstripes. Stay tuned.
There was a young owner,
And a feeling of gloom
And a general manager...
With a new three-year boner.
Goodnight happy fans, drinking beer.
Goodnight, graying free-agent meat.
Goodnight, third base,
Goodnight, staff without an ace.
Goodnight, A-Rod contract mess.
Goodnight, lineup to forget.
Goodnight, tired Yankee fans.
Goodnight, New York also-rans.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
It's gotta be Ms. New York, none other than Taylor Swift.
Same with the next enshrinement in Monument Park. I'm not saying the Evils should drop Bernie Williams from their plans. They merely must add space for the Swift plaque... or maybe a statue of Taylor, walking the streets she so loves in one of her dazzling mini-dresses.
Yesterday, presumably around the time that Jose Canseco was accidentally shooting himself, Taylor Swift was surfacing as New York City's new global ambassador.
Apparently, Artie Lang has lost a step.
I can see the reasoning. The NYC brain trust realized that Taylor Swift - with a new album and a cruise ship full of micro-minis - has a huge following, and the suits said, "We can get a piece!" They missed out on Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus. They botched Lady Gaga. But here comes Taylor Swift - like the free agent pitcher whose spent her last five seasons in Kansas City. This is bigger than bringing A-Rod to New York. By signing her, New York doesn't even need to surrender a top pick in next year's celebrity draft.
If Brian Cashman can find one more light-hitting speedster to match Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner, the Bronx Bombers can become the City Swifts - sort of like "Steinbrenner's Striders," back in the Omar Moreno dead ball era.
Yep, this is perfect. Whenever you think of NYC, you picture the icons: Bagels, skyscrapers, dog turds, Taylor Swift!
From now on, after every win, the Yankees need to ditch Sinatra's "New York, New York." They should play, "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together." Her new album is titled "1989." Quick! Can we retire another number?
Karmac serendipity or old-school stupidity? Jose Canseco accidentally shoots self while cleaning gun
There is a God.
He is good. He is great. He is a hoot.
God is a fan of David Lynch movies and the Aqua Teen Hunger Force. He's the one who made the soundtrack to "Dark Side of the Moon" fit "Wizard of Oz." He smokes a lot of weed. But why not? He created weed.
God loves us. Of this, I have no doubt. We entertaineth him. And today, let us celebrateth another Revelation.
The former major league slugger Jose Canseco accidentally shot himself in the hand at his house in Las Vegas on Tuesday afternoon. Canseco told the police he was cleaning his gun in the kitchen when it fired, shooting a finger on his left hand.
OK, I know what you're thinking. A more perfect metaphor for the folly of humankind would be to have Canseco shoot himself in the foot, or - better yet - blow off his mighty Johnson. Nah. That stuff has been done to death. David Lynch would have him shoot off a finger and replace it with something ultra-cool, like a laser pointer. After that, Canseco needs to befriend a singing dwarf.
I don't mean to snicker over Canseco's injury. One of the craziest legacies of baseball's 10-Year War on Steroids is that Jose Canseco may someday be viewed as a prophet, rather than court jester. Canseco goes down as one of the few players who was probably telling the truth about dugout drugs, even though his testimony came out in such orgasmic gushes of ego that nobody else could stomach it. Canseco called out Alex Rodriguez and Roger Clemens long before it became fashionable, and long ago, the Gammonites shouted down any calls for his enshrinement in Cooperstown. The guy led Oakland to several great seasons, and the way he's been deleted from public memory, you'd think Joseph Stalin was the commissioner of baseball.
But not today! Nope. Today, Canseco gets another 15 minutes of fame. (Hey, did you know that during your 15 minutes of fame, you can save big on car insurance?) It costs only a finger, not an arm and a leg.
In the end, when we're eating creamed corn in that final diaper, the guy in the next bed will mention Jose Canseco, and we'll laugh until the nurses have to increase our medication. I'll remember Jose for dating Madonna, for pitting his wife against Clemens' wife in a backyard barbecue tit contest, and now this: Shooting himself in the hand. (Actually: I will also remember him pinch hitting as a Yankee in the World Series, and taking three strikes - right down the middle - never lifting the bat from his shoulder and just marching back to the dugout without a care in the world. Ahhh, Jose...)
Oh yeah. There is a God, folks. And no matter how bad things are going down here, make no mistake: He's having a ball.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
By this time tomorrow, Alex Rodriguez could be back in the fold, and it's time for the Yankees to have him turn his head and cough
As soon as the 2014 season ends, the hair-challenged lords of the game will declare an official "cessation of hostilities" in their war on A-Rod, who served as baseball's former ISIS/Ebola, the all-purpose symbol of steroids and performance enhancing drugs. At the stroke of midnight, Bud Selig might stand before a sign that says "Mission Accomplished," as the long drought for Alex Rodriguez finally ends.
But his long days are just beginning.
Here's a suggestion. As soon as 2014 is in the books, before the champagne has dried on the winning owner's tush, Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi should summon A-Rod to George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa and watch their returning $25 million meat-wagon run the bases.
It's time to know what we've got.
Last winter, uncertainties hamstrung Cashman's team-building strategies. Through mid-December, the Yankees still didn't know:
a) If A-Rod's suspension would be upheld,
b) If Jeter and Teixeira could return,
c) If Masahiro Tanaka was really coming to America,
d) If Hiroki Kuroda would come back.
That's a lot of gray area. As a result, Jhonny Peralta - in retrospect, probably the best 3B free agent the Yankees could have signed - was gone, before Cashman knew the Yankees had a hole in their infield. To be fair, Cashman never had a chance.
This year, the Yankees face many uncertainties. (I won't start listing them, because it will be Thanksgiving before I'm done.) But here's one Cashman can wipe off the board: What's A-Rod's physical, mental and psychic shape, returning from Pariah-hood?
Supposedly, they've talked with guys who worked out with A-Rod. It's time to see for themselves. It's time for a soul-to-soul sit-down, for a night of drinking cheap wine, of smoking the good ganja and listening to Pink Floyd albums, maybe pass-out on the couch with dead soldiers and unjacketed Coltrane albums strewn across the floor. It's time to yell at the moon and throw tomatoes at passing cars. Next morning, we're talking about stool samples, a turn-your-head-and-cough session with the Yankee surgeon general, and then some hitting and fielding - a full day of it.
It's time for the Yankees to have one leg up on the rest of baseball: They need to know if Alex Rodriguez can deliver. For a day or two, it's time to forget scouting the latest talent from Cuba or Japan. It's time to scout the $25 million enigma.
Monday, October 27, 2014
A seemingly magical but fraudulent Photoshopped picture of Jeter in his last home game, which is making the rounds on the Internet
In 1986, Brian Cashman - the ink yet to dry on his college diploma - joined the Yankee front office as an intern. He rose up the daisy chain. By 1998, Cashman had ascended to the job of Senior-Vice President and General Manager, replacing Bob Watson. Despite the lofty title, it was not until 2005, when he signed a three-year deal, that Cashman supposedly received supreme power in baseball decisions. Since then, it's been his organization to run.
In today's Gray Lady, Tyler Kepner - (who is not Tyler Clippard) - lays out Sabean's record. Some excerpts...
Every other year lately, the Giants have figured it out. They won championships in 2010 and 2012, acquiring critical pieces along the way. In 2010, Sabean and his staff added Pat Burrell, Javier Lopez and Cody Ross. Two years later, they picked up Marco Scutaro and Hunter Pence.
This season, after Cain’s season-ending elbow injury, the Giants traded for Jake Peavy, who had been 1-9 for Boston. With Scutaro injured, they resisted trading for a second baseman and turned to Panik, whose strike zone discipline in the minors predicted success in the majors.
Of course, it's hard to judge Brian Cashman's performance with the Yankees, because, at the root of everything, a Steinbrenner is a Steinbrenner - the baseball synonym for "serial meddler." When Kei Igawa comes up for bids, the Boss wants him, and Cashman complies - presumably bent-over and yelping, "Thank you, sir, may I have another!" You never know who botched a trade, and Cashman never tells - which is probably why he's perched on another three year ride.
But if you look at a tale of two cities, it's clear which Brian has won the day.
Sunday, October 26, 2014
When the world ends, the NY Post will be leading the way in ethics... Does this mean we need a big boat?
Ken Davidoff puts A-Rod and Clemens into perspective. (I wonder, though: Do the Post editors read their own columnists?)
Saturday, October 25, 2014
You travel for 80 games, get blamed for every Yankee strikeout, and nobody - not even guys hitting .210 in their final incarnations - listens to a word you say. Then - poof! - George King writes that you've just been fired!
And what was your job, anyway? To "talk hitting" around the clock with Yankee players? That's what they loved to say about Kevin Long: "He'll talk hitting around the clock and never get tired." Seriously... how much "hitting" can anybody talk? After five hours, what is there to say?
Watch the ball. Square the shoulders. Drop the elbows. Guard the dish. Hey, don't worry about it, man! You'll get'm next time!
There... see? I'm Yankee hitting coach! You can be, too! The question is, why bother?
Two weeks ago, the Yankees ditched Kevin Long and first base coach Mick Kelleher, who has retired. The reaction of the Yankiverse seemed to go along two lines: 1) "Who cares? and 2) "Good riddance to anyone associated with last season."
Then it sank in. Every manager comes with a group of hangers-on, drinking pals and old roommates, who form his posse. Hal Steinbrenner just fired two of Joe's Entourage buddies - (think "Turtle" and "Johnny Drama.") to send a message: Manage harder.
So now, the Yankees are still searching for their 2015 whipping mule. They lost Chili Davis to the Redsocks, decided Dave Magadan talks too much to reporters, and they've been stiffed by Eric Hinske. Is Sidney Ponson available? Billy Crystal? Didn't Jenny McCarthy get dropped from The View? Can we buy a drone? Or will the team simply replace one old buddy with another?
Next up could be Dante Bichette Sr., one of Joe's oldest and best-est friends. Why not? Dante's son is a Yankee farm hand, just as Kevin Long's son is a Yankee farm hand. Dante can beg hitters to go the opposite way, just as Kevin Long begged hitters to go the opposite way. Dante can get fired, just as Kevin Long got fired.
Nobody wants the job. Come on, world. Send somebody to the plate.
Friday, October 24, 2014
The Gray Lady today reports a grim set of numbers and asks the philosophical question: If a World Series falls in
On Tuesday night, the first game of the 2014 World Series drew just 12.2 million viewers to Fox, making it the lowest-rated Game 1 on record. Game 2 on Wednesday night fared somewhat better, with 12.9 million people tuning in...
[T]his week, more people watched “NCIS: New Orleans” and “The Big Bang Theory,” and — for that matter — “The Walking Dead,” the cable show about zombies. The audience for “Sunday Night Football,” a regular season game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Denver Broncos, was almost twice that of Games 1 or 2. Even last Saturday night’s college football matchup — Florida State University versus Notre Dame — drew more viewers than either World Series game.
Ouch. What gives? The first five minutes of every Bud Selig six-minute interview - (like most Yankee starters, the great Bud Selig never goes seven) - involve the great Bud Selig telling how baseball is greater than ever, thanks to the great Bud Selig! (Of course, the game IS more successful - for its billionaire owners, who now can poor-mouth with impunity, while the Gammonites wail about overpaid players.)
But wait... is something wrong in Bud Selig's great dream land? This is Bud Selig's fantasy series - Micro-Market vs. Nano-Market - and it's getting clobbered in the ratings to - huh? - NCIS: New Orleans? (Until today, I didn't know there is a show called NCIS: New Orleans.) Thank God the Royals won Game II. A four-game Giants sweep could have plunged baseball down below Antiques Road Show and the Yankee Classic on YES.
Listen: It's time for us to move on about what Bud Selig did to destroy the Yankees. It's time to recognize the work of Hal Steinbrenner and his country club cronyism. Also, it is time for baseball to realize its rightful place in not only the cosmos - but in this nation's heart.
That place is a World Series being played on crisp fall afternoons, under blankets of sunshine, preempting game shows and soap operas. That place is an America where schools once set up rooms for kids to watch the game, where workers listened on the radio, and where World Series pools - remember them? - absorbed every office. Somehow, long ago - even before Bud Selig - baseball sold its soul to Brent Musberger and the harpies of prime time graphics.
It's time to get it back.
The marketers complain that the fan base of Major League Baseball is old and doddering and - what was I saying again? - oh yes, someone mentioned Antiques Road Show! Well, here's a thought. Maybe - just maybe - that's not such a horrible thing. Could it be that Fox Sports, ESPN and Bud Selig - in their maddened push to capitalize every blade of grass in an American tradition - sold off what was beautiful about the game?
Baseball was never meant to be glitzy graphics, exploding theme songs and sideline nipples. It cannot be saved by third-inning dugout interviews with the pitching coach. (These absolutely dreadful interviews should be accompanied by a scroll that says: TIME TO GO TO THE BATHROOM.) For a generation now, we've watched World Series ratings steadily wither, while the lords of the game wring their hands and try to look for something new to sell.
The trend is not going to reverse itself. Sure, someday the Yankees will play the Dodgers, and ratings will see a temporary bump, because everybody loves or hates NY and LA... but it's not the solution, and it never was.
The World Series belongs in the afternoons, being watched by obsessive fans, even if they're in diapers. Cater to the people who care - the grandparent and the great uncles - and their infatuation will become contagious. Play it at night, and they go to bed in the sixth inning. People yearn for an America where traditions are kept, not sold. And on that criteria, Bud Selig sucked.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Feeling down about the season? That noose around your neck starting to itch?
How about some fun fact trivia!
Who has more Vice Presidents: a) the planetwide corporate colossus, PepsiCo, or b) the Yankees?
Well, if you happened to read the above headline, you've probably guessed the correct answer.
The answer is b, theYankees. They have 15 veeps. Poor little PepsiCo has only 13.
By the way, PepsiCo achieves $66 billion in annual earnings, with a budget larger than many Third World countries. As you read this, some Pepsico vice president is converting a reservoir in China or Africa into the mother's milk known as Diet Mountain Dew.
Here's another tidbit. Who has more Vice Presidents, a) the Earth-raping corporate leviathan, Monsanto, or b) the Yankees?
Well, it just so happens that the Evil Empire Yankees have more V.P.s than the Utterly Evil Monsanto Corporation, 15 to 11. Somehow, Monsanto deflowers the planet with fewer vice presidents.
OK, final question: In the test of absolute evil... who has more Vice Presidents? a) the financial vampire squid known as Goldman Sachs or b) the Yankees?
Well, nobody beats Goldman Sachs. The legion of James Bond supervillains has something like 13,000 Vice Presidents, according to Bloomberg News. If you can recite the words, "I worship thee, Satan," you become a Vice President at Goldman Sachs.
Stay proud, Yankee fans. Hal Steinbrenner is expected to soon add Omar Minaya to the front office. Could he be No. 16? Keep fingers crossed!
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
As baseball ponders its worst-case scenario - a four game, small market wipeout, without even close scores - could it be time to start questioning the timing?
Give it five days off.
For the Kansas City Royals, it's as if they just went through the All-Star break. Last week, they were the hottest team in baseball, but last night, they looked as if their plane just arrived from Sierra Leone. I thought bye-weeks were for the NFL.
Last week, when SF clinched the National League pennant, my first thought was, "Thank God it's over, so KC won't have to sit around for a month to play again." Surely, they'd move up the schedule.
Yeah, right. What a joke.
In this day and age, with so much flexibility... with two hungry, ticket-buying fan bases... with half the post-season having been telecast on cable stations anyway... they couldn't schedule the World Series against a garden variety weekend of college football or the NFL?
What a bunch of pussies.
Last night was a four-inning game. If the Giants win tonight, it could be a four-game series. Kansas City will have been punished for its ultimate crime: Sweeping Baltimore too quickly, too soon. If I were a Royals fan, I would be royally pissed.
Kang, 27, batted .360 and hit 36 home runs last season. Unfortunately, he did this in Korea, where the quality of pitching falls somewhere between Scranton and Iceland.
In posting ballplayers to the majors, Korea operates under the old, international blind-bidding, beer pong rules, the same ones that coaxed the Yankees to drop $25 million for the rights to Mr. Kei Igawa. This alone probably elminates Hal Steinbrenner from the party.
But I say it's time for the Yankees to climb back onto the Carl Pavano-boondoggle saddle.
Let's accept that Kang is a crap shot, and there is certain River Styx threshhold - $50 to $70 million maybe - that nobody should cross. There's a current theory making the rounds that Asian infielders don't translate well into the majors because - well - I can't think of why they wouldn't, but it's a nice theory when you're looking for an excuse to sit on your hands. Also, let's face it: Korean baseball is not even Japanese baseball. Kang could clang.
But bum or not, here's why the Yankees should go after this guy.
1. In my 35 years as a reporter, now and then you'd find an editor who was better suited to be handing out towels at the YMCA. They looked at every story and said, "Well, we won't get sued by not publishing." I suspect that among the 15 vice presidents within the Yankee front office, there are a few who always say, "Well, we won't look bad if we don't spend the money." Those guys should be handing out towels at the Y. It's time for the Yankees to take chances. They ignored the Cuban wave. They should jump on this one.
2. We have nobody to play SS. We're not talking about replacing Derek Jeter here. We're just talking about having a shortstop. Are we going to watch Brendan Ryan hit .149 next year? Nor are the free agent options too stimulating. Our best young prospects have not even cracked Trenton. There is no cavalry coming. We could empty our system and trade for a shortstop (So long, Aaron Judge!) Frankly, I'd rather take a half-court shot.
3. Our farm system needs a stalking horse. In spring training, Kang would absorb attention like a Bounty towel. Thus, younger players can fly under the radar, without being subjected to ridiculous Jeter comparisions. Small market teams don't need stalking horses. The Yankees do. Whatever they pay Kang, he could buy time for the system to actually season a shortstop, maybe by 2016.
4. Good grief, we need some pinprick of hope. If Hal plans to sell 2015 tickets on the idea that 2014 was an "off year," that A-Rod will come back, and guys like Beltran and McCann will start hitting... well... good luck with that. Last fall, the YES Men talked giddy about the notion of a full season of Alfonso Soriano anchoring the batting order. Yeah, right. He anchored it, all right. The Yankiverse needs something to hope for, even if it's a mirage.
Close your eyes and think of .360 and 36 home runs. Ahhhhhhh.... Derek who?
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Holy cow! The YES site has an exciting story about how great our prospects are doing in the Mexican Winter League. Luis Niebla has started a game--one--and his ERA is 2.35! Yowee. Reliever Giovanny Gallegos has appeared twice and not allowed a hit or a walk! Look out, D-Rob. And Jose Augusto Figueroa has been in three games and has a hit! A real, live hit!
|Thames, a river of batting wisdom.|
And Doug Williams at YES says that our next shortstop should be...Asdrubal Cabrera. You know why? Because he's 'solid.' Not great, not exciting, not nothing but 'solid.' Whew. Bring me the smelling salts, Dr. Ahmad.
Holy Mother of Gahhd, like they say in Beantown. I can hardly wait for Spring Training. It's going to be one heck of a year.
First, on behalf of the Yankiverse, let us say: Congrats, Mr. Denbo! Best of luck, sir, in your new vice presidency!
Second, let's all breathe a sigh of relief, knowing the Yankees didn't have to go outside the organization to find a vice presidential candidate, so their waves of recent success will not be impeded.
Finally, while we at IT IS HIGH would never try to tell Mr. Denbo how to do his job, we do want to offer a few pieces of advice. Sir...
1. Always keep a supply of freshly sharpened pencils. You never know when Hal Steinbrenner might walk by the door, and you want to look busy. Remember: A sharpened pencil is a sharpened mind!
2. If you scratch somebody's Hummer in the lot, while moving into your new, upgraded, vice presidential parking space, make sure you leave a note on their windshield and pay full shot on the repair. Best to come clean fast, rather than spill your guts during the lie-detector tests.
3. Buy an expensive clipboard. Don't skimp. As a vice president, you'll need to employ the latest gagetry known to humankind.
4. Keep the shoes shined, fingernails trimmed, hair combed, and put away the joy-buzzer. You're in the bigs now! You're one of only 15 vice presidents.
5. Bring bagels or fancy donuts to executive conferences. Yes, it's expensive. Consider it an investment. Remember: The vice president who brings the most bagels can never be fired.
6. Don't buy one of those little click-clack silver ball devices that sit on your desk, making click-clack sounds all day, like the other vice presidents. Separate yourself. Buy one of those magnets that have the globe suspended a half inch from the desk top. You'll be amazed at how the other vice presidents come in and watch it all day.
7. Remember to reserve every 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. for the Rush Limbaugh Radio Show, then it's Hannity for the rest of the afternoon. It's important to stay informed.
Now that MLB has implemented a secret payroll salary cap, via luxury taxes, we can expect the World Series to regularly feature teams from backwater locations, towns too small to have gangland warfare or shopping riots.
When Kansas City plays San Francisco, will the megalopolites care enough to watch?
Baseball needs a gimmick, a device that will make the World Series exciting to all fans, especially those whose teams have turned to crapola because their heir owners can't decide how to spend all their money, so they surround themselves with cronies, who keep their jobs year after year, even though their farm system only churns out Slade Heathcotts and Zolio Almontes. Those fans. Whoever they are.
Here's how you do it.
Award the league that wins the World Series home field advantage in next season's All-Star game.
Think about it. Have two cities in line for next year's midsummer classic. Thus, their fan bases will root, root, root for their league, hoping to host the All-Star Game. Considering that the winner of the All-Star game wins home field advantage for its league in the series, it's a perfect loop.
Save the Series.
Make it count.
Monday, October 20, 2014
He stood in the runway of Jerry Jones "Home of the Groper" Stadium and was nearly knocked down by a stampeding Tony Romo, and you could almost hear every fan in America yelling at the TV, "HA, TONY! RUN HIM OVER!"
Soon, Al will return to Florida for spring training, where he will face a relentless wave of boos at every baseball stadium he visits. And we Yankee fans will constantly hear the question: "How can you root for A-Rod?" (*Who, for rebranding issues, we will call simply "Al.")
Keep this in mind. (Or clip and save.) To our knowlege, A-Rod...
Hasn't knocked out any girlfriends.
Hasn't whipped any of his children.
Hasn't pulled an AK-47 on a cop, or driven people off a road, or taken hostages, or had dogs tear each other apart, or killed anybody with a DUI, or sent a phone text of his genitals to a female sportswriter.
In his most brutal and heinous physical attack on record - for which he shall always be condemned - he slapped the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's glove. Yep, he slapped!
Alex Rodriguez is accused of using performance enhancing drugs during a period in which they were not only legal but abundant throughout the game. In one case, he was given a waiver by MLB to use drugs - along with two other players, neither of whom has ever been identified.
Yes, he's an insecure, self-centered jerk.
The pariah. Our pariah. Shame on us. Shame, shame, shame...
Well, the NFL's ratings only went up. Turned out, nobody was listening to the sermons. And who could blame them? The fans were trying on the Lawrence Taylor jersey, practicing the ol' forearm shiv on Aunt Edna, and buying whippets for the kickoff!
Well, as fans of Ray Rice might say, the bloom is off the nose.
People, it's time to march for a better world.
Altogether now, New York Gints fans:
"ON MORAL GROUNDS, WE ARE BOYCOTTING THE NFL. FROM NOW ON, UNTIL ROGER GOODELL* IS GONE, WE SHALL HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE BLOOD SPORT OF PRO FOOTBALL, WHICH IS ON THE LEVEL OF HUMAN COCKFIGHTING."
(*In lieu of Goodell, we might consider Tom Coughlin.)
Yes, Gint fans, it's time to replace our Eli jerseys with Pope robes. Let's get 100 percent self-righteous and at least 50 percent morally clean. Another season just died in the womb. Hey, dammit, that's abortion!
Once again, it's not even November, and the Gints are done. Of course, Coach Dale Carnegie will rally the team to win the last two games and finish 8-8 (and win a three-year extension from Rooney Mara, or Kate Mara, or whomever is counting the family cash flow these days.) They'll win the final game to "establish momentum" for 2015, as they did last year.
From now on, indignation is easy. The NFC East is a race between Dallas and Philadelphia, and when those moral dwarfs play each other, if there is truly a God, a volcano will erupt beneath the stadium and blow everybody in it to Iceland. That would teach the NFL about messing with the most important Commandment, (which the Giants have faithfully upheld) - "Thou shalt do no work on the Sabbath! And that means you, offensive line!"
Once again, we see the New York City sports mediocrity model in pure form: Two teams represent NYC, and one is so rancid that it makes the other look competent. The Mets have given the Yankees a free pass for the last 13 years. And the Jets? Good grief, you must go back to Emerson Boozer.
Last spring, the Gints made a big point about "character issues" in the NFL draft. I'm not making this up: They drafted team captains and linchpins of morality. We can probably out-debate the Cowboys. No animals will be harmed in the playing of this season. But the Vegas line against Phily is 20 points and growing.
Not that it matters, of course. From now on, I'm avoiding the NFL. It's a league of wife-beaters, children-whippers and displayers of shriveled grapenuts, such as Jerry Jones. I'm not ignoring these beasts from the netherworld. I'm officially boycotting them. Stop, hey, watch that sound, everybody look what's going down...
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Since the Yankees went out of the pennant race in June, I have been drinking more and more.
Did you know that Crown Royal shots actually taste better at 10:00am than at 10:00pm?
I use alcohol to stimulate my thinking when it comes to the Yanks. Rather, I use it to forget everything I'm pretty sure I know.
And in today's stupor, my only hope remains: we have to buy the Royals.
If this doesn't happen, I will just keep drinking.
It's autum in New York, a great time for cryogenic suspension.
But why, why, WHY are NYC sports so rancid? Why does Boston get the Celtics, Patriots, Redsocks and Bruins, while New Yorkers actually ponder Syracuse as a home town college team? Why does San Francisco have the Giants and 49ers, while we have the Giants and the 13s?
Seriously. Anybody out there know? I've spent the better part of the last five minutes mulling this. Here are my guesses.
1. Pro sports owner communism. All pro teams are owned by Ayn Rand capitalists, who run their leagues like Che Guevara. Their goal is always to achieve parity, and the first salvo in that campaign is to crush any NYC-based teams, so they cannot exploit their advantage in market size. If you can't exploit your market advantage - well - then it becomes a disadvantage. If everything is equal, you have a better chance of winning in a small city, where the players have nothing else to do but chase personel records for their bench presses.
2. Obsessed wacko nutjob loonpie fans. NYC has at least 1 million drooling, loopy fans who a) make crappy players and midling prospects think they are Gods or b) scare the living hell out of star athletes. Whenever they talk about Jeter's greatness, they note that he kept his bearings while playing in New York. If he'd gone 20 years in Cleveland, would he simply be Omar Vizquel with better hair?
3. Hot and aggressively horny babes. Once the dairy princesses and prom queens, fresh off the bus from Ashtabula, realize they're not going to be Broadway's next Neil Patrick Harris, they quickly move to Plan B: Bed down some pro athlete and turn his powerful bat into Pad Thai. What really happened to Kevin Maas? (Without whom we would not have a great Yankee site in his honor.)
4. Water supply, air quality, proximity to Indian River nuke plant. Is NYC on a methane vent? Sometimes, it smells that way.
5. Yahweh pissed. NYC is, after all, Gomorrah on the Hudson. Half the Arab world still thinks God orchestrated the 9-11 attacks because Mayor Dinkins went easy on the squeegie guys. The Bible thumpers blame it on Rosie O'Donnell. Maybe God is taking it out on Brian McCann?
6. Best street drugs. Nah. Then why did Miami win in the NBA?
7. Bagels. Could there something in the delicate nutritional make-up of this magnificent New York delicacy, which undermines a highly tuned athlete's peak performance? Sometimes, after my fourth bagel, I do feel a tad gassy.
8. Keith Olbermann. Every NYC pro athlete knows he or she must face the ultimate scrutiny.
9. Owner incompetence. Let's face it: The owners of NYC sports teams are second or third generation pinheads, who make just as much money when their teams lose. I'm wondering if there isn't some inbreeding here? Could old George have had a secret affair with one of the Dolans, spawning Hank? Just asking.
10. Random sequence. We're simply talking about a small sample size (Note: On the River Ave site, this is referred to as "SSS"). If you wait a million years, NYC sports will probably rise. It just won't happen in our lifetimes, or our kids' lifetimes, or our grandkids' lifetimes. Somewhere out there, in the year 2525 - if man is still alive - a scrappy Steinbrennerian seed will find purchase in a fertile Zuckerman egg, and the ghosts of today's Yankee fanbase will enjoy the fruits of today's earthly torment. And I bet their kid will have flippers the size of surfboards.
Enough reason to consider cryonic suspension, eh?
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Apparently, the Seligian gag rule is now just a gag. The 2014 World Series is about to be forgotten, because the Yankees are on the verge of announcing... drum roll, please...
THE 2015 YANKEE HITTING COACH.
Speaking on behalf of Planet Earth, I say this:
Hold on, everyone. Try to stay calm. We're awaiting the envelope. It might be Dave Magadan. It might be Chili Davis. Good grief, maybe Hal will resurrect Babe Ruth back from the dead. (It's now been 10 years since the Yankees slayed the Babe a second time, ending the Curse of the Bambino, and we've been a declining force ever since.) Whoever is annointed 2015 YANKEE HITTING COACH, he - or she - will really make a difference. Right?
Hahahaha. Of course, they will. Hahahauhg. Just keep repeating it, over and over. A new whipping mule! A new organizational scapegoat! The one guy who - unlike the starting nine - can be fired next winter. The batting coach. Hahahaaha.
I can't wait to see how this new key linchpin of the Yankee attack will alter A-Rod's swing. Maybe he'll teach Tex a new stance! And Prado, my goodness, the things he'll do with Prado! It'll be like Mickey, changing Rocky to a lefty, by having him drink eggs and chase chickens across the barnyard. That Prado, he's gonna eat thunder and crap guitar feedback!
What's sad here is that the Yankees didn't change hitting coaches last July. We'd be in the World Series, instead of KC, and the games wouldn't be shown on your cable system's Channel No. 400.
A new hitting coach. You'd think this was the NFL, and the Yankees just hired a new Offensive Coordinator for Tom Coughlin. Next year, will we launch a West Coach attack?
A new hitting coach. This could mean an entirely different set of inspirational slogans being yelled at Brian McCann, as he marches back to the dugout after his 100th strikeout. (Sometime in June.)
A new hitting coach. Whoopie. For the first time, maybe I miss Bud, after all.
He would tell the Yankees to keep quiet. Then again, who can stay quiet with a cowbell in hand?
Friday, October 17, 2014
(Cue the classy music)... Tonight on Yankeeography, we celebrate the career of baseball hero Travis Ishigawa, the "Six-Inning Yankee."
The time is July 8, 2013. The place is New York City, in the back of an expensively seedy hotel bar and hash house near Yankee Stadium.
Brian "American Picker" Cashman has just spent the last 24 hours doing massive amounts of ibogane and laxatives with fellow top Yankee official, the legal begal known as Randy Levine, who still wears his Buzz Lightyear costume, which he donned for a Fourth of July founding fathers costume party.
Cashman is worried. The Yankee team is listing, losing, lifeless. Something has gone wrong with the Murderers Row batting order... Zolio Almonte, Travis Hafner, Vernon Wells, Luiz Cruz, Alberto Gonzalez... the team simply hasn't recovered from Boesch getting hurt.
"We need a firstbaseman who can spell Lyle Overbay," he tells Levine.
"I can do it... I think," Levine says. "It's O-v-e-r-b..."
He stops when Brian slaps him, hard, across the mouth. Levine has been cycling steroids, growth hormone and lead-based paint chips for the last. He's a little hazy. The slap awakens him. It also excites him.
"O-v-e-r-b-e-y!" he shouts.
Before Brian can hit him again, his cellphone trills. It's Brian's special "MLB Waiver Wire Mix and Match Madness" ap. A new names has landed in baseball's recycling bin. The name is Travis Ishigawa. He sounds Japanese.
"KEI IGAWA?" Randy says, fitting himself onto his Yankee logoed bong. "I've heard of him. Sign him!"
"Not Kei Igawa," Brian says. "ISH- Igawa. And he could spell Overbay."
"That's easy. O-v-e-r-"
"Shaddup. I'm involved with important Yankee backroom wheeling and dealing. I should call our chief scout and baseball man"
"Don't wake up Hank," Levine says. "Last I heard, he was on a horse and hookers bender."
"Shaddup. This is big business."
"Sorry, Brian... you know that, really, I... mean well." Randy blurts out a bong hit. "MEANWELL, GET IT?"
Despite his anger, Brian simply must laugh. This mirthful scaliwag, Levine, he knows how to push a fellow's funny bone.
And so the Yankees sign Travis Ishigawa.
That night, Travis appears in the Yankee lineup - batting sixth, after Vernon Wells and before Luis Cruz. Travis goes 0 for 2 with two strikeouts, then is replaced by Lyle Overbay. The Yankees lose to Kansas City, 5-1.
A six-inning outing... Seven pitches. Six strikes.
Next night, he is gone... like Brigadoon... like that Malasian airliner... like Vanilla Ice.
And every July 8, it is said that he reappears in the clouds over New York City to say...
"I'm Travis, not Kei."
TRAVIS ISHIGAWA... NOT KEI... THE SIX-INNING YANKEE.
This week's .... YANKEEOGRAPHY. (Cue out music. Run credits. Audience applause.)
Thursday, October 16, 2014
The Yankees have three upper tier prospects in Baseball America's top league rankings. Unfortunately, they only have two players.
The Yankees also have the eternal prospect, catcher Gary "I'm Not Jesus" Sanchez, who ranked 11th in the Eastern League.
It's fashionable to say that the Yankee farm system has finally shed the air-sucking misery of its last four years, when it served up Eduardo Nunez, Melky Mesa, Preston Claiborne and Zolio Almonte. And hopefully, Refsnyder in 2015 will become the first meaningful Yankee-born-and-raised position player since Brett Gardner.
Look, I don't want to be negative all the time. But before the Yankees congratulate themselves - (and write the front office bonus checks) - a point should be made:
The Yankee farm system only looks good when compared to past Yankee farm systems.
Don't even think about comparing it to the Redsocks' system.
Boston has four prospects on the International League's Top 20 list, including two that are ranked above Refsnyder. The Redsocks placed six prospects on the Eastern League Top 20. Overall, the Redsocks could have nine highly regarded rookies vying for next season's roster. That, my friends, is a wave. We had better hope for a few duds. And keep your fingers crossed for Refsnyder.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
The Yankees October spirit lives!
In the first round, old friend Joba Chamberlain sabotaged Detroit's year.
Last night, it was Randy Choate throwing a ball into right field to kill the Cards.
Next round? I'd keep your eyes on the Royals' Jayson Nix.
Number seven - delivered by Supreme Leader Cuomo:
"Yankee Stadium now available for your October event."
"The Yankee front office, they're a bunch of relards."
"Relarding" would describe the annual churning of professional sports executives, who bounce among teams like hookers on laps in Sons of Anarchy. When somebody jumps, he (yeah, it's generally a him) is quickly replaced by a drinking buddy from the last GM convention. Make your bones in this gated community, and you'll never go hungry.
The Evil Empire is ready to hire Omar Minaya, the former Met front office bivalve, to the brain trust, according to Murdoch's fish wrap of record, The NY Post. Omar - said to be a chum of Brian Cashman - will soon turn 57 - 10 years older than Cash. Thus, Omar's hiring would mean a) this is his pre-retirement pension drive and b) he is no threat to his boss.
Listen: I have no truck with Omar Minaya. Ten years ago, he helped build the Mets, and he then helped wreck them. Surely, he is a solid "baseball man," as the Gammonites put it. He's supposed to be an "expert" in international scouting, whatever that means. I say, "Oh, hell, why not!" He can't do worse than what he we had!
But when mulling the Yankee brain trust, now and then, maybe we should read the masthead.
Cashman - the Senior Vice President/General Manager - is the 10th name on the list, after the owners (who still list George, which I didn't count), Randy "Seventies Hair" Levine (President, Godfather), Lonn Trost (Chief Operating Officer, General Counsel/Consiglieri), Felix Lopez (Executive Vice President, Chief International Officer/ In-law) and Anthony Bruno (Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer/ official money launderer.)
Minaya would land two slots below Cashman, replacing Mark Newman, who is retiring. Newman's job title is a chuck-wagon of words: Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations.
I believe you can chart the downfall of any organization by the number of vice presidents. The more VPs you have, the worse off you'll be.
In the Yankee front office, there are 15 vice presidents: one executive VP, eight senior VPs and six regular, miserable, garden variety VPs.
In the "Senior Administration," the next tier, I count 19 "directors;" six executive directors, three senior directors, and 10 directors. Overall, it's a list of 44 names.
I claim no grand knowledge of what makes a good baseball executive. But here's a thought: A few baseball organizations do stand out for their success. So what do their mastheads look like?
The St. Louis Cardinals' masthead has 33 names. It has two vice presidents. (That's not a misprint: Just TWO!) The GM is sixth name from the top. Most significantly, the ninth slot is comprised of six special assistants - all of them ex-ballplayers. Go through the top 20 names, and you see a bunch of former players.
OK, so much for St. Louis. How about the San Francisco Giants, who are leading them in the NLCS. They've won two rings in recent years. The masthead is more complicated. At the top, it has 30 "associates," because the ownership is an LLC. If one assumes that the associates are the ownership board, and thus don't directly interfere with the front office, then it starts to scale down. The top 11 names - the administration - are mostly ex-ballplayers. There are 50 names under "Baseball Operations," and most you've heard before: They're old players.
The Yankee front office? There's not an ex-major leaguer on the list. (Could it be relevant that the last regime to build a Yankee team was lead by Gene Michael and Bob Watson?)
The Yankees farm system has endured a miserable last four years. Over that period, Hal Steinbrenner barely changed a nameplate. Now, with Newman retiring, it's worth asking one simple question:
Are we changing the way the Yankees do business, or are we merely relarding the bloat?
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Good value on the contract, hard worker, smart, commands peer respect... The next Yankee batting coach should be A-Rod
Long's best year was his first. He batted .312 for Eugene in the Northwest League. He never again hit above .300. His career average stands at .273. Overall, he clubbed a total of 14 home runs. Yes, over eight years... 14 HR.
I don't say this to mock a decent fellow who just lost his job. Maybe Long was a great hitting coach. Maybe he took a course in it. Maybe he got his Master's degree in batting coachery. I say this because Long never seemed to have juice with the Yankee superstar lineups that were more interested in their hedge funds than on-base percentages. For the last three years, Yankeee hitters have steadily declined in production due to defensive overshifts. We saw Curtis Granderson arrive as a five-tool future superstar and leave as Richie Hebner with a hernia. We' watched Mark Teixeira turn into Lyle Overbay. Last year, we watched Stephen Drew - barely hitting .150 - STILL trying to drive the ball through overshifts.
When you're hitting .150, and you're not willing to lay down a bunt, is there a batting coach in creation - aside from Your One Personal God and Savior, Randy Levine - who can make a difference? What guy who hit 14 HRs in his career can get Carlos Beltran's attention?
Well, there is a guy who can do it.
Al "A-Rod" Rodriguez needs to be the Yankee batting coach in 2015.
Think about it. Why have a batting coach who once hit .312 at Eugene? Why not have the best hitter of his generation? A head case who has lived and breathed hitting for 20 years? Why not a guy who is on his last chance to do something meaningful in life, and who has a great recipe for milk shakes?
I'm speaking metaphorically, of course. Install A-Rod as batting coach. We're already paying too much for him. He can be DH/Coach. We'll save money. When A-Rod sits down next to Austin Romine, you think Austin Romine will be listening to Sheer Mag - (coolest band out there, BTW) - on his earbuds? Hell no.
Save money. Save the team.
Make A-Rod batting coach.