Wednesday, December 31, 2014
The slideshow barker lists the Yankees worst moves of 2014 as: 1. Stephen Drew, 2. Brian Roberts, 3. Kelly Johnson, 4. Jeff Francis and 5. Wade Leblanc. If that's the worst, dear God, we should have won a World Series. Those were scrapheap acquisitions. Those were nothing.
(Note: The guy ignores the signings of Beltran, McCann, et al, because they happened before Jan. 1. For starters, this is insanely stupid, because even if they technically took place in 2013, they clearly were part of the 2014 collapse.)
So here are my Five Worst Yankee moves of 2014.
1. Batting Derek Jeter second all year. It didn't work in April. It didn't work in May. It didn't work in June. It didn't work in July. It didn't work in August. It didn't work in September - wait: I take that back! It worked on one of the last days of September. For a team starved for hitting, management's refusal to acknowledge Jeter's diminished skills were worthy of terminal alcoholism. Considering how close we came to making the vaunted one game wild card, it's infuriating to think of all the rallies that died because Luxury Box Hal - with an heiress' instinct for finding comfort - preferred to honor a Yankee great... rather than win. So that's what we did. And Jeter sat out October.
2. Brian Roberts. Yeah, the baby slideshow barker got this one right. Hell, Dick Cheney could have gotten this one right. Not only did we spend the entire first half of the season congratulating ourselves for signing the great and beloved "Mr. Oriole," but then we screwed the guy by waiving him within a few at bats of a huge salary bonus. What cheapskates we were. What jerks we were. What a debacle.
3. Pushing Masahiro Tanaka every fifth day. By early June, there were discussions about whether the Yankees should ease up on the guy, who had never faced this kind of workload in Japan. But the grand "ol baseball men," those tobacco spitting veterans of the Crimean War, won the argument. They didn't want to baby the Japanese guy. Nope. So Tanaka threw out his elbow, and who knows if he will ever be the same? And who knows what would have happened if they had simply moved slower by indoctrinating him into the U.S. game?
4. Not having Carlos Beltran undergo surgery. Halfway through the season, word came down that Beltran needed surgery to throw, and thus play RF... but it would mean missing six weeks. Instead of sending him to the cutting board, the Yankees let him DH and play through the pain. Thus, they got neither a RF or a DH. Beltran hit nothing, Worse, he hit nothing from the heart of our batting order. It was a classic "lose-lose!"
5. No plan for Mark Teixeira. Simply stated, the guy sucked. But considering the Yankee backup plans, you would have thought Lou Gehrig was our 1B. Kelly Johnson was amazingly inept. Francisco Cervelli was - as usual - hurt. Beltran hadn't played 1B since high school. McCann? Where did that idea come from? We watched Teixeira turn into the Second Coming of the Grandyman - swinging for the fences and trying to blast the ball through the defensive over-shifts that clearly had turned him into a mediocrity. He refused to adjust his swing, saying the Yankees weren't paying him to hit singles. Now, the Yankees expect a bounce back year. Their claim? In 2014, Tex was still recovering from a bad wrist. In other words, they figured he would suck, but they sent him out there anyway? Wow. This is so bad on so many levels. Screw the slideshow. What bothers me is the sideshow.
And for those of you who do not know... Sheer Mag is what would happen if Janis Joplin married Graham Parker, and their child was stolen and raised by Thin Lizzy, but in Philadelphia.
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
1. He just heard the news that Derek Jeter has retired.
2. Autograph hounds mistook him for Manute Bol.
3. He was caught wearing a baggy suit from 2006, which now concealed his wife and two kids.
4. He saw on the wing a hideous gremlin, which looked disturbingly like Larry Rothschild.
5. The security scan revealed a tear in his elbow.
6. He didn't realize he had to fly; he thought he could just mail it in, one more time.
7. The airline refused to handle the baggage of his last three seasons.
8. He saw Chris Capuano, and knew the Yankees cannot afford to have their two aces on the same flight.
9. He found himself seated next to Michael Kay. Three hours. Think about it.
Monday, December 29, 2014
This is one of those Cashman clunkers that makes no sense, unless he is hatching some secondary plan. Seriously. Cash is many things, but he is not stupid. The Yankee rotation is in tatters, and yet the team just jettisons a voracious innings-eater (he did 52 IP last year). Something else has gotta be coming. Even if it was a salary dump, the Evils only save $4 million. That's not enough to make it worth losing a bullpen chip.
Most of all, I will miss Kelley's horse head - the ugliest Yankee player juju since Jason Giambi's golden thong. In August, Kelley bought the thing on line and wore it during pregame warm-ups. The Yankees rattled off five straight wins. Unfortunately, Kelley then started telling people about it. That's how you kill a juju charm. (Since I wrote The Juju Rules, the Yankees haven't won a toilet flush.) So long, Mr. Ed. A horse is a horse, of course, of course...
(By the way, I do not believe use of the word "Redface" is racist, considering that it is a literal description of the situation at hand.)
As a lifelong Giants fan, let me say flat-out that Tom Coughlin is a great coach, a great figure in modern football, and a great human being.
Nevertheless, perhaps the most elusive secret to success in life is knowing when to step aside. (Don't believe me; ask the family of Joe Paterno.) Coughlin has had a great run with the Giants. But what will he do next year that he didn't do this year? He's never built a team that lasted more than 10 games. I can't think of any reason to feel hope for the team, until somebody else takes over. Frankly, I just the Mara family doesn't want to deal with the unpleasantness of dismissing a stalwart, so Coughlin will go on and on, until he literally coaches himself OUT of the Hall of Fame.
Don't know much about history. Don't know much biology. Don't know much about the science book. Don't know much about the French I took.
But I do know that if you don't sign a starting pitcher - I mean someone who can throw a decent 190 innings - what an utterly crapola world 2015 will be.
You might as well start developing alternative programming on YES, because 161 reruns of the 2014 Yankees will not even beat Season II of Jane the Virgin.
Frankly, I don't know what the Hell you should do. I hate spending $200 million on Max Scherzer, and then losing our top draft pick. I hate more the idea of trading our best prospects - we don't have that many - for some 32-year-old war horse on the decline. But if you think Team Cashman can last the year with a rotation of Sabathia, Tanaka, Pineda, Capuano and Eovaldi - dear God! - then let the dog live and shoot me. I don't know much, but I know that rotation won't last the months of April and May.
Best suggestion: Sign James Shields and the best pitcher available from Japan. The Yankees have now had two great Asian pitchers - Hiroki Kuroda and Chien-Ming Wang - (Tanaka might get there someday) - and it's time to try again. It's also time to recognize that New York City - and the entire Yankiverse - does not watch the same show that already failed. The 2014 Yankees were an old, slow, boring nostalgia act, which finished out of the running. To bring it back - with a new coat of paint on Chase Headley - is madness.
Dogs will die. Do something.
In the ideal ending to the 49ers wretched season yesterday, outgoing coach Jim Harbaugh met with - who else! - A-Rod! The two media lint magnets enjoyed a 20-second power talk - coded secretly into low-impact, howdeedoo banter - as Harbaugh took his death march as coach.
Imagine the coach's delight: His team just finishes 8-8, so defying fan expectations that the franchise actually tried to trade him - a veritable San Francisco Cervelli - chasing him to Michigan. Then, and as he's walking through the corridors of Hell - (Note the above caption, a rarity in that it includes the words "Alex Rodriguez" and "bowels") - preparing to address his troops for one final time, and then ... there he is! The Yankee Pariah. Who but W.B. Mason could have expected this? You can watch if you want.
Sunday, December 28, 2014
The director of an animated Yankee fairy tale, "Henry and Me," tells Variety the cold-hearted story of deleting Alex Rodriguez from the script.
Barrett Esposito enlisted the likes of Cyndi Lauper, Richard Gere, Paul Simon (as the voice of Thurman Munson) and a bunch of current and former Yankees to tell the story of a dying kid's love for the Bombers. The cast of characters runs from the Babe to the Captain - but A-Rod, who had already dubbed in his voice-overs, won't make it to the silver screen.
"Coughlin is livid!"
"The Giants have to get better on converting when they're in the Red Zone."
"Eli wishes he had that one back."
"Coughlin is not happy!"
"The Giants grabbed the lead with only [4,3,2,1] minute(s) to go, but the defense simply could not stop the [OPPONENT NAME HERE] drive."
"This Giants rookie has a great career ahead of him."*
"And after another disappointing season, you have to wonder if Coughlin's tenure is coming to a close."
"There are some real holes that have to be addressed in the offseason."
*Usually on another team.
Still, I respect what the hype monkeys were trying to do: They sought historical context for a football outcome in a stadium with no historical legacy. The place is five years old. Practically all its center field monuments honor men who never played here. Aside from the 2009 championship - which was financed by taxpayers and boosted on the now disgraced shoulders of A-Rod - the Yankees have given their new venue only two big moments, the goodbyes for Mariano and Jeter. The franchise has evolved into a middling, miserly mess, floundering to the point where the Mets next season easily could be NYC's better team.
Beyond the Mariano and Jeter farewells, it's hard to list great moments in the Stadium. Yes, there was the 2009 series, won by A-Rod's tainted home runs. We can remember Raul Ibanez's playoff HR against Detroit, but it only extended a game so Nick Swisher could muff a liner and Jeter could wreck his ankle. What else is there? Granderson's magical quest for 200 strikeouts? Those two September HRs by the great future Yankee, Jesus Montero?
It's been five years. Nothing has happened here. If you're talking about Joe, you're not thinking of Dimaggio or Torre; in this place, you're thinking about Girardi. If you want to remember the great "Pine Tar Game," forget George Brett and Goose Gossage; here, you're talking about Michael Pineda's neck.
This is what happens when you raze history. The Yankees once played in a cathedral whose mere presence honored Ruth, Gerhig, Joe D, Mantle, Yogi, Whitey, Reggie, Thurman, all the way up to Bernie and David Wells - the Yankee immortals. They knocked it down to build better luxury boxes. So yesterday, a nice finale in a meaningless football game gets shilled-up as the most exciting event in Yankee Stadium in three whole frickin' months. What a joke.
OK, hype hounds, get back to the real job at hand: Hawking the return of Chris Capuano and the stadium's authentic $75 dirt.
Saturday, December 27, 2014
I wonder if the Yankees even know what they are losing...
Under the universal fan mantra, "If we had $200 million to burn, the Yankees would never lose a game," No Maas has been a great read since 2005, the days of Carl Pavano and Bubba Crosby. Back then, the Yankees were always on fire, always demanding attention, always entertaining. But they are not that team anymore. They have become a tiresome, predicable, corporate meat-grinder - less interested in winning than in moving the last $75 packets of authentic Yankee Stadium dirt. Once upon a time, for better or worse, you couldn't take your eyes off them. Last year, they were flat-out painful to watch.
As usual, in its farewell, No Maas says it perfectly:
We must also be honest and tell you that the Hal Steinbrenner Regime has significantly dampened our enthusiasm and passion for this storied club, making it harder to put our heart into the site. From turning Yankee Stadium into a Ritz-Carlton that caters to the wealthy like a Federal Reserve governor; putting revenues into his pocket as opposed to the team (Yankees spend much less per % of revenue than many other teams); propagandizing to the fanbase by saying his team is “championship-caliber” when it clearly isn’t; allowing the same decision-makers to plunge the team further into mediocrity (it’s a good ol’ boy network); and commercializing EVERYTHING.
No Maas is/was/always will be a great Yankee blog - epitomizing the die-hard spirit of the Everyfan - to rejoice, to agonize, to mock, to care.
Best of luck to Sensei John, who will still be on Twitter.
Sweep the leg, guys. You ruled.
Friday, December 26, 2014
Upon hearing the news, George Steinbrenner cried. They broke into network programming to announce it. Cardinal John O'Connor gave the eulogy. Richard Nixon attended. Thousands stood in the rain outside St. Patrick's Cathedral, unable to get to get in. They buried him in Hawthorne, NY, about 150 feet from the grave of Babe Ruth. And they inscribed his love for the Yankees into stone.
Thursday, December 25, 2014
And all through the house that Ruth built,
Not a scapegoat was willing
To have his reputation as a coach kill't.
The job application forms were hung
Outside Cashman's office with care,
But considering Tex, McCann, Beltran and the rest,
Nobody, not even Marcus Thames, would soon be there.
The Yankees' pursuit of a batting coach is the most underwhelming quest since Monty Python chased the Holy Grail. Does anybody care? Does anybody even want the job?
Applicants must enjoy sharp public criticism and the daily humiliation of being blamed for the poor performance of aging, super-rich stars, who have no incentive whatsoever - unless you give really good foot massages - to hear a word you say. Good luck, Yankees. I'm sure they're lined up outside the door, waiting for job interviews.
My suggestion: Anthony Wiener, that ex-congressman who was forced out of office for texting the selfies of his package to women, and who then ran for NYC mayor, because he hadn't endured enough mockery. He would take the job.
Oh, well. Merry Christmas.
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
"If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be where I am today. He’s an incredible teammate who went out of his way early in my career to help me out. My first couple outings, I’d be in the dugout or in the clubhouse and he would come over and pick my brain; things like, ‘Why did you throw this pitch in this situation?’... He’s incredibly intelligent on the field and with the business side of baseball. He has a lot to offer younger players.”
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
2. Somebody picked up phone while modem in use.
3. Last Norton Security software update: 1997.
4. Hackers somehow guessed national password: "Kim."
5. Despite warnings, Kim Jung-un couldn't resist opening email attachment temptingly titled, "CHECK THIS OUT!"
6. During visit, Denis Rodman accidentally pressed "Control-Alt-Delete" reset.
7. Engineers misread "Break the Internet, Kim Kardashian" nude butt pix.
The Daily Murdoch reports that Jete held a Sunday Night Football party with a notable list of 30 dignitaries.
Joining him at the private viewing party were some male pals and 30 attractive, model-like women, sources told Page Six.
They're going to love him in Skaneateles. I wouldn't be surprised if Jete is named Captain of the Lake Association.
By the way, "Skaneateles" is an ancient Iroquois word, which means "beautiful lake surrounded by rich Nazis."
Monday, December 22, 2014
The Evils are secretly negotiating with Alex Rodgriguez, seeking a "good riddance" lump sum pay-off that will send him off to Brigadoon, or Narnia, or Skaneateles Lake (future pad of Jete), once and for all. He'll walk away from $61 million clams, plus incentives, over the next three years. He'll accept less money, volunteer for the Mars expedition, and never again soil the Yankees' spotless legacy of morality.
Most recently, David Lariviere, a contributor to Forbes Magazine - (a big name in insider baseball) - proclaimed that "it's clear that the New York Yankees are preparing for the early jettisoning" of A-Rod, and that Number 13 will be gone by Memorial Day. Others claim A-Rod will never even swing a bat for the Yankees. In interviews, Brian Cashman repeatedly exudes the sense that the Yankees should expect little or nothing from A-Rod, due to his age, his injuries and his year of going cold-turkey on Captain America's Super Soldier Serum.
Listen: Nobody knows if A-Rod will hit. Not even A-Rod. We will find out next spring.
But claims that Hal 5000 will buy him out hold no water. Here's why.
1. They have no other DH. Look at the roster. Who else bats cleanup and plays DH? Carlos Beltran? Last year, Carlos hit .233. If he moves to DH, that leaves right field to - gulp - Chris Young. Excuse me while I puke. Last year Chris played well for us in 23 games - twenty three games. No... actually, he played well for us in three games: He homered three consecutive nights, then reverted to a pumpkin. Last year, for the Mets, he hit .205. Two oh five. What are we saying here, that the Yankees expect Young to benefit from their great hitting coach, Kevin Long? If Beltran becomes DH, Young is our starting RF. And if anybody actually thinks Garrett Jones - whom we got in the Prado/Phelps deal - is a legitimate DH - dear God, shoot me. Jones, a card-carrying member of the 116 whiff club, has been down-sliding for three years. We might as well re-sign Ichiro.
2. Will someone explain to me again why A-Rod - a notoriously egomaniac - would settle for less than the entire king's ransom that the Yankees are obligated to pay, and why he would just walk away from a chance to save the final act of his career? It makes no sense. The team owes him $61 million. Why does take a penny less? Of course, if he cannot hit a lick - like Chris Young last year on the Mets - something will have to give. If he's injured, the Yankees might be able to write him off with insurance. I don't know the mechanics of this. But any "secret deal" gossip sounds like a boatload of Lyle Overbays.
3. There are no other free agent DH's out there worth signing. These days, professional hitters are a commodity. We never jumped on Victor Martinez or any of the others. Without A-Rod, the Yankees could end up with a DH batting seventh or eighth. Hell, we might as well go with Sabathia. (I am serious about this: If CC cannot pitch, maybe he should hit.)
4. If you think about it, Brian Cashman - by low-balling expectations, is actually doing A-Rod an enormous favor. The team is creating a sense that anything A-Rod does will be topping on the sundae. The worst thing they could do would be to get fans expecting 40 HRs. Then, if A-Rod hit 25, he'd look bad. (BTW, 25 HRs would be more than what they got from their big hitters last year.)
5. The mystery factor. Right now, we the Bronx Boredoms. Chase Headley is returning? Wow. Spare me the champagne. Chris Capuano coming back? Wow. Pour me a glass of Draino. But A-Rod... hm-mm - who knows what he will do? Frankly, it's one of the few intriguing story lines for 2015. Without him, we're supposed to be charged up over Garrett Jones?
If only all Evil was so mediocre...
Sunday, December 21, 2014
Saturday, December 20, 2014
In his first seven games out of the pen, Claiborne gave up no runs. Nada. Through his first 16, his ERA stood at 0.86. Incredible.
Plus, Claiborne represented a new found hope: That the Yankee farm system wasn't as dead as advertised. Here was a guy who never made the Baseball America prospect lists - but he threw hard and put up zeros. In that regard, he would be the forerunner to the Chase Whitleys and Shane Greenes of 2014. He was a living reminder that, with young players, you just never know.
On Claiborne's 17th outing, against the Dodgers, he got cuffed around: two runs. His ERA jumped to 1.69. Still, more than respectable.
On game 22, against Minnesota, he got smacked around. Two more runs. ERA: 2.05. Still more than respectable.
Game 23: Two more runs. ERA: 2.65. Still respectable.
Game 33: Four runs. ERA: 3.00. Respectable, but only in a Joba-like way.
Then came the late September series against Boston: Outings number 39, 40 and 41. The Redsocks were soaring, but the Yankees - behind the power duo of the newly returned A-Rod and Grandy Man - were making their move. That weekend, Preston Claiborne - and there is no nicer way to say this - crapped the water bed. In 1 and 2/3 innings - spread over three games - he gave up 8 runs, all earned. When it was done, the fans were booing, the Yankees were dead, and Claiborne's ERA stood at 4.15. Not respectable. And never would he be again.
I've often wondered why Joe Girardi kept bringing the guy back. Three games - three unbelievably brutal outings. I always end up with one answer: We had nobody else. When Girardi called the bullpen, Claiborne must have picked up the phone. If he simply had called in sick that weekend, he could have finished his rookie season with an ERA under 3.00. Oh, well...
Yesterday, the Yankees cut ties with Claiborne. He's now a Met. He's still young, 26, and who knows? But being a baseball fan is to perpetually watch young players come and go - rise and fall, swing and miss, and break your heart. The world furnishes a relentless stream of Preston Claibornes. I prefer to remember the one we saw in May, not the September version. And I wish him all the best. He was a Yankee once. He goes to heaven.
Friday, December 19, 2014
Today, the Yankees traded the eminently tradable Martin Prado and long-term bullpen lugnut David Phelps to the
Florida Miami Dolphins, Heat, Devil Rays, Marlons, Marlins for 24-year-old RH Nathan Eovaldi, 33 year-old 1B Garrett Jones and a 21-year-old pitching prospect by the name of Domingo German.
(BTW, this officially makes Prado a journeyman.)
Supposedly, Eovaldi was the Marlins' version of Phil Hughes, circa 2013, so maybe a change of scenery will do some good. He looks good coming off the bus - 6'2, 215 - and throws hard.
Anyway, here is the skinny on Eovaldi.
Here is the deal on Garrett Jones. As you can see, he's very Overbayish and two-years past peak foliage. He bats LH, and the Yankees supposedly wanted him several years ago, whatever that's supposed to mean.
1. Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela will fight it out for 2B. (Fine with me. How bad can they be? Last year we handed 2B to Brian Roberts, until June, when we realized Mr. Oriole was done.)
2. A-Rod is almost never going to play in the field. Even if Teixeira gets hurt, they've got another backup firstbaseman. (It's also interesting to recall that the team went all of 2013 playing Beltran, Cervelli, McCann and Prado as backup 1B.)
3. They're claiming Eovaldi has focus issues, and he'll flourish under pitching coach Larry Rothschild. Maybe. But I'm skeptical when hearing how those superior Yankee minds will do what other teams couldn't. For five years, they were touting Kevin Long as the mystical, scientific hitting coach... then fired his butt three months ago.
4. The last guy, Domingo German, is actually Domingo Jean with a wig and nose job.
It's a marshmallow, marshmallow, marshmallow, marshmallow, marshmallow, marshmallow world: NYC sports
Consider the NFL "Power Rankings," with the Giants - led by Tom "Coach for Life" Coughlin - strutting around as the jewel of the Big Apple, with five big wins. Take that, Redskins!
And then there are the Knicks. Five big wins! Is it possible that Isiah Thomas is secretly still running the team?
The Rangers are in fourth, the Islanders in second. The Mets are the Mets, and Yankee fans are still deluding themselves into thinking the ownership is lying - and we're going to sign Max Scherzer. Right now, the Yankees poll (at left) shows a fan base predicting 4th place - as in, who is going to pitch every fourth day? Alfredo Aceves? Bruce Billings? Chaz Roe? Things aren't even this bad in Buffalo.
Nope. Not prudent. The new Yankee motto: A penny saved is a pennant earned.
Today, in lieu of a fourth and fifth starter, I say the Yankiverse must transcend pettiness and start pondering Trooth - that's right, The Trooth. I'm talking about those great Hobby Lobby framed quotations, which surely hang on Hal Steinbrenner's office wall, next to his Mensa membership. Dammit, people, let's stop whining about money. Money is crap. Money is piss. Let's start realizing that the best things are free... or at least marked down for clearance.
"Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that." –Norman Vincent Peale.
That's right, River Ave comment-junkies. Stop bellyaching over Bruce Billings as our fifth starter. Your hearts are looking mighty empty this Christmas. Let's get behind this Yankee front office. Did you know the Yankees just inked Juan Graterol to a one-year? He could be next 2015's Yangervis Solarte. Come June 30, if we're floundering, we can trade him to other teams that are floundering for the former stars who are the reasons they are floundering. Get on board! Pockets without money are pockets of opportunity. And you may quote me on that, Hobby Lobby!
"Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver." –Ayn Rand
That's right, Lohud poo-pooers. Money cannot replace US as the driver. WE are the driver. Money cannot drive anything. Put a wad of cash in the driver's seat of your Prius and say, "Take me to White Plains!" and see what happens. NOTHING WILL HAPPEN. YOU'LL JUST SIT THERE LIKE A CLOD. Money will not buy Max Scherzer. You want Max Scherzer? Try some respect and admiration. If every Yankee fan simply stops crabbing about Hal Steinbrenner and sends Max Scherzer a well-written note with some flowers or maybe one of those Hickory Farms meat baskets, Max will see that NYC is love-love-LOVE personified, and he will pay the Yankees to play there. Either that, or he can fuck himself.
It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor. –Seneca
Damn straight, culturally iconic Native American wise man! And to all you It's All About the Money muttering moohlah-milkers, get off the can and realize that a rotation with David Phelps and Adam Warren is not a sign of fourth place. Sitting on the can and complaining is a sign of fourth place. If we stop "complaining" (which I think Seneca really said, rather than "craving," it just got lost in translation), we won't be in fourth place anymore.
Got that? Hail Hydra.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Buster "Cherry" Olney over at Gammonite Central is speculating that Cuba might get an MLB franchise in the not-necessarily-really-distant future.
I wonder where all the expat-to-be and currently-expat Cuban ballplayers would want to play if that happens?
That team would be a powerhouse. And their stadium sandwiches -- awesome.
What a lineup!
And maybe Heathcott, too? I smell the Governor's Cup! Paging Dwight Shrute.
The Cubans are coming, the Cubans are coming: Did the Yankees screw themselves by going over-allotment in this year's Latino signings?
|Imagine another Cuban missile crisis, |
except with players instead of missiles.
Nobody yesterday expected to see Uncle Sam and Fidel co-lighting a Cuban fatty, ending 50 years of playground taunts from dueling cabana boys. Of course, the voices of truth at Fox News are already screaming TREASON, but there's beachfront property to develop and dinero to be made, and like it or not, Mr. Rubio, the times, they a-gonna be a'changin.'
And that could mean a raft of Cuban baseball stars (yep, bad pun) floating to America in 2015... while the Empire is required to sit on its $1.85 billion wallet.
This summer, the Yankees overspent their MLB-allowed budget on international youth - the 16-year-olds addicted to HGH and Clearasil. The rules are complicated - like all tax crap - but the Yankees next year will be limited in their offers for international contracts. It's be written that they won't be able to go over $300,000 on a player. Thus, they'll comb the Cuban beaches with metal detectors, looking for pesos in the rough. Maybe Randy Levine can find a loophole - (it's come to that.) - but if Cuba opens the floodgates, the studs will head to LA and Texas.
So here is the question: Did the Yankees just fall onto the wrong side of a massive talent shift?
Obviously, it's too early to say. And if so - again - we cannot blame Cashman or Hal or even Levine (whom I personally enjoy blaming for everything, including Ebola.) In fact, we won't be alone. The Redsocks and Rays also went crazy in spending. It's really too early to fear the worst.
Then again, we're Yankee fans. We ALWAYS fear the worst.
(Quick test as proof: How many of you think Masahiro Tanaka will get through July with that partially torn elbow? Show of hands: Hmm. Two out 500! I thought so...)
This wouldn't be the first time the Yankees were caught trousers-down in a world, cultural upheaval. One reason why the team stank in the late 1960s was its refusal to embrace the emerging Latino market. The Tony Olivas and Mike Cuellars boosted Minnesota and Baltimore, while we waited for Roger Repoz and Steve Whitaker. (If either of you happen to be reading this: I'm still waiting! And merry Xmas!)
I don't know what the Yankees can do, except follow the wisdom of Warren: Send lawyers, guns and money. The times, they are a-gonna be a-changin.' Viva Hydra!
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
NO PENNANTS, NO PEACE: If Hal Steinbrenner is more interested in being pennywise than winning the World Series, it's time for a fan revolution
As we end another cruel year, it's time to ponder a deeper question than where Brett Gardner should bat in 2015. (BTW, third.)
Should we, as die-hard Yankee rooters, give a crap that the ownership is becoming fiscally prudent?
Before unfurling my tirade, a few understandings...
I am writing as a consummate Yankee fan asshole. Yes, I'm aware that we spend more than almost any other team in baseball. What bugs me is the word "almost." Last year, the Dodgers outspent us. The frickin' LA Dodgers. Why? Because their owner wanted to win more than our owner did.
The margin by which we outspend almost all other teams is shrinking - while the value of the Yankee franchise continues to skyrocket. Old George Steinbrenner was worth millions. Each of his dirt bag sons is worth billions. George didn't trifle over money. So why are they? It's pointless. To Hal Steinbrenner money cannot matter. It might as well be infinite. Good grief, we rail about A-Rod being overpaid to be a DH, but the Steinbrenner boys get overpaid to crap their beds.
Secondarily, I am writing as a pathetic Yankee drone, incapable of switching allegiance. Most likely, you are, too: A Yankee sex slave, a prisoner, an addict, a Dick Nixon in Hell. When our team wins, we ejaculate confetti. When it fails - as it has since 2009 - I want someone boiled in Gray Goose. There is no in-between.
Nevertheless... Didn't we all privately puke when Robbie Cano jogged off to Windows Town for another meaningless zero on a piece of paper? That God he's gone. If playing for the New York frickin' Yankees means nothing, screw the bastard. Nor do I see why anyone should go $200 million into the tank for 7-Inning Max Scherzer - and yet - that one philosophical question remains unanswered:
Should we give a gaddamm whether the team is saving money?
This winter, the Yankees have balked on big name free agents. But... they are spending more in other areas. For example, we now field two teams in the Gulf Coast League. That means more chances to develop talent. Next year, they will add a Single A team in the Appalachian League. Again... more chances to raise puppies. They will have more affiliates than anybody else in baseball. This... is... smart.
Also, they lavished a shitload of cash this summer on young Latino prospects. Trouble is, they are too young - age 16. Aside from the ethical questions of buying a 16-year-old (who has been groomed by some predator scout since 12), I'm not sure it's wise. For every Miguel Cabrera (signed at 16) there are several Jackson Melians, Wily Mo Penas and Ricardo Aramboleses - who disappear somewhere between Trenton and Gomorrah.
But why have we been such wimps on the international market? We sat out the bidding for Puig, Abreu, Castillo, Tomas - Masahiro Tanaka is an exception. We always seek the Dollar Store alternatives, the scrap heap bargains. It's as if we want 25 Yangervis Solartes instead of one Derek Jeter.
And why didn't we fight the MLB rules that clearly were written to destroy the Yankees? Bud Selig always envied the NFL for one reason: It has no Yankees. By laying down against Selig's revenue-sharing rules, Hal Steinbrenner has been like the guy in a bar fight yelling "Lemmie at him! LEMMIE AT HIM," as he backs out the door. Then again... regardless of how the Yankees do, Hal just gets richer and richer.
Now, we face a looming Yankee apocalypse. We've won nothing in this decade. Our farm system is still shaky at the top. We enter 2015 chasing a Wild Card. Unless something changes, the greatest professional sports legacy in U.S. history is transitioning into the Buffalo Bills.
Funny how billionaires want free and unlimited spending for elections - but when it comes to running the game of baseball, they institute tax-regulated payroll limits.
I say it's time for Hal Steinbrenner to make a stand.
Yoan Moncata is a 19-year-old Cuban SS with great potential. From all indications, he could be a star. Soon, he'll go out for bids. Moncata won't come cheap. Whoever gets him will probably overpay. So... will the Steinbrenners shell out? Or will they lie to us and claim they can't afford it?
They can afford it.
If they poor-mouth on Moncata, we must not accept their lies.
If Hal Steinbrenner - with nearly infinite wealth - simply cares about the bottom line, which is a parlor game to him, it's time for Yankee fans to start crapping on that bottom line.
You get the tar, I'll get the feathers. This blog is a mere mosquito bite on the butt of the Yankiverse. But gaddammot, the revolution has to start somewhere! Play ball. Hail Hydra. Bring it on...