Wednesday, April 8, 2015

"Don't panic", the Gammonites tell us. But "panic" hardly describes the mood of the Yankiverse. And soon, the word may be "indifference."

Monday, I found myself amply cushioned in an English pub, admiring the complexions and teeth of those jolly-old Londoners, when my phone beeped a precious message - sort of a pocket call from God. I scrolled down, and there it was:

The Yankee opening day batting order.

All my fears, all my nightmares, coalescing onto one bright, three-inch screen.

It was like when a school board puts up a rejected budget for a second vote. It was like those Dan Quayle-clones in Indiana, adding a few punctuation marks to their anti-gay law, so they could keep their precious Final Four. It was like a textbook plan for failure - do the same basic thing, even though it didn't work - but this wasn't government: It was the Yankees.

Leading off is Jacoby Ellsbury, who is still an ex-Redsock. Next is Brett Gardner, our best hitter - which hurts to say, because on real Yankee teams, he'd be the seventh best. Then comes our DP threat, a pair that can make even English pub beer taste flat: Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira.

Last year, at age 37, Beltran batted .233. When I see him in RF, the ghost of Danny Tartabull waves to me. As for Tex? He's a great guy, a future ESPN panelist, and I hope he has a long post-baseball career... but last year, at 34, he hit .216. Tell me, please, why should we be excited with this pair in the heart of our lineup?

Today, the all-knowing Gammonites of NYC are rebuking the ignorant, knee-jerk fan frustration, which has echoed across the Yankiverse since Monday's embarrassing loss. As the Voices of Paternal Wisdom, the sportswriters are telling us that April 8 is way too soon to panic.

Thank you, Dr. Einstein. Thank you, Mr. Edison. It's truly an honor to receive such wise and reflective counsel: April 8... too early. Got it.

The trouble isn't that we lost Monday. The trouble is what appears on our touch screens. This is basically the same dead team that flopped last year... and the year before that.

Wait. There is one exception! We swapped Jeter for A-Rod. And just as last year, Girardi refused to lower Jeter lower in the order - after all, the fans in September were only coming to see Jeet - this year, they apparently plan to bat A-Rod seventh? Or maybe platoon him with the great Garrett Jones? (Last year, at 33, Jones hit .246!) What a perfect way to avoid paying A-Rod those career HR bonuses: Bat him in front of Stephen Drew and Didi Gregorious. If he ever even sees a fastball, it'll probably be at his head.

So here we are. The Yankees' off-season plan boils down to grabbing the same cold dice from 2014 and re-rolling them. In no other field of entertainment does the same tired play - having been trounced by both the critics and the public - get called out for an encore.

And the Gammonites tell us - with such inspiring knowledge - that April is too soon to panic. Listen. This isn't about panicking. This team is sucking the air out of the Yankiverse. In a few weeks, nobody may care enough about these guys to even remember what happened last year. Panic? Screw that. Hey, did anybody out there tape that cable show, where the guy gets eaten alive by the anaconda? Come May, we may need something else to watch.


John M said...

Our team batting average is .115, if I recall. We're easily twice as good as that. In the freezing rain today, we might score TWO runs!

MJ said...

A wise man once told me that indifference, not hate, is the opposite of love...he's right, and this team is out to prove it.