Thursday, September 17, 2015
Posted by el duque at 6:42 AM
So... where we? Oh, yeah, Betances. He's losing it, of course. Buddy Love is becoming the Nutty Professor, right in front of us. It began last month, and one of these days, he'll either regain command, or we will utterly collapse. And the reason, in my opinion, is simple:
We had a truckload of young arms in the Scranton bullpen this year, and not one has stepped up to be - even for a weekend - a reliable reliever. I sorta thought that somebody, anybody, would come up and give us, say, 10 decent innings, just out of sheer ardrenal flow. Didn't happen. So it's all about Betances, and, right now, no Yankee lead is safe, and you cannot win anything that way.
But, right around then, I learned that Doomsday had come to the Daily News, and some of the most hated villains of my delusional sports life had finally gotten their comeuppance. Mike Lupica and Bill Madden got sacked. Wow. I should be happy. But something was wrong.
First, Lupica. Old George used to call him "Little Mike Lupica," a back-handed insult. I don't know how tall the guy is - 3 feet 4 - but he sure got under George's skin, and for that alone, Lupica was usually worth reading. But I used to view him as the litmus test for any Yankee trade: If Lupica supported it, it was a mistake. He was always wrong. And then, one day, America found itself in the bloody Iraq War, and Lupica's rants against George W. Cheney were some of the harshest to be found in a NY tabloid. I'm not here to argue politics, but from that point on, I saw Lupica as someone who at least had the stones to pitch off his fedora and take on the world. It's not easy when you're a midget.
But what caught me more was the sacking of Billy Madden, the eternal Yankee/Met columnist. As anyone who reads this blog would know, I've bashed Madden a lot over the years. For starters, he shamelessly carried water for the Yankee ownership whenever they went into a hissy fit. In their war on A-Rod, a feud that now looks ludicrous, Madden pitched a lot of garbage from "scouts" and "high level officials," who assured us that Alex would never play another game. I considered Madden to be the surrogate voice of the Steinbrenner family, when it gutlessly didn't want to be quoted. But here's the rub: They'll find somebody else. As John Irving once wrote, "When the dear disappear, someone else is always near." And a huge component of the Yankiverse just disappeared.
What is the Yankeenet other than YES, John and Suzyn, a few beat writers and a thousand bloggers - myself included - blathering about the bloggery? Madden was a prime mover, and you knew that whatever he wrote - for better or worse - it would be read and heard in the clubhouse. And you knew where he was writing from. He wrote with conviction, and even if he pissed me off, at least he blathered from the heart. I think River Ave is fun to read, but it bothers me that Yankees, in the future, will be covered less by newspapers and more by their own employees.
Two years ago, I quit the Syracuse Newspapers because the billionaire Newhouse heirs shamelessly jumped ship on a city that had made them rich, and without even firing a shot in defense of print journalism. For a good 80 years, the family simply drove a truck to Syracuse every week, filled it with money, and then drove back to NYC, so it could fund the lavish bullshit lifestyles of the Conde Nast bow ties and human cocker spaniels. When upstate New York hit hard times, they fired practically everybody in the newsroom who was old enough to be vested in the pension plan, went to a three-day-per-week delivery, and congratulated themselves for being so smart. Yep, they were the newspaper equivalent of Hal Steinbrenner.
Well, yesterday, another column of the Baby Boomer generation fell into the sea. The Daily News brought down Doomsday. No more Lupica. No more Madden. They'll probably latch onto something - comic book villains never die - but it won't be the same. Weird to say this, but I'm going to miss them. Both the GOP clown circus and the horrible Hillary coronation are going to go 100 innings. I may have to cut off my own ear.