Sunday, December 31, 2017

Let's celebrate 2017 with a trip to South Pacific... with The Master

Happy New Year, let's ROAR with John and Katy Perry

Have a happy New Year with The Win-Warble Song by the Deadly Spinners (aka Sheer Mag)

And here they are now...

Curt Schilling crammed one last embarrassment into 2017

The bloody sock strikes again.

Breitbart quietly deleted the archive of a radio show Curt Schilling recorded two weeks ago with white supremacist Paul Nehlen after falsely claiming it stopped covering the anti-Semitic candidate seeking to dethrone Paul Ryan “months” ago.
Schilling repeatedly praised Nehlen’s policies on his Breitbart radio show Whatever It Takes with Curt Schilling on Dec. 18; the right-wing media outlet later removed the podcast of the show from its Soundcloud page.
Breitbart ditched him. Will the Redsocks ever do the same?

Celebrate the New Year with John and the late Sammy D

The end of the year... and the end of the world, with John and Skeeter Davis

Summoning reverse juju for 2018

With the understanding that you cannot predict baseball, and that - by saying terrible things aloud, it might keep them from happening - I offer here the sum of all our fears. 

These things CANNOT happen, because I am predicting them, and my predictions never come to pass. Understand? 

Here goes. Between now and March 30, the Yankees will...

1. Trade Jacoby Ellsbury and his contract to some generic West Coast team for a bag of chicken wings and a 26-year-old Single A Venezuelan. We will grease this deal by adding a top-tier prospect, whom the Gammonites will quickly claim had no future with the team. To salve the simmering fan backlash, the front office will assure us that the Yankee farm system remains in the Top 10 of MLB, and the days of this franchise lavishing $100 million, seven-year deals on free agents are over, done, KAPUT. The franchise will stay within the 2019 luxury cap threshold... period! 

2. Trade Clint "Red Thunder" Frazier for a thirtysomething corner infielder, who will serve as a stopgap lug nut at 3B. The writers will note that, despite the Ellsbury deal, Frazier remained blocked in the Yankee OF and was, thus, expendable. Though this deal now blocks budding prospect Miguel Andujar at 3B, the front office will insist it has no plan to trade Andujar, and it notes that the farm system is still rated in the Top 15 of MLB.

4. Trade Andujar for a veteran middle infielder, who will serve as a stopgap measure at 2B. The Gammonites will note that with the new third baseman on board, Andujar was blocked and expendable. The front office will insist that it has no plans to trade second base prospect Glyber Torres, and it will note that the farm system is still rated in the Top 20 of MLB.

5. Lavish a $100 million, seven-year deal on either Yu Darvish, Chris Archer or whatever free agent pitcher is available. This will happen because the Yankees saved money on the Ellsbury, Frazier and Andjuar deals, giving the Yankee a powerful, six-man rotation to enter 2018. Entering spring training, the Gammonites will anoint the Yankees as 2018 World Champions, and the front office will insist that the team's farm system remains in the Top 25 of MLB, and that it will remain below the luxury tax threshold.

6. Announce that Sonny Gray and Jordan Montgomery will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss 2018, whittling the Yankee rotation to four. The front office will insist that it has no plans fill the empty slots by trading prospects for veteran pitchers, unless any good deals come about. Also, it will note that the farm system is still rated in the Top 30 of MLB...

Remember: By saying these things, they cannot happen. Right?

Okay, have a happy New Year, mutherfukkers.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Let's keep the party going... with John and Kid Rock

Everybody dance... with John and Lady Gaga

Best Yankee moment of 2017

Greg Bird's homer off Andrew Miller, which eventually beats Cleveland 1-0 and saves our butts in the ALCS, after being down 2-0.  

I was standing in Foley's Pub, a crowded NYC sports bar, surrounded by Yankee fans I'd never met before and will never meet again. I will remember their faces until the day I die.

You guys were minding the Chatroll, into which I thumbed occasional screams from my phone. Next morning, still drunken and hunched over my laptop in the hotel lobby, I wrote...

I have no voice. I sound like Bonnie Tyler, with asthma, after smoking a carton of Luckies. I watched the last four at Foley's Pub in NYC, melded into the bar, yelling incoherent-yet-critical instructions to the Yankees through the elevated flat-screen juju porthole. It worked, dammot; they listened. I can honestly say that, moments before he hit it, I predicted Greg Bird's home run, Suzyn. Unfortunately, my other HR predictions - every Yankee coming to bat - failed to materialize. It doesn't matter. We are alive - ALIVE! - in a two-game season, a two-game universe, a two-game continuum - eighteen innings with a pulse but no voice. Oh, and a first baseman. Yes, we do have a first baseman.  

It was a glorious moment, the emotional apex of the 2017 Yankees. That home run broke the Indians' choke hold and turned around the ALCS, vaulting the Yankees further than anyone expected. Moreover, from that moment on, Bird became our future bedrock first baseman - all others inconsequential. 

Honorable mention:

The big comeback against Baltimore in late April, when we were down 9-1. Matt Holliday hit the walkoff three-run homer... Gardy's homer to beat the Cubs... Didi's homers in the Wild Card game, after Severino was punched out in the first. Great moments, all.

Worst moment: The end, of course, and the cruel injury to rookie Dustin Fowler, in his first major league game. May he sue the White Sox so heavily that they have to name the stadium after him. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

To celebrate Alphonso's birthday, John and Jay-Z light up the Bronx

In honor of Alphonso's birthday, a duet by John Sterling and Barbra Streisand

Humble Thanks To The World Of Yankee Fans

I am humbled by this attention and these good wishes.

Let's stop it here and now.  Although I would like to hear " Sheer Mag" do its version of something, intermixed with the Master.  Who wouldn't?

For the rest of the day, as Marie Antoinette once said to the Dutch:  " Let them eat cake!"

There is LSD in each M&M.. Due to being in LA and all.

To help down the cake, my liquid refreshment will be:

It is the new Crown Royal for me.  And American.

Tonight :  A simple " seafood tower" and " filet" on the bone at Ruth's Chris, thanks to the generosity of family members.  Tomorrow, to the heart guy.

The only present I really want is silence on behalf of Brian Cashman.  No more deals.  No more maneuvers.  No more thinking.

The cards have been fairly dealt and we must stand pat.

That will do it.

Thank you all.

 I just hope you don't regret the encouragement you have instilled in me.

Well, well, look who are teaming up to celebrate Alphonso's birthday - The Master and Aerosmith

Get up and celebrate Alphonso's birthday with his favorite band, AC/DC and The Master

It will be a terrible year and we won't win one game... Today is Alphonso's birthday

The official naysayer of the Yankiverse turns... OMG... old.

To celebrate the occasion, the Yankees will today...

1. Trade Glyber Torres to Pittsburgh for Gerrit Cole.

2. Announce that Luis Severino will undergo TJ surgery and miss 2018.

3. Sign Todd Frazier to a 10-year deal.

4. Bring back Alphonso's favorite Yankee pitcher, Phil Hughes.

5. Trade Clint Frazier and the rest of the top 10 prospects for Robbie Cano.

6. Install all of his notorious "Tylers" - Wade, Austin, Toby, etc. - as starters.

7. Name Jacoby Ellsbury team captain.

8. Give Cooperstown Cashman a lifetime contract.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Let's Help Out Mr. Cashman

Your good friend and mine, Randy Levine was quoted in yesterday's New York Post as saying:

I know Cashman is upstairs working, not finished. We’re hopeful there’s more stuff to be done before spring training and Opening Day.
Well, ok then.

El Duque's post this morning reminiscing (in a night sweats sort of way) about the trade that brought us Rick Rhoden got me to thinking about ways concerned Yankee fans everywhere could put a stop to any "more stuff to be done".

There was a sign in the original Yankee Stadium with a 1949 quote from the legendary Joe Dimaggio:

The sign was hung in the tunnel connecting the Yankees' clubhouse to the dugout.  There are several pictures of Yankees reaching up and touching the sign for inspiration before trotting out to the field.

I propose that the Yanks hang a similar sign from the ceiling in the hallway that connects Yankee senior management offices to the rest of the stadium.  Hal, Randy, and Brian could all make a nice tradition of reaching up and touching it for inspiration.

Here's my proposed sign:

If Steiner collectibles marketed a signed picture of each of them taking a sprightly step up and fist-bumping the logo on the right, I would buy one of each, even Randy Levine's.

There have to be other ideas to make our management team stand pat this winter and play youth this spring. Let's bat this around.

Levine: Yankees may still screw this up

Anybody here old enough to remember Rick Rhoden? Back in '86, he was the Pirates ace, and when Old George's lackeys brought him to NYC, the Gammonites and WPIX brown-nosers celebrated. What a steal! A stud starter - plus Cecilio Guante and Pat Clemens! The Yankees were all in for '87! And the best part: All we gave up were table scraps - Brian Fisher, Logan Easily and some nobody named Drabek. 

We had already dealt Jim Deshaies to Houston (for Joe Niekro) and would soon trade Bob Tewskberry to the Cubs (for Steve Trout) and we would eventually pull off the epic move that should be inscribed on Steinbrenner's Monument Park plaque: Jay Buhner (and Rick Balabon) to Seattle for DH Ken Phelps... and the following spring would bring Jesse Barfield from Toronto for, gulp, Al Leiter. Hooray for hubris! Howl, howl, howl...

I know, I know... these tragedies happened long long ago in a Yankiverse far far away. It was the 14-Year Barf, when we consistently traded seed corn for fading stars in a WIN NOW! RIGHT NOW! strategy. And there is no greater pox upon a sports franchise than a front office determined to win... or else. It is the Iron Law of History: When teams, governments or religions start sacrificing youth for the betterment of fogies - well, let's just say the juju gods get creative in the application of karma. Look at the architects of any sports dynasty - Belichick always seeks extra draft picks - and you'll find the constant emphasis on youth. To win continually, a team must develop young players... and then let them play.

Yesterday, Yankee president Randy Levine - clearly miffed that he's never been nicknamed "Red Thunder" - boasted how the team is once again being hated, and said it's not done "improving" on 2018... clearly a coded message that we're about to liberate Rick Rhoden Gerrit Cole from the Pirates. He's a guy who was getting hammered in the pitcher-hitting National League in a ballpark roughly the size of the Grand Canyon, but the Yankees want to WIN NOW! RIGHT NOW!, and God help us, because it means we will package three or four good prospects - draining our farm system down to stems and seeds - and the guy to go - we all know this - is Clint Frazier.

Listen: I get it that Frazier looks expendable - certainly, at first glance. He's a corner outfielder, a homer-hitter, he strikes out too much and bats RH. He might be two years away from blossoming into a productive slugger. But he sure looks like a future star. And what I don't get is the argument that he's a fifth wheel on the 2018 Yankees, because it betrays what we tend to conveniently forget: The durability of our team.

Apparently, folks think that Brett Gardner, at age 34, can play 150 games, many of them in CF. And that Aaron Hicks - who played 88 games last year, yes eighty-eight (the Cellino and Barnes number for personal injuries) - won't get personally injured. Or that Giancarlo Stanton - who before 2017 was viewed by Miami as a china doll; it's why they traded him - suddenly will turn into Iron Man. And that - assuming nobody in this world will take Jacoby Ellsbury's contract - we should expect a guy whose name is shorthand for being listed on the DL... will now play the season? We have five outfielders - four of which can't lace their sneaker without the threat of tweaking a gonad - and we need one to be our DH. That's 400 at bats, minimally, for the fifth OF. Still, as sure as you're reading this, we will trade Clint Frazier and probably Miguel Andujar - our best 3B prospect since Mike Lowell - for an "affordable power arm" - the Manic Pixie Dream Girl of Brian Cashman's fantasy world.

Aww, hell. I should STFU and be happy, right? Everything is going well. We have a solid minor league system, we have players competing for infield slots. But it won't last. Here's what will happen: We'll trade Clint and Andujar, which then gives us an excuse to re-sign Todd Frazier - The Toms River Miracle, of bright smile, the thumbs down sign, and the .211 average. The Gammonites will rejoice. And then, over the next 10 years, we will watch Andujar and the lost Frazier hone their crafts in Pittsburgh. It's why I am suddenly remembering Rick Rhoden. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

How come none of you told me this exists?

This is the VHS cover. 
This is the Wikipedia entry.

If this is our 2018 team - no more invasive surgery - I believe we win the AL East

Seriously. If between now and St. Patty's Day, Brian Cashman does nothing but rappel down Trumpian skyscrapers and model racy sunglasses for GQ, then - as the philosopher Ben Grimm would say - brush my teeth and call me Smiley. Because we have Giancarlo, the Judge, the Birdman, the Kraken, Sir Didi and... yes... Red Thundah! Just don't screw it up, and we will win the AL East.   

Whaddabout second base, you ask?

Shit. That's easy. Glyber Torres! If he's not ready April 1, there's Tyler Wade or Ronald Torreyes or one of the countless Pete Kozmas/Brian Roberts clones roaming Florida and Arizona. Let the rookies compete in Tampa, as Aaron Hicks and Aaron Judge did last spring in RF. But who are kidding? Unless he gets hurts, Glyber will become our 2B this year. Better sooner than later. And the worst thing would be to block him because some beloved veteran is hitting .277.

Third base, you're wondering?

Hmmm, that's tough. How about... Miguel Fucking Andujar. He hit over .300 at Scranton last year. He's our best 3B prospect since Mike Lowell (whom we converted into Ed Yarnell.) Let's not trade this one and recreate the Lowell deal. If his glove isn't ready, let Wade, Torreyes and Thairo Estrada compete. Wouldn't it be cool - from a dynastic standpoint - to field a Yankee lineup with two ascending rookies? And if everything flops, hell, we'll sign somebody on March 30th. The Toms River Miracle might still be available.  

Starting rotation?

Wait a minute. Am I getting this right? According to the Internet, we're currently stressing over who will be... the sixth man. Six. As in "six-man rotation." Well, there's Chad Green, Adam Warren, Chance Adams and the cast of Glee - all competing for - gulp - sixth man, in a plan that could get scrapped anyway. Also, with rain-outs, the Yankees often use a four-man rotation through April. We wouldn't need six starting pitchers until May... if we ever go there. We needed a six-man rotation back in the days when we were going to add the Japanese Babe Ruth. Now, it's the Angels who need six starters. Why are we have all this debate over trading for a sixth man? 

What if Boston loads up?

Of course, they will! That's what they do. But having re-signed Mitch Moreland to play 1B, they're sort of stuck with the evil Hanley Ramirez as DH. They're desperately shopping Jackie Yastremski Jr., and they're assuring their psychiatrists that Babe Benintendi and Mookie Betts are the second coming of Lynn-Rice. But their farm system is sputtering. They don't have a supplemental wave of rookies coming. We do... if we don't trade them for a sixth starter.

Aren't there tweaks to be made?

Yeah, of course. Tweak away, Cash! And if Cooperstown can acquire somebody on our terms - that is, a veteran infielder or innings-eating pitcher - I'm fine with that. But if other GMs want to play hardball - (which seems the case over Cole) - fukkim. Cash should put on his elf costume and find a five-story K-Mart to dangle from. Let's not talk ourselves into a rotten deal. This team, left untouched, wins the AL East.

What about Red Thunder? Where does he fit in?

Fifth outfielder and DH. And he fits in next year, when he hits 40 homers. He fits in with a larger-than-life persona, who'll strike out a lot but bring excitement to every at bat. I want Red Thunder. You want Red Thunder. Everybody wants Red Thunder. GIVE US OUR RED THUNDER.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Baseball world shocked - SHOCKED! - over revelations about Bud Selig

It's a stunner.  The sainted MLB commissioner - and statue - actually chose... money? Some tidbits following the resignation of Bob Bowman, the man behind Selig's money machine.

While at MLB Advanced Media, Mr. Bowman engaged in a pattern of behavior that included propositioning female colleagues, allegedly having consensual relationships with subordinate co-workers and cultivating a culture of partying and heavy drinking with employees outside the office, people familiar with the matter said.
At least 10 years ago, Bob DuPuy, who was then serving as MLB’s president and chief operating officer, was told of concerns about Mr. Bowman’s behavior by BAM employees and raised them with Bud Selig, the league’s commissioner at the time, according to people familiar with the situation... But Mr. Bowman remained with the company as it grew increasingly lucrative for team owners.
“What he gave in heartburn was always overshadowed by what he gave in money,” said a former high-ranking baseball official. This person said Mr. DuPuy raised longstanding concerns about Mr. Bowman but, “Bud had no interest in dealing with it.”
Say it ain't so.

A way to do the impossible... and trade Jacoby Ellsbury

Generally, I don't propose fantasy baseball-style trades because:

1. They never happen in real life.
2. You cannot predict baseball.
3. Nobody can predict Cashman.
4. That's the job of 13-year-olds on bar stools.
5. Just because.

But the other day, somebody in one of the Murdoch salt mines suggested a deal that restored my hope for 2018 and my goal of bedding Taylor Swift. That it does not involve Clint Frazier is just icing on T-Swizzle's cake. (Yes, they call her T-Swizzle; as in "OMG! OMG! OMG! IT'S T-SWIZZLE!) I don't know if it can happen - hell, I'm seeing it through the bloodshot, 10-beer eyes of a guy who just wasted 10 minutes googling "T-Swizzle." But here goes:

We trade the 30-page contract of Jacoby Ellsbury - three more years at $21 million per season - to San Francisco for the 30-page contract of Jeff Sarardzija - three more years at $19 million per. We probably add a couple pages and a few mill - movie money - to bring the Giants on board. 

They get a 36-year-old CF who can still steal home and who is poised for a BIG COMEBACK in 2018! 

Ellsbury gets to live closer to home, especially during winter, because he lives in Arizona, where the Giants train. He also escapes all those NYC media clowns constantly proposing ways to run him out of town.

We get Sarardzija - (not looking forward to spelling that name) - who is a pitching version of Ellsbury. He's 33 and coming off a crapola season: 9-15 with an ERA of 4.42 (in the NL, no less.) It's been three years since Sarardzija's ERA landed south of 3.50, and though the guy still eats innings, he's a obese salary in need of waistband surgery. 

But on the Yankees, Sarardzija wouldn't be the concrete bowel movement that Ellsbury has become. Right now, he is blocking Frazier, Jake Cave and Billy McKinney, plus younger outfielders all the way down to Estevan Floral and last week's Christmas crop of 16-year-old cabana boys. Nothing personal, but the Chief needs to go. And we need to keep Clint Frazier. 

I don't know if the Giants would make this deal. My gut says it makes too much sense from our viewpoint. I don't know if Ellsbury fits into their world conquest plans, but hey, the guy's not chopped liver. In fact, as an everyday centerfielder, Jacoby wouldn't be such an albatross. And as our sixth starter, Sarardzija wouldn't seem so heavy a boulder. Both are fine, upstanding citizens of the game. Good grief, add a sweetener or two - after all, we didn't steal Bam Bam Meulens from them - doesn't it make sense?   

Oh, and we keep Clint Frazier. Did I mention that? Because we need to keep Red Thunder.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Holidays to all, and dammit, I mean it

On this, the holiest of days, may all the blessings of hope and love be yours and for your loved ones, and may you live happily in peace, always, with all the joys of the yuletide season, not only today but throughout the coming year, without regret, and with new understanding that each day is sacred in our hearts, and in our dreams, driven by our own personal sleighs, and lit by the beacons of truth and peace on earth, plus goodwill to man, and to all, with love, as stated above; and may prosperity shine upon your family throughout the coming year, and the year after that, and frankly, forever, even long after you and your family are in their eternal graves, feeding microbes that also are blessed in the holiday spirit, whether they appreciate it or not, because they do not believe in anything, which is sad but still okay, because they are special in the eyes of Christmas; and may this wondrous holiday bring the wish that you never collapse suddenly, like a September bullpen team managed by Larry Rothschild, for such is the splendor and pureness of this holiday wish, which I again wish to stress is a wish not just for you but for everyone, and not just today but for forever, and from the deepest levels of your atomic composition, which may include the Higgs Boson particle, all the way to the farthest regions of outer space, where entire universes of dark matter are now being obliterated by black holes, which are joyful in their own crazy way, although it is hard for us to understand this, not only on Christmas, but any time, except for the Fourth of July, when we are too fired up with patriotic fervor to think about such things; so, in conclusion, may everything you've ever wanted be yours, and may nothing you never want to happen ever happen, for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, may the Yankees win in 2018 and may God strike me down right now if this message is in any way insincere, and damn, I hope I don't get another tie; because they're made in China... where was I? Oh, yeah... ho, ho, ho...

Saturday, December 23, 2017

It's John Melencamp and The Master! Sing along!

It could have happened to anyone, but it happened to Curt Schilling

An update on the heart-wrenching tale of "Operation Bullpen."

Schilling took responsibility for the mishap, which involved a truck full of non-perishable pet supplies that broke down in Tennessee as part of Operation Bullpen, Schilling's effort to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey in September.
He organized an 11-truck convoy to Texas, but two trucks broke down en route, including one driven by Schilling. The confusion arose, he said, over efforts to move the supplies from his trailer to another. He says he didn't properly communicate similar instructions to the second truck, and then when Hurricane Irma struck Florida, Schilling struck out immediately for the Sunshine State without ensuring the truck with pet supplies had been taken care of.

"The problem was on my end," Schilling said. "I thought I was talking to one group about a trailer, but I was talking to two groups about two separate trailers. A lot of miscommunications."

Does anybody ever ponder why these things continually happen to Schilling? There was his video-game company fiasco, which soaked Rhode Island taxpayers. There were his offensive tweets, which - after several warnings and second-chances - got him kicked off ESPN. Now this fiasco.

Listen: I don't think Schilling is an evil, conniving person. I actually used to enjoy his color commentary on ESPN - (more interesting than Aaron Boone.) I think the guy means well. Sure, his politics differ from mine, but that's okay. I have a lot of friends who flat-out disagree with me. (Folks, life is too short...) My quarrel with Schilling stems from his constant, righteous Redsock pandering - he's the classic ex-jock, still reliving what he once was. He's always mounting some new crusade - for governor, senator, whatever. And somehow - in increasingly creative ways - he always shoots himself in the foot. He has become the male equivalent of Sarah Palin.

The Christmas batting order

cf Rudolph
2b Tiny Tim
c Santa

ss Baby Jesus
1b Grinch
rf Frosty
lf Jacob Marley
3b Jack Frost
p Krampus

manager: Hans Gruber (Die Hard)

A capper to the NFL's disastrous season

Friday, December 22, 2017

The One that Got Away

From the great Doug K

The One That Got Away (with apologies to Tom Waits and Alphonso)

Well, this gigolo is jumpin' salty, ain't no trade out on the streets
No one will take Ellsbury, cause the Giants got cold feet.
But he’s got a bunch of prospects and there will be hell to pay
He’s got a goal. His name is Cole he’s the one that got away.

Could have rested on his laurels. Could have been a wheel
been happy with Giancarlo cause you know that was a steal.
A quick resign of CC, even that one seemed OK.
He’s got the knack he want’s to crack the one that got away'

He drafted Cole at number one. When the Yankees didn’t work.
Because we needed pitching and the fans were goin’ berserk.
Even though the guy said he off to UCLA.
Cashman pissed away the truth and drafted Gerrit anyway. (Thanks Alphonso)

Now Gerrit Cole is older and his fastball’s lost it’s snap. He gives up homers like Phil Hughes and his change up’s turned to crap.
But we’ll give away Red Thunder before he’s had a chance to play.
Cashman’s been scorned. You’ve been forewarned. Cole’s the one that got away.

His trigger finger’s itchy and Cole’s entering his prime.
And he’s cost controlled for two years and Hal loves to save a dime.
Soon the cabinet will be empty ‘till there’s no one left to play.
He’s heard the call he’ll trade them all for the one that got away.

Well, he’s lost his equilibrium, and we’d finally turned the tide.
The Baby Bombers looking good and restoring Yankee Pride.
If he makes these trades it’s only time till the place feels just like Shea.
Just play the rooks. Don’t make us schnooks cause there’s one that got away'.

MLB All-Yule Team

1B   J.T. Snow
2B   Cupid Childs
SS   Dasher Troy
3B   Yuli Gurriel
LF   Cookie Rojas
CF   Jesus Alou
RF   Rob Deer
C     Jorge Posada
PH  Steve Christmas, Brett Carroll
RHP Jon Garland, Dave Frost, Dick Pole
LHP Al Clauss, Jeff Holly, Don Rudolph
Mgr.  Jolly Cholly Grimm

It's a Wilponful Life...

From the mercurial pen of HoraceClarke66:

George Bailey, Mets fan, awakes in his Seven Line Army seat and staggers out into Willets Point. To his astonishment, it’s Christmastime, the playoffs long missed. A sign reads, “WELCOME TO WILPONVILLE.”

“Wilponville?” George says, incredulous.

Down on Main Street, a crowd has gathered in front of the First National Bank of Bernie. Armed guards are hauling out the gold reserves.

“But that’s our future!” Mets fans beseech them.

“It’s all ticketed for Old Man Wilpon’s real estate developments!” a guard snaps, pushing them aside. Before they reached the armored car, though, a bold figure steps into their path and sticks his hand out.

“You know it’s Bobby Bonilla Day,” he tells them. “Hey, don’t make me have to show you the Bronx!”

George Bailey stumbles back down the street. All around him, ballplayers crash cars into trees, throw firecrackers at people, and spray people with bleach from their Super Soakers. He spots a furtive shape in the shadow of a closed comic book store.

“Who’s there?” A little boy dressed as Batman slinks out of the shadows.

“It’s Matt Harvey, the ace of the future!”

“I’m the Dark Knight, the Dark Knight!” the boy cries, then bursts into tears and runs away.

George Bailey walks over to Flushing Bay, where he considers throwing himself in. But a twinkly old man materializes at his elbow.

“Sandy Alderson!”

There is a horribly annoying sound, like a goose being strangled. But Sandy just smiles.

“Ah, the vuvuzela!” he says fondly. “You know, George, every time a vuvuzela sounds—”

“An angel gets his wings?”

“No, some #!&hole loses his hearing,” Sandy tells him. “George, let me show you something over here, in the Joan Payson Cemetery.”

“Ryan—Otis—Seaver—Koosman—Matlack—Mitchell—Dykstra,” George reads off the tombstone names. “Why, these were supposed to be the cornerstones of future dynasties!”

“That’s right, George.”

“M. Donald Grant?” he reads next. “Why, what’s he—”

A spectral hand in a very well-tailored suit reaches up from the grave and plucks George’s watch off his wrist.

“Damn you, Grant! That’s not even the right movie!” But all that is to be heard is a ghostly, Canadian chuckle.

They walk on down past the offices of Wilpon & Sons, where Old Man Wilpon is going over a list of names with Little Jeffie.

“Starlin Castro?” “Too much!” “Jason Kipnis?” “Too much!” “Ian Kinsler?”
“Too much!” “Adrian Gonzalez?”

“Hmm,” says Old Man Wilpon. “Three home runs last year, ya say? Why, that might be just the man for us!”

George Bailey lets Sandy guide him into Mex’s 86 Saloon. Three men push in behind them, each of them wearing an arm in a sling, as they blare out the kazoo version of “Get Mets Merized!” The bartender picks up a full bottle of seltzer and lets fly, soaking them.

“Don’t you know who they are?” George yells. “Why, that’s Wilson, Pulsipher, and Isringhausen! They were going to be the next Big Three!”

“Look, Mister, we show bad baseball to men who want to get drunk quick, and we don’t need characters giving the place atmosphere!”

“C’mon, George,” Sandy says. “Let’s go back down to the bay, and I’ll tell you about our plans to put Todd Frazier on third. Then you can decide if you want to jump in again.”

“But we’re a big market team!” George Bailey pleads desperately. “Why, we’ve GOT to have more money than this!”

“You have to temper your expectations here in Wilponville, George. I got mine. That plus the Swarzak money—what’s left?”

But George is standing up on Mex’s bar, waving his arms. Mets fans turn their whiskey-glazed eyes upon him.

“People, we don’t have to depend on Old Man Wilpon! The Mets team of the future is in your wallet—and yours—and yours!”

Somebody breaks out a hat, and they start stuffing it with dollars. Soon, everyone is singing a chorus of “Meet the Mets.” Little Jeffie Wilpon sneaks in and runs off with the hat full of money. Only Sandy Alderson notices him. He smiles benignly.

“To Fred Wilpon, the richest man in town!” he says with a wink.

Trying To Make Up For Prior Stupidity

The fact that Cashman is speaking, still, with Pittsburgh about the supposed pitcher,  Coal,
is an attempt to recover from the day Brian got caught cheating on his math exam in 4th grade.

The Yankees, under Brian's leadership and arrogance, assumed that no one would turn down a chance to be in the Yankee's organization.  Even though Cole and his family had sent written instructions that their boy was going to UCLA first.

So, Cashman pissed away the truth and selected Cole anyway.  He went to UCLA and we lost our first round pick, relegating us yet again to 4 more years of mediocrity, and an empty farm system.

Only through blind luck, a perfect storm of baseball needs, did the Cubs and Cleveland give up their futures for some Yankee players.  And our farm system became respectable.

Now, Brian wants to give that away, in order to get that rebellious snot nosed kid back into the fold.

Brian will show the world;  you don't diss the Yankees, even when you do it with honesty, sincerity, intelligence and grace.

That teacher who embarrassed the numbers challenged Cashman kid will pay.

He'll get that test back, mark it with an "A", take a picture of it and then burn it.

A lump of Cole in our stockings for Christmas?

Two days ago, the talks about Gerrit Cole coming to the Bronx noticeably cooled,  and I thought we'd dodged a Cashman Clunker. Apparently, that was just Pittsburgh pouting its lips and playing hard to get. The Gammonitic rumor mill now says a deal in imminent and - gasp - it's expanding at a rate that could soon outsize our solar system.

Now, Pittsburgh is supposedly adding Josh Harrison, who I thought was a Steelers linebacker. (Actually, I wish; we could use a pass rush.) Harrison is a 30-year-old, right-handed 3B with Chase Headley genes. Last year, he hit .272 with 16 HRs (Headley was .273 and 12.) The HR total was by far the most in Harrison's slappy career; he hit 4 in 2015 and 4 more in 2016. His batting average has declined for four straight years. (Okay, his WAR was 3.3; that beats Headley's 1.8; hooray for Sabermetrics; they justify bad trades!) 

If it's true that the Pirates are adding Harrison, it means the Yankees are probably adding Miguel Andujar to a bundle that already included Clint Frazier - and didn't you just know it? We'd be sending two great prospects for two thoroughly mediocre players - Cole and Harrison? Wow. That adds a little piss to the holiday eggnog, eh?

Listen: We must not hurl bile at trades that haven't been made. The devil is always in the details, and rumors are - after all - the fakest of fake news. Nothing more excites a Gammonite than a mysterious tweet, and their ensuing blather fires up our blood pressure the way Fox News gets grampa to scream at the TV. Also, most Cashman trades come without warning, like asteroid strikes. Our scientists think they can predict them, but then you read where a rock the size of Giancarlo just missed us, like a high-and-tight fastball from Betances.

Still, I don't understand the molecular attraction that the Yankees seem to have for Gerrit Cole. They've always wanted him, even after he scorned us by refusing to sign out of high school. Last year, this guy couldn't keep his ERA below 4.00 in the National League, and he gave up 31 HRs in a well known pitchers park - (325' x 399' x 320', ranked 26th for power-hitting by ESPN.) What's going to happen in Yankee Stadium (which was ranked 10th.) Last year, Masahiro Tanaka gave up 35 HRs, and we nearly sent him back to Japan. If Cole shows the same stuff of 2017, he could eclipse Tanaka's Tanker totals by Sept. 1. Yeesh. If the Pirates think this guy has a future, why are they so willing to trade him?

Bad deals don't improve by adding players, and this one looks like a Cashman Classic: He chases another contract-controlled "power arm," like so many dismal acquisitions - (Javier Vazquez to Jeff Weaver to Michael Pineda) - of the past. You can't predict baseball, but here's a rule of thumb: If you keep trading prospects, eventually you get generationally burned. 

Of course, it hasn't happened yet. Maybe it won't. Maybe it's just a Christmas ghost story. But if we wake up Monday and Clint Frazier is a Pirate, the Grinch will be smiling in my household. Bah.