Wednesday, May 31, 2017

View from the top

Let's not kid ourselves: It's Boston we must beat

O sun! O moon! O boy! Make a joyful noise across thy lands! Damn... Last night sure was fun, taking scrunched-up Uncle Buck - who more resembles the Gerbil every year - down to the panic room for an old-style, leather dominatrix butt-whuppin.' I never get tired of watching that little man-rat grouse around the dugout. It's like licking ice cream. 

You know what? I whine about the Yankees relying too heavily on homers, but last night, it just didn't feel so bad. Somehow, I endured the solo shots and that awful eight-run lead, without an urge to kick in the widescreen. Tonight, we might see an improved Baltimore, but I'm sorry: The 2017 Orioles do not frighten me. They look too much like the Overbay-Pronk Yankees of the recent dark age.

Seriously, does anyone here NOT think Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo are two hernias past their sell dates? Schoops always kills us, and Machado continues to audition for pinstripes, but after that, Baltimore looks like a city with the crabs - and no crab cakes. They made a brief run in April and - I swear I'll say this even if they kick our asses tonight - they are doing what they've done for the last five sad, slogging years: Chasing the one-game away berth wild card knockout.  

Trouble is, that leaves Boston, who'll play three in the Bronx starting Tuesday. The Redsocks are now in second place, four losses behind us, though still leading the AL East in smug. 

My Redsock-leaning friends - including a few whose birth certificates say Yankee fan, and thus should not be allowed to take a dump in a comfortable rest room in North Carolina - remain as hateful as a bug-zapped rattlesnake. In their lizard alien minds, Boston has been merely playing rope-a-dope with us, it's not even June 1, and we have already shot our grease-gun onto the garage floor. They see us having failed to separate from the division, while they have survived without David Price. (Of course, Little Papi, Dustin Pedroia, may be leaving for a while.) Simply put, they think we are a House of Cards - not the Netflix series, but a paper tent ready to implode, once it meets the great Babe Benintendi. 

Me? I dunno. As a team, Boston has clearly underachieved. They have only 48 home runs this season - that's one more than Aaron Judge, Matt Holliday, Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks have hit. The Babe himself stands at an Ellsbury-ish .272. The great Jackie Bradley Jr., who tanked in the second half of 2016, remains tanked at .214. And Pablo Sanduval, the Disneyesque feel-good comeback story of March, remains at .213, well below his undefined weight.

Still, they're like Trump was last June 1: They keep stepping in their own crap, yet somehow, they're still standing. They should be fourth, behind Tampa, but here we are, still looking over our shoulders. 

On this site, we are often accused - and rightfully so - of being Chicken Grady Littles. In part, that's because we don't claim to be "experts" - the lie of most Yankee sites. We are just fans, subject to the roller coaster elation and misery of every win and loss. And wearing that tattered fan hat, I say this: 

It's been a great season. We have much to celebrate. But Boston remains the team to beat in the AL East. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Who's on first? Brigadoon Refsnyder!

From Wikipedia...

Brigadoon is a musical with a book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, and music by Frederick Loewe. Songs from the musical, such as "Almost Like Being in Love", have become standards. The story involves two American tourists who stumble upon Brigadoon, a mysterious Scottish village that appears for only one day every 100 years. Tommy, one of the tourists, falls in love with Fiona, a young woman from Brigadoon.

Twilight of the Gods: How the great Frank Deford changed my life

Recently, NPR aired an interview with Frank Deford, following the announcement that he would no longer supply sports commentaries to the network. I was driving around Syracuse - literally circling the blocks until it ended, having to hear every word. And I should have known something was up. Damn... I should have known. 

There's only one reason why a writer ever stops writing.  

Over the weekend, Deford passed away.

Last night, as the avalanche of testimonials began, it hit me that without Frank Deford, this blog probably would not be here.

In 1990, Mustang (aka Tom Peyer) and I were living in Syracuse, (nothing changes, eh?) pitching humor pieces to magazines, trying to scrape up extra beer money. We had scored several times with National Lampoon but needed to expand our markets. We tried The National, Deford's new daily sports tabloid. We sent a piece called "Who Should Buy the Yankees?" ripping the horrible administration of George Steinbrenner and imagining how various luminaries would change the franchise. Deford bought it, paid us $200 - back then, you could buy a Mercedes with that kind of money - and we switched from Genny Cream to Heineken.

Through the miracle of printed paper, here it is.


The jokes are dated. (I barely remember Silverado Savings and Loan.) Here's the part on Trump.

Deford asked for more. Terrified of waiting too long, we sent him a weird side project we had been noodling around for months, without much hope. It was called "The Poetry of Phil Rizzuto." We took Rizzuto's on air meanderings and, with use of the carriage return key, turned it into poetry form. 

Deford wrote back and said he loved the poems, but the feeling among his editors was that the project was too "New Yorky" for a national audience. He suggested we try a New York publication, such as the Village Voice.

We took his advice. The Voice bought it, ran with it, and a few years later, O Holy Cow: The Selected Verse of Phil Rizzuto was in bookstores. Later, I plagiarized myself and did the same exact thing with Donald Rumsfeld and Donald Trump. (Nothing like stealing from yourself.) I learned that if you wait long enough, all ideas come back, and they hail your creativity.  

Anyway, I shall always owe Frank Deford for his suggestion. It changed my life. And after that NPR interview, I should have known. Damn. I blew it. I should have written him a letter, thanking him. 

I don't know if the hereafter has wifi. If so, I hope he clicks on us. Either way, he will always have a place in my heart. Damn. I should have known.

Monday, May 29, 2017

I Was Right About Monty

He did show me up, last time out.

But, today, he reverted to form.  Four innings (and change), 90+ pitches, 3 or more runs in the hole.

With a perfect bullpen outing behind him ( Holder and Shreve gave up nothing ), Monty pitched just well enough to lose.  And to shorten bullpen options for tomorrow.  In effect, he should have stayed home.

He will have a losing record this year.

 How many times can he just not find the plate?  How many times will he lose the game early?  How often do we have to see him not have an" out" pitch?  What, exactly, is good about him, anyway.  He is tall and left-handed?  That's enough?

Oakland brought up a guy from nowhere the other day and he no hit us for 6 innings.  Monty has pitched one good game, one game where he qualified for the win (but didn't really deserve it), and 4 losses where the game was over early.

This learning curve crap sucks.  He is going to be 8-10 if he stays healthy, and improves from this point in the season.

Baltimore had lost 6 in a row until we showed up.

And one of their best players ( Jones ) did not suit up.

But Monty just kept grooving meatballs.  On the whole, a pretty crappy day for the Yankees.

Pass the small pineapple, please.

Monty is Up

Montgomery returns to the hill today.  We need another great outing, to prove viability.

Also, If "I'm Bill White" gets off the bus in Scranton, finds an alley to sleep in , and can stay alive until Tuesday, a huge series begins between the Railriders ( second place) and Lehigh
Valley ( currently in first place ).

This series would be worth .......seeing.  Sort of.

I mean, if you are already there and all.

On a day with only six strikeouts, the Yankees cracked Oakland

Yesterday, Matt Holliday appeared at the perfect moment for a nipple-twisting, pineapple-crapping turd of a strikeout. 

It was the third inning, we were down 2-1, two runners on, and he had taken a curve ball strike one. We all knew what was coming: Two more fat, bloated swings and misses, a strikeout, which has become to Yankee rallies what salmonella is to a cookout. 

This time, though, Holliday put his bat on the ball, lifting a long fly to right, where Matt Joyce settled under it.

And botched it.

Yep, he dropped it. You could hear every Little League coach that ever lived yelling, "Two hands!" But Joyce used one. He botched it, flubbed it, bungled it, muffed it, boned it, Canseco-ed it, Exxon-Valdezed it, Chernobyled it, Fukushima Nuclear Power planted it... Sean Spicered it.

Bases loaded for Aaron Judge.

Of course, everybody knows that Judge hit his first MLB grand slam, putting the Yankees ahead to stay. But it was Holliday's non-strikeout that set the table. Any time you put the ball into play, there is a chance something will break your way. And every time you strikeout...

Wait a minute. WTF? Why am I writing this? Everybody knows this. Fourth graders know it. Indigenous tribes on South Pacific islands, untouched by Jared Kushner, know it. Bedbugs know it. The cooties in your butt wad know it: With two strikes, you choke up and shorten your swing. They're still studying it, but a bag of rocks may even know this, and trust me here: You don't want to be as dumb as a bag of rocks. 

Only six strikeouts. A half-dozen. A great Yankee win. (Note: Every Yankee win is a great Yankee win.) Listen: This isn't me getting down on this team. This is me offering hope. Only six strikeouts. Maybe, just maybe, we get back to basics?

Sunday, May 28, 2017

"Scranton did not go as expected. The Bog is about a 15 minute walk from the bus station but I never got there. After changing my pants, I walked down Lackawanna Avenue toward Adams when a 1975 Chrysler Cordoba (rich Corinthan leather) pulled up next to me. The license plate read "CENTAUR." But for a little rust here and there, she was in immaculate condition. A WWII veteran wearing an old Yankee jacket rolled down the window and said "We've been expecting you. Get in." So I did. The fine interior felt so good after 16+ hours in the Greyhound. It smelled of Corinthia, or what I like to think Corinthia would smell like. My driver handed me a tin cup of what he called "your ration of Torpedo Juice" and, after a gulp or two of the pineapple-infused concoction, I don't remember anything. I woke up in the bus station a short time ago with a 1992 Bishop Hannan High School Yearbook in my lap. After flipping through, I realize that was the year Gerry McNamara graduated. The yearbook is in pristine condition save for one inscription. "The AV Club won't be the same without you! Keep in touch, John and Suz". I leave for Tampa in a few hours with more questions than answers, a pineapple-sized stain on my favorite jeans, and fighting a terrible pineapple-infused hangover. I've got to charge my phone and find some eggs."

I'm Bill White is chasing the mystery of John, Suzyn, Nettles and everything.

Lest We Forget

When I was a misguided 20-something, I quit my job, got out of my apartment lease, and moved to Paris.  I bought a one-way ticket for $99 on a long-defunct airline named "PeoplExpress".  I didn't speak a lick of French before I went.

I managed to teach myself French (which I spoke horribly), somehow got a job without working papers ("Local Bargain Jerk's Cash Consulting!"), and even introduced a few of the locals to baseball.  A friend was kind enough to carry a whiffle ball bat and a sleeve of whiffle balls on the plane when she visited me in late spring.  The French really liked the game.

A few years ago, I went back to Paris for the first time in about 20 years and I had a strange experience.  I saw a car just off the Champs-Élysées with a logo on it, but no other markings, and no lettering that would let you know the name of the manufacturer.  These cars were everywhere and it was like having a non-stop senior moment; For the life of me, every time I saw one, I could not remember the damned name of the damned car manufacturer that I'd seen all those years before.  

In times like these, my father's voice pops into my head.  In this case, his voice was saying "Stupid bloody Frogs!  They can't even put the stupid name of their stupid cars on their stupid fenders!"  I inherited his worldly and all-inclusive outlook, in other words.

I thought about this for a little while and was amused that this manufacturer was so confident in its marketing and branding efforts that they believed their logo alone was enough to cause people to stampede into their showrooms.  I was also amused that it was all lost on me, because even if I liked one of their cars, I wouldn't know where to go buy it.  "Smug damned Frogs," I thought, "they won't get any of my money."

I felt quite superior about this until I realized that plenty of American companies do exactly the same thing.  There's no name of the restaurant on the box or bag of fries on the right, but we all know where to go to get them due to the ubiquity of the company's marketing efforts.  Strange how that works.

Believe it or not, all this has a point that very much relates to IIHIIFIIc.

Like many of us, I was greatly amused when, on May 1, 2017, El Duque observed that the Yankees' loss the day before was one of those "pineapple-up-the-keister defeats".

This simple five-word phrase had an immediate and electrifying effect and Alphonso wasted no time latching onto it.  Just four hours later, he authored a post entitled "Okay, We Have A Name Now ; Pineapples".  The first sentences of his post put into words what many of us were thinking:
Duque's magical imagination has now given us an important, and long-lasting, new bit of baseball rhetoric;  The Pineapple. 
A loss that hurts so badly, it is as if......well, he has articulated the rest.
Since then, MANY writers and commenters on IIHIIFIIc have embraced this vibrant new means of expression.  Contributors have moaned that "we fans have to endure a 'pineapple' of a loss" ... that we have "no recourse but to bend over and enjoy the pineapple" ... that the team's performance in a certain game was sure to make this "another 'pineapple' day" ... that our bullpen's recent tendency to implode turned yet another game into "a true pineapple loss."  And on and on.

Even during the short-lived "OFFICIAL "Hey Juju Gods, is this working?" IT IS HIGH Game Threads", someone requested the other participants to "pass the pineapple" ... right in the middle of the game.  (I assumed that he wanted everyone else to share an extra pineapple if they had one and not actually "pass" a pineapple that had previously been ... well ... never mind.)

Which brings me to yesterday's game, a game that was NOT terrifically satisfying.  Yeah, yeah, we won and all, and that's great, but we only won because we somehow managed to score three runs on two hits.  On the way to our "victory" we blew a lead, struck out all over the place, nearly got no-hit by Jharel Cotton (no, not the purveyor of designer bedsheets, the other Jharel Cotton) ... a pitcher who, btw, is sporting a 5.56 ERA ... and who still almost managed to no-hit us.

After the game, my girlfriend and I went to the store to buy something to cook for dinner and she saw an item in the produce aisle that made her laugh.  It was a miniature pineapple.  I said, "Yes, that's like today's game."  She looked at me blankly, so I had to explain ― with as much gentility as I could muster  why the miniature pineapple was like a Yankees game the Yankees barely won.  She just sort of stared at me, the way females do.  Because I'm a dinosaur and do not carry a cellphone, I also had to ask her to take a picture of it which certainly didn't improve my standing.

The miniature pineapple is shown in my hands on the right.  The thing was about the size of a MLB baseball.

To put things in perspective, I decided it would be a good idea to find a full-sized pineapple so that everyone could compare the two and marvel at how small and less painful yesterday's victory really was compared to many other games we've suffered this month.

What you see above and to the left are the same set of hands holding two different pineapples.  I'd rather have the former than the latter and, while yesterday's game was a win, it was a pineapple all the same.

I started all this by talking about companies that are overconfident about the public's awareness of their marketing campaigns.  I wanted to make the point that new readers of the IIHIIFIIc blog might be confused when many of us talk about "a true pineapple of a game."

There's a story that Hall of Fame broadcaster Red Barber kept a 3-minute egg timer in front of him during games. Every time the grains ran out of the glass, he would tell his listeners the inning and the score and then he'd flip the glass over to start the cycle again.  

Red Barber was a pro and so are the readers and contributors of IIHIIFIIc.  I think that, every now and again, if we're still using the word "pineapple" to describe a miserable game ― and I share Alphonso's opinion that we'll be using this expression for a long time ― someone should include a link to where it all started, or at least where it was all codified.  We might even consider incorporating "The Pineapple" into the IIHIIFIIc logo, marketing brochures, and television commercials so that everyone is aware of what it's all about.

It's also important to note that, In addition to its IIHIIFIIc context, the pineapple symbolizes a sense of welcome.  The last thing we friendly Yankee fans want is to alienate or disenfranchise some new reader who might have some colorful opinions to offer.  We don't want to be like those smug Frog car makers who assume that everyone just "knows" who they are.  We need to remind everyone of the origin of this colorful expression, lest people forget.

We're winning 5-2 in the third as I type this, so hopefully this will be one of those "file for future reference" posts.  Or, at least we can file it until the next time one of our starters breaks down and/or our bats go silent and/or we strike out with runners in scoring position and/or Joey Binders sits a guy who had four hits the day before and/or Cashman trades youth for Lance Berkman in his 'Fat Elvis' period and, aw shoot, just pass the pineapple now.

The small one.  Please.

Strikeouts are threatening to kill the Yankee buzz

Yesterday, the victorious Evil Empire cut its strikeout total down to eight. 

Yep, only eight - down from 10 on Friday, in part because - get this - Chris Carter put the ball in play twice and did not contribute a single swisheroo. Instead, our big three - Gary Sanchez, Matt Holliday and Aaron Judge - each fanned twice. (Note: Since the Yankees last week unveiled the "Judge's Chambers" millennial outreach program, Judge is 4 for 19 with no home runs and five strikeouts. Pressure? I dunno, but I do know this: A few more slow games, and it will become a talk show issue.) Of course, we won because a) CC Sabathia pitched brilliantly and b) Holliday homered with a runner on base. So, the moral of the story: We'll just keep free-swinging. 

We haven't scored more than 5 runs in a game since May 17th. In our last six games, we have struck out 61 times - that includes a 17-strikeout night in Tampa. And it's in line with our season totals.

The Yankees average 9.15 strikeouts per game - third highest in MLB, behind the whiff ghettos of Tampa and Milwaukee, and barely ahead of San Diego and Oakland. Want something to worry about? Boston has the game's lowest strikeout ratio - only 6.62 per game. 

We have the second highest average of walks per game - 4.02, behind Minnesota. (Boston averages 3.69.) Worst of all, we lead every team in baseball in average number of runners left on base, and runners left in scoring position. 

Together, it suggests we are the most boring team in baseball. Nine strikeouts and four walks - and that's just on our side of the line score. Add another seven or eight strikeouts for the opposition, plus a walk or two, and should anybody wonder why attendance is down? We are putting forth a product where batters walk up to the plate, then either walk to first or walk back to the dugout. As Aphonso says, we are watching nothing happen. 

(Also, unless something changes dramatically, it will take us down. Homer happy teams don't fare well against good pitching.) 

What's really been sad lately has been the slow-motion close-up of Chase Headley's career self-immolation. But what does it take for a guy to adjust his swing? He started 2017 with a smooth bunt single and an opposite field base hit. He was red hot in April, invoking a new sense of adjustment. Then came the month of May and - poof - same old Headley - strikeouts or double play balls. It's another Stephen Drew. Another Mark Teixeira. Another player gone bad before his time.

Lately, you can feel a growing desperation in this lineup. If the opposition has a big inning - three, four runs - there is a weird sense that the game is over. (Weird, because we had so many great comebacks earlier.) When a batter has two strikes, the third seems inevitable. And runners on base no longer matter, because the hitters are swinging for the fences anyway. 

I cannot believe I am saying this, but the Yankees are starting to look like a boring team again. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

We Came Very Close

The New York yankees today, in an exceptional display of ineptitude with the bats, nearly won a game, while being victim of a no-hitter.

We all watched in awe as Yankee after Yankee struck out.  This circumstance is called the art
of, " watching nothing happen."

When Oakland scored, after a third out call was missed  (my opinion ) by the umpire on a 3-2 Sabathia pitch, I figured we were done.  Oakland then put together two singles in a row, and tied the game.

Scoring one run without a hit was monumental for this line-up.  Hoping to score two just was impossible.

But Holliday came through, like the professional he is.

And we won the game by scoring 3 runs on two hits.

This dearth of contact ( between Yankee bats and pitches ) is getting contagious.  And I , for one, find it really difficult to watch nothing happen.

But as they say in flight school;  " a win is a win."

The Journey Begins

SOMEWHERE NEAR PILKINTON, VIRGINIA (WIFI-PERMITTING)--The sun rises hot over fields as my Greyhound Bus labors northward.  But this post isn't about today.  Let me tell you about my journey's D-Day, last night in Durham, North Carolina.  Readers of this page will recall that my bus was scheduled to push off at 8:20 p.m., and I wanted to be there early.  The way things have gone so far, maybe I should have never showed up at all.

My cavalcade of misfortune started when a man wearing a Greyhound hat (spelled "GRAYHOUND", but I was frazzled) sold me on a $20 "Preferred Boarding" pass.  In retrospect, I should have realized that he was a fraud even if I never picked up on the hat.  The pass itself was printed on that cheap, barely-formed paper like you see on "Made In China" packing slips.  I should have expected a much heavier bond paper on a legitimate Greyhound Preferred Boarding pass.

The gig was up when I tried to enter the bus early, waving my "Preferred Boarding" pass in the air, politely telling the driver as he protested that "My problem is that I paid $20 for this pass..."

The driver cut me off mid-sentence "...From where I'm standing, sir, you actually have two problems.  Bad breath and no street smarts.  Refrain from entering my bus and wait to be called like everybody else."  What seemed liked a Carrier Dome-sized crowd of people around us erupted into guffaws of laughter and clapping.  I'm paranoid that it will become the next YouTube sensation (look at THIS loser!), but I keep telling myself that it happened too quickly to be recorded.

All of that excitement caused great distress to my digestive system.  All you need to know is that I quickly decided to use the station's facilities in lieu of the bus (I did not want to give the driver another bite at the apple making jokes at my expense).  I didn't get there in time.  It was bad.  I'm talking opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan-level bad.  The only thing that saved me from spending the next 16 hours walking around with a pineapple-sized brown stain on the back of my jeans exposed to the world was the leather jacket that I tied around my waist (Scranton is supposed to be cold today).

To make matters worse, boarding of Greyhound Bus #1918 was virtually complete when I returned to the platform.  The driver muttered something about my wardrobe choice ("Mr. Fancy Jacket" is all I heard) as he punched my ticket.  I climbed the steps and turned left.  Other travelers occupied all of the aisle seats and only two window seats remained.  I made my way back and hoped for the best.

Row 10 seemed promising (Phil Rizutto's number, after all) until I got close enough to see my potential seat-mate for the next 16-hours stuff his hand down his pants, shuffling it around like an expert snake-charmer.  His other arm was elbow deep in a bag of Funyuns.  Between chews, he whispered, "I like when it stings."  A tiny stream of Funyun juice dribbled down his chin.  With all due respect to The Scooter, Row 10 was no longer an option.

I settled into Seat 13B (A-Rod, Alvaro Espinoza, and Mike Pagliarulo come to mind), hoping that the person next to me didn't sniff the detritus of my private Juno Beach as I stretched past her.  I guess the leather jacket worked, or so I told myself.  She was asleep.

I don't remember much about the next several hours.  I was tired from the stress of it all.  I missed my wife.  I had six 22-oz. cans of Steel Reserve (wrapped in the sports page of a Durham Herald-Sun) in quick succession.  If I told you that I drank 'em so quickly because I didn't have a Yeti, and wanted to enjoy them cold, I'd be lying.  I drank to stop worrying about my jeans.  I drank to get off the bus.  I

* * *

I emerged from darkness on a green field so big it reminded me of the Battle of the Greasy Grass (or Little Big Horn, as most of us know it).  I had visited the site once in 1998, so I assume that memory formed the blueprint for what I saw.

This green plain was flat like a baseball field, but not as well-maintained.  There were large expanses of grass interrupted by exposed earth every so often.  I'm not a farmer, but it looked like very fertile soil.

John was a centaur with Suz on his back.  They galloped with her hands draped around his neck, laughing.  Nettles was dressed like Robert Redford in The Natural.  He formed what looked like snowballs out of the rich earth, gently piling the finished balls on top of each other before starting to make the next.

The vista seemed to expand in every direction with each passing second.  I can't say that I was there, but I definitely felt like I was.

Electromagnetic globs vibrated across the skies in two colors:  yellow and gray.  There were more gray than yellow ones.  The globs shimmered and shook, and if they passed close enough, I perceived what I can only describe as a light sheen of sound that lasted for a brief second before disappearing.  I heard things like "Today's defensive alignment is sponsored by..." (gray glob) or "IT IS HIGH!  IT IS FAR!..." (yellow glob).  Then, the sheens were gone.  Enough globs raced through the sky that there was always something to hear, but if you didn't pay specific attention to a particular sheen, it was just noise.  At least it was to me.

It didn't take me long to realize that John and Suz hated the gray ones.

They were terrified of the gray ones.

They were ashamed of the gray ones.

* * *

I jostled from the bounce of a pothole.  The vision was gone.

I looked at my iPhone.  Five more hours to Scranton.

If you blinked, you missed Chris Carter's molten hot streak

Against Kansas City, Yankee first-baseman Chris Carter's bat finally reached a torrid boiling point. 

I mean, the man was scalding, scorching, blistering, puckering, coruscating - muy caliente! We knew it would happen eventually. Big time sluggers just need at bats. Suddenly, Carter was bringing the boom!... raking the thunder!... crapping the gravy!... calling the bingo!... honking the huzzah! O, the horror, Mr. Kurtz, the horror! SOMEBODY, GET THAT TRUCK NUMBER!

For the record, during his super-thermal streak, Carter went 2 for 8, with two home runs. Two for eight. Both home runs came with nobody on base. What added to Carter's offensive explosion was the fact that he only struck out twice - his 38th and 39th whiffinpoofs of the year. (Last night, he added numbers 40 and 41 - fourth on the team, behind Holliday (51), Judge (51) and Headley (45.)

Soon, as we all know, the Evils will add Greg Bird, back from big-toe rehab. But we should not wait for Bird to go through channels. Tyler Austin is a week ahead on his rehab. As soon as Austin is ready, the Yankees should bring him up and pull the trigger on Carter, an experiment that simply did not cure cancer. Surely, the big man can latch onto some other team and maybe figure out how not to strike out 210 times in a regular season. But the Yankees claim to be in the middle of a youth movement, and right now, we have three lugs stuck like Mo, Larry and Curly in the first base doorway, looking for chances. We wanted to see what Carter would be like when his bat heated up. Well, now we know. Two for eight with two home runs, neither with a runner on base.

Last night, the bottom of the batting order was a miniature reproduction of Utica, New York. At one point, the incredible shrinking Chase Headley came up with two runners on and one out. It was a 0-0 tie. Chase looked fierce, swinging the bat hard in his warm-ups, staring down the pitcher. Then he stroked a surgically placed, perfect double play ball to third. Our hero hustled down the line, so fast and so close that Girardi almost challenged the call on video replay. Just another lost opportunity. Headley... Carter... Romine. One, two, three. Romine has an excuse - he's a backup catcher, for god's sake. But the Yankees need to make a move, and all the pieces are right there in Scranton, waiting for a phone call that should last about as long as Chris Carter's hot streak. If you took a piss, you missed it. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Attendance is down, interest is down, and so are the Yankee back pages

Old George used to rule the NYC tabloids. When it came to the back pages, between April and October, other teams in Gotham fought for table scraps. They were the only game in town.

But yesterday's NY Times devoted a considerable amount of ink to the staggering drop in Yankee attendance over the last eight years.

The financial figures, from the public filings the Yankees are required to make on their stadium bonds, represent a 42 percent loss in ticket and suite revenues over the last seven seasons. And despite the team’s compelling play this season, attendance through the first quarter of their home schedule is down from the same point last year.

To anyone who roots for the Yankees, this should come as no surprise. The Yankees charge way too much and offer way too little. We have no Reggie and Thurman, no Jeter and Mariano. The last four years have brought us sleep-inducing mediocrity - sad, boring lineups that could not climb out of a fourth-inning 2-0 hole, much less generate hope during the month of September.

But the Times overlooked another indicator of the malaise:

This season, the Yankees are not converting wins into tabloid back pages. 

Thus far in the month of May - a month when the Yankees have played as well as anyone in baseball - the Mets still lead with 30.5 front and back covers. The Yankees have only 19. 

Part of this is that the tabloid back pages are no longer manifestations of success. In fact, the Knicks, Mets, Giants and Jets have received extensive coverage for horrible play - from Carmelo to Geno - often as a form of mockery and disgust. (See Charles Oakley.) Nevertheless, ink is ink, and the Yankees simply are not dominating the zeitgeist of New York. 

This should change if the 2017 team wins the AL East. But I believe the fans of New York know a scam when they see one - and the one-game Wild Card race is nothing more than fake news. 

"I knew that Scranton would play a role in all of this. I have booked a seat on the 8:20 p.m. Greyhound out of Durham. I arrive in Scranton at 2:20 p.m., tomorrow afternoon. There is free wifi on every Greyhound bus now, there are individual power outlets, and I am told that the legroom situation has improved significantly. I'm no prima donna, but comfort matters when you are tracking leads. Today is my sixteenth wedding anniversary, but I told my wife that this is important. This comes first. She didn't reply. I have budgeted one full day in Scranton before I take the Sunday night Greyhound to Tampa in order to track down Alphonso's and ALL CAPS's leads. I am on the Express Bus, and I will arrive two days later (just before noon on Tuesday). Not bad for $252 and only 3 transfers. Watch for regular updates from the road."

I AM BILL WHITE sets out on a quest to solve the mystery of John and Suzyn - and to chase down his personal demons. 

Wish him luck.

I want you to close your eyes and ponder the unponderable: Michael Pineda, Yankee legend

As the Yankiverse waits for Masahiro Tanaka's pregnancy test results tonight - will he deliver? what will it be? - let's ponder two golden keys to the '17 Yankee-Arab Spring: Luis Severino and Michael Pineda. Without them, we're in fourth, chasing the Tampons.

They lead the team in innings pitched - (Severino with 55, Pineda with 53) - and ERAs - (Severino 3.11), Pineda 3.35.) Nobody else comes close. (Montgomery has thrown 46 innings at 4.30; CC is at 50 and 4.62.) Out of respect for the good people of Japan, I will not print Tanaka's current numbers. Let's just say the Trump administration would not allow him to emigrate.

But I'm here to discuss Pineda, who - fun fact: he's as big as Aaron Judge - but whom we all know cannot be trusted. Some fans hate the way he wears his cap, sideways like a rapper. Some fans hate the way he collapses with two outs. We all hate the way he looks so dominant one day, then gets crushed. In his Yankee career, the only constant about Pineda has been his inconsistency.  

This, it's a poorly kept secret that many Yankee fans - myself included - have openly hoped that Pineda pitches just well enough for Cash & Carry Cashman to dump him at the July 31 trade deadline for a package of Glybers and Clints. After all, he'll be a free agent this winter, and seriously now, do any of us expect him to stay? If Pineda keeps pitching well, he'll demand a four or five-year deal at Aroldis Chapman money - and Food Stamps Hal won't pay it. The question is whether Yankee fans will care. After years of watching Pineda kick us in the nuts, would we demand the Yankees make a long term investment? That would be like - gasp - keeping Ivan Nova. And nobody wanted that.

Wait a minute. Did I say "Ivan Nova?" Altogether now: "LALALALALALA, WE CAN'T HEAR YOU. LALALALALA... GO AWAY!"

Today, Nova is the fifth best starter in the National League, behind some coochie-coos named Kershaw, Grienke, Leake and Lynn. His ERA is 2.83, and he has thrown 70 - yes, seventy! - innings. He was, of course, last year's Pineda - a Yankee project around so long that nobody sought to keep him. We dealt him for some bath salts to Pittsburgh, where he has thrived. Once upon a time, players came like Pedro Ramos, Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, et al, came to NYC to explode and win rings. Now, guys who can't wait to leave. Will Pineda be the next?

Well, I'm here to speak blaspheme. Michael Pineda is pitching his way into a long-term career role with the New York Yankees. He is 28. He has endured peaks and valleys during his time in a place where - as the song goes - if I can make it there, I can sure as hell make it in Pittsburgh. It's time to start thinking of Pineda as a keeper, as somebody worth waiting on. We have some of the best young position players in the game. But we will only be as good as our rotation. Hell, if he pitches well, Pineda can wear his cap upside down. His best years could be ahead of him. If he were doing this for another team, wouldn't Cashman bundle a shitload of prospects for him? 

Close your eyes and imagine... it's 2033, and the Yankees are retiring old number 35. A John Sterling immortal cyborg just unveiled a vat of pine tar, and everybody is laughing at the joke. The center field plaque shows Pineda - beard and all - with his cap on sideways, the way we have come to love. Yes, it's time to think the unthinkable: Michael Pineda, Yankee legend?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Time For Reflection

It appears that the Yankees do have a youth movement.

We have, in the last two games, unearthed two fine, young pitchers. ( Montgomery -24 and Severino-23 ).

From the outset, Aaron Judge (25)  and Gary Sanchez (24) have flashed potential stardom, if not better.

Greg Bird (24), once he learns that being able to play is better than playing hurt, could become a
major asset.

A few dudes in the bullpen are pretty young ( Gallegos -25; Chad Green - 26: Jonathan Holder - 23;  Brian Mitchell - 26; Chasen Shreve -26

Didi is young ( 27 ), and a dude.

Castro is young ( 27 ), and a dude.

Romine ( 28 ) and Torreyes ( 24 ) are pretty young and of higher quality ( as depth ) than we are used to.

In the minors, some top prospects:

Andjuhar 3B is 22
Tyler Austin ( IR ) still only 25
Refsnyder - still only 26 ( seems like 80 )
Williams - still only 25

The above players are on the 40 man roster.  The real studly prospects are not.  But we all know they are young and chomping at the bit for opportunity;  Chance Adams, Torres, Frazier, Fowler, etc.

If we can get lucky, and stay with the plan, this might be a great team to watch for several years.  Because you just know that someone we never heard of is going to emerge from obscurity.  And that will be even better.

The other night, John & Suzyn spoke of an appearance in Syracuse with Graig Nettles...

...and I'm Bill White has vowed to uncover the details.
Blogger I'm Bill White said...

Great vignette last night about John, Suz, and Nettles spending time in Syracuse.
May 24, 2017 at 6:37 AM

Blogger I'm Bill White said...
John recalled a speaking engagement in the Salt City "some years ago", accompanied by Suz and Graig Nettles. Nettles made a good point about the game of baseball that John thought relevant to last night's game, but I have since forgotten it. It was a very good point, though, and isn't funny how baseball is always repeating itself. I tried to triangulate Graig's appearance with John and Suz's offseason/ hot stove schedule, but I'm not having much luck. What I can tell you is that Graig Nettles appeared at the 2012 New York State Fair on August 30th of that year, from 2 to 4 pm. I bet he stayed longer because, by all accounts, it was a pleasant day with a high of 82 degrees under sunny skies and with low humidity. What I don't know is whether John and Suz stopped by good old State Fair Boulevard that day. I just don't know. I'd hoped that a little digging would uncover that the trio were in town together when John and Suz were elected to the NYS Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame, but we all know that took place in 2016. If someone reading this post knows anything, I mean ANYTHING, about when Graig Nettles, John Sterling, and Suzyn Waldman appeared together in Syracuse, please respond. No lead is too small. This is important. Thank you.
May 24, 2017 at 3:23 PM
Blogger I'm Bill White said...
I cannot stress enough how important this is. Please, stop what you are doing, use the Internet browser of your choice, and help me--help America--find out when John, Suz, and Graig were in Syracuse together. Thank you.
May 24, 2017 at 3:27 PM
Blogger I'm Bill White said...
I am literally a Brett Gardner throw away from the White House today, but all I can think about is Nettles-Sterling-Waldman-Syracuse. It's that important.
May 24, 2017 at 3:39 PM
I'm Bill White's last entry gives me a particular shudder, because I've read Borges' The Zahir: 
My friend Borges once described a Zahir, which in Buenos Aires in 1939 was a coin, a ten-centavo piece, with the letters ‘N’ and ‘T’ and the numeral ‘2’ scratched crudely in the obverse. Whomsoever saw this coin was consumed by it, in a manner of speaking, and could think of nothing else, until at last their personality ceased to exist, and they were reduced to a babbling corpse with nothing to talk about but the coin, the coin, always the coin.
While I'm Bill White's curiosity about a meeting in Syracuse between John, Suzyn & Nettles is not a concrete object like a coin, its maddening persistence suggests a relationship to Borges' lethal Zahir.

On the unlikely chance that answers can satisfy I'm Bill White's excruciating hunger, I am pleading with anyone who can provide even the paltriest details of John, Suzyn & Nettles' Syracuse meeting to please come forward.

Tanaka Time in Hope Week

This afternoon, the Empire will seek to take three out of four from the rapidly diminishing Royals, and Masahiro Tanaka will seek to achieve the Zen-like tranquility that comes from avoiding the MRI.

Lately, Tanaka has insisted that nothing is wrong, he feels no pain, all is groovy, and he never even thinks about that billion dollar opt-out clause - a notion he dismisses like Melania slapping away the Donald's groper. But in his last two starts, he's been Sidney Ponson, which means he's one more shelling away from the horror tube. And we all know the reality: If Tanaka gets scanned, he'll be carrying mental printouts of a glowing elbow for the rest of the season, if not the rest of his career. He can opt out of the Yankees, but can he opt out of his own insecurities?

Today, we learn if Tanaka can forestall a visit to that limbo of the lost - Tampa - where the Yankee brass sends all who are getting hammered, without a known reason. If Tanaka can succeed - I'm thinking six innings with less than four runs - we can enjoy our Memorial Day barbecues knowing that everything in the Yankiverse seems to be working. We are two and a half games ahead of the AL East, baby, two and a half games up. Consider...

1. Eleven days into Aroldis Chapman's shut down - which was expected to last a month - we are 6-6 without him. The problem is not in the ninth, where Dellin Betances last night appeared to strike out the side on eight pitches. It's the sixth and seventh, where Adam Warren has mysteriously turned into Mr. Hyde. Warren always goes through a lean stretch - last year, around now, the Cubs gave up on him due to it - but he is definitely not helping us. Maybe Bryan Mitchell or Chad Green can pick up the slack. Or maybe we just have a starting pitcher get us into the seventh?

2. Jacoby Ellsbury - the official IIH rented whipping mule - injured his neck with a heroic catch last night. He'll be out for a week, though in Ellsbury time a week can mean 30 days. With due respect to Ellsbury - who always gives his best - we should be just fine. Watch that neck heal after Aaron Hicks smacks a few home runs. As fourth outfielder, we can call up Brigadoon Refsnyder or Classical Gas Mason Williams to fill the void. Meanwhile, last night at Scranton, the three contenders for any long term stint - Tyler Wade, Dustin Fowler and Clint Frazier - all homered. (And Gleyber Torres, playing 3B, batted third.)

3. Luis Severino, holy shit! Last night, he was throwing the change-up effortlessly and for strikes. On top of that, his last pitch of the night - deep into the eighth - came in at 98 mph. If he continues like this, the Yankees will be light years ahead of pace in rebuilding projections. 

It's Tanaka Day in Hope Week, folks. But no matter what happens... two and a half games up, baby! Two and a half. That's a cause for hope.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Winner .....

For the world to know:

El Duque, our revered leader, nailed it yesterday.

He accurately predicted, almost to the last out, Monty's performance yesterday.  And Monty nailed it, also.  He did exactly what I said he had to do; go seven innings ( he went 6 2/3 ); 98 pitches; 1 run or less, 6K's and no walks.

He stood tall when he needed to stand tall.  One can only hope that this will help establish his confidence in himself.

El Duque was, hands down ( what the fu*k does that mean, anyway?), the contestant who most closely predicted his performance and his stats.

 The one thing that prevented him from earning the new BMW ( did I forget to mention the prize yesterday?), is that Duque did not identify and respond to the, " diabolical factor," of the poll.  Specifically, he failed to identify if the Yankees would win or lose, following Monty's great performance.  Stats are one thing; but it matters if you win or lose the game.

My guess is that he would have, in his juvenile enthusiasm, prophesied that the Yankees would win such a well-pitched game.

Sadly, they lost.  A true pineapple loss, as the bullpen ( mostly Adam Warren ) imploded.

So Duque will just have to keep driving his heap.

See you next time.

The "Judge's Chambers" thing in right field is a horrible mistake

Listen: I donna wanna be a downer. I wanna do the hopey thing. I wanna see a 2-1 count as half-full, not half-empty. If the scoreboard says "MOO," I wanna make cow sounds with my hands and mouth. I donna wanna be the crotchety old perv who always reminds people that Hideki Irabu killed himself during Hope Week. Nope. I donna wanna be that guy. 

But this "Judge's Chambers" thing in right field? Too soon. 

Way too soon. 

I donna recall Reggie getting a special section in right. (Wait: I do vaguely recall something about a "Reggie's Kids" bleacher area, but it would have happened long after he'd won acclaim in Oakland and Baltimore.) I donna remember Paul O'Neill having one. I'm all in for Aaron Judge - he's the biggest hope in Hope Week - but this bleacher thing is a craven p.r. marketing ploy - a notch above a bobblehead night or the rally monkey - orchestrated by a franchise that used to own NYC and squandered its success via 10 years of pole-dancing management hubris. Now, to cash in quickly, we're piling tons of needless media pressure on a kid - yes, Judge is still a growing boy - who hasn't yet swung a major league bat in the month of June. Bad idea, Yankees. Too soon. Way too soon. Does nobody else see this? Are we all such cheery band-wagoners that nobody wants to address this? WE'RE SETTING THIS GUY UP AS A YANKEE LEGEND, COMPARING HIM TO JETER, PUTTING HIM ON A PEDESTAL AND PREPARING TO PUSH HIM OFF. IN A TIME WHEN WE SHOULD BE DOING EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO PROTECT HIM FROM HYPE, THE YANKEES ARE CRASSLY TRYING TO INFLATE HIM. WHAT'S NEXT? A MACY'S PARADE BALLOON?

Bad idea, folks. Too soon. Way too soon.

I joke about "Babe Benintendi" of the Redsocks. On April 23, he was hitting .361 and ready to go straight into Cooperstown, if you listened to the nearest Boston fan. Today, he's at .287 - having hit .230 in the month of May - and he no longer bats third. It's a long, hard season, folks. He'll have plenty of time to turn it around, but first, he'll have to close up the hole in his swing that pitchers have learned to exploit.

Listen: I donna wanna get too down here. The Yankees are nine games above .500 and leading the AL East. Let's be wise enough to appreciate when the going is good. But here is a little reality.

1. Without that eight-game winning steak, an otherworldly carnival of timely hitting and great starting pitchers, we would be in fourth, a game behind Boston. 

2. Several players who soared during that streak - Chase Headley, Austin Romine and Ronald Torreyes, in particular - have crashed to earth. In Headley's case, it might be a career death spiral.

3. Our bullpen, which we were touting as the best in baseball, is on the verge of complete collapse. No lead is safe anymore. Adam Warren is getting clubbed, and without Aroldis Chapman, we simply are not the same team.

4. And we still cross our fingers whenever Judge comes to bat. During that eight-game streak, he hit 4 HRs and drove in 10. He started it batting .211 - finished it at .276. He's been the source of Yankee pride, even (ridiculously premature, in my opinion) being compared to Jeter. If the Yankees lose, but Judge goes 3-4, I'm happy, in a weirdly triumphant way. We so desperately need a homegrown slugger, and here is a kid with all the glory in front of him; already, he outshines Holliday, Castro, Didi, even Gary Sanchez. But one of these days, Judge is going to hit an 0-for-20 slump - they all do - and every time he jogs out to right field, he'll see the people in the robes and wigs, and his stomach will only grow tighter. 

Too soon. Way too soon. Bad move, Yankees. The first rule of Fight Club was always, you don't talk about Fight Club. Bad move. Will rally monkeys be next?

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Time To Put On Our Wizard Hats

For today's class, we are going to predict Montgomery's pitching line.

As a matter of context, he has been the Yankee management's, " darling" of the season, forcing his way into the rotation with a consistent, sensational record in spring training games.  He is 24 ( soon to be 25 I think ), lefty and, per the Yankee brass, has unlimited potential.

Kansas City has talent, but they have been underperforming.  They need a win against the Yankees to begin a "turnaround" to their season  They are highly motivated to win.  They could taste victory yesterday, but it eluded them on Yankee home runs from somewhat unexpected sources.  So they are angry and committed.

Montgomery is " fresh meat."  They knocked him out of a game earlier.

So far, he has been " mediocre" at best.  His last two outings have been horrid.  And the length of the " darling string" is beginning to shrink.  If he is to justify Yankee evaluations of, and confidence in, his ability, he needs to throw a great game tonight.  Chad Greene is knocking on the door.

He needs seven solid innings; 6 K's no walks and one run.  And a Yankee win.  He needs to get a lead and hold it.  Shut the Royals down.  Period.

So, what do you all think is going to happen?

My sorcerer's hat predicts the following line:

1.  4.1 innings.
2.  97 pitches
3.   4 walks
4.  2 K's
5.  5 runs ( 4 earned )
6.  One 3 -run homer ( second or third inning ).

" Have a highball at nightfall....."

This poll closes at 7:10pm EST.  Vote soon and vote often.

Pineda does it again. (So, once more, where is Jesus Montero?)

The other day, I screwed up. I wrote that, without Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees had no viable Wild Card one-game starter. (What I meant to say was, without Tanaka, the Yankees have no chance of reaching the one game wild card.) In fact, we do have a pitcher who could win that game. His name is Michael Pineda, the Yankee ace.

Chew on those words for a moment: 

Michael Pineda, the Yankee ace.

Wow. Quick now, show of hands: Did anybody ever expect to see those words on this web site? I sure didn't. It felt weird just now, typing them. In the entire haunted hayride Yankee career of Ivan "Super" Nova, with all its ups and downs, we never remotely pondered him as an "ace." (Though Supe is having a great year in Pittsburgh: 4-3 with a 2.63 ERA and two complete games.) But who else would qualify as top dog? Tanaka has fallen apart, and everybody else is a bingo board. In what will likely be his final year as a Yankee - (he's a free agent next winter) - Pineda, now 29, has become our best starting pitcher. Last night, he took us into the seventh, beating the Royals 4-2. 

It was a game from an alternative Yankee universe. Chris Carter homered (and didn't strike out.) Brett Gardner hit his 9th HR in 21 games - a dizzying, McGwireian pace that would project to 70 over a full season. Hicks, Judge, Sanchez and Castro - the Yankee war machine - went 0-13. Yet we won. And Pineda - who won a million-pitch duel with Salvador Perez, their best hitter - today has us shaking our heads. It's been five long and crummy years since Brian Cashman pulled the trigger on Jesus Montero, creating a debate that looked like it would go forever between Yankee and Mariner fans... though it soon became a comparison between herpes and chlamydia. 

But make no mistake: The Yankees won that deal. Montero has a .311 lifetime batting average in the minors, where he has been serving a lifetime sentence. He is now in the final weeks of a 50-game suspension for juicing. He is a first baseman in the Orioles system, and will likely report to Triple A Norfolk around June 1. The O's have Chris Davis at first and Mark Trumbo as DH, so good luck to Jeez. Too bad we can't give Baltimore a handful of magic beans and bring Montero home... to the happy fans of Scranton. But what would be the point? We've got Greg Bird and Tyler Austin on rehab. And somewhere down there is Gi-man the He-Man. First basemen are leaping out of the streams like Asian carp.

Of course, I can't write a glowing post about Michael Pineda without mentioning the possibility that it's just a drug flashback, and next outing, he'll surrender six runs with two outs in the third. And when Montero homers in Norfolk - his 123rd lifetime HR in the minors - we'll drag out the debate, for old time's sake. But let's be real here.

Michael Pineda, the Yankee ace. Wow. What a concept.

Monday, May 22, 2017

World in flat-out awe of Aaron Judge

If I ran the team...

Screw Meat Loaf: Two out of three aint good, especially when you lose them to Tampa, and fan 17 times in one game. I'm officially rattled. It's Yankee Defcon-4. That means, like any good fan, it's time for postulating and prophesying, strategizing and soliloquizing, blathering and bloviating about what to do. 

Here's my trademarked IT IS HIGH Action Plan, or IIHAC (TM).

First base: The truth isn't out there. Chris Carter isn't working. We signed him as 15-minutes of Geico insurance, in case Greg Bird failed. Well, Greg Bird failed, and he still hasn't paid out on the policy.

Though Carter isn't the stone statue fielder we feared, the whiffs are mounting, and we can no longer say he's merely a streaky hitter who needs at bats. Dear god, he's a free-swing, undisciplined turnstile pinwheel, and this team cannot absorb another 200 strikeouts.

I say bring up Rob Refsnyder, and audition him at 1B for the next two weeks, while Bird and Tyler Austin untweak their swollen gonads. Keep Carter as a backup, for now. But when Bird and Austin return, unless he dramatically improves, eat the money and waive him. This lineup doesn't need more home runs. It needs more line drives, more sac flies, more groundball singles to the opposite field. A couple of the above, and we would have won Tampa. 

Second base: Move Starlin Castro up to the second in the batting order, replacing Gary Sanchez. He's our best hitter, and he's certainly faster than Sanchez, who is a terrible base runner.

Shortstop: Move Didi Gregorius atop the batting order. Has anybody noticed? He's our best hitter. Why is he batting sixth or seventh? 

Third base: Stick with Headley for the time-being - Tyler Wade, who made an error last night at 3B in Scranton, just isn't ready - but move Glyber Torres to third. (The Yankees promoted Torres to Scranton last night.) Sometime in July, install Torres at thirdbase - the way he once did with Robbie Cano at second, over Tony Womack - and never look back. If first base remains a problem, move Headley there and cross our fingers. At least he won't be throwing balls into the right field stands.

Note: Under no circumstances should we trade for a veteran 1B or 3B. Teams like the Rays would love to steal the Yankee future for a twilight player like Evan Longoria, but such a move would kill us. We have solutions in the farm system. 

Outfield: Come July, package Jacoby Ellsbury with a shit-ton of gold bricks and a viable 24-year-old, and see if we can find a decent starting pitcher. If we can't - and, let's face it, we probably can't - dump Ellsbury on whatever team will take him for whatever they will give. Think of him as an old Ben Gamel. Bring up Dustin Fowler or Clint Frazier, and play Aaron Hicks in CF. Accelerate the youth plan. 

Pitchers: Not much we can do here. If Masahiro Tanaka doesn't figure it out, we're screwed. If he's hurt - if we find that elbow is finally shot - at least that means he won't opt out of his contract next winter, and he will be a Yankee for life. Let's keep him, and let's be happy. He's a great competitor, a great Yankee. Same with CC Sabathia: At this stage, why trade him? Let's be thankful that he lasted this long. 

As for Michael Pineda, we should weigh the odds of playing in a meaningful October, and come late July, perhaps try to peddle him for prospects to some hope-addicted team. (Would the long-suffering Mariners, clinging to the chance of winning a divisional title, accept Pineda, the prodigal son, and West Coast nature boy Ellsbury for a couple long-term projects?) Of course, if the Yankees are still atop the AL East, we'll never trade Pineda - (nor should we.) But if we keep losing two out of three, and fanning 17 times per game... well... those aint the ways of a world champion, eh? As Meat Loaf would say, all dressed up and no place to go.