Thursday, June 1, 2017

Mr. Met breaks bad, the biggest homer is going home, and the '17 Yankees face their defining stretch

Many years ago, as a pioneer of fake news, I interviewed the San Diego Chicken on a tour through Syracuse. By then, Chicken had reached the pinnacle, having single-clawedly birthed the sports mascot industry. Without him, there'd be no Phanatic, no Wally the Green Monster, no Otto Orange, no Michael Kay. Chicken broke new ground in the barnyards of America. And during his Salt City swing, to the delight of all, he was a walking Trump Access: Hollywood tape. Chicken groped young women. He bent and stared at their butts. The crowd roared. Chicken ruled the coop.

Ah, the halcyon days! All in good fun. Nobody cared about a copped feel. But the world changed, and those damn smart-mouthed feminists ruined everything. Last night, one of best soldiers, Mister Met, finally broke from the pressure. He flipped off a fan. Worse, somebody filmed it. Clearly, Met lost his cool. The pressure. Now, will he get a fair trial? Dream on. The franchise is already falling all over itself to apologize. Trump would not back down, dammit. He'd be tweeting support. But the Mets will jettison their embattled employee and - get this - reap the reward: Another week of dominating the sports tabloids. (They won the month of May.) They will continue to rule sports radio and remain NYC's most talked-about team. It's as if they cannot lose. No matter what happens with the Yankees, the Mets are winning the chicken coop. 

Once you lose a town, it's hard to win it back.

But in Chicago, today they will discuss Hawk Harrelson, who announced his retirement yesterday. Harrelson is 75 - John Sterling vintage - and baseball's biggest homer, by far. When critics complain about The Master, it's because they are conveniently forgetting Harrelson, who openly roots for the White Sox - or as he calls them "the good guys." Harrelson will shout for fly balls to "Get out, get out, get out!" or "Go foul, go foul, go foul!" And normally, we shouldn't give a damn what happens in another team's Sunoco booth. But Harrelson is the canary in the Sterling coal mine. His retirement is yet another reminder that this could be John and Suzyn's final season. Another one bites the dust. Nobody talks forever. 

Finally, let's talk about the Yankees. Insert sigh here. Six of our last 10 losses came because the opposition scored at least five runs. Over our last 15 games, our pitchers have seven times given up more than five. Here's the reality: Our rotation is cracking. 

So what do we do? To make an honest run in 2017, the Yankees will need an infusion. Traditionally, this would mean trading for some over-the-hill DH or starting pitcher with a torture chamber contract, the kind only dolts will assume. It would also mean trading prospects, which in the past, the Yankees simply didn't have. But this is the upside-down world. 

We have prospects galore, and everybody knows it. For one thing, we have too many outfielders - four in the majors, and they're piling up in Scranton, with Dustin Fowler, Clint Frazier and the eternal Mason Williams, who is starting to exhibit Slade Heathcott disease. We have Jake Cave, who played well last year in Scranton, toiling in Trenton, because there's no room in Triple A. We have outfield prospects like cherry tomatoes. And yet... a plea:

Don't trade prospects. 

Here's one fan's hope: Before we deal for some washed-up, 2013 all-star, let's try the kids and suffer whatever consequences ensue. Everybody knows Chase Headley is not the answer at third. And Glyber Torres is a month away, if not more. But Tyler Wade is on the verge. Why not? Let's try him. 

Everybody knows what Chris Carter brings: A dozen strikeouts for every home run, and a horrible, .200 average. It's not enough. But Greg Bird is three weeks away. In the meantime, let's try Rob Refsnyder - who at least puts the bat on the ball - and, as soon as he's ready, Tyler Austin. (I'm proposing Yankee lineups with two Aarons, two Tylers, two Austins, a CC and a Didi. Woah!) 

Everybody knows Masahiro Tanaka his wobbling. And Chance Adams needs at least two more starts at Triple A. Before we trade for a new Sidney Ponson, I say, let's try one of the young arms. Cessa, Green, Camarera, German.Take a Chance, Yankees! That's all I'm saying.

I just want us to exhaust all the possibilities before doing something stupid. We are entering a tough patch. Toronto has self-corrected, and the Redsock '17 Hall of Fame Superteam of Destiny (TM) has reassembled. But it's youth - not veterans - that carried us into first place. Let the Mets have the back pages. We need to stay young and keep our eyes on the prize: 2018 and beyond. The infusion must come from within.


DutchFan said...

Listening to John Sterling really is a joy for a semi-insomniac in Rotterdam. Or should I say, having him whispering in my ear in bed? The voice, the endless repetitions of box-scores, trivia and commercials is soothing and helps induce (albeit restless) sleep.
The nights the Yankees don't play, I have a problem - and don't even start about winter nights. So I have tried maybe all other announcers the last few years, just to find a voice that would at least be soothing. To no avail. Actually it is a wasteland out there. Of course there was 1 voice that worked its wonders, but he quit last year. Vin Scully always was a joy to the ear. But all others (I loathe that Cubs announcer and there is a weird voice coming out of Kansas City) stink.
It probably also has something to do with simple team preference, but I admit that I dread the moment John Sterling calls it quits. Or is made to hold his tongue.

And I am all for sticking to the youth experiment!

Mustang said...

A dissenting view: If we have 1000 outfielders, some of them will never benefit the team except through trades. We need a good, young, strong ballclub. But there aren't that many outfield positions, and it would be a dickish and self-defeating thing to let talent wither on the vine.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

I certainly do NOT have a vote.

But were I a part of Hal Steinbrenner's Inner Sanctum, I would advocate for what Duque proposes.


This would mean acknowledging that whoever brought in Ellsbury on a ridiculous contract, and Dead Chasely for millions to make errors and not hit at 3B, might NOT be a genius. I think his name is Kashbar, or something...

Alphonso said...

I have agreed with this for years. The problem remains; other teams know who our prospects are. We aren't going to get away with packaging Mason Williams, Cito Culver, Jake Cave, Bok Choi and the Japanese named catcher ( who had a hitless adventure in the Big leagues ) for anyone of quality.

To get the next fat guy pitcher, who once was dominating, the Yankees have to give up their favorite Xmas presents from last year. Specifically, Frazier will be dealt, along with Chance Adams and more. Likely, the Yankees will not deal Torres.

Nonetheless, it is a violation of trust. And it won't work. CC is giving us 5-6 innings of 2-3 runs because he is a Cy Young winner, who has figured out how to, " still fool the rookies." But there are no others like him out there.

There are a few guys who need arm surgery. And a few guys who drink too much.

We have to stay with our youth. Listen, Oakland brought up a nobody and he gave the A's a great game. How can Chance Adams be worse than some of the work we have seen from Tanaka and our own young guy, Montgomery?

If our expectations are to be exciting, to compete, to get ready for a long run at the championship, we must keep to the program.

If it were as easy as [packaging up a bunch of disappointments, we would already be there. But it isn't. Everyone knows who is a high end prospect, and who is a career .256 hitter in the minors.

There is no free lunch. So let's stick with our own groceries.

John M said...

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Dutch Fan for reminding me that baseball announcers, by and large, stink. They are boring, stupid, and often major rubes. None of which apply to the Master. I can't stand watching or listening to radio games from other markets. It's just painful.

While fans and Gammonites ridicule Sterling, he is in the great Rizzuto tradition. Very different, but there's a thread. He is not bland, cookie-cutter, with a plaid jacket larynx. (No offense, Vin.) He warbles, he knows old Broadway show tunes, he sells for the sponsors with the same majestic tones he brings to the game, and he gets excited. And he makes mistakes. Which is fun. Perfection is boring.

On another topic, I agree with Duque that we should give more kids a chance, and I also agree with Mustang that burying outfielders in the system isn't good for them or anyone else. If one or two can find a spot on a major league club, and we get a decent starter to go along with the Greens we have...might be a good idea.

John M said...

Of course, Alphonso also makes a good argument.

I am, after all, a Libra.

Ken of Brooklyn said...

I really agree with Alphonso on this, I've said it before, this season has already far exceeded my expectations, sticking to a plan of rebuilding with the new kids on the block has given me more hope than I've had in years!

And YES to DuchFan's endorsement of The Master, and John M's endorsement of the endorsement, LOL!
I literally DREAD the day when some generic voice is calling out these games, there's a warmth, a genuine warmth, enthusiasm and pride that only happens when you've worked and announced for a team for as long as he has. I always get the sense that he considers this team his family, and even in the dull moments, he's able keep me interested and to entertain, mistakes and all.

Alphonso said...

Someone please ask the Dutch fan, " if he does as I would do."

Hint; it has to do with the legalized marijuana bars.

And they have great beer, sausage, and babes, I think.

How many Yankee fans are in Rotterdam?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I am torn between the two arguments, re: trading prospects; hence, I favor a hybrid of the two: we DO have too many outfielders, and I do think it would be dickish to bury so many of them in SWB and Trenton, blocked from coming up because of bad contracts, etc...SO: IF we could trade one or two decent OF prospects for a decent innings-eater (something we could really use, these days), I would be in favor of trading a couple for said starter - - could be 3rd-5th level. If not, then, the hell with it: keep all the kids, and keep bringing them up and letting them try playing.
Re: John & Suzyn: yes, I feel they are several notches better than most of their competition; a pet peeve of mine is that on Sirius/XM, you don't get a choice of game-feeds - - so about half the time, if I'm in my car, I cannot get John & Suzyn. I am forced to listen to the competition. Even my wife, who is no huge BB fan, groans when I turn on a game, and we have to listen to the opposing annoucers, or nothing. (Of course, if you are at a computer and have the Sirius/XM app, you CAN tune in our own feed - - on that computer.)
Re: Hawk Harrelson: All I will say is "HE GONE!!" and good riddance. I am betting he is getting mighty tired of driving in from South Bend every day the Whiteys play - - that's a horrendous drive, due to traffic almost any time of the day.
Re: Ref: I think he's doing pretty nicely at first; we have, of course, gotten spoiled by Teix's defense - - and, of course, one could wish for a bit more power - - but he's making contact, taking walks, and learning to play first pretty decently. LB (No J)

joe de pastry said...

Who else has a horrible .200 average?
Punch and Judy Refsnyder.

DutchFan said...

There are no legalized marijuana bars out here. There are coffee shops - how does that sound? After trying the stuff when I was in medical school and got sick twice, I kicked the habit!
Sausages and babes galore obviously, but that might also be caused by the fact they are not always distinguishable.
And free Heineken for all you travelers to Rotterdam!

DutchFan said...

Forgot to mention the amount of Yankees fans.
4-8 is my informed guess.
The highest average attendance will be around 300(!!) in Holland. When the sun is out.
In Rotterdam they fetch maybe 150.
From those fans maybe 15 are really into MLB. And they have to choose between Redsocks (Boogaerts), Orioles (Schoop), Dodgers (Jansen) and us (Mariekson).

So I guess 4-8