Saturday, March 10, 2018

If there was a meaningless mid-Grapefruit League season All-Star team, the Yankees would have one meaningless representative

Twenty days ago, the meaningless 2018 spring training baseball season began. Twenty days from now, in a surge of meaninglessness, this spiritual abyss of pure nothingness will conclude. 

Now, in a perfectly meaningless universe, today would launch the Cactus-Grapefruit All-Star Break Weekend, featuring the extra-meaningless Home Run Derby, which is meaningless enough when held in July. The mid-season MMVP (Meaningless Most Valuable Player) would be Indians second-baseman Jason Kipnis, who has a Ruthian (but still sublimely meaningless) 6 HRs, 12 RBIs and a .500 batting average.

Joining him in the meaningless All-Star game would be such luminaries as:

Ray Fuentes, Arizona, CF, (age 27): 3-10-.375 
Mike Freeman, Cubs, SS (30): 1-8-.560 
Christian Villanueva, 3B, Padres (26) 3-11-.385
Matt Davidson, White Sox, DH, (26): 3-15-.384

I know what you're thinking: Holy crap! Fuentes, Freeman AND Villanueva? Book their bus tickets to Cooperstown! Or rather, the Meaninglessness Hall of Fame in Oneonta. (Note to outsiders: It's not pronounced "Won-Won-Tuh.")

Tucked away, within the pageantry and excitement of the meaningless All-Star Game, would be the lone Yankee rep, as voted by the juju gods: Backup outfielder Billy McKinney, who leads our team in RBIs with 11. He'd be the late-inning meaningless replacement for the starting RF, Houston's Kyle Tucker, a 21-year-old RF who is killing it (4-13-.407), and, frankly, whose presence may hold meaning to the Yankees. (Remember: Houston tanked for eight straight years. They've been drafting high since 2010. They are the 76ers of MLB, and Tucker is next off the el-tanko assembly line.) 

But don't despair! At this meaningless All-Star break, the Yankees lead the league in what doesn't matter the most: the standings. They have a meaningless 10-4 record, with the Astros one game back. We would nearly have clinched a meaningless one game wild card, if it would be held. Of Yankee "qualifiers" - that is, the six players with enough at bats for a "nano sample size" to be considered a "micro sample size" - the meaninglessness leaps out and grabs you by the antlers. Three days ago, Miguel Andujar was hitting close to .350. A couple oh-fers, and he's in Nowhere Land, meaning-wise. 

If there is a troubling-but-boldly-meaningless stat, it could be Greg Bird, who last year hit 8 HRs in spring training, enough to bat third on opening day. Still, once the games gained meaning, he bruised an ankle and went into such a deep slump that, on Jackie Robinson Day, Bird trended on Twitter because his batting average fell to .042. Thus far, Bird has struck out 10 meaningless times and looked meaninglessly miserable. Still, if anyone on the Yankees more understands the meaninglessness of March, it would have to be Bird. Those 8 HRs last spring meant zilch... as do these words chronicling them.

So... let us repeat a refrain asked regularly on this site: Is there any meaning in this meaningless universe? Well, maybe. Aaron Hicks came to Tampa with a sixpack-hardened new workout regime. He's looking good. Tyler Wade has positioned himself to maybe start opening day at 2B, if he keeps it up. Everything else? Pure meaningless nothingness. Don't ask the cosmic questions. There are no answers. Where's W.P. Kinsella? Don't they say baseball is a metaphor for life?


Rufus T. Firefly said...


You are the Jean-Paul Sartre of baseball.

But that is meaningless.

Anonymous said...



el duque said...

I consider myself to be the Babe Ruth of nothingness.

ranger_lp said...

David Hale was a disaster last night. Should be a Met instead.

JM said...

There are too many meaningless names during Spring Training. Like Hale. Where did he come from? Is he related to the guy who played the Skipper on "Gilligan's Island?" His father, by the way, was a pretty fine actor back in Hollywood's glory days. Although if he had teamed up with Oliver Hardy when he was young, it would've been Hale and Hardy instead of Laurel.

None of which means anything.

Carl J. Weitz said...

The Yankees will send McKinney back to Scranton where either he will be traded to Seattle in mid-season for a washed-up former power-arm relief pitcher or the Mariners will continue plucking Yankee talent in Rule 5. Either way,by next spring, he will end up being the next Mike Trout. And Ellsbury will still be on the Yankees DL.

Carl J. Weitz said...

John M....if Thairo doesn't make the Yankees as a back-up shortstop, I propose they trade him to the Angels of CA where he can ride in tandem on a motorcycle with his dad Erik.

Alphonso said...

I fear that Carl is on target here. However, I think it will be Red Thunder who lands in Seattle.

But the hard truth is; the Yankees should have McKinney on the team and Jacoby in the back office, or eating bon bons on a beach somewhere.

It will be a disaster to lose a young player with upside, to keep the downside of Jacoby. It will make a disastrous contract even worse. The Yankees cannot allow it to become a living monster, devouring young talent as it drifts to nothingness. Let it at least remain benign.

And put the blame where it belongs; let Cashman eat the crow. Let him publicly apologize for being a fool.

But let's cut the cord with this cancer, and start the season afresh.

It is only Hal's money, which he did nothing to earn in the first place. He can raise the cost of beer 5 cents and make it all back.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Hear, hear!

Enough with the agonies of Ellsbury, the man who desires nothing more than to fight for his position, but can't stay on a baseball field.

My one faint hope on this is that while Coops hates to admit mistakes, he also likes nothing better than to see his junk pile pickups work out. Hence, there is hope for McKinney!

But yes, just cut bait already. No more of this nonsense about "having" to trade a prospect with Ellsbury so some other team will take him, and no more keeping him on the roster—or the DL—just because you paid him a lot.

You're going to have to pay him anyway. Why pay him to make your whole team worse?

Offer to pick up $50 mill or so of the Contract From Hell, deal him for a couple of lottery ticket arms, and be done with it already!

Parson Tom said...

Ells is signed through the year 2525?

A word about Oneonta. A lot of kids from my high school went there. I went there, too, but only to get very drunk for a few three-day weekends. It was a pretty tough 3 hour drive, but always worthwhile. As I understand it, most of those bars are still operating pretty much as they were 40 years ago.

New Paltz was easier to get to. 90 minutes straight up 87, but those trips were more fraught with psychodelic and existential peril.

It took me a few years, but since I was hanging around so many college bars I decided to take classes in Plattsburgh. More of a working classes vibe than the others but the beer was reliably cold and cheap.

SUNY rocks!