Friday, March 2, 2018

On Oscar weekend, eight movie observations regarding Yankee juju

1. Is it a bad omen that, just when Clint Frazier - aka "Red Thunder" - suffers a concussion, the movie Red Sparrow, starring ex-America's sweetheart Jennifer Lawrence, hits the theaters to middling reviews? If Frazier goes down or falls into a slump, slimy Redsock fans surely will start mocking him as "Red Sparrow." I can't believe the juju gods would give them such an easy ridicule opportunity. I ask you, is that fair?

2. Then again, Red seems to have made a speedy recovery by guzzling gallons of water. Could the juju gods be sending us a message that The Shape of Water will clean up at the Academy Awards? Should we be going to Vegas and betting the house?

3. Or... could the big winner be The Florida Project, aka Estevan Florial? Check this out: In 10 at bats, Florial has hit three triples, an astounding display of raw speed and recklessness. The other day, "Flyin' Florial" dashed from first to third on a wild pitch, narrowly beating the throw (in a foolish gamble, because there was two outs, when you're never supposed to get thrown out at third.) Of course, not long ago, Jose Mateo was the speed demon of Yankee lore. He is now the Flash of the Oakland system, though sidelined with a sprained knee. He's still ranked their third best prospect. We dealt him for 50 Shades of Sonny Gray. 

4. Wait: If we're thinking of high strung athletes, as in I, Tonya, you know who else is in the A's spring roster? Our old friend Slade Heathcott. In 7 games, he's gone 3-7 with an RBI and a stolen base. He's now 27 and approaching the Ruben Rivera Threshold of Time and Space, from which many players never emerge. But I, for one, still think he'll have a decent career. The juju gods owe this kid something. All we ever ask is that they play fair.

5. While we're talking about Oscar hopefuls, how about Get Out!, as signified by ex-Cuban escapee Yoan Moncada, formerly baseball's top prospect, whom the Redsocks traded to Chicago for Chris Sale? Last year, he crapped the bed, hitting .229 with 8 HRs in 218 at bats. This spring, he's 1 for 11. Of course, he's only 22, a year younger than Red Thunder/Sparrow. But this season could determine whether the White Sox got stiffed. 

6. Let's not forget All the Money in the World, working title for the Hal Steinbrenner story. Though Hal has nearly infinite monetary resources, he chooses to play nickel/dime with free agents. Yankee fans can relate to the idea that long term contracts - like A-Rod, Tex and Jacoby Ellsbury - are ticking time bombs, waiting to kill future seasons. Still, Hal has more than enough money to buy pitchers, outfielders, whatever - and pay the luxury tax. Like J Paul Getty, who refused to pay his son's kidnappers, Food Stamps Hal simply hates to part with his precious coins.

7. If we're looking for a Phantom Thread, look no further than Miguel Andujar, who may ignite a Yankee fan revolution, if he keeps hitting. He has 4 home runs in 14 at bats. For whatever it's worth - which isn't much - last spring, only three Yankees hit four or more home runs: Greg Bird had 8, Gary Sanchez hit 5, and Matt Holliday hit 4. (Going back further, Frankie Cervelli hit 4 HRs in the spring of 2014, and A-Rod hit 6 in 2011.) Looking for meaning? There is none. And yet... we look anyway. 

8. Of course, these days, only one movie matters - Black Panther - and if we're thinking of great African-American Yankees, clearly, the crown must be worn by CC Sabathia. Listen: CC is one Bartolo comeback away from wearing a Yankee cap into Cooperstown. Currently, he has 237 wins and a career ERA of 3.70. If he can pull a Bartolo - wrangle four more years out his arm - he could reach 280 wins: Close enough. He has Bartolo's body. He has Bartolo's guile. He's only 37, and it wouldn't surprise me if he pitches until 41. The only problem? Imagining him in that Black Panther spandex suit. Ouch. 


13bit said...

1. The juju gods are not fair.

2. The juju gods are capricious.

3. The juju gods owe us nothing.

4. We are here to serve at their pleasure.

5. We can only petition them and implore them to do the right thing.

6. The juju gods ARE Yankee fans. We have that much going for us. They just sometimes fight amongst themselves and forget try to teach each other lessons by destroying OUR lives.

7. It might be worth a trip to the library to start identifying the individual juju gods by name.

8. CC would rock the spandex loud and proud and we would all enjoy watching the Big Guy spin, teeter and pop in all his muscled glory. A cape and mask would become him, as well.

9. Always need a 9th item. Can't stop on 8 EVER.

10. The juju gods are the wind at our back today, but not in snowy/rainy/icy/windy/gray Greenwich Village, where it's too nasty to bring a tiny puppy outside. I have named him Santo, but it just struck me that I could name him "JuJu," but that could be very dangerous for me, personally, I would think.

Also, on an un-numbered note, I may have solved my problem of having cut the cable and wanting to follow the Yankees live this year. It has been staring me in the face for the past month - The Master and Suzyn. I will do as my forefathers did and gather around the glowing vacuum tubes, grilled cheese in hand, and be carried away by HIS voice.

JM said...

Hulu carries the YES Network in the New Yawk area, 13bit. I've been mulling the change over for a while now, I just have to see what my Spectrum bill will look like for just phone and internet, unbundled. And that involves a phone call. And I have laryngitis and bronchitis STILL.

I do have an old tabletop vacuum tube radio that I keep here in the study, right across town from you. There's something great about listening to baseball on AM radio. Even the annoying commercials are kind of endearing, for some reason.

I must be getting old.

13bit said...

John, getting old is better than the alternative.

I'll look into Hulu. I saw mixed messages when I last looked into it about YES. I have RCN here, having dropped TimeWarner/Spectrum after 35 years after having had enough of their usurious, criminal ways. RCN was half the price for the first year or two, then they started to jack up my bill every other month. When I dropped everything but high-speed internet, it went way down. Part of the problem is the way cable TV is taxed (a LOT) over internet-only (not much.)

As an aside, as the cable companies quickly tank, it's going to be interesting to see if all the money they pump into professional sports begins to dwindle and how that will have an effect on said sports franchises. Much as I like the Internet and have made a living moving words, bits and bytes around for a long time online, there is also something of Satan's hand crushing my life about it. The Internet giveth and the Internet taketh away. I'm not really a believer in much, by the way, just a humanist/rationalist who reads his utility bills closely.

Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside said...

Hulu has yes... but if they’re anything like directv they black out ESPN games, Fox games, and since I’m in New Hampshire, NECN games. It sucked! MLB at bat always works.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Great post, 13bit! I do like the research idea. (Though why can't we stop at "8"? It's a lucky number in China, and Yogi wore it, didn't he?)

As for the JuJu gods, all we can really do is hope that the hubris of other teams/fans draws them like fresh blood in the water, much like the Red Socks do with their many teams of destiny (2011, 2017).

I continue to cling to the cable, mostly because last season a friend and I trying to watch a Yankees game at one of the very few, remaining fake-Irish pubs—such an old tradition in New York by now that I almost treasure them in their falseness, like the fried leather they serve at Tad's Steaks—and it was raining.

One by one, every set in the place went out. I couldn't believe it. Direct TV really DOES go out in the rain—it's NOT just something the hilarious ghouls on those cable ads made up.

Loved I, Tonya. The Phantom Thread made me want to hurl my soda at the screen.

13bit said...

I'm on hold now with DirectTV on the phone. They lied to me once before, so I"m dubious. The chat "person" just assured me I can get YES and the Weather Channel - the only two channels I really care about. I do wish I could prorate my TV. I'm wanting to talk to a "human," just as double assurance before I fork up fifty clams a month. My questions? Do I really get YES and TWC? Can I cancel at any time? Can I watch on multiple devices?

At the same time, I'm waiting in a chat window with Hulu - who are much harder to get in touch with - to ask the same questions. More will be revealed.

As for 8 items on a numbered list, I'm just a grouchy dude living in a hyper-gentrified neighborhood for way too long, but I can't really move without kissing goodbye to NYC, which may be desirable before you know it. The far west Village used to be waterfront-rough. Then, when I moved here...oh shit...the chat "person" has arrived. Let me do this in real time...I'm chatting with Hulu online...they are "pulling up my account." Kimberly, with DirectTVNow, just informed me that I had to sign up for 24 months - big drag - but that she would give me $300 in Visa gift card if I did it with her, and I don't mean "do it." I told her I'd call her back. The Hulu chat window remains open. I'll get back to what I was talking about while I'm waiting for them...

When I moved here, it was a lower and middle class neighborhood filled with artists, hookers, crackheads, teachers and lunchbox guys. I slowly watched it become a hideout cesspool of....oh shit, Hulu is back...they are thanking me for my patience. Autocorrect is sticking it to me from both sides, by the way. Okay, "the agent is typing...." YES IS available, the Weather Channel is not. Can I live without TWC? Yes, I can. I just asked about cancellation and devices. Modern life is barbaric. "the agent is typing." No phone number I could find, by the way, for Hulu, and I'm not sure I want to talk to a human anymore, anyway. The agent is still typing. they just gave me some boilerplate that SOUNDS like I can cancel at any time. That's a big plus. Come November, it's sayonara, baby. Okay, got kind of a waffly answer about devices. I would use the Apple TV, but I like the idea of watching on my phone. Why? Because life is essentially meaningless. Okay, so the choice is $50 a month for a 24 month albatross of shit with AT&T OR $40 a month, no Weather Channel, but I get to cancel any time, and it's with a shady operation that probably consists of 3 humans, limitless robots, and a few hundred offshore call center slaves. Decisions, decisions.

Anyway, I won't finish my sad story of gentrification. I'm just lucky to be alive and above ground. Now, I have to decide. I'd call RCN again, but I don't think I can go back. For starters, I don't want to make small talk with an installation guy. Second, I don't trust that they won't stick it to me in three months and, jumping to Point 8, I'm tired. Just got off the chat with Rozanna. Must lie down. I love you all in the greater Yankeeverse.

13bit said...

I really wish I could go edit these posts. I guess I really need to proofread my copy, but that just takes some of the instant gratification out of it. Sigh.

el duque said...

IT IS HIGH commenters should get a discount, like Delta was giving the NRA, for YES Network.

13bit said...

Well, yes, but if somebody decided to boycott us in the future, my fragile psyche might crumble. I think Hulu is the clear choice. Must ponder, then run it by my people. Then, I'll have my people talk to their website. I should focus on the miracle that is me wanting to actually watch the Yankees again on live "TV."

13bit said...

Watching YES on Hulu now. Order has been restored to the universe, even if we're down 4 -3.

Unknown said...

Always a good read.