Monday, October 15, 2018

The Right (Pinstriped) Earth, Vol. 3

On this grim, October day—grim in spirit as well as weather—I think we need a little pick-me-up.  Namely, a report from that alternative, Yankees Universe, on how our favorite ballteam was able to stay light years ahead of the Red Sox this millennium...

Buck Showalter, team president and general manager of the 2018 World Champion New York Yankees, took a thoughtful puff on his Havana, and turned back to Hensley Meulens, manager of the 2018 World Champion New York Yankees.

"I don't mind telling you, I was tempted to bite on that Giancarlo Stanton fellow—just for the name alone!"  He gave a big, hearty, typical Buck laugh.  "After all, we still hadn't used Starlin to help us get Gerrit Cole yet, and him and that and one minor league pitcher was all we needed."

"So what stopped you?" Meulens asked, sipping from the 1792 bourbon he had provided

"It was the new guy again.  Something about Stanton just didn't feel right to him, and as he pointed out, why commit to a contract that long?  Besides, with the Double Digit Outfield already dominating, all we needed was a DH, really.  Go get J.D. Martinez, he said, that's the guy Boston's slobbering over.  And so we did."

"He knew his stuff.  As usual," Hensley said, saluting him with a toast.

"He did that.  He'd done his homework.  He knew that was what Stick always used to say:  'We have one real rival—Boston.  We keep ahead of them, and we're golden.' "

Buck leaned back and took a swallow of his fine bourbon, letting it swim around in the back of his throat for a moment.  When he started talking again, there was a mischievous twinkle in his eyes.

"It was the same thing, year after year.  You remember when Manny Ramirez was a free agent?"

"Who didn't?"

"There were some people around here, didn't want us to sign him.  You remember that office boy, the little twerp?  What was his name, Crapman?"

"You mean, Cashman?"

"Riiiight!  The guy who beat out Theo Epstein to become the Boston GM a couple years later."

Both men were convulsed with laughter for the next few minutes, remembering.

"Yeah, that was a good move:  Cashie over Theo!  Anyway, Cashman felt we shouldn't sign Manny because he would fall in with his homies from Washington Heights," Showalter finally resumed, wiping the tears from his face."

"That's ridiculous!  Why, he was only great—and maybe the most popular player the Yankees ever had!" Meulens exclaimed.

"Right!  The next year, 2002, Johnny Damon was up, and the Sox needed an outfielder.  We signed him up right under their noses.  Year after that, when the Twins cut Big Papi, we saw that Boston needed a first base-DH—so we scooped him up before they could clear their throats."

"Who the hell would ever cut Big Papi??  That's so...Twins."

"And it wasn't only that Stick saw these could all be great players for us.  The Old Man understood that when it comes to the Red Sox, each action leads to an opposite and completely destructive reaction.  Every time we signed up one of those guys, they went out an acquired some over-the-hill guy, or an overrated juicer."

"I know!  We got Manny, so they signed Jason Giambi.  We got Damon, they signed up Mussina.  Gosh, I loved facing that idiot in a big game!  Boy, it seess to obvious, now," Meulens said, shaking his head.  "They even got Randy Johnson when he was, what, 46?   I mean, they couldn't see he was pretty done?"

"I know, I know.  Though they did manage to sign Matsui.  I wanted him, but we already had Damon, Bernie, and Manny in the outfield, with Rickey Ledee, Spencer, and Ruben Rivera—after Mariano had that talk with him—still playing great as back-ups.  I hated to pass up Godzilla, but there just wasn't room."

"He was quality.  But hell, Hideki only had two good years in Boston before he got hurt.  Then we signed him just in time to have that great season DH-ing for us in 2009!"

"Indeed."  Buck Showalter paused dramatically.  "And then there was A-Rod."

Both men were soon convulsed with laughter again.

"I mean, I know Stick thought about it.  For maybe two minutes," Showalter said, still chuckling.  "But we had Mike Lowell on third, who was only great.  I remember the office boy wanted to trade him for Ed Yarnall or somebody.  That's when I first began thinking he needed a change of venue."

"And then Boston hired him, and he went out and cut that deal for A-Rod.  Held a big press conference at Fenway to say that this changes everything."

"All the Gammonites were all over it.  They kept pointing out that all Cashman had to give up was Kevin Youkilis."

"And he was so...A-Rod."

"Yeah, I don't think I'll ever forget that 2004 game in the Fens when Roger beaned him," Buck downright smirked.  "To be honest, I seriously thought Stick should let Roger just go back to Texas that year.  I mean, the juicing was getting out of control, and I didn't like his influence in the clubhouse.  But the Old Man understood that if Clemens went he'd take Pettitte with him, and what moron would ever let that happen?"

"So you gave him another three years, at big money, and he went out and hit A-Rod, and earned his money right there!" chortled Meulens.

"Oh, yeah.  And then Alex makes that pathetic charge at the mound.  Going juuuuust slow enough so he hopes someone will run out and get between them.  And Jorge, God bless him, runs up from behind and tackles him around the knees.  Drops him right there."

"Oh, I've seen the video!  Who the hell hasn't?  And that knocked the wind out of A-Rod.  Didn't hurt him really, but he can't get his breath, so he's writhing around on his back like an overturned turtle, twisting and gasping for air—"

"I think every Yankee fan must've had that poster on his wall for the next ten years!" Buck laughed, pounding his palm on the table until his bourbon glass jumped.  "And that was it for any chance they had of winning with him.  They loved him to death up there, though.  Always chanting, 'A-Rod, A-Rod!' even after the drug suspension.  And Cashman would never get rid of him.  Took him into the front office, showed him the ropes so he would succeed him as GM."

"Oh, that was so...Cashie!"

"Now, now!" chided Buck with much fake solemnity.  "After all, what happened was very tragic."

"Sure.  Trying to rappel up the Green Monster dressed as Paul Revere to raise money for the Jimmy Fund.  It was a terrible thing."

"Though you know what I hear?"  Buck leaned in close toward his manager.

"What's that?"

"A-Rod cut the rope."

And then both men were on the floor laughing again.



Anonymous said...

I yearn for these entries. Great tale

TheWinWarblist said...

I'm going to punch something.

13bit said...

Shoot me now.