Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Yankees don't seem to understand: Yes, it can happen here

Yesterday, humanity caught its first-ever glimpse into the event horizon of destiny... the death of a distant star... the angry eye of God... a black hole.

This calls for a Hal Steinbrenner joke, but let's not. Nope. Instead, let's stare hard into the amazing Polaroid Instamatic to the right and recognize it as a taillight of the Tampa Rays, vanishing off into the distance of the Yankees' 2019 season. So long, hope. It was fun, while we knew ye.

Wait a minute, you think. It's early, it's early, it's early... 

No it isn't. Listen: We hot tubbed all winter, assuring ourselves that the owner - eternally rich, as Forbes just reminded us - was pretending to sleep through the auctions for Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. When it became clear that the Yankees would not spend their money, much of the Yankiverse actually sided with the Steinbrenners, rooting for the billionaires to save more money. (How is it that fans should feel that way? My best guess: The Stockholm Syndrome?)

Here at IIH, we cursed the cosmos. But few of us foresaw a 2019 Yankees train wreck. Our aggregate projections stand at 93 wins, which could win the AL East. Even now, we tell ourselves it's a long season, and this wave of injuries will eventually even-out. But these Yankees were always a dangling chandelier, and it's time to wonder if 2019 could be killed by tweaks and tears.

And here's the rub: We knew this was likely to happen.

Ten days ago, when he went down, Giancarlo Stanton was supposed to miss only 10 days. He is now starting to swing a bat. Throughout his time in Miami, injuries were the most consistent part of Stanton's game. As soon as the Marlins received a healthy season, they traded him. We knew. 

Last summer, Luis Severino fell off the table. He went from a Cy Young candidate to a guy who couldn't go five in a playoff game. Clearly, something was wrong. Now, he's out with a shoulder strain - an extinction event for power pitchers. They won't say it aloud, but the Yankees must be wondering if he'll throw a pitch this season, or what kind of pitcher he'll be, if he returns. We knew.

Troy Tulowitzky looks like a dream. The Yankees observed a two-day workout, and then decided to balance the season on him. Why? Simple: He was cheap. We needed him to last three months. He didn't last a home stand. But who should have been surprised by this? We knew.

Miguel Andujar was going to be our break-out star. Now, he's lobbing balls in the outfield, hoping his slightly torn shoulder will let him - what? - play 3B? Are you serious? The big issue of spring training was whether Miggy could make accurate throws from third. If he can return - we hope so - will he be a DH? If so, his presence ricochets throughout the lineup, forcing Stanton to play LF, sending Clint Frazier back to Scranton, along with Bird or Voit (looks like Bird.) We didn't know this could happen. But now we do. 

With the exception of Andujar, none of these injuries were unexpected. Aaron Hicks had never played a full season for us. God knows when he'll return, and what kind of hitter he'll be. James Paxton's problem in Seattle? Injuries. Aroldis Chapman's big concern? The knee. Brett Gardner? Wear and tear. CC? Just his cardiac stent, that's all. Yeesh.

Meanwhile, one question looms increasingly loud: Is Tampa for real? The 10-3 Rays are once again showing how a small market team competes with big-spending Boston and Brian "Cooperstown" Cashman. Tommy Pham is one of the most exciting players in baseball. Austin Meadows, 23, is right behind him. Blake Snell is the reining MVP. They are young and hungry - the opposite of us.

If Tampa is for real, the Yankees are playing for a Wild Card, an act that has become tedious. We keep telling ourselves, It's early, It's early, It's early... but that taillight in the distance gets no closer. We sit on the brink of disaster. One or two injuries could turn 2019 into 2013 - the year of Pronk and Overbay.

All winter, we waited for the Yankees to play their cards. Instead, they counted their money. This calls for a Hal Steinbrenner joke. Trouble is, none of them are funny. 

13 comments:

JM said...

On Ziggy Stardust, there's this song called "Five Years." Listen to it twice and you know how long it's been since our last ring. Listen to it again--maybe more than once--to know how long it'll be before our next one.

And in last night's game, as we made a great comeback..."Yankees slugger Luke Voit hit a two-run homer off Josh James with no outs in the eighth, DJ LeMahieu hit an RBI double and Clint Frazier added a sacrifice fly to make it 7-6. There were two outs in the inning and a runner on third when Ryan Pressly took over and struck out pinch-hitter Gary Sanchez."

Because that's what you need a guy off the bench for. To strike out in a crucial situation.

Your 2019 New York Yankees.

(Side note: getting through Captcha today was more difficult than Jared Kushner getting a security clearance. I know we need it, but geez Louise, Captcha...)

TheWinWarblist said...

When I tell myself It's early, it's not with hopefulness. It is with the knowledge that the long painful summer has just begun. Our suffering had begun anew.



Damn the Fuckers.

Anonymous said...

Here you go Duque,

1) Q: How many Hal Stienbrenners does it take to screw up a ballclub?
A: Just one. Just one.

2) Knock, Knock,
Who's there?
No one. That's the sound of the Astros hitting our bullpen.

3) A Yankee walks into a Doctor's office... Now it's July.

Doug K.




Vampifella said...

Talk about Gary Sanchez coming in to strike out, two games ago the O's put Chris Davis in from off the bench to promptly strike out on the top of the 9th. I know it's to give him some ABs and the game was already lost, but still it was maddening to see.

Anyway I just read that Sanchez is most likely injured from a HBP on Monday but they are trying their hardest to get him though it without going on the IL. *sigh* I'm really thinking this season is dead for the Yanks. Doubly so if the Rays keep on their crazy and very unlikely pace. I'm ready for an April sell off to restock the farm system. We now must beat the Red Sox on the tanking for the #1 draft pick! Actually about 8 teams are already being extremely dreadful where it can be rather hard for them to get out of the pit they dug for themselves. I really wish we split the season in half and play WS games twice a year, sorta like how 1981 went down. It'd keep things more interesting.

Also, I'm impressed by the M's doing so well! I guess last season's fighting with the A's for the WC wasn't a fluke. Getting rid of Cano done wonders for the team as well. I wonder what the odds were for the M's and Rays make it to the playoffs before the season began? Still a long way to go I know but the Red Sox went insane last year at the gate and kept it up. Yanks seriously need a 17 game win streak to keep up with this sort of thing.

Anonymous said...

THERE IS ONE THING THAT COMES TO MY MIND AS THE DOPIEST THING WE CAN DO.

THAT IS EITHER BENCH CLINT FRAZIER OR WORSE YET, SEND HIM DOWN.

I FEEL LIKE HE IS THE ONLY THREAT WE HAVE AT THE PLATE RIGHT NOW!

HE IS ROPING THE BALL ALMOST EVERY TIME UP WHETHER IT'S A RIGHT HANDER OR LEFT HANDER ON THE MOUND.

FORGET ABOUT HIS MISPLAYS IN THE FIELD.

LET HIM KEEP GOING OUT THERE.

HE HAS FIRE ON THE FIELD TOO (UNLIKE EVERY OTHER DULL FUCK WE HAVE- I'M LOOKING AT YOU BIRD).

WHY DO WE EVEN HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THESE ASSHOLE DECISIONS?

OH WAIT, I FORGOT....

WE KNOW WHY.

Der Kaiser said...

The Hal Steinbrenner joke that springs to mind is that he's not even good at being a grinch. If he would have just committed to cutting payroll, tanking, and hoarding prospects like every intelligent team does now, he would have saved money and might even have gotten lucky and won a trophy by now. Instead he kept changing course for the past decade, staying above the luxury tax threshold to pay declining players and building a perennial wild card team that wilts as soon as it hits real competition.

You're right, that joke isn't the slightest bit funny. Doug K's are much better!

Let me try again:
Q. Why did Brian Cashman rappel down the skyscraper?
A. He saw a 26-year old superstar free agent coming up the stairs.

Der Kaiser said...

JM, every time I prove my humanity to comment here I think about this comic:

https://xkcd.com/1897/

Anonymous said...

- Knock knock!
- Who's there?
- Bryce Harper!
- Bryce Harper who?
- Bryce Harper who is making no secret of the fact that he wants to come play for the New York Yankees!
- Sorry! Need to take this call from Chase Headley!

Q: How many members of the Yankee front office does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Zero. They're comfortable with the lightbulb we have.

Anonymous said...

Kaiser

That's a good one.

Doug K.

JM said...

I'll second that.

Anon has a good one too.

HoraceClarke66 said...

That's some great material, Doug K.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Even more ominously, the Yanks are saying that Sancho's injury is NOT due to his being hit in the groin by a foul tip.

Granted, it's hard to know what's true since they lie all the time. But if they are telling the truth, this could mean a muscle pull or some similar ailment that will put him out for months. Oy.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Der Kaiser, you just don't get it. Zieg Hal is NOT interested in tanking and rebuilding.

That sort of stuff is really hard to do. And even if successful, it would STILL mean eventually having to pay guys big bucks.

The perfect scenario for Hal's Global Sports Empire is how the Yankees are right now—or at least, how they looked to any reasonable, non-Yankee-flak at the start of the season.

That is, as a club likely to contend for a Wild Card Play-In spot (if not win it) and provided reasonable expectations of entertainment.

That is the sweet spot for Hal. A team that will keep the turnstiles turning and the Rodentia dogs selling, without meaning a bunch of World Champions coming into his office demanding big fat raises.

If it were up to Hal, every team would the 2015 Yankees. That would mean all the more money to save up for his planned purchases of the Nets and Man City.