Monday, September 21, 2020

Are we being too hard on "The Office Boy," "Coops," "Brain," Brian Cashman?

FROM THE MAGICAL KEYBOARD OF HORACECLARKE66...

Words that I never thought I would find myself writing. But with Saturday night’s win, your New York Yankees clinched their 28th consecutive winning season. 

 Even with this year’s sad, mangled cat of a season, that’s not a record to sneer at. As far as I can tell after a quick survey, the only team that’s ever topped that mark was…your New York Yankees, with 39 consecutive winning seasons from 1926-1964.

 

(Take away Babe Ruth’s “Bellyache Heard Round the World” in 1925, and it probably would have been 46 straight. But into every Yankee fan’s life a little rain must fall.)

 

Our main problem with Coops has been his teams’ continual flops in the postseason. The Yankees have been eliminated in their last 7 straight playoff appearances, not even managing to make the World Series in the 2010s.

 

That record of falling short of the ring is tied for the worst streak in franchise history…with Cashman’s 2001-2007 Yankees teams. 

 

But even so, is that really such a reflection on our sad-eyed little office Machiavellian? After all, the last 4 straight eliminations have come at the hands of confessed cheaters, the Houston Wirewearers and the Boston Beansuckers.

 

A number of those earlier October face-splats can also be plausibly laid at the feet of Joe Torre, much as we love him, such as the time he apparently suffered petite-mal seizures on the bench and refused to give the steal sign when Boston’s catcher literally could not catch the ball in 2004, or when our pitcher was attacked by ravenous Cleveland insects in 2007.

 

For that matter, doesn’t this also reflect MLB’s cheapening of its product by continually adding rounds of playoffs?  More than in any other major sport, a short playoff series distorts true quality in baseball. It’s as if the Super Bowl or the NBA championship games consisted of a single quarter—at most.

 

During these 28 regular seasons, the Yankees have not only had a winning record every single year. They have also finished first 15 times, made the postseason 23 times (assuming they clinch a spot in the next day or two), compiled the best record in the American League 10 times, and the best record in major-league baseball 5 times.

 

The Yankees also had the most wins in each of the first two decades of this century—even if many of those teams were powered primarily by players first developed or acquired by the holy trinity of Stick, Buck, and Bob.

 

In other words, for all our dismay at the ultimate failures come October—14 of 15 and counting—hasn’t Cashman given us what we really want most of all, which is, day after day, year after year, to beat in other teams’ heads with a rock until what’s inside spills out like so much guava jelly?

 

Well, maybe.

 

But here is where I think we have a legitimate beef. In perusing Tom Verducci’s book with Joe Torre on Joe’s time in the Bronx, The Yankee Years, we find this passage in reference to Torre being fired after the 2007 season:

 

“The Yankees, meanwhile, were abysmal when it came to age and injuries. They flushed away $22.22 million on players who couldn’t play, or almost 12 percent of their bloated payroll. They lost 1,081 player days to the disabled list, more than three times as many down days as had the Indians [who eliminated our guys that year, with an assist from the midges]. Over the previous three seasons, the Yankees ranked 23rd in baseball in days lost to the disabled list, a trend that would continue in 2008.”

 

Not to mention all the way to 2020.  Then there’s this, from the same source:

 

“In Torre’s final 17 postseason games, his starters were 2-8 with a 6.36 ERA while averaging only 4 2/3 innings and three strikeouts per start.”

 

In other words, it’s always the same, going back over much of the past two decades. The constant overrating of over-aged ballplayers, the inability to keep stars on the field, the frittering away of the team’s monetary advantage, and the failure to have a good enough starting staff to bull the Yanks through the postseason, when starting pitching matters the most. 

 

Throw in a constant failure to provide his managers with enough role players on the bench or effective relievers in the pen for October, and that pretty much covers why the Brain has been unable to even get to the Series since 2009—and NEVER with a team he built himself.

 

Would even the best general managers whatever was lose fluke playoff rounds today? Sure. Would any decent GM lose them so consistently?    

We'll soon know if Deivi Garcia is our October surprise

Yesterday, a site called Last Word on Sports posted this remarkably ill-timed, pre-game thought.

Nerves, anxiety, and adrenaline are a few of many emotions that flood the mind and body of an athlete before, or even during, a big game. None of these, it appears, are present within New York Yankees right-handed pitcher Deivi Garcia as he prepares to take the mound Sunday for his fifth MLB start.

Turns out, Garcia not only showed none of the emotions that flood the mind and body of an athlete, he showed no command. He gave up six runs over three innings to a lineup that boasted five batters hitting below their weights - .220 - inspiring a blowout loss to baseball's third worst team. The game devolved into a Trumpian chaos with our backup catcher Eric Kratz on the mound, yelling "Watch out!" to a batter, and a renegade Bostonian fan threatening to leap from the Green Monster. For the first time in 2020, we lost to the self-tanking Redsocks. 

But, hey, as Jimmy Kimmel could have said at the Emmys last night: Schitt happens, right? 

Today, some follow-up questions: 

What can we expect from Deivi Garcia in the post-season? 

Were we wrong to assign him such an accelerated pace of development, and to basically slot him into a playoffs rotation after just three starts?

Yesterday afternoon, as the YES experts mused, J.A. Happ became our probable third playoffs starter, if one is needed. Garcia should get one last shot at redemption against the Marlins this weekend. If he pitches well, the Yankees will have a decision to make. If he gets whacked, our fourth starter will probably be Chad Green and the cast of Knot's Landing. 

Today is a fine time to ponder the future of Garcia: a fiery 21-year-old who does not seem haunted by the nerves, anxiety and blah-blah-blah. In a real season, he would have thrown 100 innings at Scranton and only now be cracking the expanded September roster. He's had a great year, made vast inroads. And who knows: Maybe those news clippings that compared the kid to Pedro messed him up more than we think. Maybe yesterday, he did feel the nerves, the anxiety and the adrenaline. Maybe the internet is just full of bullshit. (Aside from this site and its commentators, of course.) 

Today, we are tied in the loss column with Minnesota for home field advantage in the first round.


Our last "critical" series of the season begins tonight. Toronto. Gerrit Cole pitches. This is why we signed him. This is no rookie. This is why we hope.

Virtual Baseball: Yanks Lose Another One Just Like the Other One. Is This the End???

By HoraceClarke66

The virtual Toronto Blue Jays completed a three-game sweep of the Yankees today at the Margaret Trudeau Dome this afternoon, dropping the Bombers four-games behind the first-place Tampa ay Rays. 

 

The Yanks looked listless throughout the game. Kyle Higashioka’s two-run homer gave the New Yorkers an early lead, but starter Jordan Montgomery gave it right back, on a long, three-run shot by Bo “The Real” Bichette. Vlad, Jr., and Lourdes, Jr. added epic shots of their own, en route to an 8-3 victory.

 

Yankees GM Brian Cashman made a visit to his team’s clubhouse after the game, and told manager Ma Boone and his players straight out that the division race was over, and they should now start planning for the one-game wild card play-in playoff play-through game.

 

“Forget about Tampa Bay.  They’re gone!  The end of this season is all too predictable,” Cashman told the Yanks.

 

Just as he did, though, a familiar, rather bizarrely coiffed figure appeared in the clubhouse door.

 

“I think you’re forgetting one thing, Mr. Cashman,” came the voice from the doorway.  “There’s no predicting baseball.”

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Are we being too hard on (The Office Boy) (Coops) (Brain) Brian Cashman?

By HoraceClarke66

Words that I never thought I would find myself writing. But with Saturday night’s win, your New York Yankees clinched their 28th consecutive winning season. 

 

Even with this year’s sad, mangled cat of a season, that’s not a record to sneer at. As far as I can tell after a quick survey, the only team that’s ever topped that mark was…your New York Yankees, with 39 consecutive winning seasons from 1926-1964.

 

(Take away Babe Ruth’s “Bellyache Heard Round the World” in 1925, and it probably would have been 46 straight. But into every Yankee fan’s life a little rain must fall.)

 

Our main problem with Coops has been his teams’ continual flops in the postseason. The Yankees have been eliminated in their last 7 straight playoff appearances, not even managing to make the World Series in the 2010s.

 

That record of falling short of the ring is tied for the worst streak in franchise history…with Cashman’s 2001-2007 Yankees teams. 

 

But even so, is that really such a reflection on our sad-eyed little office Machiavellian? After all, the last 4 straight eliminations have come at the hands of confessed cheaters, the Houston Wirewearers and the Boston Beansuckers.

 

A number of those earlier October face-splats can also be plausibly laid at the feet of Joe Torre, much as we love him, such as the time he apparently suffered petite-mal seizures on the bench and refused to give the steal sign when Boston’s catcher literally could not catch the ball in 2004, or when our pitcher was attacked by ravenous Cleveland insects in 2007.

 

For that matter, doesn’t this also reflect MLB’s cheapening of its product by continually adding rounds of playoffs?  More than in any other major sport, a short playoff series distorts true quality in baseball. It’s as if the Super Bowl or the NBA championship games consisted of a single quarter—at most.

 

During these 28 regular seasons, the Yankees have not only had a winning record every single year. They have also finished first 15 times, made the postseason 23 times (assuming they clinch a spot in the next day or two), compiled the best record in the American League 10 times, and the best record in major-league baseball 5 times.

 

The Yankees also had the most wins in each of the first two decades of this century—even if many of those teams were powered primarily by players first developed or acquired by the holy trinity of Stick, Buck, and Bob.

 

In other words, for all our dismay at the ultimate failures come October—14 of 15 and counting—hasn’t Cashman given us what we really want most of all, which is, day after day, year after year, to beat in other teams’ heads with a rock until what’s inside spills out like so much guava jelly?

 

Well, maybe.

 

But here is where I think we have a legitimate beef. In perusing Tom Verducci’s book with Joe Torre on Joe’s time in the Bronx, The Yankee Years, we find this passage in reference to Torre being fired after the 2007 season:

 

“The Yankees, meanwhile, were abysmal when it came to age and injuries. They flushed away $22.22 million on players who couldn’t play, or almost 12 percent of their bloated payroll. They lost 1,081 player days to the disabled list, more than three times as many down days as had the Indians [who eliminated our guys that year, with an assist from the midges]. Over the previous three seasons, the Yankees ranked 23rd in baseball in days lost to the disabled list, a trend that would continue in 2008.”

 

Not to mention all the way to 2020.  Then there’s this, from the same source:

 

“In Torre’s final 17 postseason games, his starters were 2-8 with a 6.36 ERA while averaging only 4 2/3 innings and three strikeouts per start.”

 

In other words, it’s always the same, going back over much of the past two decades. The constant overrating of over-aged ballplayers, the inability to keep stars on the field, the frittering away of the team’s monetary advantage, and the failure to have a good enough starting staff to bull the Yanks through the postseason, when starting pitching matters the most. 

 

Throw in a constant failure to provide his managers with enough role players on the bench or effective relievers in the pen for October, and that pretty much covers why the Brain has been unable to even get to the Series since 2009—and NEVER with a team he built himself.

 

Would even the best general managers whatever was lose fluke playoff rounds today? Sure. Would any decent GM lose them so consistently?

Virtual Baseball: Azure Fowl Down Superman and Clarke! Yanks 4 Back With 8 to Play— Cashman Concedes.

By HoraceClarke66, whose computer is a bad boy.

The virtual New York Yankees' division title hopes took a giant step backwards tonight, as the 

team lost another close one to Canada's pride and joy.

The virtual Yanks took an early lead on a three-run homer by Mike Ford, filling in for a visibly
limping Luke Voit.  But the Yanks' rookie superman, Deivi Garcia, gave up a two-run shot
to Lourdes Gurriel, Jr., and struggled to get through five innings.  

Mild-mannered Clarke Schmidt, who has also impressed, took over for Garcia in the sixth,
but surrendered his own two-run shot to Randal Grichuk, which accounted for the 4-3 final.

"How could you chuck that chuck against a hitter like Grichuk?"  Schmidt was asked after the
game, but replied, "I'd like to see you chuck some some chuck against that Grichuk!"

Schmidt then rushed away to make "a very important phone call" in a public booth, but
manager came to his defense when it came to chucking at Grichuk.

"How high would Grichuk hit, if a Girchuk could hit chuck like that?  I guess if Grichuk could
hit chuck, he would chuck it all.  But that's not the issue," Boone said.

Boone himself came in for his share of criticism, as he continued to hold back the team's top 
starters for the last two series of the year, against Houston and first-place Tampa Bay.

"Now it doesn't matter, it's over, it's done," a sniffling Brian Cashman told reporters.  "I wanted
Boonie to start Cole tonight, but he decided that for once he could think on his own.  Well, it 
just doesn't matter anymore—does it?"  

As things stand now, it looks as though the Yanks would host either Minnesota or Cleveland, 
now engaged in a torrid fight for the other wild card spot.  But Commissioner Rob ManfredvonRichtofen announced that if the Yankees were indeed to play the Twins yet again in the first round of the playoffs, there would likely be a congressional investigation.

Make no mistake: Without Clint Frazier, the Yankees would be in trouble

Behold, the Yankee beautistics:

I direct your attention to RBIs, the $$$ number, where Cool Hand Luke Voit stands atop the pile by a George Bayer tee-shot. Luke has had a magnificent year, a breakout, and he deserves the next standing O that ever happens in Yankee Stadium, assuming we all live to see one. And after Luke, you expect the usual marquee names: Judge, Stanton, LeMahieu, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Ruth, Bader, Ginsberg...

But, lo, next in RBIs is Mr. Clint Frazier, who has spent 2020 either hidden behind a mask or in the Scranton/Gitmo refugee/re-education camp. The other day, the Yankee brain trust batted Frazier ninth - ninth - seemingly unaware that he has saved the team's collective ass this year. Clint ranks second in team batting average, third in walks, third in SB, fourth on both runs and hits - and 10th in games played. 

Without "Red Thunder" - a cruel nickname that threatened ridiculous expectations - it's hard to imaging the Death Star rolling comfortably into the playoffs. They'd be fighting the Houston Cheatstros for the wild card. And it's still a miracle that he's here. For months, sixth-grader Gammonites - eyeing the Yankee OF scrum - proposed trading Frazier to Tunisia or Timbuktu  for new versions of Sidney Ponson, whose elbows would burst upon arrival. 

Somehow - and, frankly, Cooperstown Cashman deserves credit here - the Yankees did not bite. As a result, if we want to list the long-term reasons for Yankee hope, Clint Frazier in LF looks pretty sweet.

Due to the craziness of 2020, it's easy to look at Voit, at Deivi Garcia, at everything and wonder if it's just a mirage, a short season sample size. Even now, we wonder: Is Voit really an MVP, or would his numbers tank in a true second-half? We won't know until 2021, after he's received a few curtain calls But this we do know: Frazier is here, and after all the hype, all the wait, he is for real. Our LF for the next five years? I say, write him in.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

A short remembrance

Thursday morning, my cousin's husband died. He was funny, abrupt in a funny way, and took care of his wife in a loving and fun-loving way.

We liked him a lot. Always had a good time when we got together, and without drinking. Kind of rare.

He was a rabid Red Sox fan and loved the city of Boston. He hated the "Yank-me's", as he called them. And yet, we got along great.

Through him, I discovered that Sox fans constantly complain about the same things we do. The moronic front office, the boneheaded managerial moves, the knowledge that the next fuckup is right around the corner. We would sit and bitch together about our teams, sometimes surprised by a positive assessment from the other side about something we thought stupid.

He was a great guy. A Red Sox fan I will truly miss.

RIP.


What is a Yankee worth?


Cameo, the service that lets you buy a short video greeting from someone richer, more famous, and better than you, has built an impressive roster of Yankees, former Yankees, and the Yankee-adjacent. As entertaining as it might be to watch Kyle Farnsworth struggle through a birthday greeting, a greater fascination comes from comparing the prices the stars ask (and they do pick their own rates, according to a current New Yorker piece). Here, then, is an accounting of what the pinstripe VIPs think of themselves.

THE BLEACHERS
Slade Heathcott $10
Justin Wilson $15
Nick Goody $15
Wil Nieves $15
Bald Vinny $25
Kyle Farnsworth $30
Steve Trout $30
Meredith Marakovits $35
Ron Blomberg $35
Suzyn Waldman $45
Clarke Schmidt $50
Jon Lieber $50
Marcus Thames $50

BUDWEISER PARTY DECK
Steve Sax $59
Chuck Knoblauch $65
Jose Rijo $69
Doc Gooden $70
Jim Leyritz $75
Kenny Lofton $75
Lee Mazzilli $75
Mike Ford $75
Todd Frazier $75
David Justice $99

NYY STEAK
Adam Ottavino $100
Johnny Damon $100
Luis Severino $125
Boomer Wells $150
Brian Cashman $150
Luke Voit $159

THE LEGENDS SUITE
Aaron Boone $240
Reggie Jackson $240
Tino Martinez $250

MONUMENT PARK
Roger Clemens $500
Mariano Rivera $750 

Virtual Domeball: Yanks' Slide into Hell Continues! Cessa What a Messa! Bombers Lose Sixth Straight, Drop Three Back. Is There No God???

From HoraceClarke66's troubled computer connection...

In a silly and sloppy game, the virtual New York Yankees, playing in their second dome and their second country this week were edged by the Blue Jays again, falling 12-11.

A poor start by Domingo German left the Yankees in an early hole, trailing 8-3 after four, thanks to long home runs
by Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette.  Behind the strong relief pitching of Johnny Lasagna, the Yanks rallied to trail
by only 10-9—only to see Luis Cessa give up a two-run shot to Vlad Guerrerro, Jr., that put the stake in the 
heart.

Aaron Judge, Gio Urshela, and Clint Frazier all homered for the Bombers.  But the fact remained that the Yanks are 
now three games behind Tampa Bay with just nine left to play.

"It might not be the worst thing for us to take a wild card slot," breathed Yankees GM Brian Cashman.  "Let's face it:
 we don't want to have to play the Angels!"

When a reporter pointed out that the Angels had been eliminated from playoff competition back in August, Cashman
replied, "You know what I meant," and broke the man's neck with a single twist of his new, motorized hand.

There were no further questions.

It's great to be peaking, but the Yankee streak probably came too late to overtake Tampa

Yesterday, I gushed a hissy about the need to avoid our pet Putin poodles, the Twins, in the playoffs, so let's not go there again. Right now, the city of Al Franken and George Floyd remains our post-season destination. The playoff picture, as of today:

Jays at White Sox
Indians at Rays
Astros at A's
Death Star at Twinkies

To avoid Minnesota, we have two basic options: Run the table and catch the Rays - make up three games in seven days (four, if you consider the tie-breaker) - or strategically stumble and drop a spot, drawing the A's.

Obviously, we'd rather win out. We play:

Two with Boston (who are terrible but venomous)

Four in Buffalo v the Jays (whom we just embarrassed)

Two at home v the Marlins (
vastly improved, Mattingly's homecoming; we probably won't face their stud pitcher, Sixto Sanchez, because he'll start the playoffs - but maybe not, because he's been whacked lately, so there's that.)

Our chances: Maybe seven of eight? 

Then there are the Rays. They play:

Two in Baltimore (can the out-of-it O's steal just one?)

Three in NY against the Mets: (De Grom? Hometown spirit?)

Three at home v the Phillies (who are fighting for the NL final seed; could Joe and Didi snag a couple?) 

That would be 4-4. We'd be tied, but they killed us in the regular season, so we'd still finish second.

The Twins play the Cubs (two), Tigers (two) and Reds (three.) 

Doesn't look good.  



Friday, September 18, 2020

Virtual Off-Day: Better to Run to Toronto, Than to Run to a Girl You Don't Want to! Or something like that. Yanks Slouch Toward Canada, Two Games Down.

By HoraceClarke66

The Yankees emerged from their virtual, three-game showdown with Tampa Bay two games out of first 
with just ten to play.  The team staggered on to Canada by bus again, plane travel in the Eastern
United States once again downed, this time by the clouds of smoke drifting from the ten 
different Western states all but consumed by runaway forest fires.

President Trump dismissed the billowing, choking clouds as they rolled toward the Atlantic.

"Hey, it smells like an intimate ski lodge, where I have been very, very intimate," the president
told the national press.  "Besides, the stock market is up."

The Dow Jones index had indeed rallied, rising to 30,000 again after a week of steady losses.
While the leading investment firms acknowledged that the market was now largely a 
fraudulent Russian trap, the country's physical environment was rapidly burning away, and 
the current administration seemed unable to cope with any of America's problems, they
maintained that they still felt optimistic about the future.

"Hey, c'mon.  It's not like there's a plague out there or anything," one trader who wished to 
remain anonymous said.

If the season ended today... the Yankees should be very afraid

Ten games left and, realistically, with almost no chance of catching mighty Tampa, the Death Star appears fated to take silver in the AL East. 

Here's the latest of those meaningless "If the season ended today..." (INSET) projections, which hold as much weight as a presidential poll.

ITSET... AL:

No. 1 White Sox vs. No. 8 Blue Jays
No. 2 Rays vs. No. 7 Indians
No. 3 Athletics vs. No. 6 Astros
No. 4 Twins vs. No. 5 Yankees

NL

No. 1 Dodgers vs. No. 8 Phillies
No. 2 Cubs vs. No. 7 Giants
No. 3 Braves vs. No. 6 Reds
No. 4 Padres vs. No. 5 Marlins
Why the Yanks should worry:
1. We face the Twins, our small market sex slaves, our Putin poodles, the team we always beat... until we don't.
What could go wrong? In the post-season, the Yankees are 13-2 against Minnesota. We've won 10 straight. We should celebrate, right? Two and out, right? But here's the thing: 
You cannot beat a good team forever. 
Remember the 1980s Royals? They were our crash test dummies, until the straps broke. Or the Redsocks of 2004? (Please, please, please, let's not go there.) This we have learned from 2020: Mother Nature is a maniac, humankind is stupider than we thought, and all it takes is one breakthrough screw-up for the Yankees to fall apart. One El Chapo meltdown, one night leaving 20 runners on base, one night of the Homer Happy Happ - one reversal of fortune - and we are the New York Knicks.  
2. Minnesota is better than we think. They have four hitters, each with more than 10 HRs. Nelson Cruz is quite possibly the AL MVP. Kenta Maeda would start game one. He is 5-1 with an ERA of 2.52 - numbers that beat our best starter (FYI: Cole is at 3.00.) Their bullpen is exactly the collection of young no-names that has shut us down all season.  
3. There will be no fans, which negates home field advantage. (They would have it, unless we overtake them.) FWIW: I cannot believe the crazy NYC fan base had nothing to do with our 10 straight wins. These playoffs will be entirely different. By now, teams have learned to filter out the fake crowd noise. 
4. It's two out of three. As Robin Trower would say, "Boom-boom, out go the lights." There is no chance for the deeper team to slowly exert dominance. Okay, when I say Boom-Boom, you all know what to say... Boom-boom... 
5. There's the cheesy media narrative - patsy team facing Goliath, the city stricken by protests over George Floyd, the Midwesterners facing Blue State coastal elites... dear God, it's just going to suck. Can you imagine the esteemed social psychologist and cultural historian John Smoltz analyzing this? Shoot me now.  
The Yankees would be better off facing any of the top three seeds. We need to see a divisional winner in a three-game set. 
Ten games left to stick this landing. Somehow, I dunno know how, it would be nice to avoid Minnesota.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Virtual Baseball: Disaster in the Dome! Yarbrough Unfair, as Yanks are Swept, Fall Two Back!

(From HoraceClarke66, whose computer is pissing him off.)

The Tampa Bay Virtual Rays completed a stunning, three-game sweep of the Yankees at the
St. Petersburg Chernobyl Dome tonight, dropping the Yanks two games back as they reeled
out of Florida.  

After polishing off the Yanks' two best pitchers the Rays were licking their chops—or more 
accurately, as Rays, gnashing their gill plates—to face J.A. Happ in the series finale.  But Happ
actually looked more like the unflustered veteran Happ of the first half of the season, and he
got some early support from back-up catcher Kyle Higashioka, who blasted a long, two-run
homer off Tampa Bay starter Ryan Yarbrough.

Yarbrough responded by hitting the next two Yankees batters, D.J. LeMahieu and
Clint Frazier, putting them out of the game.  Neither player proved to be seriously hurt, but
home plate ump Joe West promptly warned that any pitcher on the Yanks who dared to
retaliate would be ejected from the game.  

The Yanks protested the decision, but West added that not only would they be ejected,
but also swallowed and slowly digested in West's enormous, pelican-like throat pouch.

When Happ then plunked Ji-Man Choi anyway, West carried out his threat and tossed him—
though Happ was at least nimble enough to avoid a painfully slow ingestion.

Taking Happ's place was Adam "The Man Without a Move to First" Ottavino, who seemed
rattled when Choi then stole second, third, and home against him.  Two batters later, he 
surrendered the game-winning home run to Mike "Marcel Marceau" Brosseau, who after
completing his ten-minute home run trot stood in front of the Yankees' dugout and waved
his genitals at them for another ten minutes.

A Yankee protest to MLB Imperator Rob Manfredmannandthefamilyofman proved unavailing.

"Well, that's baseball," New York manager Ma Boone said after TB reliever Aaron "Garou"
Loup closed out the Yanks for a 3-2 win, then howled in the direction of where the moon 
was for the next half-hour.  "Or more accurately, that's getting really fucked in baseball."

A very personal take on our peculiar catching "star"

When I was in Catholic grade school, the nuns were fond of saying how well I was doing academically, but still not living up to my potential. 

As I advanced through high school, I realized that if I didn't get a subject easily, it probably wasn't worth much more effort. I graduated in the top 15% of my class, around 50th out of 300 or so. Fine.

In college, my GPA went up with the number of classes I missed and drugs I indulged in. Fewer classes, more drugs, higher GPA. Every semester for four years. I graduated cum laude, but the nun in the back of my brain (there's a scary image) knew that if I had made a bit more of an effort, it could've been magna cum laude. Or so I flattered myself to think.

Then I got into advertising. My first Creative Director said I was the greatest natural talent he'd ever seen. It became difficult to fit my head through doorways. I found that my initial take on most assignments was the best, and there was a point where it wasn't worth trying too hard. If it happened, it happened. It came from the subconscious, so forcing it wasn't going to do much good. With a little experience, I was able to churn out something acceptable, or better, on demand.

I did pretty well for about 40 years. Not great, but pretty well. And I never fulfilled my potential.

I'm probably wrong, but I think I understand Gary Sanchez. I was him in a parallel universe, minus the sports ability and Hispanic heritage. Sometimes I really buckled down and work very hard, but those times were relatively few. Mostly, it just came to me, and I was ultimately content to be good enough and not great. I could be better than a lot of people without trying too hard, or so it seemed, and never got fired or demoted. Never. 

If that doesn't make sense out of what we see with Sanchez, I don't now what does.

The impossible may have happened: Gary Sanchez might be looking over his shoulder

For much of this season, catcher Gary Sanchez had an insurance policy for any cold streak that fate might serve. Its name was Eric Kratz.

Kratz is the 40-year old lug nut who occasionally spelled Sanchez for four weeks, performing admirably: 8 for 27, a .296 average. Also, he shepherded Deivi Garcia through his MLB debut, supplying a book-jacket worthy quote about "going out to play catch with my son." It's revealing that the Yanks kept Kratz as a third catcher, a rarity for them. I think they see Kratz as a clubhouse chemistry guy, maybe a future manager. 

But not as Sanchez's replacement.

No way. Kratz might outhit Gary - as has everybody in baseball - and offered solid defense, but our starting catcher was Sanchez, no matter what. And maybe - just maybe - that was the problem. 

Sanchez's woes this year are famous across the Yankiverse. He's been terrible in nearly every aspect, except for something called "exit velo." (Basically, he hits long HRs rather than multiple HRs.) Without competition, Sanchez even received reps as DH, reflecting the team's mounting desperation, as articulated by breathless YES announcers, who somehow foresee a "big breakout" looming in his every long fly or base on balls. 

Well, here's a thought: 

Last night, Gary Sanchez didn't sleep well. 

The reason: Thirty-year-old Kyle Higashioka belted three HRs in a rollover of the suddenly collapsing Blue Jays. Unlike Kratz, Higashioka has an actual future, and an interesting recent track record. Twice in the last four years, Higgy hit 20 HRs in the upper minors. Last year, he hit 20 at Scranton (plus three for the Yankees) and batted .278. Over the next three to five years, he is positioned for a lucrative MLB career. 

Throughout his minor league career, Sanchez never hit more than 20 HRs for one team. The reason: He was a golden boy, a millionaire at 16, a super-prospect perpetually rising through the ranks. He erupted on the Yankee scene in 2016, hitting 20 in a half-season and batting .299 - far higher than anything he'd done in the minors. Since then, his starting credentials have never been challenged, even as Austin Romine evolved into a fine MLB catcher. 

Until maybe now. 

This wretched half-season has conjured the perfect opportunity to ponder a Yankee future without Sanchez behind the plate. For the first time in his baseball career, Sanchez ought to be looking over his shoulder. The playoffs loom, and considering Higashioka's show last night, he could easily become Gerrit Cole's personal catcher. But wouldn't Deivi Garcia also benefit from his defense? Or Masahiro Tanaka? Another homer or two, a few more lightning throws to second, and we could see a changing of the guard. 

No chance, you say? They'll play Gary, no matter what? You could be right, but Joe Torre used to say, "The playoffs are no time to make friends." When he makes out his lineup card next month, Aaron Boone better take those words to heart. And Gary better stop striking out.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

A night of pure pleasure: Celebrating the joyous 20-run game

I used to joke that the Yanks could lead by 15, but if Jorge Posada bounced into a bases-loaded DP, the entire night was ruined. 

Still, nothing beats a laugher. It comes in that glorious moment: The opposing pitcher, stunned by what's happening, looks to the dugout, and his manager looks away. The infielders slouch. The outfielders kick at the grass. The Yankees lead by 10, still pouring it on, and - as I march circles in the living room - I tell the TV, "This is the greatest night, ever." 

Fun Fact: Gio Urshela went to work last night hitting .272. He left at .290. 

DJ LeMahieu entered at .350, went to bed at .363. Between them, that's 31 points. It's money in their future bank accounts. But wait... there's more: Clint Frazier gained 12 points; Luke Voit, up 10. Tyler Wade jumped by six; Gary Sanchez up four; Brett Gardner up two, and Aaron Hicks, just one. But Hicksy hit a homer. Hicks hits one to the Sticks.

That's an overall gain of 71 batting points, though it was nearly halved by Giancarlo Stanton's 0-4, which dropped him by 30 points - (his height is not measured by sample size) - to .263. But Stanton needn't worry; he's paid for life. All the other Yankees, by what happened last night, enriched themselves and their families. 

Trouble is, the day after a laugher, we face the realization that:

a) it was just one game 
b) we must play again tonight
c) by tacking on those four late runs, we might have kicked a hornets' nest in the Jays clubhouse. 

Still, a blowout... a feast, a gusher, a wipe-out, a yawner, a snoozer - help me, Mr. Roget - a whupping, a thrashing, a shellacking, a drubbing, a thumping, a throttling... yes, a luxurious four-hour trip to the Orgasmatorium, for emotional and physical self-enlightenment.  

Today, the Yankees stand a half-game ahead of Toronto/Buffalo, and - for now, anyway - the fifth seeded team in the AL. A week ago, we stood three games behind the Jays and looked ready for the glue factory.

Tonight, Aaron Judge could join the team. Gerrit Cole will pitch. The bullpen is rested. The beer should be cold, the hot tub at 103. There is no excuse, unless we are simply weak-kneed from all our self-pleasurement. Don't expect a laugher. But now is the time to beat them by one, to steal a thriller. Because if anything beats a blowout, it's a walk-off. 

Is this the face of the man who will make the Yankees great again?

 By HoraceClarke66


Well, we can dream, can't we?  That all the ill-gotten loot this Wall Street rapscallion has
made over the years will be pumped into his late-life dream project, your New York Mets.
Thereby forcing Hal and Family into meeting the challenge, lest the Yankees be 
overshadowed and profits drop so low so as to threaten the wealth of every Steinbrenner
in the 25th millennium...

Some of us had similar hopes for this couple a crazy kids when they first pried the Flushing 
Folderols from the dead hands of Joan Payson:


Little did we know that Nelson Doubleday was only about as interested in baseball as his
illustrious ancestor, or that Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz were just another pair of Long Island
real estate grifters, off to wreck the world.  

If any remaining proof of that was still needed, it was provided in today's Times, which noted 
that Wilpon was still claiming he had lost a fortune to Bernie Madoff and that the Mets were 
losing millions over the last few years.  

Neither of those claims are true.  Wilpon and Katz leveraged Bernie's pyramid scheme to
take over the Mets and build fortunes for themselves, and it is mathematically impossible
to lose money in baseball today.

But I digress.

For those of us who dreamed that Mad George would finally be forced to get a grip, and hire
and keep real baseball men to run his team, now that the Mets finally offered some serious 
competition...well it didn't quite work out that way.  What looked like a Mets dynasty for the 
ages dropped behind a distance outfield fence along with Mike Scioscia's 1988 home run in the
playoffs off Doc Gooden.

When Jeff "Fredo" Wilpon, the Jimmy Dolan of baseball, was then placed in charge of, well, 
anything, it was the last straw.  And now, after winning all of one (1) World Series ring over the course 
of thirty years, the Wilpon family is bowing out, having failed to force George and ilk to up their
game by one iota.

Oh, well.  Maybe Cohen will fare better, and force the Yanks to really compete.  You never can
tell, as Andy Williams once lip-synced for Lauren Bacall.  But somehow, I doubt if it will 
work out.  These are, after all, the Mets.

Virtual Baseball: When It Rains, It Pours! Morton, Usual Suspects Knock Yanks from First!

By HoraceClarke66

Virtual Yankees nemesis Charlie Morton, despite a difficult year that has seen his ERA
approach Dow Jones levels, managed to shut down the Yanks for five innings last night,
and the usual Tampa Bay array of eight relievers finished the job, as Tampa Bay knocked
off the Yankees again, 3-2, to move into sole possession of virtual first place in the
American League East.

Morton was in trouble early on, but a spectacular diving catch in center by Kevin Kiermaier off
Gary Sanchez, followed by a tremendous peg home—from his knees—that just nipped Clint
Frazier at the plate, pulled him out of a bases-loaded jam at Tampa's Chernobyl Dome.  

Frazier, who had forgotten to slide, told reporters, "I was going for home, when I suddenly
remembered my cats' names again!  You'd think Fluffy and Furrball wouldn't be so hard, but
there ya go.  I was so astonished that I forgot all about sliding.  Well, at least now that I know
their names again, I can get them to obey my every command."

Masahiro Tanaka pitched a gutty seven innings for the Yanks—gutty being the only kind of
game he does pitch—but an early home run by Kiermaier and a late one by Marcel Brosseau
put paid to his effort.  

Brosseau did raise some eyebrows by running around the bases 
backwards, waving a small American flag above his head, turning cartwheels down the 
third base line, and sticking his tongue out at the Yanks the entire time.  But Commissioner
Rob Manfredmann called it, "Just good, clean highjinks."

The Yankees clubhouse appeared somber or even depressed after the game.  In the Kars for
Kats Radio Booth, beloved Yankees announcer Suzyn Waldman could be heard gently 
singing, "Where have you gone, GIancarlo?  The Yankees turn their lonely eyes to you..."
At which point Clyde Frazier chimed in, "Woo-woo-woo."

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Virtual Baseball: Battle of the Titans! Cole Comes Out Dealing, But Rays Release the Kraken (Blake Snell)!

From the bat of HoraceClarke66...

In the first game of a virtually epic, three-game battle for first in the virtual American League East, a capacity crowd of 48,000 Yankees fans in Tampa Bay's Thunderdome turned out to see a pitching duel for the ages.

The Cole Train was firing all boilers tonight, as the Yanks' big ticket starter struck out 12 Baymen, and allowed only two hits and a walk.  But Blake Snell, "The Kraken of Tampa Bay," was just a little bit better, blanking the Yanks on three hits for a 1-0 victory that pulled "the Parking Lots by the Bay" back into a tie for first.

The only run of the game scored when Ji-Man "The He-Man" Choi led off the seventh inning with a bunt that caught the Yankees off-guard, then raced for second on the next pitch with all the grace of a wounded hippopotamus.  Choi should have been caught dead to rights, but catcher Gary Sanchez's throw sailed into centerfield, and instead he rolled on into third.  

The very next pitch, a slider from Cole, got past the Sanchise, allowing Choi to thunder home with what proved to be the winner.  After the game, manager Ma Boone dismissed worries about the division title race, but did express concern over Sanchez.

"He's been such a key element for us all year," Boone said.  "Thirty-six homers, more than any other catcher in baseball.  The way his arm has come back this year, all the runners he's gunned down.  The obvious improvement in blocking low pitches and his 
first-rate pitch framing—you can't argue with the job he's done to turn things around."

But in recent days, Sanchez has been slumping both at the plate and in the field, his batting average dropping to a mere .288, the lowest it's been all season.

"It is concernful," said Boone.  "I just don't know how we can win it all without Gary Sanchez."

Tonight, Deivi Garcia faces an MLB team for the second time; is he our October Surprise?

Breaking News: There might be life on Venus! 

Somewhere out there, in the dense Venusian atmosphere, microbes might be cruising the clouds, looking to hookup within their alien ecosystem. (Yankee connection ahead; wait for it.) An entire planet, long believed dead, could in fact be the home to teething, unimaginable life forms that will someday reconfigure our view of the universe, of God, of humanity, of destiny - (I swear it's coming) - in the way that Deivi Garcia has remade our view of October.

Last week, "Li'l Pedro" threw a mini-masterpiece against the Toronto Blue Jays of Buffalo. He pitched 7, surrendered 2, won our only game and treated those Tonawandans like the faux Canadians that they are. 

Ever since, across the Yankiverse, Garcia has taken on the aura of our long anticipated October Surprise. Could he be the short-season pitching version of Shane Spencer? Could 2020, the most miserable year on record, someday be remembered for the deathly pandemic, massive wildfires, wicked hurricanes and the sweetly enjoyable emergence of Deivi Garcia?

Tonight, we might just learn. The Jays will see Garcia for their second time. They will know that he pitches deliberately: two out of his every three first pitches are strikes. They will know that lefty batters do better than righties - a 3.38 ERA, rather than 2.79. They will know his pitches, his moves, his devilish grin... having seen them all before.

But here's the thing: Garcia will know that they know

Thus, maybe he'll alter his pitches in a way that turns their expectations against them.

Then again, they might expect him to change, and refuse to bite on his anticipated alterations, which - (stay with me) - could allow him to pitch the same as before, which nobody would expect. I mean, it would be inconceivable!  

Around now each September, fans have a tendency to proclaim every series as "the most important of the season." There is a small crap of truth to it. If, say, the Yanks blow all three - in front of their home fake fans - it would be a legitimate, steel-booted kick to their nuts. If we win three, the Jays would limp from NYC in third place, chasing a wild card. 

But none of this might matter. The playoffs will happen without screaming fans and, later, inside a neutral "bubble" site, expected to be Texas. Thus, the entire 60-game season served merely to winnow out the most wretched teams and the self-tankers, such as Boston. 

Frankly, this week's three-game set means little. Both teams should make the playoffs, and from there, who knows?

But tonight - ah, tonight - we will get our first true glimpse of what Deivi Garcia could mean to October. If he gets whacked, well, maybe J.A. Happ becomes Plan B. But if he succeeds, the Yankees would suddenly look quite scary. Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gio Ursela should soon return - Ursela maybe tonight - remaking the traveling train wreck that recently went 5-15.

And we might even have an October surprise. A Venus fly trap?

Monday, September 14, 2020

Virtual Baseball: Yanks Drop Another to Jays, Lead Shrinks to a Single Game!

By HoraceClarke66 

The exciting virtual rookie Clarke Schmidt was a surprise starter against Toronto today at Yankee Stadium III—and to the chagrin of the capacity crowd was quickly belted around by the tree-dwelling team, as the Jays glided to a 10-4 win.

"The Gene Team" romped, as Vlad, Jr., Lourdes Gurriel, Jr., Cavan Biggio, and Bo Bichette all homered, in a win for the new generation.  Meanwhile, Hyun Jin Ryu was touched up early on for a grand-slam homer by Gleyber "El Conquistador" Torres, but otherwise shut down the Yanks for his seven innings of work.  

The loss dropped the Yanks' lead over the second-place TB Rays to just one slim game, with three games against Tampa Bay about to begin.

"Don't worry," Ma Boone assured the New York media.  "We got this."


Trouble in Paradise? The Yankees have no place for Giancarlo Stanton

Supposedly - let's agree to believe it when we see it - Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge will return this weekend for a Fenway frat house trifecta against the last place, surgically tanking Redsocks. 

Theoretically, our two beloved behemoths - their state fair-sized, tightly tuned and highly financed leg muscles having healed - will be ready and raring to go, having played simulated games in Joe Biden's Scranton.

Remember: We'll believe this when we see it.

The addition of Judge and Gio will give the Yankees seven (7) outfielders. The lucky number, one OF for each day of the week: If you're scoring at home, that's Judge, Stanton, Hicks, Gardy, Tauchman, Frazier and Andujar, and we won't count Tyler Wade, who can also patrol the pasture. How they'll all fit is 2020's final Cashmanic paradox, or riddle of the Yankee Sphinx. 

For now, let's go with what we know. If Judge is healthy - we'll believe it when, aw, you know - he will play RF, where he is entrenched and, frankly, deserves a Gold Glove. For better or worse, Aaron Hicks will probably stay in center, though he looks better coming off the bus than striding to the plate. And then there is left field - an enigma of hope and mixed opportunities. 

At this point, I'd like to indulge a personal bias: I want Clint Frazier in left. He's hitting .280 with 5 HRs. His hits have come in big situations. He hustles; yesterday, his perfect slide into home gave us a huge two-run cushion. Plus, his backstory - losing a year to concussions, being mocked for faulty fielding, persevering through the farm system - makes him one of those rare players - a Pinella or an O'Neill - who might become a lifelong Yankee, even though he started elsewhere. We've watched him evolve. This is my hunt for Red October. (That's a joke. Sorry.)

Will he get the shot? Maybe.

It's hard to imagine Stanton patrolling left. Too much leg stress. He'll probably move into the DH slot, deleting Gary Sanchez's miserable extra at-bats, and endangering Miguel Andujar. Stanton's numbers - frozen since his injury - had been solid: .293 with 3 HRs in 41 at bats. Trouble is, Andujar has finally heated up (.375 this month.) He entered September at .156; he's now .242. How do you sit an emerging talent like that? 

Tauchman seems to have fallen back to earth. Still, he's an excellent fielder, steals bases and hits LH. Same with Gardy. One of them may have to go. And everything becomes more complicated if Luke Voit's foot forces him into a DH role. How could you sit the Yankees' best power threat this season? 

Well, I dunno. Starting tomorrow, we play three against Toronto. Judge and Stanton will watch from the stands. For the seven-man Yankee outfield, these three games will be a case of musical chairs. Friday or Saturday, the music will stop, and maybe two of the seats will disappear. In the meantime, here's where everything stands:



 

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Virtual Baseball: BJ's Stun Yanks at Canadian Biodome. Mets Move a Game Up on Atlanta!

By HoraceClarke66

Despite a virtual stellar effort from Jordan Montgomery today in Toronto's glorified hotel, the Yanks managed to drop a game to the Blue Jays.  The big blow...was not a blow at all, but a steal of home by the Jays' Sunday Beer League slugger, Rowdy Randy Tellez, whose bold move so startled Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez that he let first the ball and then the 255-pound Tellez to slip between his legs.

The steal came against Yankees reliever Adam Ottavino, who has become notorious for his inability to keep anyone from stealing.  After the game, in fact, Ottavino reported to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police that his comb, five dollars, and two sticks of chewing gum had been stolen from his pocket while he was on the mound.

Rowdy's steal, and a pair of solo home runs by Vlad, Jr., negated a fine effort by Monty, who fanned 12 in six innings of work, and homers by Luke Voit and D.J. LeMahieu.  The Bombers' lead over Tampa Bay was reduced to 2 games, with 14 still to play.

Meanwhile, across town in Queens, the New York Mets, led by centerfielder Brett Gardner, who has been hitting .387 since coming over to the National League, won yet again, to move into sole possession of first place.  

Gardner has been joined in leading the Mets' risorgimento by former Yankees Robinson Cano—now closing in on the National League batting title—and bullpen aces Chasen Shreve and Justin Wilson.  

"We're going to win it all.  There's no way we're going to wear penises on our shirts," Gardner told the press afterwards, referring to the promise made by Mets owner Jeff Bezos not to force the team into uniforms bearing the distinctive Amazon logo, if they win the World Series.

After 46 games, the Yankees are exactly where you might expect: In mid-to-late May form

We've won four straight, after losing eight of nine. Our once marque catcher is hitting .125. We await the return of key players. Yeah, Yosemite is shaking, the West Coast is on fire, no-name weather systems are churning in the Gulf of Mexico, and if the world just survives 2020, it should consider itself lucky. 

But let's not forget: In the real time chronology of the Yankees, this isn't a true September. It's on or about May 24, the 19th day of Ramadan, National Brothers Day, a day when Ecuadorians remember the battle of Pinchincha, great name for a salsa band. And in this true timeline, the normal pennant race would merely be warming. 

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I direct your attention to Mr. Brett Gardner, seated in the corner, banging his bat on the courtroom ceiling. Thank you Mr. Gardner, you may sit down. This season, the beloved, hairless man known as "Gardy" has achieved exactly 18 hits in 100 at bats, for a paltry batting average of .180. Time for him to retire you say? I see several of you nodding. 

But but BUT... show the charts, Miss Bixley... if Mr. Gardner here were to go 4-for-4 tomorrow, his average would rise 31 points. Thirty one points! Can you believe it? We're sitting in mid-September, the season is winding down, and if Mr. Gardner here - you may stop banging the ceiling, please - goes four for four, he would be hitting .211. And then, if he goes four for four again - thank you Miss Bixley, you may sit down - then, the following day, he would be hitting - please stop banging the ceiling, sir - he would be hitting .240, two-forty, which for the Yankees is Rod Carew territory. PLEASE STOP! Excuse me. Where were we?

Wait. Someone mentioned Mr. Gary Sanchez, the Yankees' official 2020 Whipping Mule. If Gary goes four for four today, his average will jump by 25 points. Yes, I understand it will still be terrible. But even though it's September, we're seeing situations where every single base hit can bump a batting average by six to eight points. In one week, a hitter can go from a horror show to respectability. One week.

The pandemic shutdown has forced September judgments onto May timelines. As  the regular season ticks down, we see streaky players being cruelly defined by slow starts or routine slumps. Meanwhile, we must wonder if our saviors - for example, Luke Voit - could stay hot through July-August. (Certainly, if this were really May, Voit would have gone on the IL by now, so his bad foot could heal for summer. Instead, he's playing through it. There is no more time for injuries.)

Through the first 30 games, Gleyber Torres looked awful. Yesterday, he was batting .253. A four-for-four today, and he'd hit a respectable .282. 

I know what you're thinking: Jeeze, Dookie, weren't you the one who just last week was screaming bloody murder? WTF? You called for a winter tear down! I come to this site for a dose of doom and gloom. Now, look at what you've become: You're shilling for Gary Sanchez? WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED TO YOU? WHAT DO THEY HAVE ON YOU? WHO GOT TO YOU? WHO ARE YOU WORKING FOR?

What happened? I'll tell you what happened. Four in a row, baby. Four in a fucking row. The Yankees needed a winning streak, and they got one. Maybe it was just playing Baltimore. Or maybe it's just the vagaries of real time in late May. But every spring, the Yankees blow cold for a week or two. Then they heat up.  

What's next? Who knows? But I do like the idea of playing Tampa in a best-of-three, right off the bat. The Rays have owned us all year, but it's hard to continually dominate a good team, and in their hearts, the Rays surely know this. The question: Are the Yankees a good team? Four in a row, baby. Hottest team in the AL. Today, make it five, and we could be the hottest in baseball. So long, Baltimore. Next up, the Blue Jays of Tonawanda. 




Saturday, September 12, 2020

Virtual Baseball: Yanks Bash Blue Jays, Extend Lead. Russian Bear Market Stabilizes.


 (Posted on behalf of HoraceClarke66)

Even a Domingo German start could not slow down the red-hot Yankees, as they crushed Toronto, 13-4, to widen their lead over the TB Rays to three games. 

German was hit hard early, but managed to stay in the game, as the Yankees' bats broke loose again.  While German fell behind by 3-1 in the second inning, home runs by Gleyber Torres, Aaron Judge, and (two! by) Luke Voit, powered the team to yet another win.  

The Yanks are now 101-46, with just 15 left to play and a 3-game lead over the Rays.  As general manager Brain Cashman said yet again, "What can POSSIBLY go wrong?  Why, I outright defy all of the juju gods that exist—and I doubt their existence!—to do anything to stop us.  They can't do it, they can't do it!"

Meanwhile, the Red Bear market stabilized at around 36,000 today, leading President Trump to announce, "Hey, that clinches it!  I'll win re-election easy now.  It's over.  It's over.  What could possibly go wrong?"

Voit hobbles his way into a leadership position on the Yankees

These days, those aren't "boos" you're not hearing from Yankee Stadium's phantom fans. It's the nonexistent-chorus of "LUUUUKE," which is what we'd be hearing in normal times. The pandemic has conspired to deny Luke Voit what should have been the greatest future memories of his career: Being feted by a delirious Yankee Stadium crowd.

Last night, in a regular Yankiverse - a long, long time ago, and far, far away - after hitting his second three-run HR, Voit would have been pushed from the dugout, cap in the air, blushing a tomato, as 55,000 nut-jobs verbally elongated his name. Instead, some stoner in a sound booth jimmied up the cheer knob, producing noise that, by now, even sounds phony on the radio. Fake cheers for fake games. 

I get it that MLB wants to project a semblance of real games before actual, nachos-eating people, and the fake crowd noise worked... for a while. But these days, the excitement comes in the shouts of teammates, and that Memorex-induced roar just gets in the way.

But that's not why I'm mentioning Luke. 

If you watched last night's home run trots - (btw, he is now tied for the MLB lead with 16) - you saw him hobbling, slightly but noticably. The first thought, "Uh-oh, another one." But then you realized that, no, he's got a bum hind-paw, but he's playing through it. 

What a concept: Playing through an injury.

Then you remember those who have witnessed most of 2020 from the hot tub. 

It's easy to draw a vicious red line between Voit and - ahem - those who will remain nameless - wait, no, fukkit: their names are Judge, Stanton and Paxton - and ask why one guy is hobbling while the others are reading The New Yorker. Look: I'm not here to judge. Every injury is different, and strained muscles - especially when they are the size of small children - certainly suck. For all the missing time, nobody to my knowledge has suggested that any of the currently Yankees are faking it. In fact, the saddest player of the last 20 years has to be Jacoby Ellsbury, and for all his money, I wouldn't wish his nonstop train of injuries on anybody. 

Still, make no mistake: If the Yankees make the playoffs with a newly healed lineup, the heart of our batting order should remain the gimp at first. 

And if it turns out that Luke's bad foot keeps him from playing first base, well, old Giancarlo better fucking learn to play LF, or he should spend October in the Scranton complex. (If Clint Frazier keeps hitting, I'm not sure we have a place for Stanton anyway.) 

They used to say that a player is never supposed to lose his job because of an injury. Well, that was a Yankiverse long, long ago and far, far away - in front of real crowds instead of cardboard pop-ups. 

The 2020 Yankees have found their leader, and one day, we will properly shout his name: Luuuuuuuuke.

Friday, September 11, 2020

How It's Gonna Work......


News flash......dateline, MLB Commissioner suite at the Ritz Carleton Hotel, Paris, France.......

If teams do not have 60 games completed by September 30, due to inclement weather or inclement health, the following will occur during the final week of the regular season:

Innings become games !  They shall be called, Big Innings.

As an example; if the Yankees need 9 games to finish their year, they will have " Big Innings " scheduled with other teams also lacking completion. 

Each Big Inning will count as a game.

So a 9 inning game could make up, in theory, nine missing games.  Winner take all.  Big Inning by Big Inning.

If no winner is declared after each team has three outs ( eg it is a tie after one Big Inning ),  the " extra " inning starts with the bases loaded, and the manager can select whomever he wishes to be the batter. Said batter may hit as often as desired. And you can change batters, at will, as well.

 DJ Le Mahieu, for example,  could stay up until he can no longer swing, or their are three outs, whichever comes first.

Or Gary Sanchez could. 

Or Tyler Wade.

Anyway, this is official. No shit.