Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Do we dare start imagining 2021? Because it will not look pretty.

They say the first casualty of war is truth. 

I say the first casualty of COVID will be The Master.

He'll turn 82 on the Fourth of July. If he sits out an entire year - not one WinWarble or Homer Holler - can he and Suzyn Waldman really return in 2021? As Joe Torre taught us, nothing lasts forever. Maybe the Yankees can keep the pair broadcasting on a limited basis - home games rather than subjecting them to the road. But the pandemic might not be over next spring. Would the Yankees dare subject two high-risk employees to the rigors and threats of plane rides and hotels? 

If there is no baseball in 2020, we may have heard the last live "Thuuuuuuuh." 

A moment of silence, please...

In 2021, Brett Gardner will be 37. It's hard to see him patrolling LF for one more season. As the 2020 season dissolves before our eyes, here's another sad thought: We may have seen the last of Gardy in pinstripes.

He won't be alone. Come winter, DJ LeMahieu will be a free agent. He'll be 32 and seeking a long term deal, arguably his last career payout. We won't get him on a two-year contract, as we did in 2019. Gone? Probably. 

Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton will be free agents. Would we let both go, basically "defunding" the rotation? We'll have a one-year option on J.A. Happ, but - a) he'll be 38 and b) he's J.A. Happ. Our rotation will be Geritt Cole and whomever is standing behind Curtain Number Three. Luis Severino won't return until mid-to-late 2021, and he'll probably just tweak something new anyway, so why bother? We'll have no pitching.

Heading into arbitration will be an incalculable wave of talent: Gleyber Torres, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Gio Urshela, Chad Green, Tommy Kahnle, Jonathan Holder, Luke Voit, Miguel Andujar and Clint Frazier. Tell me, you Harvard projection mathematicians out there: How can anybody judge the future value of Miggy? 

Prince Hal will still be on the dime for Cole ($36 million) and Giancarlo Stanton ($29 million and rising.) Cole will be 30, Stanton, 31, and going on 40. Want to get depressed? (Of course, you do.) We will pay Stanton more than $150 million through 2024.

But wait, there's more! 

If baseball is canceled this summer, a huge, toxic cloud will still engulf the game next spring. 

The minor leagues will have been decimated by an MLB enforced shrinkage, leaving angry, betrayed cities across the country using taxpayer-funded stadiums to store highway equipment. Do the billionaire lords of the game really think there will be no backlash? Let them come to Binghamton, if the Mets pull out. Maybe Trump will still get his chance to bring in the troops. 

The game will have yet to deal with the Astros/Redsocks cheating scandal, one of the slimiest, most hideous embarrassments in the era of modern sports. Adding to the disgrace, its main architects - executives, managers and coaches, who were banned for a non-existent year - will have basically gotten off free. What a joke.

Unless a vaccine is found - there are no guarantees - many fans will remain leery of big crowds for years to come. Full stadiums will be a distant memory. And how badly do you want that hotdog, which everyone in the row is handing your way?

Oh, here's something else: While the Yankees may still own our hearts, the excessive prices of tickets and YES subscriptions - both of which stem from the razing of a wondrous old stadium - may turn off a future generation, which sees the franchise for what it is - a money-grubbing corporation, rather than a sainted connection to our ancestors. 

Could the golden goose be killed? Gimme a hatchet, and let's see. 

10 comments:

ranger_lp said...

And if the season is cancelled, will we get a rebate from YES? SNY? ESPN? FSN? Talk about a money grab...

JM said...

Nobody's gonna care. Once again, I point everyone to the final season of "Brockmire." It looks more and more like the future of baseball. Maybe the country.

DickAllen said...



As for me, I am once again watching Band of Brothers, a series that honors some of the bravest men the world has ever seen. In a time when honor meant more than money.

Baseball can hang itself. And probably will.


HoraceClarke66 said...

I'm afraid that sounds all too true, Duque. I'm still outraged about the Yankees sticking us taxpayers with that lovely Staten Island ballpark.

This was the year the Yanks were going to make their move...which is the whole problem with planning like any other franchise for one big season in 20 or 30. Of course, with all the injuries, I don't know if THAT was even going to come off. But we sure as hell had a better chance than we will in the immediate, near, or even distant future.

You think like a dynasty, you win like a dynasty. You think like an opportunistic, small-market club...you go nowhere. Not in this town.


JimmyEatsHotDogs said...

Thanks for bringing me down today with this post! Baseball had a golden opportunity and I think they have let this chance to move the sport and create more interest in the baseball slip by. It's a shame but owners and players have let money cloud the future of the sport. FANS suffer and baseball will continue to shrink in the minds of sports fans everywhere. SAD!

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