Thursday, June 24, 2021

A joyous finale in the Bronx obscures some grim realities

Hate to be a party poop. In fact, I seek only love and joy. 

That's why I became a Yank fan, many moons (and Mooses) ago. In my womb-watered years, I watched Mantle & Maris, Yogi & Blanchard, Whitey & Ellie, and concluded - as anyone rightly would - that normalcy in America meant the Yankees always won.  

Okay, I was wrong. The truth is that normalcy in America means the Yankees always play to a far extreme. They either triumph magnificently or lose insufferably. It's either the candy or the lit cigar. It's a psychological trap, one that scars you and, in the end, fosters the type of loyalty that could only be matched by the love of a moose for his flying squirrel.

But here's a spooky reality: 

To this day, I still cannot process wild games like last night. 

Certainly, I am here to celebrate a great Yankee win. (Remember Rule 52: Every Yankee win is a great Yankee win.) Some of today's articles of hope:

1. We won a Michael King game. 

2. Luke Voit is back. For now.

3. Gary Sanchez may be salvageable after all. (Note: I still have PTSD from three seasons of distress. But if Gary could return to a semblance of form, it would be a huge plus for humankind.)

4. We are four behind Boston (loss column) with three games there this weekend.  

5. The strange saga of Rougned Odor continues. Is he a keeper? Is he done? Is he really a clutch hitter? Yeesh. 

6. Clint Frazier... Yeah, I know. Why torture ourselves? Last night, he had a big hit. Double to right-center. What does it mean? Beats me. If Clint were to become the player we wanted (stupidly?), the boost to our lineup would be staggering. But he's still below .200, and how many times have we wrongly assumed he was finally rising from Zolio Amontehood. These days, Britney herself has a better chance of breaking out. 

Then there is the less-than-jubilant side.  

1. Pass the word: No lead is safe. Our bullpen lug nuts - El Chapo, Britton and Loaisiga - just got pissed on. For Chapstick, it's scary. Can you see him trying to hold a one-run lead this weekend in Fenway? A blown save would be devastating, and at any time, he's capable of melting down.

2. We may be approaching a "meh" normalcy from our towers of power - Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. I don't know how to put this, because both have shown positive signs. But if they continue "as is," we are watching two "great sluggers" who hit about .270 with 30 HRs. That's not nuthin,' but it's not the heart of a world championship lineup. We've always dreamed of two Triple Crown threats, back to back, terrorizing the oppo. These days, I dunno. Maybe it just isn't there.

3. People, the team we just went toe-to-toe with is - gulp - Kansas City. K-fukkin-C, with a record of 33-39. And if the season ended today, we would be an afterthought, not even a wild card. 

4. Today, it's Tailspin Tailon. (Which saves him from pitching in Boston.) Yikes, do we need this or what? 

47 comments:

TheWinWarblist said...

I missed last night's game. I was having margaritas with a statuesque platinum blonde.

And, no, they weren't a Palomino show horse.

HoraceClarke66 said...

It probably saved your heart a few years, Warbler. On the other hand, those blondes...

Ken of Brooklyn said...

My favorite post from last night was JM's 'our usual punching bags are punching back' LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A truly epic AND pathetic win, I'll take it, but boy oh boy, the holes are gaping in this team!

Anonymous said...

For me the problem is how little I like the current team,

So last night my four least favorite players Odor, Frazier, Sanchez, Stanton, all contributed to the win. Now Odor and Frazier get new life. Meh.

Duque correctly points out that Judge (and Stanton) don't inspire fear. Meh.

El Chapo is a nightmare. Tallion today? Why? And again, if he wins (yay) he gets more starts (Boo)

Gardner shouldn't be on the team
How much longer can I watch Gleyber squint.
There's really no joy anywhere.

Maybe Urshala. I like Cole but they don't score for him so it's not fun.

They are not fun. Even their tapping elbow thing when they get a hit is both lifeless and joyless. It seems like they are doing it because they have to do something.

Wait, I like AnDUjar. Whoopdy doo. Meh.

Doug K.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

It's a Gleyber Day -- Off.

JM said...

Doug, I share your pain. So much wrong, even heroic efforts are somehow tainted. I'd like to love each and every one of our overpaid scalliwags, but it's so hard. Every time they come through in the clutch, it feels like a mirage, an oddity, something we've learned never to expect and just wait for the reversion to 11 LOB and no hitting when it would count.

But I am glad that we won. And that Ken got a kick out of the "punching bags" line. But he and I and everyone knows that it was a mask to hide the deep psychological pain that comes with being a Yankees fan these days.

Aw, who'm I kidding? If these clowns can keep coming back in the late innings, I'd be happy as a peach in a warm cobbler. Just don't pull the rug out from under me again, you incredibly inconsistent yahoos.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Time to experiment with Tally-ho as a reliever, as some here have suggested. Where we get another starter from, though...

And Doug K., maybe you have hit on the real trouble with The Gleyber. Why DOES he squint so much? Does he need glasses? Could be!

As for Judge and Stanton...I concur. I remember writing a couple years ago that we have been spoiled, dreaming of Aaron Judge being the next Mickey Mantle, when he was more likely the next Roy Sievers. Same with Stanton, who was billed as the new Big Papi, but seems to really be the new Glenallen Hill (Sorry, that's unfair—Hill could play outfield.)

Everybody gets hurt, nobody gets better. We just have to realize that's the Yanks' mantra.

ranger_lp said...

@Hoss...I did see him with glasses (not sun) awhile back...don't know what's up with that...

JM said...

That was Judgian.

JM said...

Nice hit by Sanchez, going the other way to beat the shift.

JM said...

Stanton beats the shift, too.

Platoni said...

I don't know about you all, but I think it's time for Gardy to visit the glue factory

HoraceClarke66 said...

Past time. As many have said here, the starting OF has to be Judge, Andujar, and Frazier, in whatever configuration they want. I don't even want Gardy on the bench, but at least he might serve all right as a late-inning LF and occasional baserunner.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Did see that correctly?

Tailspin with one ER over 5?

At least the Yankees have Chapo to even things out.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Gardner was not signed to be an everyday player this year. I'd take him off the bench, but Brain ensured it.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

2nd and 3rd, no outs.

How to score zero runs...

Rufus T. Firefly said...

OK, I take back *2* of the bad things I've said about ICS.

Local Bargain Jerk said...


I hope ICS shares whatever adjustment(s) he's made with some of his teammates...

Anonymous said...

What is this carrot-colored creature dong in any MLB park?

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Oh well, it was good while it lasted.

ranger_lp said...

Trying to remember a player that has had the turnaround that ICS has had...it's quite remarkable...

Anonymous said...

Doug, I was just having the same feeling. I am watching a bunch of guys and I don't actually like any of them (yeah: Cole, but I somehow don't see him as a Yankee, just some kind of temporary aberration).

Just look in my T-shirt drawer. There are currently six official MLB player shirts. Four are from Yankees, but all of them are now retired. The other two are for current players on other teams.

In fact, the more I watch, the less I like them. But this has been a team for masochists for going on - what? - 20 years?

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Ranger,

Remember that it is remarkable and also temporary. He will crush our hopes yet again.

DickAllen said...

Repeat after me:

It’s the Royals...it’s the Royals...it’s the Royals...

DickAllen said...

Rufus, whatever will you do if Sanchez hits 300, 40&100 this year?

DickAllen said...

You might have to take back ALL of it!

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Dick,

I would take back a quarter of it (not that I'll need to).

The other three quarters will take three more years to make up for the last three.

DickAllen said...

Why the hell would you play the infield in when your down six runs?

DickAllen said...

Rufus, at least we don’t have him to kick around right now. We’ve got plenty of other wankers to abuse.

Kevin said...

I don't understand this abiding love that some of you guys have for Ginger. I guess it was the "legendary bat speed" moniker that he came in with. He's hitting .188 (.13 points below Gardner), below average power, base running, and fielding. Yeah, Gardner is coming to an end, but when does Frazier start? He should be in AAA.

Anonymous said...

Kevin--Frazier, over a large sample size in 2020, when he wasn't getting jerked around, posted a .905 OPS. Your specious agglomeration of stats from a time when he was recovering from a concussion is plainly dishonest. And Gardner is not "coming to an end," he has been finished since the beginning of last season: by every major metric, he has been one of the worst players in the majors on both sides of the ball for two years. And . . . he has never sniffed an OPS of .905. His best season was .820, but for most of his career he has been in the mid- to low .700's, which is awful. He has always been overrated, a fourth outfielder at best, and a disaster now.

Anonymous said...

Gardner was not signed to be an everyday player--but that's how he's being used, so conjecture about the intent is beside the point. As for HC66's comment: "I don't even want Gardy on the bench, but at least he might serve all right as a late-inning LF and occasional baserunner." But that's the function Tyler Wade serves at this point--pinch-running, defensive replacement, spot starter, but with better skills than Gardner in every area and greater versatility, since he can play both infield and outfield. Gardner does not even present an offensive platoon advantage, since he can't hit righties or lefties--see his batting platoon splits for the past two years. He's just being retained for two reasons: misplaced sentiment and Cashman's inabilitly to admit that he made a mistake.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Yes, it was the Royals, with Erwin Santana finishing up. I guess Dennis Leonard wasn't available.

Hey, a good afternoon's work, nonetheless. Though I did notice that, at the end, Michael Kay was exulting over how strong the Yankees' hitting had been "up and down the lineup."

Um, Mike? The last three guys went 0-10. Sure, it was a good day, but let's not get carried away.

Mustang said...

My bad contrarian take: Signing Gardy, while it hasn't worked out, was not the stupidest move ever. He had a career year in 2019, and 2020 was not a season to draw conclusions from.

Anonymous said...

Mustang -- let's take a look at your counterpoint. You state that 2019 was a career year for Gardner; it was a very good year, but not a career year. He matched his 2019 WAR of 4.2 in 2011 and 2013 and surpassed it by a good margin in 2010, when his WAR was 7.4. Moreover, one can indeed draw conclusions from 2020: 150 PA appearances constitutes a meaningful--if not definitive--sample size. And his nosedive in 2020 happened in his age 36 season, a clear alarm that this trajectory was likely to be permanent rather than an aberration. The likelihood of a bounce-back year for a player of that age is probably in the single digits of percentage points. In addition, if you look at Gardner's career defensive WAR numbers, they are mostly meh aside from 2010 and 2011--A DECADE AGO--and pretty lousy the past two years, giving the lie to the last remaining rationale for keeping him around--that he's a major asset in the field.

Moreover, Tauchman was also on the Yankee roster at the beginning of the year--essentially the same player as Gardner, only seven years younger and hence likelier to have a bounce-back year. Instead of going just with Tauchman, as he should have, Cashman kept TWO lefty fourth outfielders on an already overcrowded outfield roster--this made no sense. When the time came to shed one of them this season, he got rid of Tauchman--clearly a head-scratcher. Think of it this way: Joe DiMaggion was a 2.9-win player in his last year--right before the Yankees made it clear they were not interested in extending his tenure with the team. Gardner was essentially a zero-win player last year (0.2) and has been a minus-win player this year (-0.7)--minus nearly a full game; his defense is in minus-win territory as well. Gardner is now clearly a millstone; Wade is a superior option in every respect (speed, defense, versatility, youth, overall athleticism) and certainly no worse in any key area. I don't think the Yankees have the luxury at this point of retaining one of the worst players in baseball when they're struggling to stay above .500. It's a sentimental indulgence they can't afford. Cashman needs to man up, admit it was a bad signing, and pull the plug.

Kevin said...

Gardner has literally "taken one for the team". Virtually nobody can be a centerfielder at his age and still swing a bat. Ever notice how catchers sort of get limp in the wood when they do it too much? Yet, he gets a crazy amount of scorn on this site for going above and beyond. I was just reading a short recap of Gardner 2020 and career in the 2021 edition of "Baseball Prospectus". I don't feel like typing all that much right now, so here's the skinny. 'An argument can be made that Brett Gardner is the greatest left fielder in Yankee history'. I will not debate, so don't bother. The point is, Gardner has been a very underrated and under-appreciated player over the years. The precious 'analytics-metrics' (live by the sword...) point this out. If you are really interested in truth saying, then do your homework, or just cool it.

Anonymous said...

correction: making one of the worst players in the majors NOW your regular centerfielder

Mustang said...

Anon: Truth re: Gardner. My thinking was sloppy on this.

Anonymous said...

Gardner was a very good left-fielder AT HIS PEAK, for TWO YEARS, TEN YEARS AGO. We're talking about now. Notice that BP uses the term "HISTORY." Joe DiMaggio was the greatest centerfielder in Yankee history, but I wouldn't be in favor of trying to exhume him and putting him in the starting lineup now. We're talking about Gardner's value to the team NOW, not a decade ago. You are citing a heritage from the long-ago past, not discussing his performance NOW and his value to the team NOW. You want to give him a sentimental farewell tour in 2021 by making one of the worst players in the majors NOW you're regular centerfielder and thus hurting the team's chances to make the postseason? Come on and say it outright, Kev: "I adamantly believe that a guy who is NOW one of the worst players in baseball--and has been for nearly two years--should be the regular starting centerfielder for the New York Yankees."

Mustang said...

I was wrong about the career year, but I still wouldn't embrace or reject a player based on 2020.

Anonymous said...

Mustang: As my two previous comments make clear, my assessment of Gardner is based on data from his entire career; his performance over the past TWO years, especially in relation to the biological realities of his advancing age; and the choice to re-sign him in view of better options such as Tauchmsn and Wade. Moreover, it is clear that much of the support for Gardner is emotive rather than based on the foregoing realities that I need not repeat here. The bottom line is that he is NOW one of the worst players in the majors and is not only occupying a valuable roster spot but even worse is the team's de facto regular starting centerfielder.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Yankee Daddy Roger said...

As Suzyn used to say after a conversation with Hicks, "....he says he's almost there. It's coming." Or as John says, about any Yankee hitter, despite their sub .200 batting averages, "you know he's going to hit." Gardner will get a hit, and Suzyn will say, "he needed that.He's been swinging the bat better. The hits will start to come." If the hit drives in a run, Suzyn will say, as she does for Odor, "every hit he gets is a big one. He may not have many hits, but they are all big ones; his hits always matter." If the hit goes to the opposite field, she will say, "you know, he tried to do that. He didn't try to do too much. He just met the ball." If any Yankee hitter hits into the shift, blame the shift, not the player for not adjusting. I point all this out because after all this is a site dedicated to the Master, and we must acknowledge that in the Master's World, of which Suzyn is an intricate part, everything is POSITIVE about Gardy, he's a gold glove fielder still, and has tremendous speed. John is of course positive about the entire team, and the effects of age on Gardy or any other player is a topic out of bounds for Suzyn and John, as out of bounds as would be a reflection upon the effects of aging on John and Suzyn themselves.. To contemplate the mortality of Gardy forces us to contemplate the mortality of John and Suzyn as announcers. How many more seasons does the pair have together? How many more games? To paraphrase Dylan Thomas (the poet, not the 19th century baller) -- Do not win warble into that good night; rage, rage against the dying of the MIC (rophone), with thanks to the Doctors at Montefiore, and the Sloan Kettering Broadcast Booth.

Anonymous said...

Funny, Gardner still has a better WAR than Ginger. The next Red Hope. But players bust all the time, not just on the Yankees. Let's not forget Torres.

Anonymous said...

"Funny, Gardner still has a better WAR than Ginger." Not if you average the last two seasons. Now you're posting under sock puppet names, Kev? Why not just get lost and get a life other than whacking off to washed up failures like youself.

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