Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Just shoot the usual suspects already.

From the desk of HoraceClarke66

I had to turn off Ma Boone’s postgame press conference last night midway through his first sentence. Asked what went wrong in that colossal stinker your New York Yankees laid on the hometown fans, Manager Boone started to reply:


“First, I think Lopez pitched very well tonight—”


No, Ma, he didn’t. It would be impossible for Orioles’ starter Jorge Lopez to pitch well. He never has, not in the major leagues. 


Last night’s scintillating, six-innings of one-hit, one-run ball against the Yanks dropped not only Lopez’s season ERA but also his lifetime ERA just below 6 runs a game—a neat statistical feat! Going into last night’s game, the Orioles hurler was leading the AL in one category:  most losses. At age 28, and with six years in the majors, he has never so much as completed a major-league game.


None of the usual excuses apply. Lopez is not a stranger to the Yankees, who have battered him in the past to the tune of a 1-3 record and a 7.23 ERA. Sure, the Yanks’ own, newly acquired lugnut stunk up the joint. But he could have pitched like Bob Gibson in 1968 and still not won last night.


I think I wrote something the other day about these Yanks being like the Tin Man, without a heart. Well, they’re like the Scarecrow, too, without a brain, and the Cowardly Lion, without an ounce of courage. The wretched Orioles beat ’em top to bottomus, looking all of a sudden like a swarm of flying monkeys.

I had hoped that maybe, somehow, the Yanks had secured a heart transplant in Anthony Rizzo—who, of course, managed to plate the only run they scored. The Bleacher Creatures thought so, too. They were out in force last night, standing and cheering for the man who it seemed had singlehandedly breathed life into this corpse of a franchise.


The people in the money seats knew better—total attendance was only 28,879, as even people who had already shelled out the cash to see this profoundly depressing ballteam found other things to do with their time. 


I was fooled, too. I had thought, briefly, that our boys might have a shot after all. The 2021 New York Yankees are and always were wildly overrated, but my hopes were based on how clearly limited every team in the American League and even all of baseball are this year.


The Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays are plucky, well-run outfits, but on a talent level they would have been eaten alive by their own franchise editions earlier in this century. Truly, the Yanks were not facing any insurmountable competition this season. 


And then we get a game like last night’s, yet another in a series of sullen, inexplicable snorefests.


It probably didn’t matter. Likely, the injury to Domingo German and the positive Covid test of Gerrit Cole put paid to any remaining hopes this season in any case. They certainly reaffirmed this team’s claim to being the single most annoying and unlikable Yankees squad I have seen in 56 seasons of following the sport.


Other Yankees teams in that time suffered from lack of talent, or were disrupted by crazy managers or owners. This one seems to suffer from an all-enveloping ennui. There’s just not a scintilla of real effort out there from most of these ballplayers.


In the past, I’ve never been one to get on my high horse regarding players’ salaries. Hell, I’d take the money if it were offered. But I’m beginning to wonder if the paydays are now SO enormous that these guys just don’t give a damn.


All the positive Covid tests indicate a less-than-good-faith effort to avoid this pandemic. And for the rest, well, it seems that they are always more interested in putting in the time in the weight room than on the ballfield.


Giancarlo “The Millstone” Stanton is probably injured again; since June 10th, in 168 plate appearances, he has 4 homers, 14 RBI, 30 walks, and 48 strikeouts, and has grounded into 5 double-plays. 


Gleyber Torres’ career continues in its two-year death spiral. The Hope of the Next Dynasty now has 6 homers, 14 errors, and has grounded into 10 DPs on the year. LeMahieu’s game has gone south. Sanchez remains a mediocrity. Aaron Judge is a very nice man and a well-rounded ballplayer who has proven at 29 to be no more than a slightly better—though less reliable—version of Bobby Abreu.


Miggy, The Red Menace, Sevvy, Voit, Hicks, and Gio are all victims of chronic injuries. Again.


We can go ’round and ’round about who is to blame—the trainers, the coaches, the manager, Brain, HAL—but like most things that go ’round and ’round, this team is headed for the drain. 


We can round up all the usual suspects we want, but it’s past time to line them up against a wall and have done with it. Sadly, that’s going to take quite a while, as Brian Cashman plays out another six years or so of endgame and Yankee Stadium comes to resemble a morgue.


I’m sure that Anthony Rizzo, much as he must lick his chops looking at that right field porch, is now busy studying the standings for a real team he can play for next year.


Me, I would love it if one of those cities from the outlands that used to tempt Mad George would materialize again and offer HAL the moon to move to Portland, Oregon, or Jacksonville, or North Carolina, or wherever. 


He could take the official legacy, and all the championships in the record books, and even the pinstripes. Doesn’t matter. We’d still have them in our hearts.  


The trade would be worth it, just to see some fresh new team, full of eager young players and led by some good baseball minds, take the field again in the Bronx. 


Anonymous said...

Didn't take long for the positive vibes from the sweep of the Marlins to evaporate. We barely won those three games, so I suppose we're going to come back down to earth against the lowly Orioles and show what we're really made of. It's not going to be pretty.

The Hammer of God

HoraceClarke66 said...

Which I thought was due to their excellent pitching staff, little of which the Yankees had seen before.

It seems not.