Friday, June 5, 2020

Virtual Off-Day: The Walking Gooped Return.

Sitting around their luxurious, ultra-modern clubhouse answering fan mail and autographing baseballs for little boys, the Virtual Yankees were stunned today when a long, lean, seemingly agile Gary Sanchez strolled back into the locker room.

Sanchez, out for weeks with what was diagnosed as a shoulder pull, groin pull, calf injury, and aching back, seemed amazingly well and in shape.  He was also able to speak not only perfect English and Spanish, but three other languages as well.

"I put it all down to the Goop," he told his astonished teammates.  "Frankly, two days of that stuff, and I felt like a millions bucks again.  Or, more precisely, the five million I'm gonna make this year.  That stuff is unreal."

Sanchez did not reveal the secret Goop Lab sanctuary he had emerged from, saying he wasn't even really sure where it was.

"There's a place for Goop somewhere," was all he could tell reporters.  "Peace and quiet, and open air.  It waits for us somewhere.  Really, that's all I know.  Gotta take a leak."

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Plague Theater: Roger 61!



 Holy Cow, this could be it!

A 50-game baseball season would be a travesty

Apparently, the NBA has a plan: Hold a dizzying set of playoffs, beginning in July, to distill 22 teams into one championship bracket, at the Magic Kingdom. Forget the regular season - a tiresome blah of exhibitions anyway - and let the best teams fight it out in short series. After all, pro basketball was always about do-or-die moments - the final minutes of the final games. That's what separated Michael Jordan. That's where Lebron became a legend. And it will work. Even without crowds, these games will captivate the nation. 

Alas, baseball has no such option. 

The poetic beauty of baseball has always been the length and breath of its long summer pennant race. Favorites stumble in April, catch fire in July. The phenom hits .350 in May, then enters his first soul-crushing slump in June. Heading into September, the race exhausts players and fans, and the great ones carry teams on their backs, as the end nears.  

There is nothing like a pennant race. 

It lives like the summer itself - endless, beautiful, always changing. It brings heroes and goats, miracles and tragedies. We still remember Yankees - Greg Golson, Slade Heathcott, Pat Kelly - for moments that inscribed them into our hearts. Long, hot seasons came to a point, and they delivered. That's baseball. 

A 50-game season? Shoot me. Has anyone really considered such an atrocity? 

A 50-game season barely allows pitchers time to get into shape. 

A 50-game season means rookies who never even go twice around the league.

A 50-game season means a slow-starting team can be done by the second month - (though, let's face it: expanded playoffs will destroy most of the drama, anyway.)

I'm sorry, folks. A 50-game season will flat-out suck. 

In today's Gray Lady, Bob Costas says in an interview that the lords of the game must move swiftly to save the 2020 season. I appreciate Costas' concern. Last year, when he broadcast a few Yankee games on YES, I came to realize how much I missed him. (You don't know what you got 'til it's gone, right?) 

Writes Tyler Kepner: 

A mini-season, in theory, is better than no season at all. But this seems as if the players would be dragged back to work for a mad dash to the postseason money spigot, even if some of them have concerns about the health risks. Under those circumstances, baseball could forfeit any good will bounce it might have gotten.

Amen. To save a meaningful pennant race, baseball needed to settle its differences last month. Instead, the owners and players went to their corners and played the old game of brinksmanship: Hold firm, clutch your wallet, and see who blinks first.

Well, I am hereby blinking. 

No 50-game season. That's no plan. They should all fuck off and come back in 2021.  

Virtual Baseball: Yanks Sink Mariners Again, Take Fourth Straight Series. DL Still On Lam.

J.A. Happ returned to form today in Seattle, throwing seven strong innings as the Yankees routed the Mariners, 7-2, taking their fourth straight series.  There Estrada and Brett Gardner each homered, in a relatively limited parade of roundtrips by the Yanks.  D.J. LeMahieu also hit a two-run triple, and started three double-plays at second base.

As the Yanks jetted home to New York, though, their disabled list remained at large, hidden somewhere in the secret compound that contains the Goop Lab, reputedly somewhere near the SAC Command deep in the Rocky Mountains.

As FBI agents, accompanied by Lonn Trost and Randy Levine, combed the mountain trails, the vast number of injured Yankees players remained at large and, presumably, gooped up.

What their ultimate fate will be can only be guessed.  But one thing all experts agree on is that it can scarcely be worse than that to be expected at the hands of the Yankees' crack training staff.    

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Plague Theater: HEATHCLIFF!



And now comes Miller Time!

James Paxton, great Yankee

Yesterday, James Paxton went on Instagram. Today, he is my favorite Yankee.

Here's what he said...

"My white privilege has allowed me to be oblivious to the true magnitude of oppression the black community faces. My silence to this point is also a product of my white privilege. I’m beginning to realize my privilege and ignorance. Time to listen, learn, and take action. #blacklivesmatter...
"I understand that I will never understand. However, I stand with you."
I must have missed the posts by Food Stamps Hal Steinbrenner. I can't seem to  find any. Same with Randy Levine, the former future candidate for White House chief of staff. Randy's lips are sealed. Yankee front office? Nuthin. Management? Tongue-tied.

Has anybody within the Yankee organization noticed that George Floyd's brother, Terrence, wears a Yankee cap in public?



Of course, New York sports franchises only seem to talk when there is money in it. The Knicks? Quiet as a mouse. The Giants? How about that Daniel Jones! The entire NFL? It's still trying to rewrite the story of Colin Kaepernick.

James Paxton stepped up.

Yeah, I know... baby steps. But now and then, in the matter of hope, that's all you get.

And today, Paxton is my favorite Yankee. 

Virtual Baseball: "We Want the Goop! Give Up the Goop Now!" Giancarlo, Gwynnie Liberate Yankees Rehab Camp!

In virtual baseball today, the New York Yankees surged to a 6-2 win in Seattle, even after Mariners' manager Scott Servaistheterrain got the umpires to force Yanks starter Masahiro Tanaka to remove the large binder clip holding his elbow ligament in place.  Mike Ford and Gio Urshela homered for the Yankees, who are currently on a clip to shatter last year's all-time record for most home runs in a season.

But the big news in Yankeeland today was the surprise raid on the team's rehabilitation complex in Tampa, Florida.

A motorcade of ambulances, sirens screaming, smashed through the rehab's front gates, with their  plaque inscribed with the facility's famous motto, "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here."

Leading the convoy, heads sticking out of the first ambulance's sun roof, were Giancarlo Stanton, the man of knowledge, his whereabouts unknown for the past few weeks, and former-actress-turned-quack-notions-peddler, Gwyneth Paltrow.

Stanton, dressed in a shimmering coat of many colors, and Paltrow, arrayed completely in white, held submachine guns on the complex's guards and its current lead physicians, Drs. Behrens and Krokowski.

The players seemed eager to hobble, stagger, crawl, and wheel themselves to the waiting ambulances, though.  Most pathetic of all was a 90-pound Jacoby Ellsworth, who was reportedly still being kept in an isolation unit known as "The Hole" until he settled the Yankees' lawsuit against him on the team's terms, and who had to be helped along by two attendants.

In a video statement released afterwards by Stanton and Paltrow, they revealed that the players have been taken to an undisclosed location.  There, they will be nursed back to health—"true health this time, not just so they play a couple games then pop something again"—mostly through application of new salves invented by Ms. Paltrow's Goop Lab.  The balms in question have been named, respectively, "Pinstriped Goop," "Bronx Goop," and "Goop-goop-a-joop."

"Damn, didn't see that coming," shrugged Yankees creature Lonn Smith Trost on hearing of the mass breakout.

Asked how many players had been in the facility, fellow Yankees creature Randy Levine sighed and told reporters, "Geez, I dunno, 14, 15?  What, you expect me to keep track of that?  These guys are always gettin' hurt!"

Tampa police had no leads on the whereabouts of the players and their abductors, but then the force noted that it had not had any leads at all since 1976.












Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Plague Theater: Bobby Richardson is there!



A few feet, either way...

The big wheel turns, and the Yanks jettison 45

Yesterday, the Yankees - richest team in baseball, by far: estimated worth of $5 billion, according to Forbes - released 45 minor league players, cutting their June payroll by about $72,000. Chickenfeed, eh?

Almost all are no-names, lost boys that you never knew. The one name that leaps out is Austin DeCarr, a third-round pick from a few years back, who couldn't stay healthy. So it goes. After all the work, the discipline and the devotion to a dream, professional baseball remains a cosmic lottery: One torn tendon, one weakened elbow.. and - poof - it's over. All that potential, all that excitement through high school, all that future fame and glory, the certainty of the cheerleaders - gone. Time to sell insurance.  

Though it's sad to see dreams die, this is merely a rite of June - the annual culling of the herd. The Yankees are doing what they always do - and what everyone does, actually: Cutting players, who will be replaced later this month by newly drafted youngsters. Shedding skin. It's time for a new crop of young men, each convinced of his infallibility, each who will slowly learn the terror of dealing with balls that actually curve in mid-flight. They will devote themselves to the game. They will play the lottery. 

These day, everything feels so different. At least 20 cities will lose minor league teams forever; they won't even get a chance to officially say goodbye. The owners are now reportedly proposing a 50-game MLB season, ending around Halloween, with the playoffs in southern climates. Considering the state of American cities, and the chance for continued unrest, can a made-for-TV baseball season actually reclaim relevance? Can baseball matter?

Well, I sure dunno. I respect the idea that a few extremely overpaid suits - fearing they could end up like the unfortunate 45 - are seeking to negotiate a 2020 season. I suppose we should support them, but fukkit: My heart is not in this. A four-month season? I see four months until the election. Things are going to get much worse. Tanks in America cities?

I hope the 45 ex-Yankee farmhands can find last chances, perhaps with other teams. Supposedly, the Yankee system is deeper than most, so maybe a few can hook-up with a franchise and keep the dream alive. Someday, maybe they'll take revenge upon their former employer. It will make a nice story, even if told at our expense. I just hope we'll be around to appreciate it. 

Virtual Baseball: A Hero Arises in the West!

With the entire Yankees organization downcast over the comatose state of John Sterling, a bolt of energy hit the Karz for Kidz broadcast booth in Seattle this evening.  Into the booth stepped permanent acting broadcaster Walt "Clyde" Frazier, available now that the New York Knicks failed to even come close to making had been eliminated from the NBA playoffs.

"Dry your eyes, Suzy, you're broadcasting with a doozy," Clyde announced to the whimpering Waldman.

When asked how it was that he could adjust to a baseball broadcast, Frazier replied, "Calling the Knicks is like speaking in bricks.  Calling the Yankees, there's no need for hankies."

Frazier expected that he would have no trouble picking up certain nuances of the game, such as judging whether or not a ball is a home run: "If you watch the feet, you know if it'll hit a seat."

Clyde's first game was less than eventful, as Seattle coasted to a 5-2 win over Deivi Garcia, but he did impart the insight that, "Deivi is gravy, when Paxton is back in."  When Gio Urshela hit a two-run homer for the Yankees' only runs, Frazier remarked:  "Gio Urshela is better than Roy Gerela"—then laughed, "Hey, c'mon, it's my first day!"

Dressed in a brilliant chartreuse suit with a matching rose tie, Frazier seemed to be in an ebullient but smooth move, and before the contest was out Suzyn Waldman seemed happier than she had been since John Sterling first went into the hospital for tests.  Followed by an operation, and then a coma.

"It's okay, Big John, we're just keeping your groove on," Clyde told Yankees fans, while Suzyn giggled helplessly by his side.




Monday, June 1, 2020

Plague Theater: Cerone v. Steinbrenner



With Humble Howard doing the play-by-play.

Is baseball worth it?

Watching the sad and horrific scenes unfold this weekend across the country, I realized that, come Monday, I would have nothing to say about Aaron Judge.

I cannot remember a time when the Yankees, or pro sports overall, seemed so irrelevant. Anybody who thinks baseball will magically heal the wounds of this nation, they're dreaming. 

In the next few days, the lords of the game must either reach an agreement, or cancel the 2020 season entirely. 

I say, cancel. 

Maybe on the other side of this pandemic, there can be a game worth playing, a sport worth following, a team worth caring about. But in its current form, Major League Baseball is not worth preserving. 

Virtual Baseball: Schmidt and Mitts Nip Seraphim. THE MASTER IN COMA!

Some nifty fielding today helped the Virtual New York Yankees to pull out a 7-4 win over the Angels Once Known As California Near Los Angeles By Anaheim, today.

Yankees rookie Clarke Schmidt pitched well enough over six inning to notch his second major-league win, and Mike Tauchman and Miguel Andujar homered for the visiting New Yorkers.  It also helped that Yankees pitchers intentionally walked Mike Trout every time they faced him, once even though it meant forcing in a run.

But the biggest factor in the game today was some nifty fielding, particularly by Gio Urshela, whose great grab of a hard smash down the third base line by Albert Pujols started a 5-2-3 triple play.  Andujar's laser-like throws from left also erased one of the Heavenly Host at home, and another at second base.

The win left the Pinstripers at 16-12 for the merry, merry month of May, and 38-22 overall—though still eight games behind the tepid Tampa Bay Rays.

Yet there was no joy in Yankeeville, after news arrived that beloved broadcaster John Sterling had been put into an induced coma, following his seven-hour long distance-impairment operation by Dr. Olu Bogadon, the distinguished brain surgeon of the internet.

"All we can do now is pray," Dr. Bogadon told reporters.  "And, of course, make propitiatory sacrifices to Baron Samedi and Maman Brigitte."

The extent of Sterling's coma is currently unknown, and will depend upon signs of improvement.  For the duration, Sterling, whose birth name was Ishke Bibble, will be cared for at the Hebrew Home for the Aged at Riverdale.  The Hebrew Home for the Aged, caring for you in those senior moments, for over a hundred years.  Now under the management of Kars for Kids.



Sunday, May 31, 2020

Plague Theater: The comedy team of Swisher and Papelbonn



Actually, one of the better ones...

Plague Theater: Andy picks off the Mariners



Buhner and Tino, too.

Virtual Baseball: Abreu Abysmal But Yanks Yank Out Win! UN Intervenes in AL! The Master Goes Under the Knife!

In yet another tumultuous day and evening—is there any other kind in Virtual Baseball?—the New York Yankees rallied despite another virtually awful start from virtual prospect Albert Abreu, edging the Anaheim Angels Near Los Angeles, 9-8, in 12 innings.  


Abreu was awful, and a titanic, grand-slam home run by Mike Trout put the Celestials up by 6-2 in just the third inning.  But the Yankees rallied behind home runs by Mike Ford and The Matador, Miguel Andujar, and a two-run single by Gio Urshela tied the game in the ninth.  The winning run came on a rare squeeze bunt in the twelfth by Kyle Holder, after which Manager Ma Boone was fined the mandatory $10,000 by MLB for daring to play small ball.

Meanwhile, the decision by the Cherubim to start Dylan "Ted" Bundy tonight officially triggered a global alert.  The UN promptly declared the American League a "pitching-free zone," with all that implies, and the General Assembly was called into special session to see what could be done about this situation.  Relief in the form of additional relief pitchers and breaking-pitch instructors were among the options being weighed to keep the AL from slipping deeper into disaster.

Back in New York, meanwhile, renowned brain surgeon Dr. Olu Bogadan was flown in from Port-au-Prince to operate on beloved Yankee broadcaster John "The Master" Sterling, for his potentially fatal, cranial distance-assessment condition.  

The surgery took over seven hours, or about the time of an average major-league game this season.  Sterling is reported to be resting comfortably, but Dr. Bogadan warned that, "There's no predicting the results of brain surgery on a distance-impaired individual."

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Covid-19 Baseball


There will be no more of this " hanky pinky" with social distancing.

Will umpires call " foul" if the pitcher loads up the ball with Purell? 

Will holding a runner on first be outlawed?

Will fans still fight to catch or snare a foul ball ( how long do microbes live on cowhide)?  

I assume dome ceilings will be not allowed.  

Will the personal catering service to those in the Goldman Sachs seats be terminated?

Maintaining six feet of space between patrons lined at the sausage stand will result in a queue that goes around the stadium. Is that a proximity hazard?

Who is going to want to squeeze mustard out a previously used container?

Will players use protective gloves over their protective gloves? 

When is opening day?




Plague Theater: Jogginson Cano returns



Not the greeting he expected?

Mother of Mercy, Is This the End of Baseball?

Duque, our Peerless Leader, got me thinking with his last post, as he so often does.

I think he's right that this SHOULD be a great time for the Yankees to make hay while the sun shines—to use a very urban metaphor—and mold the next Yankees dynasty.

If the rest of baseball wants to melt down its minor leagues, pick up the best prospects they cut loose.  If the other owners want to fight it out on a new agreement, quietly let the old one die, and kill them with our monetary advantage.

But that's what team owners truly concerned about their brand and its long-term sustainability—not to mention their team's fans and communities—would do.  That's not how American capitalism operates these days, and it's not how that awful, soulless entity known as "MLB" has ever operated.

I have to agree with Carl Weitz about what WILL happen:  What we can actually expect is that Hal and the Family Greed will fall in line with the usual, standard short-term thinking and cartel-licking that has so reliably reduced American capitalism from world domination, to an institution unable to turn out toilet paper on demand during a national emergency.

But another question arises:  Is this the end of baseball as we know it?

I don't mean baseball baseball.  Some kids, somewhere, will always be playing that, if only on their X-boxes.

I mean organized, professional baseball.

As discussed here, any kind of 2020 season is still a longshot, and probably should be a nonstarter.  But who's to say this virus will go away anytime soon?  We could be looking at a silent ballpark in 2021, as well.

IF that happens—and I very much hope it DOESN'T—what do we have?

I get the feeling that the longer this goes on, the more everything will change in America.  Old habits, old allegiances, old ties (no, not those 1970s ties that were way too thick!), will be dropped.

Will we even recognize what the Yankees are in 2022?  Will Giancarlo Stanton still have a calf strain?  (I think we can count on the answer to the second question being "yes."  Some things never change.)

If two years go by with no baseball, will the owners and players ever be able to reach a new agreement?  And what then?

The players tried forming their own league before, back in 1890.  It almost worked.  They mortally wounded one of the two major leagues at the time—the old American Association—and nearly finished off the National League, as well.

What if, starting in 2022, major-league players get their own backers, and form their own league?

Sure, it would be hard getting hold of stadiums at first.  But hey, among other charming things little noted by our sporting press, the Yankees are planning to abandon the pretty little Staten Island ballpark they got us chumps to spend $30 million on.

Suppose a bunch of players decided to form new teams made up of their friends, joined them into a league, and played where they could?  Suppose we suddenly had the New York Gothams, or the Staten Island Isotopes, playing ball?

Maybe that wouldn't be such a bad thing.  Maybe it would be time for something new.

Hey, put this all down to a fever dream.  Chances are, the players and owners will reach an agreement.  Chances are, there's just too much money involved for them not to.

Chances are, we'll be right back where we were, later this year, or in 2021.

But I don't know.  If there's no baseball until 2022?  If that agreement somehow falls through?

I say, Go Goths!  Go Topes!
















Under the new reality, could the Yankees use their fiscal clout to build a dynasty?

Kudos, for now, to the Death Star. It is one of the teams still paying its minor league players and personnel $400 a week, according to the Murdoch Post. The Yankees are feeding families, and for that, they deserve a cheer. Hip-hip, hooray... for now, anyway. Says the Post...

According to reports the Mets, Dodgers, Marlins, Pirates, Rays, Brewers and Cardinals are paying their non-40-man roster minor leaguers $400 per week through June. And the Dodgers have help since lefty starter David Price is giving each non-40-man minor leaguer in the system $1,000.
As far as non-uniform personnel (front office, scouts, staff members, etc.), the Yankees recently told them they were going to pay them through June 15. NJ.com reported the news on May 26. In April the Yankees said they would look at the situation at the end of May.
So it goes. What's amazing in this golden, hedge-fund, money-ball era is that a player - the oft-maligned David Price - turns out to be the hero who saves his teammates. Seriously... do the Dodgers not have money? Ah, but I digress...

For years, the de facto salary cap - (alias the luxury tax) - has supplied the excuse for Food Stamps Hal Steinbrenner to refrain from using his billionaire's endowment to sign free agents. In their next labor agreement, MLB players have vowed to blow up the luxury tax system, but it might just be the 2020 season that goes up in flames, like a police precinct. Who knows what kind of financial structure will emerge in 2021? Not me.

Regardless of what happens, you'd think the Yankees would have a grand opportunity to fortify their system with the minor league talent being jettisoned by other franchises. This won't mean adding a star. But every year, a few career minor leaguers become valuable Yankees. In fact, Brian Cashman's greatest talent has been in finding scrap heap additions - Luke Voit, Ronald Torreyes, Mike Tauchman, Gio Urshela, Cameron Maybin, Mike Ford - and there might just be a few more out there looking for a home. 

Seems to me that this would be a great time for the Yankees to pay their people, to keep players and families intact, and to be a good employer. Four hundred dollars a week cannot mean much to Hal. It sure could make a difference to the next Mike Tauchman, and I believe it would pay off in spades. There are times to be smart. There are times to be righteous. This is a time when Hal will be measured for the person that he is. This is a time for him to rise. 

Virtual Baseball: The Curse of Anaheim Continues. Sterling Gets the News.

Not even J.A. Happ, the best pitcher in the American League so far this season, could salvage a win for the Yankees in Anaheim, as two home runs and a double by Mike Trout drove the Angels on to a 5-3 win.

Solo home runs by Gio Urshela and Mike Ford were just not enough to get the Yanks back in the game, ending their seven-game winning streak.

Meanwhile, the Yankees clubhouse was somber following the latest news regarding the Maestro of the broadcasting booth.

"We regret to announce that John Sterling, the Master, as he is frequently called, has been diagnosed with a rare brain disorder," Dr. ZaSu Pitts regretfully announced at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital this morning.

The disorder, which was announced with regret by Dr. Pitts, is known as Knievel Syndrome, and leaves victims congenitally unable to successfully estimate distances.

"Victims of this syndrome might never be able to successfully determine just how far certain flying objects might travel," Dr. Pitts continued, her announcement heavily tinged with regrets.  "Why, let's say he was trying to determine how far, oh, say a frisbee would go, or maybe a discus, or a shot-put, or the hammer.  Even a javelin!  Or let's say, one of those things they fling at a Celtic Fling.  Why, he would have no idea, the sorry son-of-a-bitch."

Sterling was immediately prepped for the incredibly dangerous surgery, despite his warning as he was being wheeled into the operating room that, "There's no predicting the affect of anesthesia on the human brain!"

The Yankees regretted to say that they had no announcement to make, but they did announce that they would regret having to make another announcement about their beloved broadcaster, should there be a regrettable turn of events that would necessitate such an announcement.









Friday, May 29, 2020

Plague Theater: Jorge stands his ground



Old-fashioned hardball.

“Being a really bad former player, I have a fairly good understanding of how these negotiations go back and forth. You just hope that both sides recognize and appreciate that in some capacity, everybody’s going to have to take some type of a setback here. It would be unrealistic to think that that would not happen.”

Supposedly, the owners and the owned have set a Monday deadline to cut a deal and save the 2020 "payback the Astros" baseball season. Don't believe it. They'll wheedle for at least another week, until somebody blinks. 

The above quote, from Tampa manager Kevin Cash, comes from today's Gray Lady. 

Virtual Baseball: More Fireworks at the Stadium! And Everywhere! Suzyn Brawls with Tim! Musk on Way to Mars! With Martian!!!

There have been some unusual days in this 2020 virtual baseball season, but perhaps none quite so weird as today.

The game—a 4-3 thriller won when Mike Tauchman tumbled over the right field fence to rob Miguel Sano of a potential, game-winning home run in the ninth inning—was the least of it.

Masahiro Tanaka and Jake Odorizzi hooked up in what was a downright pitchers' duel for this series and this season, both departing after the seventh in a 2-2 tie.  Tommy Kahnle then allowed a go-ahead home run to Jake Cave, but back-to-back doubles by D.J. LeMahieu and Miguel "El Matador" Andujar, put the Yanks out front in front once more.

Adam Ottavio, subbing for a tired Zach(k) Britton as closer, got two men out but let two men on, before Sano hit a blast that seemed headed for the seats.  Only Tauchman's Judgeian leap and catch kept it from going out.

The Yanks' seventh straight win—which cut the chafing-dish hot Tampa Bay Rays' lead in the AL East to nine games—was overshadowed, though, by other events both within and without the Stadium.

The big news was how Elon Musk, released from custody on one of Attorney General William Barr's new "Get Out of Jail Free Because I Say So" warrants, promptly seized control of his stranded Space X rocket and blasted off on his own, telling the control tower that he was planning to travel to Mars and set up the first human space colony there.

In anticipation of peopling his Martian civilization, Musk first kidnapped the Knicks City Dancers AND Jasson Dominguez, the Yankees prospect known as "The Martian."

"He really IS a Martian!" Musk was heard screaming as his spaceship left the atmosphere.  "There are TV antennae that come out of the back of his head!  It's true!  I've seen it!  To Mars with the Martian!  Bwahahahaha!"

Yankees GM Brian Cashman denied reports today that the Yankees had actually expedited Musk's kidnapping of their leading prospect because he was batting only .098 for the Pulaski Skyway Yankees, in the Appalachian Hollow Jug League.

"Bee hazards reeling!" Cashman told a reporter through his special, Eagle Protection gear.

When the reporter asked him, "What?" Cashman repeated, "He-has-a-high-ceiling!"—then crushed the man's larynx with his steel glove.

Meanwhile, back in the Bronx, Suzyn Waldman got into an intense argument with Special Kars-for-Kids Booth Guest Tim McCarver, who told her during the seventh-inning stretch that he had never much cared for the Yankees or the Steinbrenners, especially old George, who he described as "a loathsome bully with body odor."

Their heated argument soon turned to fisticuffs, and Stadium fans were treated to the sight of them tumbling out of the booth and onto the protective netting behind home plate while they continued to flail at each other.  They were stranded there for most of the next inning until Stadium personnel could rescue them, but they did return to finish out the game like the pros they are.

Afterwards they made it up, even enjoying a drink together at one of Yankee Stadium's many family whiskey bars.  Suzyn confessed that she may have been particularly on edge because of the latest medical reports concerning her erstwhile partner, John Sterling.

"I can't say anything," she sniffed, while putting back her third single-malt in ten minutes.  "But I think he's really in trouble.  There's no predicting the fate of 81-year-old masters with irregular brain patterns."