Saturday, September 25, 2021

Yanks beat Boston Yellowshirts! Now, will they roll over and give it right back?

The 2021 Yankees have proven to be a sexually compliant group - always seeking to provide a baseline of satisfaction for their on-field partners. 

If they dominate one night - scoring with abandon, and having their way at numerous positions - they'll show up next day ready to accept extreme degradation in order to supplicate their rivals. 

If the past is prelude, the Yankees will give back last night's victory, perhaps with chocolates and a promotional video. (Does Jeter have any leftover gift baskets?

This evening, we'll learn whether the Yankees are finally making their run, or they simply won a game last night and now will give it back.

Win today, and fears of a modern Boston Massacre will boil inside every Redsock Yellowshirt fan. Lose, and last night was just another false-positive.

Which Yankee team will show up?  

Which reminds me...  

1. Joey Gallo remains an enigma. Damn - he's such a K/W/HR - and yet he's a great fielder. Last night, early on, he ran down a shot into the corner, holding the hitter to a single. It meant runners on first and second, rather than second and third. Huge difference. Is there no way for this guy to alter his swing with two strikes and put more balls into play? Damn, if he could bat - say - .240, instead of .200...

2. Gerrit Cole's W-L record last night improved to 16-8, but because of that 3-run HR by Devers, his ERA increased slightly to 3.08. Today, Robbie Ray goes for Toronto. If he pitches well, Ray would almost wrap up the Cy Young award. But if he gets whacked - well... Either way, they'll each at least get one more start.

3. Today, it's Nasty Nestor (4 innings?) and Michael King (three?). If they make it to the eighth, it'll be mix-and-match. (I doubt Mean Chad Green goes two straight nights.) But if we have a shot - spoiler alert: It's Aroldis in the ninth, seeking to close the Gates of Hell. We always knew 2021 would boil down to that. Here it comes.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Why We Fight

Update from Mustang: Most of the links in this post don't work anymore. You must take their claims at face value.

This is an El Duque post from 2019:

Tonight, we once again battle the big-spending, hate-filled, deep-state Redsocks - a franchise steeped in racism and violence, which for decades preferred to blame its defeats on a supernatural, anti-God, anti-America "curse," rather than its own failed policies.

These are horrible, wretched, human beings, the absolute worst, whose treasonous attempts to hurt the Yankees are an attack upon America. These monsters in human form should be investigated by MLB and made examples of, by spending the rest of their lives in prison, where they can't do any more damage. They are enemies of the people, and the mere wearing of their illegal "B" caps in public represents a breakdown of basic morality and an affront to our democracy.

Did I mention that they are liars, and anything they say - such as denying the above words - proves everything I'm saying is right! Trouble is, the Boston-leaning announcers on YES never give the Yankees a break. Did you know that the traitorous David Cone, at the end of his career, sold out and pitched for Boston? 

Tonight, as we take up arms against this red tide of human scum, we must show them that we have not forgotten their evil history.


Red Sox complicity in U.S. torture flights

They fed their own fans prison food

They're bigger racists than Joe Torre ever was

Their groundskeepers are thugs


Varitek clawed A-Rod's face, kept his own mask on

Schilling poured ketchup on his sock, called it blood

They decapitate their players when they're done with them


Big Papi had it in for Joba for no reason

They tried to freeze out John and Suzyn.

They can't lose a game without whining about something.


Damn them. Demand that the pro-Redsock YES announcers give the Yankees a fair break! Tonight, we fight.


This back page is why we became Yankee fans

10 Questions for the season's final 10 days (Note: Some are not questions)

 1. Will Boston fans give Brett Gardner a nice ovation in his final at-bat in Fenway? Ever since they started ruling the "rivalry," the Redsock fan bros have sought to be magnanimous with retiring Yanks. (Two caveats. A, They are still assholes. And B, are we sure Gardy will retire?)

2. Is the Yankee-Redsock thing an actual "rivalry" any more? Boston crushed us this year. We remain the "2009 World Champions." Considering the near brawl yesterday between the Rays and Jays, that playoff match-up looks far nastier. Let's face it: The Yankees - 2009 World Champions - and the Redsocks are comprised of millionaires who golf together over the winter.

3. Should we bother to opine about winter moves until a new collective bargaining agreement takes shape? Baseball is probably headed toward a strike or lockout. The players union is still boiling over how the owners turned luxury taxes into a salary cap. Without their financial advantage, the 2009 World Champion Yanks have surfed mediocrity now for 12 years. Until the new contact is set, why waste valuable drinking time by pondering Trevor Story? (Whom I pray we don't sign, by the way.)

Joey Gallo
4. Oh, fuck dat, let's speculate. They'll have to sign somebody, just to save face. Still, aren't the 2009 World Champion Yankees' hands tied this winter? Nobody - not even Elon Musk - would want to assume the contracts for Giancarlo Stanton, Aroldis Chapman and DJ LeMahieu - and that's $60 million. Add Gerrit Cole, whom they must not trade, and there's $96 million - half the payroll -  tied up. They can write-off Zack Britton's $15 mill, but Aaron Judge's payday is coming. Plus Jigsaw Gallo? Yeesh. It's a mess. 

5. Isn't Cole just two quality starts away from the 2021 AL Cy Young Award? Right now, it's Cole or Robbie Ray of Toronto. If Cole beats Boston and the Blue Jays, he wins, hands down. Look at the numbers. No contest. Unless he gets blasted...  

6. After an uneventful premier season, will Jasson Dominiquez - our favorite Martian - maintain his fantastical prospect status? This year, age 18, he hit .252 with 5 HRs at low Single A Tampa. It wasn't terrible. It wasn't Mantle, either. The Yankees relentless hyped this kid through 2020, and I believe they used him to justify draining their farm system in August. (They kept assuring us they were keeping their best prospects - him and Anthony Volpe.) Well, is he real, or is he Melian? (Jackson Melian, look him up.)

7. Am I alone, or is the Redsocks' willingness to wear those silly yellow uniforms - which they are associating with a seven-game winning streak - a sign of nerves? Are they really choosing superstition over tradition? If so, all we need do is win tonight. Maybe it's their turn to ride the roller coaster.

8. Until Aroldis Chapman pitches a strong ninth in Fenway, he remains a dice roll. Frankly, I'd prefer Wandy Peralta. Still, let's give el Chapo credit: He's third in the AL in saves, with 28, and most ordained "nine-inning closers" have less than 20. This season has been a killer for closers.

9. Will John and Suzyn return in 2022? I have a feeling - a tingling spider sense - that this it, win or lose. That flood event, when Ricky Ricardo rescued The Master, was a warning sign. The guy is 83. He cannot be dealing with traffic jams and air travel. I think Suzyn would retire with him. We might be seeing the end of an era. Roll the tape recorders.

10. Should we not assume that, by now, every MLB player playing in October has been vaccinated? Would it not be crazy if a team - (looking at you, Tampa) - is decimated by Covid quarantines in the post-season? 

Thursday, September 23, 2021

How to Enjoy Our Current In-Season Post Season

First of all, congratulations are in order. It’s been a GREAT year and, to no surprise of anyone here, we have made the playoffs once again!  

MLB, with their never-ending wisdom and marketing genius, has once again altered the playoff format to everyone’s benefit.  

This year, instead of a play-in game to get to the Post Season we have the first In-Season Post Season. The ISPS is a round robin tournament that pits the top four teams in the AL East against each other in a death struggle to get to the play in game that gets the winner into the first round of the playoffs.

The Yankees will play nine games, needing to win only seven of them to advance. Get your popcorn ready. This is as close to what we old people used to call Real Playoff Action!

So, let’s talk about getting the most out of our ISPS experience

3 Games in Boston!

Tomorrow night the Yankees will be in Fenway, the site of the Bucky Dent Home Run. 

For you kids out there it was a one game playoff back when there were no playoffs to get to the playoffs to get to the playoffs.

But this blog post is not about just about watching them play in Fenway, where nothing ever goes wrong, and every lead is safe. This is about having fun!

Boston Tips

1) Find A Comfortable Place To Sit

Games against the Red Sox can last as long as a cricket match between India and Pakistan and contain the same amount of good vibes. You might as well be comfortable. 

Think of it like this, you are flying from LA to Melbourne Australia. Do you want to sit in coach in-between two fat guys with Covid or do you want to sit in first class next to a hot chick with chlamydial?  Sure it's not going to go well in the end but...

2) Pace Yourself

If you are going to drink alcohol, pacing yourself is VERY important. Don’t drink pre-game. By the time you reach the later innings you will be blackout drunk. 

Actually, being blackout drunk for Chapman’s meltdown in the 9th is not that bad an idea.  I’ll leave it up to you.

That said, it might be best to tie your consumption to on-field events.

Passed ball? Drink!

Gleyber throws late to first?  Drink!

DJ doesn’t move a guy up? Drink Twice! Once for the failure and once for the sadness of dealing with DJ’s decline.  

He was "The Machine" damnit!  Now, every time he comes to bat, I feel like I used to on cold February mornings in Brockport NY (Where the only thing in between the winds of Canada, made even more frigid by Lake Ontario, and Rochester, was my face.) and I’d sit in my Plymouth Fury and beg, “Please start. Please start. Please start.”

You’ll be drunk by the third inning.

And finally…

3) Buy a TV

Usually there are specials on electronics around the Super Bowl for viewing parties but that’s not what I’m talking about.  Chances are you have a nice big screen 4K or 5K TV already. I’m suggesting you go to Target and pick up a couple of 45 inchers for around 200 bucks each.

These are for destroying in the late innings.

Boone takes out Holmes after a 7-pitch inning to put in Heaney? You take out a TV.

Greene give up a two-run bomb with two outs and two strikes on Rafael Devers. You bomb a TV.

There is something very satisfying and dare I say Elviserating about this act.  

--- 

I’d write about having fun watching the ISPS against the Blue Jays but we’re not getting out of Fenway so what’s the point?

Enjoy!

I believe we have seen the last of Luke Voit playing first base... and other off-day ponderings

Someday, Luke Voit will be the answer to a great barroom trivia question: 

Who was the 2020 Covid home run king?

Also, as long as there are baseball card conventions and airport Ramadas, he will never starve. 

But last night, after watching him mosquito-slap one ball and throw away another - (a veritable Clint Frazier fielding display, then to be pulled by Aaron Boone, a rarity) - who here does not think he's done at 1B, at least this year? From here on, no more debate, no more squawking... it's Andrew Rizzo.  

Personally, I hope Luke has a comeback year in 2022, wherever he plays. And maybe he has a comeback weekend in Boston or Toronto. The Redsocks' Sunday starter will be LH Eduardo Rodriguez, and maybe Luke will DH. But for three years now, he's been a linebacker playing first, and that cannot happen anymore. He looks like a circus strongman, and, lately, he's been swinging a dead mallet. I won't blame him for the failure of Gleyber Torres at SS, but a DH playing first didn't help. Barring an injury, I don't think we'll ever see him play 1b again in a Yankee uniform.

So... an off-night and then... here we go.

Friday, Gerrit Cole v. Yankee killer Nathan Eovaldi. WTF with Eovadli? How did the guy come to hate us? You'd think we traded him for a butt plug, when all we did was not re-sign him. Still, a major fuck-up by Cashman. But this game is on Cole: If he pitches as he did against Cleveland, we're screwed, and it's over. We'll be three behind Boston with eight to play. This is the absolute most critical game of 2021, and we'll have our ace. No excuses. I hope Cole's dad shows up and brings the sign.

Saturday, Nasty Nestor v Nick Pivetta (9-7, 4.63). One of those 4:10 p.m. starts, which the Yankees seem to fumble away. That could put an evening shadow between the mound and home plate - a nasty shadow. If we won Friday, I like our chances here, because Nestor looks like the type who thrives under pressure. He reminds me of Luis Tiant and Bartolo Colon; in three years, he'll be one of those tubby, froglike pitchers who defy the portrait of a professional athlete. A strong outing on the national stage could create the Legend of Nasty Nestor. But if we're already down one game - that is, if we lost Friday - Boston will be on stilts. The rout could be on. 

Sunday, Jordan Montgomery v. Eduardo Rodriguez. Though Monty's the better pitcher, momentum will be everything, by then. We're ahead 2-0, I like our chances. If we're down 0-2, forgetaboutit. 

If we're tied at 1-1, it'll be on Monty, and who knows? But we have our best three pitchers locked and loaded, ready to go. No excuses. 

I hate it that we will apparently miss Chris Sale in this series. I think Boston wants to save him for a wild card game - if we're lucky enough to make it. We won't have seen him. That would be a problem - one I'd like to have. 

Finally, there is the matter of Aroldis. He can dominate. Or he can kill us. Same with Mean Chad Green. Hell, same with everybody in the bullpen. A little surprised that Boone went with El Chapo last night. I understand him wanting Aroldis to stay sharp, but I thought it a perfect chance to try Domingo German. He will be a "break glass" emergency pitcher in Boston.  

But not Luke. I do not think we will ever again see him play 1B for the Yankees. 

R.I.P. Glove of Stone.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Game 152: The Blue Jays lost today

 


Can the Yankees sweep Boston at Fenway? Gulp - they may have to.

In the bottom of every fast-food takeout bag sits The Last Fry. 

You must dig deep to find it, but it's always there. It's petite and shriveled, but way down there, it absorbed all that salt and grease from the order - your last chance at a heart attack! - and it's worth excavating for the sheer taste and satisfaction.  

Since baseball, as we all know, is a metaphor for life, I submit that this last tiny fry represents the final MLB Wild Card playoff berth. 

We can still find it. We can still raise it. We can still suck on it. But in the end, it's just going to sit in our gut and make us sweat.

Ten games left - nine against teams that sadistically put us in this limbo. And if we end up tied, we won't be handed The Last Fry. 

That's on us, by the way. We couldn't beat Boston - 6-10 on the season - which in other years would be, by itself, a reason for self-loathing. Nor could we beat Toronto - also 6-10 - and if we somehow win the season against Tampa - we are 7-9 - it will only be because they've clinched everything and honestly don't give a fuck about humiliating us anymore. 

Every AL East tie-breaker scenario leaves the Yankees without a seat when the music stops. Unless we steal a game tonight - that is, we win and Boston loses - the Yankees must sweep at Fenway, and for all its ups and downs, this team does not display that kind of heroism. 

In fact, if I had to pick the True Yankee Hero of 2021, it would be radio announcer Ricky Ricardo, who braved a flood to save The Master. Nobody has beaten that performance - or even come close.

Thoughts heading into the vortex: 

1. All this otherworldly happy talk about returning pitchers - Tailon, Loaisiga, German, Severino, Kriske - has a weird Sunset Boulevard vibe, and I feel like William Holden, stuck at the bottom of the bannister while the old lady creeps my way.  The YES announcers act as if something incredible is about to happen - the My Pillow guy has nothing on them - as all these Olympians make comebacks.

Sure, if they all return and pitch well - (while we're at it, let's add El Chapo, Mean Chad and Kluber!) - it would be a formidable boost. But they'll have to self-resurrect in Fenway, or the Rogers Center, without showing any rust, to pitch at the top of their game. 

Right now, here is our staff:

Cole (coming off his catastrophic loss)
Montgomery (holding firm)
Nasty Nestor (starting to crack?)
Kluber (improving, maybe?)
Fifth starter - Heany, King, Green, Holmes, Luetge, Peralta, Rodriguez, Abreu, Rodriguez and Severino.
Closer - Aroldis Chapman (don't get me started.)

Obviously, we can use an infusion. But parachuting guys from the IL directly into Fenway? Yeesh.

2. While we're yeeshing... check out Boston's stats over the last 15 days. Yikes.

Frankly, I don't know what to make of this. If Bobby Dalbec has finally arrived - and he's a .300 hitter - well, this blog should start devoting itself to Bridgerton, because we are fucked. Also, they have won without Rafael Devers and/or JD Martinez, and those two guys always kill us. 

Can we hold three ninth inning leads against this team... in Fenway? I'll be happy if we can take two in Boston, then two against Toronto, then two against Tampa. We go 7-3 down this stretch and hope the tie-breaker doesn't kill us. 

And if we lose tonight, we're probably never going to find The Last Fry. It must have burst out of the bottom of the bag.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Game 151: Voit still in time-out

 


It's time to talk about Dermis

In the summer of 2014 - as America was discovering Toy Story 3 and Ed Sheeran -  MLB began moving to a cap on international free agent signings - (a move that effectively killed the Yankees last financial advantage, by the way.) 

Thus, the franchise brain trust adopted a one-off strategy:

The Yankees would spend about $20 million to sign about two dozen teens - mostly 16-year-old Latinos (though Hoy Park, now of the Pirates, was also one. Estevan Florial is another.  Then, they watched most of them fizzle. 

In this class, the guy who got the most money was a strapping 6'3" 3B named Dermis Garcia, (the only "Dermis" I ever heard of. (Once, in a Woody Allen satire in The New Yorker, he wrote a Greek tragedy with a character called Epidermis, which I thought quite funny.) Dermis was said to possess first-round draft pick power (which made him, gulp, the next Jesus Montero, eh?) 

And that's pretty much his story over the last six years. For most of that time, Dermis was a dud. He hovered at Single A, moved to 1B (too big to play 3B) and hit tape measure HRs, just not enough of them. In 2019, he whacked 17 HRs and batted .247. He missed all of the pandemic year, 2020. 

This weekend, at Double A Somerset, Dermis hit his 31st HR, a franchise record. His  batting average is .210, the OPS at .793. Unfortunately, he has fanned 168 times - (that MUST be a franchise record) - more than one every third appearance. 

He is a young (23) cheap Joey Gallo. Three outcomes - HR, K, BB. He's definitely got power. (I have no clue of his defense.) 

So, do the Yankees protect him this winter on the 40 man roster? Do they trade him? What to do about Dermis? 

It's important to have a player with skin in the game.

Badabadoom.

Thoughts at the edge of the 2021 Yankee precipice

Last night, as the ongoing mediocrity known as the Texas Rangers steadily chipped away at our four-run lead - (while we continually went down 1-2-3) - the revelation hit me: 

Holy shit, this is it! 

Lose to these bozos, and we'd fall three behind Boston and - gulp - be tied with Oakland, creating a mathematical clusterfuck for the last Bud Selig wild card. 

Lose to these unvaccinated, backwoods cretins, and we'd practically need to run the table next week, and - I'm sorry, folks, but that's more toad sweat than I prefer to lick. Ryan McBroom doesn't live here anymore. We traded him for a pack of cigarettes. The Yankees are not going to steamroll Boston and Toronto like General Sherman, who - by the way - is now a tree. 

Also, let's not kid ourselves into thinking Tampa - with no stakes in the final series - will lie down against us. If anything, they'll revel in our looming demise. 

Tampa hates us with the heat of a billion suns, and that red tide souring their beaches just made them meaner.  They might phone in the final game, but they'd happily torture the NY team that steals their mojo every March. 

In the meantime, some thoughts at the edge of the 2021 precipice: 

1. Am I the only one who thinks the notion of Luis Severino pitching is the biggest sign of unbridled desperation since Trump hired Rudy? I mean, no rehab games, he just throws some bullpen sessions, and they bring him in? That's crazy! Sure, it'd be nice to see "Setback Sevy" again, but to have him shake off two years of rust and pitch in a high-leverage moment in a critical game? Dear god, everything we feared about this team... it's worse.

2. Nasty Nestor (Octavio) Cortez has been a wonderful surprise in a season of moldy breadcrumbs. But the drunk doesn't last forever. Last night, he wriggled out of a first-inning jam that, in retrospect, could have cost us the game. Then he imploded in the fifth. I don't know what playoff rotation Boone would use - we'll probably never know - but it would be nice if Nestor could pitch out of the bullpen. I think he's a three or four-inning guy, and we're going to need a few.

3. Aroldis Chapman threw a 1-2-3 ninth and looked somewhat dominant. Michael Kay shouted, "THE STARE IS BACK!" which sounded like the kid on Christmas morning, unwrapping the horseshit and yelling, "THERE MUST BE A PONY." Also, I say "somewhat dominant" because if the leadoff batter - a catcher who had struck out three times - had simply not swung the bat, he would have walked. And we all know what happens when El Chapo walks the leadoff man. 

4. Once again, the Yankees scored early and then napped. During the 13-game winning streak, they often snapped out of the doldrums by stealing bases. Now, with Tyler Wade and Andrew Velasquez safely removed from game action, they're back to inching glacially, base-to-base, and going nowhere. (Last night, DJ LeMahieu stood at second, choosing not to challenge their CF on a long fly nearly to the warning track; maybe it was a smart move, I dunno, nobody wants to get thrown out at third. But yeesh, that's our team now, slow and tiresome.)

5. Here are the Yankee batting averages over the last 15 days. As you see, nobody is hot. Nobody. And you're not imagining that our best hitter has gone somewhat cold.




Monday, September 20, 2021

For No Reason At All

 


Comment of the day: "This team needs to be dissected and analyzed for posterity."

(This arrived in today's comments, from ZacharyA. It's worth its own post.)

This team needs to be dissected and analyzed for posterity.

Can any of you remember a previous team with championship aspirations where EVERY SINGLE position player got worse at the same time? And it wasn't due to age.

I'm honestly more fascinated than angry. I want someone to do a deep dive investigation on this team. How did an entire position player core start rotting at the same moment?

Let's go player by player:

Gary Sanchez (Age 28)
Gary hit .299/.376/.657 in his debut season, finishing second in the Rooke of the Year race. In 2017, he hit .278/.345/.531 and made the All Star team. And now? Gary has hit .191 over the last two years, he no longer has 30-HR power, and defensively he's unplayable.

Luke Voit (Age 30)
Luke came over to the Yankees and was the best hitter on the planet down the stretch in 2018. He had a decent 2019 and finished 9th in MVP voting in 2020. And now? OPS under .800 and so sloppy defensively the Yankees had to trade for another first baseman.

Gleyber Torres (Age 24)
Gleyber debuted with back-to-back All Star seasons, blasting 38 HR in his sophomore year and being crowned one of the best young players in the game. And now? Gleyber carries a pedestrian .325 OBP and pitiful .349 SLG and is so bad defensively the Yankees had to pull him off shortstop at age 24.

Gio Urshela (Age 29)
A true Brian Cashman miracle, Urshela burst onto the scene with a .314/.355/.534 batting line in 2019 and a very strong .298/.368/.490 in 2020. And now? Gio has a .297 OBP and his SLG has dropped by more than 100 points since his first season with the club. Here's another thing. FanGraphs has a fancy baserunning statistic called BsR, which "turns stolen bases, caught stealings, and other base running plays (taking extra bases, being thrown out on the bases, etc) into runs above and below average." I'm not going to get too into this statistic here but Gio Urshela ranks dead last among all AL players in BsR. He hasn't simply been a bad baserunner, he's been the league's worst. (Remember BsR, because we will revisit it shortly.)

DJ LeMahieu (Age 32)
One of the best signings of the Cashman era, DJ LeMahieu finished in the Top-5 MVP voting in 2019 and 2020, hitting .336/.386/.536 in 850+ PA. He won back-to-back Silver Slugger awards. And now? His SLG has fallen more than 150 points and he no longer drives in runs (did you remember that LeMahieu had 100 RBI in 2019?). The man who was a 2020 MVP finalist is now a below-average offensive player (99 OPS+).

Miguel Andújar (Age 26)
Andujar hit .297/.328/.527 in his debut, gathering 27 home runs and 47 doubles. He was a mess defensively, but was still a 3-WAR player because of his bat. Now? Over the past three years, Andujar has hit .228/.257/.331 (.588 OPS), can't stay healthy, and doesn't have a defensive position.

Clint Frazier (Age 26)
Nothing but a part-time player at best from 2017 to 2019, Frazier hit a mediocre .254/.308/.463 in around 400 PA. But in 2020, he got a chance to play full time and he soared. Frazier hit .267/.394/.511 and incredibly was a Gold Glove finalist. And now? Frazier hit .186/.317/.317 this season, forgot how to catch the ball again, and may have suffered career-ending concussion symptoms.

Aaron Hicks (Age 31)
From 2017 to 2018, Hicks hit .255/.368/.470 (.838 OPS) in 950 PA. He showed power and patience, stole a few bases, and played strong defense. Yes, there were injury concerns, but Hicks was almost a five-tool player if you squinted. And now? Hicks hit .194/.294/.333 this season before suffering a season-ending injury for the second time in three years.

Giancarlo Stanton (Age 31)
In his final season with the Marlins, Stanton hit .281/.376/.631, blasted 59 HR, and won the MVP Award. From 2014-2017, Stanton hit .271/.366/.573 (.939 OPS). That's what the Yankees were hoping for when they acquired him. And now? Stanton is hitting .270/.355/.498 (.853 OPS), which is good but not $325M good. Additionally, the 31-year-old is too fragile to play the field more than once or twice a week. (Stanton was a Gold Glove finalist the season before coming to New York.) And remember that baserunning stat I mentioned before? BsR. Well, Urshella has the lowest BsR in the American League and Stanton is directly behind him as the second worst runner in the league.

Aaron Judge (Age 29)
Judge burst onto the season with his historic rookie season, hitting .284/.422/.627 with 52 HR, 114 RBI, 128 R, and quality defense. And now? In his first fully healthy season since 2017, Judge has hit .284/.369/.531, which is excellent but clearly a stepback from his initial season. He's only driven in 85 RBI and scored 78 runs, which is more on his teammates than him. But still weird to see. Defensively is where things have really taken a hit, as Judge has gone from Gold Glove finalist (2017, 2019) to completely average in the field.

I won't type up a paragraph on Brett Gardner since he's 38 and decline is expected. 

I've never seen anything like this before. A team of talented players in their primes all declining at the same time: offensively, defensively, and on the basepaths. I'll repeat that Aaron Judge is having a good season. Without him, this team is sub-.500. But even he can't escape the plague of talent drain that has hit this position player group.

HoraceClarke66: "It's true. Edna St. Vincent Millay predicted the Yankees 2021 season

 (From the tortured mind of HoraceClarke66...)


As your New York Yankees slowly circle the drain, we here at
IIHIIFIIC will continue to honor our pledge to entertain you with little-know facts from Yankees history.

 For instance:  did you know that the American poet Edna St. Vincent Millay predicted the Yankees awful 2021 season over a hundred years ago?

 It’s true!

 Many people are aware, of course, that Millay, the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for poetry, was an avid Yankees fan and baseball annie. Babe Ruth, a lifelong admirer, was known to have said on many occasions:

 “That little bohemian poetess was the only broad who could ever drink me under the table. And dammit, she could write a sonnet like Shoeless Joe Jackson could hit a baseball!” 

Nonetheless, the literary world was startled recently when previously undiscovered drafts of what became some of Millay’s most memorable work revealed a remarkable prescience about the disasters that would afflict the Pinstripers’ 2021 campaign.

There was, for instance, her initial attempt at “First Fig”:

“Our pitching sucks at both ends;
It will not last the year.
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
Let’s have another beer.”

Some critics have noted that this verse, which was written in 1920 in red crayon, could have been referring to almost any pitching staff, anywhere, anytime. But as baseball historians have pointed out, the Yankees generally had excellent staffs throughout Millay’s adult life.

Any doubts about the poet’s powers of prognostication began to fade when some lines intended as the opening to “Recuerdo” surfaced recently on a scrap of page from an old Greenwich Village phone book:

“We were very tired, we were very merry,
"We had spent all night trying to stuff Gleyber on the ferry.”

 Since Millary died in 1950, it defies explanation as to how she could possibly have known that a man named “Gleyber” would play for any major-league team—especially considering that Gleyber Torres was not even born until 1996.

 Some baseball scholars have suggested that the discrepancy could be due to the tendency of players from Latin America to alter their birthdates—an explanation that would also account for why Gleyber Torres often plays like a man who is at least 70 years old.


But how, then, to account for this draft of “Travel,” discovered recently in one of longtime trainer Pete Sheehy’s travel bags, along with a note in the poet’s hand that read, “Pete, you old son-of-a-bitch, thanks for the bootleg hootch!”:

“My heart is warm with the friends I make,
And better friends I’ll not be knowing;
Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t put Aroldis Chapman on
No matter where it’s going.”

 How could this supremely talented literary giant see so far into the future? Like the 2021 Yankees themselves, the answer remains a mystery.

(Visuals courtesy of Balloon Boy.) 

Dear Mr. Cashman, Your Yankees are a fourth place disgrace, and it didn't have to be this way.

Dear Sir, 

Sorry for the delay in responding to your March 21st email. Your generous offer of upcoming 2021 Yankee season tickets is certainly tempting. Still, I think I'll hold off. 

Frankly, I don't know where to start. Back in March, I was drinking the Kool-Aid, heavily. I believed the Yankees would take the AL East. Almost everyone did. Tampa had traded away its star pitcher, Boston was rebuilding, and Toronto was full of nepotism. The Yankees faced a clear path to the division, 2021 was our talent curve peak, and we were all Ted Lasso.  

Of course, we had wriggling, tiny concerns: A Yankee lineup with no lefty slugger? That seemed weird. (Last winter, we wanted to re-sign Sir Didi.) Then there were the strikeouts, the DP grounders, the injuries, and - well - the disappointments. Who foresaw Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier, Miguel Andujar, Luke Voit and DJ LeMahiue contributing so little? Honestly, I didn't. 

But this is your team, sir. Your team.

And in late July, you made one of the worst decisions of your career. You chose to drain the Yankee farm system for a dubious shot at the one-game wild card. You mortgaged the Yankees' future for a two-week run, which crumbled into nothing. 

That decision will haunt the Yankees for years. And here's the craziest part - had you had gone the other way - unloading high-priced players, instead of trading for more of them - we'd be right where we are today: Fourth. 

No. I take it back. We might be higher in the standings.  

In late July, we wanted the Yankees to jettison our own veterans, at least the ones that were tradeable. Our most likely chips were: 

Gary Sanchez.
Aroldis Chapman.
Zack Britton.
Gio Urshela.

Of course, Chapman would have had to sign off on a trade. (But he did it once before.) Some suggested we trade Aaron Judge; the consensus was that this would be too painful. Due to his contract, Giancarlo Stanton can never be traded - same with Gerrit Cole and DJ LeMahieu. (Also, trading the latter two would be bad form.) The Yankees at the deadline shopped Luke Voit; they found no takers. 

Imagine if the Yankees had dealt all four. We would be... right here. Sanchez still makes mental mistakes; he'll never change. Chapman fell apart and is still looking for his fastball. Britton is gone - Tommy John - perhaps for good. Urshela has been hampered by injuries for months. Instead of Joey Gallo, they would have played Stanton in LF. Frankly, Socrates Brito would have been hard-pressed to do worse than Gallo, who - on top of everything else - is now injured. 

Had you not blown up the farm system for years to come, the Yankees would be - well - right where they are now... in fourth.

I suppose - sigh - we still have a chance. Six games against Toronto and Boston. But  to see the Yankees winning anything this year requires serious hallucinatory drugs. We must imagine our bullpen holding leads, our hitters avoiding DPs, our lineup not fanning 12 times per game. Nope. Can't do it. These team has no future, and a lot of people knew it, and you should have. 

It's on you, sir. 

Come November, it will be time for someone else to run the Yankees.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Release the Kraken? Or just trade him? Either way, it's the end of an era

Over the last four years, a recurring theme of NY fans has been the tortuous wait for Gary Sanchez to become the next great Yankee catcher.

When he seemed to be jogging out grounders, we were told he was actually hurt and playing through pain. So we waited.

When he seemed to hit .140 - (well, actually, he hit .147) -  we were he told it was a small sample size in a Covid-shortened season, and he would bounce back. So we waited.

When he seemed to be plagued by passed balls, we were told he was working tirelessly to improve, that his HRs were worth the defensive lapses, and that the balls were actually wild pitches, so there! So we waited.

This last week as been unkind to Gary Sanchez, in a Johnny Depp-off-his-meds sort of way. There was that inexplicable high tag at home against the Mets, which we were told was much tougher than it looked. There was the loss to Baltimore on those two - well, they were scored as wild pitches, dammit! Yesterday brought the flubbed foul pop. which - well, I hear it was a difficult play, dealing with the sun, much tougher than it looked... 

Ladies and gentlemen, for better or worse, I do believe that our long international nightmare is nearly over.

Thirteen games, a few featuring Kyle Higashioka, and it's done. No hard feelings. It's been a long hard slog. Things weren't always his fault. I wish him well.

The Gary Sanchez Era is coming to an end. 


Saturday, September 18, 2021

From the vineyards of Ernest and Julio Gallo. And Joey.


For now, the AL Wild Card hinges on who can beat hardest on the tomato cans... and who still has a cavalry on the way.

Earth vs. the Tomato Cans: 

Boston hosts Baltimore. Toronto welcomes Minnesota. Oakland visits the Angels. Seattle is in KC.
We entertain Cleveland.

This weekend is the equivalent of a tack-on run, a concept the 2021 Yankees - last night notwithstanding - have little understood. For every contender, these are "must" wins. By late next week, the Yankees will be running the gauntlet - Boston, Toronto, Tampa. But if they look beyond this weekend, those games will not matter.

Two weeks left, and every contender has a final dice roll to play - players returning from injuries, who may or may not be rusty. Here's a rundown...

Boston: Chris Sale returned last night, crushed the O's. Christian Arroyo (2b) should return Sunday.

Toronto: Cavan Biggio (3B) should return this weekend. 

Seattle: Sam Haggerty (LF) should return this weekend.

A's: Elvis Andrus (SS) is day-to-day. Mike Fiers (SP) returning next week. Chris Bassit (SP) might return next week.

Yankees: Domingo German should return next week. Sal Romano out until late next week. Jameson Tailon out until late next week. Jonathan Loaisiga might return late next week. Luis Severino? Really, now, who knows? Darren O'Day, when hell freezes over. 

Overall, we have the most to potentially gain. Then again, if these guys are rusty, we will suffer the most. We have no time to endure somebody's MLB rehab. 

And we better sweep Cleveland.