Saturday, May 21, 2022

Yankeetorial: Will someone please explain to Aaron Judge that if he wants to stay a Yankee for life, he better start to suck

Every day lately, it seems as though Aaron Judge is hitting a big HR, or driving in a big run, or making a big play in centerfield - in essence, ensuring that his days as a Yankee are dwindling down. 

Doesn't this man give a whit about his team?

Doesn't he care about the threat of inflation?

Does he just hate New York City?

Judge claims he wants to be a Yankee for life. Ha. If that's true, he better stop playing like some $300 million MVP-level slugger - and return to earth, cap in hand. Surely, Judge knows that if he singlehandedly propels his team to the 2022 world series, he'll end up leaving New York: The franchise simply won't be able to afford him and all his championship malarkey. 

Listen, people: Money doesn't grow on trees! And even if it did, trees don't grow in Gotham. Owner Hal Steinbrenner, the prince of prudence, does not have the kind of money that Judge -posing as a Triple Crown threat - would demand. 

To show a little concern about the Yankees, this giant ingrate ought to launch an 0-for-40 slump, or a stint on the 60-day list. As it is, Judge is literally trying to embarrass the team by homering his way out of pinstripes.

And for this, we're cheering him? 

Rather than stand for Judge, fans should not only stay seated but, in fact, swivel around to face the opposite direction - (not an easy contortion, in fact, somewhat painful, if you have a bad back) - to tell this arrogant nincompoop that we will NOT be held for ransom, and our owner will NOT go penniless... just so Judge can win a ring and a bunch of post-season awards.

If he wants a batting title, or an HR crown, or a ticker-tape parade - whatever - I say, trade him! Now! To the Dodgers, or the Redsocks, or the Mets - whomever wants to go in hock to buy their precious little pennant! We fans will be happy, thank you, with Jasson Dominguez, who went 1-3 last night for the Single-A Tampa Tarpons, lifting his average to .238 (but he's young) - and you know what? Now that I'm on a roll, I say, let Judge take Giancarlo Stanton and DJ LeMaheiu with him, because we prefer an owner who practices fiscal responsibility and isn't afraid to fight inflation! 

Stick to your guns, Mr. Hal! We're behind you all the way!

Friday, May 20, 2022

The Booth

INT – HAL’s OFFICE – DAY

A calendar on the wall says February 2022. A meeting is taking place between Hal, Brian Cashman, and Michael Kay.

Hal:  Looks like Coney’s going to be doing a lot more for ESPN this year we need a replacement.

Brian:  Why don’t we give more games to O’Neill?

Michael Kay:  He’s losing it. He hasn’t left his basement in over two years. I spoke to his wife. He’s taking all his meals down there. They had to install a toilet. Half the time when he’s on the air he’s taking a crap.

Brian:  Also, Singleton is serious this time. He’s out.

Hal:  Damnit. OK, we need new blood.

Kay:  We could try Maybin. He’s raw but likeable.

Brian:  That sound’s right.  Should we move Ruocco to full time?

Hal: He’s out grown us as well. Plus, Levine just showed me the cost of powdering his head to keep it from shining on camera. It’s prohibitive.

Kay: We still need a third guy. Even I can't talk that much.

Brian: Yes you can.

Kay: Well I don’t want to.

Hal:  Yes you do.

Kay: Well, I could if you wanted me to me too.

Hal and Brian: We don’t.

Kay: Then who? Riccardo?

Brian:  Heh.

Hal:  What?

Brian:  I’ve got an idea.

Hal:  It’s not extending Hicks for another 5 years is it?

Kay:  I hope it’s better than trading four guys for Gallo.

Brian:  Cut it out! I can solve our booth problem and settle an old grudge.

Hal: Go ahead.

Brian:  Beltran.

Hal: Fuck that guy.

Brian:  Hear me out. We make Beltran the third guy.

Kay:  Are you nuts. We hate him for masterminding the Astros cheating scandal. Besides he’s shy and fairly inarticulate in English.  

Brian:  Exactly.  We make him the third guy. Put him back in the spotlight. Feed him to the Twitter Dogs. Humiliate him. Make. Him. Pay.

Hal:  Interesting… go on.

Brian: Every Yankee broadcast he will be exposed. A lightening rod for anger. After a couple of months, he will quit to “pursue other baseball interests” “spend more time with his family” who gives a shit. He will quit.

Hal: Yes! Let’s do it.  Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Kay:  I always knew you had a little Michael Corleone in you.

Kay exits.

Brian:  Next on the agenda… extending Chapman.

 

 

 

 

After a loss, the Yankees just don't look so dominant, but at least one rock remains

It's hard to sweep four games in another team's love cave. Even against Baltimore, our favorite can of tomatoes. 

Yesterday, as we surrendered lead after lead, you felt the cosmic juju burden continually shift: It's damn hard to take four of four. And as Meat Loaf might have sang, "Eight out of ten ain't baaaad..."

Soon, we will be done with the O's and Chisox. Soon, we'll face our real world nemeses - the Rays of Tampa - with a new crop of interchangeable names. 

Who the hell is Manual Margot, anyway? He's a short, stout, bearded RF who is hitting - gulp - .348. Where did they get him? Well, they had him. He's 27. This might be his year. 

Ever hear of Harold Ramirez? Of course not. They got him from Cleveland, by way of Miami. He's a DH, hitting .321. He's also 27. 

Yandy Diaz? Don't ask me. He's a 3B, hitting .287.  

And don't get me going about their pitchers. Two starters - Drew Rasmussen and Shane McLanahan - have ERAs of 2.33. How the fuck? Year after year, they just replenish. Wander Franco? Shit. I just thank God that Randy Arozarena didn't turn out to be the Second Coming of Hank Aaron, as he seemed to be two Octobers ago. Otherwise, we're done. If fact, until we beat Tampa, all those wins against Baltimore - well, they count, but they do not matter.

You know how Aaron Judge seems so locked-in on this contract year, potentially his last in NYC? Well, every Ray is in his contract year - always. They're always on the verge of being traded. Tampa never lets a player walk. They always convert him into a younger version. If they ever go into Bitcoin, the U.S. dollar is toast.

Soon, it's Tampa. Meanwhile, a tough loss late yesterday. As a throw bounced past Marwin Gonzalez, putting the leadoff man on base - we once again realized how critical Anthony Rizzo is to the Yankees. (He'd been tossed out of the game for arguing a strike.) 

Surely, right now, Aaron Judge is the team MVP. But after Judge, you'd have to ponder all the errant throws that Rizzo has scooped from the dirt or turned  into lunging tags - only then could you realize the difference Rizzo has made.

Which brings me to someone who might yet be salvageable in the Rizzo reality. Down in Scranton, Miguel Andujar now plays almost exclusively at 3B - (as he should have for the last three years.) For nearly all his time at 3B, Miggy was throwing to Luke Voit, a bona fide NFL linebacker, but not a 1B. You have to wonder what might have been?

Last year, Gleyber Torres flopped spectacularly at SS. For the most part, he was throwing to Voit. 

Tyler Wade, Thairo Estrada, Andrew Velazquez... always troubled, always throwing to Voit. 

Look, I can't hang all our infield woes on Luke - who always battled hard. (Right now, with San Diego, he's hitting a sub-Gallo .174 with 2 HRs.) But the difference between a lug nut and a gold glove at 1B - it's the Marvel multiverse where, instead of Peter Parker, Spider-man is Peter Falk. (Hey, there, Goblin, ya'know, I got one more question...) 

Soon, Tampa. But this time, we have the right guy at 1B.


Thursday, May 19, 2022

When Chekov Said It Would Be A dark Winter ......

 ...he might have foreseen this late spring day in Baltimore. 


I have been publicly removed and silent for some time now.  Corresponding with the historic start of this surprising Yankee team. 

Bt today I saw the beginning of something heavy and grim.  

The yankees could not hold on to a lead or a tie with the Orioles.  And it didn't matter who was utilized.  A leak in the dam appeared and widened the innings wore on. 

Aaron Hicks extended his batting streak to 4 hits in his last 46 ( maybe 47 ) at bats.  His last at bat was with the bases loaded, and on a 3-2 count he lurched at ball four in a wild attempt to get a big hit. A walk drives in a key run.  Instead, he struck out.  Another non -productive at bat which will diminish the laudable "on base percentage" El Duque flashed at you in his rant, above. 

Castro was let go by the Mets because of control problems.  With the Yankees, his control has. been excellent, and he has been " lights out effective."  On this day, however, with the Yanks trying to sneak away with another one run win, he walked the first batter he faced.  It was a clear sign to Boone to get him out of there.  He didn't. And it cost us the lead. 

Chad Green, soon after,  left the game with a strange feeling in his forearm. Think that is just a mosquito bite?

Rizzo was thrown out for challenging a pitch about which we don't think he said one word. But once an umpire ejects someone, they stay ejected. 

That forced Boone to use Gonzalez at first base.  This guy is a really useful utility player.  And has come through on many occasions lately.  When he got to bat he fouled a ball wide of first base.  Video replay showed the ball did not ricochet off his leg, even though he flinched and grabbed behind his knee, as though it had.  He remained at bat but took a strike three that just looked too good for him to miss.  Unless he was pre-occupied with pain somewhere.  Watch for trouble here. 

In a 6-6 moment, as the bottom of the ninth opened, Boone did not do what he had previously done.  In an away game tie, he had used Chapman to pitch the 9th.  This time he went to Leutge, who had not pitched in about 8-10  days.  Has the trust in Chappy fallen that low?  Leutge low?

Needless to say, Leutge failed and we limped away.  Patting ourselves on the back that we won our " 9th series in a row ."

So mistakes were made by players, by the coaches, by the pitchers, and a bunch of  injuries have struck like sleet on the windshield. 

It is still May.  But beginning to feel like December. 

Brrrr.....

Well, it's happening: As soon as we publicly mentioned the lack of Yankee injuries...

My bad. I screwed up. This is on me...

I hereby call upon the U.S. Supreme Court - and/or the Secret YES Network Star Chamber - to ban me from all Yankee public discourse that violates the natural laws of juju. 

I should be tomatoed, milk-shaked, turnipped - whatever foodstuff it takes, to learn me a lesson. On Saturday, I took to the Al Gore Information Superhighway to boast of how the Yankees had escaped injuries this season, despite the Gilbert Gottfried-voice inside me shouting, "Shut the fuck up, you reanimated pork rind." In that moment, my celebratory ejaculi mocked the low-level deities whose soul function is to fix sporting events. 

Yes, I pissed off the juju gods.

What can I say? I drank the bathwater. The Yankees had suffered one key injury - one - to Domingo German, a pitcher so far out on our depth charts that you'd need the Webb space telescope to find him. I thought myself witty and juju-proof. I was a fool.

The 1st rule of juju: Nobody talks about juju.

The 2nd rule of Juju: If you think of something witty, keep it the fuck to yourself.

Since Saturday, Yankee minor league catcher Ben Rortvedt - perhaps assuming the role of team juju magnet - has undergone knee surgery. We still have yet to see The Rort in action. Now, he's out until July. It looks like a wipeout year, a Pavano.

Last night, Luis Gil - who days ago delivered a serviceable spot start - pointed to his elbow and walked off the mound for Scranton. Call me a fogy, call me a loon, call me an Uber... but I hate to see Yankee farm hands point to their elbows and walk off the mound. Today's new reality: We might not see Gil until 2024. If so, it's on me.

Meanwhile, another Yankee farm hand has been jettisoned for stealing teammates' belongings, selling them on the Internet - and then scamming buyers with bogus merchandise. Wow. Was he stealing from teammates and fans... at the same time?  Now, that's a profit margin. This kid doesn't belong in baseball. He has a future in crypto currency.

Meanwhile, Aaron Hicks! This weekend, he will reach his 100th AB of the season. Hicksy - said to be baseball's best golfer! - is hitting .204 with one HR. One. (Could Pete Mickelson do worse?) But before you shout, "Estevan Florial!" Hicksy's On Base Percentage is .342 - 4th on the team behind Judge, Donaldson and LeMahieu. He's higher than Stanton. He's higher than Gleyber. He's way, way higher than Joey Gallo - then again, so would be the electrified corpse of Arnold Palmer. 

One of these days, Hicksy will heat up. Then, and only then, he will point to a part of his body and walk off the field. That's what Hicks does. He starts cold, gets hot, gets hurt. Cold, hot, hurt. Cold, hot, hurt...

On that note, I'm going to shut the fuck up. He's all yours, juju gods.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Yankees cut minor leaguer for allegedly selling stolen equipment

I guess the Yankees have been stealing more this year. 

https://www.nj.com/yankees/2022/05/yankees-cut-3rd-round-prospect-who-allegedly-stole-equipment-from-teammates-and-tried-to-sell-it.html

BALTIMORE — The Yankees considered Jake Sanford a legitimate hitting prospect who could hit with power and play both corner outfield positions. Among his teammates, however, he was known for stealing.

The Yankees cut Sanford over allegations that he repeatedly hounded teammates for their equipment to sell online, while also occasionally swiping it from their lockers," 


Boone-speak

 

So you've heard of "Stengel-ese," the rambling, crazy-like-a-fox language the greatest of skippers, Casey Stengel, invented in order to simultaneously entertain and befuddle writers?

(I hope you've heard of it. Otherwise, well, I just despair.)

We now have "Boone-speak" ("Boone Badinage?"), courtesy of new friend Mildred Lopez.

Mildred—any relation to Hector?—passed along these quotes, from Boone's assessment of The Man Who Never Was, catcher Rort Biceptvedt. Somehow, in between rehabbing the right oblique strain that

has kept him out all this season and raiding small Saxon villages along the coast, Rort of the Norse also managed to injure a knee.

Or did he?

"We'll see. It could be some kind of surgical procedure that he may have to get," Ma Boone tells us.

Translation: Rorty will need surgery.

"It's something he's dealt with in the past," Ma Boone tells us.

Translation: Brian Cashman acquired even more of a pig in a poke than we thought possible.

No, Rorty is not "only" a 24-year-old who hit all of .169 in his only, partial major-league season. Nor is he "only" someone who has never played in more than 90 games in any professional season, nor hit more than 7 home runs in any such season, or run up a lifetime, minor-league batting average any higher than .242.

Nope.  Muscles Rortvedt is also, it seems, perpetually injured, having "dealt with" tweaks, creaks, and obliques—and bad knees—before.

In the past, Cooperstown Cashman was always ready to settle for lottery-ticket, Single-A pitchers. Now we're down to injured Vikings. Wouldn't more international signing money have been a better deal? You know, so we can sign the next Martian?

Prepare the flaming longboat! This one's starting the long voyage home to Valhalla.

 




A Lose/Lose

As long as we’re piling on…

The last two posts, one by El Duque and one by JM, point out that there be some rough waters ahead.  

Chapman cannot remain the closer. On that we’re all agreed. For the record, trade him for ANYTHING. It would be great to get some decent minor leaguers for this “top closer”, but the truth is, he is Sanchizian. Addition by subtraction.  

Brain – Do it today!

As to the schedule… Yes, June is going to be a bitch but if you are the best team then you beat the better competition. It is a Crucible as JM points out. It’s also a gauntlet, and a freshman paddle hazing, a voting line in GA, and what’s it’s like talking about important things with my ex.

Sadly, we’ve got bigger problems.  

Not just Joey Gallo (And may I add to the chorus of praise in recognition of the Duque line, “Joey Gallo approaches like a sanitation worker creeping up on a talking turd”)

That's some great imagery right there. 

Not even Aaron Hicks. Although you’d think that having 2/3 of your outfield be, for the most part, worthless is both a short and long-term issue. The problem is the other outfielder... 

Our Lose/Lose is Aaron Judge. 

MVP candidate. Home grown hero. Heir apparent to Derek Jeter. Beloved by all.

Here’s why...

Judge is having one of those special years that will enter Yankee lore and we should all thoroughly enjoy it. He's been nothing short of magnificent!  

It’s not a good thing.

If the Yankees are not planning on signing him, they should trade him. We missed out on a windfall for Cano if you recall.

But you can’t trade your superstar during a career year when the team is one of the best in baseball and a championship seems doable.

That’s a Lose.

So, he stays. Finishes the year. Wins the MVP. Maybe we win the Series. More likely we don't. He becomes a free agent. He signs with the Mets, or anyone really, and we get nothing for him.

That’s a Lose

He Stays. He Signs With Us.

We overpay in money and years. Money is a problem because… Hal and the budget we shouldn’t actually have. We lose flexibility going forward. The number of years is a problem as well. He’s heathy right now but let’s face it we still wince when he plays full out.

That’s a Lose.

I guess the best scenario is we win the Series because… duh. And then we sign him.  The worst is we don’t win, and we don’t trade him, and he signs with the Mets.

Like I said above... just piling on.  

The Crucible

 


Coming soon to a TV near you. Enjoy May.

Apparently, the Yankee plan is to let Aroldis Chapman close until he starts blowing games; last night, he came close...

You better sit down, kids. 
I'll tell you why.
You might not understand, kids.
But give it a try.
Now how should I put this.
I've got something to say.
If El Chapo is closing,
The game's going away...

Pssst. In the kitchen. It's Cher. She wants to talk... It's about Aroldis.

Last night - in case you switched to the heartstring-tugging piquancy of NBC's This Is Us - El Chapo pitched the ninth. He replaced Michael King, who'd thrown three perfect innings, fanning six. I don't fault Aaron Boone for the move. He didn't want to overuse King, and this was a classic save situation - a two-run lead - the kind of finger food that Chapman is supposed to devour without chewing.

Everything looks copacetic. Chapman fans the first Oriole on four pitches. The guy appears overmatched. Next batter grounds sharply to third, a lunging stop by DJ LeMahieu that later, in hindsight, will take on more significance. 

Two outs. Mop up time. Ho-hum, right? Well, suddenly, Chapman fires a fastball directly to the backstop. Higashioka barely touches it. It's as if a rubber band just snapped. On a 2-2 count, he gives up a single to left. Tying run at the plate. Hmm. Fortunately, the next batter is Robinson Chirinos - hitting .141 - who spent much of last year as a Scranton Railrider. First pitch, he lashes a line drive single up the middle, nearly takes off Chapman's glove.  

Tying runs on base. Hmmm. Next batter hits a fly to LF that Joey Gallo approaches like a sanitation worker creeping up on a talking turd. The two-time Gold Glover plays it on a hop, holding up at the last moment. WTF? With the game on the line, Gallo holds back. It's lucky the O's had a catcher on first base. Only one run scores. 

Tying run at third. Winning run at second. The O's best player, Cedric Mullens, at the plate. Clay Holmes warming in the pen. The Yankees strategize at the mound, a moment sponsored by Cellino & Barnes, or somebody. Mullins swings at the first pitch, a towering foul pop to third, LeMahieu catching it and celebrating like Charlie Hayes. Chapman looks like a rescued hiker who just spent the night atop Everest. The Yankiverse sighs with relief.

Remember all those games our bullpen lost last year, and the year before, and the year before that, with out-of-body, traumatizing moments of pain? Well, we just came within an inch of our first Chapo meltdown abomination of 2022.

I get it that there is "tradition" in Chapman as closer. Last night, he tallied his 9th save of 2022. He is tied for fifth in MLB. Three of the closers ahead of him - Jordan Romano (whom we recently battered), Liam Hendricks (whom we recently nearly battered) and Daniel Bard (he's still around?) - have higher ERAs than Aroldis (at 2.65). Aside from Milwaukee's Josh Hader - who hasn't given up a run in 14 save opportunities, no pitcher is a sure thing - though King (1.40) and Holmes (0.49) - are damn close. 

Still, here's the moral of last night:

We can never feel security with Chapman closing. 

It doesn't matter if there are two outs, or how dominant he looks after the first batters.  

At any moment, Chapman can start flinging balls above the tree-line, and then leaving sliders over the plate - and suddenly, the game is out the window. 

Changing closers is never easy. But at some point, this will bite us. 

The O's last night were a warning. Soon, the Yankees must deal with a dark reality. Our closer is the weakest part of our staff. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

"There but for the Grace of God..."

 

So, after last night's big Yankees win—and yes, EVERY Yankees win is a big win—I switched over to the Mets' channel, to see if they might still be on.

As it happened, of course, the Metsies had been rained thunder-storm-threatened out, and so they had a "Mets Classic" on instead.

Which baffled me at first. 

What was playing was a Mets-Pirates game from what the screen told me was "9/27/12."

I could not recall either franchise playing a significant game that season—certainly not so late on the calendar—and so I turned to the good people at baseball reference.

My memory has (not yet) given way completely. The 2012 Mets went 74-88, good for 4th place in the NL East, 24 games out of first. The Bucs were 79-83, good for fourth in the NL Central.

So why was this a "classic"?

Turned out, it was the day R.A. Dickey nailed down his 20th win on the season.

No disrespect here directed toward Dickey, a pitcher who overcame a seemingly insurmountable, physical handicap to become a major-league pitcher.

Dickey not only went 20-6 that year, but also led the NL in shutouts, complete games, and strikeouts, to win a well-deserved Cy Young.

The Mets traded him after the season, in a deal that brought them Noah Syndergaard from the Blue Jays. Dickey got a big new deal...and was a perfectly mediocre pitcher in the AL East. So it was win-win all around for us Yankees fans.

But what it also led me to realize, with a little shiver down my spine, is that this is the sort of thing that qualifies as a "Mets Classic."

SNY seems to own the rights to pathetically few big Mets games as it is...but there have also been pathetically few big Mets games over the many years. 

Much as we scream and holler about the inadequacies of HAL, Cooperstown Cashman, and the rest of our boys—and we have to, how else will they get better?—if just a few things in the Jujuverse had been a little different...any and all of us might have ended up rooting for the wrong team in town. We might be left with reliving the halcyon day of 9/27/12, when our feel-good story of a pitcher had his one shining moment...before we trucked him off to Canada.

Kinda makes you wonder, doesn't it?







On Saturday, the Yankee farm team in Tampa struck out 24 times in one game

In the second inning, Grant Richardson hit a pop fly to CF.

In the third, Roberto Chirinos hustled out an infield hit to 3B. 

In the forth, Anthony Siegler flew out to CF.

In the seventh, the Tampons Tarpons mounted a rally: Siegler singled, and Alan Mejia grounded out to 2B. Siegler moved to second, then stole third. Connor Cannon was hit by a pitch. And that was all.

Everybody else, 24 batters, 24 strikeouts. 

They struck out swinging. They struck out looking. In the ninth, with the game still theoretically on the line - a 1-0 score and only one out - two guys walked. Then the others struck out. 

Twenty four out of twenty seven outs... 

KKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK...

The future of the Yankees? The future of baseball? Did the fans go home that night and say, "What an exciting game!"

We can't yet see it from here, but a Yankee championship season will mean avenging a long and painful vendetta list

This we know: Father Fate is a maniac. The great spring can become a long, hot summer. The best record in baseball means nothing... in May. As a bathroom wall once told me:

April may...
But June julys.

Still, let's face it: We're smitten. We're guzzling the Kool-Aid. Going forward, anything less than a 2022 Yankee world championship will mean a disaster - that the ghosts of 2004 still rule our universe.

This must be our year. It's all or nothing. I never thought I'd say this, but if it means trading prospects at the Aug. 1 deadline, so be it. The Yankees cannot squander this opening without a meltdown/letdown of epic historical proportions, and I don't need to see a replay of Javier Vasquez pitching to Johnny Damon. 

I don't mean to heap more pressure on the Yankees, by why kid? This is no year to chase a Wild Card. We must win the AL East, decisively, and lock down home field advantage through October. This is the year we must face down the demons that have tortured us over the last two decades. 

It must start by dominating Boston, who currently has the seventh worst record in baseball, 12 games behind us. Despite their issues, the Redsocks are merely 4.5 games out in the Wild Card - it's May, after all! We won't see them until early July, just before the All-Star break. 

Until we beat Boston, we haven't beaten Boston. 

We must continue through Tampa, currently second in the AL East. Ten days from now, we visit them in a four-game series. Ten days is a lifetime. 

Until we beat Tampa, why should we believe we can beat Tampa?

Then comes Houston, currently with MLB's third best record. We play them four times, beginning June 23. That's way too far ahead to speculate. 

Until we beat Houston, we have never avenged their cheating - which they now downplay with The Big Lie. And when they beat us, it lets them say, "See? We've always been better! There was no cheating..."

Of course, we must beat the Mets, whom we won't face until late July, days before the trade deadline. They are NYC's most popular team, whose owner more resembles old George than the son who reputedly shares his DNA. (I think Hal was adopted from a sperm bank run by the Dolans.) 

Until we beat the Mets, they carry the swagger and the pride of New York.  

In the end, it will bring us to the Dodgers, the best damn franchise in baseball. It's been a quarter century since people looked at the Yankees and said, "These are the perennial front-runners..." 

Until we beat the - oh, fuck it - it's too far out to speculate. It's like those NASA pictures from deep space - somewhere in those strange and exotic pinpricks of light are the answers of the universe. But all we see is a mosaic. 

You can't predict baseball, Suzyn. But here's a prediction, anyway: 

Anything less that a trip down the Canyon of Heroes, and 2022 will sit atop my list of late-life Yankee disappointments. Get ready to bundle the prospects, Cash. It's all or nothing. The universe is calling. Buckle up! Here we go!

Monday, May 16, 2022

Rangers Come From Behind!

 


Congratulations to all my fellow Rangers fans out there. 

Last night, as many of you know, the Broadway Blueshirts became the first NHL—ever—to come back from a 3-1 deficit despite trailing in all three of the comeback games.  

This is such a tremendous victory that our city's oldest professional ice hockey team is even making a run at St. Peter's basketball, in the total back covers standings.

Pretty cool—and, I have to admit, much better than I thought they'd do. After their initial, heartbreaking loss in triple overtime, at home, I figured that this Rangers season would end—like so many others—not with a bang but a whimper.

I was wrong. 

And now, in our juju-haunted world, the question arises: Does the rise of the Rangers have some greater meaning?

Could this be a sign of the End of Days?? (You know, besides all that incidental, worldwide plague, constant mass shootings, war in Ukraine, deteriorating climate, democracy in peril, bees no longer producing honey stuff.)

Or...could it be an omen for your New York Yankees, presaging some greater destiny come this October???

I dunno.

But being a Rangers Skeptic, and based on the whole, long history of MSG's cavalcade on ice, I expect that this gutsy, heart-stopping victory will be followed by...losing in four to the team formerly known as at the Boston Whalers.  

And being a Yankees Skeptic, I suspect that our own Pinstripers' season will also likely end sooner than greater.  But hey, we can always dream! 

Joey Gallo emerges from hole and homers, meaning six more weeks of Joey Gallo

Yesterday, Joey Gallo's 9th-inning, 2-run HR affected this particular Yankee multiverse on several levels.

1. It iced the game and series. Those two tack-on runs wiped out a save opportunity for El Chapo, thereby killing the White Sox' final, fantastical hope - a meltdown walk-fest. With Clay Holmes pitching the ninth, they were buttered toast.

2. It boosted Gallo's 2022 batting average to .202 - a balloon-drop moment, his first as a Yankee above that august spiritual barrier, hammered out by pioneers such as Kingman and Mendoza. When he bats against the Orioles tonight, he'll no longer see a supermodel's weight appear on the Jumbotron. Prepare the Kodak.  

3. It commemorated a hot streak - yes, an actual melting of his polar caps. In four games against Chicago, Gallo went 4-for-14 - .286! - with 2 HRs, 3 RBIs and 4 walks. Okay, that's not Babe Ruth, but it wasn't Ruth Bader Ginsburg, either. 

Since last August, when Cooperstown Cashman dealt four prospects to Texas for Gallo, we've waited to see why this guy played in two All-Star games, won two Gold Gloves and thrice finished among league leaders in HRs. We've wondered whether all the strikeouts - (last year, he led the AL in Ks) - justified the HRs and - yes - the walks.  (Last year, he led the AL in BBs.)  

We're about to see. Gallo is on a streak. This is the first glimpse we've ever had of him over .200. (His career is .206.) The "He can't be THIS bad" excuse no longer applies. We'll see if he can go on a tear and lift the team. He says he's feeling good. Fine. Let's see what he's got.

Yesterday's HR came in a situation the wonks call "Late & Close." Career wise, in 386 L&C moments, he's hit .171 with 17 HRs and 50 RBIs. (For comparison, Aaron Judge has 380 "L&C" plate appearances - hitting .297 with 19 HR and 70 RBIs. So, there's that.) 

I dunno what to think about Gallo. Thus far, he's resembled one of those lakes in California, dried up by the drought. Before Chicago, I nearly started to root against him - figuring, why prolong the agony? We'd be better off with Estevan Florial. (Words I never thought I'd write.)

We should soon see Hot Gallo. The time is ripe. Four in Baltimore, three at home against the White Sox, then three more hosting the O's. He should do some damage. No more waiting. Let's see what we've got.  

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Gritty comeback and tough loss: The ones that get away are the ones that haunt

Okay, short and sweet. A rough night. El Chapo blew one. He hasn't been a sure thing for four years now, and he never will be again.

But but BUT... closers aren't what they used to be.

Moments earlier, we scored on their closer, and a few days ago, we blew up Toronto's unstoppable stopper, Jordan Romano.

The season thus far is a collection of buts... buts... BUTS... 

1. We have the best record in baseball, hands down, but but BUT... remain the second most popular team in NYC.

2. We have the best bullpen in baseball, but but BUT... our closer is capable of blowing any lead.

3. We have won despite getting practically nothing from our leftfielder, (pictured at right), but but BUT... we have no LH bat to replace him. 

4. Overall, we have a solid defense, but but BUT... our SS is in what Aaron Boone calls "a fielding slump." Also, last night, his baserunning error - something the 2022 Yankees had, until now, avoided - killed a potential big inning.

5. We have arguably the game's biggest breakout pitcher (Nestor Cortez)... but but BUT... it's only May, and a small sample size.

6. We have not suffered any major injuries, but but BUT... it's hard to imagine that they won't be coming.

7. Aaron Judge may be having his career year, but but BUT... the more he hits, the more attention will be placed on his future with the Yankees.

8. Our pitching depth extends into the minors, but but BUT... our highly touted positional prospects have been disappointing. 

9. Boston has collapsed and Toronto is in turmoil, but but BUT... the Rays remain in striking distance, and they are still the team to beat in the AL East.

10. It looks like we will go the entire season with defense-only catchers, but but BUT... they are still an improvement over Gary Sanchez. 

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Actually, the reason for the Yankee surge is simple...

Sit down. Deep breath. Close your eyes. Relax...

Now, I'm going to say something that might upset you. Some would call it blaspheme. By merely asking this question, I could be accused of treason. As you know, Critical Yankee Theory is banned in the state of Florida. I could be booted off this site. Still, here goes.... 

Is Aaron Boonie... gulp... a genius? 

GAHHHHHHHHHH! MO, LARRY, CHEESE! MO, LARRY, CHEESE! MO, LARRY, CHEESE!

Hold on, stay down, deep breaths... okay... okay?... You're okay... it's all okay... Nurse Houlihan, administer the sedative...

But I'm serious. Eight weeks into the 2022 season, Aaron Boone's strategy of resting at least one position player each game is... well... working! Ridiculously. It's the most successful move of Boone's Gene Mauch-like managerial career. Donno how long it will last, but everybody looks healthy and happy. Here's a breakdown on the non-breakdowns.

The 2022 Yankees have played 32 games.

Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo have played in 31. 

That's no misprint. They've appeared in 98 percent of the games. 

DJ LeMahieu, Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres have played in 30. Then comes Josh Donaldson, Joey Gallo and Isiah Kiner-Falefa - with 29. Even Aaron Hicks -who has never met an injury that didn't stay for the long haul - has played 27 games.

This, in a year without a full spring training, when the knowitalls predicted a rain of strains on a lineup generally reputed to be a tweak magnet.

Take Judge, for example. Over his career, he has played 602 games. Let's delete his half-season rookie year - along with 2020, the Covid-shrunken season. Over his five full seasons, Judge has averaged 109 games - 68 percent. 

Then there's Stanton.  His 13-year average - again deleting the Covid season - is 110 games - 69 percent. Amazingly, playing OF - rather than a fulltime DH -seems to have boosted not only his durability, but his bat. 

Here are some totals from last year:

DJ played 150 games.
Rizzo, 141.
Gleyber, 127
Donaldson, (known for his barking calves), 135. 
Aaron Hicks, 32. (His career average: 79 games per year.) 

Aside from - say - Domingo German (and I'm reaching here), the Yankees have not lost a front line player to injuries. 

Is it Boone's strategy of resting his players? Is it the trainer? Is it less polyunsaturated fats? Is it, gulp, luck? 

And is it here to stay?