Friday, December 3, 2021

Make noise, everybody! Ten reasons to get super-excited about the 2022 Yankees!

1. Free agent signee Jose Peraza!

2. Extra round of playoffs means games in November!


3. Players' uniforms will have ads! (According to the latest union proposal.) 

4. Bold new initiatives to speed up the game!


5. The return of loyal fans!


6. The MLB web page, cleansed. (As seen below: Tickets on sale now!)


7. Aaron Boone's no-nonsense managing style.

8. Gary Sanchez's new defensive adjustments.


9. The ongoing Yankee rivalry with Boston.


10. The stewards of our National Pastime. (Here's looking at you, Hal.)  

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Lockout Theater: The Monkeys in HEAD

 The Monkeys. Sonny Liston. Annette Funicello. Victor Mature. Frank Zappa. Teri Garr. Tor Johnson. 

A sophomorically sexualized title. Can you dig it? 

Here's the trailer for HEAD, the Monkeys' 1968 last gasp attempt at relevance, co-written by Jack Nicholson, described by Psychotronic Magazine as a "pseudo-underground plotless musical." 

Who needs baseball?


Year End Premise Dump

The Yankees weren't the only thing that came up short this year.  Here are some jokes and concepts that never made it to "the show". 


A Joke

Billy Martin, Mickey Mantle, and Andrew Heaney walk into a bar…

OK, on one level this didn’t really need a punch line because the punch is already implied.

A Yankee Themed Product

Sancheez  

A Swiss cheese food product. Soft. Filled with holes. Something you buy based on a distant memory of it being good only to be continually amazed that it is still in the fridge.


A Fun Fact

“The Yankee manager’s apple wine has been making Jr. HS kids puke for decades.”

Little Known John Sterling Home Run Calls

As we approach the end of the Master’s sterling career it is time to look back on some of his achievements. Calling 5060 games in a row comes to mind and of course his win warble.

But truth be told, it is his ability to create unique and personal Home Run calls that distinguishes him from more ordinary sportscasters.

While we all know the famous ones such as its Gleyber Day (Heard with less and less frequency) and Bern Baby Bern, which sadly was also used by Dupont to promote napalm, there are a number of more obscure calls which deserve our attention.  Here are just a few.

Don Slaught: “Don Slaught brings the onslaught.”

Matt Holiday:  "It’s a Home Run for holiday. He’s home for the holidays. He hit that one all the way to his home in Oklahoma where the wind comes sweeping' down the plain. And the wavin' wheat can sure smell sweet.  When the wind comes right behind the rain. Oklahoma, Ev'ry night my honey lamb and I Sit alone and talk and watch a hawk Makin' lazy circles in the sky."

Jesus Montero:  "MonTERO tears the cover off the ball. Somebody get this man a tub of ice cream.  I can’t believe this fat fuck hit a home run."

----




Question to Mr. Steinbrenner: Do you seriously think last year's Yankees left us wanting more?

Once upon a time - long, long ago and far, far away - Yank fans joked about restoring estranged ex-Redsocks to mansions of glory. 

As Yankees, former Bostonions could win world series rings. We rejoiced over the image of Wade Boggs on horseback, or of rabid Roger Clemens throwing at someone's head. We had their number. We stole Jose Contreras, then snagged A-Rod after their deal went poof. In 2004, we figured Flash Gordon was next...

Then, kaboom. The universe turned on us. Let's not venture down that memory blowhole. We all know what happened. The Yankiverse collapsed, Boston took control, and the natural order has never been restored. 

Considering the nabob who sits atop our organizational pyramid, it probably won't change in our lifetimes. Being Yankee owner is like being a member of the Supreme Court. An appointment for life.

So, what happened to the NY-Boston teeter-totter? We signed Kevin Youkilis. He was awful. We tried Stephen Drew. Ugh. Derek Lowe? Nope. Then came the mutative disaster: Jacoby Ellsbury... 

For the last 17 years, our ex-Redsocks turned out to be double agents - mice in pumpkins - while Boston's ex-Yankees delivered great moments for them. 

Mike Lowell was a world series MVP. The fragile Nathan Eovaldi turned into a block of granite. Garret Whitlock looks like a future fixture. And yesterday - gulp - Boston signed James Paxton.

Okay, I shouldn't let this rattle me. The odds of Paxton making a comeback - Jesse Smollett has a better chance. He's coming off surgery. He won't return until July or August, and will have pitched barely 20 innings in two seasons. He's five years past prime, two after his sell-by date. And yet... 

Considering the sorry state of this reality, who cannot imagine another ex-Yank propelling Boston through another October? 

Somehow, the Yankees have become the franchise of disappointment and squashed opportunity. Once, we were baseball's gold standard, the one team different from all others. 

Now, we are just another ownership ATM - perpetually two steps behind the competition, never changing the front office, always watching the bottom line first, the standings second. What was the absolute most important objective last year? We reset the luxury tax! Hooray! 

We are the Kansas City Yankees, and - frankly - the owners, by locking us out, are doing us a favor.

Well, today, everything stops. I suppose that we will still talk baseball... for a while. Muscle memory, you know? But the Yankees give us no reason to care beyond this labor stoppage. Last season, they foisted upon us the most dismal, repugnant and unrewarding Yankee team in my memory.  

So now, they're pulling the plug? I say, go ahead, General Custer. Ride down into that valley, and don't worry about a thing.  We'll be right behind you.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The Yankees will keep Gary Sanchez, meaning we can set our watches to these spring updates

February 15: A rock-ribbed Gary Sanchez reports to Camp Tampa, drawing oohs-and-ahs from fans and teammates. He is in "by far the greatest shape of his career," says a YES announcer, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "I almost didn't recognize him," adds Aaron Boone. "I thought it was Arnold Schwarzenegger." Nevertheless, manager Boone says Sanchez must "win" the role of starting catcher, as nothing can be taken for granted.

February 20: Scouts and observers are gushing over the improved defense shown by catcher Gary Sanchez in yesterday's exhibition against the Marywood Rehabilitation Academy of Honesdale, Pa., when he threw out two would-be base-stealers. "He has changed his entire defensive approach," says one YES anchor, asking that his name not be used. "Right now, nothing gets by him, unless it's clearly a wild pitch." Nevertheless, manager Aaron Boone says that Sanchez will have to win the starting catcher's role during camp, and there is no shortage of competition.

March 1: Folks are still marveling about the tape-measure moonshot from Gary Sanchez yesterday, which was still rising when it left George Steinbrenner Field and headed into the Gulf of Mexico, toward Sarasota. "He looks like a new hitter up there," says a scout, who asked not to be named. "I think he's could surprise a lot of people." That said, manager Aaron Boone says he won't name his starting catcher until late in spring training. 

March 15: Tampa is buzzing about Gary Sanchez's new approach at the plate, particularly his refusal to swing at breaking balls in the dirt. His spring batting average - a respectable .249 - has scouts whispering of him as 2022 Comeback Player of the Year or even a candidate for MVP. "He's not hitting into double plays," says a YES analyst, asking to be nameless. Manager Aaron Boone hinted that Sanchez is a candidate for the starting catcher role, though he still must earn it. 

April 1: Gary Sanchez will enter 2022 as the No. 1 Yankee catcher, Manager Aaron Boone says. He'll start as DH on opening day, because Gerrit Cole prefers not to throw to him, and Giancarlo Stanton has a bad leg. Sanchez won the starting catcher role with a solid .205 spring batting average and the team leader in exit velo. "The future is wide open for Gary," says an anonymous YES announcer, speaking through a voice-altering mask. "It's been a tough road, but the Kraken is back." 

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Forget the Soft Soap. It's YANKOPOLYSE NOW!!!



 


It’s happening!  It’s actually happening!

Brethren, we have entered the Final Days. The Yankopolypse is at hand!

I know that some of you still labor under the delusion that there is a master plan being hatched by HAL (as depicted here) and the Brain. 

Hahahahahahahahahaha.

There is no plan! 

Oh, I’m sure you heard them talking about what a great lineup we’re going to have next year.

As a renowned baseball expert (see below) has put it:

One through nine, no maybes, no supposes, no fractions. You can’t win a World Series, you can’t win a pennant without, like, you know, uh, with fractions. What are you going to score, one-quarter run, three-eighths of a run? What are you going to do when you go from here to Tampa or something? That’s dialectic physics, man!


But I digress.

You can see there’s no plan. HAL and the Brain, they’re more like those kings and wizards frozen with fear and despair from looking into the all-seeing eye of Sauron. 

Nobody ever mistook that pair for a king or a wizard, to be sure. But you can see they’re just staring big-eyed and speechless, frozen in terror while everyone else in baseball is scurrying around nailing down every player they can get their hands on.  

Threadbare as the Yanks’ staff was last year, now they’ve lost Kluber, meager hope though he was. Now the Mets have signed Max Scherzer, the biggest pitcher on the free-agent market, and an outfielder the Yanks’ could have used. Now Robbie Ray and Kevin Gaussman are gone.

The Greatest Free Agent Class of Shortstops, Ev-ah—has started to sign on with other clubs. The Rangers—the Texas Rangers!—have signed two of them!  

What’s next? A new commitment to Luke Voit, as Rizzo and Freeman go elsewhere? Jose Peraza or Didi filling in at short while we wait for the next crop of can’t-miss infield prospects…to miss? 

Sanchez, the Seven-Bellied Beast, at catcher…FOREVER?


It’s easy enough to suss out what Cooperstown Cashman was thinking—mostly because he’s always thinking the same thing and operating in the same way, year after endless year. 

He was going to lay low through all the confusion and the chaos over the new baseball agreement. Swoop in late, maybe just before spring training, and snatch up those great bargains that he is always sure will be there (and never really are).

But even by Cashman standards, he miscalculated. The avenging Angels—and Rays and Mets and Rangers and Mariners (yes, the Mariners)—have already opened up the Seven Bowls of Affliction and begun to dump them on our heads.

(Our merry band, left.)

The Yanks aren’t tanking and they aren’t making a serious run at the whole enchilada. Which in MLB terms means you’re living in a permanent Time of Tribulation, pounded by better teams, envying worse ones. Competing only for the soon-to-be Seventh Playoff Spot, the Wild Card of the Damned.




Like Capt. Willard, I don’t see any method at all. Just…the horror. The horror.








Out of Left Field


Fun Game: Try to guess this former Yankee by his age, teams, and decidedly meh numbers:


Here's a hint:


Yes, it's former Yank Rob "Brigadoon" Refsnyder.

Here's why I'm bringing it up: It was reported today that Refsnyder will be reemerging as a Red Sock next year...didn't see that one coming....


As the Yankiverse screams for action, the front office - for now - seems bent on holding the line

 


You feel the anger. (Here at IIHIIFIIc, we live it, every day.) Fans are shouting, screaming for action. At first glance, it looks as though the free agent market has exploded, with the Yankees watching from the cheap seats. 

Max Scherzer to the Mets. Corey Seager to the Rangers. The Blue Jays get Kevin Gausman. It's raining gold out there, and here we are - checking the stool sample on Jose Peraza? Today's signings could include Carlos Correa, Anthony Rizzo and the cast of Succession. Then, tomorrow, when the union contract goes poof, everything will stop.

Hey, you know me: When it comes to Cooperstown Cashman, I'm always good for tar and feathers. A beheading? Save my seat! But today - weird as it sounds - I'm throwing in with Cashman's plan, (assuming that's what this is.) For now, he's holding the line - along with our best prospects, Anthony Volpe and Oswaldo Peralza. He's not signing someone whose presence will dictate a cascading domino drop of questionable moves.

Look around, and you'll see that the traditional spenders - Boston, San Francisco, the Cubs, the Dodgers, et al - are also lying in wait. They think their negotiating  positions will improve - or at least clarify - after the labor dispute is settled, probably around the time of spring training.

It's easy to see free agents rushing to sign, and then to worry about the Yankees. But I ask you... 

Does anybody really think the Texas Rangers are smart to give the injury-prone Seager a 10-year deal (at $325 million) along with 31-year-old Marcus Semien (7 years, $175 millon?) In an all-or-nothing year, they still have vast holes to fill. 

Close your eyes: Doesn't Scherzer to the Mets give you a twinge of Randy Johnson's time with the Yankees?

Sure, Toronto signs Gausman (5 years, $110 million), but he sorta crumbled at the end of last season. Also, they lose Robbie Ray to Seattle (and the Mariners, who gave him 5 years at $115 million, should wonder if his Cy Young season was for real?)

When it comes to the Yankees, always remember:

Doing nothing means doing nothing stupid.

It could be worse. We could be snowbound in a British pub with an Oasis cover band. 

I say, hold the line.

Ten fun facts about Jose Peraza, the Yankees top 2021-2022 free agent signing (so far!)

1. His middle name is Francisco!

2. He once hit .324 with 21 stolen bases. It was 2016.

3. He has thrice pitched -twice with Cincinati in 2019 (both one inning, no runs!) and once with Boston in 2020. (Not so good.)

4. Last year with the Mets, he played SS, 2B, LF and one game as DH!

5. He played in the 2014 Futures Game with future Yankee teammates Joey Gallo and Domingo German!

6. That year, in most rankings, he was considered the Braves #1 prospect!

7. In 2018, he finished third in the NL in At-Bats, with 632!

8. That year he led the NL in Errors, with 22!

9. Four times, he's finished in the top 10 in Caught Stealing!

10. Among his statistical doppelgangers are Bill Rigney, D'Angelo Jimenez and Pat Kelly.

Bonus: Last year with the Mets, he played in 64 games, hitting .204 with 6 HRs and 20 RBIs!

Monday, November 29, 2021

In 2022, the Mets will own New York. For Yankee fans, that might not be a bad thing

 


Well, the worst (or best?) that could happen may have happened: 

Max Scherzer is a Met. And the team's owner might not be done writing checks. 

Meanwhile, the Yankees today signed minor league SS Jose Peraza, 27, who hit .204 last year.

Okay, breathe. 

I still believe Brian Cashman might be technically wily by playing the long game - that is, waiting until after MLB's labor dispute is settled, and then acquiring free agents at theoretically reduced prices. Waiting might be the smart way to go.

But the Mets are going to score a lot of tabloid back pages over the next two months, and once the lockout begins, the Yankees will be an afterthought.

This presents an existential threat to the Yankees, as New York's premier sports team. It will be the first time in Hal Steinbrenner's ownership that "Food Stamps" feels actual financial pressure to win. Until now, winning has been simply part of his family spirit. If the Yankees lose, oh, well, the money keeps rolling in... 

The Bombers are about to become Gotham's second team. That means reduced home and away attendance, lower YES ratings and fewer games on national TV. Fewer sports talk shows will debate the Yankee bullpen. Fewer Yankee caps will show up on the streets. Fewer celebrities will be seen at games. 

Moreover, if the Yankees stumble - that is, if they produce a lineup as dreary and unwatchable as the 2021 team turned out to be - Hal could face financial issues that he never would have imagined. Don't get me wrong. He's a billionaire, and he will never face a financial hardship, as long as he lives. 

But one of these days, it will not be fun for Hal, anymore. 

And you know what? 

Maybe this is what we need.


Kluber to Tampa: Dare Yank fans fear the worst?

Prelim thoughts after hearing Corey Kluber - "Mr. No Hitter" - has fled to Tampa for $8 million and his weight in carrots: 

Good riddance. The guy gave us 16 starts, sixteen - most of them in a crusted state of rehab. He's an Injury List all-star who turns 36 in April, and - excuse me - frickin' Tampa? Are you kidding me? Tampa? After all we did for him? Hey, thank you, Dear Loyal Corey. And if you ever again pitch in NYC, pardon the boos. Hey, everybody, once this guy clears his physical, raise the drawbridge and never let his name be uttered in our otherwise melodious Yankiverse without a chorus of purely distilled bile. We're better off without him. Sit on it, Tampa. He's all yours.

Then a terrifying name popped into my head: 

Bartolo.

Yeah, Bartolo... as in Colon - the pear-shaped sex bomb that Brian Cashman famously fished out of the burning Cayahoga in 2011, and who miraculously cheated time for another seven seasons, after the Death Barge cut bait. Cashman was happy to take a flier on Colon as a cheap longshot - but he didn't want to be left holding the bag. So we missed out on one of the great baseball comebacks of the 2010s. 

Of course, nobody knows if Corey = Colon, though he proved last year his tank still holds diesel. The question: Can he can pitch more than 16 games? And we know the Rays - the franchise of Nelson Cruz, Rich Hill, David Robertson and - not long ago, Charlie Morton - aren't afraid to pay an old coot now and then. Also, the Rays don't seem to make mistakes. 

Damn, why does it have to be Tampa? 

Meanwhile, the Yankees have a history of nursing injured birds back to health  - does the name Nathan Eovaldi strike a chord? - so they can fly around and bite us. Will this be another?

Meanwhile, I suggest you tune out the cacophony this week, as teams move to sign free agents. It will be a long, cold winter, and if Cashman is truly playing a four-corner stall - that is, waiting until a labor agreement is in place before making any big move - well, we should let him do it. 

Come Thursday, the music stops, freezing everyone into place until a new labor contract is signed. That could be March - or much longer. 

I believe small market teams will make big moves this week, because by buying a big name, they can sell tickets on him during the lockout. 

Waiting is a viable strategy. I gotta believe prices will come down on the other side of this dispute. In recent years, the Yankees have occasionally seemed to "win the winter." It sure didn't pan out. A lotta shit is going to fly over the next 48 hours. It's going to be impossible to process.

But here's something that's solid: Corey Kluber is a turncoat.


Saturday, November 27, 2021

On Wednesday, everything stops. Will the Yankees be in the process of blowing up?

This is getting, well, weird... 

Wednesday, the MLB Doomsday Clock strikes midnight on the collective bargaining agreement - aka "the union contract." The owners will padlock their diamond mines and bring in the Pinkertons - and ongoing Yankee plans will be instantly frozen in a Hal-sized glob of amber, perhaps to be decoded in the year 2525, if man is still alive. 

By Wednesday, clubs must decide whether to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible veterans. For the Yankees, that could mean cutting ties with Miguel Andujar, Luke Voit and Gary Sanchez, three former future lug nuts - only days after dropping dimes on Clint Frazier, Tyler Wade and Rougned Odor. 

The Great Purge will have begun. 

The heaviest fog rolls in at catcher, where the Yankees have no replacement for the underperforming Sanchez, and the free agent market looks thin as a coat of Windex. If the Yankees let Gary walk - and if they don't, will fans riot? - Cooperstown Cashman might have to go weeks or months, until a new contract is in place, before filling the gopher holes.   

Until then, we could be sitting on a lineup of "TBAs" at SS, CF, 1B, 2B, C, and throughout the pitching staff. What if the Redsocks or newly owner-riled Mets do something crazy - like make outlandish offers for Freddie Freeman or Robbie Ray? (Note: The Mets signed Sterling Marte last night, so it may have begun.) That could force Cashman to bid on players while navigating not only the union dispute but - (jeeze I hate to write this) - fallout from a potential new Covid surge. 

We are entering into the most volatile Yankee period since the summer of 2016, when Sanchez and Aaron Judge arrived. 

We were never going to get much in trades for Voit, Sanchez and even Andujar, who once represented our golden future. 

But yeesh, imagine them walking out the door with almost nothing in return - as what happened with Frazier. 

Come Wednesday, when the Clock stops, the Death Barge will face far more questions than answers. 

I think it's fair to believe that Cashman possesses the technical expertise to run the Yankees. But does he have a grand strategy in mind, beyond annually trading for veterans in August to make a run at the wild card?

This could be getting weird.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Ho ho ho. It's time again for The Master and The Boss to usher in the new season

Note: Nothing is happening today in the Yankiverse.
Go out, eat and spend money.