Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Know Your Pre-Ruthian Sluggers! Pt. II

 

My friends:

I thought we could all use a little cheering up after last night's Royal Pineapple Fest, so I have decided to treat you to another of the Pre-Ruthian Slugger stories that Dick Allen was so good as to bring to our attention.

It concerns one Ralph Orlando "Socks" Seybold, and features perhaps the very strangest, and certainly the most hilarious single baseball story I have ever heard.

Despite his rather unprepossessing demeanor, Socks was a pretty fair country hitter. It took him a long time to get to the majors, despite battering one minor league after another. That's just how it was back in the days of the old, 16-team cartel. Somebody saw you botch a ball in the outfield and decided you couldn't field, or you fell down rounding first and were blackballed for life.

Poor Socks didn't stick in the big until he was 30, but then put in eight, generally outstanding seasons for Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics. 

A right fielder and first baseman, he batted .294 lifetime (and as high as .334 in a season), led the AL with 45 doubles in 1903—and hit 16 home runs in 1902.

That was the American League record, and it stayed that way until The Babe broke it in 1919. In July. En route to 29 homers in a war-shortened season.

But I digress.

For the deadball era, Socks Seybold was an outstanding slugger, on some outstanding A's teams.

Other than that, there is almost nothing to distinguish him. He was born and raised in a small Ohio town, and died in a small Pennsylvania town, when his car skidded off a road one night in December. He was married but had no children, retired from baseball after tearing the ligaments in his leg and, despite several comeback attempts, ended up working as a steward at a social club.

Nope, nothing to see here, folks. 

Except...

Sock Seybold will also live in history as...the Man Who Could Not Get Out of the Doghouse.

I don't mean a baseball doghouse, some manager's mental dungeon. (See Martin, Alfred Emanuel, for largest doghouse in major-league history.) I mean a literal doghouse.

According to the Player Info section on baseballreference entry, Socks—and I'm quoting here:

"...is also remembered for an unusual incident, when he became stuck while trying to recover a ball that had rolled into a doghouse, used as a storage shed, that was actually in play at the outfield at Boundary Field, the early home of the Washington Senators. It took some time to pull him out, by which time the batter had had plenty of time to circle the bases with an inside-the-park homer."

Uh, what now?

Talk about underselling a story. "...is also remembered for"? How was he ever remembered for anything else?  

Yes, of course it took some time to pull him out—his teammates no doubt kept falling over themselves laughing. One wonders: did they pull him out by his socks? Hence his nickname?

I was initially suspicious that this was wholly a fable, much as I was when someone wrote on wikipedia that Wally Pipp's immigrant family had changed their name from Pippik. And I'm still suspicious about every word of Socks' misadventure with the doghouse, right down to the name of the field where it happened.

But turns out, a pre-Griffith Stadium, "Boundary Field" really was the home of the Senators for seven seasons. Baseballreference even confirms that:

One of the unusual features of the ballpark was that there was a doghouse in right field that was used as a storage shed where the flag was kept between games. The doghouse was considered to be in play. Famously, outfielder Socks Seybold of the Philadelphia Athletics once got himself stuck in the shed's entrance while trying to recover a baseball that had rolled into it.

Well, you know how it is. You're a lucky dog, a good dog, you got your home with a nice view of the ballpark. But you got your lawn mower, your hedge clippers, your work bench...and your enormous American flag. Pretty soon there's no room left for you...

Here is a picture of Boundary Field (so called because DC's Florida Street used to be called "Boundary Street)—and a desolate piece of real estate in looks like, too, seeming to slant downhill from home plate:


Somehow, though, no evidence of a doghouse/storage shed. How big was this dog, anyhow? How did Socks Seybold ever live it down? 

We may never know. And in the end, I can't help asking...Who let Socks out? Woof, woof-woof...

The Albatross Strikes Again


 When Giancarlo Stanton came up with the bases loaded, and the Yankees holding a three run lead, I said the following to myself:

" If he hits into a double play we are going to lose this game."

The Yankees , behind the great pitching of Stroman, had dominated the game to that point.  But you could tell, from the Seattle at bats, that they could easily score some runs.  The Yankees needed to build on the lead.  They needed to knock the confidence out of Seattle. 

Stanton, the Yankee Albatross, has already killed one potential rally by hitting into a DP.  We could not afford to come up empty again.  I prayed for a strikeout ( one out is better than two ).  

When Stanton isn't hitting solo homers in 8-1 routes, he usually strikes out.  "One more time, I pleaded." At least if he only made one out, some real Yankee might come through.  We needed runs. 

But the Albatross is the " weight" ( some say the "curse") that prevents teams from accomplishing what they want to do.  Stanton cost us the game.  

Sure, Boone can be accused of mis-managing ( leave Weaver in the game?), and our closer crapped the bed.  

But Stanton lost the game.  Rally killers are game killers. 

I am beginning to think the trade that brought us Stanton is worse....all things considered....than the trade that cost us Jay Buhner. 

We may go into a slide as a result of this mind F*** of a loss by Stanton. 

Huh.

Soul-crushing Yankee defeat conjures memories of Aroldis, Donaldson and Hicks.

Isaac Newton's beloved Third Law of Motion states that, for every great Yankee victory, there will be an equal and opposite crapping of the bed. 

This fits in with Flo's Third Law of Progressive Insurance, which states that a Yankee team can bundle its hitting, fielding and base-running lapses into one incredible loss, which feels like 10.

Which then can be summed up by Bruce's Third Law of fans, which says the Mets fan wanna be first, Phills fan wanna be king, but the Yank fan ain't satisfied 'til he wears a series ring. 

All of which leads to last night, when the Death Barge unleashed demons from recent dark seasons, memories we thought had been wiped clean over the last two weeks. 

Soon, like, maybe this week, we will learn the truth about the '24 Yankees: Are they really AL East contenders? Or did they simply just blow through a winning streak, and the stagecoach will now revert back into the pumpkin. By mid-June, will we be chasing a wild card? Last night, the Babaduks escaped. Let's roll call the demons...

The Aroldis Ninth. God help us. The mere phrase rattles me. It feeds the notion that no lead is safe, and that a one-run margin is basically hopeless. It's hard to believe that we had El Chapo for seven years - seven painful years - when his ERA flew from 2.01 to 4.46. He could lose on a HR to a 20-year-old Rafael Devers, or to a cheating Jose Altuve, or he could fill the bases with walks. Coupled with Gary Sanchez's defensive skills, to watch Aroldis Chapman implode was like adding Mentos to Pepsi and waiting for the sugar orgasm. He could fan the first two batters on six pitches, go 0-and- 2 on the third - and never throw another pitch within the area code of the strike zone. And the rivers of sweat! They cascaded off the brim of his cap. The guy left puddles. Seven years of blown leads, each one a torture chamber, followed by flood waters - and here's the rub: We might be eerily entering a similar state with Clay Holmes, who is known to hit slumps. We've seen him hit the wall. He did last night. 

The Donaldson Effect. There haven't been many Yankees to reach the state of utter revulsion achieved last June by Josh "Jackie" Donaldson. By mid-May, he was being roundly booed at home, and each pop fly or ground out conjured postgame YES assurances that his swing was finally coming around, and that he'd soon start hitting. Well, he didn't. He never even cracked .150, finishing his Yankee trial at .142. 

It's worth noting that, with decent Yankee finales, both Aroldis and Donaldson could have punched their tickets to to Cooperstown. Instead, I doubt it will happen. They reached the greatest stage in American sports, and they puked. They'll always fall a few votes short, because every writer in NYC only remembers one part of their career.

No current Yank qualifies for a Donaldson comparison. But Gleyber Torres could be the next Aaron Hicks. He just keeps messing up. Last night, he botched a key infield single, throwing wide to first - Knoblauch-like into the home dugout - advancing the runners, and adding to the pressure on Holmes. 

I believe the team has little choice but to go with Gleyber, at least into July. If he gets traded, we'll get next to nothing in return, and he could do what Hicks did last year: Make the Yankees look like a lost organization (which they might just be.) 

Add a Giancarlo GIDP with the bases loaded - killing the chance to break open the game - and last night raised memories of Journey's Third Law of Threesomes: 

Some will win, some will lose, some - like Greg Bird, Clint Frazier and Miguel Andujar - are born to sing the blues. 

Last night, we sang.

  

Monday, May 20, 2024

Another Top 10 set of gooshy takeaways on yesterday's Yankee victory, (because you don't change juju on a 7-game win streak.) Ranked.

1. We won. 

2. We got basic doodily squat from our stars - (Judge with only one measly HR, a 337 feet pop fly, a mere 98.9 mph exit velo, not exactly a moonshot, should it have counted?) - and yet we won.  

3. Despite occasional bunt bloopers that somehow clear the fence, Judge now tied for 3rd in HRs in all of baseball. Has 7 in merry month of May. If (rigged by Democrats) all-star vote were held today, Judge should be starting CF. (Maybe  Juan Soto in RF?) 

4. Yanks' pitching staff has best ERA (2.81) in MLB. Without Tommy Kahnle, Jonathan Loaisiga, Gerrit Cole, Larry Rothschild... Wait, is Matt Blake - age 39 with no MLB or even MILB experience - a supergenius? Best pitching coach in baseball? I mean, how is this happening: Michael "Golf of" Tonkin now at 9 IP, still not one earned run as a Yankee. WTF?  

5. Bumbling Redsocks now one game under .500, 9.5 behind in AL East. Hateful Blue Jays now 5 below .500, 11.5 games out. (Fortunately, their star will never lower himself to join Yankees.)

6. Only Phillies - who, historically, have never harmed us - have better record. Still, Yank ghosts of 2022 linger. On this day of that horrible year, Yanks were 28-10, in 1st, preparing to lose four out of five. It can happen here...

7. For those who cannot remember the past... In 2022 postseason, Yanks lost 4-0 to cheater Astros. This year, Houston facing plagues of flooding, electrical outages, mosquitos, lack of pitching... (Here's hoping the first three go away, but no. 4 lasts into October.) 

8. Daddy issues? Alex Verdugo is stone cold since becoming a father. Still, Yanks are 12-2 with him at cleanup, and recent revivals of Judge, Rizzo, Stanton, et al, argue for patience. You don't change underwear in a winning streak. Nor should you change cleanup hitter.

9. The Martian, rehabbing in dirt league Tampa: 0-2 yesterday with 2 walks and 1 K. Microscopic sample size: He's hitting .380. Also, at Triple A, mighty mite Caleb Durbin still standing tall, playing everywhere, hitting .285, leading Railriders in RBIs (32), while leading off. 

10. Amid wave of great catchers across AL - Salvador Perez, Adley Rutschman, Jonah Heim, Shea Langeliers, Cal Raleigh - Jose Trevino having quiet career year (.284.) Won't be an all-star again, but won't be replaced by struggling Austin Wells, either.  

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Know Your Pre-Ruthian Sluggers! Pt. I

 

Responding to Dick Allen's request regarding those home-run hitters who held the single-season record for dingers before the advent of The Ruth, well, we have a lot of rollicking stories of Weird Old-Time Baseball to go around here.

First up was Lip Pike, who bashed 4 home runs in 28 games for the Troy Haymakers of the National Association in 1871, the very first season of (openly) professional ball.  

Even before that, Pike may have been the first admittedly professional ballplayer, making $20 a week for the Philadelphia Athletic. Born in Manhattan and raised in Brooklyn, Lipman Emanuel Pike was also the first known Jewish ballplayer in the majors, the son of Emanuel Pike, a haberdasher, brother to Boaz, Jacob, and Israel Pike (the last of whom also played briefly in the majors), and father of Harry Pike, who became a comedian. 

 


Pike—seen dead center in the second row with the St. Louis Brown Stockings of 1875 or 1876, in all their sartorial splendor—surely belongs in the Hall of Fame. He would go on to better his home-run record the next year, in 1872, hitting 7, and would lead the three major leagues he played in a total of 4 times in roundtrippers.

He also led his league once in doubles, once in RBI (60 in 56 games, in 1872), and once in slugging. He stole at least 50 bases in his career, and as many as 25 in a season. Pike played the outfield mostly, but also every infield position but catcher and pitcher, and finished with a line of .322/.339/.468/.808. 

An opponent who later became a prominent sportswriter, Tim Murnane, later claimed he was "perhaps the hardest hitter the game ever produced." Sure, that was in 1904, but still.

If nothing else, Lip Pike deserves to make the Hall for the teams he played with. They didn't win any pennants, but the names alone were priceless. Besides the Haymakers and the Brown Stockings, Pike played for the Providence Grays, the Hartford Dark Blue, Baltimore Canaries, and the Worcester Ruby Red Legs. He even put in one game with the original Met(s) of the 19th century.

Pike would go on to become the very first of (incredibly) only 7 major-league Jewish managers, and would umpire a little. But he was soon back in Brooklyn, hard at work in the family haberdashery. There he died suddenly of a heart attack, in 1893, aged just 48.

This has been a pre-Ruthian moment! More to come.






Another Top 10 groovy, copasetic takeaways from yesterday's Yankee win, because you don't change mouthwash during a win streak... ranked.

 1. We won.

2. We won with Judge, Verdugo, Rizzo and Torres fanning 9 times (out of 12 ABs) and contributing one measly single. Still the Yankees right now are capable of winning  with just one or two bats coming alive, and that's what happened yesterday over the mighty White Sox. 

3. Juan Soto went 4-for-4, raising his BA 16 percentage points. So much for the first slump of his Yankee career. He's back on Triple Crown Challenger mode.

4. Giancarlo hit another HR - three in his last four games - and bounced one off the wall, allowing him to reach 2B, his 8th double of the season. This is amazing. For Stanton to hit a double, the ball must get stuck in a drainpipe. For him to hit a triple - he has none thus far - it needs to land on the back of a carrier pigeon, who then roosts above the scoreboard, becoming electrocuted and fused so tightly to the wall that a stadium technician must remove it with a spatula. Even then, it's a close play at third.

5. Stanton's recent hot spell has every Yankee fan pondering the same unponderable thought: Can we trade him, maybe? Could some team out there assume the final four years of his deal with Mephistopheles if, say, we kick in for 2024? Hate to be a downer, but let's face it: Nobody will take the guy when he's hitting .202, and a month from now, that's where he might be. Or on the Tweaked Gonad List, from trying to leg out a single off the right field wall. 

6. Wait. I take it back. Spit on me, I deserve it. How could I advocate for such a dastardly deed? Did you see the cherubic smiles on the Yankees faces yesterday when Giancarlo homered? Pure joy. Especially Aaron Judge, who knows that a hot Stanton means nobody can pitch around the front four. If the Yankees traded Giancarlo now, they would be telling the team to fuck itself, and that all Hal Steinbrenner cares about is money.

7. Which would be the honest thing to do. And that's why Cooperstown Cashman should be making calls today. I mean, why lie? Hal's boathouse needs a new walk-in refrigerator, and he's not running a do-gooder soup kitchen. He's running a small business, dammit. Cash should be on the phone, contacting Milwaukee or Detroit - some city looking for a big star, and willing to cough up a 16-year-old Dominican whatever. Next winter, we'd buy somebody with the Giancarlo Dividend. 

8. Wait. Shoot me. What have I become? I apologize - to you, to Giancarlo, to humanity. How could I be calling for some despicable deal, trading a player just as he is finally fulfilling his destiny as a Yankee? 

9. Then again, let's be real. The Martian went 2-4 yesterday in the dirt leagues of Tampa. He's gonna to need a path to the majors, and Stanton will be sitting in it. We gotta do something to clear the way. What to do? Calgon Bath Oil Beads, take me away!

10. Luis Gil seems too good to be true. No, the entire pitching staff seems too good to be true... and without Gerrit Cole. Tommy Kahnle soon to return. Are we dreaming this?  

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Top 10 blathering takeaways from last night's Yankee victory, because you don't change anything during a streak... ranked.

 

1. We won.

2. The ever-changing Zone of Death Abundance Damage went 5-13 and scored 4 runs. When Judge and Stanton homer in the same game, it's a foregone conclusion; it's Globetrotters v Generals, Roadrunner v Coyote, blood vessels v nose...

3. Okay, Giancarlo is officially hot: .412 with 2 HRs over last 7 games. Let's celebrate. He should carry this team, at least, through the tomato can ever-wily White Sox. The question, though, is simple: 

How far will he go before the tweak? Is there any earthly reason to believe a barking gonad is NOT lurking around Stanton's corner, waiting to bite? The answer, sadly, is no. The problem with Giancarlo getting hot is that he ends up having to run the bases, where his hammies snap like rubber bands in a dryer. We'll see how far he goes. Right now, he's on a course to hit 40 HRs. Do we dare believe he'll hit 30?

4. Also, Aaron Judge is baseball's hottest hitter. Despite a dreadful opening slump, which had Yankee fans ready to leap into the volcano, he's now on a course to hit 46 HRs. He's tied for fourth in all of baseball, with 12. And rising. 

5. Speaking of slumps, Juan Soto now dangling perilously below .300. (He's at .301.) Last night, he banged two drives to the wall, both long outs. Even when slumping, he barrels the ball.

6. In his minor league rehab, east of the sun and west of the moon, DJ LeMahieu played three innings, went 1-for-2 with a single, and played 3B. Apparently, that's where he will settle. 

7. The Martian sat out another game in Tampa. Not sure why. Not worrying. Move along. There's nothing to see here.

8. Can't escape the feeling that we have been here before. Yeah. Sherman, set the Wayback to May 21, 2022, the Yankees - behind Nestor Cortes - beat the warring White Sox 7-5, running their record to 29-10. They were in first place by 5.5 games. Both Judge and Giancarlo were hitting over .300. Everything was - as the kids would say - groovy. 

Well, we lost the next three, our first shitty streak of 2022, a harbinger of what was to come. The '22 Yankees won 99 games, wobbled to the end and fell over the finish line, winning the AL East and vanishing into the October rathole. Nothing lasts forever in baseball. I'm not saying this is 2022, just that we've seen this movie, and it's not starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan; in fact, it might be one of those Knives Out thingys where nobody is who they seem to be. Watch out. That's all I'm saying. 

9. Is there a difference between now and 2022? Maybe. Let me give it to you in a word. Pitching. 

Pitching, pitching, pitching. I don't know how the Yankees dug up this bullpen, comprised primarily of castoffs, and I wonder if they do have some advanced operation in Florida, squeezing the juice out of old rubber arms. Right now, everything is working, and Gerrit Cole might still be coming back. Don't mean to jinx it, but if there is one incredible difference between here and '22, it's that Cole could be coming back. 

10. I hope this country can stem the terrifying rise in golf thug violence. These hooligans cannot be allowed to run wild. 

Friday, May 17, 2024

Game Thread: Yankees vs. White Sox

 


At least until the Knick game starts.

What's wrong with this picture?

 


Besides the obvious?

Even after managing to finally squeeze out a win against Philly last night, the New York Mets are still in fourth place, and already ten games behind the first-place Phils.

But...they are just 1/2 game out of the sixth and final playoff spot.

Will this matter? 

Probably not. The Mets probably won't make the playoffs, and it's even more doubtful they have the team to make a run to the World Series, as the sixth-spot Diamondbacks did last season.

But it demonstrates again how much baseball has cheapened itself by letting 40% of all teams into the playoffs.







 


Top 10 ridiculously upbeat takeaways from yesterday's Yankee victory, ranked, (because you don't change underwear during a streak)

 1. We won.

2. Anthony Blinken Volpe has reached magical .270 BA, fulcrum point of global stardom that separates the  careers of Kissinger and Rumsfeld Marcell Ozuna (.270) and Brandon Nimmo (.267.) Not long ago, he was tracking Condoleezza Rice Horace Clarke - the real one, not the esteemed IIH prophet - at .256. Don't want to jinx the guy, but what if Volpe IS the Yankee Gold Glove SS/leadoff hitter for next five years? (And what if I'm the Easter Bunny?) 

Also, Volpe now tied for 5th in AL for stolen bases. Is it my imagination or does he run too infrequently, because of the immediate firepower following him?

3. Clarke Schmidt pitched 8 shutout innings. Three hits. Are we dreaming this? Yanks now have four starters (Schmidt, Gil, Rodon, Stroman) in MLB Top 20 for ERA. For now, Nasty Nestor is our weakest link. I certainly don't want to jinx this, by raising ridiculous expectations, but what if this is the Second Coming of Koufax & Drysdale, Maddox-Glavine-Smoltz, um, Clemens/Pettite/Cone/El Duque (not the esteemed IIH prophet)

4. Down at Single A Tampa, in the shadow of the Dali Museum, where men roll cigars off of women's breasts, and the sinkholes are filled with African pythons, The Martian yesterday went 2-4 with two singles. He is now 3-for-7 in his minor league rehab. 

5. Yanks rebirthed mastery of Twinkies, just like old times. Remember the halcyon days of Trevor Plouffe and Kurt Suzuki? Ahh... 'Sota.

6. Last seven days, Aaron Judge is hottest hitter in baseball - OPS of 1.593. No other Yankee in the Top 30. He is approaching .270!

7. Asked by Jack Curry yesterday if Yanks would consider signing Juan Soto to a midseason contract extension, Hal Steinbrenner said basically nothing. Door is always open, always ready to answer the phone, that Taylor Swift is really something, where's my car keys?, blah blah blah... Interesting that the Yankees would open TV discussions while Soto is slumping. Hoping for a "What have you done lately?" discount?

8. Storms hitting Houston, flooding everywhere, a million people without power. You reap what you sow, Astros!

9. Actually, here's hoping Texas storms recede and nobody gets hurt. Yankee fans are too moralistic and statesmanlike to demand petty revenge. 

10. Actually, I wouldn't mind rampant basement flooding, which leaves a stench and is very nasty. (Fun fact: We won't play Astros again this year.)  Let it rain!

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Top 10 buttery, melt-in-your-mouth observations following last night's delicious Yankee win, ranked.

 

1. We won.

2. Zone of Death Abundance (yellow) went 9 for 20 with three runs, three RBIs. Rizzo neutered, only Yank to go hitless. 

3. Aaron Judge, now AL 3rd in HRs with 11, is officially on fire. Last night, 4 for 4, bumped his average by 19 points. If I were the Twinkies, today I'd walk the guy every time he sees his shadow. 

4. Six shutout innings by Marcus Stroman, followed by the Amazing and Mysterious Luke Weaver (2 IP, 0 runs.) At age 30, Weaver defies scientific explanation. 

Last year, with three MLB teams, he went 3-6 with an ERA of 6.40. Did he barter his soul with Satan? Did he invent a substance that repels objects from wood? Does he kill hobos and devour their pituitary glands? Whatever. I'm for it. Right now, there is no reason to change anything about him. But if the rotation falters, he's our 5th man. 

5. Down in the Double A bowels of Bridgeport, (which wants to call itself Somerset, but it's really Bridgeport), The Martian last night hath rested. His rehab assignment thus far: 1-for-3 with a walk. 

6. In various depths of minor league Mordor, scores of Yank hopefuls combined to throw three shutouts last night. Most came in short bursts, by pitchers we've never heard of. (Yorlin Calderon? Phil Bickford.) One you know - Clayton Beeter, the Beater with the Heater - threw four at Scranton. Why must everything good happen at once? Hey, juju gods, can't we space these out? 

7. Down in Bridgeport Somerset, on rehab assignment, perpetually injured IF lug nut Oswald Peraza hit his 3rd HR this week. Scranton looms. This year's Estevan Florial? (Hitting .189, 3 HRs, in Cleveland.)  Meanwhile, stud prospects Spencer Jones (o-4 with 4 Ks) and Ben Rice (0-3 with 3 Ks) shat bed. Jones' average (now .237) is sinking without a bubble. 

8. Listless and clunky play by Twinkies tears veneer off Minnesota claim as an ascending AL power. Loss today and series sweep would conjure memories of 1990s "'Sota bitch" status. How did this team win 12 straight? Juju gods are brutal. (Wait. I'm not suggesting  that the juju gods are unfair. In fact, I think they are solid, standup entities, who do a great job under tough conditions. Frankly, those guys don't get the credit they deserve. Not only that, but they look great! Hey, are you guys working out? Way ta go!) 

9. Anthony Volpe near magical .270 batting average threshold. But comparisons to KC shortstop Bobby Witt might have to go. Witt leads AL in runs, hitting .293 in long awaited, third season breakout. (Actually, Volpe - one year behind - could be tracking along Witt's lines.) 

10. Juan Soto leads AL in On Base Percentage with .408. Judge now fifth. We still have yet to see the two of them, simultaneously, in hitting spree. Saving it for Boston, maybe? 

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Top 10 gloriously optimistic takeaways following last night's hummungus Yankee victory, ranked.


1. We won.

2. Zone of Death (yellow) - a veritable bridge collapse two weeks ago in Baltimore - has come alive: 7 for 23, four runs, three RBIs. Nobody hitting below .200. 

3. "And Soto, too?" And Soto, too! Yank batting  order now flip-flopping, top to bottom: RH, LH, RH, LH, RH, LH, RH, LH, SWITCH, repeat.

4. Carlos Rodon starting to resemble the pitcher we thought we signed two winters ago. ERA ranks 20th in AL, 17th in IP, 17th in Ks. Only mistake last night came on game's 2nd pitch, a fatty.

5. Lightning Wrists Stanton's HR - (114 mph, 424 feet) - beating Minnesota's flimsy bloop, (107 mph, 414 feet.) Does Giancarlo have a year in him?

6. Down in dirt league backwater, Single A Tampa - do they play barefoot? - the Martian last night went 1-for-3 with a walk. Jasson Dominquez. He'll DH for 20 days, then be crated and shipped to Scranton, where he'll either knock down fences or languish until Cooperstown Cashman finds a use for him. Considering the hype behind Dominguez, it's hard to see the Brain Trust trading him, (though Cashman is surely salivating over some bad deal.) Right now, though, The Martian immediately replaces Ben Rice and Spencer Jones as the prospects you check on, first thing, before your bangers and mash. (Culinary, not sexual.) 

7. Somewhere in minors - (if it's Tuesday, this must be Bridgeport?) -  Tommy Kahnle last night struck out the side on 10 pitches. Don't know what happened on that one pitch. Can't do much better. The Gulf of (Michael) Tonkin Incident might soon end.

8. Anthony Volpe, over last seven days: .370 BA, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, OBP: .414. Are we watching the formation of a star? (Caveat: He's fanning too much, 8 Ks in 27 ABs. 

9. Gerrit Cole and DJ LeMahieu bringing happy talk to Yankiverse. DJ to start rehab assignment tomorrow or Friday. God knows where. Cole throwing 36 pitches, says he's okedoke. (Of course, he'd be instructed to lie.) Next stop, batting practice. (Mid-June?) 

10. O's lost two straight. Not exactly a bridge collapse, but Yanks now first in AL East by - get this - one fucking percentage point. Print the playoff tickets, Hal! (Also, check out Rays and Jays: Might soon be Tanky Tank Time!)

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

BREAKING NEWS! JuJu Coup Crushes "The New York Spring."

 



"The New York Spring," which looked, briefly, as though it might be the most successful sporting spring New York City had ever had, came crashing down in chaos this week. 

The Knicks and Rangers got off to an unprecedented, 13-2 start in the playoffs, a performance that brought them to the very threshold of...maybe making the conference finals. The Yankees and Mets also put together stunning win streaks, games that left fans dreaming of a Subway Series. 


But in a matter of days, all this has changed. 

The Mets' vaunted closer has come apart, dragging his team back down to hell with him, while owner Steve Cohen strives mightily to...put a casino in his team's parking lot.

Juju tanks now surrounded Madison Square Garden, where the plucky but undermanned Knicks face imminent destruction at the hands of the Indiana Pacers.  

Meanwhile, the Rangers are on the verge of the most ignominious collapse in the team's long and sorry history. 

The Blueshirts are ready to choke up a 3-0 series lead, something so infamous it has only happened previously to—

WE INTERRUPT THIS REPORT TO TAKE YOU TO GROVERS MILLS, NEW JERSEY, WHERE THE INTERCONTINENTAL RADIO NETWORK IS REPORTING THAT SINISTER, UNIDENTIFIED, POD-LIKE AIRSHIPS OF SOME KIND HAVE JUST LANDED, BURYING THEMSELVES DEEP IN THE SURROUNDING MUCK.

Wait—the ships seem to be raising up from where they crashed, somewhere in the swamps of Jersey....


Oh my God...could it be??? Yes, it's the juju from Mars! 

They're burning everything in sight with their death rays, jiving us that we were voodoo! 

I'm just getting some first reports on casualties. Has this been confirmed? Oh. Oh, this is terrible folks.





We are sorry to report that Mrs. Met has been barbecued to a crisp by these monsters!

Oh, the humanity!

Can nothing resist this all-out assault on our city and its sporting hopes? Thank God the Yankees, out in Minnesota, are still alive—at least if you don't count Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres.

But wait! We have to switch you back to the Bronx now, where we understand the coup is proceeding even there!

 



Yes, former state senator Luis SepĂșlveda—voted Senator Paying the Most Meticulous Attention to His Facial Hair three terms in a row—has now been named Acting Commissar for Life by the juju invaders.

Commissar SepĂșlveda has decreed the Boston Red Sox to be the official team of the Bronx, and has announced plans to erect a gigantic monument to David Ortiz (complete with bullet hole) outside of what is now to be known as Starr Insurance Stadium. 

(Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner greeted the news in a memo that read in its entirety, "Welcome, Ants!")


The horror. The horror. 

Keep watching the skies. Just keep watching the skies.

It's a cookbook!...







TRAITORS!


THIS ABOMINATION WILL NOT BE IGNORED.

ELECTIONS ARE COMING THIS NOVEMBER.

THROW THESE BUMS OUT.
 

Brand new, high-tech stats show that Giancarlo Stanton is having a great year; we must be hallucinating otherwise

Great news, Yank faithful: You're wrong again!

In your deluded, anti-science delirium, you may have somehow conjured up the brain worm notion that Giancarlo Stanton was entering the twilight of his Five-Day Deodorant pad career, with ever-shrinking performance levels showing up five seasons before his Yankee contract expires, in 2029 - assuming we're still here to see it.

Nope. 
Forget that Stanton is hitting .230 - (with on On Base Percentage of .283) - and that last year he hit .191, and the year before that, .211. Nope. Those are tired, old-line, horse-and-buggy stats, cooked up by Amish troublemakers on their chalk boards and Etch-A-Sketches, enroute to the next barn fire. 

Turns out that Giancarlo is actually leading the majors in ABS, (see table) - which is not a bowel syndrome, but a way of measuring BS (Bat Speed, of course) - with a whopping FSR of 98.0.

Let me repeat that, in case you feel your eyes are messing with you: 

He has a FSR of ninety-eight-point-oh!

What does this mean? Well, WTF? It goddamm means exactly what it goddamm says: Big G has a Fast Swing Rate of 98.0 percent, nearly 25 points ahead of first runner-up, Kyle Schwarber of the Phillies. That's one big-ass, instantaneous, lightning-bolt-to-the-nuts swing rate. MLB.com calls Stanton the KOBS - King Of Bat Speed, aka, the "King of BS." 

[It's no wonder that Stanton just hit the two hardest home runs of the 2024 season. On his 119.9 mph homer on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium, he had a swing speed of 83.7 mph. On his 118.8 mph homer the day before, he had a swing speed of 85.1 mph. The "Stantonian blast" couldn't exist without his unparalleled bat speed.

Fangraphs puts it this way.

That brings us to another metric that’s now available: fast-swing rate. That’s how frequently a player swings at 75 mph or more. You can think of it, roughly, as the hard-hit rate of swings. To hit a ball hard, you have to swing hard. A full 66.2% of Soto’s swings are hard, while 11% of Betts’ are. Giancarlo Stanton is the league leader here, at a whopping 98.4%. That’s a mathematical description of the phrase “he doesn’t get cheated.” Stanton really does have the most raw power in the league, and he shows it on pretty much every swing. As David Adler noted, Stanton is the hardest swinger in baseball, and he leaves the rest of the field in the dust.

So, stop whining about Stanton's occasional strikeout, here and there, a blip in the overall scheme of things. He might be the slowest runner to first base since Smokey Burgess, and the greatest GIDP threat since Andy Hassey's knees gave out. He's the GOAT of BS, the Swinging Blur of Midnight Blue. Don't blink, or you'll miss his movement. Hooray for the wonks. They've done it again. As for Giancarlo, do we dare to dream?