Tuesday, December 31, 2013

It's New Year's Eve, let's shed a tear

Idea by Leinstery.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome - even though he screwed us with Robbie... MR. JAY-Z!

And now please welcome a special guest, the one, the only Ms. BARBRA STREISAND!

One more time, let's sing along with John, Sammy D and The Grandy Man!

Ladies and gentlemen... won't you welcome an A-Bomb... from Godzilla!

And now, a special treat: From Syracuse, New York, singing their big hit, "The Win Warble Song," it's THE DEADLY SPINNERS

Happy New Year! It's John and Aerosmith... DREAM ON!

And for the kids out there, from the Land Down Under... AC-DC!

Hey, everybody, let's check in with our friends... from South Pacific

Ladies and Gentlemen, won't you please welcome Mr. TOM CRUISE!

And now... please welcome Skeeter Davis! WHY DOES THE WORLD GO ON SPINNING?

Ladies and gentlemen, won't you please welcome the current star of Broadway and film... MR. PATRICK STEWART

Ladies and gentlemen, singing her song of the year, KATY PERRY!

Happy New Year: It's John and Lady Gaga!

Ladies and gentlemen, won't you please welcome a special guest, best-selling author and star of Fox News, Governor Sarah Palin!


Happy New Year, folks. This man needs no introduction: THE BOSS HIMSELF. BRUUUUUCE SPRINGSTEEN!

Yankees looking to rise again by shooting gobs of money at 15 year old Latino boys

The signings of adolescent Latinos each July remains one of baseball's slimiest sides, a market so ripe for corruption that you wonder how some scouts bag men sleep at night. MLB teams pipelines can sign pay money for Latino boys on their 16th birthdays, which means they are courted - groomed by scouts pimps long before age 15. Nobody would allow this in the United States (though after the success of Bryce Harper, whose future was being engineered before his testicles dropped, that will surely change.) I've never understood how Bud Selig gets so jacked up about performance enhancing drugs - but seems to turn a blind eye toward the international talent system. 

Oh well, the rules are the rules, right?

A baseball analyst by the name of Kiley McDaniel has written a long, exhaustive article on how the Yankees in 2014 plan to obliterate past records for international spending, dropping up to $15 million on Latino kids - even if it means paying $10 million in luxury tax penalties. (MLB owners - great pillars of morality and conservatism, for the most part - always react swiftly to the crisis of too much money being paid on the help; they do it the old fashioned, socialistic way - by instituting huge taxes on each other. But lord help any local politician who attempts to tax an MLB franchise to pay for, say, schools. Moral outrage will rain from the skies. )

Signing Latino talent is apparently one of the last ways a rich team like the Yankees can use their financial clout. The Texas Rangers, for example, built their system doing this. (McDaniel says one reaction of Yankee fans will be, why did they wait so long?) He writes:

Effectively, the Yankees could spend over $20 million on what their scouts think are the top Latin American 15 year olds; a challenge no club has ever come close to trying before.

It's a long article. Read it. I still don't know how to feel. When your team is using an immoral system to its advantage, it's almost as hypocritical to scream indignation as it is to claim everything is hunky dory. At least Hal Steinbrenner is spending his money on talent instead of a new boat house. Maybe we'll develop some star players in five to 10 years. At least we are working a strategy.

But McDaniel warns that the Yankee spending explosion might cause MLB to institute an international draft - and punish the Yankees by taking away their first round picks.

One point is clear: The lords of baseball are determined to eventually turn MLB into the NFL and the New York Yankees into the San Diego Padres.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Top 10 revelations from today's emails between A-Rod and Handy Randy Levine

Today, New York Mag - which owns the A-Rod story - posted emails (probably taken from the NSA) between  Alex "Chip" Rodriguez and Randy Levine, the curly-haired president of the Yankees. They are a treasure trove of insights into two iconic New York personalities. Ten findings:

1. Joking email banter dries up fast when lawyers appear. In 2011, Randy writes "U are the man. I told u that for years. U can and will do it." This year, looking at litigation, he says, "My focus and direction, as well as that of the entire Yankees organization, has been, and continues to be, to treat you in the same manner as we do all of our players, to have you healthy and ready to play as soon as possible." Ouch.

2. There's no such thing as one email from Randy Levine. He seems like one of those guys who always writes a quick reply, even if there is nothing to say.

 3. These guys deserve each other. It's really too bad if litigation ruins their friendship.

4. A-Rod must be a number-cruncher. At one point, he says, "People have been telling me that you have an 8% bounty on my contract." Wow. An eight percent bounty? That's 8 percent of $250 million? Count me in. 

5. More kinky stuff may be coming. At another point, Randy writes, "Pictures of party at your house circulating all around tonight." Well, let's see 'em!

6. A-Rod, in one email reply, says only "HA!" That's the same thing he famously shouted one night at Toronto Blue Jay infielders, causing them to allow a pop-up to drop. Was A-Rod attempting a catch phrase?

7. As motivational writer, Randy Levine is horrible. "Take the challenge, get mad, get determined, and shut everyone up and perform to greater levels. I believe in u." Gahp. Did he write lyrics for Bonnie Tyler?

8. Both men are ass-kissing suck-ups. Randy tells A-Rod he's the team leader (Sorry, Jeet) and should play with a "chip" on his shoulder. Thus, A-Rod signs his emails "Chip." Barf. It's a wonder they don't call each other "Captain" and "Admiral."

9. Randy jokes about Robbie Cano using steroids. No conspiracy theory here. Just wondering why that came out?

10. Last February, A-Rod was a tortured soul. "I’m feeling left out, I can’t be with the team at spring training and this leaves an empty hole in my life." A total eclipse of the heart.

Top 10 Things I should'a done, but didn't do, in 2013

I should'a...

1. Fixed the glitch that freezes my computer 15 times per day, because it has the runs for some script. It would take 2 minutes to fix. But I didn't bother. Instead, I'd hit Yes, dump out of the site and start over. The Internet should do something about this. It's losing customers.

2. Grown a beard. Why not? About three months ago, a doohickey-carbunkle popped up on the right side of my face - not squeezable - and it'll never leave, so I should grow something and do a cheek comb-over. But I hate the itchy beard phase, scratching your neck all day. Plus, the self-image: People see me and think: "Look, it's a bearded man!" I'm not a bearded man, dammit. I'm a human being!

3. Cleaned the gas grill. It's a disgrace. I shouldn't eat the food. The grease down there has formed a coal-like planet. It needs to go through a car wash. The ignition switch doesn't work. I flip lit matches into the chamber. But I only notice the problem when I'm hungry, and it's too late to mount a cleaning project. Someday,  you'll hear that all of Syracuse has disappeared into a fireball, and it'll be my gas grill. 

4. Taken up Twitter. People say, "You belong on Twitter.! You'll have a million fans!" Yeah, right. I have a Twitter account. The last peep, or tweet, was last spring. Waste of time. I'd try to be whimsical, hilarious. Mowing the lawn, something would pop into my head. I'd say, "HOLY CRAP, I GOTTA TWEET THAT!" By the time I found my phone, I'd forget what it was. 

5. Lost 15 pounds. If I lost 15 pounds, I could wear my best cool t-shirts and faded jeans, which currently do not fit. I only have one pair of jeans, which are ghetto cut, because I bought them in a flea market. I'm constantly hoisting them up. Why not buy a good pair? Because when I go to the store, I think, "Screw this! I'll lose 15 pounds and fit back into the good jeans." I'm not ready to give up my dream.

6. Dropped the Yankees. Like a bag of rocks. Last winter, when Hal Steinbrenner said the Yankees were cutting payroll, I should have said, "Eat me, Hal," and turned this blog into a Senta Berger fan site. All year, I raged about the cheapskate Yankees, and it did no good. It sucks when a billionaire is trying to make more money. Good grief, it's not like Hal inherited a pizza parlor. It's the frickin' New York Yankees! It didn't work, either. Hal not only lost on the field, but the Yankees lost attendance, TV ratings and stature. They wasted their year, and mine. I should have  dropped the team and followed soccer, or movies, or Senta (in photo with Man from UNCLE.)

7. Watched Silver Linings Playbook. Everybody says, "Seely, you gotta see Silver Linings Playbook. It's about an obsessed, wacko, nut-job loser creepy fan, just like you." I messed up. I put in a "hold" on the Onondaga County Library system, and I had the video for a week. But it was late August, friends visiting, schedules crashing, and I never got around to watching. I ended up paying a $2.50 fine, for nothing. It pissed me off. I said, "The hell with Silver Linings Playbook! I'll never watch it, ever!" Which is stupid.

8. Gone to see Neko Case in Ithaca. She's a great alt-country singer. Her band, The New Pornographers, is a great alt-rock band. A few months ago, she appeared in Ithaca, an alt-50 minute drive. But all my friends just said, "Who the hell is Neko Case? Call me when Poison, or Benny Mardones, or Mary Chapin Carpenter is playing, and then I'll go." I'll be goddammed if I'm driving to Ithaca to see Mary Effing Chapin Carpenter or Karen Chapin Carpenter.

9. Bought the Joba Chamberlain Yankee jersey at the flea market. It was XL, cotton, No. 62, and the guy wanted just $40 bucks. I could be in it now. Driving home, I realized my monumental mistake. I knew that jersey wouldn't be there again - and it wasn't; somebody grabbed it. It was my worst shopping lapse since visiting a town of Pompey Center craft barn and finding a gourd hand-painted to look like Lawrence Taylor for $15 and saying, "Fifteen dollars? I can't afford that!" It still haunts me. 

10. Become pen pals with some great celebrity. Every year, I think of writing an incredibly thoughtful letter to Bruce, or Sting, or Sly Stallone, somebody - which is so articulate and wise that it launches a long-distance, intellectual relationship. (I wouldn't try this with Gwen Ifill or Jamie Lee Curtis , because I don't want sex to get in the way.) I'd write such a compelling letter that the personal assistant would say, "Mr. Springsteen, you gotta read this." Bruce would say, "Wow, this guy is my Noam Chomsky! I gotta write him back!"  We'd become pals. One day, my phone would ring. Bruce would want me at his show in Madison Square Garden. I'd say, "Better idea: You and Patty! My house! Backyard barbecue! And don't you dare bring a guitar, because this won't be one of "those" evenings. (We'll have talked about this.) They'll come. I'll invite a few buddies. We'll listen to John Sterling on the radio! He'll have such a great time that it becomes an annual event! Next year, he'll bring Bono, maybe even Jamie Lee Curtis! Why didn't I write that letter? WHAT THE HELL WAS WRONG WITH ME?

10 Worst Personal Moments While Watching Yankee Games in 2013

1. Was sick with flu, throwing up and nearly crapping bed, while Yankees DID crap bed, losing to Detroit.

2. Listened to Mets beat Mariano on horrible AM radio reception, because WSYR in Syracuse - which ditched daytime games for Rush Limbaugh - is too wimpy to extend its generally rancid signal outside the city. (Another station will run Yankee games next year, thank God!)

3. Stubbed toe on coffee table during Vidal Nuno outing. It really hurt, caught the pinkie toe just right, and it's never healed. Thank you, Brian Cashman!

4. Sat in hot tub with cell phone while listening to game on July 4. Cannot remember game specifics due to trauma of losing phone. I left it in a bag of rice for a week, but it never came back. Thanks again, Hal, for being so cheap. Because of you, I lost my cell phone.

5. Opening day, sitting in Shifty's Bar with Mustang, watching Joba getting hammered by the Redsocks on TV, and everybody there - I mean everybody - said the entire season was over, and we shouldn't watch - and they were right!

6. Punched wall and hurt knuckles, and damaged vocal chords, while screaming at Joe Girardi for bringing in Preston Claiborne on third straight day, after he had twice given up critical three-run HRs against Boston - to punctuate our humiliating, sickening, weak-kneed, three-game massacre, at the Redsocks' hands. So what did Claiborne do? He gave up another HR. I temporarily went berserk. Thank you, Cashman. You screwed up my throat, and you messed up my living room!

7. David Robertson blew save, ruined Mariano's ceremonial send off, ending our season, killing what should have been a great Yankee day. (With help from our hitters, who totally sucked.) I became physically and emotionally ill. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't pee. Even now, I blot out the thought of Houdini replacing Mo as the Yankee closer in 2014. Considering how many base runners he allows, it's obvious that I will not survive the season, even if Robertson is successful! It will be far too draining. Has anyone thought of this? People are going to die. Thanks again for cutting costs, Hal.

8. Had a flat tire while driving outside Ithaca during Yankee loss. Had to get out the owner's manual and figure out how to use a really weird jack, like no jack I'd ever used before. Why do they do this? Can't they just give you a regular jack? The instructions were horrible. They might as well have been written in Swahili. It took me 90 minutes to change one stinking tire, and I sweated through my shirt, sopping wet. It really sucked, and the Yankees didn't help one iota, because while I was sitting on the side of the road, they were blowing the game. I hope your car breaks down, Cashman, so you can feel what I felt: The Yankees and me, dead on the side of the road.

9. I owned a AM-FM radio with the emergency weather band, which I bought at an overpriced LL Bean store. It had a backup battery and hand-crank in case of immense natural catastrophes, such as tornadoes or earthquakes. I threw it across the room after Travis Hafner whiffed to end a game, and the damn thing never worked again. The Yankees owe me for that radio! God help me if there is ever an earthquake, because then I will REALLY get mad at Cashman! 

10. The convergence of overwhelming, endless and eternal despair - and the incredible certainty of doom that I experienced when hearing the news that Teixeira's wrist was flaring up again, and that he would need a few days off. Instantly, I knew he would never return and the season was over. This was a complete, 100 percent, voice-of-God revelation, as certain as the sun and the moon, and I collapsed to the floor like the Prophet Jeremiah with relentless grief. I could not talk. I could not move. It's a wonder I am here to talk about it. (I experienced a similar moment when Brett Gardner hurt his rib cage in a swing, because I KNEW right then our last chance for a playoff berth was done.) I hope you feel it too, Cashman!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Giants of Mediocrity finally end their horrible, rancid season

If I had a dog, I would kick it.

It's almost impossible to imagine a more torturous year for an NFL team's fan base than what the New York Fucking Football Giants gave us this year. Maybe Stephen King could come up with a worse scenario. I cannot.

The Giants lose their first six games, effectively eliminating themselves from any meaningful playoff chance.

Maybe, you think, they will get a good draft pick next year.

Nope. They win three games against teams who start their third-string quarterback. They beat their chests and say they are back. All they have to do is beat the Cowboys - who are terrible - in the Meadowlands.

Maybe, you think, they can come back.

Nope. They blow the game on the last possession. God damn them.

Maybe, you think, they can get that draft pick.

Nope. They win the two meaningless last games of the season - I mean, these are virtually exhibition games. The Lions are horrible. The Redskins play their backup QB. And both teams will probably draft ahead of the Giants.

They finish 7-9 - which is Nowheresville in the NFL. They will draft somewhere about 15th - middle of the pack. They will claim to the sportswriters this proves they are a good program - when we all know otherwise. They will beat their chests and say they are looking forward to next year - same coach, same staff, same quarterback, same disaster waiting to happen.

The only thing good about the New York Fucking Football Giants is that I don't have to watch their sorry butts for nine golden months. Nine Giant-free months.

I am so lucky we do not have a dog.

Ho, ho, ho... Look what I got for Christmas!!!

From BERN BABY BERN: Thank you!

And the backside... immortal words from Hank.

Jacoby Ellsbury ranked Number 1 on Top 10 list of All-Time Yankee 'berries

1. Jacoby Ellsbury
2. Darryl Strawberry
3. Bob Tewksbury
4. John Mayberry
5. Marv Throneberry
6. Barry Foote
7. Scranton-Wilks Barre
8. Mike O'Berry
9. Halle Berry (as Catwoman, reflecting athletic potential)
10. Yogi Berry*

* After great contemplation, it was ruled that Yogi and Dale Berra are not berries, and therefore could not qualify for the upper recesses of this list. This in no way should diminish their accomplishments. A Berra is not a true bury.

Note II: Same with Angel Berroa.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Top 10 things Cashman should'a done, but didn't do, in 2013

He shoulda...

1. "Accidentally" lost Kevin Youkilis' agent's phone number, missing out on chance to sign free agent slugger.

2. Traded Phil Hughes immediately after one of his early few decent starts.

3. Convinced Derek Jeter not to try coming back during spring training.

4. Traded Joba Chamberlain, at any time, for anything.

5. Told Hal Steinbrenner the $189 million payroll target was a practical joke being played by the front office, and in fact, the Yankees needed to sign free agents, including Russell Martin.

6. Sleep through the deadline for making offers to Ichiro, and losing him to the Rays.

7. Pretended to be stone deaf when the Angels offered Vernon Wells.

8. On July 30, traded everybody on the team, except Mariano and Jeter, to the Dodgers.

9. Waited for Curtis Granderson to heal from his first injury, and dealt him as soon as he hit a home run.

10. Signed Bartolo Colon, Francisco Liriano and Mike Napoli for squat.

Top 10 Yankee Scrap Heap Signings of 2013

1. Lyle Overbay

2. Travis Hafner

3. Mark Reynolds

4. David Huff

5. Alberto Gonzalez

6. Brennan Bosch

7. Chris Bootcheck

8. Chris Nelson

9. Kevin Youkilis

10. Travis Ishikawa 

The Top 10 Yankee Top 10 lists of 2013

1. Top 10 Yankee Moments of 2013 (MLB)

2. Top 10 Yankee All-Time Moments (Pinstripe Alley)

3. Top 10 Yankee Prospects (Baseball America).

4. Top 10 Greatest Yankees (Yankees.com)

5. Top 10 Don Mattingly Moments with Yankees (Bronx Baseball Daily)

6. Top 10 Mariano Rivera Moments (Bleacher Report)

7. Top 10 Infamous Moments at Yankee Stadium (Real Clear Sports)

8. Top 10 New York Sports Story Lines (Metro Sports)

9. Top 10 All-Time Yankee Position Players (Bleacher Report)

10. Top 10 Yankee Hater Moments (ESPN)

Friday, December 27, 2013


Over the next few weeks, as its commentators drone on about Yankee spending, the true Evil Empire will have a hand in your pocket

With ex-teammates Nomar and Pedro, Curt Schilling these days does his smart-mouthing for the anti-Yankee Al Jazeera - ESPN - the nation's broadcasting sports pimp, which has banked $260 million in tax breaks over the last 12 years, according to the Gray Lady. 

But that's just the start.

In America, every cable TV subscriber - a good hundred million of them - pays $5.54 a month for ESPN, regardless of whether he or she watches one lick of sports. Can you imagine that? It's the sweetest, under-the-radar tax ever invented. It's home burglary, via your cable hook-up, and not even the Tea Party complains. It's worse than Obamacare in a bad month, except that you can't see it - there is no public accountability. It's "capitalism," they say, in the sense that extortion is a free-market business. It also makes money by selling beer to 10 year-old intellects, and then it uses the proceeds to grease America's most corrupt and meat-grinding industry: College sports.

ESPN is the main reason why practically every college football program with a winning record is playing this week in some trumped-up, ridiculously named bowl game in some city desperate to justify the building of those concrete dog-dishes that they call stadiums. Thirty three of the 35 bowl games are being broadcast on ESPN - each one generating boatloads of money for their schools to spend on new facilities, hiring more ex-jocks as hangers-on, and to hand out $100 handshakes to high school athletes, while everybody else - from teachers to social workers and university presidents - wonders what the hell has gone wrong with a nation's priorities?

Yes... sit back over the next few weeks, while the Greek chorus of ex-Redsock players rip the Yankees for excessive spending, for employing A-Rod, for - yes - taking our own tax breaks, for our lousy pitching, for Hal's money, for Chad Curtis' arrest, for John Sterling's homerism - hell with this - just for sake of being toast-worthy. And they call us the Evil Empire? Sure, I get it. Pass the meatloaf.

So long, $189 million payroll!

In the 2020 Old-Timers Day celebration, after bringing out Ron Hassey and just before Matt Nokes, the Voice of the Yankees - CJ Nitkowski himself - will introduce a special guest: "Ladies and gentlemen, this Yankee icon in 2012 and 2013 briefly lowered spending and saved money for management. Won't you please welcome the one-hundred-and-eighty-nine million dollar payroll goal!"

Crowd roar. Cue the scoreboard. Wearing Jersey No. 189, the payroll cap will jog out onto the field, doff his payroll cap, and hug Lyle Overbay and Brennan Bosch, reuniting the scrappy third-place club from 2013. And the Yankiverse, collectively, will say, "Ahhh, I haven't thought of him in years."

Friends, it's over. Kaput. Done. The $189 million payroll cap, alias the "target" and later the "goal." The $189 million Yankee corset, the cruel shoes, the yoke, the spike-lined box. It's history. Ding dong, it's dead. As we speak, the Evil Empire is printing money, looking to buy every man, woman and child in the island nation of Japan a Yankee-logo Geiger counter - more specifically, we're looking to import Masahiro Tanaka, and make no mistake, this will cost big big big Yankee money.

For the last 15 months, the team practiced "austerity." It was Hal Steinbrenner's 1967 drug-flashback hallucination, a dream that the Yankees could cut expenses and escape paying luxury taxes, if they lowered the payroll to the magical $189 million. Ahh, but it was merely a fantasy, by a fly who dreamed he was a man who owned a baseball team.

Here are the Yankee 2014 options: We either outbid everybody on the planet for Tanaka - and then sign a relief pitcher and maybe Matt Garza, to boot - or we lose Tanaka and then go WILD with money - purchasing Garza, pluys one or both of the Ubaldo/Santana twins - maybe chase the OF, Cruz, figuring we'll then trade Brett Gardner and the entire Trenton Thunder for David Price and a bucket of Furbys. It doesn't matter. We will spend. The key to the Yankee future is not Cito Culver. It's not home cooking. It is not youth or crafty managerial acumen. It is money, folks. MONEY. We're back to throwing money at players. It's the only thing that seems to work.

If we spend enough money, we'll get Tanaka. If we get Tanaka, the YES ratings will explode in the spring.  If the YES ratings expand, we will rule the almighty back pages.  And if Tanaka is any good, we'll have a chance in 2014 (though Girardi better not do to him what he did to Kuroda, or the guy will be done in two years.) Pass the word. The Yankees are back. MONEY. The $189 million payroll is dead. It's moneyball, folks - the Yankee version.  Moneymoneymoney. Print more!  

Thursday, December 26, 2013

First, we miss the playoffs. Then the Redsocks win the World Series. Now, this.

It is high. 
It is far. 
It is fish.

If the Yankees do sign Tanaka, let's hope the Redsocks don't pick up Chief Jay Strongbow

I'm starting to get scared about this Tanaka guy.

I think Bud Selig will take a dim view of using foreign objects to rake opponents' faces and render them blind.

"We plan to give you an evening in the theater that cannot be compared to anything you've ever seen before."

On Jan. 10, the Yankees open on Broadway. Not the Damn Yankees. This is sort of the Darn Yankees, as in That Darn Cat.

The cast includes a Reggie, a Billy, a Thurman, a Babe, two Berras (no, not Dale), an Elston, a Joe, a Mick, a Jeet and an Iron Horse.  

(Spoiler alert: Under the current ending, they miss the playoffs.) 

Can the Yankees trust Tanaka, considering this kind of behavior?

Not only that, but do we want to deal with his manager, Gorgeous George Jr.?
We could also face allegations about him rubbing foreign objects into opposing batters' eyes. Considering Bud Selig's dim view toward A-Rod, the Yankees could face a complete public relations nightmare. 

 (Thanks to Rose City Wobbly and John M)

Can the Yankees afford to sign Masahiro Tanaka, or can they afford not to sign him?

By now, everybody - even the Martians who were conquered by Santa Claus - knows that Masahiro Tanaka, the 24-0 savior from Japan, is coming to America. It'll cost $20 million to get his agent's phone number, and the bidding will run to the North Pole and back. We're talking Mariah Carey: 1993 kind of money. And once again, the Yankees could be donning their famous Evil Empire costumes.

Somewhere, inside his super-secret Astro-pod, Hal Steinbrenner will crunch the numbers on his slide rule and decide if it's in the Yankees' best interests to maintain the the $189 million payroll "goal" for this year. Because without Tanaka, the team goes to Tampa in February with David Phelps and Vidal Nino vying for fourth starter, and by July, the YES Network ratings could be falling somewhere behind the Pillsbury Bake-Off regionals and syndicated reruns of "She's the Boss."

But if Hal signs Tanaka, the 2013 Yankee austerity program will be filed away a mirage, a drug hallucination. We cried "Beggars can't be choosers" while Russel Martin and a cast of free agents walked to to other teams - and the Redsocks won a World Series - for a target we've now decided wasn't worth the effort. It's like a fat lady who vowed to lose 100 pounds for her wedding: She loses 50, feels great, and a month before the ceremony runs out and eats a pizza truck.

I hate to beat the 2013 dead horse here. What's done is done. Last winter, the Yankees made a brief attempt to change their ways - to not always be the MLB franchise incarnation of Chris Farley as "Tommy Boy." Instead of signing everybody and everything - while failing to develop our own players - the team would practice austerity, cutting payroll and chopping the absurd amount of luxury tax money that it was paying each year. It made sense. It was a good idea.

Then the disaster of 2013 happened. If not for the return of A-Rod and a brief (and unexplained) surge from Alfonso Soriano, the Yankees could have fallen out of the one-game playoff race by early September. As it was, ratings tanked. Attendance crashed. And the team basically offered NYC a chance to see one star player at the top of his game - Robbie Cano. We know how that turned out.

Now this. It takes real naivety to imagine the Yankees going far with its current 2014 starting rotation. You must fantasize CC Sabathia returning to form, Hiroki Kuroda lasting a season, Ivan Nova evolving further - and you still face 60 games with Adam Warren or Michael Pineda on your ticket. To become relevant next spring - and to sell tickets - the Yankees need Tanaka.

But all that talk about cutting luxury taxes? Forgetaboutit. Somewhere in Hal's laptop, the numbers are now being crunched. What will they lose in revenues if the Yankees flounder for two years in a row? Is it worth, say, $50 million in luxury taxes?

I have always believed the Yankee owners sell their fans short. I think the fan base would accept a one-year rebuilding phase, but the Yankees would have to be all in - as the Redsocks were two summers ago. (And, yes, they'd have to find teams to take bloated contracts, as the Redsocks did.) Ahh, but it'll never happen. We are fated to be the big, fat, dumb, drunk franchise that squanders money, never has a draft pick, plays old guys past their prime and rushes at everything new, thinking it offers salvation - when it's just the snake oil of imaginary hope.

Oh well. It's all up to the numbers. Can the Yankees afford Tanaka? Or can they afford not to get him?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Proof that the YES Network has gone insane

Apparently looking to give The Onion a run for its money, the YES Network blog is projecting the Yankee homegrown lineup for 2018. We're supposed to fantasize the Cito Culver future. Dear God.

Five years ago, this is what they would have projected.

c Jesus Montero
1b Brandon Laird
2b Mitch Hilligoss
ss Carmen Angelini
3b Marcos Vechionacci 
of Austin Jackson
of Tim Battle
of Colin Curtis

Do you hear what I hear? The Christmas bells are jingling "Ta-na-ka! Ta-na-ka! Ta-na-ka!"

Yes, kids, jolly old St. Masahiro is coming down from the North Pole on his Golden Eagles powered sleigh. Now will Hal Scrooge break out his gold to lure him down the chimney, so there will be toys for all the Yankee fan tots who were good last year?

Or will the Three Ghosts of Christmas - Whitson, Igawa and Pineda - frighten Scrooge into ordering Bob Cashman to work late and plumb the scrap heap for replacement parts?

Merry Yanksmas from IT IS HIGH

John Sterling Christmas

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Announcing the 2013 John Sterling Duet of the Year: Time to ROAR... with The Master and Katy Perry

America wins the war on Christmas. Again.


Derek has already signed on and ordered his new uniform.

Will Mark Reynolds be the Yankees Ichiro of 2014?

There are whispers across the Yankiverse that the Retrieval Empire will try to move Ichiro Suzuki this winter. Ahhh, as if it were so easy! But such a move requires a lackey. In a perfect Yankee universe - sort of like 1959, when Kansas City functioned as our Waylan Smithers - we would trade Ichiro to the Rakuten Golden Eagles in exchange for the rights to Masahiro Tanaka. Neat, tidy, perfect. They get an icon. We get a pitcher. Ahhh...

Of course, then the Yankees would need to sign somebody just as useless, so fans can re-enact the glorious team tradition of going the entire season wondering why we bothered.

Which brings me to Mark Reynolds.

I've seen otherwise semi-right-minded bloggers and hawking the idea of signing Reynolds to play 3B and 1B next year, based on the home runs he hit in September. They claim that he did well in his month with the Yankees (after Cleveland released him.) Well, he batted .230 and struck out on a Granderson scale. Dear God, I can't imagine a worse move, unless it was to extend Ichiro himself, maybe give him a five-year.

Reynolds seems to be a good guy. Maybe you could argue he helps a team, according to the Johnny Gomes theory of clubhouse chemistry. But as a 3B replacement? Please. I'd rather seen Waylan Smithers.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Who will team with The Master for the 2013 Song of the Year?

Could Daft Punk be driven by Jeep?

Find out Tuesday at noon.
A new music video - the John Sterling duet of the year.

Merry Christmas... from The King, The Master and You Know Who

Coming Christmas Eve...
John's 2013 Song of the Year duet

Merry Christmas, everybody, from The Master, the Boss and The Big Man

Don't forget: Christmas Eve...
John's 2013 Song of the Year duet

Finally reaching the $189 million crossroads, the Yankees apparently will let others determine the future

Hal Steinbrenner sabotaged the 2013 Yankees. At the time, it seemed a worthy cause. If the Yankees could shrink their bloated $230 million payroll to $189 million, they would escape a huge luxury tax. Eventually, they could sign a Bryce Harper or Mike Trout, or even both. One year at $189 million, that's all they needed, and then they could spend, spend, spend... without concern.

If you consider how close the 2013 Yankees came to making the one-game playoff, last winter's austerity budget looks even more punishing. When Brian Cashman said, "Beggars cannot be choosers," he wasn't talking about Josh Hamilton. He was talking about chasing middling infielders and fourth outfielders - or watching Russell Martin walk because the Yankees wouldn't give him a two-year deal. But at the time, it seemed a worthy cause. A sacrifice for the future.

Today, the Yankees sit at the cusp of the $189 million payroll, but - amazingly - they have lost control over the process. Whether they make it will be determined by two decisions outside the organization: 1) the arbiter's ruling on A-Rod's ban, and 2) whether the Golden Eagles of Japan let pitcher Masahiro Tanaka come to America. Either decision could explode the Yankee payroll and make the 2013 austerity plan an exercise in corporate incompetence.

Can you imagine the managerial upheavals if - say - Pepsico spent an entire year cutting a product, and then reversed course and pushed it? Think any executives would walk the plank, or at least be demoted?

Right now, the 2014 Yankees are a hologram, a mirage, still taking shape. They have six outfielders but no full infield, no fourth or fifth starters, no bullpen setup man, no rookies. Nobody can judge this team, because it simply cannot be like this on April 1, unless Vernon Wells pitches. But the questions remain: Will the Yankees hit the $189 million mark? Will last year have meant something? Will they change their ways? Or is this the Yankee model for perpetuity: An annual parade of old, tired, brittle, overpriced, former stars, a pre-retirement home for players whose great years came in other cities? We spend five times the amount of other teams just to contend for the post-season?

Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s - the 14-year barf - writers and fans opined about what the Yankees could do with all their money if the front office wasn't so moronic. Year after year, the Yankees were a disaster - "the worst team money can buy," pundits said. Nothing changed until  George Steinbrenner was banned from the game, and a group of baseball people started making decisions - (such as to NOT trade the disappointing prospect, Bernabe Williams.) The Yankees collapsed into dead last, and only then did they begin to improve.

That's history, folks. And from where we're sitting this Christmas week - clowns to the left of us, jokers to the right - history sure looks like it's repeating.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

What will be John Sterling's new 2013 Song of the Year duet?

Could it be John with GWAR?

Or someone else?
Coming Christmas Eve.

How to become the Knicks of baseball: Long term contracts to old, brittle players

Now, they're saying the Yankees may sign Stephen Drew. Nobody knows what for. He might play SS. Maybe 3B. Or 2B. He could he could be our fifth starter. We'll sign him for three to five years. Who cares? We're buying old players the way teenagers buy phone aps. Come spring, when we decide who plays OF, it'll be like the Three Stooges trying to get through a doorway. That is, until the inevitable trade of Brett Gardner.

Why such Grinchian negativity? The Drew rumors. These scatter-shot signings are so reminiscent of old George Steinbrenner in the 1980s that I'm wondering if Hal is making good on his threat to take over the team. These are the kinds of moves Peter Angelos made in Baltimore, when he destroyed that franchise for 15 years. Worst of all, Boston is doing it the right way.

The Redsocks have the top ranked farm system in baseball, according to Baseball America. (We rank 16th.) Two rookies - Bogartes and Bradely - will start this year, infusing their veteran lineup with youth. Meanwhile, Joel Sherman did the math last night, revealing just how insanely old our team will be next year. This is what Sherman says about our captain.

Derek Jeter, 39, is 4 ¹/₂ years older than the next-oldest likely starting shortstop, Jimmy Rollins. He missed most of last season with a twice-fractured ankle. He turns 40 in June. Shortstops who have come to bat even 300 times in an age-40-or-older season: Luke Appling, Honus Wagner, Omar Vizquel and Barry Larkin. None missed most of the previous season with a twice-broken ankle.

Thus, you might say we should sign Stephen Drew.  But in doing so, we would be adding another long term contract to the pile. The Boston Herald is cackling about it.

In 2015 alone, they have $127 million already on the books — $51 million more than the Red Sox have from 2015 through infinity. In 2016 the figure dips slightly to $123 million; in 2017, it’s $64 million, in 2018, it’s $38 million and in 2019, it’s at $21 million. So, maybe the average Yankees fan is not all that worked up about having $373 million worth of contracts on the books after next year. After all, co-owners Hal and Hank Steinbrenner have spent lots of money for lots of years and have had lots of championships to show for it — except for lately.

 We are caught between a rock and hard place, between old age and long term contracts. We are throwing gasoline on a fire. It's going to explode, and there won't be enough money in the world to put it out. Stephen Drew? Another oldster. No draft picks. No rookies. Dear God.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Who will John join for the 2013 Song of the Year duet?

Might he do some twerking with Miley?
Noon, Christmas Eve.
The 2013 Song of the Year Duet

Carlos Beltran and Curtis Granderson could cause a major upheaval within the Yankee-Met infundibulum

Long after Duke Carmel crossed over and became the Jackie Robinson of ex-Met Yankees, dozens of sick, tired and starving souls have escaped the Queens hellhole to find salvation in Fort Apache, the Bronx.

First and foremost: Joe Torre, who so mismanaged the Mets in an earlier incarnation that his best future bet might have been in designing and manufacturing duck calls. Don't forget Daryl Strawberry, David Cone and Dwight Gooden, and the Met double-agent Pedro Feliciano, who never threw one pitch for us. Ex-Met Jose Vizcaino delivered the winning hit in game one of the famous 2000 Subway Series.  And - for me -the greatest transition was Tom Seaver, a caring friend and broadcast partner for Phil Rizzuto. (Bill White signed with the New York Giants, but mostly was viewed as an ex-Card. and YES's Ken Singleton began as a Met, though he made his bones with the O's.)

Which brings us to Beltran. Yesterday, it was a bit weird seeing him take backhanded jabs at his former team. It's unusual in a guy's opening  news conferences to whack the old club, especially when you share the market with it. I'm not sure Beltran gained anything, and maybe he lit a fire under the p.r. happy talk machine that Beltran will be compared with for the next three years: Curtis Granderson.

We might end up viewing the Grandy Man and Beltan switcheroo as a de facto trade. And for the Yankees, it might not be a good one. I still can't understand why we sank so much money into a 37-year-old, gimp-kneed OF-DH, and the real danger zone comes if we trade Brett Gardner. No Yankee fans want to see Gardner go, but he's the only player anybody wants. Whenever we look at the holes at 3B or starting pitching, the talk inevitably turns to what we might get in exchange for Gardner. And for better or worse, it's because we have Beltran.

His signing may be the fulcrum point on which 2014 balances. An impending domino drop of moves stems from his presence.

Listen: I'm glad Granderson is gone. That's 190 strikeouts I don't have to watch - which are especially galling when the guy could hit .300 by bunting or swatting balls to the opposite field.

Beltran needs to outhit Grandy. As long as he does, nobody can draw a target on his back. Because his acquisition - and the moves still to come - will define the future of the Yankees in a way Pedro Feliciano could never touch. If Beltran gets hurt, if Grandy man puts it together, or if we trade Gardner for  another Michael Pineda - the Mets could own New York for the next five years. It's dangerous to tamper with the Matrix.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Let's end this controversy the Yankee way: Sign 'em, shave 'em, waive 'em.

I am really sick of beards.

What's that sound on high? Why... it's The Master! With two Jolly Old Saint Nicks!

Chien-Ming Wang is a Red, and somewhere old George's statue is weeping

Chien-Ming Wang, the last great homegrown starting pitcher for the Yankees, took a minor league deal yesterday with Cincinnati. It's cheap, but larded with incentives. Basically, the Reds are willing to roll the dice on Wang, and we were not.

I have no clue if Wang can still pitch. Last year, Toronto neatly shoplifted him from our system, and he fell apart after two half-promising starts. At a certain point, a struggling 34-year-old pitcher walks into the sunset, and unless Wang can pitch in relief, he's probably there. But I hate to think of it being the Cincinnati horizon.

For all his foibles - old George Steinbrenner loved to orchestrate curtain calls for ex-Yankees. He did it with David Wells, David Cone, Tino Martinez, Mike Stanton, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Ramiro Mendoza, Jeff Nelson - just to name a few. It became a punch line, like when Batman "dies" in a comic book: Old Yankees always returned, at least for the end. It didn't make them young again. But it was nice to see them, to cheer them one last time.

If old George were kicking, I don't think he would let Cincinnati host the final acts of Chien-Ming Wang's career. But George is a statue, and young Hal is earning a reputation as a boring, suburban, fiscally prudent weenie. George's showmanship and bombast genes seem to have gone to Hank, the chain-smoking, public relations lump. Hal is the spreadsheet brother, invoker of the infamous $189 million rule goal (It was a rule last year, now it's a goal).

Maybe Hal inherited his dad's impatience. Supposedly, he's ordered changes throughout our failed farm system. (No firings, though.) And now the $189 "goal" might go bye-bye. Joel Sherman says A-Rod's salary - if Alex isn't banned - will push us beyond $189 million, prompting Hal to go hog wild on spending: In for a penny, in for a pound. This would create a brief diversion for critics who would eventually note that Hal inflicted third-place austerity last season - apparently for nothing. Also, what is there to buy? The lone free agent superstar this winter signed with Seattle. How many Bronson Arroyos can we sign?

So Chien-Ming Wang takes his last walk in Cincinnati. I, for one, hope he's not done. He was a great Yankee starting pitcher, the last one we've known. Back then, we chased all the international free agents. Back then, the Yankees were always the gold standard. I'm hoping Wang throws well enough to warrant for a final call - back to where he belongs. I think old George's statue would be smiling. Wouldn't we all?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Holy crap: Andruw Jones and Casey McGhee did it to us again... this time in Japan

Famous quote from beloved Disney World attraction:

"It's a small world after all. It's a small world after all. It's a small world after all. It's a small small world. It's a small world after all. It's a small world after all. It's a small world after all. It's a small small world...." 

And it is.

Today, we learned the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Foreign Class of the Japan Pacific League, 2013 season champions, will not release star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka to American baseball, eliminating the one free agent that could have lifted the Yankees to relevance in 2014.

In making this decision, the Golden Eagles said they want to win another championship for their fans. Theoretically, if the team had come in last, it would be willing to let Tanaka go.

So who were the hitting mainstays of the Golden Eagles last year? You know the answer. Of course, it was former Yankees Andruw Jones and Casey McGhee.

A few years ago, "The Sixth Degrees of Kevin Bacon" became a cute Hollywood parlor game. But the movie industry has nothing on MLB. I am perpetually amazed at the vast inter-weavings of teams and players, who just change uniforms go about their business.

Fans, on the other hand, never change teams. Look at Redsock fans. Most of them went 80 years, never flinched. We Yankee fans have endured A-Rod. Sports generates some of the powerful loyalties known to humanity. Yet veteran players don't even seem to flinch. 

Anyway, there you have it. In another universe, the Yankees kept Andruw Jones and Casey McGhee (even though they both sucked), and today, the last place Golden Eagles are sending us a crack at their best pitcher.

Oh well, here's another way to look at it: How could can Tanaka be, if Andruw Jones and Casey McGhee were the best hitters in a Japanese lineup?

Japan won't play ball with MLB's spending caps, and the Yankee season goes up in smoke

For years, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - that is, the lordship owners of American baseball - lived by simple rules for importing Japanese players: free market capitalism.

They would bid for the rights to negotiate with Japanese players. The owners, with far too much money in their pantaloons, often peed themselves in pursuit of Asian talent. They overspent. It wasn't right. So they did what all top-down, old-money power brokers do: They changed the rules. They installed a nice, tidy cap. That's how billionaire communists react, when capitalism doesn't work their way.

Next time you call a plumber to fix a leak, tell him you've decided to cap spending at $20 per visit. See what happens.

Aww... shoot. Today, I'm guess I'm just down on baseball's bloated, poor-mouthing, human airbags because news reports say the Japanese team that owns Masahiro Tanaka - in reaction to MLB's new bid-rigging rules - won't let him come to America. Some would say it's coincidental that Tanaka is the first major Japanese free agent in years that the Yankees intended to pursue. (As a juju proponent, I don't believe in coincidences.) The Steinbrothers graciously held the door for other teams to sign Cubans, Koreans, Inuits, whatever - without a peep. This year, in deep disarray, they intended to chase Tanaka - thus, the rules were tossed.

The old system would let them slap down a humungous bid, buy the rights and pay Tanaka a truckload, without affecting the salary cap. That's how Texas did it with Yu Darvish. But at the November GM meetings, teams saw the Yankees preparing to strike, and so from now on, the plumber only gets $20.

Hey, that's how billionaires become billionaires.

If Tanaka isn't coming, the 2014 Yankees just suffered a sledge hammer to the groin. It's like General Custer hearing the cavalry is NOT en route. The team's free agent pitching options just plummeted to the likes of Ibaldo Jimenez (with loss of another draft pick - damn, we're practically the Knicks.) And we're suddenly back in Fairy Land, thinking Michael Pineda and Manny Banuelos will become stars, delusions painfully reminiscent of the days of Whitson and Shirley, of Joba and Hughes.

We have a hopelessly old and lopsided roster - a team of DHs, and not one of them a certainty to hit .300 - which must be balanced by trades. Goodbye Brett Gardner, the homegrown Yankee. And the iron rule of baseball is that no team trades with the hated Bombers unless it's a slam dunk. Between now and April 1, we might watch Gards and our best prospects walk out the door - (of course, we'll assure the press box courtiers they were never all that good) - in exchange for a Rick Rhoden or a Jared Wright.

I don't know what Brian Cashman can do today, other than sign up for another parachute jump, and hope the cords are frayed. If Cash had the luxury of one year to rebuild - one stinking season in which the organization could start righting itself from the bottom up, instead of slapping old men onto its tower of crapola - who knows? He might prove his worth. But that won't happen until he's with another team. Years from now, he'll be running Kansas City or Colorado, and he'll actually be able to build something. But not here. The Yankees will never let hm. We are a big, teetering tower, constantly adding weight at the top.

If the reports are true, our 2014 season just suffered a massive coronary. We're an old, craggy, tired, third place team - and I blame those stinking commies. Call the plumber. We just sprang a leak.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Possible Titles for A-Rod's Book

Tuesdays With Yogi

Angels and Damons

Hit, Pray, Love

The Bridges of Mariano County

What We Talk About When We Talk About Jeet
Prisoner No More: One Man's Escape from the Steinbrenner-Selig Plantation Gulag

Leader of the Banned: The Life and Times of Baseball's Mandela

"You're So Good, You Must Be Juicing," and Other Tales from Life's On-Deck Circle

One Hundred Games of Solitude

The Boy Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

Yankee Doodle Dew... or Die? Why I Will Never Stop Defending My Name and the Rights of Baseball Players Everywhere
 Bat on a Hot Tin Roof

An A-Bomb from A-Rod

I Know Why the Caged Yankee Sings

The Gammonites - and their unnamed sources - expect the Yankees to sign Tanaka; so why don't we believe it?

The wise men of the press box have made their calls and flossed their thoughts into the ether of truth: The Yankees shall lead the pack in pursuit of the Japanese mystery known as Masahiro Tanaka, if he comes to America. Says John Harper of the Daily News:

On Tuesday it was difficult to find a scout or executive who doesn’t think the Yankees will get their man. “It’s simple,” said a scout. “They have the most money and they’re the most desperate to sign him.”

I don't doubt Harper's sincerity or accuracy in the quote. If Harper writes it, the guy said it. Trouble is...  I can think of a lotta reasons why an unnamed scout - likely from another team - would say such a thing, and they all amount to PSYOPs-level crapola. Why would another team executive disclose plans to a reporter? Brian Cashman doesn't - and that's not a knock: No front office announces strategy in the press. 

It's good p.r. for the Yankees to be aggressive in the international market. But should we believe it? In recent years, the team has run and hid away from every Cuban, Korean and Japanese player who floated, flew or drove to America - including those who would not have bumped the Yankees' infamous luxury taxes. Hal Steinbrenner wants to show fiscal prudence. Thus, Darvish, Chapman, Cespedes, Soler, et al, came into play, and we barely even bid.

I think Hal is trying to use common sense policies on an entity that defies reason.  Considering the money spent, the Yankees should never be as bad as they were last year, and as troubled as they look heading into 2014. Every major corporation in captivity, if facing such a disaster as the 2013 Yankees, would demand a house-cleaning. Yet Hal kept everybody but the strength coach, who was baffled by the lack of loyalty.

In trying to cut Yankee spending, Hal resorted to the GOP strategy of curbing government (which hasn't done them good either): Starve the beast, impose spending limits, and then figure it out. Trouble is, it's taken 30 years to build this bloated, sputtering, hubris-fueled Edsel. Hal thought he could cap everything at $187 million, and it would all work out. It's going to take years to rebuild the Yankees, and it must happen from the ground up. And frankly, it will probably take somebody from the outside to do it - and I'm not referring to the new strength coach.

Which brings us back to Mr. Tanaka, whom the unnamed sources say is destined for New York. What a crock.

If he's as good as they say, it's crazy to think the bidding war won't run into Robbie Cano territory, hundreds of millions for seven to 10 years. It could even rival Cano's insane deal. Why? Because teams are flush and the market is there. The Dodgers will be in on this. The Angels and the Rangers - all in. I greatly fear the Redsocks will jump in - seeking to build a dynasty, not just win it every five years. The bidding will soar way beyond Hal Steinbrenner's comfort level, and we are playing drinking games if we think Tanaka is so enamored with the Yankee mystique that he'll take less money to play for us. Robbie Cano didn't bite. That might have happened in 2001, when we were on a run. Those days are over. Are any unnamed sources talking about that?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Back to C.T. Nitkowski: To celebrate the signing of Matt Thornton, a brief history of Brian Cashman's pitiful attempts to find LH bullpen help

It is amazing how tone deaf the Yankees have been in finding lefty bullpen hamburger helper. It almost defies random mathematical models. 

If they rolled the dice, just closed their eyes and signed players based on social security numbers, they couldn't have done much worse.

Rather than editorialize - because, frankly, I can't figure it out - let's just take a moment of silence as we real aloud the List of the Dead over the last 10 years. Shhhh. Let the memories wash over us.

























A-Rod: The next Canseco?

A-Rod is shopping a book. 

Considering that he might spill about drugs, should we call it a piss-and-tell?

The YES Network needs Masahiro Tanaka even more than the Yankees

It looks as though Japanese sensation Masahiro Tanaka will hit America after all, giving Shallow (Pockets) Hal one last shot at a stud pitcher in 2014. But it's not just the Yankees who will be breathless in pursuit of Tanaka: The YES Network is about to collide with its bitter rival, Time-Warner Cable, over subscriber fees in metro NYC, and without a prime Yankee attraction, there could be blood on the contracts. Hal's blood.

A 10-year deal between YES and TWC ends sometime in January, and the Yankees don't exactly look like a team worth $3.20 per month, which is what NYC cable subscribers pay for the Yankees. (If it were a tax, the Tea Party would launch a revolution; why do they let monopolistic corporations get away with this?)  Last year, YES ratings plummeted with the Lyle Overbay-Travis Hafner led Bombers, and the need for big name attractions is probably the real reason why the Yankees went after their fifth and sixth outfielders - Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran - when they saw Robbie heading for the door.

But now, a gaggle of rich MLB teams will court Tanaka, and that includes the LA Dodgers - who have more money than God, and who haven't overpaid for anyone this winter - and the Redsocks, seeking to establish their franchise as the Gold Standard. If either jump into the fray, Hal's $189 million budget goes out the window. (A key question is whether the new deal with Japanese players counts toward the luxury taxes; an early version of the agreement said it didn't, but that provision might have been revised.) Without Tanaka - assuming he's any good - the Yankees could be NYC's Number 2 team by June - (they were last summer, when the Mets swept them.) And Time Warner - which absolutely hate-hate-hates Rupert Murdoch (now 49 percent owner of YES) - might dig in and refuse to go along with whatever hikes in fees the YES Network demand. Blackouts have been happening lately. This would be a brutal one - or... maybe not.

Think of this scenario: It's April 10, with YES and Time Warner bitterly deadlocked. The fans of New York City are seething, having missed opening day on YES. But A-Rod is banned, Jeter just strained a hammy, and Teixeira is day to day, forcing the Yankees to bring back Lyle Overbay. The infield is Overbay, Dean Anna, Brendan Ryan and Kelly Johnson. The outfield has Vernon Wells. Our best pitcher is David Phelps. The Yankees are in fourth place, with a record of 4 and 7. Which would you want to be: YES or Time Warner? Do you think the fans of New York would revolt over not being able to watch the Yankees? 

"Hand Jobs For First Responders" -- Long Lines At Latest Anchorman 2 Pitch

Brian Roberts, the new Vernon Wells?

According to the Internet, which is always right, the Retrieval Empire is signing 36-year-old former Orioles lug nut Brian Roberts to play 2B. The top Yankee web tribunalists are awaiting the details before rendering judgement, an element of wisdom usually lacking on this site. Frankly, it doesn't matter if we have Roberts for one year or three, here's what will get this season:

A month.

It'll probably be April. That's when the old guys feel young. In Florida, Kevin Youkilis last March was one of our best hitters. A few years ago, Eric Chavez carried it into June, until he inevitably got hurt. Travis Hafner lasted until May, when his shoulder started barking. The league caught up with Andruw Jones in June. And of course, the man atop this post, Vernon Wells, looked like the Comeback Player of 2013 last spring. By September, he could barely fill a RH platoon.

But a word on behalf of these players: They are fine fellows, each of them. You feel bad, ripping them. Good grief, they're just old guys looking for one last year, hoping to cheat time. They hustle out grounders. They never whine about being benched, never miss the bus. Before last season, I had the impression - wrongfully - that Vernon Wells was a selfish player. Not true. He was a good teammate. He just couldn't hit a damn fastball, that's all.

So now we turn to the man formerly known as Brian Roberts. This one has been a shell of himself for the last four years.

Brian Roberts - when healthy - will hold down 2B quite capably. This will be an exciting month! The Gammonites - in conjunction with YES - will present Brian Cashman with a verbal Certificate of Achievement for identifying this aging, but still sharp diamond and bringing him to New York. For a week or two, we won't miss Robbie Wazzisname one bit. Then, running out a grounder, Brian will tweak a gonad. He'll disappear or - worse - play for a month while injured. Then we will tout the new 2B, career minor leaguer, Dean Anna, and bestow upon Cashman a new Certificate of Achievement for his work. The wheel keeps turning, and Yankees never get younger. Brian Roberts, welcome to your retirement home.

Monday, December 16, 2013

News from Yankee Country: Syracuse hailed as America's undisputed worst weather hellhole

The Farmers Almanac - yes, Virginia, there IS a Farmers Almanac - has named Syracuse as the city with the worst weather in America.

Yes, they're all pointing our way and giggling at the sight of a six-foot snow drift towering over a little kid with his tongue stuck to the car bumper. The picture of Syracuse.

Well, did you know that we are taking action about it? For decades, Syracuse is the city where giant Carrier air conditioners were built. This massive machines allowed plantation owners in southern climates to run factories in the heat, destroying the Rust Belt economies, burning fossil fuels and increasing global warming.

Through global warming, Syracuse winters are becoming milder - in fact, so tediously hot that we almost never change out of sandals anymore. Meanwhile, the waters are inching toward your trailer parks, Florida. It won't be long. And don't bother migrating northward, because that fence you're building along the Texas-Mexico is nothing compared to the one we plan to build across Pennsylvania. And our response to the melting of the ice caps will be to buy every resident of Florida a free pair of stilts. You'll be able to slosh around just fine.  Now, pardon me, while I go outside to tan.

If you're going to Jeet's pool party, leave your camera in the car

Today, the Page Six Team - the journalistic equivalent of Seals Team Six - has another scoop.

The nub of it: Guests to Derek Jeter's massive Tampa home - big as a hospital - are not allowed to bring cameras inside. No shots of the caged dancers. No pictures of the reanimated zombie heads in fish bowls. No photographs of the stuffed Billy Martin cadaver, fighting the robot Tommy Lasorda.

What we're glimpsing here is not Jeter's life, but the bizarre universe that he must inhabit. For starters, this report is probably a half-truth. My guess is that some NY Post source went to a party, and there were celebrities there, and nobody wanted their pictures while getting diddled on the trampoline.

But then again, there is the unique paranoia factor that surrounds all things Jeter. A NY sportswriter once told me that if I saw Jeter on the street, and marveled with excitement, I would be met with the eyes of a doll. The iciness of the stare - coupled with the false smile - would knock me back six feet, like a force field from Sue Storm. That's how Jeter is. It's not his fault. That's the only way he can be.

At this stage of life, Jeter is still supposed to embody the Yankee ways and virtues, the captainhood lifestyle, which is harder and harder to define. He can go through women like packs of cigarettes. Nobody cares. But he can't be photographed in a compromising way. The biggest damage to his image in history was the shot last winter of his beer belly - the Derek Eater headline. So it's Sunset Boulevard, Yankee style.

Sometimes I wonder if it was the extra money Seattle offered that convinced Robbie Cano it was time to go. Maybe he looked into the world of an aging Yankee icon and wondered if that's what he wants. I don't blame Jeter for confiscating cell phones at the door. Soon enough, he'll be back in the fishbowl, next to all those reanimated zombie heads.

To solve all their problems, the Yankees are looking to their old friend, Mr. Scrap Heap

From today's NY Post:

General manager Brian Cashman has said he would prefer to act quickly to fill holes, but acknowledged last week that might not be possible and added the Yankees may have to wait until players are released during spring training.

Gee, this sounds hopeful. We're going to wait until March 29, when the Astros and Royals make their final cuts, and we'll pounce. Like last year. Remember Ben Francisco? Or as The Master called his home run, "a Ben Francisco treat!" Remember Lyle Overbay? Remember our starting shortstop:  Jayson Brignac-Cruz-Gonzalez-Ryan-Nunez?

What a great year, 2013. Our primary DH - Travis Hafner - hit .202.  That's not much better than if our pitchers had hit. And old Ichiro wasn't our only starting player whose On Base Percentage sank into Lenn Sakata territory - below .300. Vernon Wells' OBP checked in at .282, Chris Stewart tallied .293 and the great Yankee reclamation of 2013, Mr. Overbay, .managed a crisp 295.

After Robbie Cano - who has gone off to explore his manhood through facial hair - our best hitter was Brett Gardner. He batted .273. And despite the dial tone blatherings of Randy Levine, Gardy remains the best bet to be traded for one simple reason: He is the only player we have that anybody wants.

In other words, little has changed from Christmas 2102. Hal poor-mouthed then. He's poor-mouthing now. We made a splurge with three free agents - lost all our top picks, we don't even have to attend the first day of next June's draft - signing three brittle pieces, each who needs 50 games at DH. But Jeet will also need 50 at DH. Tex will need 50. Soriano could use 50. If A-Rod comes back... good grief, we can have a six-man DH starting rotation, with two middle-innings DHs and a DH closer for the ninth. As for our fourth starter? Maybe the Mets will release somebody.

Folks, we are back to the scrap heap, back to combing garage sales and congratulating ourselves if we find that rare electric can opener that still works. I can't wait to see who we get in March! He'll be a former all-star - that you can bet. He'll be pushing 35, coming off three bad seasons. He'll hit .330 for us in April, and we'll give Brian Cashman an award, a certificate of achievement!  By July, our former star's OBP will be .280, and we'll be combing the scrap heap for yet another door prize.

But we will not try a rebuilding year. No sir. With the Yankees, there is no such thing. We never rebuild. We recycle. The Evil Empire? Meh. We're the Retrieval Empire. Same as it ever was. (Hit forehead with palm.) Same at is ever was. (Hit forehead with palm.) Hey, is Tony Womack still out there?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Merry Christmas, from The Master and John Mellencamp

"There was an open bar, and both of us got slightly bombed!"

Columnist Phil Reisman reminisces with John and extracts a vital clue to the Brian McCann home run call.


Ladies and gentlemen, 'tis the season to join The Master in joyful song

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Is this what Seattle knew when it gave Cano the 10-year deal?

We're not going to make it to 2023?

Introducing a new IT IS HIGH department: Vindictive, scattershot attacks on Seattle

New Robbie teammate Logan Morrison may be a Twittaholic, redneck gay-basher. Nyah-nyah-nyah.

Omar is out

'Tis a dark day, indeed, when it is considered a dark day (indeed), because the Yankees just lost out in a bidding war to Kansas City - the city that once gave us Roger Eugene Maris for a package centered around Marv Throneberry. But these are the darkest days, (indeed) and Omar Infante will not become a Yankee.

Last week, after Robbie Cano jogged off to Walla Walla, Omar suddenly ascended to the perch of Yankiverse Hallucinatory Drug of Choice - the best 2B on the free agent market, though not exactly a brand name. Omar was 31 and coming off a great year - he hit .318, well above career - but now he's a Royal and we are a royal flush.

For the record:  I'm glad he's gone. I have a thing about Yankees named "Omar." I remember Omar "the Out-Maker" Moreno, who in 1983-84 pitted our demise under Mad King George. Simply put: Some names should never be Yankees. Toby, for example. And Rex. And Colter. Butch. Was there ever a great Yankee named Butch? No. (Wynegar and Hobson, I'm looking at you.)

But losing Omar leaves us with nobody at 2B, along with nobody, at third. If Jeet and Tex suffer setbacks - and who knows? - our entire infield will feature nobodies. New York City cannot take another season of a Luis Cruz-Alfredo Gonzalez-Eduardo Nunez- Lyle Overbay infield. The YES Network's ratings will plunge below C-SPAN. The Yankee Radio Network will be driven by Schwinn. Thus, Cashman has two options: Find some aging, scrap heap, infielder versions of Vernon Wells... or trade Brett Gardner.

Since the Cano thing came down, I've run into several Yankee fans. Each started the conversation with, "GOD, DON'T TRADE BRETT GARDNER." It's interesting how popular, almost beloved, Gardner is. It's so rare to have a homegrown Yankee, plus one who is a tough out after the 7th inning. The notion of trading him for a carpetbagger - a Rex, a Butch, a Colter - sickens us. But once the Yankees start talking about something, it's a like a heroin addict staring at a loaded hypodermic...

'Tis a dark day, indeed, when we've been reduced to watching Kansas City make off with our coveted, overpriced, middling free agent target. But here's the reality: Nobody again is going to trade us Roger Eugene Maris for Marvelous Marv. The best we can do is make sure we don't end up with a big mess of throne berries.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Yankees fear loss of Randy Levine would deal deathknell blow to organization

It's hard to imagine the Yankees without the ol' red-topped skipper, Randy Levine, and his steady hand in the till. But that's the nightmare scenario facing us on this cold winter evening.

Our President will be probed by Bud Selig for an off-hand comment in today's introduction of Jacoby Ellsbury as the Yankees' new ambassador to Massachusetts. President Levine said the Yankees would give a 10-year contract to Mike Trout, if they ever get the chance. That's tampering. And now, President Levine may have to pay the price.

Hold on, folks... I know you're upset... Try to keep it together... Just the thought of losing our President... it hurts... Never have I imagined the world without the Randy Levine red curls shouting, "I know Derek Jeter"  Now... we might lose him? How will we survive? All is lost. ALL IS LOST.

But... if he must be banned, so be it. When Bud Selig probes you, he probes you. If anyone has dirt on Randy, I know for a fact that MLB has a bank account for just such purchases.