Thursday, February 28, 2013

Half-Price Split-Squads Fall To TOR, HOU

It Just Gets Easier And Easier To Love The Guy


Suggested speech: "Today (day), I (I) consider (sider) myself (self) the luckiest (ukiest) Pope (ope) on the face (the face) of the earth (the earth)"

Paging Wally Pipp...

And so it begins, the NY press starts showing Joba Chamberlain the exit

Sometimes it's uncanny how perfect, how clean and efficient, the Yankee player-purge system works. You couldn't build this machine from scratch. It had to evolve over 90 years.

Today, Joel Sherman surgically rips Joba Chamberlain for suggesting this week - OMG! OMG! OMG! - that he would like to start someday. You'd think he defended the Holocaust. In a column headlined "Yanks have had it with Joba's look-at-me act," Sherman trowels out Gammonite indignation over Joba's terrible, horrible, wicked words, and he paves the way for Chamberlain's future exit. Some highlights:

"... a 5-year-old... trapped inside a 95 mph-throwing body."

"... Joba being Joba. Hey everyone, look here..."

"... more like a child and nuisance than anything else..."

"... You know what that screams to me? The Yankees have Joba Fatigue..."

"... a constant risk physically and verbally..."

"... tired of all the theatrics and untrustworthiness that comes with Chamberlain."

 Listen: I like Sherman. He's gutsy, and they pay him to be opinionated. But I hate it when columnists attack players over idle comments, which - after all - is what the writers peddle for a living. If a player dogs it on the field, or quits on his team - yeah, sharpen the shivs, guys! But do you whack a fellow in the first day of spring training because he strays 10 degrees from the team's official talking points?

Reading Sherman today, I get an ugly Dick Young flashback --  a bloated ego and some bloated nasal corpuscles - of a tired old writer itching to tell off the guy who didn't grant him an interview, or to just make a cannonball splash in the pool, because somebody in the Holiday Inn bar Sunday night - after the eighth gin-and-tonic - called him "The Bard,"  and everybody laughed.

Somebody is yelling, "Look at me!"

Is it Joba, or Joel Sherman?

Listen: The Yankees are looking to cut payroll. We all know that. A lot of Yankee fans have found Joba to be one of the few players who speaks and plays from the heart.  There is a deep dark negativity to this Yankee spring. You can feel it. But are the Gammonites already starting to run Joba out of town?

Done with Bernie Madoff, the Mets turn to Amway

Seriously, as long as the Mets are the Mehs, why should Hal Steinbrenner ever spend an extra dime on the Yankees?

Would Coke, without Pepsi, fear losing its secret formula? Would Marlboro, without Camel, worry about maintaining that fine tobacco flavor? Would the GOP, without Obama, be concerned about its commitment to truth?

Richard Sandomir of the Times reports today that Amway - the original Evil Empire -  has become a proud sponsor of the 2013 Amazin's.  You can't make this stuff up. Less than two years away from Bernie Madoff, the Dream Team has returned to Giza. Says Sandomir:

Hartwig (My note: An Amway bigwig) said that the company is not a pyramid scheme, as critics have charged. “It’s a very outdated and inaccurate perception,” she said. Rather, it is a multi-leveled marketing company that does its business legally.

She added that Amway settled a class-action lawsuit in 2010 — paying $56 million — but was not guilty of charges that, among other things, it misled distributors about their potential earnings. She said Amway settled rather than let the case drag on.

Hahaha. By all expectations, this should be the year the Yankees collapse and the Mehs retake NYC. Instead, fans in the box seats can get deals on cleaning products - and give people in the upper deck a chance to get in on the gravy! When the Mets score, everybody scores! It's win-win! As the late Paul Harvey would say, "Guh dey!" 

"Hello, may I speak to the baseball fan in the house? This is Larry Lucchino, chief executive officer of the Boston Redsocks, and we've got an exciting new offer..."

The Boston Globe - (which I plan to buy, as soon as I can unload the Syracuse Herald-Journal) - has the goods on a new rule of baseball economics: Let your team fall apart, and the fans won't automatically show up.

Having missed the playoffs for two years straight, the Redsocks are seeing a 10 percent decline in season ticket sales. So what are the great Yankee rivals doing? Among other things, they're hanging a guilt trip on a certain rookie who got injured. Sez Ben Affleck's Daily Planet:

The team is making an effort to woo back season ticket-holders. There have been phone banks, with interns and ticketing staffers and even CEO Larry Lucchino and thirdbaseman Will Middlebrooks placing calls. 

"Hello, I'm calling on behalf of your Boston Redsocks, may I speak to the baseball fan of the house? Hi, my name is Will Middlebrooks, and to whom am I speaking?  Harold? Hello, Harold... Yes, I know it's dinnertime, but this won't take long... No, this is not a survey... Listen.. Harold, the reason I'm calling tonight is to ask you if you will reconsider your past commitment to the Boston Redsocks baseball club in the form...

"Yes, Harold, I am that Will Middlebrooks... Well, there's no way I can prove who I am, you'll have to take my word... Yes, I have seen John Lackey's junk, but I'm not gonna talk about it... Yeah, it was incredible, fried chicken everywhere... Hey, you said that about Bobby V, not me... But can we talk about your commitment to the 2013 Redsock campaign...

"Harold...  Harold...  Harold, will you let me finish... Will you let me say something... Frankly, I resent that remark...  I'm gonna hang up... Oh, yeah? Well, as far as I'm concerned, I don't care if you ever come to a game, and if you do, don't sit along the third base line, because I know your name, and I know your voice, and a thrown ball can do some damage... DON'T YOU DARE HANG UP ON ME? Goddamfukkinsomebich...

"Hello, I'm calling on behalf of your Boston Redsocks, may I speak to the baseball fan of the house? Hi, my name is Will, umm, Aceves... Will Aceves..." 
The team is making an effort to woo back season ticket-holders. There have been phone banks, with interns and ticketing staffers and even CEO Larry Lucchino and third baseman Will Middlebrooks placing calls. - See more at:
even sell the tickets for face value.”
As detailed in a Globe story Feb. 1, Red Sox brass acknowledged that season-ticket sales last month were down 10 percent from a year ago. The team is making an effort to woo back season ticket-holders. There have been phone banks, with interns and ticketing staffers and even CEO Larry Lucchino and third baseman Will Middlebrooks placing calls.
- See more at:
, Red Sox brass acknowledged that season-ticket sales last month were down 10 percent from a year ago. The team is making an effort to woo back season ticket-holders. There have been phone banks, with interns and ticketing staffers and even CEO Larry Lucchino and third baseman Will Middlebrooks placing calls. - See more at:
, Red Sox brass acknowledged that season-ticket sales last month were down 10 percent from a year ago. The team is making an effort to woo back season ticket-holders. There have been phone banks, with interns and ticketing staffers and even CEO Larry Lucchino and third baseman Will Middlebrooks placing calls. - See more at:
Red Sox brass acknowledged that season-ticket sales last month were down 10 percent from a year ago. The team is making an effort to woo back season ticket-holders. There have been phone banks, with interns and ticketing staffers and even CEO Larry Lucchino and third baseman Will Middlebrooks placing calls. - See more at:

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hal's Half-Price Heroes Are...

Something has happened, and we're not imagining it

Phil Hughes Shows Winning Form For 2013

Regard our number three of number four starter.

My only question:  will he do the IM or only the sprints?

What did John Sterling mean: "In 10 years they will discover a drug called Festeris that will make everyone amazons.”

Monday, in the Daily News, The Master is quoted as saying this during Sunday's conversation about A-Rod. (Hat tip to Anonymous for reminding me.)

"In 10 years they will discover a drug called Festeris that will make everyone amazons.”

On behalf of the Yankiverse, I would like to say: W.T.F.?

This goes down as one of Sterling's most cryptic quotes ever, even beyond his love of Tab Hunter's autobiography. "Festeris?" What can it mean. Being an award-winning investigative journalist by trade, I googled it. There are a few Facebook pages to people whose last names are Festeris. There is a Belgium band called The Whodads, which in 2000 put out a song called the Bongo Festeris.

I don't think that is the reference we seek.  I googled "Festeris" and "amazon." Same results. (The album is sold on Stupid me.)

Anonymous asked if it could be a show tune reference? (You know, like, "There's NO festeris like SHOW festeris there's No festeris I know...") Beats me.  But top Sterlingologists do know this: A lot of 1960s cultural images rattle around inside The Master's head.

There was Uncle Fester on Addams Family. Is there an episode where, perhaps, he conjured or created Amazons? There was a Festus character on Gunsmoke. Ken Curtis played him. Could John have simply misspoke - meant Festus, instead of Festeris?

No. John is a professional announcer. The Master did not misspeak. 

A drug called Festeris that will make everybody amazons. Was he suggesting Suzyn should be juicing? Is A-Rod becoming a woman? Will enhanced pharmaceuticals allow each of us to become mighty, sports-bra-wearing warriors? Festeris.

What did he mean?

With the Yankee Sequester Plan looming, Joba Chamberlain, the last beloved newbie, inches toward the exit

Something about Joba Chamberlain made you root for him. Maybe it was his dad in the wheelchair. Maybe it was his Fred Flintstone body, or that unforgettable Cleveland juju moment - gnats buzzing his head while a trainer sprays crap that actually will only make it worse. Maybe it was his limitless potential. Remember him going pitch-for-pitch against Josh Beckett, back when we desperately needed a hope - something, anything - to heal from our 2004 and 2007 thrashings by the Redsocks. (A team that, over the last 10 years, has won twice as many championships as we have.)

Joba was not like Phil Hughes, the California twitter debutante, or Ian Kennedy, the arrogant excuse-maker. Joba was real. He was one of us. And he had the brightest future of any of them.

And, of course, he's been lost in the shuffle for the last four years.

Yesterday, Joba suggested that he would someday like to start. It was an idle comment. He could have talking about the Tampa water supply, or a dead bird he passed on the side of the road, but it soon was amplified into feedback by the Gammonite sound system, treated as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice broke ranks on abortion. Immediately, the giant gears turned, and the Yankee public relations machinery - God, I wish our farm system was as solid as our p.r. apparatus - pressed its heel onto the tiny smoldering cigarette and ground it into an ocher smudge: JOBA NO START. JOBA NO CLOSE. JOBA NO CHANGE. NO.

OK. I get it. Joba is our bullpen lugnut. We'll keep Dellin Betances - 24, going on Brackman - as a starter in Scranton, because he's too valuable to waste in the pen. But Joba - well - he's an effective complement to Boone Logan. OK. Fine.  It's March, and I guess there isn't much to write about.

But Listen: Considering the Steinbrenners' self-inflicted money crunch - the Yankee Sequestration - it's hard to imagine cash in the till next winter to keep Joba. Do the math. If the owners insist on hitting a $189 million payroll, it means cross the board cuts, and who wants to pay starter money for a seventh inning man?

It's always been easy to like Joba. If he's pitching against us, it would be hard to root against him.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Payroll-Pinching Yanks Get What They Paid For

A Yankee Stadium playoff crowd atmosphere... in Florida

Pass the word, everybody.

Plenty of good seats remaining!

Tied for 12th

When a great Yankee calls and offers his services, the new Yankees hang up the phone

Johnny Damon - a man who once stole two bases on one pitch, and who once refused a trade to the Boston Redsocks during a pennant race, because he was loyal to the New York Yankees - has offered to bail out the team for the first 30 games of the season, or until Curtis Granderson is healed.

We all have views about what the Yankees should do to fill that void. The only opinions that matter are held by Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi.

But there is a reason for that:

The Boss is dead.

Old George epitomized the last great voice of the Yankee fan to have a seat at the table in team decisions. Now, when a Johnny Damon calls, he leaves a VoiceMail.

Good thing? Bad thing? I dunno. But it's worth noting: This is not the baseball club that, for better or worse, deals from the heart.  This is a bloodless corporation with a chart on the wall, a number on the chart, and a business plan to hit that number. Sadly, the number is not 28- as in World Series championships. The number has a dollar sign in front of it.

Two bases on one pitch. Put a dollar figure on that, can you?

With sunset on the horizon, John Sterling - the last Voice of the Yankees - is working all this A-Rod stuff out in his head

In early 1964, after he cracked up on the air during the Yankees' World Series debacle against Koufax and Drysdale, announcer Mel Allen - the Voice of the Yankees for more than 22 years - was abruptly shown the door. He had given the organization everything, and in return, the ownership spread rumors of booze, uppers and homosexuality, and threw him overboard like a rotting piece of liver. Later, Red Barber, his longtime partner, wrote in his memoir that, on the matter of Mel, the wealthy Yankee owners simply did not understand what it is to work for a living.

This weekend, from the Jeep-driven bully pulpit of Tampa, John Sterling - the modern reincarnation of Mel Allen - delved into the A-Rod mess and, you might say, glimpsed everyone's future, including his own. Bob Raissman of the Daily News captured it.  (Ma is Suzyn Waldman)

"But they (MLB officials) have to prove all this,” Sterling said. “It’s got to be proven.”
Ma wanted to get a word in. Smoke was coming out of her ears. We imagined we saw it on the radio. “Yes, John, but you’ve got to wonder what they (A-Rod, Francisco Cervelli and others) were doing there in the first place,” she said.
They went back and forth on this for a while. During the exchanges they never mentioned Rodriguez by name. They didn’t have to. You knew it was all about him. Their tone was drenched in disgust.
Waldman recounted a comment Mark Teixeira made at a recent charity event. “He said, ‘I want to talk baseball,’” Waldman said. “ ‘But every time a fan comes up to me all they want to talk about is steroids. I’m sick of it.’”

Suzyn should brace herself. We all should. This season, A-Rod will be our Lord Voldemort, the vile presence who lurks everywhere but must not be mentioned by name. Frankly, we are accumulating a bunch of taboo topics: Michael Pineda, Jesus Montero, Russell Martin, Nick Swisher, Raphael Soriano, maybe Francisco Cervelli and maybe even Robbie Cano. Any excitement over Melky Mesa - a Kevin Maas-level prospect, at best - will not outshine the pain this 2013 team is about to inflict upon the couple that Raissman derisively - (maybe lovingly, not sure) - calls Ma and Pa.

In today's column, Raissman seems surprised that John would raise the specter of A-Rod in an exhibition game. That's a swing and miss: Sterling talks for a living, and no such person completely avoids juicy topics like A-Rod. John talks about everything. And like Mel Allen before him, the Master feels Yankee pain like few others in this physical world. I think he genuinely grieves for A-Rod. He might be the last person on the planet to feel that way.

People love or hate Sterling and generally discolor whatever he says with their own bias. It comes with the job. But this we know: He loves the Yankees. And one of these days, they're going to break his heart.

You can see it coming. The one-year contracts. The hideous deluge of in-game ads. The lack of a third voice. The guy must be pushing 70 - (he keeps his age secret, but do the math) - yet still calls every inning of every game. He's never missed one. They're not giving him or Suzyn any respite. They're hanging them out to dry, and when the Yankees fall apart this summer - seriously, does anyone see it differently? - Sterling will be a convenient presence standing blindfolded on the plank, walking toward the sound of water.

Love him or hate him, the days are growing shorter - not longer - for the Voice of the Yankees. Be it a blessing or a curse, we won't see another one like him in our lifetimes. Nobody will ever suffer a Yankee defeat on-air the way John Sterling has for the last 20 years. But one thing will not change.

The owners. They'll never understand what it's like to work for a living.

Monday, February 25, 2013


Yanks already in gutless, choking, embarrassing, painful, quick-exiting post-season form

Get men on base, and then strand them.



Ben Affleck's sequel?

No Vernon Wells, no Alphonso Soriano, no Juan Rivera: Please, Mr. Girardi, don't turn left field into the Antiques Road Show

Last year, when the Upheaval Empire lost Brett Gardner for the season, the Yankees managed to make the situation much, much worse.

The franchise response was to install two statues - Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez - in left field and hope that fly balls hit them. As June became July, they rusted into the ground like Jay Leno's car collection. Ibanez practically went 0 for August, and the only solid hits Jones has recorded since last fall got him arrested. By September, the Yankees' 10 game lead had shrunken to the size of Chris Brown's conscience, and if not for a miracle resurgence by Rauuuuuul, we wouldn't have had the chance to be humiliated in the post-season, because it would have happened in the reg.

Well, comrades, here we frickin' go again.  Grandy is out for 20 to 40 games, depending on who is counting. And if the Pronkees stay their regular course, we can expect another 50 shades of gray in 2012. That means Joe Girardi will install Juan Rivera or Matt Diaz in left field, or work a deal for Vernon Wells or Alphonso Soriano, or some aging rusted lugnut - and banish all the newcomers to Scranton because - well - because they can. That's all. If you have options, you're gone. Nothing else matters. The Yankees will stash you somewhere and wait until your out of options, usually around age 34.

If we follow the broken policies of 2012, we'll not only have a LF glove that goes clank, but we'll watch the RH-DH spot crumble, because some poor slob is running around all day. And finally, let's face it: We'll play guys with diamond-hard ceilings, who offer no hope for a breakout year.

Do the math. If at the end of May, Travis Hafner is batting .320 with 15 home runs, we'll know what's coming. It simply means he'll bat .190 the rest of the season. In a good year, Hafner will hit .260 with 25.  So there are no magic beans. A lifetime .250 hitter always manages to go 1-4 on the season. The only player on this team who might breakout is Brett Gardner. Everybody else is just a number waiting to be filled in - and considering the ages, we might be seriously disappointed.

That's why it still hurts to think of Jesus Montero in Seattle. Last year he hit about 15 HRs. This year, 25? Next year, 30? Who knows? Seattle gets to enjoy the ride. The players most fun to watch are those without pre-established limits. We have - what? - meager prospects, the likes of which would rank in the top 250, if anybody ranked that far down:  Zolio Almonte, Adonis Garcia and Ronnier Mustellier - how good are they? Will we ever know? If not now, good grief, why should we ever bother caring?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Barbra Streisand and John Sterling electrify the Oscars

Season of Doom: The Grandy Man can't... play until May

In the first inning today, the one guy we didn't expect to lose from injuries this year went down with a broken wrist.

Curtis Granderson... out for 10 weeks.


And so it begins...

 P.S. The announcers keep going on about how we just lost a 40-home run player. Well, we also lost a .230 hitter and a 200-strikeout-per-season bat.  Not trying to be mean. Just sayin'...

The Bronze Titan, Jose Contreras, is still going

It seems like a hundred years ago that Jose Contreras swam up from Cuba to play for the Yankees. Fidel Castro was still composing sentences. Wasn't Harry Truman the president? The Yankees had money to spend. Ahh, those were the days...

Back then, any mystery man on the international scene was predestined to play in New York. It was a given that Old George would capture every back page in obscurity, always gather one major spring Sports Illustrated profile and rule the TV airwaves with the latest speculation.

What a bunch: Irabu. Godzilla. El Duque. Igawa. El Duquecitto. Kats Masomethingorother - the Japanese pitcher who died his hair. And of course, the Bronze Titan himself - Contreras. George stole him from the Redsocks, (and it was downhill from there. ) George was like the promoter in the King Kong movie. He had to bring every monster to NYC.

 Well, Jose Contreras - one of George's great disappointments - is still at it. He signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates yesterday. He's 41 (assuming that's his correct age; the guy looked 41 ten years ago.) He's recovering from surgery. He's actually had a fine career. If we had stuck with him, we might have won a World Series around 2005-06. But George had moved on, I think, to Kei Igawa. Ahh, those were the days...

Austerity anyone?

Great to know we have talent on the farm: Mason Williams and Dante Bichette Jr. have a band

They're already planning for life after baseball.

Like 90 percent of the planet, Dante Bichette Jr. - (Son of Rockie and former Yank 1st round pick) - and Mason Williams - (Not the guy who recorded "Classic Gas," but the kid viewed by many as the best prospect in the Yank system) - have formed a musical band of merrymakers and uploaded a couple songs to a free music website.

Their band is called Navy58.  If he were alive, Lester Bangs could sum this up in 60 words. For my money, it's stock-issue suburban strip mall rap with an R&B back beat courtesy of Garage Band. (I assume you weren't expecting Patty Page.) Hey, they're not bad. But Justin Timberlake can sleep tonight. 

Listen for yourself.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Incredible bloody Schilling sock (pictured at right, notice the blood) sells at auction for $92,000. 

Note to anonymous owner: Test it for DNA, PEDs, etc's.

Evil Empire beats Atlanta

0-3, GIDP

100% Rehab Dedication Fizzles

Good morning again.  What do you know, we are getting more snow.

So A-Rod has now bolted for Miami after committing himself to rehab in NYC.  Truthfully, he gave it an effort.  He got into and out of his black windowed, SUV Cadillac several times, and scarfed down a number of artfully prepared meals at some of the city's best seafood restaurants.

But the noise of the clicking cameras, and the complaining starlets, has driven him south to the warmer clime.  He can workout in Florida without the annoyance and burden of putting on a coat.

In his place, we get Jose Feliciano, the Guantanamo bay experience of the Yankees front office.  We paid him $8 million not to pitch for two years, then cut him.  He immediately re-signed with the Mets, from which he came.

 Did Cashman owe the Wilpons some Madoff money?  Is that why this deal went down?

Happily, Pedro was scratched from his first spring training appearance, and was sent back to NYC to meet with Dr. Altcheck who operated on his shoulder 17 months back.

I soon expect him to say, " I am dedicating 100% of my time to re-hab in NYC."

I did the same, only I did it in a bar on the west side.

Dear Yankees: If you're going to be the Evil Empire, you need to allow beards

An Open Letter to Yankee owners Hal and Hank Steinbrenner:

Dear Billionaires,

Recently, in some Byzantine clown court, the New York Yankees secured the legal trademark rights to the marketing name "Evil Empire." Meanwhile, General Manager Brian Cashman was said to be trolling through the Yankee facilities, eying the hair on players' chins the way Lindsay Lohan scans for cop cars after running over pedestrians.

I believe I speak for the entire Yankiverse when I say: "WTF?"

Do either of you life-pampered jackals remotely understand the true nature of evil? Have you never in your lives gone to the movies? Evil is a beard! Evil is a prissy, well groomed black chunk of hair, danging from the lips, covering West Virginia teeth, and constantly being dabbled by tawny, piano player fingers. Good grief, do you know nothing about life? Did your dad lock you inside the Ohio State football weight room without even a channel changer? Do you not recognize what babies and Disney characters instinctively know: The fundamental look of evil?

Listen: You cannot have it both ways. You cannot be the Evil Empire and require your players to shave their evil beards. It's just... how do I put this... evil.

Either relinquish the name "Evil Empire," donating it to a team with facial hair - or eliminate the Yankee beard ban... NOW.

Get out of the way of progress. Do not try to tamper with the fundamental laws of the universe. Evil needs beards. If the Yankees are caught in the middle - evil and shaven - it will be like being picked off between first and second base. We won't know where to run. The results will be catastrophic. We could suffer a breakdown of organizational identity.

In fact, it's happening. Are the Yankees cutting payroll to the $189 million figure in 2014? Or are we abandoning it to sign  Robbie Cano? Are we spending more than any other team? Or are we looking to dump salary? Are we lavish, or are we cheap. Are we evil, or are we good? Are we bearded, or are we shaven? Do we bow before Zod? WHO THE HELL ARE WE,, ANYWAY?


Confused el Duque

Friday, February 22, 2013

Political source: Hagel to be confirmed

The Yankees are the official "Evil Empire"(TM) of Major League Baseball

From Was Watching,  which originally linked it from law360: (This stuff gets complicated.)

The New York Yankees hold the rights to the phrase "Evil Empire," the nickname used by their detractors, and can prevent another company from registering the name as a trademark, a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office panel ruled recently.

In a Feb. 8 decision, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board held that Evil Enterprises Inc. couldn't register a trademark on the phrase "Baseball's Evil Empire" for use on apparel featuring the Yankees logo adorned with a devil and pitchfork .

Thus, you cannot associate the Yankees with "Evil Empire," unless you pay them money.

I do, though, like the name of the company: "Evil Enterprises Inc." I always thought that when I started my evildoer business, that would be the name. Damn. Somebody beat me to it.

I wonder what other trademark names the Yankees secretly have. Some possibilities:

Lost Colony of Roanoke.
Apple Dumpling Gang.
Loco Surf Riders from Hell.
The Shutouts.

Oscar Fever: Can Yankees' Denzell and De Niro knock off Redsocks' Argo and Lincoln meatwagon?

And they're off! That's right, everybody. It's OSCAR FEVER!

And as usual, the only true viewing prism in America is the Yankeescope. This year pits the Redsocks and Yanks in a duel to pull out and devour, still beating, Hollywood's magical heart.

Here are the match-ups, plus Yankee-Redsock analysis:

BEST PIC: Amour, Argo, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables.

ANALYSIS: Silver Line (Robert De Niro, NY) vs. Argo (Ben Affleck, Redsock). Armour is about two old people (Yankees!). Life of Pi has a tiger (Hurtful reminder of last post-season.) Lincoln was written by Doris Kearns Goodwin (Redsock). Beasts, Django, Les, Zero - that's the NL Central. Who cares?

LIKELY OUTCOME: Trouble. Redsocks in control; either Argo or Lincoln.  Did Bud Selig make the nominations?

BEST MAN: Bradley Cooper, Hugh Jackman, Daniel Day-Lewis, Denzell Washington, Joaquin Phoenix.

ANALYSIS: Washington (Yankee fan) is our horse. Jackman and Lewis, durn foreigners, probably can't tell you the infield fly rule. Phoenix teamed with Affleck's kid brother on "I'm Not Here." He probably leans Redsock.

LIKELY OUTCOME: Crap shot. Bradley Cooper from Philadelphia.

BEST FEMALE: Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Emmanuel Riva, Naomi Watts, Quvenzhane Wallis.

ANALYSIS: WTF? I can't lie. I got nothing. Riva might be the Mariano Rivera of this crew.

LIKELY OUTCOME: Jennifer Lawrence Peter Berra?

SUPPORTING ACTORS: De Niro, Arkin, Hoffman, Jones, Waltz, Adams, Field, Hathaway, Hunt, Weaver.

ANALYSIS: Let's hope De Niro brings his A-game. Arkin, Hathaway and Hoffman should be Yankee fans, considering everything NY has done for them.  But stars are quirky. Tommie Lee Jones went to Harvard. That could warp him. Just donno.

LIKELY OUTCOME: De Niro and Hathaway - two big Yankee wins. (I'm calling Hathaway pro-Yankee until she calls to complain.)

FINAL SCORE:  Washington, De Niro and the Hath cannot offset the Goodwin-Affleck gravy train. Redsocks heavily favored. Sorry folks, I don't make this stuff up. I just report.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

“Right now I’m dedicating 100% of my energy and focus on my rehabilitation. I am conducting two rehab sessions each and every day in an effort to get back on the field and rejoin my Yankees teammates. I think we have a great team and I want to be a part of it.”

Why I'm Not Going to Spring Training This Year

Good morning and welcome.  I have imbibed for most of this freezing day in the northeast, and feel I have wisdom to impart.

I am not going to Tampa this spring for the following reasons;

1.  Yukelis is wearing a Yankee uniform.
2.  Hughes already has back problems.
3.  Adams ( a kid who can actually hit and play defense ) is out with another injury, and will not be seen in training camp.
4.  Montgomery ( a AA pitcher, aged 22, with an amazing, Guidry-like cutter ) is down with an injury, and won't be seen in training camp.
5.  None of the 38 ( in age ) plus players will see the field before the games count, due to potential injury
6.  No one else on the team matters, including:
7.  Pineda is not ready for another 6 months, minimum.
8.  Bettances is, I think, finished as a player.
9.  Banuelos is packing groceries on some island.
10.  Robbie Cano, who was 3- 45 in post season, is awaiting a 10 year deal at $25 million per season.  Personally, I say let him go to the free agent pool.  I said the same about A-Rod 5 years ago.  We all know how that worked out.  In two seasons, Nunez will be the second best player on the field, behind Cano.  We will be last, or next to last for a decade.  So why pay Cano?

Here is my prediction for 2013;  this is going to be an embarrassing year for the Yankees and for its fans.

P.S.  A-Rod is safely riding around NYC in his SUV limo, eating at fancy seafood restaurants.  His hip is right where it should be.

He just can't run, throw, or hit.

"... And batting seventh, the left fielder Curtis Granderson..."

Today, the Grandyman ran.

He ran out to shag flies in left field - the ancient burial grounds of Knoblach and Yogi, of Ibanez and Ledee -  the place where Yankee careers go to die.

I could sit in this crystal fortress, watching the lights dance upon the North Pole, for hours, and not think of a reason why Granderson should play centerfield, other than the kneecapping of Brett Gardner.

But it's not his glove that has signals Grandy's impending decline. I blame the home runs. They were like crack cocaine to him. He's hit more in the last two years than anybody else in baseball. Yet they stole his psyche.

Last year, Grandy didn't hit for average. He didn't hit with runners on base. He didn't  didn't hit in the clutch. He didn't hit in the playoffs. He didn't play sterling defense. He didn't steal bases. He didn't do what the Yankees originally wanted of him, when they traded Phil Coke, Ian Kennedy and Austin Jackson - three damn valuable players - to pry him loose from our current masters, the Detroit Tigers.

He just hit home runs. Like Richie Sexton, Jack Cust and Jose Canseco... home runs. Oh, well... 30 HRs and .240... not bad for seventh in the order.

Price blinks

Samson Price won't sacrifice his divine hair to join the Yankees

"Then Samson prayed to God, 'Remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.'  Samson said, 'Let me die with the Philistines!'"

And so it happened that David Price, baseball's most aptly named Philistine, declared that he shalt not shaveth his beautiful chin in order to playeth in the temple of the hated Yankee northern tribe.

"Never, I say, nay never! I shalt not obey Pinstriped Law, for it is not the way of my face-pelted tribe," Price hath told the Tampan scribes. "The badger fur that sheaths my jowls hath come from the Lord Himself. It hath beckoned to many fine ladies, and it still carries the imagined scent of their nuzzled underbellies, and to razoreth it for mere pieces of Steinbrennerian silver would be a blaspheme worthy of a Sheffield or Pavano, and I say, 'Nay!'"

And the Yankiverse, upon hearing the words of the Ray, replied:

'Fucketh you, ye future Met. If thou were not the fool who offered Jeter's grand home run, we would send a team of Murdoch's donkeys to trample your tent and photograph the jawbones and underparts of your harem.

"We do not needeth long range covenants with over-pitched arms, who shalt wilt in the coming years like the bones of chickens left in the Tampoan sun.

"Go, ye bearded Florida clod. Go, and sign with shampoo faced Angels, or with the hair-ticked hosiery of Chicago or Boston! Go and keep thy mangy, goat-like forelocks. We shall remain clean of chin and skin, although somehow, tattoos did slither past our gated rules of dermis."

And so it was said. And it meant nothing. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pineda pleads no contest to terrible Yankee trade

Michael "the New Pavano" Pineda pleaded guilty today to for driving while intoxicated last year in Florida.

This caps a memorable 2012 for the Yankiverse's second-most vilified Venezuelan, after Hugo Chavez.

Pineda is recovering from shoulder surgery, which - for a power pitcher - is like a downhill skier coming back without a leg. He's throwing off flat surfaces now (above) and is expected to be pitching again by the All-Star break.

For the record, we wish him well.

Let's face it, we'd be drinking heavily, too.

Although, with his money, we'd be driven in a limo by a sober Beyoncé.

Open Letter to Denzell Washington: For the Oscar build-up, buy Schilling's sock

Dear Mr. Washington,

In case you haven't heard, Curt Schilling's "bloody" sock is on the block. The current bid is $60,000.

To you, that's clam dip.

You, sir, are a great Yankee fan. You are a leader among Yankee fans. We look up to you. We follow you. And now - as Oscar weekend approaches, and you are preparing to battle Fenway fratboy Ben Affleck in mortal combat - you have a chance to do something for your people, for your tribe, and for the Yankee name.

Buy Curt Schilling's "bloody" sock.  Buy it right here. Go ahead, click. Now.

When you have obtained the sock, test it for blood. Frankly, I bet the blood type turns out to be Heinz 45. Expose the shyster for what he is: A fake bleeder.

Worst case, if it turns out to be blood, test it for steroids. Test it for Human Growth Hormone. Hell, let's test it for Viagra. Let's test it for early Alzheimers. Just keep testing it, testing it, testing it - pot, coke, Lipitor - Something will turn up. And then we've got him!

Seriously, this is payback! Not only that, but Schilling won't even bank a cent. It's all going to pay off his boondoggle debt to the state of Rhode Island. You can wear the damn sock to parties. You can clean windshields on freeway exits. Hell, you can wipe your butt with it. He can't get it back. THIS IS OUR CHANCE.

Again, good luck with the Oscars. Don't turn your back on the fratboy.

Your comrade in Yankeehood,

el Duque

Worse than we thought: Hughes has a bulging disc

When Phil Hughes reported back pain the other day, the Yankiverse hope was that Santa would bring us a minor muscle tweak. No problemo, minor muscle tweaks. You cure them by drinking a 12-pack of Keystone in a hot tub. Muscle tweaks fade away. Phil could go on Craig's List Tampa and find himself a nice $50 back rub. Just as long as it wasn't a disc...

Well, it's a disc. A bulging disc. Which means hasta lumbago. It's what they call a bad back. And Phil Phranchise is about to learn that your entire life changes, when you have a bad back.

Twelve years ago, I had a bulging disc. I was down for eight weeks. Listen: I am not Hughes. My bulges are not his bulges. The Yankee Dark Tower claims he'll miss two weeks. Good luck with that. If he misses just two weeks, we should consider not changing our underwear, but we will be very very lucky.

Obviously, nobody but Hughes knows how bad his back hurts. But bulging discs often stem from long-term deterioration. That makes them life-changers. A guy has to learn a new way to sit, a new way to sleep, and a ton of new daily exercises. Even then, it just has to stop bulging on its own.

Austin Romine missed practically all of last season with a bad back. He now says it's healed. If he's diligent with workouts, he'll be OK.

It sounds like Phil Hughes is just starting his journey.

If so, David Phelps just became our fourth starter.

When good Gammonites turn bad: Crusty old Billy Madden has turned into the Yankee sportswriter version of Don Zimmer

Today, Bill Madden of the Bailey's News does what he claims the Yankee Tampa-Gitmo  braintrust is afraid to do: Rip catching prospect Gary Sanchez for strutting around spring training like a Kardashian on Adderall - which, if you're scorig at home, is a Kardasherall. 

To his credit, The Mad has been scorching in his criticism of this year's Yankee organization, which still seems clueless about dealing with the new Selig spending limits - aka the Yankee Unilateral Disarmament Treaty, which kills our ability to spend, after tying up a generation of old MLB stars with massive deals. Every news story, post and bathroom graffito written about the Yankees should note the team's painted-in-a-corner dilemma. Madden never flinches.

But today, The Mad takes it one step further: He rips the team for failing to police Sanchez, a 20-year-old purebred French poodle. First, he notes that Sanchez hasn't bothered to learn English. Then he hits him for being the lone catcher to not wear a helmet during pop-up drills.

"What’s with the bare-headed guy?” I asked another camp observer*.

“You mean Sanchez?” he replied. “He beats to his own drum. They think he can do no wrong and they spoil him. They’re all afraid to tell him anything or set him straight.”

Just another example, I thought, of how things have been allowed to slip around the Yankees since George Steinbrenner faded out and passed away. If the old Steinbrenner had been watching Sanchez participating in the drill bare-headed while all the catchers had on their proper gear, the kid would have been banished to the minor-league complex down the road, never to be seen the rest of the spring.

*I assume this means a fellow Gammonite.

OK, we all know the plot arc. The ol' writer (Dabney Coleman) performing as de facto coach. It's the "Welcome to NY, Rook," column. Presumably, Sanchez will read the article - wait, he doesn't know English! - and wear a helmet today, with a couple YESSIRs and NOSIRs thrown in for good measure.

Is The Mad right? Who knows? Old sportswriters are notorious blowhards, walking beer-bellied diatribes, with noses the color of Baltimore Ravens merch, and god help the soul who sits in their personalized, back-supported seats. Let's assume somebody with actual knowledge is speaking through the writer, saying in public what the Yankees are afraid to say in private. If so, god help the organization.

The wheels just keep wobbling, folks.

One of these days, we're going to hear a thud.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Think with me now:

We get a rich Yankee fan to buy Curt Schilling's "bloody sock." 

Then we test the blood for the presence of PEDs.

Current Curt's Catsup Sock High Bid: $60,000

Personally, I'd test it for DNA.
Here's a close up.

Remember it's a sock, not underwear.

The hits just keep on coming: Hughes hurts his back

Will the Astros be so bad that they cost us a shot at the Wildcard?

Imagine a team with Brad Peacock, Bud Norris and Carlos Corporan - yes, the C-Corp himself. Add former Yankee legends Jose Veras and Justin Maxwell.  Now, move this team's esteemed pitching staff from the NL - where Pavanos hit - to the AL, where the Travis Hafners and Big Papis win restraining orders against their mitts. Hey, congratulations! you've just visualized the 2013 Houston Astros, an International League also-ran that will be playing this season in baseball's toughest division - the AL West.

That's where the Angels have assembled LA's nastiest bunch of hitters - Pujols, Trout, Hamilton - since Charlie Sheen double-dated with Chris Brown. Meanwhile, Texas remains the gold standard for farm systems, Oakland constantly overachieves, and Seattle has converted the Yankees into its feeder system, based on the Kansas City Athletics model of 1958. Houston will play each of these teams 19 times. Who knows, the Astros might win 6! 

Meanwhile, the Yankees will be stuck in an AL East rugby scrum, probably playing around .500, depending on injuries to the brittle skeletons that take the field. Ninety wins could take the division. As for second place, who cares? The West could have several teams over 90.

Well well well.. Another reason for despair! What a dark winter. Has there been one positive Yankee story, aside from the YES-spun drivel from the Hope Police? Oh yes... - CC lost weight, Jeet is back, Andy is back, Mo is back, Ichiro is back - yeah, they're all back. But in the fine print of each story, it says they're all a year older and in some cases beyond their shelf life sale date. As for the kids, already, Mike Montgomery and David Adams, two of our best prospects - (and we don't have many) - are reporting bad backs... which can be devastating to careers. Last year, virtually all our top prospects ended up getting hurt. Are we doing this again?

So now we've got the Astros, who have apparently adopted the building strategy of the Washington Nationals: Finish last enough times, and eventually you draft stars from all those number one picks. They'll be tough in 2525, (if man is still alive.)

Listen: I'm not trying to be negative here. I'm desperate for a reason to be hopeful. Maybe some kid will light up the Grapefruit League. Maybe we'll score a high impact cast-off from another team. But the only rays of hope I've seen in the last 12 months have come with the meltdown of the Redsocks, and you know what? They might be turning it around. This could be our turn to implode, and if that happens, it will be Bobby Valentine times 10.

We might just find ourselves with a lineup akin to Brad Peacock, Bud Norris and C-Corps! But I'll spell it C-Corpse. Houston, we've got a match.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Carl Pavano nearly died shoveling snow

Jeeze Louise.  The guy slipped on ice, fell on his shovel and put a divot into his spleen. If he hadn't gone to the E.R. when he did, the Twins would be wearing black arm-bands this year.

They removed his spleen. He's lost a lot of weight. He's vowing to return. I dunno.

Hard to think about Pavano, considering all the pain he brought upon the Yankiverse. Remember when he broke a rib in a car accident with his hot model girlfriend, and he didn't tell anybody? Remember when he pulled a buttock covering first? Remember our Yankeeography: The Bronx Buttocks?

If he were going to lose a spleen, we wanted it to come from a line-drive off Jeter's bat. But when you look at Pavano's life, it's quite sad. There is only one period in the fossil record when Pavano totally sucked: While a Yankee.

Take away those four years, and the guy had a nice career. But in NY, he won just seven (7) games.

Imagine: If Pavano pitched the way he did before and after the Yankees, he would have won 64 games in that stretch. Considering that we scored a lot of runs, he might have won 20 one year. He'd now be chasing his 200th victory - not Hall of Fame material, but not shabby.

Also, he was a post-season workhorse for Florida and Minnesota, with a 2.51 ERA. Can't help but think he might have won a game for us in the 2005 or 2006 playoffs, maybe changed Yankee history. If we'd gotten anything from the guy - anything - who knows how popular he might have been? 

I say this not to forgive the guy. He sucked for us. You can hate a player, while not  hating the player. Let's hope he comes back, so we can shell him a few more times. Jeeze Louise. A few hours delay, and we'd be reading his obit. Didn't want that.

MLB has changed the infamous first-to-third pick-off rule, because nobody ever got caught on it... well... except one

Just sayin'...

Current high bid on Schilling's "bloody" sock: $32,000

Note: This is NOT the sock Schilling wore to beat the Yankees.

"In truth, there were two Bloody Socks, but only one survives today, the ALCS specimen unceremoniously discarded in a Yankee Stadium dumpster after Schilling's seven innings of one-run brilliance forced a decisive Game Seven. Here we present the World Series Game Two model, consigned to this auction by Mr. Schilling himself after the sock's retrieval from a Baseball Hall of Fame display."

The guy called Cooperstown to get it back, so he can pay off his debts.

Stars and Strikes: Mark Teixeira plans to schedule his slump for the World Baseball Classic

Give him credit: Broadway sensation Mark Teixeira is constantly scheming.

Tex's newest strategy: Avoid his traditional season-opening slump by playing in Bud Selig's infamous WBC, so hiss one-for-twenty will hurt America - not the Yankees. Not very patriotic. But I'm fine with it.

In fact, here's hoping Tex plays so raggedly in the WBC - think Grandy in the 2013 post - that he gets benched for Russ Canzler or Hopalong Digberry, anybody. Just get it behind us ASAP.

I'm sorry, Commissioner Zelig, but the WBC is about as important to most U.S. fans as the Pro Bowl or Battle of the Network Stars (Still remembering Robert Conrad straining his hammy in losing to Gabe Kaplan.) Do they mike players? Interview pitchers between innings? Does anybody remember who won the last WBC? (True Fact: The hitting leader in the 2009 WBC was Czech 3B Mike Cervenak, who hit .715. )

Maybe this is hot tortillas in Spain and South Africa. Obviously, there's a marketing scheme: Selig wants to clothe the gauchos of Argentina with official MLB merchandise, get those Australian bushmen hooked on wiffle ball. MLB doesn't pick up a phone unless there's money in it. Considering how much it exploits the Dominica and parts of Mexico, this probably qualifies as a "give back." But who cares the USA beats Netherlands? Somebody always gets hurt. And the only reason I'd watch is to see if Chin-Ming Wang deserves a Yankee contract.

So Tex plans to use the WBC as his whipping mule? Fine. He usually starts hitting a month into the season. Put that slump onto the national debt. Or better yet, why not a team from Portugal?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Today's official Yankee takeaway talking points

1. CC threw on the side yesterday, felt grrrrreat.

2. Mariano threw on the side yesterday, never felt better!

3. Youkilis still a Yankee. What a card!

4. Nobody knows who is going to catch this season. Oh, well, hey, did you hear about that meteor?

5. Michael Pineda is still alive. Would it be incredible if he turns out to be the greatest Yankee pitcher ever?

6. More players report today.

7. It sure will be exciting to see what happens this year!

8. Good seats still available. Thank you, Ticketmaster! Good thing we ditched StubHub.