Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Exclusive: Excerpts from Mariano Rivera's future autobiography

It caught the corner. "Strike three!" the umpire bellowed, and we had won.

I looked at Jorge in disbelief. The ump was certainly taking his time. Then our hopes were fulfilled. "Strike three," he yelled, and the game was over.

He swung hard, put solid wood on the ball, and for a moment, my heart stopped. Then Jeter threw to first, and the game was ours.

"Out!" the umpire cried. And our celebration began.

It cut the middle of the plate. We didn't even wait for the call. The Yankees were world champions once again.

"One more pitch," I told myself. "Just one more strike." And then, somehow, I threw it.

"Steeeerike," the umpire said. And we were going home victorious again.

It was so close at first base, it could have gone either way. Thankfully, another save was in the books.

Seattle Outfielder Becomes First Major Leaguer to Come Out as Openly Bay

Yes, there is no too low...

Highlights of Monday Night Juju event in Syracuse

 Fans came early to get good seats.

Latecomers had to be turned away.

Inside the auditorium, the crowd waited politely 
as one Redsock fan stood to ask his question.

At one point, there was a fun but spirited debate
between fans of Boston and New York.

 As usual,women constantly were making 
themselves available to El Duque.

 In a climactic ending to the show, 
the crowd took special delight 
in passing him around the assembly.

The library did suffer a little wear and tear.

On being whupped by the worst team in baseball, at home, with your signature ace, on the day your thirdbaseman goes for an MRI, and the cops are waiting outside to arrest everyone for DWI

OK. These days happen. Nothing is perfect. Even the Pope occasionally farts. The hottest supermodel can still get warts. Play 160 games and - even in a championship year - you'll kick away 60. Last night was our Ishtar, our Bay City Rollers, our Clint Hurdle, our Hootie and the Blowfish second album. Those lovable plucky veterans who stunned mighty Toronto over the weekend suddenly turned into M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening - and they tomato-canned against the Houston Astros, the hell team from Triple A.

Certifiable bad night.

Mr. Yankee, Kevin Youkilis - had an MRI, and all game, nobody knew the results - not even during the Daily News Fifth. One report this morning said it came back "negative." Since when do MRI's come back "negative?" It probably showed a bulging disc - not ruptured - but I've had one, and trust me here, they are hell. It can mean three weeks. It can mean three months. If Youk's bad gives out, A-Rod could return before he does.

Vidal Nuno's line score looks a lot better than he did. He resembled a potentially effective LOOGY, but the Astros hit shots off his curve. I mean, shots. One line drive missed a HR by three foot - in deep left-center - and another Astro was thrown out limping into third base after pulling something. The Astros could have scored from second on a single, but simply were having too much fun to invoke the 10-run mercy rule. Hard to gauge a guy's first outing. But if not for bad base-running, Nuno might still be pitching.

Austin Bromide mangled a bunch of calls with Andy Pettitte. Still can't figure this one out. What if he turns out to be one of those catchers who hits and fields well - but there's a 2 run increase in the ERA of pitchers when he's out there. (Mike Stanley? Matt Nokes?) Yikes.

Bad day for everybody but the DWI patrols outside the stadium. I bet they scored big.

Monday, April 29, 2013

We are being crushed by the Astros

I will not sit here and watch us be crushed by the Astros.
I will not sit here and watch us be crushed by the Astros.
I will not sit here and watch us be crushed by the Astros.
I will not sit here and watch us be crushed by the Astros.
I will not sit here and watch us be crushed by the Astros.
I will not sit here and watch us be crushed...

How will Amazing Spider-Man 2 will be affected by shooting in Rochester?

Tomorrow, the producers of Spider-Man 2 start shooting scenes on location in Rochester. What does it mean?

1. Peter Parker’s spider-sense tingles whenever near a garbage plate.

2. J. Jonah Jameson’s anti-Spider-Man editorials accompanied with Gannett pie-charts.

3. Movie soundtrack includes song by Duke Jupiter.

4. Kraven the Hunter teams with new villain, Zweigle’s the Pop-Open.

5. Peter’s new pal at newspaper: Nick Tahoe.

6. Green Goblin goes on rampage after learning he’s local nickname for can of Genny Cream.

7. Peter increasingly worried about Aunt May spending all time at strange new place called “Wegmans.”

8. Doctor Octopus given contact lenses in ceremonies at Bausch & Lomb.

9. Lizard’s plan to destroy city disrupted when can’t find exit on 1-490 Can of Worms.

10. Gwen enrolls at Monroe Community College, puts on 30 pounds. 

Is Romine Going To Start Tonight?

Hopefully, Duque will be watching on a wall mounted TV whilst he entertains folks at the Library tonight.

But I thought Romine would have been given a shot yesterday.

Meanwhile, of our 10 top prospects not currently at the stadium:

1. Mason Williams has a hangover.
2.  Banuelos is doing nothing.
3. Sanchez is slipping, a bit.  His BA that is.
4.  Tyler Austin remains a solid .250 player.
5.  Ooga dooga ( that second baseman with the weird name ) is falling.
6.  Montgomery ( once an 11th round pick ) is lights out at Scranton in relief.
7.  Heathcott, who has all the tools, uses none of them on the field.

I can't remember the other guys.  But there are no exciting stories to relate, and there is no reason for optimism.

Remember that guy Santos that Seattle threw us in the Pineda robbery?  He is sucking in Charleston.

So, is Romine in the line-up?

What a delight it is to host those jolly good fellows from Toronto!

Every now and then, your favorite aunt visits, reminding you of why life is worth living.  She brightens your day, rekindles joyous memories, and the family is sad to see her leave.

O, Toronto!  Dear Aunt B.J.!  May she always play against us!

What a fun weekend! As John calls him, "our old friend" Melky got a hit game one - nearly beat us. Brett Lowrie, the future superstar, continues to develop. He got a hit - almost beat us. And C.Y. Dickey, returning to N.Y. - almost beat us. Four good games. Not one blowout! That's competition!

Best part? The gifts she brought: Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay. After the first three games, who expected Sunday to be most enjoyable? Yet Lyle hit it a mile - and Mariano held the line.

We are 15-9, still drafting the legendary '13 Miracle Redsocks, who carry the congealed hopes of the nation on their shoulders. Toronto starts a three-game set with Boston, then later goes to Tampa. It's nice to have Aunt B.J. be a little surly when she leaves. She might not be so enjoyable this week. 

Traditionally, May is a cruel Yankee month. It could be the month when some of our stars straggle back. Grandy - along with his Ks - means less ABs for Vernon Wells, who has been wonderful. Tex means Overbay walks the plank. Later, Jeet's return will give Nunez time to start thinking about each throw, and God knows what kind of A-bomb Arod will inflict upon this clubhouse.

Last year, during a hell patch, we picked Dewayne Wise off the scrap heap, and he played his heart out. He stole bases, hit HRs and played impeccable OF. Then we cut him. He went to Chicago and beat us a few games.  I wish we had Aunt B.J.'s number on speed-dial, so she could come when we need her. But visits this this don't happen that often. Next time, we might get her evil twin. But, ahhhh, what a weekend.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Potential headlines resulting from the arrival of Vidal Nuno

Nuno is Numero Uno.

Vidal Sass-Owns the Redsox

Nuno is Bueno

Blue Jays Gore Vidal

Aceves II? Ladies and gentlemen, the Vidal Nuno Era is about to begin

Across the Yankiverse, the anguished cries have long resounded: "Give us a new Alfredo! Give us a new Edwar! Give us a new Aaron." (As in, "Aceves, Ramirez and Small, oh my!")

Yesterday, the Retrieval Empire promoted from its Amish Country coalyard the soft-tossing mystery man, Vidal "Sassoon As Possible" Nuno. Now what?

Before we discuss the usual whosies, whatsies, whensies and wheresies... (mah! such jocularity, such wit, on a Sunday, too!) let's go directly to the How... as in... "This is not my beautiful wife, this is not my beautiful house... how did we get here?"

Well, in the Year of the Scrapheap, how do you think we got here? We signed him... from a hobo jungle... as he was attempting to board a circus train. We did it last summer. Somebody must have seen something. Because ever since Mr. Nuno showed up from Nowhereville, he has thrown zeros onto scoreboards. So... what do we have?

1. The Alfredo Scenario: He's an MLB long-and-short reliever, the real deal. He'll be around for four or five years. We should not - (talking to you, Cashman) - let him just walk out the door. He represents the kind of found-talent lugnut that helps teams win rings.

2. The Aaron Scenario: He's got the better part of a season in him. He could be our fifth starter, and we might not miss Ivan Nova one iota. (Hmmm, that's almost a poem.) No long term Yankee, but we still smile when thinking of Smallball.

3. The Edwar Scenario: For two weeks, Edwar Ramirez looked like the 2nd Coming of Mariano. Then, well, kaboom. There actually are a lot of commonalities between Edwar and Vidal - most notably their weirdly cool first names. 

4. The Colter Scenario: Mr. Bean was a legend in Triple A, after we picked him up from the scrap heap. Soft-tosser, too. All I remember were home runs flying out, and games going with it. I believe Colter set back the chances of every soft-tossing pitcher in the minor leagues.

So here we are, folks. This is one of the truly enjoyable parts of being a psychotic Yankee fan: A story emerges out of nowhere, an International Man of Mystery pops up (actually, Nuno is a California guy), and we're about to inscribe into the fossil record. This is like a Disney movie in 1975. Maybe we just opened a can of Flubber gas, and the Yankiverse will be forever changed. If not, well, Simba, the circle of life must keep turning. How's that Montgomery kid pitching in Scranton? Hakuna mutata!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Who Has Worse Luck?

Francisco Cervelli.

Calling Dr. Andrews....

I already know the results of Ivan Nova's MRI.  Not because my apartment is across the street from the Hospital For Special Surgery in NYC, but because I know the look in Nova's eyes.


Here is what happens next:

1.  MRI shows some kind of strain but no apparent structural damage.

2. It is determined that Nova should be shut down for 3-4 weeks.

3.  Soft tossing begins after that and, a week later, he tries to throw from a mound.

4.  All goes well and he is sent to Scranton to build arm strength.

5.  He feels a tweek in his second Scranton outing, in the 5th inning, and is pulled for precautionary reasons.

6.  His next bullpen session goes well and he is called back to the stadium.

7.  He gets rocked early and is pulled by the fourth inning, down 6 runs.

8.  A second MRI confirms a tear and he is scheduled for Tommy John surgery.

9.  Dr. Andrews informs us that the surgery was successful.

10.  2013 and 2014 are lost for Ivan.

11.  Chin Ming Wing replaces him as our fifth starter.

"Hey, Romine, take off the gear, you're coming out, we just got a call, something happened..."

"TIME, UMP, time out!

"Austin! Yeah, Romie! Lose the mask. You're done for the night. We just got some news... how do I put this... Cashman just called. Frankie Cervelli broke his hand. They need you. They're calling your name.

"Ump, we're replacing Romine. Nope, as of now.  Nope, you're not finishing the inning. You're done. They want you at the stadium by eleven a.m. Get home, get your stuff, and get packed, they're expecting you. I'm betting Joe starts you tomorrow...

"Hey, Romie, one last thing. Gonna miss you. Up to you now. I always knew you'd get a shot. You gotta take it. You gotta kill it. You're not coming back, understand? Do us right. This is it. I don't want to see you back here.

"ALL RIGHT, GUYS, THAT'S ENOUGH! NOT SO HARD! This guy gets hurt celebrating in the dugout, they'll put my head on a stick!  Take his picture, everybody, he's gone! Aint coming back!

"All right, who can catch? You caught in high school? So be it. As of now, your nickname is Gus Molina..."

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Yankees, first in age and near last in stolen bases, wait beneath the ground, listening for signs of their rescuers

Today, I used Hal 3000 for some fancy-dan number crapola, to see if the stats square with my sense that we're sitting in a coal shaft with a coughing canary. We're tapping on the wall, listening for a response, hoping to be rescued by Grandyman, Tex, Arod, Jeet, Chien-Ming Wang, a peachfuzz or two from Trenton and - of course - the light at the end of the tunnel, Michael "not Jesus" Pineda. Tap tap. Nothing. Tap tap. Polly want a bullet?

We win and look awesome, lose and look awful. With Toronto losing Reyes and watching Mark Buerle morph into Kevin Millwood, the AL power has shifted to Boston - which we know is an emotion-charged mirage. The only question is how good Tampa's young pitchers will be and what the Rays will be like when that stud OF from the KC trade arrives. But here are some stats to ponder. In rankings of AL teams, the Yankees are:

First in ages of both hitters (31.9) and pitchers (32.4).  No surprise. When the regulars return, it will only worsen. Until we get help from the minors - probably in 2015 - we just grow older and more feeble.  This, of course, is the looming Yankee apocalypse.

Thirteenth in stolen bases. WTF? Gardner looks like he's dragging an invisible colostomy bag. Ichiro stole No. 1 last night. Nuney can't steal first. I thought we would be blazing the paths. (By the way, we are fourth in caught stealing.) This will change soon.

First in home runs. Hooray? Oh crap? I dunno. Another season of Jack Custs and Richie Sextons? We should start considering the possibility that all this HR crap is due to the new Yankee Stadium, a bandbox, akin to Coors Field and the Homerdome. (At last! A reason that explains why we drafted Dante Bichette Jr.!) We won last night with HRs. We won't win in October with them.

Thirteenth in walks. Unforgivable. We are supposed to be grinders. Ichiro, of course, refuses to walk, but let's not obsess on him - at least until June. Here is where we really miss Nick Swisher. But hey - the Steinbrothers saved money. All you Yankee austerity fans, crack the bubbly.

Fifth in runs. Vernon Wells. Where would we be without him?

Seventh in ERA. Not bad. Middle of the pack. And that's where we are - two above .500. Tap tap. Shhh. Hear anything? Tap tap. Are they coming?

Is the Yankee rotation simply too old?

Pictured (L to R): Sabathia, Nova, Pettitte, Kuroda, Hughes.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Few Comments About Our Number Two Prospect

I saw the Mason Williams story come across the wires while I was having a manhattan ( actually, I always have at least three ) and ranting about why the Yankees cannot score, and how long I will have to starve myself until our next run crosses the plate.

So I did a little reflecting:

1.  There is a reason we refer to Mason Williams as our " number two " prospect.  This DUI act
 is " number two" all the way.  I would have felt better if he had actually been successful driving his car up the steps into "Mary Catherine The Redeemer" church.

2.  I like drinking as well as the next guy ( actually, more ), but I never drink and drive.  I either stay where I am or, if my driver is nearby with the Escalade SUV, I'll let her take me home.

3.  Mason Williams was once considered, " a five tool " prospect.  Let's take a closer look:

A.  One of his tools ( his brain ) is apparently an anvil.  So he is now a four tool prospect.

B.  At 129 pounds, while fully drenched in his uniform, carrying a bat, glove and ball, and wearing spikes, Mason has no power.  He hasn't hit a home run since high school.  So I give him 3 tools, at best.

C.  Although, at .271 in "A" ball at Tampa, one wonders if he can he really hit?  One 0-4 day and I'll bet he is hitting .235.

D.  He maybe can throw and run.  This kid is a dumb, two tool player.

Quick, let's draw up a $100 million contract.

Luckily, the Yankees cleared me to have food again.

Don't tell Alphonso about this

"Clues of impairment?" DWB?

Dellin Bettances

I can tell you this:

1.  Dellin will walk a man an inning in his next outing, or

2.  He will be serving middle of the plate offerings that will get rocked.

3.  If he gets back to the bigs ( let's say during the September call-up, when the Yanks are officially eliminated ), he will still suck.

4.  His body cannot be controlled.  It is like asking a giraffe to pitch.

I will also say;

In The 7th Inning Last Night....

I vowed that I would not eat again until the Yankees score a run.

We have such a miserably inept batting order that it may cost me more than a few pounds.

 What is the longest shut-out streak by any major league team?

I am sick of watching Yankee batters with averages below .200.  In San Francisco's case, below .100.

How do people get paid multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars, and sometimes millions, to do this?

Yankeetorial: By refusing to take walks, Ichiro isn't doing us or himself any favors

First, a caveat: It's wayyyyy too soon to count out Ichiro Suzuki. Last year, he proved Seattle wrong; those people getting stoned at the Space Needle have to admit he had gas left in the tank. Maybe he'll do the same to his critics this year, as well.

But let's hope it happens soon - as in, right now. If he doesn't spring to life, we've got problems. Because when the Grandyman finally can, he's going to take an outfield position from someone - that is, unless we see another injury - and it would be Ichiro going to the bench, and I don't think he'll like it.

Ichiro's on-base percentage currently stands at .266. In other words, if a guy is batting just .270 - he's ahead of Ichiro already - not counting the walks. It's the lowest on-base percentage among Yankee starters - (assuming we can agree that Jason Nix is not a starter) - and his four walks thus far amount to half of what the feared slugger Francisco Cervelli has attained. The red hot Eduardo Nunez - batting .174 - has an OBP of .273.

The other day, Ichiro came up with two outs, the bases loaded and a pitcher who had walked the last two batters. On the first pitch, he bounced a grounder to second. OK, that's baseball, nobody's perfect... and like I say, you can't count the guy out.

But I find nothing more frustrating than Ichiro sitting on a 3-1, 3-0, or 2-0 count. He never works a walk. He appears to have as much bat control as anybody in the game...  but he never grinds for a walk. And face it: An on-base percentage of .266 is horrible.

Which leads me to one final lament: In the face of all our cost-cutting, we signed him for two years. The official line seems to be that we signed him because of the marketing possibilities  with Japan, the action figures, the placemats and coffee mugs, etc.  WTF? We're the Yankees. We're not supposed to be thinking of nickels and dimes. Two years? While we're trying to cut payroll?

It's hard to see Ichiro holding up for two years - especially if he can't adjust his game and start working the counts now - when his playing time is on the line.

Big Papi's Bomb: The Poem

Though Boston can be dark and gritty,
In one man’s eyes, she’s always pretty.
He should lead some p.r. committee.
Big Papi loves that fuckin’ city.

He’s always showing style and grace,
Puts smiles upon each cherub’s face,
And pessimism? There's not a trace.
Big Papi loves that fuckin’ place.

Though sometimes, evil runs amok,
And Boston's team seems out of luck,
One voice shall rise above the muck.
‘Cause Papi gives a fuckin’ fuck!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Now they want to take away our right to vote A-Rod onto the All-Star team

First, they knock A-Rod out of the equation. Soon, they're knocking at your door. Yep. All that crap they told us about democracy? Forget it. Major League Baseball is saying to America, "You want to vote A-Rod onto your all-star team? Move to Cuba."

MLB is refusing to put Alex Rodriguez on the All-Star ballot. You know why? Because it fears he would win.

OK, I know what you're thinking: Duque, you have finally gone a quarter shy of a nickel. A-Rod can't play in the all-star game because he's out until the all-star break. Nobody would vote for him. And if they did, he couldn't play.

1. Right now, the plan is for A-Rod to join the Yankees sometime after the all-star break. Last time I looked, the all-star break starts the day before the All-Star game. Technically, he could be back.

2. Doesn't the world want an interesting all-star game? This could be A-Rod's first at bat - against, say, old Cranky Greinke of the Dodgers, who could also be throwing his first pitch. Wouldn't that be neat?

3. The Yankees could approach is as part of A-Rod's live game rehabilitation assignemt.

4. Who are we going to elect? Will Middlebrook?

Some folks say totalitarianism begins when they take the guns. No, sir, it does not. It begins when they take your thirdbaseman.

Mental note

Remind me not to celebrate so fast next time authorities arrest an Elvis impersonator.

Mental note

Next time I hack the AP Twitter feed, remind me to sell off my Solyndra stock 15 minutes earlier... rather than later. 

Did reverse juju save Dellin Betances' career last night?

Yesterday, the tortured Voice of Reverse Juju - Alphonso - called out the Yankee farm system, contending that the only reason it has a top 10 list of prospects is that is has 10 players. The words stung like rubbing alcohol after a botched Gillette MACH 3 Turbo Razor shave. No one who read it could ever again drive through Scranton or Trenton without shuddering with despair.

To the untrained eye, this savage tonguelashing would appear to be a textbook example of web-based alcoholism. In fact, it was one of the greatest displays of Reverse Juju in recent times. "Reverse Juju" is the use of negativity to inspire your team to win. The classic example is to say, as most everyone did last night, "Ichiro never gets a hit," moments before he drove in the winning runs.

Yesterday, Alphonso ripped the farm system brutally and seemingly permanently, training his guns on an eternal prospect of Brackmanistic proportions, the now 25-year-old pitcher Dellin Betances. Yes, just typing that ridiculous-sounding name shrivels my manhood to the size of a baby carrot. Since the time of Jesus, Yankee fans have been awaiting the coming of Betances, one of the original - try not to laugh - "Killer Bees."

Betances is one of those prospects who looks far better coming off the bus than coming into the game. He stands 6'8", a living testament to all the goliaths who shut down the Yankees without a peep - while we end up serving the luke warm likes of Colter Bean and Todd Erdos.

Last night, Betances - who Triple A hitters this spring have been greeting like Jerry Cooney in the lobby of the Mohawk Sun - went seven innings, gave up one run, three hits, struck out seven and walked only one batter. One.

Obviously, one game doesn't salvage a prospect. But Betances needed that game. The Yankee farm system needed that game. If - and it's a Big If, granted - Betances could figure out how to engineer that ectomorphic frame into a pitching motion, we might actually get something from our farm system this year. I'm talking about an impact player, not a middle innings bullpen lugnut or a 28 year old scrapheaper Cuban.

I just hope - nay, I pray it - that by discussing this, I haven't destroyed the Reverse Negativity Hypodermic of Juju Juice that Alphonso surgically injected into the farm system. But desperate times call for desperate measures. It's Dealin' Betances!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

John's WinWarble: 6.39 seconds (respectable, but not noteworthy)

At this point in the season, the last thing you want is your starter blowing out his woofers on an attempted 7-second WinWarble.

Yes, Mariano won it. Yes, it was a big win. But listen to John hold the line and keep it within a tight 6.50.  He's like Tiger Woods with the final put to win the Master's: He's excited, he's happy, yet he's not about to jeopardize the season by doing something stupid. 

A 6.39 is serviceable, and it's why John remains the preeminent innings-eater in broadcasting.

For you techno-buffs, here is a labled 2-D graphic audio footprint, directly from the sonic footprint registry. Notice the even flow and steady level maintenance. The lack of deterioration on his delivery is phenomenal. He keeps everything within parameters.

We cannot reasonably expect this Yankee team to win without its heart and soul

Get well, Mr. Pinstripes

Yankee Futures Mostly Down

There is an organization that gives a weekly assessment of the Yankee's top ten prospects.

I did have a major argument with that source, not about their postings, but about the issue of whether the Yankees actually have ten prospects, much less a top ten.
In any case, they convinced me that as long as the Yankees have more than ten active players cumulative, in their minor league system, the top ten handle still applies.

Even my final arguments that players over 30 shouldn't be considered prospects, and nor should players who have gone the wrong way ( i.e from AAA to AA to A, etc ) be considered prospects, were rejected.

  So here are a few highlights, nonetheless:

1. Our top prospect, Gar Sanchez, is putting up powerful numbers, playing in Tampa ( forgot that the minors went that low, didn't you?)  By the way, that catcher ( whose name I am blanking on ) who couldn't beat out Cervelli or Stewart in spring training, is no longer a top ten prospect.

2. Mason Williams, our 137 pound ( with spikes on ) number two prospect, is a solid .275 singles hitter, also in Tampa.  Remember that name;  Tampa.  It is as far away from the majors as the moon is from Syracuse.

3.  Ranked number 3 is Tyler Austin, an outfielder who is rated as " good at everything," but not great at anything. Currently, a .250 hitter in Tampa.

4.  Slade Heatcott is a solid number 4 rated prospect, due to his .191 batting average and his feistiness.  He has , so far, had more injuries than Terrell Thomas.  And he is not as young as he was last year, or the year before.  He may have a future in professional wrestling.

5.  My favorite is our number 5 ranked prospect;  Manny Banuelos.  Just call him Mr. Hospital of 2013 and beyond.  The nurses love him, and he loves the jello.

When I think of Manny, my mind drifts to our other "killer B," Dellin Betances, who is now sporting a 13.50 ERA in Scranton.  Headed for Tampa, I say, and I don't mean the Rays.  This is another 6'8"
guy ( along with Andy Brackman ) who chose the wrong sport.

6.  Which brings me to another area of argument I had with the prospect rating service;  why are two of the top ten ( maybe three if you include Heathcott ) of the Yankee's best prospects rated at all, while living in hospitals?  Ty Hensley, our top draft pick (and a RHP,) is recovering " just great" from his recent hip surgery.  Note how well A-Rod is recovering from same.  I wonder if this guy can play third?

7.  Angelo Gumbs a second baseman, is our 7th rated top prospect. And while being on the 7 day disabled list doesn't exactly qualify him as another hospital player, his .088 BA tells me he might not make their softball teams.

8.  Mark Montgomery RHP.  This is the only player in the Yankees minor league system who might actually help the team, but the Yankees prefer to let him languish in hell until he becomes so discouraged he asks ( no, begs ) to be traded anywhere.  Prediction:  we lose him in a deal at the trade deadline, bringing in another portly 35+ player who no longer has a glove.

9.  In 9th position, and reminding us all how Yankee scouting and drafting is worse than blindly throwing darts at a page of names, is Dante Bichette, Jr.  Focus on the Jr.  His dad was decent, but the son is putrid.  Dante sports a less than intimidating .171 average, but leads all Yankee prospects with 21 K's.  And he doesn't pitch.

10.  Zollo Almonte.  Highly rated, I assume, because of his unique first name, Zollo's stock has recently been on an upswing because his BA has risen to .275.  He has no power, of course.

Is Brian Cashman still defending the richness and depth of the minor league system he has built?  Or is he drinking bourbon and making travel plans?

A philosophical question each of us must address regarding the looming Yankee apocalypse

Which sign along the road to Stump, Maryland, represents a deeper, more Stygian future Yankee darkness? Think carefully:

1. Ben Francisco batting second.

2. Ben Francisco playing as DH.

Listen: I have no personal axe to grind with Ben Francisco. He's probably a lovely man. But when the Retrieval Empire  added him, I foresaw his role as a defensive OF, a demon on the paths and a late-inning PH for a Nix, a Stewart or the other Francisco, as in Cervelli. On opening day, I was astonished and - yes, a bit frightened - to see Ben listed as our DH. I thought, "No, I'm dreaming this. I'll wake up and find Ron Hassey and Chili Davis have returned, because we always have at least four 35-year-old milk trucks sitting in the dugout, waiting to swing the donut-bat."

Well, I was wrong.

OK, I don't want to sit here and just gripe, gripe, gripe about Ben Francisco. That's what Redsock fans do. (Can we start ridiculing Redsock fans again?) But if I were an opposing manager, I would study last night's Yankee lineup and tell my starter, "Yu, forget about throwing right-handed: Tonight, you're a lefty!" 

Yes, it's early. And yes, it's complicated. We have Grandyman and the Text Message returning. We have Jeet and Arod coming back - maybe. There are roster spots and options, contracts and waiver wires to consider - all the things we pig-headed bloggarts never understand. But Ben Francisco, DH? Come on!

Somewhere out there, Ronnier Mustellier - the only newcomer to rouse my flaccid hopes in spring training - is still icing his meaty, black-and-blue thighs. The guy heals more slowly than the Pope - not the one in office, but the one feeding the pigeons. What happened to Musty? One day, he's on the verge of coming north. Next, he's "bruised." Bruised? (Actually, he's supposed to join Scranton next week.) Jeet plays whole seasons bruised. Must be a hell of a bruise. Because Ben Franciso is our DH.

Oh, and if you're scoring at home: The answer to the above philosophical question is not one or two. It's the one I couldn't bring myself to include. All of the above. Because that's what we saw last night.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The name of the spokeswoman for Robinson Cano's nonprofit foundation may have turned up in the notes from the Biogenesis company that may have been providing performance enhancing drugs to major leaguers

Well, you can't ignore that kind of evidence. You get the tar, I'll get the feathers...

ESPN - now doing more investigative work on Yankee players than the entire U.S. media did on the reasons for invading Iraq - says this newest issue surrounds the international lady of mystery known as Sonia Cruz. She has worked for Robinson Cano's foundation and has also been a Biogenesis client. Hmm.

She claims it was for a $300 weight loss program. Does she think we're daft? That's exactly what she'd say if she were lying!

Here's how it must have gone down: Cruz - as public spokesperson for Cano's operation - certainly would be the last person to generate attention. Thus, she put on a quick 50 pounds, then went to Biogenesis for the "weight loss" program. (Wink, Wink). She paid $300 for top of the line Angry Bull AndroGel Testosterone Number 99, which she swallowed in a plastic balloon, muled to the Yankee dugout, pooped onto the shower floor, where it was retrieved and safely injected into Robbie's buttocks by A-Rod. A perfect crime. The lady did it.

Cano has denied knowing clinic founder Tony Bosch or having ever used performance-enhancing drugs. But as his best friend, Melky Cabrera, his mentor, Alex Rodriguez, and now his spokeswoman have all been connected to clinic documents, MLB wants to know whether any relationship between Cano and the clinic exists.

(Insert sigh here.)

I know, I know... it's sorta journalism the way it should be done, the Woodward and Bernstein way, and it's nice that ESPN - or somebody - is following the ol' money trail... but it's pro sports, folks, pro sports. It's not war, politics, taxes, death or poisoned rivers. Good grief, folks, it's a business predicated on organizations and individuals constantly trying to find and maintain physical advantages for a bunch of mercenary warriors. Nobody wants steroids, or deer antler spray, or anything. But listen: This is a forever war, my friends. It never ends. It never gets won. It just goes on and on - and eats away at the sport, just as recruiting violations endlessly tear the heart from the NCAA.

One other thing: It's always targeted on the high profile players and teams. It's always taking down the stars, the hall of famers, the heroes from yesterday. It's a forever losing war, my friends. Because if you win it, you destroy the legacy of baseball past. (As we have done with Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, et al - who were not by any level the only people abusing drugs.) So Robbie's next? Done. He'll hear it in every stadium. He'll get asked in every city. Nothing like a reference to the Yankees puts a smile on a web editor. That's traffic, baby, traffic. In simple terms: Chasin' clicks with Jason Nix.

I wish I had the answer. But it seems to me that MLB tests pee and blood on a regular basis. When a guy tests positive, he gets suspended. These "investigations" based on a notepad found in a clinic are loops off into a tangent. The feds want no part of them, so MLB is launching its own little hunt. And the longer the hunters hunt, the more pressure they face to bag a name. A big name. So here we are... Robbie Cano, doncha know?

First Five Picks in Our NFL Mock Draft

1. Kansas City Chiefs: "You have something on your chin... no, the third one down."

2. Jacksonville Jaguars: "Come again when you can't stay so long."

3. Oakland Raiders: "I've seen people like you, but I had to pay admission."

4. Philadelphia Eagles: "You stare at frozen juice cans because they say, 'Concentrate.'"

5. Detroit Lions: "A million sperm and you were the quickest?"

By bunting, Travis Hafner yesterday broke the sacred Yankee Sluggers Code of Homerabbi

In the ninth inning of yesterday's bullpen-fueled heart attack, new Yankee Travis Hafner spat upon a grand tradition that extends to the final whiffs of the Giambino Curse: Facing an overwhelming defensive shift - six fielders jammed onto the right side - instead of taking his normal cuts, the honorable strikeout for a Yankee slugger, Hafner laid down a bunt.

Naturally, he was thrown out at first base, and the game ended. And it's his fault we lost.  What was he thinking?

The true Yankee way - as evidenced by last season - is to deal with excessive overshifts by ripping at the ball harder, so you either drive the ball all the way to Schenectady or strike out. Why do anything else? You'll simply hit the ball to a fielder.

Obviously, Hafner hasn't been with the team long enough to understand the Yankee Code. Yesterday, we were four runs down with two outs in the ninth. This was the perfect time for a two run HR - (some call these Arod homers) - because it would cut the final deficit in half. But Hafner, in his deranged thinking, saw the entire left side of the infield wide open and somehow reasoned that a single was as good as a HR. (He obviously doesn't understand winter contract negotiations either.) So he laid one down.

I just hope other Yankees did not see this. I'd hate to think Hafner planted some notion in sluggers heads that they should adjust their ways or think about game situations -  rather than go up and take their full-scale, moonshot, luxury yacht cuts. We've had a good April thus far, mostly because these scrap heap vets seem to want to win rather than hit their 40. Let's hope nobody saw it. (And damn, it's a shame Haf didn't make it; wasn't Lyle Overbay on deck?) 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Do you believe in miracles? Yesh.

This just in: We have no bullpen

It twinged Saturday when we couldn't hold it for Kuroda. Now this... Logan never got an out, and Phelps is turning into the long man who doesn't last very long.

Danger, Will Robinson (Cano), Danger....

Mental note

Write this down:

Next time I run off the rails, shoot me.

But don't call me "Dzhokhar."

(This is not the post that generated the ensuing comments.)

The beauty of journeymen is that they have a lot of vendetta lists

Sometime this season, Nick Swisher will beat us. We know this. It always happens: The ex-Yankee has a big day against us. The tradition extends back far before Reggie, the Angel, clubbed his HR, prompting the Yankee Stadium crowd to chant "Steinbrenner sucks." Probably, Wally Pipp beat in a some game. John simply calls them, "our old friend," whether it's Benny Ayala or Bobby Abreu. You can't predict baseball - (?) - but John knows what's going to happen.

Well, this year, all that time spent picking through the slag pile has turned up something we overlooked in the past: Vengeance.

Look at Vernon Wells in Toronto, where some of the fans hate him. (Keep in mind, they hate him because of his big contract; they're taking the side of the billionaire owner, which gave him that contract. That's a small market mentality, which Yankee fans must always fight; in fact, all fans should reject it.) Personally, I can't wait to see what Vernon has in store for the Angels, who traded him for a handful of magic beans.

Youkilis has unfinished business with the Redsocks and White Sox. But the real prize winner in terms the Bruce Willis-style vendetta sweepstakes could bes Lyle Overbay. Look at all the teams he's played for (as shown on his Baseball Reference page.) For those of you scoring at home, it's: Blue Jays, Brewers, Diamondbacks, Pirates and Braves. Good grief, if all Lyle does is hit well against former team, he could be an all-star.

And let's not forget Ben Francisco: Indians, Phillies, Astros, Blue Jays and Rays.

Of course, we fear the wheels are destined to fall off this team - (too much age, not enough young blood; Cashman is not trying to build a rope bridge to July... but to 2015.) Nevertheless, we can exact revenge on former lovers! Eat this, Toronto! (And let's walk Melky today whenever he comes to bat.)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Breaking News: John predicts baseball

From Anonymous:

You need a home on this blog for comments not related to your posts... Because I bring breaking news.

11th inning, John S stated if th Yankees get the lead, Mariano is up. He then says Ichiro is going to bunt, and that someone might throw the ball away. Seconds later, Ichiro bunts, some Blue Jay throws the ball away, Yanks get the lead, and Mariano gets up.

All of this made me realize, you cannot predict baseball. That means YOU. John is taunting us, because he predicts baseball all the time, and has to keep reminding us that YOU (aka, us) cannot.

Should the Redsocks game have been canceled?

OK, I get it. The bastards had killed innocent people and were a threat to kill more, so the public safety system needed to send an all-out message: Authority will stop at nothing, spend whatever it takes, do whatever it takes to catch and kill you dirty stinking terrorists.

So 630,000 people were told to stay home, lock their doors and watch the TV manhunt - which, by the way, was sponsored by Lifestyle Lifts and AndroGel 1.62. (Just as the YouTube and Hulu clips of the crossfire were quickly accompanied by ads.)

A question - and I ask it humbly: After you shut down the city's 21st largest city - canceling not only baseball and hockey games, but pressing down the boot on every personal event in the human scale - to hunt down one guy - one 19-year-old guy -  have you not just put a gleam in the eye of every disillusioned youth or alienated loner out there? One guy shuts down an entire city?

Should Authority be allowed to cancel daily life, as we know it?

Remember the Beltway sniper attacks of 2002? Those two killed 10 over 23 days. For all the public outrage and fear, Authority didn't cancel daily life.

OK, I hate to bring this up - but Thursday night, they had the assholes pinned down - no way short of a Tarantino movie for anyone to escape. Somehow the kid turns into a mix of Ryan Gossling and Claude Raines, punches through the front line and rides off into the dawn. Let's accept that shit happens in the chaos of gunfire and the cloak of night, and let's be thankful no bystanders died in that incredible crossfire, which sounded like the London millennium fireworks display... but I wonder... did him getting away cause somebody to go a wee bit overboard?

Yesterday - the people of Boston, ordered to stay home and watch TV - witnessed the most overwhelming display of armed and armored Authority in our nation's history. The police declared martial law and stopped commerce, traffic - daily life - in an entire U.S. city. To catch one guy. 

Thank God they got him. Thank God it's over. (Fingers crossed.) And if you disagree with me, fine. I don't claim to have the answers. But none of the TV news personalities  I watched yesterday asked any of these questions. They just marveled at the cop presence like debutantes cooing over the muscles of their bodyguards.

I just hope we rethink this business of calling the game and canceling life whenever something bad happens. Because evil didn't end yesterday.

Consider this statement:

It's not just the day after yesterday. It's also the day before tomorrow.

Now, does that line give you fear... or hope? If you think fear, my friends, something has gone terribly wrong.

Hub fans bid kid adieu