Monday, March 31, 2014

A Note from Behind Enemy Lines

Decided to make the best of a poor situation and meandered down the Camden Yards to soak in the opening day vibe for a bit. Then it hit me. Why not turn my JuJu against the redsocks? I picked up some Natty Bohs, then headed back to the daughter’s house for the game. I pulled out all the stops and used all my best moves pulling for those O’s. Even channeled Brooksie, which was a little unconventional since the guy’s still living. The family was incredulous but I was beyond shame. I had a mission: to see the hideous redsocks in the AL East cellar. They called me a fool but who’s the fool now?
Don’t let anyone tell you that our JuJu isn’t powerful. This is our year!!

Calling for JuJu intervention

OK. I know it is way too early and probably only duque is authorized to do this but John M's last post has me concerned. We will not, repeat NOT, lose to those bums in Houston. We will start the season off right with a sweep of the loathsome Astros. So, let's all focus our JuJu and do whatever you do to bring home a sweep. In case you need any extra incentive, focus on this photo. Look closely. Narrow your eyes. If this doesn't bring forth righteous indignation, turn in your el duque secret decoder ring, dammit, and go in peace. May posterity forget that you were once one of us.

The Very Dark Blue List

As Duque flies back from Norway (God, his arms are going to be tired...bada boom), I'm packing up to wing to Austria for a week. I get to watch tonight's opening game in Houston, at least, which should finish just in time for me to watch The Blacklist. If the Yankees had a guy like James Spader's character, we'd be in a lot better shape. We'd know everything the other teams were doing and planning, we could foil their nefarious schemes to win all of the championships that, rightfully, should be ours, and the woman we thought was George's daughter would actually be this guy's. Press conferences would certainly be more entertaining, to boot.

Sadly, we have no such inside man, and therefore don't have more information than the NSA on the sites David Ortiz used to visit to order his Mexican steroids. So we have to bumble our way into a makeshift infield, trade away promising young players for retreads, and always, always, always field the most expensive players over the best players.

I know I've defended Ichiro more than once as a still-valuable player if used properly, but even I know that the Yankees will not use him properly and, given that, his roster spot would likely be better filled by Zolio the Almonte. Roberts will underwhelm at second, we all know that, but we can also bet that he'll be down with injuries a good chunk of the year. I'm scared of thinking at all about third base. Or Tex's wrist. Or Beltran's wheels. Or Jacoby's fragile frame. Or Jeter's rickety ankle. Or Nova's inconsistency. Or Robertson's psyche. Or Pineda's pinata pitch.

The list goes on and on, and no black binder in the world is going to help when nature inevitably starts taking its course. What do you think we lose two out of three to the Houston Hapless?

Build-Your-Own Nachos Inside Plastic Replica Helmet Coming To Yankee Stadium In 2014

You always get a special kick on opening day, no matter how many you go through.  You look forward to it like a birthday party when you're a kid.  You think something wonderful is going to happen.

~Joe DiMaggio

In other news, Citi Field gets Huey Lewis on July 12.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Confusion Continues, In More Ways Than One

OK, I'm back to this Anonymous mess again. One became Beauregard (Ah say, there, suh), and two more are still commenting. One, who seems like a rational and reasonable sort, had to clarify yesterday that he was the one who posted about them newfangled ways of measuring Kelly J against Nunie in the field, because the cantankerous one was in there throwing insults at the team, the Steinpeople, and Mustang. 

An appeal to all Anonymouses NOT the cranky, nasty one: please sign in as NotAnon, or Anonymous3, or Ted Knight. Anything, just to keep this from happening.

By the way, in German, 'Steinbrenner' means 'stone stoker,' as in stoking flames. I think. I guess the first Steinyachters were in charge of heating rocks in a fire to pass out to fire-challenged villagers, or perhaps just to heat them up for the royal bedwarming. 

Steinbrenner...Steiner Sports...draw your own overpricing conclusions.

In further confusion news, the Times had an article about major league autographs, which have become so bad that you'd think these guys were all doctors with prescription pads (note to self: idea for A-Rod). Even fans who watch the autographing in person can't figure out what the hell these guys are writing most of the time.

But don't take my word for it. Here are two of today's stars, Mike Trout and R.A. Dickey (bless him for that one great year, he'll never do it again but he's set for life), obviously making far too much money playing baseball to learn the Palmer method with even a modicum of competency. (Not Jim Palmer, although I believe his handwriting was quite good.) 

Next up is our very own Brett Gardner. Now, a man with his cranium, you'd think he would be able to write his name legibly, but obviously not. His brain may have evolved far beyond 21st-century man's, yet it gives him no discernible edge in handwriting.

Below Brett is the uneducated, women-chasing, uncouth, beer-swilling lout, Babe Ruth. The guy who once was at a formal Park Avenue society dinner party and, when he was offered the tray of asparagus, told the servant, 'No, thanks, it makes my pee smell funny.' But look at his signature. Distinctive, quirky, yes, and also incredibly legible.

If you're of a certain age, you no doubt remember the quiet classicism of the Brooks Robinson and Mickey Mantle autographs. Take a look at Harmon Killebrew. Respectful, intelligent, readable, as if the player took some care in presenting himself in ink. What happened? Torii Hunter is noted in the article as one of the few contemporary-ish players who takes the time and care to prove that he can actually write his own name. God bless you, Mr. Hunter. Hammer on, Harmon. 

My own handwriting has turned to crap ever since I started typing, then got worse when I started using a computer. But the kids aren't looking up to me. (Wise move on their part, in many ways.) Come on, MLBers. Start showing the kids that writing your name should be a point of pride, or even capability. Take the extra time and block print if you have 
to, but make sure the kids can read your autograph.

Opening day is tonight. If that sounds weird, it is.

News From the Shadow of the Baseball Cathedral:

Strikers target fornicators

'Cross our picket line and we'll put your picture online.' - that is the tactic that is employed by motel workers in the Bronx who are unhappy with recent cuts in their salary and benefits. The picket line is occurring at the Capri Whitestone Motel where rooms can be rented in four-hour blocks.
Pete Wentz & son Bronx wear matching black outfits for day of shopping
The 34-year-old bassist held hands with Bronx Mowgli as they spent a day shopping together in Sherman Oaks, California on Saturday. Carrying a Gap bag, Pete was smiling as he walked along, apparently enjoying the time with his son, whose mother is Pete's ex-wife Ashlee Simpson.

The female suspect then pulled out a gun. The three tried to tie the victim up with duct tape.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Spring Finale Rainout News Rundown

The Yankees' final Spring Training game was "rained out." As you can see by this photo, the Florida sun shone down as there was a pregame ceremony for Jeter at the end of his final Spring Training as a player. I can only assume that a storm of Biblical, Noah-like proportions hit with sudden and violent effect once the Captain safely reached the clubhouse. (Non-baseball aside: boy, that Noah movie with Russell Crowe looks like an enormous bag of CGI crapola, and will probably make gazillions.) 

In the most shocking news of the Spring, the Yankees decided to send down Nunez and instead go with the guy batting .429 in meaningless Spring Training at-bats. Solarte, it is rumored, can also play the infield without consistently dropping, throwing away or otherwise mishandling balls hit to him.

Anna made it because Ryan is hurt. Which basically means that the guy gets to start the season in the big leagues and after a month, tops, goes down to the Purgatory called Scranton-AshleyWilkes-Barre. Next year, kid, just wait. Although knowing the Yankees, they'll probably go after some infield free agents next winter and make their young guys languish in limbo. Or trade them for someone who won't pan out, or is too old.

ESPN's MLB home page has these items as news. Note the items in blue, all related to injuries. We shall be seeing a lot of similar items about Yankees as the season wears on. Especially note the Kershaw story. We shall be seeing a lot of Yankees saying they're ready to come back from an injury, but in our cases it will not usually be true:

  • Angels lock up Trout for $144.5M
  • MLB, union stiffen PED-use bans
  • Kershaw on track for Friday, back pain gone
  • Lincecum bruises knee, uncertain for start
  • A-Rod appears at Stanford baseball game
  • Red Sox tab Sizemore to start in center field
  • Braves GM: Gearrin has 'significant' elbow injury
  • Ryan wishes Hicks tried harder to unify Rangers
  • CF Kemp declares himself 'ready to go'
  • Rookie Elias, 25, earns spot in M's rotation
  • LeBron envious of Cabrera, rues salary cap
  • Rockies' Chacin (shoulder) to open on DL
And yes, I saw the story about A-Rod going to a college baseball game, and I agree with you. Who the fuck cares.

NoMaas brought another item to my attention. Fortune magazine (which, by the way, always used to be properly written as FORTUNE, all caps, but even they don't bother with that anymore) named the World's 50 Greatest Leaders, and Derek Jeter came in 11th, only two slots below the Dalai Lama and 23 ahead of that teenage girl from Pakistan who almost got killed by religious lunatics for thinking females should get an education. This only shows that Fortune, like its country of origin, is completely fucked up in terms of priorities and shouldn't be doing crap like this no matter how high the click rates are when you put up numbered lists on the Intertubes. Note to Fortune: he's a goddamn baseball player. Jesus H. Christmas.

I can't believe I'm going to have to learn how to say and spell Yangervis.
Just typing it that time I had to go back and forth to another website three times to get it right. My suggestion is that we call him Yang and be done with it.

I'm trying desperately not to make an Eastern-inspired bad joke here involving him finding an Asian or Asian-American wife named Yin, but as you can see, my hangover got the better of me on that.

Sitting and Sipping

I found a bar last night, in New Milford, Connecticut, where I could watch Michigan/Tennessee and Uconn/Iowa State with almost no one around me.  Rumor had it, that bar also could tap into whatever obscure TV affiliate was showing the Yankee game.

That turned out to be a lie.

After I dropped about $80 on crown shots and Stella drafts, I skulked away in a nasty mood.

The local paper is always a week behind ( it just has flight 370 disappearing ), so I have no information this morning on the final Yankee cuts.  Did Nunez make it?  Which lefty did they keep?

Anyone got a source?

They probably know more in Norway than I know here for Cripse sake  ( what the hell is cripse?).  A fish soaked in lye?

Friday, March 28, 2014

News From Norway

What if el duque returns from Norway a changed man? What if all he wants to blog about is eels, or leprosy? Here's a roundup of the kind of thing we could be reading about.

*    *    *

Otter goes on rampage in fast food restaurant
Witnesses said the otter was breathing heavily, and customers were so afraid that they fled from the business.

Norway's Army introduces unisex dorms
The Norwegian armed forces have previously distinguished themselves for progressive ideas such as allowing male recruits to grow their hair long… and serving vegetarian meals once a week. 

US diplomats urge Senate to reject Norway ambassador nominee
He referred to Norway's president, apparently believing that the country is a republic rather than a constitutional monarchy, and described the Progress party, one of the two party's in the country's coalition government as "fringe elements" who "spew their hatred". 

Officials weigh ban on football players talking to refs
“It may be that only the captain is allowed to talk to the referee, and that the other players talk to the captain. It has been tried in other sports to give the captain a more prominent role,” said former Liverpool and Stoke City defender (Frode) Kippe.

Artists install Monty Python-inspired crosswalk sign, provoke traffic officials
“The municipality has authority over the sign, generally-speaking,” explains Elisabeth Bechmann, head of section for the Eastern Norway Region at the Public Roads Administration (NRPA). “Nevertheless, it’s up to the Directorate of Public Roads (Vegdirektoratet) to make a decision on what to do in this matter as superior authority."

Jag fick ett mejl från min pappa som inte var helt positivt. "Vad i hela världen har du gjort!? Tror du att du kommer hem med den där?! Din mamma har brutit ihop", skrev han.

Corruption cloud settles over Norway
Leading companies in which the state has a major stake have been hitting the headlines, suspected of bribery scandals, and now even the country’s enormous fishing industry is believed to be involved in some stinky business.

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English words from Norwegian:

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Trailer for Lilyhammer:

The Rhetoric

Joe:  "Mr.  Almonte….thanks for stopping by.

"I know you had a great spring, both on offense and defense.  I know you proved yourself with a successful call-up last year.  And that season in the winter league was sensational.

"You are a player we have our eyes on.

"However ( and predictably to all Yankee fans), we have concluded that it will be better for your development to play every day in Scranton, rather than to play, situationally, up with the big club."

Mr. Almonte:  "Thanks, Joe.  I know this was difficult for you.

"But I hate Scranton.  It is the pits.  Everyone there over the age of 22, knows they have no shot with the Yankees.  Ewe all know that you are just passing out, empty, meaningless rhetoric.  If Mickey Mantle showed up, you guys would stash him in the minors while you paid Bobby Abreu to play.

"The fact is I would learn more, and gain more confidence in one week with the Yankees, than in passing another dreary season with the mud-hens, or whatever the frig they are called.  I have done everything I can, starred at every level, passed every test, and yet you still go with the monied, old guys.  That is so New York Yankee.  You never want youth , energy or excitement."

Joe:  "Er, you needn't feel that way, Mr. Almonte, you will be at the top of our list when we need an outfielder, due to illness or injury.  I mean, look at Jacoby;  he is still gimping around and hit practically nothing when he did play."

Mr.  Almonte: " That's what I mean.  He is paid millions, so he'll be on the roster even if he can't play.  A fine strategy for finishing out of the playoffs, again.  But I'll do what I must, until your rights to me end.

"If anyone is looking to trade for a fleet, young, good-hitting outfielder ( switch hitter ), give them my card.

"There is no opportunity for a young Yankee prospect except to grow older."

help me...

The wild rumpus is about begin and here I sit, stranded in Baltimore visiting family. The Master and his Gollum have done their best to encourage us and put a positive spin on the upcoming season but something tells me they are whistling past the graveyard. The key is staying healthy. You don't say.

The natives SEEM friendly enough down here. Always willing to expound on where to get the best crabcakes, the divine nature of Bertha's Mussels, and the heroic play at 3rd by Brooksie (if they are old enough to remember) but there is a darkness and fans had better watch their Ps and Qs. Even my sweet granddaughter, only 3 years old, bristles at my Yankee hat and refuses to learn "Let's go Yankees!" I fear the kid is lost.

I'll be heading home soon but not soon enough. Opening day I'll be ensconced in enemy territory, watching my Ps and Qs and eating substandard pizza. Pray for me.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

John & Suzyn on the Hot Seat

When's Bryan Hoch drew the assignment to get the inside scoop on the 2014 Yankees--and don't come back without it!--he followed his nose-for-news right to The Voice and his Yankees Compañera. A seasoned interviewer, Hoch grilled the pair until they had no choice but to spill their guts. The lowdown: there's a lot happening in Pinstripeland--and it's all good!

Video and transcript here. Below, a few highlights.

John on Jeter: I think there's a chance he really will be Derek Jeter.

Suzyn on Jeter: I talked to Kevin Long today about that. He's not worried about him at all.

Suzyn on Tanaka: I think he's tremendous. He's got everything. I think he's the real deal.

John on Tanaka: He looks like he's really a competitor and it looks like he's really cool, too.

John on the 2014 Yankees: I think they might have a very good ballclub.

Suzyn on the 2014 Yankees: I think this is going to be a good year.

John's Key to the Season: The key to all this, because we're seeing it with other teams in March, is staying healthy.

Suzyn on Staying Healthy: I think Jacoby Ellsbury is going to be fine with the little calf or whatever.

John's Bottom Line: There are going to be injuries, but I think the Yankees had a great camp.

A Great Day for Japan

One game does not a season make, but the Yankees are halfway through a game with the Pirates and are up 4-0.

Ichiro, that washed-up, worthless roster clogger, is 3 for 3 with 2 runs and an RBI--against a right-handed pitcher, no less. Amazing.

Zolio is also 3 for 3 with a ribby.

CC blanked them for four, which has to be good news.

Of course, one game does not a season make.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Norway Joins Yankee Hunt For Talent

We have planted a spy with our Ally and good friends in Norway.

El Duque is on a mission to bring baseball to the pine forests and ski jumpers of the north country.

He, allegedly, will be oohing and aahing over the dancing, northern lights at some point near the arctic circle, but I think he will be trying to teach the sinker and the change-up to all the little Olafs.

He has the authority to sign pee-wee leaguers and anyone interested in the Yankees to minor league contracts.  I have it on good authority that he has in his private tour bus more than 1000 Yankee hats.

I sent him "his and her" posters of John and Susan, in case there are any future broadcasters in those lined up to meet him.

In the meantime, if there are any Yankee games on the agenda please watch and report.

P.S.  It is warmer in Norway than where I normally live.

What Alphonso Said

As Girardi and LoHud writers will tell you ad infinitum, spring training stats don't mean anything. That's why young guys who do great (maybe batting against young guys who don't) get sent down to the pit of Hades. Or Scranton-AshleyWilkes-Barre, whatever. that logic, our "stars" are also facing some young guys who aren't doing so great. Gartner is the only one over .300. Tex is hitting .100 so far (the wrist is fine, honest), Jeter .128 (the ankle's fine, honest). At least Beltran has a couple of dingers.

Let's not look at the pitching except to note that Kuroda is a perfect 1-0 -- with a 6.48 ERA and coughing up a .353 BA. Yeah, one bad outing. Phelps has the most innings pitched and they're only batting .247 against him, but sadly, his name doesn't end in A. To the pen!

Hey, here's a question for the Ichiro (.209 BA) haters:  will Kuroda become the mound version of the Ich this year?

A Couple Of Red Flags

This is me and a " selfie."

I know that everyone is now talking a championship for this patchwork team of wealthy players.

I say this:

1.  That little calf muscle thing with Ellsbury is worrisome.  Wait until he is running in a snowstorm.

2.  Pineda making the team as fifth starter is ominous.  According to my forecasts, he is never supposed to pitch for the Yankees.

3.  Derek not hitting is not a worry to anyone.  But his foot speed could be.

4.  I still say Dellin Bettances is a mirage, not a brilliant reclamation project of some wise, Yankee coach.

5.  It is dismaying that none of our .400 hitters in spring training will be given a shot.  Money talks.

6.  There will be a few interesting dudes to watch as their minor league season unfolds.  I couldn't say this last year.

On to Houston rode the 400…….

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Boss Dies Again

The Dodgers are spending more than the Yankees.


It’s been a great spring for the Yanks and the Yankiverse is gravid with anticipation. I know you feel it too, right? The results of the current poll shout YES! Hell, we’re almost through camp with injuries only to Ellsbury and what’s his name. You know, that guy at short with the noodle bat. Brandon somebody. I think. And today it was announced that the Yanks almost certainly did win the Montero/Pineda trade. Compared to last spring, these are good times.

Of course, followers of our leader, el Duque, keep one eye out for the tell-tale signs of disaster. The all-too-predictable disasters inherent to an aged lineup, whatever the sport but especially baseball. This can take a toll on us minions. The mental energy and focus required is exhausting and we need to occasionally kick back and partake of a fermented adult beverage. And by “occasionally” I mean every freaking night. At times like these, loyal IIHIIFII..c followers can’t help but wonder ‘WWJD’? Just What Would John Drink, anyhow? We instinctively look toward the Master for guidance.
Well my friends, the officially unofficial cocktail of the NYY (and John Sterling) is, without doubt, the Manhattan. (We play in the Bronx but big deal. Very few Yankee fans live in the Bronx.)  I know this because of a discreet conversation I had in the Jim Beam lounge men’s room with ex-Senator Larry Craig (R- Idaho). As Larry tells it, he and John met at a Republican mixer in Washington. The Orioles had just hosted the Yanks and John, not wishing to garner attention in Baltimore, donned his usual Groucho glasses disguise and hopped the MARC train to DC. John and Larry hit it off immediately and swapped many a tale of overbearing female coworkers, and just females in general, really. They never truly catch on to a clever musical reference and certainly do not appreciate a climactic win-warble. Larry and John drank Manhattans ‘till way past curfew but I couldn’t get many details of what transpired after that point. Larry DID give me John’s Manhattan recipe, however!  (Copy and save. You’ll thank the Master AND his friend “Love Hammer” Larry later.)

3 parts Bulliet Bourbon (Sorry Yankees. A bold announcer needs bolder bourbon than Jim Beam).

1 Part Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth. Accept no substitutes. I mean it.

Dash Angostura aromatic bitters
Shake over ice, strain

One or two Luxardo Maraschino cherries, plus a little juice. Go ahead and buy them. What the fuck are you saving your money for? Hell, you might die tomorrow, you know.
Serve straight up or on the rocks.

WWJD if he were you? Mix a damn pitcher of these things, and then look for The Hammer’s number. It’s in here somewhere. God, that bitch Suzyn’s been in my wallet!

If El Duque Were Here, He Could Tell Us What This Means

The last names of all pitchers in the Yankees 2014 starting rotation end with the same letter.

News From the Shadow of the Baseball Cathedral:

Winter returns to the Bronx

Snow showers on Tuesday night and scattered snow showers on Wednesday.
Beer returns to the Bronx
After 50 years without a working brewery, mash tuns and fermentation tanks are once again chugging along in the borough.
Dinosaurs return to the Bronx
In an exclusive first peek, The Daily News saw a dozen new dinosaurs being wheeled into the zoo on forklifts after arriving in the Bronx by truck at about 10 a.m. Monday.
Grapplers Grunt for the Bronx
By day, the men are construction workers and restaurant managers—but by night, they turn into the Caveman and the Big Heavy, all taking part in the monthly spectacle organized by the Bronx Wrestling Federation, or BWF.

But Can It Core a Apple?

Interesting item in the Times today. Luxottica Group, the biggest manufacturer of eyewear in the world, has signed up to make Google Glasses.

So what, you may think. Well, people

(and also Anonymous), Luxottica makes Oakleys, which are pretty durned popular with MLB players.

Fast forward here a few years to the ballplayer of the future. You've got Tanaka on the mound wearing his Oakley Google Glass shades. He looks in at the batter getting into the box. And there, displayed in his glasses, is everything he needs to know about the guy--his splits, his hitting pattern, what pitches he swings at, what gets him out. McCann is seeing the same thing. The batter, meanwhile, is getting a quick summary of McCann's pitch calling and Tanaka's control that particular day. The outfielders are seeing the resulting cross-section summary of all of this info, and position themselves accordingly.

In this scenario, Girardi's little black binders are gone. Gone forever. (Considering that there are laptops and tablets and Galaxy phones, you have to wonder why he still has them today.) He sees everything they used to have in them and more in his Oakley Googleys. Will this prevent him from sending to the plate a washed-up, buck-and-a-quarter right-handed hitter against a lefty, when he has a left-handed hitter like Ichiro sitting on the bench who hits lefties to the tune of .320 or so? Probably.

But everyone sitting in the stadium wearing their Googlish sunglasses will see what a dumb move he's making.

If you think stats rule the game now, just wait. We might eventually see a lot of unemployed coaches and dugout strategists in the years to come.

Youkilis Leading Cano, Granderson, Hughes, and Chamberlain In Former Yankee Bobblehead Pricing War

Sets the market at $19.97.  Cano trotting along at $15.97.  Joba in last place at $11.97.  

A-Rod also factoring at $15.97.

CC Sabathia doll at $15.97 has me wondering.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Place Yer Bets, Ladies and Germs

LoHud had this a couple hours ago:

"Joe Girardi just announced that CC Sabathia will start on Thursday, Hiroki Kuroda on Friday and Ivan Nova on Saturday. He said it’s safe to read into that order, meaning Sabathia, Kuroda and Nova will open as the top three starters pitching in Houston.
"That leaves, as expected, Masahiro Tanaka to make his major-league debut in Toronto, likely in the fourth game of the season.
"Girardi said he has picked his fifth starter, but because he has not told all of the pitchers involved, he will not announce it until tomorrow."

Phelps or Pineda? If it's Pineda, this will be the first time ever that Alphonso missed a prediction. He has repeatedly said that the Piñata will never pitch an inning in Yankee pinstripes at the major league level.
This is a crisis in the making. If Alphonso is wr...wr...wro...--well, you know the word I mean. It would either be the best-ever case of reverse juju (did I just jinx it?) or the simple collapse of an infallible Yankees analyst.
The tension is killing me (Anonymous will only hope). And people wonder why I drink.
Actually, any excuse will do, but this is a damn good one.

On the Internet: Hating the Yankees, Hating Ourselves

Last week one Josh Ostergaard got a book excerpt placed at, and it argues that we should hate the Yankees! Why? Because real estate developer Del Webb, who owned the team from the 40s to the 60s, built the Japanese-American internment camps. I'm not sure what that has to do with Dellin Betances, but it does reinforce my conviction that we should hate the Red Sox because of their involvement in Bush-Cheney torture flights.

One good thing about the rambing excerpt is this quote from Mark Twain:

Base ball, which is the very symbol, the outward, visible expression of the drive and push and rush and struggle of the raging, tearing, booming nineteenth century. 
For a climax, Josh Ostergaard rushes and struggles to make a raging, tearing, booming point no one ever thought of before:
The Yankees have all the money, so they buy the best players and win the most games, keeping the rest of the league weak, ensuring they will earn more money. Teams like the Royals remain terrible for generations and are unable to keep good players, who leave for wealthier and better teams. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer. 
Remember, Yankee owners are rich and evil, and owners of other teams are poor. Say what you will about the Josh Ostergaards of the world, they really get it.

*    *    *

Are things finally getting to Eduardo Nunez? Last week he sent this tweet: 

*    *    *
Finally: you're the Yankees. Attendance plummeted last year, embarrassingly. How to recapture respectable numbers in 2014? Not this way:

Spanning the globe to bring you the constant varietiy of spores: Surprises in store this week- plus MY 2014 PREDICTIONS

Folks, wish me luck. No lie: I'm heading to the Arctic Circle for a week. That's all I can say. It's super-dooper, secret squirrel, hush hush... mom's the word. You didn't hear it from me: I'll be conducting "experiments." Whoops, I said too much. Disregard the above statements. But let me dash one rumor: It has NOTHING to do with my performance as Shia Labeouf's stunt double in Nymphomaniac, Vol. 1,

Over the next eight days, you will entertained and enthralled by not only the usual meat of the order - the Mickeys and Marianos, the Mustangs and Alphonsos - but we have signed some high-priced free agents. Frankly, this site will win the AL East of Yankee blogs by 12 games.

But... alas...

I don't see that with the 2014 Evil Emperors.

Because I'm leaving today, and who knows what Internet Cafe connection I'll have in Norway - (I'll try to send a selfie with a penguin) - I'm filing my 2014 predictions now. I'm sure you'll agree that this is incredibly courageous on my part. Over the last week of March, everything could change. It's like filling out my NCAA Sweet 16 before the brackets are announced. Oh, well, never stopped me before. Here goes...

MY PREDICTIONS FOR 2014 (Clip and save.)

1. Here today, gone Tanaka. Our new Toyota will give great mileage, but now and then, sputter and stall. Something in the gas. One day, he'll be Yu; the next day, Boo, as in Irabu. This will drive Alphonso crazy. Don't get me wrong. Long haul, he'll be fine. But we cannot forget how Darvish struggled his first year at Texas, and Yu didn't have to face the righteous thunderbolt Gammonites of NYC. I'm thinking Masahiro goes something like 12-10. In other words, Cashman was right: He's our third or fourth starter.

2. O Cappy, my Cappy. Listen: We all know Jeter cannot last the year at SS. Maybe LF, maybe 3B - not SS. He looks old this spring. He looks ready to retire. He'll raise his game and have a couple good weeks. Then the injuries will mount. Nobody pushing 40 can play a season at SS. Not Spiderman, not Superman, not even Jeterman. Sorry. Aint gonna happen. This year will be hell on Jeter fans, which - frankly - is humanity.

So here's the deal, Yankiverse: It's on us. We gotta have his back. We gotta be loyal. He hits into a DP? Doesn't matter. We gotta stand and cheer the guy. He has already given us a lifetime of great moments. No matter what happens, he is our man, our pride, our once-in-a-generation great Yankee. I've lived to root for Mantle, Munson, Mattingly and now Jeter. It's been an honor. But jeez, the endings always suck. My advice: Buy the Draino before you get thirsty. It's going to be a tough year. 

3. Tex redux? Who knows what to think about Mark Teixeira? For the rest of his career, he is one checked-swing away from disaster. He will gut it out, but don't expect a career season. Jose Batista - he, of the similar wrist - was noticeably timid last season. (Batista is having a great spring, so maybe the injury isn't permanent.) I'm thinking Tex hits 20 HR and bats .235. That won't make him Travis Hafner, the giant sucking sound in the middle of the order, but he won't be "You're on the Mark ,Teixeira," either.

4. Vidal So Soon. Give Cashman, or Rothschild, or somebody credit. We have a damn solid rotation, best in the AL. If Stringbeen Sabathia fully returns - great in the last two outings - we have our ace again. Kuroda and Nova are serviceable. Pineda is a crap shot (I suspect we will look back on this hopeful spring and wish we traded him.) Our real strength lies at six through eight: Phelps, Warren and Nuno. None gets the respect he deserves, because Yankee fans have a blind spot for overachievers. We go nuts over Pineda, imagining the next Don Drysdale, but our real best hopes have inched their way up from Scranton. Thanks to those three, we should be solid through June or July. They will keep us afloat.

5. Et tu, Bogartes? Quick question: Who on the 2014 Yankees is poised to have his breakout year? My answer: Nobody. And that's a problem, my friends, because the O's have at least three players, the Redsocks have Xander Bogartes, and the Blue Jays and Rays both have a pile. We have - what? - Dellin Betances? Yeesh. You can spend the moon, but you cannot buy your way out of a bad farm system. Maybe next March, we will have impact players coming. This year, we have nothing. It will kill us.

6. Hindenburg Time.  I'm sorry, folks. I really am. Stop reading here. Go no further. What? You're still here? OK, you asked for it: Our infield is pitiful and will not last the season, and it will absolutely obliterate our pitching advantage. Too many grounders will roll into the OF, and some of them would have been DPs. Even if we last through April and May, the inevitable injuries of June and July will crush us. We're just too damn old. Cashman will work the phones. But who in MLB ever does the Yankees any favors? (When we get Ichiro, we later learn the "nobody" we gave up for him is their closer.) I have never seen a more lopsided Yankee lineup. This plane has 10 propellers and one wing. It simply cannot stay airborne for six months. We are facing a Yankee apocalypse, the kind of meltdown Boston suffered in 2012. (Which led to the resurgence last year.) A couple injuries - and all our front line players are brittle - and we are dead, sunk, kaput, goobye. And it will happen.

Last place, AL East. No playoffs. Firings. 

Listen: Some jerks make ugly predictions and then root for them to happen, so they can say they were right. Trust me, if I am wrong, I will happily eat my crapola with hot sauce, with a urine chaser. TELL ME I AM WRONG. PLEASE. GIVE ME A REASON TO COME HOME FROM THE ARCTIC AFTER WE HAVE CRYOGENICALLY UNFROZEN GEORGE HERMAN R-... wait! You weren't supposed to read that...

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Is there meaning here?

Boston's two future superstars aren't exactly burning up Florida.

Meaning, anybody?

Keep in mind that a DP ground ball 
that rolls through an infield 
looks like a hit in the box score.

Did the Kitten Bowl do something to John Sterling?

I missed the AM radio game yesterday. I was prepping for SU's big victory over Dayton and packing for my trip to the Arctic Circle. (No lie: I leave tomorrow. This winter just went too fast. Nothing beats stretching it out another eight days.) But our friends, the multi-headed hydra known as Anonymous, caught John Sterling in rare form.

First, he - or she, or they - noted that John sang "The sun will come out, Tanaka, Tanaka..." an incredible glimpse into the Kiner Klubhouse of melted metaphors and cultural references older than Henry Kissinger (a Yankee fan, by the way) that awaits the Yankiverse in 2014. Later, A-Non reported:

NOW I remember what pissed Suzyn off today. John was singing something else (not from a musical where Mr. Steinbrenner adopts a Cuban orphan) at the top of one inning... I forget how it went down, either he was singing something and then asked Suzyn who all those people in Yankee's uniforms on the field were, or he asked her and then started singing... but she snapped right back that she doesn't know because when they were announcing it he was singing.

Then we had nearly a minute of dead air. 

An open ended question, a musical interlude, and a long stretch of silence...

OK, essay question: Which is it? Hitchcock? Kubrick? David Lynch? All three? I don't care. Whatever. It's brilliant. The Master is breaking the rules, crushing the box that holds the laws of traditional play-by-play. This, my friends, is how revolutions begin. 

John also kept complaining that they were so far away from the field that they couldn't see what was happening... but reassured us if he missed anything he would just make something up... which I did not realize until later was foreshadowing one of his classic jokes. A joke he's been telling for years, but I did not understand until decoded with the Yankee Robinson talisman.

The most classic John Sterling joke is "You can't predict baseball," which like "how to serve man" doesn't mean what you think it does...

But seriously, how often does John say something-something "if you're scoring at home". It dawned on me just today... nobody on earth would both score a game at home, and base it on John's play by play. I mean seriously, if you think its important enough to score a baseball game you aren't even attending, would you then use the worst possible reference source? Writing your doctoral thesis? Cite "Physics for Dummies". How are things in Imperial Japan? Let's ask Tokyo Rose. Scoring at home using John's broadcast... 


Ahh, if only...

Listen: If my plane to the Arctic gets hijacked, and we end up bobbing for pallets in the Indian Ocean, this is my request: Promise me you'll scrounge money - whatever it takes - and have John sing "Imagine" at my funeral. My final note to Suzyn would be simple: "And you can tell everybody, this is your song..."

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Is there meaning here, anyone?

John's new song: "The sun will come out, Tanaka, Tanaka..."

A tip from Anonny...

Make no mistake, The Master has reached regular season mode.

Home game for SU? Buffalo is just Syracuse on whippets

No lie: Next week, I am going to the Arctic Circle. In my absence, this blog will have some exciting surprises for you. I will try to post a selfie or two - but not sure how it will go. I will return around April 2, and should be thawed by tax day to think up new reasons to condemn Brian Cashman.

We will be visiting Tromso, a town in Norway that calls itself "the Paris of the Arctic Circle." (I bet you didn't even know there was a "Paris of the Arctic Circle." Well, you're not so smart after all, nyah-nyah-nyah!) 

This "Paris of the Arctic Circle" business got me to a-thinkin':  

What is "the Paris of Upstate New York?"

Ithaca? Hornell? Plattsburgh?

My serious best guess: Cooperstown. It has mucho culture, plus money coming out of the sewers. Lake Placid is close. (Of course, Paris hasn't been looking so hot over the last 20 years.) But screw Paris: What about the rest of Upstate New York?

With its insane housing shortage, due to the expansion of Fort Drum, Watertown is "the Mexico City of Upstate New York." Sorry, generals.

Utica? Well, it is "the Utica of Upstate New York," but nearby Rome is hardly "the Rome of Upstate New York." Rome is "the Peoria of Upstate New York."

Albany wants to be "the Austin of Upstate New York." Sadly, it's closer to "the Trenton."

Rochester, since the loss of Kodak and Bausch, is "the Pompeii of Upstate New York." When I drive past those dead plants, I imagine tea cups sitting on kitchen tables for a thousand years, undisturbed. 

Which brings us to Syracuse and Buffalo, the meat and potatoes of Upstate New York. Literally, one represents wings, the other salt potatoes.

A few years ago, Buffalo was en route to becoming "the Detroit of Upstate New York." It managed to avoid that fate. Buffalo has always wanted to be "the Toronto of Upstate New York," or at least the "Better than Erie, Pa., of Upstate New York." The truth is, Buffalo is "the Syracuse of Upstate New York after a 12-pack of Genny Cream."

As for the 'Cuse? Hey, a joke is a joke, and nails in the driveway can do damage. I don't want some local nutpie to go Ed Whitson on me. Thus, in my usual cowardly way, I'm calling Syracuse... "the 'Paris of the Arctic Circle' of Upstate New York." Be afraid, Tromso. Be very afraid. (And let's not even think about Solvay.)

Ryan out, Yangervis marches on... But who spells Jeet when Jeet's feet feel jitty?

Uh-oh. Didn't see that coming...

In December, when the Eve-Emp snagged Brendan Ryan for two years, we figured he was golden in the field, the perfect defensive replacement for Derek Jeter, and if he ever hit a single, we'd book a banquet hall and serve cheesecake. So what if he channeled Chico Escuela. (Pictured) He had the glove.

Now, they're saying pinched nerve in the back.

Five words: Pinched. Nerve. In. The. Back.

Speaking on behalf of the lost legions who have endured pinched nerves in their backs, I respectfully say: ICEBERG, DEAD AHEAD! I don't know how Ryan can play SS unless he has a full recovery. Just leaning forward in a defensive posture will bring pain. They are making Carl Pavano jokes in Tampa. But the real comparison is Kevin Youkilis. Bad backs are bloody hell. This is a HUGE setback - akin to Grandyman last spring - and once again, we are the prisoner of our own excesses. Why did we give the guy a two-year?

Right now, the Yankees face an untenable SS situation: They have Jeter - compromised by age and ankle - and a bunch of replacements more suited to 2B. None excels with the glove. None can play SS.

My guess? Cashman will make a move. He'll either trade for a SS, or hit the scrap heap - yes, our good friend and benefactor since 2011, the Honorable Dr. Scrappy! The Yankees will not fly north without a pure defensive replacement for Jeter.

This is bad. This is really bad. Jeet is not hitting a lick. He'll improve, but what will we have? A .270 DH, without power? Right now, our only positive is Yangervis Solarte, though his average has plummeted to .455. I say "plummeted;" it was near .600. You can't help but root for the guy; it's been a while since somebody vaulted out of the Yankee abyss. But Yangervis is not the Yankeevis' answer.

It should have been Stephen Drew. I think that two-year deal with Ryan put the kibosh on signing Drew. Cashman must look for a short-term replacement, thinking Ryan will return... just as he squandered the first months of last season, expecting Youkilis to rise from his gurney. Something has to happen. We cannot have Jeter entering the season, feeling he must play every inning, because his replacement might boot a critical ground ball.

Jeez Louise. How did we get to August so fast? Suddenly, 85 wins looks like a pipe dream. We need an epidural. Help us, Dr. Scrappy! Help us!

Excuse me? This means what?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Mystery of Malaysian Flight 370 sheds light on desperate need for more worldwide radar surveillance

Flight 370 has blown a gaping hole in our sense of omnipotence.

Yes, whatever happened probably occurred way out there, in the middle of nowhere, in the Indian Ocean, where nobody gives a crap. But isn't that exactly where the aliens would strike? They're not stupid. They're not going to touchdown outside of Binghamton. If they read any news stories at all, they have just been alerted to humanity's ultimate blind spot, our soft radar underbelly.
More eyes in the skies would make us all feel safe and secure. And you can keep your family safe and secure... with New York Life! For more than sixty years, New York Life has been keeping families safe and secure.

Yes, it will soon be that time again... just warming up.

Is Matt Thornton the latest in the Cashman LOOGY Curse?

In the least celebrated move of the winter, the Yankees signed veteran LH bullpen lugnut Matt Thornton to a two-year contract. He was supposed to solve a problem that has haunted the team for 17 years: Finding the guy who can strike out a lefty slugger in the eighth inning of a tight game. Not since Graeme Lloyd, the super-Aussie bloke himself, arrived have the Yankees sported a fearful, lights-out lefty, or LOOGY. Thornton was supposed to remedy that issue.

Of course, so was Pedro Feliciano. So was Boone Logan. So was Clay Rapada. So was Royce Ring. So was Billy Traber. So was Mike Meyers. So was Ron Villone. So was Buddy Groom. Randy Choate. Gabe White. Felix Heredia. Chris Hammond. Randy Keisler. Allan Watson. Ed Yarnell. Dopey Dildox. Chico Escuela. John J. Fadoolzall. Emmett Kelly. Britany Spears. Wilmer Valderama. Cory Monteith and the entire cast of Glee.

The list of LOOGY bombs represents the most remarkable achievement of Brian Cashman's career. If Doppeler, the late Channel 3 Weather Cat in Syracuse - (R.I.P., friend) - had run the team since 1997, he would have found somebody. But Cash somehow - incredibly - has always managed to come up with an empty sock.

OK, we should mention his sorta success - Damaso Marte, who returned from a season on the DL to pitch well in the 2009 post-season. He helped us win a World Series. For him (and the ill-fated Xavier Nady), we gave up Jose Tabata, Daniel McCutchen, Jeff Karstens and Ross Ohlendorf - four future major leaguers. It wasn't cheap. And Marte only shone for about two weeks. That's it. That's all, folks!

You can love or hate Cashman's trading record. He's had successes. But the poor guy has never - never - managed to find a pure LOOGY who lasted a month. (Boone Logan lasted three years, but he was never a full-scale LOOGY.) 

Now, Thornton looks mostly like the second coming of Alan Embree, the Redsock lefty we signed after Boston won the 2007 World Series. He quickly went south. The Yankees have Thornton for two years, but thus far in camp, he looks old and battered, and it's suddenly quite apparent why the Redsocks didn't put him on their 2013 post-season roster. We have no choice but to keep Thornton. We have him for two years. Does that sound familiar? Dear God.

OK, yes, I know what you're thinking... It's wa-a-a-a-y too early to throw the guy under the bus. He can straighten out. He's a veteran. He knows what he's doing. But wait--- can you hear that distant rumbling? That, my friends, is the sound of the YANKY LOOGY TRAIN. It's coming our way. It won't be long before David Ortiz comes to bat in a one-run game, and guess who we're going to send out to stop him? The ghost of Sean Henn? Cue the theme from Glee.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ellsbury has his first Yankee MRI

The scrap heap season has begun. Will the Yankees be dumpster diving again?

Yesterday, rustling around the Internews, I found a bunch of Yankee sites proposing that we should sign newly released players from the Dodgers, and the Diamondbacks, and the Royals and - oh, who cares, the Knicks, Malaysian Airlines, al Qaeda, it doesn't matter! Somebody waived them, and we should grab them.

This seventh-grade enthusiasm hearkens back to the checkbook days of Old George, who would have signed every star in the game, roster openings or not, if they let him. Last year, when the scrap heap began to ooze, the franchise pumped out rapture over our acquisition of Brennan Boesch. Brennan Boesch! We spent the last weeks of March scouring the bones of anybody available. Macklemore spent less time at the Thrift Shop than Brian Cashman.

So now, the first puffs of purple smoke are belching over in the junk yard. Sorry, but I can't bring myself to click on these stories. I just can't. They raise once again the fundamental hubris of the Yankees - in my opinion, the single greatest cause of our downfall. Two observations:

1. It points to the sense that other teams, other scouts, other coaches, simply are not as smart as the Yankees are. Nope, they just had six weeks to evaluate a player, and they blew it. They decided to cut bait, but they're stupid. We'll sign him, and he'll do fine. Those other teams - the Cardinals, the As, the Tigers, et al - they just don't know how to evaluate talent.

2. It tells us our actual place in the MLB universe. If the Yankees are as good as the YES machine is claiming, we should be the team cutting players that other franchises run to grab. It should be our leftovers that other teams covet. We shouldn't be the team that slept in the car overnight to be the first into the flea market. If we are grabbing people - well, folks, that's a really bad sign for the season ahead.

Last year, those bad omens were incredible, and yet the Yankee p.r. machine rattled onward. We signed a third of our starting lineup in the final week of March - Bosch, Ben Franciso, Lyle Overbay, Vernon Wells (yeah, he was a trade, but you know what I mean.) Are we going to drink from that tainted well again this year? Let's see. The first great indicator of our season is about to unfold. Are we the Evil Empire or the Retrieval Empire? Stay tuned.

Current talking points between Rochester and Utica

Jimmy Fallon is rooting for Syracuse in the NCAA March Madness. Last night, he recycled last year's joke about forward Rakeem Christmas, who wears number 25.