Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Why is tonight like a Sunday morning in Salt Lake City?

No boos.

A Listless, Miserable Loss Last Night. Rain Today.

Yankee stadium is awash in mud, rain, and concern.

More and more Yankees are injuring themselves while playing catch or gin rummy.  Now Pineda has a shoulder muscle under duress.  Hmmmm.  Related to surgical arm?  Carl Pavano anyone?

Is this my prediction coming true?  That Pineda will never pitch for the Yankees ( if I am off by only a handful of starts over a career, I am not wrong ).

Nova is gone.  Phellps and N┼źno as 4th and 5th in the rotation?  Three no names ( including Leroux ….the more I read, the more there is no reason to be high on his prospects….) in the bull pen?

Ellsbury ( by far our best player ) with something " barking " already.

Soriano a total embarrassment.  The one guy whom you don't want to see hitting in a clutch situation, if you are a Yankee fan.  Strike outs, flailing in the dirt.  Or hard smacked perfect double play balls.  His failures are becoming predictable.

Jerter with no speed and limited range. And behind him a bag of .127 hitters.

Our sand bag walls are decaying and slipping.  The call to the national guard has been issued, but we are "on hold."

Soon, I fear, the flood we have all anticipated.

A few more walls crumble, and the torrent overwhelms.

Today in history, April 30, 1939: Lou Gehrig stepped up to the plate for his last at bat

Nobody suspected it at the time.
Then things changed.

"I love Cano." Last night's angry boil of the crowd prompted John Sterling to make a declaration seldom heard in the booth

Most people in baseball will tell you John Sterling is the ultimate homer announcer. (Ken Harrelson has him beat by a light year, but that's for another time.) But last night, The Master said something about an opposing player that will probably not be heard again in his career. As the crowd vomited boos upon Robbie Cano - seeming to catch John and Suzyn Waldman by surprise - the Radio Voice of the New York Yankees felt compelled to speak his heart:

"I love Cano."

It's been said that there is no greater love in this world than what a moose once bestowed upon a flying squirrel. Today, we know otherwise.

A low, guttural growl - like an angry rumble from beneath the earth - heralds a dark, dark night in the Bronx

I'd never heard anything like it. I called my wife to come and listen. There was Robbie Cano, standing in the box with two strikes, and it sounded like the sea was boiling. They never stopped. They just kept booing. They didn't do it to Giambi, after the steroids scandal. They didn't do it to David Wells, when he came back in Boston pantaloons. They summoned every teardrop of bile in their loins and flung it at Cano. It sounded like the end of a bad season. And the Yankees ought not to assume it shows a loyal and happy fan base. What it shows is a crowd full of anger, and if this team falters, the sounds of last night could become common in September.

 You could blame the rain and cold. Behind home plate, the seats were blue. The bigwigs stayed home. That left only folks who can't afford to eat a $500 ticket - practically all of us - so they had an extra reason to vent their anger. Most of all, they watched the Yankees limp through another sad night, when all their deficiencies were put on display, practically in neon.

There was Brian McCann and Alfonso Soriano - doing pitch-perfect impersonations of Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells. In the seventh, in desperate need of a rally, Jeter led off with a single, and Beltran took one on the foot, putting runners on first and second. Up comes Brian McCann, whose nights in the cleanup spot seem numbered. He struck out, swinging wildly into the over-shift, just as Giambi once did, when his times were ending. Up comes Alfonso Soriano, who is showing why the Cubs were delighted to let him go. He struck out, swinging wildly into the over-shift - almost a perfect mirror image of Curtis Granderson, trying to hit a ball to Connecticut.

Imagine you are a great basketball shooter, and one day, they raise the rim to 12-feet. Would you just refuse to adjust your trajectory and keep shooting at the 10-foot parameters? Last night, the Mariners scored two huge runs because players - one was Robbie - hit to the opposite side of the over-shift. When a player foils the defense like that, he not only pisses off the pitcher - who knows in his heart he should have gotten an out - but he undermines the over-shift itself. The tacticians have to question the wisdom of the over-shift. But when the batter just swings harder - more ragged than before - the defense has won on every level. Not only does it take away a few hits, but it draws the batter into pulling balls even harder. It's a downward spiral.

So McCann is now batting about .225, and Soriano - if he keeps slashing - is dropping. We cannot win a division with the middle of our lineup channeling Andruw Jones. Too many rallies that die on the vine.

Last night was as dark as they come. We lost Pineda, again - maybe this time, for keeps. One general rule of the Yankees is that they put so much positive spin on injuries that you almost have to double the expected recovery time. They're saying a month. That probably means two. This comes two days after Jose Campos - the prospect we were supposed to be excited about in the Jesus Montero deal - underwent Tommy John surgery. Wow. It's like a husband and wife being married for 70 years, then dying an hour apart. Wow.

Meanwhile, last night's "good news" was that Jacoby Ellsbury's sore hand didn't show "structural damage" on an MRI. Good news? Maybe. But what's wrong with his hand? A few years ago, Ellsbury had a rib issue that didn't show up on an MRI, and Redsock fans publicly questioned his intestinal fortitude. Last night, as he heard the boos rain down on Cano, while the Creatures chanted "You sold out," I wonder what he was thinking?

Nights this dark shouldn't happen in April.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Mark Wohlers Seems Nice

I base this on the cover picture the former Yankee chose for his Twitter feed:

Hat tip: @AnswerDave

Things to yell at Robbie Cano












Remember when George Steinbrenner was the gold-standard for evil owners? Ahhh, but those were the days before the blue avenger

George Steinbrenner did some terrible things to African-American players. He paid a guy to get dirt on Dave Winfield. He humiliated Bobby Meacham. He let Reggie walk out the door. He called Hideki Irabu "a fat toad." He traded Bobby Murcer. He fired Yogi... Umm, wait a minute...

Whoops. My bad. You see, for all his boorish foibles, and there were doozies - Old George at least goes down as an equal opportunity, bi-polar putz. Today, as the NBA tries to corral public outrage over Donald Sterling's incredibly stupid, tone-deaf and outdated - (think 1850) - view of race - (that is, as seen on TV) - it's clear that Steinbrenner couldn't hold a candle to the self-indulgent toads who own sports teams today.

And the reason, I think, is obvious:


Donald Sterling is 80. Without juicing, his sex life would have suffered a mercy killing 15 year ago - give or take a Valentine's Day massacre. But with Pfizer's magical elixir - and a defibrillator team on call - he had reason to scrounge up a 30-something hottie from the Sacramento Greyhound Bus Terminal. He shucked the wife, got hair plugs and a comb-over, and there he was - a cranked-up billionaire with floor-seats on the dinner theater circuit. To the rapidly ripening vixens of the mirror ball, he was a 20-point stag standing at a salt lick.

Nope. Old George may have yelled at Gabe Paul, but he never did that. He didn't have the blue pill. And that - my friends - is God and Science working together at last, to bring karma to the billion dollar brutes who think they can survive any fall by landing on their wallets.

Wendi Murdoch may be famous for saving Rupert from a cream pie, but in the days before their divorce, Murdoch's staff wouldn't allow them alone in the same room, because they feared she would put the codger through a wall. Nope, it weren't them planes, boys, that brought down the beast; twuz the beauty that done it. And Donald Sterling's only defender these days is his ex-wife, who probably figures she has no choice: She looks bad, just for hanging with him all these years.

Nope. Old George might have been a bully. But his worst attribute - in the eyes of his fellow owners - was wanting to win. That's what riled up his bros. He'd shell out for Reggie, or Catfish - all those field hands they expected to own for life. Worse, he didn't even plead poverty!

Well, these are the new boars, an evolutionary advanced and medically enhanced generation of bastards, bigger and more ferocious than any carnivore that ever roamed the planet. I think it comes with billion dollar-status. I can't even imagine a million dollars. To conjure one guy being worth $20 billion - it's Carl Sagan talking about lights in the sky. Nope. Can't go there. Either of the Koch brothers could make you or me disappear, and nobody would do anything about it. That's the reality of America when you have people worth $100 billion.

So Donald Sterling had his hottie and his bottle of Viagra, and there's a new low bar for idiots. Who knows? When they write the book about assholes in sports, I'm not sure George Steinbrenner will even rate a footnote. Imagine that.

Known Redsock sympathizer Jimmy "Fever Pitch" Fallon tries to drive wedge between Yankee fans and their scorn for Robbie Warbucks

You've probably seen the video by now. It aired last night on The Tonight Show, hosted by "Fever Pitch" Fallon. It's goes this way. A lackey (not John) grabs Yankee fans on the street and coaxes them into booing a phone-booth sized picture of Robbie Cano. They comply, as courteous and warm-hearted Yankee fans are known to always do. Then Cano emerges. They shake his hand and welcome him back to New York, as nurturing and caring Yankee fans are known to always do. In Fever Pitch's demented Redsock worldview, we are supposed to look hypocritical and weak in our united Hudson River of bile for Cano, the money merchant. Well, it didn't work.

Fallon grew up in Saugerties, near Albany. He has said "I was born and raised in New York, so I've got to be a New York fan." At first, he rooted for the Mets, which explains a lot. While on Saturday Night Live, he sniffed the coffee and switched to the Yankees. Then came his Hollywood payout, his stint with Drew Barrymore, and he turned Redsock all the way. When Boston won in 2004, he said: “It couldn’t have been more exciting, to me anyway. It’s also a perfect ending to my movie. It’s a Hollywood ending from the gods. I was in shock I was so happy. It was amazing."

Yeah, amazing if you're Benedict Arnold. If Fallon made a movie about Fascism, he's be hanging photos of Benito Musolini behind his desk. Let's hope the Koch brothers don't cast him for a love story based on the Keystone Pipeline, or guests on his show will be receiving ceremonial doorstops made of tar sand. 

Tonight, Robbie Cano does not deserve to be booed. What he deserves is a golden sombrero, a throwing error and a three-game sweep. 

We need to send him back to Starbucks City knowing that New York has moved on, and that he's just another mercenary - we have new ones now - and we might make the efforr to boo him, if we remembered him. But there was never a great moment that Robbie Cano brought to the Yankees. No great home run. No great nothing. Maybe someday, we'll attend Old Timers Day - in Seattle, of course - where he can roam the field with other Seattle legends - like, oh, if we google it, we'll come up with a few - and then we'll give him a genuine cheer, because everybody jogs in old-timers day, right?

He went for the money. There's a view out there that nobody ever makes a bad decision by chasing the money. Maybe it's true. But I dunno. I think Cano will be remembered as the guy who could have been a great Yankee, but chose to be a super-wealthy fish in a perennial also-ran team. In a few years, they're going to resent how much money he makes, and how little they have to show for us. When that happens, good luck, pal. Buy a new boat.

What Robbie needs to see tonight is that Yankee fans appreciate loyalty and hustle, and Yangervis Solarte - even if the guy is gone in a month - should get raise as much crowd reaction as Cano did, over the last three years. They both have one HR, you know? Wouldn't it be nice if Yangervis is the first to hit two?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Playlist for Paul Simon during his brief stint in jail

50 Ways to Need Your Lawyer
Me and Julio Down by the Cell Block
Feelin’ Juvie
Loves Me Like a Cop
Bridge Over Troubled Warrant
Irons on the Souls of Her Shoes
Sound of (Right to Remain) Silence
El Condor Pokey
You Can Paw Me Al

Yankee Fan of the Day

The Incredible Secret of Mark Teixeira

At the risk of this becoming the Tex blog, I just discovered something that made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end.

We all know Tex isn't getting any younger, but hope that his home run stroke and power numbers can somehow come back to where they were a few years ago.

And I have some evidence that this may be possible, after all.

Below is a photo of Douglas Fairbanks selling war bonds in 1918 in Manhattan's financial district. I've been using it as my desktop background for a few days (I like historical NYC photos as desktops, what can I say?), but about 10 minutes ago I made a startling discovery.

Look closely at the crowd in the lower right-hand corner. Here's a blowup of it.

Could it be? Sure looks like him. And remember, this is from 1918!

He seems to be in his early 20s in the photo. Which would make him in his 120s today!! Of course, if he has been around that long, he's either a vampire (real vampires can actually survive in daylight, the night-only thing is a Hollywood embellishment) or discovered the Fountain of Youth (previously sought but never found by 16th-century Florida explorer Sidney de Ponson), or maybe he's like Captain Jack on "Torchwood" and "Doctor Who" and is simply immortal and even if killed comes back to life.

Whatever the answer is, he's been able to keep this fantastic secret from the hoi polloi for a long time. I don't know what kind of special effects he's using to appear to be aging (although the guy still looks pretty damn young) or if there's anything with regard to healing time that we should know about (a 120-year-old guy can be expected to take a little longer to come back from a bad wrist injury, after all).

But my mind is blown. Even more than when Nick told me in the comments that Ichiro fell down and missed a fly ball last night, a play I happened to miss because we had company over.

THIS...CHANGES...EVERYTHING. 25 or 30 HRs might just be a piece of cake from here.


If there's justice, they'll boo him tonight

But not at the Stadium tomorrow.

Faint ember, still glowing slightly: Could the Mariners still win the Jesus-Pineda trade?

He's a 24-year-old first-baseman at Triple A.

"That Swing Felt Like Before I Got Hurt."

What Duque said about Tex -- exactly.

From Tex's lips to the Babe's ears:

"The biggest thing for me is that swing felt like before I got hurt," said Teixeira, who is batting .229 with two home runs and five RBIs in 11 games. "It has been a long time since I felt that. I want to keep doing it. It is consistency, continuing to get better. Hopefully, this is the first step to a lot of those."

...Has Teixeira finally moved past the injury for good?

"No," he said. "Hopefully, I will be soon. It is something I'll always have to keep an eye on."

P.S. Ichiro is batting .333, 13 for 39. And I bet any money that ball that scooted past Beltran last night doesn't scoot past Ichiro. Just saying. He's not Soriano quite yet.

Tex is the swizzle that stirs the drink

Only $15.99 at!
Last night, Mark Teixeira's home run saved a game that last year - or last week - we probably would have lost. No disrespect to Lyle Overbay, the most selfless lug nut of the 2013 scrap heap, or the recent Mad-Libs 1B collection of Johnson/Cervelli/Beltran/Sizemore, but the '14 Evils will live or die with Teixeira, and all the Vidals, Dellins and Yangervises in captivity cannot alter that outcome.

Three years ago, Tex was a .300 hitter with 30-HR power and a glove of gold. Those days ended due to over-shifts, time and a Kyrptonite wrist. But if Tex could hit - say - .270 with 25 HR, the Yankees could make the playoffs and - from there, hell, it's a crap shoot.

If Tex bats .220 with 15 HR, well, we're back to Planet Overbay and a September of braying, home plate speeches about Jeter. Let's hope Coughlin's Cuties, the football Giants, don't lose their first six.

It's Tex or nothing. Last night, as he swung at every pitch that wasn't skipping across the Hudson River, Alfonso Soriano looked like the player the Cubs were delighted to trade last year, rather than the hitter who juiced us in August. Of course, it's the Ichiro Effect - a fading star on a dead team parachutes into an NYC pennant race, and 10 years vanish from his bloated swing. But then comes next year, and those 10 years reappear like subway graffiti on a Dorian Gray portrait.

So, Holy Macro! There it is, folks! The season in a time it takes to read a haiku. Last night we glimpsed the Yankees with a first-baseman, who can turn a game with one swing. Been a long time since we saw such a thing. Question is, was it real?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Suzyn Sounds Like She Has A Cold

I wonder where she got it

Anger over John's HR call for Beltran?

Fashion tips from Syracuse

I Like This Dude

Let's all raise a glass to the Yankee brass for signing, and brining to the Bronx, Chris Leroux.

I loved this guy in spring training and was bummed when he didn't come north with the team.  I know. It was spring training.  But Solarte made his bones in spring training, as did Betances.

Watch for him.  I hope he gets a sunny day so he can grip the ball.

Here;s hoping.

Every time I see this, I think of The Master

A woman who could teach Michael Pineda a thing or two

Thus far this season, we have seen an iconic catch (Ichiro), a pine tar incident (Pineda) and a meltdown (Cabral.) Yesterday, we almost had a Bartman.

Happened in the ninth with Trout on second and Albert Pujols at bat. He hit a foul into the firstbase-line seats. Two fans fought with Teixeira. He couldn't catch it. If Pujols had then tied the game, we'd be sitting on four History Channel re-enactments - four! - and the month isn't even over.

So, obviously, the Yankees are on a trajectory here. Pageant-style re-enactments of big moments in baseball history. What's next?

1. A Billy/Reggie fight. This time it'll be Girardi, going after Jeter, maybe for bedding his wife. Larry Rothschild will be Yogi, holding Joe back. The ESPN cameras will catch everything, because Joe is too distracted to put his hand over the lens. Fox will bring back Tim McCarver to lament what's happening in the world.

2. Bloody sock. CC will cut himself on a broken bottle in the shower. (Isn't there a rule about only using cans?) He'll shut down Toronto, while blood seeps from his ankle. People will cry.

3. Yangervis Solarte will be revealed to be former stud pitching prospect Syd Fynch, who was wounded in a shooting long ago. He uses a bat named Wonder Boy. In the ninth inning against Boston, he'll call his shot, and then hit a homer. Yankee Stadium's entire lighting system will explode, plunging New York City into a blackout, which lasts several days, prompting riots, and leaving Snake Pliskin having to fight his way to New Jersey - only to find traffic cones have closed all the lanes but one. At that point, all of baseball is revealed to be a manifestation of The Matrix computers, and Yangervis learns that he can hover in the air and kick people in the mouth.  

Saturday, April 26, 2014

In one game today, did the Yankees equal the entire output from the farm system last year?

Dellin Betances and JR Murphy both won it.

Did our minor league system last year accomplish such a thing?

Let's see. There was Preston Claiborne and Austin Romine... maybe Vidal Nuno, if you consider a guy taken from the discard pile as a minor league product.

For the first time in a long time, two completely homegrown Yankees combined to play a huge role in a win. Enjoy it, folks.

Saturday Eye Candy

Kuroda Comes Off Rails

Most of us figured that Kuroda wanted to go back home after the end of last season's 
"Yawner" ( failure in japanese ) for the Yankees.

But he decided to re-up and have another season with Ichiro and the newly arrived Tanaka.

We fans figured he would win about 13 games, maybe lose 5, through August.  A bulldog he would be.  And effective in most instances.

Our concern was for September and the playoffs.  Would this aging pitcher lose stamina and mph on his pitches, and be useless when we need him most?  As happened in 2013.

In any case, we said, we can deal with that.  It is paramount to get invited to the playoffs, which would be goal A for Kuroda.  By then, maybe some one would emerge who could do the job for us against Baltimore or Detroit.

Last night, Kuroda came right off the rails, pretty much negotiating that very first curve.  And, my records show, it was not the first time this season he did that.  In fact, wasn't his previous outing pretty rough?  Two derailments in two starts raises eyebrows in the rail yard.

If he is done this early, so are we.

The Munson-Nixon line, and the ongoing war over the Yankee Crimea

The New York Times has a fascinating interactive site that shows the boundaries between Yankee and Redsock fans across the Northeast.

In a nutshell, here'e the line, along with my suggested strategy, for conquest. Seems to me, if we can win it this year, we can sweep eastward and annex Providence. We'll never drive them out of Boston or Cape Cod, and I doubt we could ever take Springfield. But there is no reason for Rhode Island to be occupied by pro-Redsock factions. If Vladimir Putin were running the Yankees, we would sign Stephen Drew.

John: Should we worry about Kuroda? Suzyn: No, but there is "cause for concern."

Nothing beats a selective parsing of words. No, not a parsing - but a pertinent and stimulating, well-chosen appropriation of words, if you will. This is what elevates us above other species in the food chain. Ever hear an ape try to parse his words? It sounds like a Slipknot record being played backwards. So let's parse some frickin' verbiage here: There IS "cause for concern" about Hiroki Kuroda. There IS "cause for concern" about the Yankee rotation. There IS "cause for concern" about the 2014 Yankees. Is "Yeesh" a verb or a noun? Because I say - and I'm choosing my words carefully - YEEEEEEESH. 
Thus far, my yeeshes were masked by a relatively hopeful month of April, when we beat the Redsocks in the best of seven mini-world series, 4 games to 3. We beat the Blue Jays 2-1, and split with the Rays. The Orioles ate our lunch - at home no less - but we will probably not have a greater day in 2014 than our double shutout against the Cubs. (And we can never get back that 1-2 against Houston.) 

The AL East looks to be Division III. The Rays are hobbled by the loss of Moore and Cobb. The Jays are the Jays, just as Topeka is Topeka. Boston used all its steroidal magic last year. Baltimore could be a powerhouse - if gets pitching. But what team can't you say that about?

The Yankees? I'd say "cause for concern" sums it up nicely. 

1. The entire infield is a cause for concern. Jeter is not only slow to every ball, but now he's having trouble making throws. Brian Roberts hasn't established himself at 2B. Solarte is falling back to earth, and rather than a cleanup hitter, Teixeira remains a mystery presence.

2. The entire bullpen is a cause for concern. After the first month, we still won't know if David Robertson can close. Kelly has emerged as the eighth inning man, but he ran out of gas last year, and he probably will again. Two weeks ago, we had incredible depth - Phelps, Warren and Vidal. Now, it's Bruce Billings? That's the kind of Sidney Ponson roster move you see in July - not April. Yeesh.

3. The entire rotation - except for one - is a cause for concern. WTF happened? We have one ace - Tanaka - and to be honest, he hasn't been here long enough to be considered an ace. The recent humiliation could rouse Pineda to answer his critics, or sink him psychologically. Kuroda? Yeesh. Suzyn is wrong. It is time to worry.

Here's a brief satire of John and Suzyn, which is marred by the feverish laughing by these two clunkers. They must be high. They laugh so hard that it hurts to listen. Ah, sports talk... the thing that drove us to blogs...

Friday, April 25, 2014

More Friday Eye Candy

That plan to replace Ellsbury? It ain't working.  
(But yeesh, come on, Swish!) 

More Friday Eye Candy

Grandy Candy. He's second to last in all of baseball.

A Ridiculously Long Post to Make a Geeky Point

I've got a bit of a bone to pick with this guy, David Schoenfield, who writes for ESPN's Sweet Spot. In a post today entitled, "Pineda suspended, but ramifications?," Shoenfield writes:

The bigger issue here remains: Is this something teams, managers and MLB will be willing to crack down on moving forward with other pitchers? Or even want to? As offense continues to decline and strikeouts continue to rise to ridiculous levels, has the game swung too far in favor of the pitchers? Is it just a coincidence that pitchers are dominating at the same time the use of pine tar or spray-on sunscreen is apparently so widespread that the reaction from within the game was basically, "Pineda just should have done a better job of hiding it"?
Last year, with 30 major league teams, the cumulative BA was .253, with 4,661 HRs and 20,255 runs scored. For those of you keeping score at home: 

BA: .253
HR per team, average: 155.36
Runs per team: 675.16 
Runs per team per game: 4.167
Strikeouts: 7.6

In 1998, when the bulging physiques of McGwire and Sosa hit a bazillion homers apiece -- maybe the height of steroidal madness if you minus Bonds -- there were 5,064 home runs and 23,297 runs:

BA: .266
HR per team, average: 168.8
Runs per team: 776.56
Runs per team per game: 4.167
Strikeouts: 6.6

In the good old steroid/PED heydays of 1999, batters went that one better:

BA: .271
HR per team, average: 184.26
Runs per team: 823.03
Runs per team per game: 5.08
Strikeouts: 6.5

Let's go back to 1961. That year, baseball expanded the number of major league teams to 18 and the number of games per season to 162. The "watered down" pitching and extra games were cited by those who poo-pooed Maris' record 61 homers and even Mantle's then-impressive 54. So you'd think the offense would be pretty hot overall that year. But... 

BA: .258
HR per team, average: 151.66
Runs per team: 719 
Runs per team per game: 4.43
Strikeouts: 5.12

Basically, except for the strikeouts, this is pretty much what we saw last year, with 30 teams facing even more "watered down" pitching.

Jump to 1985. The mound had been lowered almost two decades before, the wisdom of the elders determining that Gibson's amazing ERA of 1.12 in 1968 was a sign that offense needed goosing. (The DH would come not long after, to goose the AL even more.) PEDs were limited to coffee and maybe some greenies, perhaps a few piles of coke here and there. 

BA: .253
HR average: 138.53 
Runs: 700 
Runs per team per game: 4.3
Strikeouts: 5.4

Fewer home runs back back in '85 for sure, but I don't remember hearing the alarm bells going off about the terrible decline in offense in those days. And in terms of runs, runs per team per game, and BA, pretty dang close to last year.

So, the point: when Schoenfield bemoans today's declining offense and "ridiculous levels" of strikeouts, what's he comparing today's offense to, exactly? The strikeouts are high, but I'd say that's because the fences have been pulled in to "ridiculous levels" in a lot of parks compared to 30 or 50 years ago and that -- along with the emphasis on the HR that really hit its stride in the post-strike steroidal desperation of Bud Selig and a lot of frightened owners -- players have learned to swing for the fences a lot more than they used to. If pitching was really dominant today, the other offensive numbers would be more in line with the SO9 number, and reflect that domination.

I think, like a lot of today's sportswriters and fans, Schoenfield basically grew up during a statistically freakish era when men were men and expected to stick a needle in each other's butts. Where we are today is somewhere in the historical ballpark for offensive numbers.

Let's hope he's an anomaly and not the beginning of a new wave of sportswriter stupidity.

Friday Eye Candy

The secret of CC's success last night revealed!

Welcome back, CC. You were missed!

Question to the Gammonites: Should Pineda now be excluded from the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown?

You can never be too lax on morality. Especially while wearing a plaid blazer.

A Sad Story

Ian Connor writes about Tex on ESPN this morning, and how much the Yankees need him.

"With no A-Rod or Cano, Bombers will only go as far as Teixeira's big bat takes them" says the subhead on the article.

Some highlights, the first about last night's HR:

"Sure, it traveled only 344 feet, a distance that would've kept the ball in play in 29 out of 30 big league stadiums...The shot barely cleared the Green Monster."

"Teixeira hadn't hit a homer of any length since June 6 of last season."

"The first baseman needs to be more the Teixeira of old, and less the old Teixeira, and his physical and statistical decline in recent years suggests that Girardi will need some luck on this one, as in a lot."

"'I've got a lot of rust to shake off,' Teixeira agreed. Though he said his wrist keeps getting stronger, he described his return to the Yankees' order as 'a fight every day to stay healthy and to produce.'"

"...they can't afford Teixeira to keep trending the way he's been trending, with his batting average and OPS plunging and with his body betraying a career that appeared to be on the fast track to Cooperstown."

"He is, however, willing to embrace the pressures that come with being a big-money player who no longer has the big-bang protection provided by Cano and A-Rod."

OK, I had to point out that last one in bold because we all "know" that protection is a completely "discredited" notion, as "proven" by the stat boys using stats, which never lie or mislead or anything like that. As an old Burger King commercial once put it, "Research proves research works."

Anyway, it's really sad to see a guy just a few years from greatness start falling apart like Tex is doing. It's an inevitable part of the game, sure, everyone gets older and slower and injured and less fearsome over time. But it's still a sad story. Yet, as with other sad stories, we're saddled with watching this one play out, painfully, over the remainder of Tex's contract. Like Girardi, all we can do is hope that, somehow, a miracle occurs and Tex has one more 2009 in him.

Sadly, I don't think so, but I would love to be wrong. CC put in a good game last night, although I can't help but think that he's turning into Nova before our eyes, becoming the guy who's decent to brilliant one time and gets hammered the next, and you never know which you're going to get on any given day. But I hope I'm wrong about him, too.

Hope isn't all we have this year, but it's the biggest item on the dinner plate. Eat hearty. Like the Lottery says, hey, you never know.

The Pineda case shows the huge vacuum in the Yankee clubhouse created by Mariano's departure

In her pregame clubhouse confessional last night, Suzyn Waldman did a solemn, three-minute interview with Michael Pineda, and then surely went off for a good cry. I did. It was painful. Here's this 6'7" whale-child, struggling for the English words to flog himself, trying to say how sorry and how stupid he is for not understanding the Gaylord Perry black book of deceit. Her last question and his answer said it all:

Suzyn asked if Pineda knew that he would get in trouble by slathering pine tar like a neon sign across his neck. He said - paraphrasing here: Yes, he did know, but now he does.

Yes, he did know, but now he does.

And there it was, an answer as lost in translation as the Yankees have been, in trying to explain Pineda's ridiculous 10-game gaffe.

The other great quote came from pitching coach Larry Rothschild who lamented to reporters - paraphrasing again - "Hey, what am I supposed to do, teach him how to cheat?"

You can imagine Crusty the Clown saying those words. And you can imagine the reporters thinking, "Well... yeah." Because what else are they paying Rothschild to do, other than to show young players the secrets of survival in the majors? Considering how many pitchers discretely use pine tar in cold weather, part of the embarrassment - if not most of it - should fall on Rothschild being so clueless, and for not making sure Pineda understood the deal.

But let's not beat up on Rothschild. He's Joe's right hand. Besides, everybody looks blindsided here. Let's ask a simple question, in lieu of Suzyn not asking it:

Who on the Yankees counsels young Latino pitchers? Class? Anyone? Carlos Beltran? Hmm.

The answer is obvious. For the last 10 years, the Yankees de facto Latino pitching coach has been Mariano Rivera. (Maybe he was the de facto pitching coach, period.) Now he's down in Panama, christening babies. What we saw Wednesday night was one of the first manifestations of the post-Mariano world: Pineda had no sage, no teacher, no counselor. I cannot believe Mariano would have let him go out wearing a billboard of pine tar. He would have laid down the rules in words that Rothschild does not speak.

OK, maybe I'm just expressing what all Yankee fans have felt since 1996: That Mariano Rivera was the best thing that ever happened to us, and everything he did was perfect. With him being retired, it's like your house was burglarized last fall, and you're still learning what's gone. We're also finding out how unique Mariano was, in pitching so well to the end of his career. Mariano excelled last season, until the workload piled up in August and he ran out of gas. We're seeing Jeter becoming a defensive liability, and it's not even May. What's going to happen in August and September, when he reaches the home stretch of his great career?

The Yankees need a replacement for Mariano, not in the bullpen, but in the clubhouse.

I have a suggestion: How about Mariano?

WHY WE FIGHT: Lords of Fenway Try to Freeze John & Suzyn Out

As fans who checked out YES and the radio broadcast know, and Manx reported in the comments:
Can you believe the window at Fenway that the Sunoco Broadcast Booth has to deal with tonight. Every other broadcast booth has their windows shut tonight, but the Sunoco Broadcast Booth is slightly open because it is a mess. John is borrowing Michael Kay's overcoat tonight due to the cold weather and their window being open cause you can't see a thing out of it. Are the Red Sox being cheap or trying to mess with the Master.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ten games

Let's hope he doesn't hire A-Rod's lawyer. If he does, he might get 20.

WHY WE FIGHT: Boston fan snatches ball from lovable Yankee tyke

Why It Happened And A More Important Question

Why It Happened  -  The Red Sox were okay with pine tar use by pitchers in cold weather ( a week or so ago at Yankee stadium ) because Clay Buckholtz is a prime user.  And they are baseball people who understand that pitches always have, and always will, " doctor " baseballs.

In some cases, this " doctoring" provides a slight advantage to the pitcher and in others it provides a measure of safety ( better control of the 97 MPH fastball ) for the hitter.  In the long run, baseball wins out  and great hitters come through in the clutch, and great pitchers throw shutouts.

Now let's look at Boston 2014.  They have started slowly and trailed the Yankees by 4 games when Pineda took the mound last night.  Pressure was building for the recent comeback champs of 2013.  Just two days after the city's marathon triumph, but one day after a pasting of their best pitcher, Boston was in no mood to lose again to the Yankees.

The Yankees went down in the top of the first with barely a whisper against the ancient John
Lackey ( whom we should have acquired from the scrap heap 10 years ago.  Thanks Brian.  Another idiotic non move ).  In the bottom half  of the inning, Pineda got rocked and was on his way to an 18.00 ERA for the evening.  But the 2 run lead did not insure the game for Boston.

As the bottom of the second transpired ( Yankees still with no offense ), it was clear Pineda had much better "stuff."  Fearing that 2 runs was not enough to win, the Sox blew the whistle on the brain dead Pineda, and complained of the pine tar which coated his neck like fudge sauce on a sundae.  Not only were the Yankees humiliated, but they had to use up their bullpen, setting up another good shot for Boston tonight, knowing that CC is good, on his best day, for only 6 innings.

So this was a desperate and timely move to assure Boston of a likely 2 of 3 for this set, and a meaningful closing of the Yankee lead in the division.

The More Important Question  -  Can Pineda pitch effectively, under any weather conditions, without the use of pine tar?

Pun Tar: Nation's headline writers joyously celebrate "sticky situation"

In Non-Pine Tar News...

Last night: 0 for 4, 4 whiffs. BA at .231. And the error situation was well covered the other day.

He seems like a great guy and there's no doubt he's trying hard, but can we have Kelly Johnson back? Beltran? Is Mattingly open to coming out of retirement? Anyone seen Pepitone?

Remember 2009? CC, Tex, and AJ were the big bank-busting signings and we got a ring after writing those checks. 

Where are they now?

And Remember, Always Make It Mueller--Provides a Tacky Feel and Helps Improve Grip

Today, we are all Michael Pine: It's National "Wear Pineda Tar to Work Day"


One of our citizens has been attacked for exercising his fundamental human right of self-expression. Today, we stand united in support of Americans' right to dress the way they want, to look the way they want and to wear the kind of sticky substances they want.


Last night, American received a grim foreshadowing of the future world in the draconian grip of our Redsock/Selig overlords. Just days after Boston managers and players assured the public they had "no problem" with Michael Pineda using pine tar to help grip the ball, they abruptly reversed course and unleashed a battalion of thug umpires and vicious ESPN commentators, hoping to crush Pineda's use of the natural substance on national TV.

It's the second time the Yankees have suffered through the use of pine tar. The last time it happened, authorities switched gears and ruled against the Yankees. George Brett hit an illegal home run, but after the umpires originally nullified it - correctly - the power mad, anti-Yankee dictators of MLB changed the ruling. Yes, comrades, I'm not making this up. They backtracked. They finagled the rules. They changed the ruling. They allowed the home run. Oh yes, it's in the history books! They know what they did. THE WHOLE WORLD WAS WATCHING. THE WHOLE WORLD WAS WATCHING.

Well, today... Enough is enough. 

Dammit... We cannot allow MLB to constantly screw us over with pine tar.

We cannot allow the Redsock Nation get away with it's lawyering crackdown.

We cannot allow MLB's Selig-haired stooges to tell Americans what they can and cannot wear.

Join Michelle Obama and other celebrities in telling Mr. Bud Stalin that it's not 1948 in communist Russia, and his ruthless crackdown isn't going to work.






Red Sox epic 1986 collapse to be relived as part of Hall of Fame 75th Anniversary Weekend

Yes, folks, The Baseball Project is coming to Cooperstown. They'll be there Aug. 1, the weekend of the Hall's 75th anniversary celebration (and the concert is at a brewery ... even better).

TBP is a great band -- just listen to their stuff, and you'll be hooked.

Hopefully, during their upcoming concert, they will play "Buckner's Bolero," which describes how excruciatingly close the Red Sox were to winning in 1986 before tanking. Must be hell for a redsock fan to listen to. Brings a smile to my face every time.

They want us to forget

The last time MLB screwed the Yankees over pine tar.

Michael Pineda's True Yankee Moment
Revives Flagging NYY-BOS Drama

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Open letter to Boston Redsock fans everywhere: It's ovah

Dear Madams or Sirs,

For starters, you surely know this letter is overdue. I've hesitated to write it, because it's only April. But after last night, you must know the reality of what I'm about to say...

It. Is. Ovah.

Yes. It's no longer 2013. And what a year that was! Your city healed from tragedy. Your aging stars returned to form. Your rookies emerged. Your team, your town, and your personal self-image rose to dizzying new heights. This was your Hoosiers, your Remember the Titans, your Brian's Song and - though I really hate to say it - your Pride of the Yankees season. You could do no wrong. When you put on a Hawaiian shirt, everybody thought you were Don frickin' Ho.

And now...  It. Is. Ovah.

We both know Dustin Pedroia's body won't make it through 2014, that Big Papi looks like he's eaten several small children, and that Jackie Bradley Jr. is no Jacoby Ellsbury. You spent last winter telling yourself Xander Bogaerts will be a star - and he might be, someday - but this year, he's still learning. This year, Beanie Boy, you're facing a long downhill slog.

Believe me, we Yankee fans know what it's like. You've got your fingers clawing hard into the chalkboard, making that loud grating squeal. And it's only April. You'll be digging into that slate board for another four months. By July, your fingers will be bleeding. You'll have a week or two when everything clicks, and you think it's still 2013, and you're actually going to climb that wall... But the sound of those fingernails turning into pulp... that's what will get you. That's what will make you finally let go.  

You had a good year. It was a great team. Be thankful. Tip the waitress. Toast the chef. Keep the scrapbook handy. And deal with the reality.

It. Is. Ovah.

End Of The Fantasy ?

No one was happier to see Yangervis make the team than I.

It did look, until yesterday, that he might fool the world and become a key rookie for the Yankees.  I was even thinking, " position rookie of the year "  ( or not ).

What we saw in yesterday's game, was Solarte's inability to adjust as a hitter.  The league initially felt they could just sit him down with fastballs.  That proved a fallacy.  But the league now knows it will be the "devil" breaking ball that does him in.

It is the same problem yours truly had as an up 'n comer back in the day.  I couldn't hit the breaking ball, and I couldn't adjust.  It is the same problem we all had, right?  Otherwise, we would all be talking about our days in the big leagues.

I have to ask;  is Solarte learning pitch selection from Ichiro?  And by that I mean;  "walks don't exist" and there is "no such thing as taking a pitch."  He was swinging wildly at everything that was offered.  In the dirt or over his head;  it did not matter.  The difference, of course, is that Ichiro does hit the ball almost everytime.

Haven't we seen this problem before with a hitter who never, ever takes a walk?

Clearly, Solarte looks better from the left side of the plate than the right, and his respective averages show that.  But I doubt that the Yankees would trust him now to hit only from the left side.  Although, if his right side average gets into the single digits, they can't do any worse by converting him to a full time lefty hitter.

The traditional thing to say now, for the non negative optimists in the Nu-JU environment, is that he "still fielded exceptionally well" ( even when he nearly got Tex killed on the bunt throw out at first). That steady defense is a good sign, right, even when a batter draws the "golden sombrero" on a night when everyone else was killing the Boston pitching?

I really hope this kid has it in him to overcome, be cool, develop a batting eye, improve his selectivity and score some hits.  But his offense decline has happened like a fall off a cliff, and some of his strikeouts last night looked, well, amateurish.  Like a young player clearly over-matched.

Think we'll see Kelly Johnson at third tonight?

I hope not.  But it isn't far away.

Did the helium balloon pop on Yangervis?

I think it was Einstein who proposed the mathematical law that says whenever a team has a big night at the plate, somebody still has to go 0 for 5. (He was a very smart man. I bet he was a Yankee fan.) So last night, somebody had to keep us tethered to Hell.

As joyful a night as it was for Evil, the game was no birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese for Yangervis "The Yankee Gervis" Solarte. Oh for five with three strikeouts. Yikes. That's Mitch McConnell with his shirt off. That's Sylvester Stallone joining the cast of Downton Abbey. That's peanut butter and petroleum jelly. That's NOT entertainment.

Next time Yangeris makes an out, his batting average will slide south of .300, and though I don't want to crackle with negativity here - (while driving, we do have a tendency to dwell on facial moles in the rear view) - it's possible The Gerv will never see himself on the Jumbotron hitting above .300 again. 

(Or hell, on the following AB, maybe he hits a HR, but you get the point, right? It's a long year. April has a week left. Solarte could be a solid utility IF, but he's not Rod Carew.) 

So let me say it now: Who cares what he hits? 

That was never the point. Solarte has shown a glove at 3B and 2B, and as his BA drops, let's hope his evil twin, Dean Anna, will see his average rise. Both have been instrumental in lifting the Empire this month, and one will likely hit the chopping block when Brendan Ryan - of the Below .200 BA Club - returns. (Ryan is also of the 2-Year-Contract Club.) I hate to think that either The Gerv or The Dean will go to Scranton, or worse - wind up with another team. Neither is a stud rookie. Neither is a future star. Both have out-shown the once-stud rookie and future star, Eduardo Nunez. It's fun watching people whose ceiling has yet to be carved in granite and placed over them like a headstone.

April has a week left. I'm hoping Yangervis can stay above .300 for the month. That would mean whacking Boston tonight and tomorrow. Who knows how good he'll be? Not me. And that's the point.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Tanaka has them. First outing at Fenway, 7 and a 1/3, 7 hits, 2 runs on solo homers, 2 BB, 7K. The last time this cat lost a game, I couldn't find Benghazi on a map. Welcome to the rivalry Masahiro "Marbles" Tanaka.

P.S.- Photoshop's clearly my strong suit.