Wednesday, April 30, 2014

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.


JM said...

Ugly, ugly, ugly night, all the way around. Scary ugly.

Alphonso said...

What is the latest Pineda injury?

Anonymous said...

It was pretty empty throughout the stadium. The paid attendance was 37,000+, so maybe you can blame the weather; people either stayed home or wandered around inside.

Last night was a discount ticket night: $5 for the tier, grandstand and bleachers. A few years ago, they seemed to sell those pretty quickly, yet yesterday there were still some available. This morning, many were still available for tonight's game as well.

Nico said...

Ugliest of all was the spew of animosity from the fans toward Cano--thoroughly unconscionable coming from groupies of a franchise that pioneered the art of luring players from other teams by overpaying them. Hoist by your own petard, Yankeeites!