Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Yankees' big problem is not pitching, hitting or fielding. It is a dark, soul-crushing boredom

Last night, I had a reason to watch the Yankees. His name was Slade Heathcott.

First time he came up, we were already down 7-0. I figured the game was over. We don't score eight runs in a weekend, much less one night. Still, I dropped what I was doing and rushed the TV. And he didn't let me down: He laced a drive to left-center, ran like a banshee, slid headfirst for a double. It was magnificent! Slade did it! Slade got a hit! (Next time up, a HUUUGE catcher's interference!) 

Listen: I putter around the house during games. Even with the speed-up rules, a game lasts far too long to sit and watch. Plus, these Yankees don't feel like a 3-hour commitment. This season, a Yankee game feels like 10 hours. It's like watching reruns of a show that wasn't good, back when you didn't know the outcome.

The Yankees' bugaboo is not mediocrity. It is that they are flat-out, excruciatingly boring.

What's the thrill in watching Carlos Beltran's quest to hit .250? Last night, John Sterling waxed apoplectic about "the new" Beltran's recently hitting spree. All I saw was a season total of 2 HRs and a .237 average. Beltan won't return to his glory days. Nor has he a Yankee backstory worth telling. They marched him in. One day, they'll march him out. When I see him - a DH playing right field - all I can think is: How long before Aaron Judge gets here?

Almost every Yankee has a concrete ceiling for what constitutes a good year. For Chase Headley, it might be 20 HRs and .260. (Which look impossible, right now.) For Stephen Drew, it might be 15 HRs and .240. When they come up, the Excitement Needle doesn't move. It doesn't even vibrate.

The current Yankees have a handful of players whose futures are not predefined by their past. There is A-Rod, who is confounding his critics. There are Pineda and Tanaka, both wild cards. Evaldi? Maybe, but he's starting to fray, as is Didi Gregorious with the bat. (Last night, the exception.) Ellsbury and Gardner seemed on the verge of breakouts - until Ellsbury got hurt.

And last night, there was Slade Heathcott.

Yes, I'm naive. A better phrase would be "dumbly optimistic." But I think Heathcott can be another Gardner. I think in his career season - maybe three years from now - he'll hit .300 and steal 30 bases, maybe add 20 HRs. His prime is ahead of him - not behind him. If he avoids injuries, who knows? Frankly, I don't care. He is so much more f==g interesting to watch than Carlos Beltran. Will he get a shot... or will we get another month of Chris Young? Or worse, will he be traded for another quick fix, somebody over 32, who is currently depressing fans in Colorado or Arizona?

This year's Yankees look like a middling team. The question is, will they be interesting?


Local Bargain Jerk said...

The question is, will they be interesting?

In a word, the answer would be "no".

joe de pastry said...

Boring-that's even worse than comically awful, like the '62 Mets. And it's much worse than watching a young rebuilding team that's losing but shows some promise for the future. The only game I've watched all of was the one I went to, and they scored only two runs in twelve innings.

Anonymous said...

If you can actually deny what Beltran has been doing of late, it is you who has no real experience in the game. It's easy to sit back and demean those who are playing the game daily, and at a high level, I might add. Beltran has taken awhile to get his stick going, and now that he has, we still have to listen to your silly drivel. While you write, Carlos Beltran has quietly been leading the Yanks in hitting. How sad for you, el puke'.