Tuesday, February 28, 2017

If the Grapefruit season ended today, Yankees would be heading for post-season

Happy winter, continued...

Today, Jerry Hall's NY Post sounds a hopeful, if not delusional chorus, bleating that five Yank starters chasing two rotation slots - Adam Warren, Luis Cessa, Luis Severino, Chad Green and Bryan Mitchell - thus far pose an "embarrassment of riches." Yes, the Yankee crash crew has thrown 10 scoreless innings, striking out six. Add them to the renowned "Big Three" - Tanaka, CC and Pinata (aka Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz) - and, well, all these riches... it's embarrassing! The Evil Emp looks like a true contender for the 2017 Grapefruit League crown. And we haven't even seen Jonathan Niese! Nine-man rotation, anyone? So many riches, I'm... oh, dear... does anyone have a spare Tampax?

Meanwhile, the scruddly White Sox are drinking coffee and pacing their cheap motel room, stick-pinning grainy photos of our prospects onto the wall, looking for wild connections. They want to unload Jose Quintana on somebody, anybody - preferably us. The Gammonities say Brian Cashman has a lust thing for Quintana and - at least for now - an embarrassment of riches... too many prospects to ship back to Scranton next month. We should brace ourselves for a trade.

Donno what it would take to get Quintana, but the White Sox are not stupid, and no GM ever wants to be seen helping the dastardly Yankees. Last August, we benefited from having two franchises drunkenly chasing their first World Series in ten generations - creating an unprecedented seller's market. But that priapismic market no longer exists. The White Sox have already pitched 2017 overboard, and Quintana won't cost them an arm and a leg. Thus, they won't settle for a pair of lungs and livers. It won't be Refnyder and Romine.

It's always pointless to speculate on future Cashman trades: They never come off as projected. But let's brace ourselves - for him dealing two or three prospects that, in our dreams, have already been enshrined to Monument Park. My guess: Chicago would demand something akin to Severino and Clint Frazier - and if so, I'd say fukkit.

Last week, I watched a film about the 1961 Yankees, greatest team in history. That March, we suffered no embarrassments of riches. The Yankees finished dead last in the Grapefruit League. It's a long season ahead, folks. Enjoy this while it lasts. Embarrassments come in many forms.

Monday, February 27, 2017

It could be worse...

Victory! (... is finding meaning in a meaningless universe)

Billy McKinney, yet another former first-round draft pick, makes an impression

Nobody cherishes a first-round draft pick like Brian Cashman. There's something about that new car smell, the pristine stool analysis and the shirtless glossy photos. And today's Yankee OF corps is a grave yard a fine home to ex-first rounders. On any given day, we can run a First Round outfield of Blake Rutherford, Aaron Hicks, Jacoby Ellsbury, Aaron Judge, Clint Frazier - (Cito Culver in a pinch) - and today's happy talk subject, yet another first pick jewel: William Landis "Billy" McKinney.

McKinney, 22, homered yesterday in the late innings of the third Grapefruit League game of February. If you're into meaningless dingers - and who isn't? - there aren't many more forgettable blasts than those hit in the scrubbini innings of the third exhibition game. But fukkit: Today, the Yankee '17 Dream Bombers of Hope and Wild Card Contention(TM) are ranked atop the IT IS HIGH Secret Team Power List* (TM) thanks to the success story that could be Billy McKinney. 

(*The IT IS HIGH Rankings are the top-ranked rankings of IT IS HIGH, based on secret team power logarithms, which transcend the wins v losses crapola used by MLB to de-legitimize Yankees success.)

The second piece in the Aroldis Chapman trade last July, McKinney is the kind of former top prospect who - with a breakout 2017 - could soar in next winter's top prospect rankings. If he has a good year, between Trenton and Scranton, the Yankees could even win next January's prestigious farm system rankings by Baseball America. Clearly, the stakes are high. 

In fact, it will be fun to watch McKinney's box scores in Trention, because this is his make-or-break season. He either rakes his way through Double and Triple A - and then into a September coffee-call with the Yankees, or he'll slide back into the Slade Heathcott gene pool of minor league journeymen, of which the Bombers never seem to be in short supply.

McKinney was the 24th pick in the 2013 draft, taken by Oakland. The Yankees were said to be hot on him - (ahead of Aaron Judge, by the way.) At age 18, he went to the rookie leagues and hit .326 with 3 HRs. His stock rose.

Next season, he was hitting .241 in High Single A, when Oakland dealt him to the Cubs for pitcher Jeff Samardzija. He hit .301 the rest of the year and, heading into 2015, was ranked #83 by Baseball America and #81 by Baseball Prospectus as one of the best prospects in the game.

In 2015, McKinney hit .300 at two levels, but without much power. (He's said to be a great fielder with solid hitting and baserunning instincts.) Heading into 2016, he still ended up #74 on Baseball Prospectus list.

But last year at Double A, he hit a snag. - .252 with 1 HR in Chicago's system. The Cubs dealt him with Gleyber Torres, and he didn't fair much better at Trenton, after the trade - .234 with 3 HRs. 

So... recapping... three MLB farm systems in three years - definitely not a good sign. But but BUT... yesterday, he comes up against a noboby in a nothing-burger game and homers, Zolio Almonte style. Yes, it means nothing to no one. But there's always the trace of that new car smell, and we know Cashman will be panting every time the kid comes to bat. It'll be fun watching Trenton box scores this year. Some guys just take a little longer...

Sunday, February 26, 2017


Searching for meaning in a meaningless universe

How Hal plans to finance the next Yankee superstar signing

It's actually quite simple.

Links of joy following secret Yankee victory

Keep this under your hat: Yesterday, the Yankees let Philadelphia win. Because we're smart. 

If we claim to win every game - as we could - how long would it be before the corporate-owned media starts promoting fake losses - as they do - without even printing box scores (as was the case yesterday), because the globalist anti-American League bureaucracy cannot allow our success? Come on, sheeple! Pull your foam victory fingers from the sand. If the Yankees win 150 games this year, taking the division by 50, the deep state, neo-Gammonites would try to de-legitimize us by creating false narratives, such as printing phony scores and statistics, such as WAR and OPS.  Do not be fooled by these fake sports sites, who are owned and operated by anti-Yankee interests. Only here will you find the truth. 

Yesterday, the Yankees secretly won, while feigning public defeat. 


We led until the ninth - showcasing our complete and utter domination of a lesser team, franchise and gene-pool - and then, just as the media crones were sharpening their axes, we let the little babies have their way. We brought out Joe Mantiply - a 25-year-old winter slag heap acquisition - and instructed him to lose. Our plan is working perfectly. 

In fact, every plank of our strategy is running smoothly, as shown in the following links.

A-Rod and Lady Google are kaput. This was a difficult assignment for Agent 13, his first undercover mission that required his manly seductive talents. I cannot disclose the classified nature of his work, but let's just say that, from now on, if you google "Kinky Boots" and "Hal Steinbrenner," you will get the truth. Well done, Thirteen. Now, we will turn to Taylor Swift... 

El Chapo, aka Aroldis Chapman, is excited to be in Tamp Camp with El Duque (the other one) and the Bronze Titan, which is what Alphonso has been called after a golden shower. He met yesterday with Orlando Hernandez and Jose Contreras, his childhood idols while growing up under communist control.

Matt Holliday tells Jerry Hall's newspaper that Aaron Judge "seems like a good human being, first and foremost." Does a good human being strike out 200 times a year? That is the question.

The media is beating the drums on Gleyber Torres, our top prospect. They're even questioning whether the Yankees are secretly holding back Torres in order to keep him from becoming a free agent sooner. Weird. The guy hasn't hit above Double A, and he's blocked by Gregorius and Castro, yet the Gammonites want him up there now? Like Bella Legosi would say, bevare... bevare... bevare.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Kay and Kenny and free passes and strikeouts

If only the regular season could be as much fun as watching yesterday's Grapefruit opener. It was great to see the kids play and watch guys who don't run the bases like 700-car freight trains. The homers were great, too.

On YES, Kay and Singleton made some interesting comments, to boot. One, they brought up individual cases where traditional intentional walks resulted in some exciting baseball, now of course relegated to history. Two, they explicitly talked about baseball's acceptance of players who strike out with wild abandon as long as they put up power numbers; i.e., you can strike out 200+ times every season, but if you hit 40 home runs, you'll be showered with millions. This goes hand in hand with the "batting .220 with an OBP of .225 is good as long as you hit 30/40/whatever dingers" crowd that has had some support here in the comments gallery. That's the line of thinking that excuses Tex/McCann/God/Bebe Rebozo for constantly hitting into the shift unproductively because to go the other way would be "tampering with the pull-hitting style that makes them oh-so-valuable." 

Me, I'd still rather have five guys with 10 or 15 HRs who get on base like crazy and bat .310 or better. Ichiro, for instance, is derided by some people as a "singles hitter," but if you had three or four of him and three or four Rod Carews or maybe Ty Cobbs, you're going to win a lot of games. The key to Moneyball, believe in it or not, is that getting on base a lot, one after another after another, is more important than power, and striking out a lot or hitting into the shift kills most of your chances to score and run the other team ragged, pitchers and fielders alike.

Kay and Kenny...and I hate to say it, but I think Kay was the more vocal of the two...nailed these developments, which are ultimately not good for the game, imo. What's a little ironic is that the new free pass rule is meant to speed up the game, while the acceptance of guys who strike out a lot slows it down considerably. As does the number of commercials between innings--the biggest reason games last so long--which Kay/Kenny also brought up, with Kay boldly stating that even if MLB begins allowing sponsor patches on uniforms, it will only be to make even more money rather than to reduce the "need" for so many commercials.

Of course, it is Spring Training. I assume once the real season starts, it will be verboten to point out the greed and highly questionable judgement of MLB, its owners, and other fonts of wisdom. At least, if they want to keep their jobs. But it was nice to hear Kay, especially, show some of the form that made him an interesting game analyst on Yankees radio in the distant past, before he became the bland character he is now on YES.

All opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the blog management. Void where prohibited. If you think IIHIIC can help your condition, ask your doctor. Side effects may include heavy drinking, smashing TV screens, throwing darts at photos of Hal and Joey Binders, or strange behavior related to Juju or IBS. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender. Stunt driver on closed road. Do not attempt this at home. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Yankees ranked No. 1 in first IT IS HIGH power rankings


2. Chicago Cubs
3. Cleveland Indians
4. Los Angeles Dodgers
5. Boston Redsocks
6. Texas Rangers
7. Washington Nationals
8. St. Louis Cardinals
9. All other teams, tied.

* Power rankings are based on scientific analysis and algorithmic progressions, too complicated to explain to morons, but which include factual information, which result in power rankings, and everything else is fake sports news ginned up by enemies of the Yankees.

Undefeated, untied and unbowed: The POSITIVE Saturday spin cycle

By now, you know that Aaron Judge yesterday homered off the top of the super-electro scoreboard at Steinbrenner Field, putting him in the company of the great Zolio Almonte, (currently seeking gainful employment) who twice wowed sun-frying grapefruit snowbirds on opening day of spring with long balls powered by hope. 

The '17 Yankees are perfect, and if anyone sez otherwise, get in his grill and chant "HAL, HAL, HAL," until he passes out from your bad breath. With the exception of Gary Sanchez and Aaron Hicks - both of whom we know will be stars - every Yankee prospect yesterday reached base

And let's not forget the pitchers, who neutered that always-tough Philly offense, carrying a no-hitter into the sixth. Only - um - Giovanni Gallegos, gulp, my personal fave, gave up any earned runs.

Okay, let's get some happy talk going... 

For the last two years, Aaron Judge has been the most important prospect in the Yankiverse, the world's biggest boom-or-bust superstar since Yahoo Serious. If he figures out MLB pitching, we'll have a Reggie in right. If he becomes Zolio Almonte, well, we face three months of anguish, followed by an ugly demotion to Scranton and then the ultimate fear: That Judge is traded to another team, where he becomes a hitter. There is no net, folks. This guy is a human Flying Wallendas act, and we will soar over the big top with him... or crash to the grounds.

Yesterday, his home run was hit so far that fans may have imagined Key Igawa still pitching. But it didn't count any more than the other HRs. And Judge also fanned, his signature move. There is no net, folks. He simply HAS to be good. There is only hope. And now is the time for it. HAL! HAL! HAL!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Nothing but nice: Baby Boss meets with Baby Bombers, talks go goodly

DATELINE: TAMPTOWN _ Earnest Yankee boy scion Hal Steinbrenner carves out time from his harrowing schedule to visit the troops in Florida, then whacks off an impressive email to the NY Post, saying: "We are all excited for this year and the years to come!”

To which this Yankee fan says, "True dat, Sir!"

Ahh, behold the gifts of a hopeful Feb! James Kaprielian is throwing! Jacoby Ellsbury is cuddling his newborn! A-Rod is offering wisdom, and Jeet is grabbing the dinner check. Chris Carter has not struck out once... not once, take that, naysayers. Nobody cares how warm it is up North. Let the glaciers calve, let the town halls boil with protest, let Ivan Nova grow a beard... no one cares, amigo. This is the land of hope. This is not me feigning a visit to the land of hope. Fuck dat. I. Don't. Feign. This is me drinking the bucket of hopeful Kool-Aid, full-on, mouth to teat, suckling contentedly at the nipple of Yankee optimism.

From now on, we at IT IS HIGH are going to own this positive outlook thingy. Get on board, everybody, or you will end up in Class A Pulaski. 

The pitching staff? Looks good. Tanaka is our ace, CC our bulwark, and Pineda is going to finally have the breakout season that separates him from Jesus Montero's ice cream sandwiches. After the Wholly Trinity, all we need are two - yes, just two - starters to emerge from the sperm bank of Chad Green, Luis Cessa, Luis Severino, Bryan Mitchell, Jonathan Niese, Dietrich Enns, Jonathan Holder, Kaprielian and Adam Warren. That's right, everybody. It's not a misprint. We only need two.

I know what you're thinking. ONLY TWO? Why... this negativity that has pervaded our Yankee winter, it was merely a mirage! Only two. From whence doth all the sadness and despair hath sprung?

Two words: THE MEDIA. Enemies of the Yankees. They always look on the dark side of the coin. Me? No more. I'm personally betting that Cessa, Severino, Mitchell and Enns all prove themselves to be MLB starters this spring, and by summer, Joe Girardi is using an eight-man rotation, struggling to find time for the emerging Chasen Shreve and - my fave, write this down - Giovanni Gallegos!  

Also, get this: The Yankees only need ONE of their two Aarons to become a star. They only need ONE of Ellsbury/Gardner to have a career year. They only need ONE Greg Bird to fly. Nothing bad is happening. We're all excited for this year and for years to come. Don't let anyone say otherwise. Only we speak the truth. All others news sources are false Yankee prophets. They must be eradicated from the face of the earth. Banish them from your favorites list. Buy a sound truck and tour Yankee fan neighborhoods, reading this message aloud. Call your elected officials and demand that they support the Yankees, as defined by this blog and this blog alone.

I won't sugar coat this: It's going to messy, weeding out the speakers of falsehood who pervade this franchise. But we have a plan. I'm not going to tell you the plan, only that it exists, and when it is implemented, it will be the best plan that the Yankees have ever known. That's all you need to know. Just be happy. This is gonna be incredible. The wins are about to come. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Positive vibes continued: Yanks win sim game!

And Bad Lawyer Betances looked nasty.


Enough of this negativity! It's time to push the Yankees/IT IS HIGH reset button

The first glimpses of spring - the Oscars! Fashion Week! the boobs of Kate Upton! - should inspire hope in even the most dour of sports fans. Yet lately, all I have noticed are giant death melons suspended from stressed bikini strings, set to obliterate earth. 

What happened to me? Once, I celebrated each singular joy of late February - scraping the windshield, jumper cables for the battery, feeling slush fill my boots, while each hip hauls that extra 10-pounds of winter cheddar. Now, I sit and stew about Chris Carter's impending 200 strikeouts, as if the season ahead will be a 24/7 performance art exhibit by Shia LeBeouf. It's like having Irritable Bowel Syndrome without the impishly sexy Irritable Bowel Syndrome lady constantly at my side, whispering into my good ear. What the hell happened?

Well, dammit... NO MORE! If my bowel movements must be irritable, I shall see them as a red-haired lady in skin-tight leotards! And if the giant death melons must crash to earth, I shall join the dinosaurs in happy extinction.

Friends, comrades, fellow Yank fans... it is time to press the 2017 YANKEE/IT IS HIGH RESET BUTTON.

From now on - at least until something awful happens, like we re-sign Swisher - I challenge each of you to look at the cheerful, hopeful side of 2017, and to not dwell upon the things that - in a lesser fan's gloomy, shallow eyes of doom - could be viewed as roster deficiencies.

From now on, I do NOT view the Yankees as a team with only three starting pitchers. We have eight starters -  (counting Dietrich Emms, who will win 15) - and we simply haven't yet boiled them down to the top five.

From now on, I REJECT the notion that Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner are the same player, two years past his sell date. They are legitimate stars who, having rededicated themselves to excellence, are approaching their career year  

From now on, I am CERTAIN that Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks will become the Jackie Bradely Jrs. of New York City. Each will have a breakout season, providing the batting order with top-to-bottom protection. 

From now on, I believe without question that the 2017 Yankees WILL WIN the 2017 World Series. 

From now on... at least until I have reason to believe otherwise.

And I hereby challenge each of you to feel the same way. 

O, joy! O, liberation! O, bowel movement! And this is not a joke or slight of hand illusion. Baltimore, Toronto and Tampa each suffered a tough winter, and dammot, it's too early to bow before Zod, otherwise known as the Redsock '17 Hall of Fame Superteam of Destiny (TM). As we speak, Chasen Shreve is developing an unhittable pitch. Luis Severino just perfected his changeup. Come on, folks, spring is coming. It's time to believe, goddammot! Befuckinglieve.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Monetizing Jeter

The $10 bleacher seat will now cost $90.

Five hundred dollars to watch Ruben Tejada?

Bad omen: The lords of baseball are back to tinkering

One of the coolest moments of 2017 came when Gary Sanchez tomahawked a ball nearly over his head, blasting it to the wall in left-center, turning an attempted intentional walk into a sac fly. The crowd went nuts. I vaulted from my couch. By far, one of the highlights of the season. A legend was being born.

Now, kiss it goodbye. In a ludicrous attempt to speed up the game, the tiny-fingered lords of baseball have taken it upon themselves to eliminate the intentional pass. From now on, instead of requiring a pitcher to throw four balls, a manager will make a hand signal, and the batter will stroll to first base. We will save a minute.

Let me outline the stupidity of this in four lobbed pitches.

1. It won't speed up anything. An intentional walk takes about 60 seconds and occurs once in every 2.6 games. This is progress? The reason games go so long is the concrete dead zones of commercials that are stuffed between half-innings and pitching changes. Want to shrink the game? Require pitchers to be warmed up when reaching the mound. Or cut commercials. Why are intentional walks banned? Easy. The lords never monetized them.

2. It won't boost excitement. Intentional walks come in crisis moments, with a big hitter at the plate and a pitcher slightly unhinged. The game is on the line. The crowd is standing. The on-deck batter is glaring over this clear sign of disrespect.This is the theater of baseball at its best. This is crunch time. These are NOT the moments you cut. 

3. Mistakes do get made. Balls get thrown in the dirt - or too close to the plate. Sanchez's ball electrified Yankee Stadium. Now... nothing? Unbelievable.

4. It's a sign of obsessive tinkering - generally a bad thing. Look at the NFL. Every year, the football lords tweak the game, creating confusion. Yet the games only get longer - mostly because video replays practically require lawyers to rule on infractions. Baseball didn't tinker with time-cherished rules. Until now, that is.

And they actually are pondering starting extra inning games with runners on base. Insane.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

10 true things you didn't care to know about new Yankee Jonathan Niese

1. He was born on the day the Mets won their second World Series. (That makes him 30.)

2. He hails from Defiance, Ohio. ("The Man from Defiance looks in, gets the signal...")

3. He was an all-state soccer player in high school.

4. He was a little league teammate of Chad Billingsley.

5. He gave up a homer to the first major league batter he ever faced. (Rickie "Wikileaks" Weeks)

6. In 2010, he threw a one-hitter against the Padres.

7. He had a nose job, paid for by Carlos Beltran. (Not making this up.)

8. In 2013, he was the Mets' opening day starter. (Don't snicker; we once had Pavano.)

9. This winter, the Mets bought him out for $500,000, making him a free agent.

10. He'll make a baseline $1.25 million for the Yankees - plus $750,000 in incentives, and we have to extend him by $100,000 before spring training ends, or he becomes a free agent.

The $21 million part-time coach

Today, the great Alex Rodriguez will grace Tampa with his sainted presence, the first of three days in which the beloved Yankee special life instructor will impart his vast base of experience to the less-evolved mollusks of humanity.

“To extend the knowledge he has about how to play the game, talk to the young kids and some of the expectations: how to deal with some of the different positions and how to hit, how to hit in the middle of the order,’’ Girardi said when asked what was planned for Rodriguez. “Those are the things we want him to offer insight to our young players and to the older players as well.’’

Amen, brother Joe. Spoken like a pope reading from his binders.

Hence, we get to embrace three golden, never-to-be-forgotten days with the human vortex of delight known as A-Rod. The things he will say! The wisdoms he will bring forth! O, come let us adore him.

In fact, if I were granted an audience with The Great One, I would try to distill my essential hopes and fears into one burning question: 

How the fuck did you pull this off? 

Three days? Last I looked, A-Rod is on the clip for the full $21 million, a year's worth of playing time, if he could still hit. Where I come from, that should also mean a year's worth of coaching time, or announcing time, or Scrantonian time - or something, anything, that will add to the Yankee fruit plate. Three days? Are you kidding me? He'll show up for a few selfies and a news conference, then disappear back to the boat?

Beyond the haughty words and embraces, I can't help but wonder if A-Rod remains a pariah within the Yankee brain trust. Three days? That's ridiculous. This guy should be a full-time coach, if not with the Yankees, with their minor league system - as a roving trouble-shooter. My guess is that if he worked with a Dermis Garcia or a Blake Rutherford, it might turn out to be the best $21 million the Steinbrenners ever pissed down a well. But he should be there every day, 24/7, like the wise-ass ancient masters in martial arts movies, who can still kick the karate kid's butt, if needed.

A three day resurrection? Crazy. My secret hope is that A-Rod glad-hands his way into the Yankee front office, and eventually repeals and replaces Brian Cashman. All that vast knowledge of baseball - plus, he sure knows how to cut deals as a coach. Three days. Wow. Ring the victory clock.

Monday, February 20, 2017

The legend takes shape

Move over, Babe.

Gardy: “The fact that maybe some other teams have interest in me, I see that as a compliment.”

Used to be, the longest-tenured Yankee held a sacred position in the empire. Nobody ever talked about trading Jeet for a pair of Clint Fraziers. Nobody dared. You'd get punched. The writers would rumor-monger about anybody - Clemens, Sheffield, Giambi, et al - but the oldest true Yankees, the homegrown, home-schooled, home-bred, home-alone Yankee vets - they could never wear other uniforms. It would be like Iron Man wearing Thor's breastplate. There'd be riots.

The good old days, remember? Pride and prestige. Aura and mystique. Joe Torre stood in front of a crowd and thanked God for the chance to be a Yankee. Jeez, it went back for generations. We might not be any good, but Roy White wasn't going anywhere.

When did we lose it? When did the craven corporate structure replace tradition? I trace it back to the winter of 2003-04 when Cashman chose the MRI on Andy Pettite's elbow over the truth of Andy's heart. We just let him go. Andy pitched three years in Houston - 84 games with an ERA of 3.38 - while we dicked around with Randy Johnson, Carl Pavano, Jared Wright and Kevin Brown - not one a true Yankee. It took us three years to realize the mistake, three lost years, while Torre's team fell apart.

Well, today, Brett Gardner is our oldest tenured Yankee, the closest we have to a Roy White. He does everything well, nothing spectacular. Not an all-star. Just the guy you want up late in a tie game.

We spent the winter trying to peddle him.

In the end, Cashman said no. Not because Gardner is too sacred to be traded, but because Cashman needed a slam dunk for his management resume, a career that can only be considered a success by its longevity. Cashman's greatest achievement has been in keeping his job.

In fact, I guess Cashman is our longest tenured Yankee, our sacred figure. And that's why we are in this predicament.

It's hard to realize that Gardy is 34. Seems like yesterday, no? He'll never again steal 50 or hit 20 HRs. He should bunt more. His glove is golden, and he still takes bushels of pitches. It's a sad testament to this team that we're a year, maybe two, from desperately needing a clubhouse lug nut like him. But does anybody really expect him to still be around on opening day? I don't.

It's been a month of bad omens. The Chris Carter signing. The Betances arbitration. The mere sight of Randy Levine. (Mr. Trump, don't you need an ambassador to Mars?) The Tyler Austin broken toe. The injuries still to come. The 2017 Yankees don't look like a contender. And Brett Gardner - lifelong Yankee, a great player and a sacred figure - might not be around much longer.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Four Reasons To Drink Excessively

1.  Hal Steinbrenner

2.  Randy Levine

3.  Brian Cashman

4.  Joe Girardi

Sunday links: We are being run by an insufferable, delusional idiot...

... And his name is Donald, right? Actually, I was thinking of Randy Levine. Yesterday, the former Giuliani bag man showed again why the Yankees remain baseball's version of North Korea, with a frat-boy victory dance over Dellin Betances in arbitration. Last year, in his second all-star season, Betances earned $507,000 - the minimum - and now Levine boasts about chiseling the guy out of $2 million? We should march on the stadium. We should shut down Tampa. WE SHOULD RIOT. Levine has presided over the Yankees since 2000 - a period in which we have won two measly World Championships - one in 2000, which he inherited, and one in 2009, which Hal basically bought via free agents. Realistically, Levine as one championship in 17 years - two less than Boston - which makes him the moron-in-chief behind one of the darkest periods in Yankee history. And yesterday, he sashays like a Fashion Week runway anorexic, with the gall to actually rip a homegrown hero. Wow. Is there something about orange hair? Seriously, every time we get a close-up of the people running the Yankees, whether it's Lonn Trost or Hal 2000, it's a horror show of nepotism, cronyism and stupidity.

Chris "Swing and Miss" Carter can't wait to start flailing again. Get this: He still can't figure out why nobody wanted him. Two hundred strikeouts per season, and a .222 batting average. Brace yourself, everybody for some stiff winds blowing out to center. And let's forget those rookies up from Scranton. Here is the new face of the '17 Yankees. King Kong Carter.

The Yankees have a long and cherished history of screwing homegrown players. Old George was the king of discarding Yankee talent. He tried to chisel Jeter. He tried to chisel Jorge. In his eyes, the other teams' grass was always greener, and he never trusted a Buhner, a Drabek, a Willie McGee - nope, not when it could be turned into a shiny new Jesse Barfield. Hence, the 14 Year Barf. So now they're welcoming Betances to the secret club of homegrown pariahs.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Impeach Randy Levine

President poisons pitcher's morale

Saturday at the beach links

Well, that didn't take long... One day - one goddamm day - after we get giggly over the absence of Yankee injuries, Tyler Austin goes out for six weeks with a busted twinkle toe. He fouled one off in batting practice. My first thought was that it must have happened two weeks ago, and Cashman kept it a secret, and it's why we signed Chris Carter, and isn't it great to have a diabolical villain running the franchise? Apparently, no. It happened this week. Bummer for the Baby Bombers marketing plan. We've seen this movie before: Kid turns up, kid impresses everyone, kid gets hurt, kid goes to rural Pennsylvania, killing teens in hockey mask. 

Not only that, but Mason Williams will miss two weeks with a flare up of the shoulder issues that knocked him out last summer. Bad juju, folks, bad juju. I should have kept my mouth shut. My bad. I just didn't think the juju gods would be so petty that they would take it out on innocent kids. I guess I had more respect for them. But that's okay. Better to know what kind of narrow-minded, vindictive, shabbily dressed fate entities we're dealing with. I myself wouldn't be able to sleep at night, knowing what I've done to a fine young man like Williams. I guess some juju gods simply have no self-respect. Sad.

Speaking of injuries, Slade Heathcott is the latest ex-Yankee to turn up with the Bay Area Bombers - aka the Giants, which are run by ex-Yankees (Brian Sabean, Dick Tidrow, Dave Righetti. Bam Bam Meulens, etc.) I still think Slade the Grenade will scrape out a middling major league career. Wasn't long ago that he was our future Josh Hamilton - the flawed, superhuman talent forged from a hellish childhood. Made a great narrative. Then came the injuries. Guy used to run into walls, fight entire teams. I wish him luck. 

Yankees go cheap in arbitration hearings against Dellin Betances. They are playing nickel and dime with a career Yankee, ripping into him in front of a glorified CPA, in order to save a few pennies on a $220 million  payroll. He wants $5 million. They offered $3 million. Does anyone here have an idea of how a compromise could be worked out? WTF? They're going to chisel a million from a critical bullpen lug nut, a week after signing Chris "Swing and Miss" Carter? Between the juju gods and the front office, we are in serious trouble, peeps. Excuse me while I go ponder the Irritable Bowel Syndrome lady. The devil can assume a pleasing form...

Friday, February 17, 2017

Phil Hughes's Rib: What Would You Do?

"It's in a little jar of fluid," Hughes said. "I don't know what I want to do with it. I'm throwing around some ideas. We'll see."

What would you do?

This franchise has now gone "2" days without a work-related accident, but can we trust the universe?

Here we are... two days into pitch and catch, and nobody yet has dropped a kettelbell on his big toe, or reported to Tampa one nut short of Chelsea Manning due to a letter opener accident. Everybody is healthy. Everybody is smiling. For now. 

But you know those Baby Einsteins who theorize that they can trace TV static back to the original Big Bang? What they're actually capturing on their billion dollar Fisher Price toys is something far more sinister.

They're listening to the universe giggling behind our backs. Because it knows...

Hold that thought a moment.

Last year, around now, we were drinking heavily over the news that Greg Bird - the great Yankee hope of 2016 - was done. In a week, we'd learn that Mason Williams would join him on the MIA list - out for six months. By the end of March, our biggest pitching surprise in camp, Bryan Mitchell, would stub his toe and disappear like George Pataki. And then there was Domingo German. At the moment, I am unable to recall the injury to Domingo German, or for that matter, Domingo German, himself, but I'm sure it was a sad moment, and that the Tamiami Trail was lined with mourners. 

Two years ago, around now, we lost Chris Capuano and Ivan Nova. The weirdest part about those injuries is that, at the time, we actually thought it was a bad thing. Now, we know the truth: 

It was just the universe, laughing at us.

And - gulp - it is surely giggling right now. 

Brace yourselves, folks, because it's coming. The first big shoe to drop on 2017. Don't know who it will be. Don't know how bad it will be. It might be a key infield lug nut. It might be Domingo German. But it's coming.

Same in American politics, don't you think? All this gibber-jabber will soon be forgotten by the dimensions of a crisis that will redefine everything we consider to be "news," and we will look back and shake our heads at what was consuming us back in "the good old days." The universe is giggling, because it knows...

We are two days into pitch and catch, and considering the current low bar on this definition, you can say Yankee camp is operating "like a finely tuned machine." No coach has been fired for plotting with the Redsocks, and - to my knowledge - nobody has poked a Q-tip through his eardrum. (Henry Cotto, wither goest?) We should be happy and hopeful, I suppose. 

But that's not our style. Nope. And it's coming: The first injury revelation of 2017. Somebody important is about to announce that he did something really stupid New Years Eve with a bottle opener. And until it happens, there are no projections, no predictions, nothing we can take to the bank about the 2017 Yankees. 

Right now, the universe is preparing to dial our number to page "Ivan Oliver Closeoff." It's painting the bleachers with Super-Glue. It's filling the bag with dog poop, and dousing it with lighter fluid. It already knows. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Yankees bring in Jameis Winston to talk to their prospects

His message: Don't rape women, I guess. 

Or maybe: Keep a good lawyer on retainer.

Inspiring speaker? Huh. Maybe I'm missing something. Isn't Winston, the great football hero, the guy who skated on the sexual assault charges that weren't even investigated at the outset? Didn't Florida State University eventually pay an alleged rape victim $950,000 to settle out of court, so the big man on campus could go to the NFL?

Wait, maybe I'm confusing Winston's sexual assault case with his shoplifting charges, which required him to do a few mere hours of community service. Or when he climbed on a table and shouted "Fuck her in the pussy." Or the bee-bee gun incident. Or... what's the ratio of reported to unreported incidents? One to 10?

Gee, it's all so confusing, trying to figure out the inspiring message that Jameis Winston could pass on to these Baby Bombers - talking about girls, five hundred dollar handshakes, alumni boosters and the American justice system. 

But I can certainly understand why the Yankees would choose him to speak: 

Aroldis Chapman wasn't available. 

Hair: Addendum

Just a reminder, maybe to myself, that Michael Burke was Steinbrenner's partner in buying the Yankees from CBS. He was hardly a traditionalist.

From Grantland:

Burke was certainly hip to the times. He wore his hair long and his sideburns longer, he attended antiwar protests, and, as befit a man who kept a pair of volumes written by Eldridge Cleaver in his office bookcase, he was quite liberal when it came to race relations. After firing Barber, Burke redeemed himself in the eyes of many by finding and hiring Bill White, the first African American to call a game for the Yankees. “We have a stadium not too far from Harlem,” Burke told White. “I want those black kids there knowing that when they grow up they can do what you’re doing.” Burke also pushed the team to diversify its lily-white lineup, but he never managed to find the minority superstar he hoped would someday serve as the progressive face of the Yankees.

Doomed to repeat it? Yankeeganda from last year's spring training

Every year around this time, the writers, talkers, bloggers, coaches, players and owners - everybody, even The Master - should ponder the ever-shifting shit pile on which we precariously balance. But nobody does. February is the month for pure baseball crapola, delivered hot and piping to your door like pizza. So, as we project Clint Frazier and Aaron Judge into Monument Park, let's keep in mind that next year, around this time, we will look back on the gushings that were gushed.

This is from last February's harvest...

Feb. 8, 2016: The Yankees expect a better performance out of Nova now that he is a full year removed from Tommy John surgery... general manager Brian Cashman has already gone on record saying he believes Nova is the team's best bet to complete 200 innings this year.

Feb. 9. 2016: The Yankees remain the only team not to have signed a Major League free agent this winter, with general manager Brian Cashman explaining that the trade market proved more attractive to address their needs.

Feb. 10, 2016: CC Sabathia appeared at the complex last week, and Rothschild also said that the left-hander "looks better than I've seen him in a few years," according to The Post.

Feb. 12, 2016:  Anticipation is kicking into high gear for the upcoming season... The Yankees believe that Hicks profiles as a big league regular... he also posted an .870 OPS vs. lefties last year, making him a solid choice to fill Chris Young's old role.
Feb. 15, 2016: Over the next two seasons, the Yankees will see their commitments to stars like Carlos BeltranAlex RodriguezMark Teixeira and CC Sabathia tick down, but they will count heavily on all of those players for the purposes of chasing an AL East title -- and more -- in 2016. "My mindset is to win the World Series," Girardi said. 
We all know better than to believe the crapola. That said... CLIMB ABOARD, COMRADES! HERE WE GO AGAIN...

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Ten most vapid comments from today's "State of the Yankees" address from Prince Hal

Today, Hal Steinbrenner rendered unto humanity his observations on the 2017 Yankees.

He said the following.

1. "We have to prove ourselves."

2. "We’ve got a good thing going, everybody’s excited about it."

3. “We love Joe. Joe is one of many people who work in this organization who have contracts."

4. "Joe’s a very smart guy. And there’s a lot of aspects to it, particularly when you’re in New York City."

5. "I think he (Brian Cashman) has done great,”

6. "I can tell you one thing a successful season is to me, and that’s staying healthy."

7. "We’re always going to field a championship-caliber team."

8. "The process is what the process is."

9. "Jacoby’s a great player. He comes to play every day."

10. "The stats are what the stats are."

Let's Keep the Ban on Facial Hair

I fear that I sometimes appear to children in our neighborhood and to work colleagues as a crusty old stick-in-the-mud aching from his latest lumbago flareup.   The crotchety kind of guy who has too many frisbees on his lawn.  I try, therefore, as often as I am able, to be patient.  I have mixed success.

Which is a polite way of saying I have almost no success.

I thought about this while I read John M's post of earlier today, "Don Mattingly, Marlins lift ban on facial hair."  Despite my repeated and strained attempts at patience, I had trouble with the idea that the Yanks should follow suit and allow facial hair.  Like names on the backs of players' uniforms, it just doesn't feel right to crusty old me.

In the comments section of the post, KD said:
You Photoshop dudes (looking at YOU, LBJ), give us some pictures of Babe Ruth et al, all furred up like U.S. Grant.
I live with a Photoshop dude-ette who's a wizard and an artist but I'm not much of either myself. Worse, I had a number of pressing tasks on my to-do list for this afternoon.

But, shoot, the man called me out by name.  I'm pretty sure there's some Internet rule somewhere that demanded I take action so I decided to look to see if I could scare up some images of furry Yankees using a Google image search.  To my surprise, the Google "auto-complete" feature began typing "Babe Ruth Beard" all by itself after I typed the first few letters.

This happened because, apparently, the Babe participated in a few exhibition games with a team from "The House of David", a Michigan-based Christian commune that eschewed meat, sex, tobacco, shaving and the cutting of hair in general.  They seem to have sworn off pretty much everything except baseball.  Here's a team photo from 1931:

Check out the second guy on the left and the fourth guy from the right!  They make ZZ Top and all those 1980s big hair bands look like Brett Gardner.

These guys must have been reasonably competent as ballplayers, however, because they did barnstorming tours and managed to play against Babe Ruth at least twice.

Being the good sport he was, the Babe apparently donned a fake beard when he played against them.  The photo below is from 1931 during an exhibition game against the House of David team:

The next is from an exhibition game in 1933.  It absolutely scares me how much he looks like Joba Chamberlain.  It was all I could do to resist the urge to photoshop a swarm of midges around his head.

Flush with the success of finding two photos of a famous Yankee with a beard where I didn't have to lift a finger to do any actual work, I thought perhaps Lou Gehrig might have played in the same House of David games and that I might find a picture of Gehrig wearing his own fake fur.  There was nothing like that out there.

Not to be daunted, I found one of those online "beard simulator" websites and carefully placed a goatee on the Iron Horse:

He doesn't look bad but, frankly, I felt dirty the whole time I was doing it.  I felt like I was drawing a mustache on a picture of a saint.  Doctoring Gehrig's face made me feel so awful, in fact, that, I quickly moved along and tried using the same software to alter the guy who started this whole thread:

Yes, friends, this is what Donnie Baseball would have looked like, left to his own devices back in the day.  Are you starting to catch my drift about why a ban on facial hair might not be a bad idea?  Young players with a ton of dough and chicks who'll climb all over them regardless of what they look like will ONLY come out looking like the above.

Check out this next image of another Fine Yankee:

Yikes, even his new daughter might be frightened by that look!  I then found another image of a Yankee that didn't require me to do any photo-retouching:

Yes, boys and girls, that's a picture of Brett Gardner taken when he was still in college.  I wasn't aware that Gardner also needed to remove his muzzle lashings in order to play for the Yanks.

(Quick digression, but I think Gardy looks a fair amount like Toby Flenderson, the Human Resources guy on The Office.)

While painting a mustache on Lou Gehrig felt like blasphemy, I found that doing the next one lifted my spirits quite a bit:

(For the record, he's still not smiling.)

Having had fun painting a mustache on Hal, a non-player, I decided to see what another non-player would look like flying an Admiral's Pennant:

Strange, but the Master doesn't look half bad.  This made me think that perhaps some other non-players might look better sporting some "suburbs of the chin":

Alphonso doesn't look appreciably different and El Duque looks something like Goose Gossage.  Unfortunately, there's no hope for this guy... 

Back to work...