Thursday, August 31, 2017

Yankees are lost in the flood, and nobody is coming

There are few things less fulfilling in life than baseball's "race" for the final wild card slot. It's on the same excitement level as hearing that you've won the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes! and all you must do is, send it in, send it in! The wild card itself is about as joyful as a dry packet of instant oatmeal.

Today, after months of tantalizing their fan base, the Yankees are on the verge of plummeting back into dour mediocrity - flopping back into a pack of forgettable .500 teams, which intermittently grow hot and cold - having ditched the "Baby Bombers" rebuilding program that for the first time in years offered hope.

It's clobbering time. 

I don't know what fans can do to register their anger - legally, physically, verbally, or spiritually - but if the Yankees fall out of this race, we gotta do something. 

There has to be a way to vent our frustration. Last year, this site was the only place in the known Yankiverse to stand up for our debased Yankee values - we led the charge to moon Big Papi,a campaign for which I shall be eternally proud. If this team collapses, after all the self-congratulating, hubris-laden, chest-beating from management... well... we gotta do something.

I am open for suggestions. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

I am not Watching any more Yankee games.!

I turned on the game a bit late today, as we had a fire alarm in our building.  No problem except for the 16 flights down walk.  And the building just can't figure out how to stop the alarms, even though the fire trucks are long gone.  Incompetence here.  Incompetence there.

By the time I got back to the telly, we were down 2 runs.  It was the end of the top of the first. I kept watching long enough to watch Gardy get thrown out trying to steal second.  Then I quit.

I said to Duque and Mustang; " this game is lost because we cannot score more than 2 runs. So even if we tie, we lose, eventually."

So, before the Yankees even logged two at bats, I knew the game was over.  So why watch?

I mean it is predictable.   If we are behind early, we cannot win.

 This is a "second half of the season thing,"  as we did come back in the first half before the all star break.  When Judge and Hicks were both players.  When we were committed to a youth movement, win or lose.

 This utter uselessness is the result of trading for Frazier and that other jerk Kaynle ( or however you spell that old turd's name.)  This garbage excuse for baseball is the result of giving away 6 of our top prospects for dirt, and not holding anyone accountable.

So our pitchers do great, really....holding Cleveland to two runs over nine innings.  But we never had a chance.  We would never get the big hit.  The clutch hit.  There was no prayer of getting a lead.  It just could not happen.

I knew it and you knew it.

There is no point watching when you know the game is over before the Yankees come to bat.  Watching this Yankee line-up is like sticking yourself with a fork all game long.  Poke, bleed, poke, bleed.

So I am done.

We abandoned the youth effort for this?  For predictable futility?

I am out.

By Monday, we will know everything important about the 2017 Yankees

The hottest AL starters over the last month;
we will probably face eight of them. 
Thus far, regarding the '17 Yankees, famed English sportswriter Bobby Blake has said it best:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand, 
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, 
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand, 
And Eternity in an hour.

Damn. Wish I said that! (Fun fact: I once said, "I think, therefore I am," not knowing that Rene Descartes had beaten me to the punch by 400 years. At time, I was six years old. I rose out of bed, looked out the window at a brilliant sun staring down at me and said, "Wow. I think, therefore, I am." For this, I received no recognition.) 

The next five days will bring several Yankee eternities.

As psychotic fans, we've all experienced the Yankee eternity. It's the game we're sure is lost, then we miraculously rally, then we seem to lose again, then it looks like an incredible victory, and then - after a billion years of watching the firmament ferment - we win or lose the goddamm thing, fostering an unbearable loneliness. The only respite is to throw yourself from a bridge, but - well - you'd miss tomorrow's game. I believe every reader of this blog instinctively knows what's coming: An infinite number of eternities in just a few hours. The season is reaching that fulcrum point, the bend in the road when the killer is unmasked and the truth about Rooney Mara's dark past is revealed. It's not always pretty, especially if Mickey Rourke is involved. But it's coming. 

Look, I can speculate about how the Yankees will do this weekend - anybody can. Look around the Interweb: Folks are thunderously proclaiming the "keys" to the next five days. But, seriously: Why bother? The First Sterling Law of Time and Space tells us, "You cannot predict baseball." (The Second Law: "Every day shall be different, because of the existence of two entirely new pitchers."

Today, we face arguably the best team in the American League - twice. The odds of sweeping them don't look appealing. Boston arrives tomorrow - CC vs. Rodriguez. After that, it's Doug Fister, Drew Pomeranz and Chris Sale. (Our rotation is TBA, due to today's doubleheader.) 

Don't get me wrong: By Monday, the 2017 season could still be just as clouded as it is today. We could split the next six games and still be sitting in the race, dumb as clams as to what's ahead. But this weekend, I believe the answers will be given. 

Is Aaron Judge the next Hank Aaron or the next Aaron Small?

Do we have anyone capable of driving in a runner with the game on the line?

Do we really have a great bullpen, with an actual closer who can close?

Do we have anything at all in Aroldis Chapman and Jacoby Ellsbury - the infinity contracts of the next Yankee eternity?

I can ask questions all day. They don't matter. Today, we'll see the world in a grain of sand. Don't look too closely, or you might see yourself at age six, looking back.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Spahn & Sain....and pray for rain

We got it.

But no one ever wins two anymore.

So we lose the series to Cleveland.


What happened to that emerging future all-star outfield?

Once upon a fortnight, giddy Yank fans foresaw a future outfield of numerological legends: They'd wear numbers 77, 88, and 99, that is, after the Next Big Thing - Blake Rutherford or Dustin Fowler maybe - ascended from the hinterlands. Good grief, we were pissing outfielders, tripping over them in doorways, housing far too many to count, much less trying to feed. Down at Scranton, they were multiplying like rabbits. Nobody likes an outfield hoarder. And so it was ordained that the Empire would mercifully sacrifice Fowler, Rutherford, Tito Polo and the changeling, Jorge Mateo, for the 2017 World Series, division crown wild card. We'd never miss them. Hell, we just had too many damn outfielders.

Well, today's word - maybe the word for all of 2017 - is "hubris:" defined by the Strunk & White needle-pricks as "excessive pride toward or defiance of the gods, leading to Nemesis." Thanks to hubris, today's Yankee outfield is comprised of Gardy, Chief and the Nemesis brothers, Aaron I and II - and good luck looking for the Yankee future.

Our torture chart for the day shows Yankee hitters in the last 28 days, with our once shining OF quarantined in red. Nobody has hit above .250, and three remain 20 miles south of Mendoza. Statistically, our most productive lug nut has been the heavily maligned whipping mule, "Chief" Jacoby Ellsbury - (though to label anybody "productive" is to throw shoes at the gods.) If you've been wondering where the Yankee offense went, let's just say it disappeared at the warning track. 

And here's the real plastic radish in the salad bar: Unless Aaron Judge figures out curve balls in the dirt, next year could be a VHS rerun of Gardy, the Chief and TBA. Judge is heading toward the most Jekyll-Hyde year in history, leaving us wondering what we've got. No matter what happens in September, he'll finish with the all-time HR record for Yankee rookies. But how can we reconcile what our eyes have witnessed: A second-half in which Babe Ruth morphed into Zolio Almonte. Do we just look at the 40 (or so) homers and plug him into right field, as if the last three months of 2017 didn't happen? Do we trade him for whatever we can get, which is shrinking with each golden sombrero day? Listen: We all love Aaron Judge. Not long ago, he was the future face of the Yankees - if not of all baseball. Now... can he bat eighth? 

Likewise, I was distressed last night to see that Aaron Hicks also has tumbled into a .258 mediocrity. We can blame his recent injury, but - hey - we've had him two years, both defined by muscle strains. As for Clint Frazier, after this weekend, where will he rehab? And his numbers we falling like the rain in Houston. What the hell happened to our golden outfield of the future, the one with no room for Bryce Harper? It vanished. Jake Cave, anyone?

Clearly, everything rests on Aaron Judge - and I'm not just talking about the 2017 wild card. We made those deadline trades thinking Judge was the real deal - a future bedrock of the Yankees - and now, we simply no longer can assume that will be the case. Thank god he's finally getting a few days off. This needed to happen two weeks ago. And in the future, next time we have too many outfielders, or shortstops, or left widgets, let's keep our future intact and not summon Mr. Nemesis. 

Monday, August 28, 2017


Both Newsday and Jack Curry have reported on Twitter that Joey Binders has decided to let Judge sit a few, and try to get on track.


There are only 18,000 of these. Get to the park early!

In the interest of getting the comments section started, I'll note that this statue seems to have no arm.

Not that it's a bad thing, but the media is about to anoint Houston as America's feel good team

In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, it was only a matter of time before the NFL came to the rescue. As everybody knows, it took five years, but the Saints finally won a Super Bowl, healing the city of all its woes. It had to happen. Joe Buck demanded it. An American city had nearly drowned, and the only true CPR was the Lombardi Trophy. The nation rejoiced, with or without a repaired system of levies, and we all moved on, thanks to the spiritual magic of Roger Godell.

Last year, America celebrated the Cubs' long journey, ending the "Curse of the Billy Goat." You know the Curse of the Billy Goat, right? We all received a crash course. It's a curse, involving - well - a billy goat. Everybody cheered when it ended... just as humankind frolicked when plucky, courageous Boston defeated the dreaded "Curse of the Bambino," or, later, when the plucky, courageous Redsocks healed the nation following the bombing of the Boston Marathon.  

The great American media narrative goes this way: When a city or a region endures a catastrophe, its pro sports team becomes a spiritual beacon, leading everybody out of the darkness. 

What drivel. 

Today, we are stunned at the devastation in southeastern Texas. Dear God, it's horrible. Let me be the millionth person to state the obvious: Our nation must pull together to do whatever it takes to save and restore our people. I mean, if we can't help our fellow Americans, what the hell have we become? But... listen... 

It doesn't mean the Houston Astros must win the World Series.

Baseball won't heal the loss of one home. It won't rebuild any factory or fill the absence of a loved one. It won't do a goddamn thing. But mark these words: the media will soon start pushing that insufferable narrative -- the Astros are playing to save the soul of a tortured city, carrying the people of Houston on their backs.

This will come about because, as a marketing campaign, it works - even when it doesn't. Notlong ago, the Tigers were hailed as the psychic savior of economically stricken Detroit, until they were swept in the post-season. Oh, well... if they had won a world series, not one factory job would have been saved, not one uptick in the manufacturing base would have occurred. Nothing would have changed. But by then, the media would have moved on, anyway. 

Brace yourselves: The narrative machine will soon kick in. Houston - a generally loathsome billionaire's toy franchise, which has been built by coming in last for almost a decade, cheaply capturing high draft picks - is about to become Cinderella. The Astros have by far the best lineup in the American League - good grief, they drafted first three years in a row (2012-14) and second in 2015: How can you NOT build a winner? - and now they'll have Fox Sports in their corner.
Okay, I realize that this looks cruel. If I sound cynical, maybe it's because the only time in our lives that New York City wore the media's bloody shirt - after 9-11 - we collapsed in that final inning against Arizona and then listened to that creepy sand flea franchise mock us by playing "New York, New York" on its stadium p.a. system. Yes, they did. Yes, we remember.

Boston has lost four in a row. Dare we start believing? Either way, this isn't about destiny, or God's plan, or saving a region's soul. It's about pitching, pitching, pitching. That's all, folks. Two in the loss column. Two. And fuck the billy goats.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Did somebody forget the season ain't ovah 'til it's ovah?

I still hate the knockoff Padres jerseys. I might have warmed up to them if...

1. Instead of "Head," Chase Headley used "Headley Lamar."

2. Instead of a blank, Joe Girardi went with "Cashman."

3. Aroldis Chapman simply printed 'Sorry about that."

One and oh with Greg Bird. Suddenly, no one is injured, and Boston can't beat the O's. Dare we dream? (Andrew Benintendi 1 for last 15; Endy Rodriguez throwing 117 pitches in 7-0 blowout; Rafael Devers 3 for last 24, now hitting .250.)

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Warning to all Yankee fans: If you intend to keep watching, make sure you write your social security number onto your arm with a Sharpie, so you can identified later

Didn't some alien voice - from some wormhole-infested galaxy far far away - tell us how Thursday's glorious rumble would galvanize the Yankees, uniting the team for its big stretch run? Because - let's never forget - shortly after defending our manhood with fisticuffs, this team stupidly lost to the Tigers, and last night, inside those embarrassingly loud, ex-Houston Colt 45 jerseys, this team should have been called the "Patsies." 

Seattle looked comfortable in its powder blue underwear, and I guess I'm no longer part of the prized demographic, but I found it insufferable, watching 100 years of Yankee tradition pissed away with soccer jerseys and nicknames like "Head" and "All Starling" where pinstripes should be. MLB claims it's all for charity; let's just say I'm skeptical. My guess is that somehow, Steiner Collectibles will be selling those odious, obnoxious ripoffs for years to come, long after the nonprofits have signed off. If we've learned anything about modern professional sports, it's that everything can and must be monetized, and if a tradition is not pulling its weight - profit-wise - who needs it?   

As for the team, well, where do you start? Wherever we look, another leak springs in the floorboards. First, the bullpen. Then, the batting order. Tomorrow, the rotation. Sunday, the defense. It's always something. In one-run games, the Yankees are 15-21 this season. Essay question: Please, somebody... tell me how this team is going to win anything relevant? 

Last night, it hurt to watch. Sitting there, I was ashamed of myself. It was embarrassing, demeaning. I felt like a recovering alcoholic, pouring shot after shot, squandering months of sobriety by sitting there, inning after inning, drowning in my degradation. Down 1-0 and squandering base runners, inning after inning, I couldn't overcome the sense that this team will be one more lipstick-smudged cigarette butt in the ashtray of Yankee history. There is no longer certainty that Aaron Judge will be a great Yankee, or that any lead is safe, or that the "Baby Bombers" will be anything more than a future punch line for cynical fans. Where do you start?

1. Last night, when news broke that Trump had pardoned "Sheriff Joe," did anybody else immediately think of Sheriff Joe Cowley? My second thought: "Big deal; Hal has pardoned Joe for the last four years." 

2. "The Missile" is now "The Cuban Missile Crisis." Aroldis Chapman's ERA this month is 9.00. Eight innings, eight earned runs, eight hits, three home runs, six walks and a hit-batter. Horrible. Those are overworked-Scott-Proctor-in-free-fall numbers. For the foreseeable future, I cannot imagine how Joe can rationalize using "The Missile" in anything less than a 12-0 blowout. He belongs in Scranton. Worse, considering Foodstamp Hal's unwillingness to open his purse, El Chapo looks like exactly the kind of salary dead weight that can cripple Yankees spending for years. We're finally on the verge of getting out from under A-Rod's contract... now, this. Unbelievable.

3. The YES team no longer blathers hope that "All Rise" is looking better and better with each at bat, and he's ready to break out of his slump any minute now. That broadcasting phase ended a few games ago. Now, they just talk about his timing being off, as if that isn't the problem with every bad hitter in baseball. The back of the jersey should say "All Rise*" and the asterisk should be defined as "All Rise to Go Get Something to Eat, Because Watching Is Just Too Painful." Right now, Judge is the last guy you want at bat with runners on base. And Joe still won't sit him for a few games. Waste deep in the big muddy, and the big fool says to press on... 

4. Today, we have a 3-game lead (loss column) for the one-night wild card. Trouble is, five teams remain within five games of us (losses, that is.) By Monday, Seattle could be raging and restored. If not for that gleeful six-game respite between the Mets and pre-brawl Tigers, we'd already be on the downside, looking up. And when you look at this team, in these ridiculous jerseys, you don't see the lineage of Ruth, Mantle and Jeter anymore. You see A-A Ron and D-Dawg. You Star Wars action figures and Burger King bobbleheads, and you see a team that won't be playing beyond Oct. 1. And if we blow this, good riddance. Where the hell IS Sheriff Cowley, anyway?

Friday, August 25, 2017

The night without pinstripes

Horrible jerseys, horrible Aroldis Crapman, horrible game. 

Top 10 list of all-time Yankee on-field brawlers

(Note: This list, in ABSOLUTELY NO WAY, promotes violence. We NEVER condone physical attacks on other teams or players, regardless of how much they deserve it. If you think FOR ONE MINUTE, pally, that this site approves of physical fisticuffs, well, you're WRONG. Not that we'll look you up in our secret registry, find where you live, come to your porch with a fake pizza delivery and punch you in the nose, even though you asked for it. No, we'd never do that. We're pacifists. Peace-loving, touchy-feely pacifists. Get it? Yeah, I think you do. So, read the list, back away from the computer and shut up.)


1. Graig Nettles (Just ask the Spaceman.)
2. Don Zimmer (took on Pedro)

3. Shelley Duncan (Stood up for Frankie Cervelli against Tampa spring training thugs, spiked their SS in the balls to start it)
4. Daryl Strawberry (went into the O's dugout after Armando Benitez, fought the whole team, heroic)
5. Ralph Houk (nobody messed with him)
6. Johnny Ellis (circa 1972, back-up catcher, could have had hockey career)
7. Lou Piniella (fought Carlton Fisk after home plate mashup)
8. Alex Rodriguez (battled Jason Varitek, who wouldn't take off his mask)
9. Billy Martin (honed skills in nightclubs, bars)
10. Gary Sanchez (the rabbit puncher)

Note: People who advocate violence should be taken out back and horsewhipped to within an inch of their lives. That'll cure them.

Despite a rather middling, wild card season, the Yankees have absolutely dominated the tabloids. But what does it mean?

Today, the Yankees took three out of four of the NYC tabloid front and back pages. If you rode a subway into work, from spying the newspapers in people's hands, you might have thought there was nothing else happening in the world - only the Yankee game.

And they didn't even win.

Here's the NY Post, which gave its front and rear end to the Yankees.



Meanwhile, the Daily News also gave us its backside: 

For the record, here's what beat the Yankees on the Daily News front:

After eight months of monitoring the tab pages, counting them every day, here are my best takeaways... 

a) In the tabs, bad news always trumps good news, and fear always beats hope. 

b) The Post definitely skews towards the Yankees... the Daily News goes slightly to the Mets.

c) Both tabloids are constantly anointing one massive superstar... placing him on a pedestal with lavish praise... and then discarding him when he cannot sustain it.

d) This is an absolutely horrible era for New York sports. Any team that wins a championship would own the town.

You folks have been watching this unfold, as well. Conclusions?


With an influx of returning players, the Yankees must somehow find a place for Ronald Torreyes

If this were a war, they'd call it "an impending troop surge." By the end of this weekend - maybe even today - the Empire will liberate Starlin Castro and Doug Bird from the Stygian depths of Scranton, adding two sluggers - for better or worse. 

Both bring high hopes and potential short-term consequences, due to all that time missed watching Netflix in the Jacuzzi. Be glad you're not Joe Girardi, because over the next six weeks, if there is such a thing as accountability in the Yankiverse, his and Brian Cashman's billiard balls should be squarely secured on the anvil. For all the positives they inspire, there are no guarantees that Castro, Bird or even the zombified Matt Holliday - currently fanning himself somewhere in the 110-degree South of Single A - will return with any fury in their bats. (Case in point: Aaron Hicks, who has flat-lined since his re-entrance.) 

The chart shows Yankee production since the All-Star break (or in Aaron Judge's case, since the Derbyapolypse.) You don't need to be Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock Holmes to discern that two Yankee lug nuts of the last month - Chase Headley and Ronald Torreyes - will see reduced playing times due to the Surge.

Of course, Headley could return to 3B - though there is that back-of-the-mind concern that his improved hitting resulted from not fearing his throws to first base were sailing into the Hudson River. If Headley moves to third, it pushes out Todd Frazier - the official IT IS HIGH 2017 rented whipping mule - whom, to his credit, has played well lately. (Last 7 games, he's hitting .316 and handling the glove.) Wouldn't you know it? As soon as Frazier settles in, will he disappear?

The Big Question is simple: Could Bird go on a monster tear, as he did last March against the Wally Whitehursts and Manny Banueloses of Bradenton and Fort Kissmyass. We've waited two years for Bird. He's like that last blue Viagra pill, which you've been waiting to pop for the Game of Thrones finale, but now you're wondering if Melasandra will be around? Not long ago, Bird would have replaced Chris Carter, which would be like replacing a head cold. Now, he'll must supplant one of our hottest hitters. Like I said... be glad you're not Girardi.

One other note at first: What's striking about those post-All-Star totals is how well the no-names actually performed - Choi, Tyler Austin and Garrett Cooper all crushed the ball - and then disappeared. It's injuries, of course, though a lingering critique of Girardi - right or wrong - is that instinctive sense that he never lets young hitters stay hot. If a kid up from Scranton goes three for four, it's as if Girardi feels compelled to reassure competing veterans that their jobs remain secure.

But the real key to the Surge is Castro, who shall soon - rightfully - take over at 2B. Trouble is, Ronald Torreyes has become a Yankee spark plug - shades of The Scooter himself - and one of our best clutch hitters. After six lost weeks, can Castro do better? 

Next Friday, September 1, just in time for our last series against Boston, the rosters will explode. Suddenly, we'll have Holliday, Clint Frazier, and maybe the Gi-Man himself. (I hope so; the guy deserves an encore.) Our bullpen will expand to the size of Rhode Island, though our third catcher, when Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez serve suspensions, might have to be Joe. The Surge is coming - for better or worse. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

No matter how you slice it, Detroit won today's fight

No pineapple suppository... but make no mistake: Today's loss was a cauliflower firmly jammed up the Yankee keester.  We had just rallied to tie the game, and Detroit's bullpen was supposed to be baseball's version of F Troop. We had the momentum. We had the moral indignation. Yet we lost.

Worst is the effect this could have on Dellin Betances, a fragile wind sock of emotions, who now must fear not only base-stealers... but fracturing the skulls of innocent batters. Clearly, Betances wasn't trying to bean that guy. But he did.

That disastrous wild pitch cost us the game. It forced David Robertson in too soon, and after he nicked a batter, he never pitched inside again.

Damn, that was a stupid game to lose. It's not a new "worst loss of the season," but it's the stupidest.     

Much Ado About Nothing....

Let's give it a hearty laugh.

Words, punches, and some wrestling.

Lot's of pushing and pulling.  Plenty of holding.

Guys at play.

So who plays the clown?

The team that has been in the sewer all year or the team that is headed there?

Will we play Boston with Torreyes catching?

We have no catcher at Scranton, so how do they play their games?

I understand the emotions.

A shitty day all around.

At least, in this case, no one got hurt.

I thought, for just a moment , I saw Graham Lloyd.


The Tigers are one of those teams that peaked in talent and won squat; how do we avoid doing the same

For a three-week eternity, you've heard me spout daily bile upon Brian "Cooperstown" Cashman's deadline deals, so today, let's give it a rest. Suffice to say, I believed that by holding onto prospects, we were inexorably headed toward dominance - like recent incarnations of the Cubs, Royals and - gulp - Redsocks. Even with Cashman's trades, we still have enough emerging talent to succeed - but now only exorably, I guess. 

With luck, in 2019, we could be baseball's best team, anticipating a two or three year surge before Seligian payroll taxes, international signing restrictions and low draft picks take their toll. Of course, Boston isn't going away, the White Sox should be a colossus, and the A's could have rising stars named Fowler, Kaprielian and Mateo. The question: How do we avoid being a reincarnation of the Detroit Tigers from 2011-14 - that is, a perennial division champion that always stumbles in October. It's a fine line between champion and runner-up. Ask the Mets.

Last night, we blew out the hapless Tigers, two laughers in a row, confirming their dead end season (and our own mediocrity two weeks ago, when we lost a series to them at home.) They look drop dead awful. It's sad, seeing Miguel Cabrera and Jason Verlander on such a sinking barge. (How long before Kate Upton leaves him?) They had one shot at the World Series - 2012 - and were swept by the Giants. If you're a Tigers fan, drink heavily. Your greatest memories - beating the Yankees - will always be tainted by Detroit's inability to capture a parade.

Yankee fans don't want wild card wins or division crowns, or even one isolated world championship every decade. (Though hopes are constantly dwindling.) We want a team with multiple rings. Yankee fans want a dynasty. 

So here's our projected 2020 lineup - our peak season - based on current players and farm hands. It could be formidable. But does it win a championship?

1b Greg Bird
2b Starlin Castro or Tyler Wade
3b Miguel Andujar or Glyber Torres
ss Didi Gregorius or Jorge Mateo

lf Clint Frazier or Billy McKinney or Estevan Flores 
cf Aaron Hicks or Dustin Fowler or Blake Rutherford
rf Aaron Judge

c Gary Sanchez

sp Luis Severino, Jordan Montgomery, Sonny Gray (if re-signed), Masahiro Tanaka (if he stays), Dillon Tate? Chance Adams? James Kaprielian. 

Bullpen: God only knows. But here's a prediction: NOT Aroldis Chapman.

Even with prospects who fail - the lineup should be solid. We shouldn't need Bryce Harper or Manny Machado.

But to win a World Series, the Yankees will need to obtain an ace - and maybe a number two. They'll need it next winter, or the following year. One way would be for Foodstamps Hal to sign a huge, $300 million, 10-year deal - placing our future into somebody's elbow, a la David Price. The other is to build from within, hoard arms by the dozens, with the understanding that for every four young pitchers, you might lose three.

I am happy to say that the Yankees seem to be doing just this. In the June draft, ten of the first eleven picks are pitchers. (The first choice, Clarke Schmidt, is already recovering from Tommy John surgery.) 

Simultaneously, the Yankees seem to have a wave of young Latino pitchers on the way. At least, that's what River Ave tells us. (The problem with high-praise Yankee prospect sites is that they seldom compare us to other franchises; we get all wound up about 20-year-old Glyber Torres and don't realize the Redsocks have Rafael Devers, 20, until he shows up and kills us.) Still, if the Yankee system can develop one or two more Severinos, and if we don't consistently trade off young players for wild card races, by 2019, we could be doing to Boston what they just did to us. And by then, maybe they'll be the Tigers, looking back on these days with nothing to show. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

When good fans go mad (Part 2)

From I'm Bill White, also an occasional poster...

I live in the Southeast and the eclipse was interesting. I bought a pair of 3D glasses for the timeless Disney theme park production, Honey, I Shrunk The Audience. They arrived in decent condition, their smell a rumor of Tio Sancho microwaveable nachos and well-rolled Dungeons and Dragons dice. I tried to secure Captain EO 3D glasses but fuck you to the guy who outbid me on eBay. I took a Viagra for the first time, a guy at the gas station told me, "dude, you won't regret it. A day like today deserves your full attention." I'm using Google voice to transcribe this because I cant see and I'm also having trouble hearing. I don't know if it's from the eclipse defeating my specs, or a side effect of the Viagra, but the good news is that I've had a raging boner for about 4 hours and 13 minutes, which is how I went through most of junior high school. I'm wandering around my cul de sac in a pair of sweatpants (work from home), sightless and yelling for help because I can't hear anything. I keep banging into mailboxes and trash cans. What time is the game tonight? Does anyone else want nachos?

When good fans go mad

Just in case you missed it... a brilliant stream of consciousness from 13bit...

Let's skip the whole concept of a race. Let's try to trade Ellsbury and Chapo for some donuts I know this is a complete fantasy, but it makes me happy to verbalize it. Let's bring up all the young guys. Let's get rid of all the mediocre lard-asses. Let's tear down the stadium while we're at it, pull out the old blueprints, and rebuild the old stadium where it used to be. Let's dig up George's body and clone some of his rotten old DNA. If that doesn't work, can we get Hal to see out to CBS? CNN? The CDC? IT DOESN'T WORK, BRIAN, YOUR IDIOT PHILOSOPHY DOESN'T WORK. Go hang out with Randy on a yacht near Jamaica Bay. Maybe you'll get shipwrecked in Queens and be unable to find your way home. Tell Joey Binders to come rescue you, then close all the bridges and tunnels. FORGET THE RACE. This is getting to be like Groundhog Day - same shit, different year. You teased us all last year with the sliver of hope that you would be doing things differently, but why should a no-imagination moron ever learn something new or change their ways? WHY WAS I STUPID ENOUGH TO FALL FOR THIS? It's Lucy and the football. It's deja-vu all over again. It's getting dark early out here. Oh shit, they let me out of my cage. I'm so sorry to rant. I just saw the word "race" and lost my mind. The race is over, my friends. I'm going to take a bike ride and forget the pain of Yanksistence for a few moments. Maybe I'll find a good ice vendor uptown and drown my sorrows in mango listeria ice. UGH.

Toronto is checking out of the wild card race, ending its run as an AL East power

So long, Tulo. Farewell, Joey Bats. O, Canada, we say goodbye to theeeee. You had a nice run, Blue Jays, but it's hockey season - time to get the puck outahere. 

Toronto has lost four in a row, effectively excusing itself from the heretofore, all-inclusive, every-dog-gets-a-ribbon 2017 wild card pet show. For most of the modern season, this is the NBA, which conducts business only to eliminate one or two incredibly horrible teams. (And in the AL, it's been the White Sox and A's, with the Tigers joining them this week.) Even now, Toronto is only 6 games out - theoretically, they're still competitive. But with eight teams ahead of them... well... how 'bout them Hamilton Tiger-Cats!

Study the bottom of the Wild Card standings, and you see teams colliding like U.S. Naval destroyers. Next time the music stops, Tampa and Baltimore could find themselves without chairs. That means, for the next few weeks, they'll be playing the imaginary seventh games of their dwindling fantasy world series. And two weeks after that, unless something magical happens, they'll be auditioning the Zolios and Tylers from Triple A. 

So what does this mean for our heroes?

We face Showalter's Showgirls seven more times this season, between Sept. 4 and Sept. 17. In the first three-game series, they'll be raging, throwing the kitchen sink. Two weeks later, they should be neutered, although that won't keep Buck from riling up the club out of pure Yankee hatred, which burns hotter than a million suns. 

We go six against Tampa, three in early September and three in the last week of the season. Again, this is a thoroughly hateful franchise that would do anything to knock the Yankees out of the wild card race.

We play six against Toronto, all in the final two weeks. By then, they will be operating on pure spite. Our last three games of the season are against the Jays at home. By then, they should be a rag doll. 

Other series:

After Detroit, we play three against Seattle this weekend. Time to jab a fork into Robby and see if he runs.

Three against Cleveland. Be afraid. Be very afraid. But Andrew Miller is hurt again.

Four against Boston. Move along, everybody, go home, there's nothing to see.

Three against Texas. Should be out of it by then.

Three against Minnesota. Young team, the next Houston?

One against Kansas City. A make-up. Could be critical.

I say all this because, until we show the ability to beat Boston, this is a wild card race. And Toronto is no more. Au Revior!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Want hope? Move to Scranton

Watching Scranton last night, a ridiculous notion hit me: I'd happily trade their first five batters for our current Yankee lineup. At least there would be hope, or a sense of mystery - because right now, our hitters only deliver despair.  

Leading off was 24-year-old left-fielder Jake Cave, who's had a breakout season - .335 with 14 homers. While I love Brett Gardner as a person, a .260 corner outfielder isn't cutting it. (Yeah, he has 20 HRs; but so does every player on the eastern seaboard this year.) Gardy numbers are carved in stone; he is a middling LF for a middling team. Could Cave hit more than .260? I'd roll the dice. 

Batting second: Starlin Castro. Okay, that's a cheat. Obviously, we need Castro back ASAP, and we need him hitting as he did before his two - two - hammy pulls. (Not good planning Starlin.) I should note that Ronald Torreyes played wonderfully in his absence, so Starlin better come back hot.  

Batting third: Greg Bird, another cheat. Bird represents our last unplayed card of 2017. We still don't know what kind of player he'll be. (As opposed to, say, Todd Frazier, whose concrete ceiling is defined quite rigidly by years of output. If Frazier gets hot this week, it simply means he will get cold next week. He will end up hitting about .215. There is no mystery here. The past is prelude.) 

Which brings me to the guy batting fourth in Scranton: 22-year-old 3B Miguel Andujar, also enjoying a breakout season. (.326 with 8 HRs.) Frankly, I'd rather see him than Chase Headley (who has hit well lately) or Frazier. With Andujar, we are building for the future. Also, we know Headley will cool off and retreat to his .250 normalcy. I'd take a once-around-the-league from Andjuar and be happy.

Finally, in RF was Billy McKinney, 22, yet another breakout performer (.319, 10 HR in 43 games.) I hate writing this, but right now, I'd rather see Dopey Dildox play RF rather than Aaron Judge, who needs more time off than anyone on this planet. Last month, Boston rested the slumping Andrew Benintendi for several games, because he was pressing. It saved his year. Why the Yankees have not done the same with Judge is beyond bad management; it borders on insanity, and everybody in New York - everybody except the Yankees - knows this. This guy needs a reset button. How does Joe Girardi not see this?

Last year, the Yankees ditched their veterans and basically conceded the pennant race on August 1. Then a funny thing happened: They went 17-11 in August and vaulted back into wild card contention, infusing the Yankiverse with more hope than we'd seen in years. 

That "Baby Bomber" rebuilding plan ended three weeks ago. Since trading four of our ten best prospects for veterans - to the delight of the NY Gammonites, I should add - we are 9-10. We have fallen from the AL East race, and if not for a 4-game sweep of the bottomless pit known as the Mets, we'd be lagging in the one-game phony post-season wild card battle, too. The hottest teams in that race are Minnesota and Texas - both of whom were "sellers" last month. And the Boston hitter who most killed us last week was Rafael Devers, a 20-year-old that the Redsocks were forced to promote after we outbid them for Todd Frazier. (And when Bird returns, Headley likely will shift to third, making Frazier a fifth wheel on our wagon; we'll have traded Blake Rutherford for a new Chris Carter.)

In Hal Steinbrenner's last eight years of running the Yankees, we have seen at least four strategic plans launched and then pitched overboard. 

There was the Free Agent Surge of 2009, which saw CC, Tex and AJ Burnett push us to a World Series.

Then came the "Beggars Can't Be Choosers" era, when Hal was determined to cut payroll below the $186 million luxury tax limit. We refused to sign anybody, even letting Russell Martin go, rather than give him a modest two-year deal.  

Then came the "Farewell Gasp" tours for Mariano and Jeter, when we annually traded off prospects for veteran rentals (Alphonso Soriano, Ichiro, et al.) That drained our system and left us with old teams - Vernon Wells, Pronk and Ichiro - whom Hal broke his rule for and signed anyway. We went nowhere.

Last year, we trotted out the "Baby Bombers" with Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge, and actually restored hope. 

That plan lasted exactly one calendar year,. As soon as the scent of a wild card could be sniffed, Hal went back to all-or-nothing pursuit of the post-season, which now involves that miserable one-game lottery ticket. And we're losing with players who have been Yankees for three weeks.

I wonder if Hal will ever stick to a plan long enough to see whether it works. If we piss away our future, we are just three years away from the worst decade in Yankee history. But damn - it's a great time to be a fan in Scranton!

Monday, August 21, 2017

The "race," as it now stands

Note: The two hottest teams in the race - Minnesota and Texas - were "sellers" at the deadline. 

We Need The Darkness....

It is no co-incidence that today the land goes dark.

Were I an old sheep farmer in the middle east, 5000 years ago, I could have used this knowledge to make myself rich and powerful.  The fearful, ignorant people around me would comprehend that I, and only I , speak to the Gods ( or God ) and can make the light disappear and re-appear.

But there would be a price.

  Fealty and earnings.  I would get a fancy robe, and a scepter with a golden orb on top.  I would walk about the land and, for complete and total loyalty ( forsaking all others with robes and scepters ), promise to return things to normal in about 2 hours and 38 minutes.

They would love me, worship me, and believe me forever.  Because I controlled the sun, the moon and the heavens.  Pretty much everything.

But that was then, and this is now.

The Yankees are in the dark.  Cashman and Girardi are in the dark.  Hal has always been in the dark, ever since his father used to make him cry and wet himself for being such a wimp.  For being a loser. For not understanding that the Yankees are his God.

Today, there is no game.  The moon's shadow will come and go but, still, there will be no game.

Probably this is best.  No game means we don't fall six games into the snarling pit, leading to hell.

No game means we don't add to the humiliations.  No game allows everyone to focus on something else.

Everyone gets a day to breathe.  To take a deep sigh.  To reflect.  But not to dream.  Not to pretend some mystic in a fancy robe and a scepter is going to get us out of this downward spiral.

Embrace the darkness.

It is all you are going to get.

Dear Mr. Girardi... How have you been? I've been fine. There are few things I would like to talk about...

First, I'd never tell a major league manager how to do his job. Never. I mean, what the heck do I know about running a baseball team? (Though 18 years ago, I did co-pilot the Gold Warriors of the Jamesville-Dewitt Little League girls tee-ball to an undefeated season; and 9-year-old princesses can pose serious clubhouse egos.) 

You have the experience. You know the juicy insider stuff. You probably have Brian Cashman on a phone text thread. Me? I'm a nothing burger, a total schlubb, who last month wanted the Yankees to stick to the rebuilding plan, rather than go for broke. What lunacy. Do you realize that a big reason we traded Blake Benintendi Rutherford for Todd Frazier was to keep him from going to Boston? And if they had snagged the Todd Father, they likely would have kept Rafael Devers at Pawtucket, the same way we are miring Miguel Andujar in Scranton. Crazy, huh? And here's something equally nutty: Before being traded to NY, reliever Tommy Kahnle - a career 3.75 ERA - was arguably due for a slump. And that's what we got. A little bit ironic, doncha think? 

Anyway...  I noticed how after yesterday's loss, you've remained pluckily adamant that Aaron Judge must bat third, that Aroldis Chapman is improving, and that things are turning around. That got me to thinking. Here are some notions that have nothing to do with baseball. They are merely things I've learned from my long and pointless life. I hope they make sense.

1. The definition of madness is to do the same thing over and over again, without changes, after it's long been proven not to work.

2. Sometimes, when everybody says it's raining... it's raining.

3. You can never trust a rich man to do anything but want to accumulate more money. That's how he became rich.

4. Sometimes, a change can be just as good as a vacation.

5. No matter how you explain it, defeat is a kicked ass.

6. If humanity has learned how to put cheese in a pretzel, it certainly ought to be able to stop war.

7. When it is the darkest, the stars come out.

8. Somehow along the line, gerbils got a bad reputation. There's nothing wrong with gerbils. I'd get one, but what's the point?

9. Scum rises to the top, so there is hope for all of us.

10. It's a good thing they print credit card numbers on our credit card; otherwise, I'd never remember it.

11. Mark my words: All these micro-breweries will bring our downfall. When a six-pack of beer costs more than the minimum wage, this country will see a revolution!

12. A really smart guy - say, an ex-baseball manager - could make a lot of money by selling fast-food deviled eggs. There are no really great deviled eggs out there. (In one sitting, I can go Cool Hand Luke on a dozen.) Think about it.

13. One more thing. Think this: Homemade, artisan, organically grown, $10-per-ounce non-dairy creamer! There is money to be made outside of baseball.

Take these thoughts for what they are worth. I am - like most readers of this blog - am a bit off. But one final bromide: In the world of the sane, the insane man is king. So... how about trying something a little crazy?

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Second place.

We won two out of six against them.

Twilight of the gods...


Tonight, in heaven...

It's time we had a talk about Aaron Judge

A year ago, they said he'd flop - too long a swing, too much strike zone, too frickin' big. For three months, he proved them to be idiots. Then came July. 

Over the last 28 days, Aaron Judge has hit .185 with 5 home runs and only 7 RBIs. Seven. That number should terrify every Yank fan, because it came with Judge batting third, heart of the order - leaving runners on base in droves while setting strikeout records. If the season ended today - for him, I almost wish it would - he'd finish with .286, 37 homer, 80 RBIs and a bunch of MVP votes.

But nobody chants "MVP" anymore, and if he goes another month of hitting like Betty White, we might start hearing it shouted derisively. I did some math. If Judge hits over the last six weeks the way he did over the previous month, here are what his totals will look like:

Batting average: .265.
Home Runs: 42
Runs Batted In: 87

Jeez, he won't even break 100 RBIs. We will have witnessed a Kevin Maasian collapse. I know, I know - this is more doom and gloom than anybody needs after a victory in Boston - but he struck out three times last night, and his ongoing meltdown - I believe exacerbated by the Yankee p.r. machine's ALL RISE "Judge's chambers" in right field - should have Yankee player, coach and fan panicking. We may be looking at the next Chris Carter. It doesn't matter that a home run travels 500 feet - it's still just one run.  

Hate to say this - should have my mouth washed out with Brillo - but when this guy comes to bat, I now feel a sense of - well - Judge dread. If ever a guy needed a few days off...

Saturday, August 19, 2017

How do you think....

...the players feel when they score 4 runs to get the ," game back in hand," and then the pitching staff gives it right back?

...Tyler Austin reacts when he re-habs for three months, after re-habbing for a season, goes 2-4 and finds himself sitting again?

....the Cooper boy feels after he hits .400, plays great defense, and then gets a fake injury card
to, " disappear?"

...any young Yankee player feels about his future, when he watches Gerardi and Cashman do everything they can to acquire and play old, tired, marginally useful players, instead of using our own aggressive, exciting young ones?

....The stupid announcers feel when they can't say enough about ," the perfect bullpen Cashman has fashioned, " and then it falls apart like a drunk peeing himself?

....Cashman's boss feels when he sees that we gave up 6 of our top 10 prospects for unproductive, old players with expensive contracts. and the team can't stop losing within the division ever since the trades?

...the Boston fans feel when they see Judge humiliated, Chapman humiliated, and the Yankee team embarrassed on their field?

....any of us can remain normal when we watch other teams succeed with youth while we bury our success in that regard, and refuse to learn from our mistakes and the obvious success of others?

...any of us are going to watch another baseball game in 2017 with the Yankees in it?

This is madness, everybody. The Yankees are building a DOOMSDAY LOSS machine

We were warned. We read the ancient prophesies. They said that humankind was not supposed to dabble with certain fundamental fabrics of reality. We were supposed to leave them be, or we would face terrors the world has never seen. It might come from artificial intelligence, or alien contact, or deathly spores in the permafrost: It doesn't matter. People, listen: THIS IS NOT A MEGHAN FOX MOVIE! THIS IS REAL! Somehow, Hal Steinbrenner has fiddled with the cosmic machinery, and we now face the out-of-control, exponential growth of the YANKEE DOOMSDAY LOSS MACHINE, an insidious device that has broken through its moorings and now, each few days, creates a more soul-crushing, Alex Jones-terrifying Yankee loss, just as we assure ourselves that nothing - NOTHING - could be worse than the losses we've endured before. Folks, this is Fukushima! This is the super-volcano! This is Cloverfield - a 200-foot-tall, radioactive Randy Levine destroying Manhattan. Run, people, RUN!

I'm telling you, Monday's eclipse is nothing - ZILCH - compared to what's coming. You think Aaron Judge and Aroldis Chapman are the two Yankee Horsemen of the Apocalypse? We still have two more to identify. Today, it might be Dellin Betances. Tomorrow, Greg Bird. LISTEN, GODDAMMOT: The Matrix is torn! The inter-dimensional portal has been jimmied open! The monsters are here! We are hurdling toward a loss so devastating, so overwhelming, so beyond our imaginations, that the very pillars of Yankee reality - Celino & Barnes, WB Mason, you cannot predict baseball - are about to sprout arms, legs and dicks, and crush the Yankiverse while wearing those Fourth of July MLB clown stirrup socks with the stars and stripes. Run! RUN!   

Can't you see it? Every few days, the Yankees do the flat-out, over-the-top, God-gone-mad impossible - they blow a game in a way worse than anything Yankeekind has ever seen. They mount a heroic comeback, take the lead - and then piss it away. They bring forth strategic meltdowns that, were these Stephen King books, would be dismissed for credibility. And it's getting worse! It's building toward something! IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN SOON!

Remember last Saturday's loss, when El Chapo surrendered the ninth inning homer to Rafael Devers? That was the new worst loss of the season, replacing the July 22 debacle against Seattle, when we tied the game with two outs in the ninth, only to see Adam Warren - (dear Adam Warren, they got to you, too?) - flub it in the tenth. That replaced the July 14 loss to Boston, when we came back to lead by one in the ninth, only to watch the Chap Man give up two runs without even recording an out. And that replaced... no, stop me, I can't do this - NOOO, I JUST SAW SOMETHING IN THE WINDOW! IT WAS THE NEXT LOSS! THE HORRIFYING, MONSTER DEMI-LOSS! IT WAS HORRIBLE, THE EYES LEERING OUT OF A PINEAPPLE HEAD! IT WAS GRINNING! DEAR GOD, SAVE US! IT'S OUT THERE, I TELL YOU! IT'S WAITING FOR US, AND IT'S GOING TO BE WORSE THAN ANYTHING WE HAVE SEEN!

Don't you see it, folks? Forget the wild card. The Yankees are heading toward the Doomsday Loss, a defeat so unbelievably soul-crushing - it will be the loss that eliminates us from the post-season, and which ensures the Hall of Fame futures of Dustin Fowler and Blake Rutherford - the loss that suspends the laws of space and time. After that loss, the Yankee Kraken will appear, and the statue of George Steinbrenner - (hey, alt-right and alt-left, want a statue that everybody would be happy to see pulled down?) - will come to life and march the streets of Tampa in search of Bobby Meacham's reanimated corpse. It's going to happen, maybe this weekend! It's coming, people. Disconnect your TVs. Dig holes. Hide in the mountains. You've been warned.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Well, there's always next year

But I can't take much more of this...

I just can't watch many more Aaron Judge strikeouts.

And if Aroldis Chapman needs to be "straightened out," maybe he should do it in Scranton.

Calling America: The Yankee alt-Left needs help

This season, our alt-Right has dominated - basically because if you add a 40-homer RH slugger and a 30-homer RH catcher, you could win the NL East with the cast of Gilmore Girls. 

But without the mysterious Greg Bird - the mayor of March - our alt-left lineup simply never got its act together.  

Let's say we were to play in - oh, here's a wild possibility - a one game wild card! 

Assuming each team would send its ace to the mound - (it's possible they won't have that option) - here are the likely pitchers we'll face:

Angels: RH Parker Birdwell (7-1, 2.88)
Royals: LH Jason Vargas (14-6, 3.45)
Twins: RH Ervin Santana (12-8, 3.28)
Rangers: LH Cole Hammels (8-1, 3.48)
Rays: RH Alex Cobb (9-8, 3.80 or RH Chris Archer, 8-7, 3.84)
Orioles: RH Dylan Bundy, (12-8, 4.17)
Bleu Jays: RH Marcus Stroman (screw the stats, forget it; we're done.)

Five of the seven are RH. 

This is bad.

If they throw a LH starter at us, we can send the Yankee alt-Right, which looks like this:

c Sanchez
1b Tyler Austin, [D.B.] Cooper, Chase Headley, (who skews leftward), Todd Frazier 

2b Starlin Castro (healthy)
ss  Ronald Torreyes (but forget it, we'd never bench Didi)
3b T. Frazier? Headley? Torreyes?
lf  Clint Frazier (healthy and hitting!) 
cf Aaron Hicks
rf Aaron Judge  

dh Matt Holliday? 

Here's the Yankee alt-Left (facing a righty)

c Sanchez 
1b Greg Bird? (fingers crossed) Headley, Gi-Man Choi?
2b Tyler Wade (forget it; he's been awful)
ss Didi
3b Headley, Wade (see above.)

lf Hicks
cf Gardy or Ellsbury (don't laugh, he's starting to hit)

rf Judge
dh Gardy or Ellsbury (oh, go on, laugh) Holliday.

Trouble spots: Our sluggers bat RH. Unless Greg Bird returns with an impact, we will be particularly susceptible to a right-handed starter.

Which is why we better win the Division.