Thursday, November 30, 2017

New Redsock Hall of Fame headlined by three former Yankees

We have met the enemy and they are us.

So, it's settled then...

New Idea For Manager

The Yankees should hire a Japanese manager ;

I don't pretend to know this dude.   He represents the concept I am now advocating.

Clearly, they have championship teams in Japan, with highly effective men ( and possibly women ) managing them.

We should get one.  Why, you ask?

1.  It will assure that the Yankees get that guy everyone is talking about.  The latest Babe Ruth ( hit and pitch) of that nation.

2.  We have fine history with Japanese players ( Hideki, Mitsubishi, Irabu, Honda, Yakitori and that lefty with the dental problem ( Igawa )....he never worked out. ).

3.  All the non Japanese Yankee players could then hire translators to walk around with them.  Conferences at the mound could involve up to 10 individuals, not including the umpire and his translator. This would expose the entire Yankee franchise to multi -language literacy.  Play games and learn words.

3-A.  Dugouts would be expanded for extra seating.  Pumpkin seeds would be replaced with dried seaweed pellets, for spitting.  A healthy exchange.

3-B.  Job creation.  The spanish speaking players would need Spanish/Japanese translators, the Dutch guys would need Dutch/ Japanese get the idea.  A conversation on the mound about the possibility of the next batter bunting could be like a UN discussion on limo parking spaces.

4.  Imagine the humor in watching a ranting manager arguing an umpire's call.  The manager yells...the umpire turns to his translator....the translator cogitates and then responds ...and that translation is passed back to the manager....  who then turns to his english translator.....etc. Fans would either get on screen translations of the dialogue, because we aren't going to be able to read lips for the curse words ( on screen closed captions could be an MLB enhancement feature for $9.99 a month ),  or simply judge the direction and tone of arguments via facial expressions, and how much disrespect is shown through dirt kicking or lack of bowing.

5.  Mis-translations would be hilarious.  There used to be an advertisement  from Pepsi ( " Come alive with Pepsi."  When that was translated into Japanese and displayed on a billboard in Japan, the reading was, " Pepsi brings you back from the dead."  So an argument about throwing at a batter's head could become, " he has a big head."  It would be a modern version of Alphonse ( no relation ) and Gaston.

6.  Duque could write a new book by capturing the dialogue and " just miss" translations.  Mustang could render a new comic book series.  Baseball fans in two countries would love it.

I would give up my season's tickets to hear the interview of potential candidates with Brian Cashman.

Seriously, we need to do something.  Why not this?

Carlos Beltran would make a fine Yankee manager

Remember the night in 2014 when Carlos Beltran somersaulted over that rinky-dink right field wall at Tropicana Field, chasing a foul? He'd been hitting, looking good in the outfield - until that moment. From then on, he slumped, and it cost him the season. Still, Beltran was old outfielder giving us everything he had, and if becomes a young Yankee manager, that's what he'll do again.

So... do it, already. Sign him! What are we waiting for?

I'm starting to wonder about this managerial reality TV show, now entering its second month. The public line goes that the Yankees interviewed Beltran this week as a show of their respect - that at age 40 and only months into retirement - he's not really a viable candidate. (Like, he's supposed to go manage Scranton?) If so, that's a questionable public strategy. You don't invite all the ladies to your house, tell them you love them, and then call Ubers for all but one. 

Right now, Cooperstown Cashman - Baseball America's 2017 Executive of the Year - is enjoying unrivaled success, power and job security. He's about to sign a contract extension with a pile of zeros and probably some juicy non-firing clauses. The Yankees will enter 2018 as favorites, and their farm system is popping. Everything is working... but I wonder: Is Cashman starting to enjoy this managerial search? Is this becoming his victory lap? Because if there is one thing that continually brings down the Yankees, it is front office hubris. It's the idea that we'll give Jacoby Ellsbury a seven-year deal, and everything will work out fine, because - hey, hey, we're the Yankees.

Seems to me, every one of the managerial candidates thus far interviewed would do just fine. That means when the final choice is announced, several great future managers may always feel a little extra desire to show the Yankees that they made a bad decision. We already face Buck Showalter, who will go to his grave trying to get back at us. Do we want more jilted suitors out there? 

Oh well, I wasn't really comfortable with the idea of Aaron Boone as manager anyway

In this day and age, you'd think it would be obvious that a Major League Baseball manager candidate must be able to handle the media with aplomb.  And "media" would include "the 'new' media".

Apparently, Aaron Boone didn't get the memo.  

My favorite sentence from the article is:
Boone later issued a public apology on Twitter, saying “there are zero excuses” for his comments regarding sexual harassment. He added, “it will never happen again.”
I'd like to think that the writer really wanted to write the words I've added in blue: 
Boone, who incomprehensibly forgot that he was still in the hunt for the NY Yankees manager position, later issued a public apology on Twitter, saying “there are zero excuses” for his comments regarding sexual harassment. He added, “it will never happen again.”

Scratch another one off the list.

10 questions for Ohtani to ask teams before he decides

1. Does your radio voice do personalized home run calls? What will be my personalized home run call? Wait...did you say he DOESN'T do personalized home run calls? Then why are you wasting my time?

2. What's your radio voice's longest known WinWarble? What... your announcer DOESN'T do WinWarbles? 

3. When I come up, what will be my slug line for the Benihaha Steak House commercial? 

4. Considering your franchise's history, what are the chances that I'll be able to share in a 28th world championship? 

5. Can you guarantee that I can hit between guys who should hit 30 home runs?

6. How can I avoid having to pitch to Aaron Judge in big games?

7. What are the chances of me being someday enshrined in your center field monument area? Wait... you DO have a center field monument area, right?

8. If I join your team, can I meet A-Rod and Jennifer Lopez?

9. If we win the World Series, the ticker tape parade will be along the Canyon of Heroes, right? No? You're saying it'll be the I-30 bypass?

10. Does your radio voice believe in predicting baseball? Because I personally don't think you can.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

For the record, today's four Eli Manning tabloid covers

The Post front

The Daily News front.

The Post behind.

The Daily News behind.

Yankees went 1 for 13 during Eli Manning's streak, which started the Great Oblivions

On Nov. 21, 2004 - the day Eli Manning launched his consecutive game QB streak for the New Jerzy Giants - the Yankiverse was barely three weeks into The Great Meltdown. 

Our domination over Boston had ended in the ACLS. Our world had collapsed into utter darkness, as the protective Curse of the Bambino had shifted polarity, transforming the Redsocks into the new Yankees. It was a terrible time, a horrible period, an era of Javier Vasquez and Tanyon Sturtze, of Jose Contreras and Miguel Cairo. It came with The Big Barf - games four through seven - which launched the 1st Nine-Year Oblivion, which was briefly interrupted in 2009, and then which led to the 2nd Nine-Year Oblivion, which hopefully shall end in 2018. For nearly 18 years, we have been stumbling in the darkness. And throughout that torturous era, Yankee-Giant fans could rely on one hopeful commonality: Eli Manning was the starting QB.

Over that period, the Giants outdid the Yankees, two championships to one. And it was Big Blue that delivered our only true revenge shots against Boston - twice beating the mighty Patriots and Tom Brady. The Yankees have never enacted a true and worthy response to 2004. We have never known vengeance. In fact, we've been kicked around by the Redsocks more often than not. Even last season, they delivered some historic, pineapple-up-the-wazoo defeats. They still have our number.

Yesterday, in a torrent of angry tweets and viral video, Eli's streak crashed to a halt. Frankly, it could have ended last month. It had become one of those crutches that fans lean on when the current reality is too horrible to accept. They say that hell is truth seen too late. Well, here's some truth: The 2017 Giants - who entered the season as Super Bowl candidates - may be the worst fucking Giants team in my lifetime - and that goes back to the days of Tucker Fredrickson and Joe Don Looney (the most aptly named man in football, they said.) Not long ago, Y.A. Tittle died, cutting the cord with an era that now exists in yellowed newsprint and faded flashes of memory. Soon, Eli will be another generation's Y.A. Tittle, as they someday look back and remember the great moments, while trying to forget 2017.

Eli had legitimate flings with greatness, and his two Super Bowl rings may carry  him into Canton. But he also led the NFL in interceptions three times, fumbled away countless games, and it amazed me lately how writers screaming about the Giants offense laid everything on the coach - our worst since Ray Handley - and gave Eli a free pass. I think it had to do more with his Beaver Cleaver haircut and Eddie Haskell politeness, and these days in the woefully uninteresting NFL - a sport being strangled by commercials, referee penalties and instant replay reviews - any smiling face in a locker room would be hailed by the league as a marketing bonanza.

Today, though, brings a weird feeling. I'm glad Eli is being benched, because he was on the verge of getting killed back there, and the Giants are going nowhere. If you hope for the Giants to ever rise again, they must find the next Manning, and that means trying out a younger QB. Yesterday, the Giants trotted out Geno Smith, but that's a fraud. The real next QB is either Webb Davis - a rookie - or the Giants' first pick in the 2018 draft. The team has no choice but to try out replacements. People can scream about showing Eli respect, but 2-9 doesn't buy much of an argument. The streak was going to end soon. This week? Next week? What difference does it make? 

Listen: I'll miss Eli. No way around it. Those two Super Bowl victories were the greatest moments in NY sports since Johnny Damon's grand slam off Javier Vasquez, the moment of the Big Barf. It is time for the universal polarity to be reset, and for the Yankees to rise again. The original Curse began with a guy named Babe. Now, his Japanese counterpart is coming to America. Damn it, I don't care whether Otani is any good: We better fucking sign him and bring light back to the Yankiverse. If somehow, for some reason, George Herman Otani signs with Boston... dear God, folks, our 2nd Oblivion might outlive Eli's streak.   

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Aaron Judge staying busy this winter

He's fighting on behalf of our great banks!

He's no "chicken" when it comes
to "hatching" productive agriculture!

He's promoting technology!

And he's goddamm sick of that Aug. Co. trial!

Meanwhile, in Queens....

(From commentator HoraceClarke66)

Meanwhile, there is always the Mets' braintsrust:

News Item: Mets may pursue Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani.

We now take you deep into the bowels of the stadium formerly known as Shea, where the Mets’ crack braintrust, Jeff “Wooster” Wilpon and Sandy “Jeeves” Alderson plot their strategy for pursuing Shohei Ohtani.

Wooster Wilpon rushes down into the Mets’ Special Crack Strategy Room, a copy of the New York Post in hand. He cracks his head on the lintel, but charges in anyway, tossing the paper down on the table where Jeeves Alderson is arranging and re-arranging players’ names.

WOOSTER: Jeeves, did you see this outrageous drivel?

JEEVES: Are you referring to the editorials, sir?

W: (puzzled) “Editorials,” Jeeves?

J: Never mind, sir.

W: (squinting at Alderson) I say, Jeeves, what ARE you doing?

J: Preparing our offer for Giancarlo Stanton, sir.

W: (Turning bright red and clutching his heart) GIANCARLO STANTON?! But, but, he has a $295 million contract, Jeeves!

J: Yes, sir.

W: We can’t afford to pay that!

J: No, sir.

W: (Frowning) So what ARE you offering for him?

J: Two middle relievers, sir, a Christmas ham, and an infielder who I believe goes by the appellation of Asdrubal Cabrera.

W: (Trying to place the name) “Asdrubal Cabrera.” Where have I heard that before?

J: He will be our third baseman this year, sir.

W: That’s right! So—do you expect that the Marlins to accept your offer?

J: The Christmas ham IS awfully alluring, sir. But no, sir, I do not expect Mr. Jeter to accept the offer.

W: (Relieved) Oh, that’s good, Jeeves. (Frowns again) So, why are you making it then?

J: So that our fans will think we are actually doing something, sir.

W: Brilliant, Jeeves! Absolutely brilliant! (Remembers what he came for, and rattles the Post at him) But what about THIS?

J: A deplorable publication, sir. And the print comes off on one’s hands.

W: No, Jeeves! I mean where it says you haven’t “ruled out pursuing” this Oriental individual!

J: Indeed, sir. In the same sense that I have not “ruled out pursuing” Ms. Eva Mendes, should she present herself at the door and beg me to accompany her to the opera.

W: (Points to “newspaper” again) But it says here, Jeeves, that we will have to post $20 million just to compete for this Nipponese hurler!

J: “Posting” does not involve the transfer of any actual money, sir. (He picks up a Monopoly money twenty, and writes ‘MILLION’ on it.) Do you see, sir? We might as well be giving them this.

W: (Cautiously pocketing the Monopoly money, before rapping his “newspaper” again.) But it says in here that you think “it’s going to be fascinating to see what happens.”

J: Yes, sir. In the sense that we are all fascinated by the roilings and writhings of the great world.

W: But you say, “I don’t think there is a downside into looking into it.” Well, what about THAT, Jeeves? No downside, eh?

J: And if you will kindly read the next part of the quote, sir…

W: (Reads) “I think the only downside is creating a false set of expectations among fans that have to be tempered. This guy can go to any one of 30 teams.”

J: Exactly, sir.

W: (Looks puzzled) I don’t understand, Jeeves. Are you saying that our fans need to be tempered, or their expectations?

J: Exactly, sir.

W: They have you saying: ‘”the foundation is baseball, but it’s entertainment and to see somebody with talent do potentially what others have not been able to do, that will be an exciting experience for the team involved, as well as the rest of baseball.’

Why, this sort of gibberish could come right out of the mouths of that bloke on “Game of Thrones.” You know—the one who is always speaking in the third person, and throwing around people’s spare faces!

J: Thank you, sir.

Brian Cashman named Yankee Executive of the Year

The first base situation... before everything goes blooey

Let's face it. We either have one of the top slugging 1Bs in baseball or an injury-prone washout. It's Greg Bird, Greg Bird, Greg Bird. That's all. Greg Bird. He flies or he dies. Greg Bird.

Two weeks ago, he turned 25. Thus far, over 304 MLB at bats, he has 20 home runs. Not bad. His .190 batting average in 2017 was skewed by a bum ankle - he hit .100 before the all-star break and .253 afterward. But hell, you know all this. This will be Year III of waiting on Bird. If he tweaks a gonad and he misses a few moons, we can't wait forever.

Still... here's the wet dream: Bird becomes the LH bat between Judge and Sanchez in a lineup as potent as anything since Mantle and Maris. Yeah, it's just fantasy, but don't wake me up. If George Herman Otani signs, the weakest link of our lineup could be Glyber Torres at 3B. Close your eyes and think this: Gardy, Judge, Bird, Sanchez, Otani, Castro, Didi, Hicks, Glyber. Ahh, but it's just a Victoria's Secret fantasy for now.

So... after Bird, our first base options are... hm-mm.... not so dreamy.

1. Tyler Austin (26). A lost year in 2017. Hit .225. Could end up rotting in Scranton. Must envy Garrett Cooper, who was traded for a bucket of fried chicken. Scranton again? Oh, God...

2. Chase Headley (33). His last season on Yankee contract. Hit .273 last year (fourth highest on team, behind Didi, Judge and Sanchez.) Could be traded to clear space, but probably will stay, because we won't get squat, and he gives us flexibility at 3B and 1B. Still, I believe it's significant that Yanks preferred Todd Frazier last October. It's as if they lost confidence in Head Casely at 3B.

3. Billy McKinney (23). Played 1B part time in Arizona fall league. Hit enough to get added to 40-man roster. Still not sure what we have here. Was once a Top 40 prospect in MLB, then hurt leg and faded. Hit .306 with 10 HR at Scranton last year in 209 ABs. Lefty. Very interesting. What if he just tears the International League apart? (Oops, wet-dreaming again.)

4. Mike Ford (25). Princeton guy. Jersey guy. Reached Scranton last June, hit .266 with 7 HR in 94 AB. Bats left. Slow mover. Draws lots of walks. I dunno. Make or break season, and will he even get at-bats?

5. Ryan McBroom (25). The guy we got for... drum roll, please... Brigadoon Refsnyder! Hit .247 with 16 HRs in Double A. Hits right. A bit old to be in Trenton. Supposedly a great fielder. Lost in shuffle?

6. Chris Gittens (23). Big guy - 6'4" - hit 13 HRs at Tampa. Could start in Trenton. Hits right. Looks good coming off bus. If he broke out... well... anything could happen, I suppose. But he's two years away, at least.

7. Isiah Gilliam (21). Might play OF. From great sports family - Junior Gilliam (Dodgers), Joe Gilliam (Steelers), Armen Gilliam (76ers). Not this year. But watch for this name. He could be a fast-mover.

8. The usual as-yet-unsigned minor league veteran. Last year it was Gi-Man Choi. Every year, we grab one, and they often play 1B. This year, though, McBroom, Ford and Austin should battle for Scranton supremacy, and at least one of them will likely be tossed back to Trenton limbo. Not sure we need another Chris Parmelee. Oh well... 

Greg Bird. Did I mention Greg Bird?

Monday, November 27, 2017

The bullpen... before everything goes blooey

This we know: Soon, all will change. Once dominoes start tumbling - most notably the fate of George Herman Otani, every molecule across the Yankiverse will be altered, including the bullpen. But for now, today, before the storm, here's where everything stands (and, frankly, it's cause for concern. We could be staring at our downfall.)

1. Aroldis Chapman (age 29). Year two of a troubling 5-season-deal ($17.2 million per.) In late July, he crumbled. Horrible blown saves? No lead was safe. Could be that no closers go an entire season anymore. But now that every team has a guy - maybe two - throwing 100-mph, Chapman isn't so scary. (Aside that he scares us.) What do we have?

2. Dellin Betances (29). Colossal breakdown. Is he why Girardi was fired? As a closer, is he even viable? His trade value is nothing. We have to bring him back, hope for the best. But when he walks that lead-off man... good grief, if he goes 2-0 on the lead-off man... get people warming.

3. David Robertson (32). Showed a flash of old Yankee self after the trade, but Chicago knew what it was doing. Right now, if Chapman tanks, he must carry us. Realistically, how far does he go?

4. Chad Green (26). Will try out in Tampa as a starter. Hope that doesn't make him Joba II.

5. Tommy Kahnle (27). Could he close? Might be the most important bullpen pitcher we have.

5. Adam Warren (30.) Old reliable in long relief. In case of injury, Bryan Mitchell (26).

6. Chasen Shreve (27). If the season started today, the best option we have against LH bats, which is ridiculous. Never been a LOOGY, never will be. 

7. Ben Heller (26), Jonathan Holder (24), Gio Gallegos (26), Domingo German (24). Luis Cessa (25). Pick one from this group. All others go to Scranton. (Note: This is why we traded Nick Rumbelow.) 

8. The cagey, as yet unsigned, veteran lefty. Every year, the Yankees bring in one. Last year, Tommy Layne. Let's hope it's somebody better. Who knows?

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The starting rotation... before everything goes blooey

In the next six weeks, everything will change. We must cling to the Yankee-promoted belief that the Yankees will sign the Japanese Babe Ruth - and CC, too. But for now - today, right now, this instant - here's our list of potential starters.

Keep in mind than any could be lost to injury. In fact, it's wise to expect at least one to fall.

1. Sevy. The breakout ace. Future Cy Young? He's 23. Fuck, yeah.  

2. Tanaka. The loyal soldier. He's 29, and he'll certainly vouch for us in talks with Shohei Otani. He could have walked. If he regains his 2016 form, we'd have two aces, TWO!

3. Sonny Gray. The disappointment (thus far). No idea what to make of him. Why, why, why do these high-priced starters that Cashman finds seem to have pitched themselves out with other teams? He's 28.

4. Jordan Montgomery. The forgotten Yankee rookie of 2017. If he improves, would be a solid third starter. He'll turn 25 next month.

5. Chad Green. The experiment. Why the hell not? He's 26, will get full shot in spring training.

6. Chance Adams (23). Last year at Scranton: 11-5, 2.89. Certainly deserves a shot.

7. Luis Cessa (25). Was originally the more valued piece in the Chad Green deal. Went 0-3 with 4.75 ERA last year. Hey, you never know. 

8. Bryan Mitchell (27). Lost cause in 2017. Was supposed to be our next Adam Warren. Supposedly has high-spin ratio on his curve ball, whatever that means. 

9. Adam Warren (30). Always overlooked. Could he be our last Adam Warren and the next one too?

10. Justus Sheffield (22). Our best pitching prospect. Had great season in Arizona Fall League. Maybe by August?

11. Domingo German (25). Pitched 7 games last year for Yankees. Almost surely to start in Scranton, but then?

12. Domingo Acevedo (23). He's a walrus, 6'7", moved from Tampa to Trenton to Scranton last year. Pitched 2 games at Triple A - 1-1, 4.38.

13. Albert Abreu (22). High ceiling, would have to streak through system, probably will start in Tampa.

14. Brady Lail (24), Nestor Cortez 22), Josh Rogers (23), Jose Mesa (24), Cale Coshow (25), Caleb Frare (24) - fixtures in Scranton. Any could get taken in Rule 5 draft. But they might be returned.

15. The annual late 30s free agent reclamation project. We always sign one to a minor league deal, and he'd one of the last cuts in camp. Last year: Jonathan Niese. This year...? 

15. Dillon Tate. He's 23, once the top-drafted pitching prospect in America. Missed Arizona league for unknown reasons. Hey, you never know...

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Latest Poll...

Which will you have first?

1.  Tree from forest?

2.  New Yankee manager?

3.  Hangover?

4.  Indigestion?

5.  Gifts to return?

6.  Scorn from family for Holiday behavior?

7.  New puppy?

8.  Frostbite?


Hubris... the last barrier to 2018

Lately, I've seen so many headlines shouting that the Yankees are faves to sign the Japanese Babe Ruth that I'm ready to pencil him into the rotation and the batting order. This is crazy. Everybody says he's destined for NYC. Everybody says it's a certainty. But the last time everybody said anything similar was back when Yoan Moncada was a lock for Pinstripes, and the Redsocks picked our pockets, revealing Food Stamps Steinbrenner to the world, and to this day, he lives on in Boston under the name "Chris Sale."

Lately, I keep reading that the Yankee farm system is exploding with talent, a tsunami wave of young stars, the next big thing... but the other day, John Sickels ranked them 8th - not second or third, as the Yankiverse has come to expect - and all it will take is a rash of Tommy Johns, and we're back to Coulter Bean and Zolio Almonte. Judge is recovering from shoulder surgery. Montgomery threw far more innings last year than anybody expected. Can Clint Frazier really make a difference? And what the hell will be do with Jacoby Ellsbury?

I keep hearing how the Yankees are so smart by running their managerial search like a reality TV show, but I'm starting to wonder if something has gone wrong, and that our first choices were either snapped up by other teams or turned us down. I'm not worried - yet - but seriously, if Rob Thomson is named manager and Larry Rothschild returns as pitching coach, what will have changed? I really thought we'd see a new style of management. Now, not so sure. And come July 1, all this optimism might look really stupid.


Friday, November 24, 2017

IT IS HIGH Holiday Gift Giving Guide: What the Yankees need this Black Friday

1. A general manager who isn't afraid to pull the trigger on trades.

2. An all-star second-baseman 

3. A manager who can charm Suzyn in the pre-game show.

4. A young CC Sabathia

5. A clubhouse presence with a keen understanding of Latino players.

6. A young announcer who can someday take over for The Master.

7. A way to convince Shohei Otani not to sign with the Texas Rangers.

8. A potential replacement for Suzyn.

9. An owner willing to spend.

10. Just a doggone happy face!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Drinksgiving, everybody

Don't let anybody say "Merry Drinksgiving." If they say that, punch them. 

We will win the war on Drinksgiving. And then prepare for the war to come.

Get ready for the big war!

This year, hoist a drink to...

1. The Master

2. His Acolyte

3. The Sunoco Broadcast Booth

4. The great Yankee tradition

5. The Yankee ownership

6. Our next manager

7. The Opposition

8. Our incredible athletes

9. Aaron Judge

10. IT IS HIGH readers everywhere!
Give yourselves a hand!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Bird Wins !

We shall all be eating this before the Yankees have a new manager, or co-managers, or Russian twin managers, or a woman manager.

Do the math.

Eat the Bird.

Praise the Bird.

Sing to the Bird.

Invite Greg to dinner.

MLB All-Thanksgiving Team

1B   Stuffy McInnis
2B   Damian Rolls
SS   Joe Bean
3B   Spud Johnson

OF   Lawrence Plenty
OF   Turkey Stearnes
OF   Cranbarry Bonds

C    Yam Yaryan

RHP  Paul Stuffel, Tom Butters
LHP  Bob Sprout, Beany Jacobson

Mgr.  Pie Traynor 

The cheapest bidding war in baseball history is about to begin

As the baseball world prepares for the Japanese Babe Ruth, let us now praise those great men - the wisest and most courageous among us - who own. 

O, they are a special breed of man. They are wondrous in their magnitude, enormous in their value to society. Every day, they do the impossible: They own. The sit atop magnificent shit piles of money, occasionally shifting weight on their powdered fanny cheeks, to keep everything upright. We can see them up their in the clouds, sometimes deigning to tell us their plans through the assembled sportswriters. Make no mistake: They always win. They own us.

And remember that war between the owners and players - aka: employees - well, it's over. They won. 

Somehow, these pillars of capitalism managed to finagle the international posting rules between USA and Japan so that Shohei Otani's team - aka: the owner - will receive a mountain of money - about $20 million - but Otani's income will be capped at around $3.5 million, roughly the compensation for a utility infielder with bad knees. In a few years, he'll be able to cash-in, as long as he hasn't thrown out his shoulder or broken an ankle. In the meantime, I hope he can afford insurance.

Because the Texas Rangers somehow have accumulated the most international pool money to spend - $3,535,000 - that's Otani's pie-in-the-sky limit. That's because those free market owners happen to love payroll and salary caps as much as they do public-supported tax breaks. And Texas can outspend the Yankees by $35,000, clam dip money. 

To succeed, the Yankees must recruit Otani through the luster and romance of New York City, but let's be honest: If the guy loves floods and mass shootings, we cannot compete with Texas.

Of course, all this is complicated. Get out your abacus. But remember that longstanding feud between the the owners and players is a thing of the last millennium. Yeah, there are always a few overpaid and insufferable players - the media-hating David Prices and that turncoat out in Seattle, the one who jogs out grounders - but we cannot complain about how much the owners bank, because we don't get to see their bottom lines. We can only see their bottoms, winking at us from atop the shit pile.

So let the bidding war begin. The Yankees hereby bid $3.5 million and all the Cuomos one can stomach. Can it beat the annual flood of the century and Rick Perry? 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The weirdness of trusting Cashman

Strange times. Yesterday, the Yankees made two certifiably crappy trades, dealing MLB-ready prospects for dirt league lottery picks - or as old Rumsfeld would put it, "known unknowns" for "unknown unknowns" - and here's the crazy part: I'm okay with it. No... I endorse it!

Yes, I'm happy. I say, "O, fiddle-dee-dee! Cue the sun! That's China Town, Jake!" 

No, I haven't chewed through my bindings. I haven't quit the meds, and this not me texting from a traffic circle, hurtling naked in my car at Judge Jeanine speeds. I'm pleased - yes, happy, happy, happy! - watching the goldfish bowl, while Mr. Cashman makes his deals. He's doing a wonderful job, Mr. Cashman is. Wait? Did I say that already? No? Well, he's doing a wonderful job, Mr. Cashman is. Oh, now I am being silly! It's just that - well - in this newly giddy Yankiverse, Mr. Cashman makes the deals, and I endorse them from my IT IS HIGH tuffet, eating my curds and whey. Everything is - as the kids say - "groovy." Why, the other day, we traded solid Nick Rumbelow for a teenager named "Then," and I didn't go Abbott & Costello and shout, "Then WHAT?" No, I said, "What a fine trade, and what a kind and wonderful fellow is this Brian Cashman; I wonder... will he not be inducted into Cooperstown someday?"

Yes, I'm declawed. I'm without bile or bite. This Thanksgiving, we will gather around the turkey and give thanks to Mr. Cashman for his bountiful harvest of Yankee optimism. Every week is Hope Week. All is going as planned. Everybody knows that the Yankees' farm system is such a deep wellspring of talent that Mr. Cashman must deal off players - like a nuke plant releasing steam - to save us from losing them in the Rule 5 draft. It's smart, it's sassy, it's Mr. Cashman! once again, outsmarting those Mariners and Marlins. I have entered a Yankycodone delirium, where everybody trusts Mr. Cashman and it is... um... have I said that Mr. Cashman is doing a wonderful job?

Comrades, this is strange territory - trusting the Yankee front office. It's like strapping on the new jet pack to fly over the volcano. Everything is fine. We came within a game - hell, within a pitch here and there - of the World Series, and frankly, we gave the Astros a tougher row than the Dodgers did. We have three of the game's rising sluggers - Judge, Sanchez, Bird - plus a Cy Young candidate named Severino, and forget the Core 4; once Glyber and Clint arrive, we could have the Big Six or Magnificent Seven. Yesterday, Mr. Cashman made the necessary deals to protect six roster slots, a great job he is doing, Mr. Cashman is.

Strange times, all around. Every day, some male icon of morality turns out to be a masturbatory creep, and while some crumble from the public humiliation, others redefine hypocrisy with their rage-filled sanctimonious denials. The skies are filled with jet trail penises, Lil Peep is dead, and I sit here, drunken in my newly found trust of Mister Cashman. Have I told you that he is doing a wonderful job?

Monday, November 20, 2017

Godzilla to recruit Japanese Babe Ruth, and other meaningless hearsay

Big day in the Yankiverse, as the base readies for turkey.

1. At a baseball clinic, Hideki Matsui tells reporters he will help the Yankees try to sign Shohei Otani. To me, that means one thing: The Benihana Steakhouse! As The Master once insisted: It's not just a meal, it's an experience! If the Yankees can get Godzila and Babe together over sushi... well... it's an upper-decky from Hideki. (No word on whether Kei Igawa will join the Bomber recruitment team.)

2. Theoretically, MLB today learns whether Otani will become a free agent for 2018. Not sure I believe this timeline. Lawyers involved. Seems like we've been hearing for weeks that it was on, then off, then on. Wouldn't it be nice to know he was in the fold?

3. Today, MLB teams must finalize rosters to protect players before the December Rule 5 draft, which will likely be a huge Yankee bloodletting. We could lose two or three prospects, as teams follow Houston Astros tanking strategy: Piss all over your fans, finish last, draft high and eventually you're a genius. Last year, the San Diego Padres took Luis Torrens and sat him on the bench all season, effectively playing a 24-man roster. Teams will pick over our farm system like a wave of ants. Thus, a prediction: Before the day is done, the Yankees will trade Scranton OF Jake Cave for a handful of magic beans. They need roster space more than another fleet-footed LH outfielder, and while it's sad, it beats losing Cave for nothing. 

4. Get this: Peter Gammons says the Yankees are among the front-runners to sign starter Alex Cobb, a claim that seemingly runs contrary to everything Hal Steinbrenner and Coop Cashman have said recently. Cobb will demand a big, lengthy contract, almost certainly vaulting the Yankees back over the luxury tax threshold that ruins Food Stamps Hal's morning coffee. Not saying Gammons is wrong; he once turned me on to Susan Tedeschi. But maybe he thinks this is 1997? 

5. Keep looking up! Maybe the Navy is drawing a penis in the sky.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Why the South hates the North

"Then there is this pocket of TV viewers in Mississippi, who will be shown Kansas City at the Giants. The Giants are a very bad team, and the Chiefs are not exactly Mississippi’s team."

The looming Yankee super mutant

We hear a lot these days about the well-stocked Yankee farm system, and often, you have to wonder if it's not just the usual NYC crapola. The fact is, when the Gammonites start unfurling their superlatives, the New York Giants can enter a season as Super Bowl faves. Besides, prospects are a hard thing to rank or quantify. For example, since Glyber Torres last season went down with an elbow injury, he has actually risen in some rankings, now to the top in baseball. You'd think missing time, plus an elbow injury, would cause a decline in his rating. But not in New York, eh?

Yesterday, another sign emerged of the popping system, when the Yankees traded Nick Rumbelow to Seattle for two younger no-names. They did this to clear a spot on the 40-man roster, because they weren't going to protect Rumbelow, and he was almost certainly going to be picked in next month's Rule 5 draft. But still... does that really mean the system is a deep as some are claiming?

Let's consider a prospect you've probably heard little about: First baseman Isiah Gilliam. To my knowledge, he's made no Top 25 Yankee prospect lists. I'm not even sure he's in the top 40.  

At low A Charleston last year, the 20-year-old Gilliam hit 15 HRs and batted .275. Not exactly Elvis, but not bad either. He's a switch-hitter and, at 6'3" and 220 pounds, certainly looks good coming off the bus. 

The Yankees took him in the 20th round of the 2015 draft, and each season, he's risen one rank. Nothing spectacular, just a steady climb. 

He'll probably start the season in High A Tampa and, if he hits, end it in Trenton. In 2019, he could be knocking on the door from Scranton... if he hits, that is. And there are no guarantees.

But here's the deal: Check out the DNA bloodlines. 

Isiah Gilliam. Write it down.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Boone, Bam Bam, Wedgie, Thomson... will it ever end?

This was the original Vegas odds sheet, shortly after Girardi's firing.
Good thing you didn't lay down your money, eh?
At the rate we're going, the Yankees will name their new manager on June 1, when we're eight games out under the interim House of Larry Rothschild. I mean, this is crazy! Who expected this talent search to still be chugging along after Thanksgiving? It's already outlasted Kevin Spacey, Robert Mugabe and the 2017 Jersey Giants. And look! Look what's happening: This rudderless world is going mad. People are seeing penises in the sky! An Italian doctor is ready to transplant human heads. (Alphonso? Are you ready?) It was bad enough to have Roy Moore and Al Franken accused of womanizing - (in Moore's case, "girl-izing") - but now... Ryan Seacrest? Say it aint so! This is what happens when the Yankees go skipperless. Rifts open with the Yankee Matrix. Every day, thousands of lifelong Yank fans collapse in nursing homes, hospitals and Lazy-Boy recliners, never even learning who will be 2018 Yankee Manager. Their ghosts shall walk the earth, shaking eternity fists in the direction of Tampa and demanding to know the hell who is fucking things up now? 

The Vegas odds chart upstairs ran shortly after Joe Girardi's firing. If it didn't look like bullshit then, it sure does now. No sign of Eric Wedge, Hensley Meulens or Aaron Boone - three of the four candidates who thus far have publicly French-kissed Brian Cashman's ring. (The Dodgers Chris Woodward is said to be on the list of future interviews.) It's possible that Rob Thomson - then considered the front-runner - has been the secret pick all-along, and everything else is just auditions for The Voice. Thomson was first to visit the Inner Sanctum. But really... at this point, who knows anything?

What we do know is that Joe Espada, one of the original leaders, has taken a job with the Houston Astros. Probably, somebody whispered that his number would not be called. A few others - Tim Naering, Jason Giambi and A-Rod - have taken their names out of consideration. John Flaherty and David Cone tossed their hats into the ring at a charity function, but that was press fodder, and I'm not sure if either ever made the real list. Supposedly, more names are coming. It's hard to believe the front office wouldn't even interview Al Pedrique, acclaimed manager at Scranton for the last two years. He's still holding out hope. But if they don't even bring him in, what does it say about his future in the organization?

If there is a dark horse, my guess would be Jay Bell, who until a few days ago was busy managing a handful of Yankee prospects in the Arizona Fall League. That would have delayed any interview he could have arranged. But jeez, I dunno. Having missed the penis in the sky, I'm just hoping to live long enough to know the answers, rather than to spend my eternity whining about Girardi, when he's not even there. Howl, howl, howl...