Monday, April 30, 2018

The 195-pound gorilla in the room...

As our Peerless Leader has pointed out, we are facing a dire threat of being too healthy.

I think that, thank JuJu, our kids have performed too well for even Coops to deal them, which makes the basic outline of this Yankees team clear.

El Matador and El Conquistador stay. Austin returns and retains his stewardship of first base for the day that Aragorn, I mean Greg Bird, returns. Then he backs up the position and the corner outfield spots.

This means that Neil the White Walker and, yes, Jacoby, have to go, one way or the other—assuming that by now Jacoby has not drowned in the whirlpool bath and simply been overlooked by the clubhouse attendants down in Tampa.

I really like Tyler Too, and would hate to see him gone. But let's face it: .129 with no power in 101 plate appearances? I know a certain, cranky individual will tell me that's not nearly enough reps, and  I'm sure he's right. But rookies who go that long before the back-up engine kicks in crash, and burn.

As of now, of course, Wade has zero trade value, so keep him around until he looks better in Scranton.  But then...

Also, Ma Boone and Coops are going to have to consider a way to get by with a mere 48 percent of the roster devoted to pitching. Tough it out, guys. I know you can do it.

BUT...that still leaves us with the dilemma of what to do should Red Thunder and/or Billy McKinney get back to Dunder Mifflin Land and start raking, a consummation that is devoutly to be wished.

What then?

Well, this is something that nobody wants to hear, including me.  But there's another guy on our roster who turns 35 in August and right now has 1 homer and 2 stolen bases, and 6 ribbies in 120 plate appearances.

A guy who is batting .208 with a .604 OPS. Whose entire history is one of breaking down in the second half. Who can be a free agent after this year anyway.

I know, I know. Brett Gardner is such a likable guy, such a valuable piece as a number four outfielder, that I hate the thought of trading him, too. And chances are, we won't have to...mostly because he'll probably land on the DL again before we try.

But it may be time to consider that HIS up. No, we don't need to rush into any decisions on this. But...

The Yankees greatest fear could be... gulp... health

Yesterday, in scattered locations across the Yankiverse, the horizon boiled with impending storms. 

In Scranton, Brandon Drury doubled and walked. In Tampa, Clint Frazier homered. And wherever they are, Greg Bird and Jacoby Ellsbury likely set new personal highs on Minecraft. Soon, all four could be knocking on the door, with no room at the Yankee Inn.

Before continuing, let me acknowledge that is is a pure, unadulterated First World problem, the kind most GMs would kill to have. Overcrowded rosters don't stay that way. Gonads are always getting tweaked, and the reality is that too many cooks don't ruin the broth; one gets pushed in, adding a strange, rather unsavory taste. 

But with nine wins in a row, it's time to wonder - gulp - what if everyone gets healthy?

Drury is closest to a return - maybe even tomorrow. He could replace Neil Walker, who has swung the bat like Neil Sedaka. But maybe not. Walker plays 1B and switch hits, adding a LH bat in a right-tilting lineup. (They claim Drury can play 1B, but in his four year career, he's played only one game at that position.) If Drury replaces Walker, we might be better off talent-wise, but are we balanced? Why keep two RH first basemen? (Three, if you add Austin Romine.) Also, realistically, can Walker be that bad? 

Maybe Drury will "spell" Miguel Andujar at 3B. That's a defensive improvement (I think.) Offensively, not so sure. Everyone knows that Andujar needs to play every day. Does that mean sending him to Scranton? Have you seen Tyler Wade's death spiral in Triple A? He's hitting .158, clearly disillusioned. He's gone from being the breakout star of Yankee camp to a career-blocked afterthought. Would the Yankees exile Andujar to the same fate? That's bad juju, folks.

Maybe they'll drop one of their 13 pitchers. AJ Cole, for example! But that will leave Aaron Boone one extra-inning marathon meltdown from summoning another arm? It's early in the season to be going through pitchers like popcorn.

Then there is Frazier, who looks to be a few weeks away. Theoretically, he can play the summer at Scranton. (Next to Billy McKinney, who should also return eventually.) But what if Red Thunder goes on a certifiable hitting tear? The Yankees could promote him and go with five outfielders (like many other teams), but still... somebody's gotta go? Can't be Romine. Shouldn't be Ronald Torreyes. Walker?

Then... oh, shit... I forgot about Bird. He should return in May, reshuffling the infield. Does Bird reclaim 1B or platoon with the incredible Tyler Austin? And finally, there is Ellsbury, whom our outfield needs like Trump needs another porn scandal. He would add speed and guile, I guess. Moreover, the Yankees will want to showcase Ellsbury for other teams. If he hits, maybe somebody will take him. But who gets thrown overboard?

What I'm avoiding here is the dreaded "t word:" Trade. Soon, Cooperstown Cashman could be flush with position players and - unless Sonny Gray improves - the Yankees will be glaringly weak in the rotation. Many fans blame Cashman for trading three prospects for Gray. In fact, Cash's career pursuit of "power arms" has been his greatest blind spot. Still, he might have no other choice. 

Brace yourselves. If the Yankees get too healthy, something's gotta give. 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

To keep Andujar, we need a nickname

That would really secure his status as a Yankee.

I have a proposal, based on the wonderful flair with which he twirls his bat around after lining yet another double:

El Matador.

Andujar el Matador. He hits with the showmanship and style of the great matadors.

Plus, they could then start playing Los Fabulosos Cadillacs kick-ass hit, "El Matador," whenever he came to the plate, and get the stands rocking.

Who could ever trade El Matador?

And hey, after that, we could dub Torres, "El Conquistador," and play the great Procol Harum song.

El Matador and El Conquistador. You heard it here first.

I've got nothing to say but it's okay, good morning...

Over the last eight games, the Yankees have outscored their opponents by a score of 62 to 17.

They have gained 4 and 1/2 games on Boston.

Gleyber Torres (7-0) has yet to lose a Major League game.

They have done it with backup players at 3B and 1B, and with their cleanup batter hitting .236, and the following hitter, just .207.

If the season ended today, Didi Gregorius would win the Triple Crown. He is tied for the lead in homers (10), leads in RBIs (30) and is tied for the batting title (.356.)

This cannot last forever. Nor can it get much better. In fact, the only problem I have is that these last two wins happened on the West Coast, where nobody can see them. If a tree falls on the West Coast, does it make a sound?

Thank you, juju gods. I am pleasantly sated. That said, one more, please?

Saturday, April 28, 2018

A Yankee Fan's Prayer

Now I lay me down to sleep,

       (A.k.a., I try to watch a west coast game,)
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
       (I pray Cashman tradeth not prospects for some flashy name,)
If I should die before I 'wake,
       (Because that last brandy hath me twitching,)
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
       (If Cashman giveth up prospects, may he at least get pitching.)

Two Huge YWs !

Yesterday, two close acquaintances and I decided to sample some local California wines.

We began in early afternoon, and concluded about the 7th inning of the Yankee game, whereupon I ate a cannibis-laced ginger cookie.

I gave up on the Yankees when Stanton refused to hit a go ahead homer in the 8th, and we entered inning nine down a run.  It seemed our " run," combined with the cross country trip, might have steamrolled us.

The last bottle of Pino Noir still beckoned.  And, with a "cannibis push," it seemed right to uncork again.  By now, of course, I am flying solo.

Soon after, I crashed.  My dreams were bad, given that I was sure the Yankees were just getting beat by a better team.  In a way, Minnesota no longer counted.

As dawn broke, I read a pleasing note on this blog about some pop up falling in for the Yankees.  I continued my mad research and learned that DIDI did it again in inning 10.

I mean, we have come from behind to win at the eleventh hour now, twice, in our last two games.

That is really encouraging.

 And Andujar got back on track with two doubles, both essential in the win.  Not to mention
that " Brigadoon" helped Toronto beat Boston.  That 17-2 start now translates into a 3 game lead.  A pennant race.

Lastly, the Giants ( NFL ) got smarter on Day 2, and thereby made day 1 better.

Back to whiskey today?

Such choices....

What Did Ma Boone Know and When Did He Know It?

It continues to amaze me how often the Yankees get screwed on calls in the video-replay era.

Stanton left early? Sez who? Not any replay I saw.

The question on that play was, what did Boone know, and what did he say?

Ma makes out that it was his bad: once he found out that the run counted, he "forgot" that he could have challenged the call at second base, too.

Did he really?

Was what we saw the doofus fumblings of a rookie manager—high possibility—or a sneaky pete piece of misdirection?

Did Boone realize that, if the whole play was reviewed, not only was Stanton going to be outrageously called out at second—c'mon, is there any replay in the world that can really discern the precise millisecond his foot left the bag as compared to the precise millisecond the ball hit Calhoun's glove?—then probably, yeah, someone was going to determine that Didi was not quite home yet?

Did Ma Boone save us a run, or cost a runner—and how intentional was it?

I can't vouch for intention. But I do think that, had that whole play been reviewed, we were in for another Royal Pineappling.

With Baltimore's collapse a certainty, the 2018 Yankees are merely in a BEFORE MANNY mode

Sometimes, numbers spook us. For example, did you know that in 29 years, at our current rate of consumption, the oceans will run out of seafood? (Actually, this won't bother me; by then, I'll be in a rec room, eating creamed corn, grunting unintelligibly, and - if I'm lucky - privately reliving the Bucky Dent game.)

Sometimes, numbers rile us. Did you know that 77 percent of Republicans say they get angry at least once a day? It's true, and you know what, that really pisses me off. WHAT DO THEY HAVE TO BE ANGRY ABOUT? THEY'VE GOT ALL THE MONEY. THEY'VE GOT THE WHOLE FUCKING GOVERNMENT FOR SALE. THEY'VE GOT THE POWER, YET THEY'RE WHINING? FUCK THAT! 

Sorry. I'm okay now. I took a pill.

Sometimes, numbers tell us what we already know. For example: The numbers up top tell us that Didi Gregorius is baseball's best shortstop, bar none, period, book'm Dano! In fact, Sir Didi might be the game's best player. Exclamation point, right on, motherfucker! Of course, it's April, and let's not ruin anybody with expectations based on a month. Still, thus far in 2018, only one other shortstop comes close - Mr. Manny Machado - and frankly, the world still see him playing third. 

Here are some gruesome numbers: The Orioles are 7-19, last in the AL East, and 12-and-a-half games out. Manny's time in Baltimore is dwindling. At this rate, I doubt the front office will wait until July to put him on the block. (The earlier he goes, the more they can demand.) A nuclear bomb is about to explode in some divisional race near you. And considering the stakes, it's feasible to imagine Baltimore doing what would have once seemed unfathomable: Trading Manny to the Yankees.

Now, a number of things would have to happen. Machado would have to accept a return to 3B, because Didi isn't moving. But Cooperstown Cashman would certainly offer at least three young players whose future in the organization would be virtually blocked by Manny's arrival: Miguel Andujar, Tyler Wade and Brandon Drury. Throw in a Clint Frazier or Justus Sheffield, and the deal could get done. It sickens me to think of Baltimore rising on the backs of the Yankee farm system - didn't they do that in the 1970s with Scott McGregor, Tippy Martinez and Rick Dempsey? - but I ask you: Does anyone not think it will happen?

There is one huge uncertainty. Machado, 25, will be a free agent next winter. Before a trade, would Baltimore give the Yankees a window to try and sign Manny to a long-term contract? And if so, could it happen? (They'd have to be careful, because too much money could vault them past the luxury tax threshold.) If he's a three-month rental, the price would drop... that is, unless an insane bidding war evolves. For the Yankees, that's the worst-case scenario. We blow our entire system for a rental. And again, I ask you: Does anyone not think this will happen?  

Frankly, I hope it doesn't. I don't wish Machado harm, but I find myself hoping he tweaks a gonad around July 1, forcing him to miss three months. That would squash a universe-altering mid-season trade. Nothing gives more joy than a homegrown Yankee, and watching the 1990's ascension of Bernie, Mariano and Jeter was a great thrill. Even if our prospects fail - a few surely will, Tyler Wade sure looks shaky - I'd rather we wait until winter to sign Machado. But let's not kid ourselves. The gorilla is in the room. The clouds are forming on the horizon. The 2018 pennant race will feature a BEFORE MANNY and an AFTER MANNY. And no team will be more affected than the Yankees. 

When JuJu Gods Collide

Don't you love it when two or three fielders on the other team collide? Not so they get hurt. Or maybe not so they collide at all, but pull up juuuust short at the last moment, and let the ball fall in?

That's what happened on the JuJu Olympus last night.

There was, I dunno, Dr. Bogadun, waving yet ANOTHER front of cold, wet weather into the New York area. Tight shoulders, aching elbows, pulled whammies, knee-wrecking slides were all in the lineup, just waiting to happen.

But wait a minute! Dr. Bogadun had misread the schedule. ODUMODU already had the Yankees winging their way toward L.A., for that first, awful, West Coast road trip.

But wait! Here comes ANOTHER JuJu god, say, Baron Samedi or Mr. Scratch or Roger Stone, rushing in from centerfield, waving his arms and yelling at the top of his voice, "I got it! I got it! A four-game suspension for your hottest hitter! Neil Walker is playing!"

Well, you know what happened. All three agents of chaos pulled up short at the last moment, and that wonderfully weird little win in Anaheim just dropped right in.

Why, Walker even hit a near-home run—kind of like near-beer—and drove in a run!!

That makes all of four RBI for him in 72 plate appearances this year.

Need further proof that something truly strange and marvelous was going on last night? As Leinstery noted, look at that Rob Refsnyder game up in Boston!

Believe it or not, Refsnyder had an even worse season than Neil W. last year. NOT ONE RBI in 98 plate appearances! Counting this season, he had 123 straight appearances, and not so much as a sac fly.

But there he was, with a home run in the Fens.  While the Communion of Saints ended the game with Babe Benitendi taking a big, fat, called strike three right down the middle.

Tonight had "loss" written all over it, an almost perfect combination of bad luck, bad clutch hitting, great plays by the Angels, and shattered bat pieces from Ohtani flying just past our ace's head.

It was one big, can o' corn disaster, hangin' up there for anybody to catch. And then it was on the grass.

Right now, all the JuJu gods are standing there in the outfield, giving each other the stink eye.

Oh, for sure they'll make us pay for it soon. But then, they would anyway.

Friday, April 27, 2018


It came about in thrilling fashion.

After the Paper of Record sullenly reported the team's thrilling win—"Yawner Takes Wild Twist..."—there didn't seem to be any soccer on the horizon.

Then, what's this? On the last sports page, a report on the effort to buy Wembley Stadium, the crown jewel of English soccer stadiums!

But WAIT! It's the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars who wants to buy Wembley, due "to the N.F.L.'s Growing Interest in Britain".

It's football! It's AMERICAN football!

After an extended video review, the ruling came down:

Yankees 69, Soccer 68.

We're in the lead! Surely, this will give the team a big lift as it wings its way to the West Coast.

Is Everyone Forgetting the NY Sports Team Ju-Ju Reverse Role?

If the Yankees are doing well, the Giants will fail.

And Versa -Vice.

Editors note;  The Mets don't count.  For some reason, New Jersey is considered New York by the Ju-Ju gods, whereas, Queens is Lithuania.

Back to the story;

Yesterday, late, Gary Sanchez gave Yankee fans a thrill for the Tax month of April.  A walk-off, three run, homer, leading to a sweep of our favorite baseball cousins.

By definition, therefore, the Giants blew their season, last night, in the draft.  Nothing new here, but a dramatic media coverup won't help them ( All the mock drafts urged the Giants to draft this running back).  It is like the " baseball guys" who wanted to trade Red Thunder and Torres for a starting pitcher.  Those with a brain knew it would be a terrible error.

The Giants , for those who don't comprehend football, were the second worst team in the NFL last season and, therefore, they earned the #2 pick in the draft.  Previous management would have pissed this pick away on some flashy star who would not help the team at all ( see Odell Beckham ).

It is as though the Yankees need a catcher, but they trade top prospects for a back-up first baseman.

So, yesterday, with the opportunity to draft the best offensive lineman in college, or the best defensive player ( both of which the Giants desperately need), they made the one move that will cause long-term stagnation in mediocrity.  The Giants drafted a running back.

Many years ago, when the Yankees sucked, the New Orleans Saints took a running back with the first pick in the draft ( the forgettable George Rogers ), and that left Lawerence Taylor for the Giants.  LT changed the game, and the future of the Giants, in a most positive way.  George Rogers, basically, gave the Saints five years of mediocrity.

Running backs can't run without blocking.  Maybe in pee-wee football, but not in the NFL.  The Giants have the worst offensive line in the game.  That is why they needed to use the draft to help the team.  They didn't.  Running backs also have a useful life ( when they remain healthy, which is practically never ) of 2-3 years.  A good lineman gives 10+ years of service.

Also , without the ball, the running back paces the sideline.  And with a shoddy defense ( again, a league-leading weakness of this team ), the offense so rarely has the ball, the running back is barely in the game.  And with a crappy defense, the Giants are always behind and have to pass anyway.  They can't pass effectively without blocking, either.  So you see where this is headed.

All the lazy stupid people in the media will rave about this spectacular pick by the Giants.  But is is the one and only thing the Giants could have done yesterday that would be a non-productive, mistake.  One service rated the Giants' pick as a B- which, I think, is a reach.  Even the B- was one of the worst grades I observed. But this was an F.

So this will prove good for the Yankees.  And Gary's walk-off homer is just the beginning.

 But Giants fans need not get excited about the new GM.  He did what the previous failure ( Reese )  would have done.  Bring in another bauble for Eli's jewelry collection, and watch it oxidize.

You can't have it both ways.

For four games, the Yankees are about to lose the AL's best first-baseman

Realistically, this cannot last. Slumps happen, the market corrects itself, and the Babe of April withers into the Pronk of July. Aside from the Infinity Stones and the Marvel Universe box office, nothing lasts forever. Just ask Vernon Wells.

Then again, whatever happens can never be erased. April is almost in the books.

And the record will show that Tyler Austin has accomplished what none of us could have predicted when Greg Bird disappeared last month for yet another partial foot amputation. As the numbers below show, Austin has been among MLB's best first-basemen this month. "Peg" Bird can take his time soaking the paw. The only thing we're missing - aside from his smile and lefty bat - is an excuse to jettison Neil Walker. (And that might come this weekend, depending on Walker's play.)

Based on these numbers, I'd put Austin on April's AL all-star squad, if such a thing existed. (Note the HR and RBI totals in at least five fewer games.) 

But wait, there's more! These numbers don't reflect Austin's growing reputation as a gamer: Most of his homers have come in critical moments - putting the Yankees ahead or into a tie. In the hitting category labeled "Late and Close," he is a career .385 hitter. (Small sample, but still...) Moreover, he charged the mound at Fenway this month after a cowardly Redsock pitcher drilled him, rousing the Yankees to win when - for a brief and insane few days - we looked permanently lost. 

If Austin continues, this is what we have. He is 26, not eligible for arbitration until 2020, and a free agent in 2023. (Bird, by the way, is 25; we have him until 2022.) Against LH pitchers, Austin is a career .351 hitter (small sample - 57 ABs.) Bird, by comparison, hits only .218 against righties, but with far more power: 15 HRs. Even a limited platoon - the lefty Bird would get most ABs - could make our 1B slot among baseball's most productive - this after several years of being a certified sinkhole. 

Also, Austin has shown surprising dexterity, making great stretches and snaring hard hit balls. The other night, he caught a twisting foul down the line with a spectacular slide. When ahead in a count, he hits .327. (Behind: .181.) Best of all: In the post-game shows, he snarls - practically imitates Michael Cohen invoking the Fifth. He's tough. At age 17, the guy beat testicular cancer. After that, beating the Twins may seem a letdown. 

But nothing lasts forever. On that note, let me finish this screed with a personal message to our good friends, the juju gods: 

Dear Madams or Sirs...

All too often, we fans fail to recognize your hard work and dedication. I just wanted to say that we know this winning streak cannot last. We understand you must jimmy the summer ahead with injuries, pineapple losses and land-mines, and that no team rolls over the league as we just did with our dear friends from Minnesota. We know that life is a rolling carnival, and that you cannot predict baseball, (Suzyn.) 

That said, I just want to thank you for Tyler Austin.

Well done!

El Duque

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Tonight's NFL draft... you heard it here first

Just so it's on the record, here is what will happen...

With their first pick, the Browns will select the USC quarterback, Sam Darnold.

The Giants will then use their entire allotted time - trying to work deals - and take the running back Saquon Barkley from Penn State.

The Jets will pick a QB - who gives a shit what the Jets do? It'll be a QB. 

And then the Giants will trade Barkley to Cleveland, through some other team, for the Browns' fourth pick and maybe a second-round choice. They will then take Bradley Chubb, the DE bruiser that they really want. 

You heard it here first...

For better or worse, Yankees are stuck with Sonny

New catcher, warmer weather, patsy opponent... same old Sonny Gray. 

Four innings, three runs, leave with bases loaded, ERA near eight, everyone pissed. Yes, another crapola outing by - (move over Mr. Sulzberger) - "the Gray Lady." And yes, we can whine to our Russian friends on Facebook, or direct fiery rivers of psychic bile toward Randy Levine's red cranial pubis, but it's like unearthing a new Scott Pruitt EPA scandal: Nobody wins, no whales are saved. In 21 innings, he has delivered 5 wild pitches, 16 walks and 18 earned runs. Abysmal? Of course. Terrible? He deserves to be held down and butt-branded by that ex-Smallville sex cult strumpet, Allison Mack. But save your breath. He's not going anywhere. 

Aside from the fact that Sonny wears the Cooperstown Cashman Cloak of Protection, the Yankees have no one to replace him. This is why Cash in trade talks last winter dangled Clint Frazier to anyone who returned calls. At virtually every position, except one, the 2018 team has youngsters ready to step into openings. The problem is starting pitchers. There, the mountain has collapsed like Kim Jong Un's test range in North Korea.

Check out the numbers at Scranton:

Chance Adams (23): 4 starts, 18 innings, 4.82 ERA.
Daniel Camarena (25): 4 starts, 17 innings, 6.35 ERA.
David Hale (30): 3 starts, 14 innings, 3.52 ERA.

Josh Rogers (23), 4 starts, 24 innings, 3.00 ERA.
Brady Koerner (24), 2 starts, 14 innings, 6.75 ERA.

Statistically, in our small sample, the best bet is Rogers, who is only getting his feet wet in Triple A. None are on the MLB roster, which would grease the wheels for a promotion. At the MLB level, Domingo German isn't stretched out, and Luis Cessa always seems to climb to the precipice and turn back. At Double A, Justus Sheffield and Dillon Tate need more seasoning and, frankly, are too valuable to start the MLB clock ticking on service time. The forecast may be cloudy, but the outlook is Sonny.

Last night, the YES machine spun Sonny's debacle by claiming he showed great movement on his pitches. There is a little truth to that: His pitches floated like Frisbies; they just weren't near the plate. Also, he showed some grit in the fifth inning, when he shrugged off a hard liner to his pitching arm and struck out the next batter... then failed on a 3-2 walk and was replaced by Mean Chad Green. Another four-inning night. Same old Sonny. But let's not kid ourselves. He's here to stay.

Mother of Mercy, has Ma Boone slipped his binders???

Fred Kerber in the Post yesterday with a very telling little piece on how Ma Boone did NOT start Neil Walker against Lance Lynn on Wednesday, even though the binders show that Walker was sporting a .375 lifetime average against Lynn, with three home runs.

Could it be that Boone was doing something as crazily retro as starting Tyler Austin because, well, he had "the hot hand"?

Oh, no, of course not, nothing like that.

Boone had to go on and on about how old Neil was a tad "banged up," with "a little hip stuff," and anyway, what if Austin's suspension came down, that would mean he'd have to play Walker in all these games in a row, and anyway, it was a really tough decision for him, and he "grinded over it" all day.

Uh-huh. Curfew, time of night and all...

Ma's gotta say what Ma's gotta say lest the Lord High Poobah of Analytics get in a snit. But the fact is that he played the hot hand, and Tyler Austin came through brilliantly.

Meanwhile, both Walker and Boone were saying that Neil would surely get going, and it was just a case of adjusting to all these new, AL pitchers.

Like Lance Lynn, just over from the Cardinals?

Walker had better do something spectacular when Austin is out with that suspension. Hmm, think we could get Matt Harvey for him?

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

"And now it's time for another episode of, 'Sonny Gray, Boy Pitcher!'"

SONNY: Aww gee, Mr. Peabody, the batters are starting to catch on to the fact that I'm just a boy, despite that formula you came up with to make me five-ten. I can't pitch in the majors!

MR. PEABODY: Nonsense, Sherman—er, "Sonny." When I adopted you, I promised that I would fulfill your dream of being a star on the Yankees, and so I shall.

SONNY: But I get so scared out there, Mr. Peabody! I'm bouncing everything in the dirt, and then I groove one!

MR. PEABODY: I have just the solution for that, Sonny: your own, personal catcher.

A robot lumbers into the room. It is a perfect facsimile of Austin Romine, in full catching gear.

MR. PEABODY: Sonny, say hello to my latest creation: the Romine Bot.

SONNY: What happened to the real Austine Romine, Mr. Peabody?

MR. PEABODY: Don't worry your pre-pubescent head about that, Sonny. Suffice it to say that I've arranged for Mr. Romine to be pleasantly detained for a few hours by a certain sex cult in Brooklyn, headed by a Seagram's heiress.

SONNY: Gee willikers, Mr. Peabody!

MR. PEABODY: Indeed. Now, please pay attention to the special features on your personal catcher. Note the Magneto Glove I created, which will guide any pitch you throw into it, no matter how poorly you throw it. Note also the special Hypno Eye Beams, which will calm you into maintaining your composure and performing well under pressure—just as if you were a real, grown-up, major-league pitcher.

SONNY: (already sounding dazed) I seeeeeee...

MR. PEABODY: If worse comes to worse in any case—the problem is that your pitches still just aren't very fast, Sonny, I must work on that formula for your grown-up arm muscles—the Romine Bot also comes equipped with a switch behind its shin guard, which can trigger the WABAC Machine, and return to the moments BEFORE you throw any gopher balls, or other disasters.

SONNY: Gol-ly, Mr. Peabody! How can I lose?

MR. PEABODY: How indeed, Sonny? Remember: you're playing the Twins.

Dellin Betances is lucky to be on this Yankee team

When you read, "Betances made an appearance last night," it means:

1. The Yankees were way ahead.

2. The Yankees were way behind.

3. The ghost of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde showed up in Aaron Boone's dreams.

Last night, Dellin Betances appeared - rattling chains and going bump in the Yankiverse - and thankfully, it was due to a). And with due respect to Mr. Gehrig, Dellin should consider himself-self, the luckiest-iest, man-an, on the face-ace, of the earth-rth... because this is a Yankee lineup of blowouts and bombings, the only team outside of Scranton for which he now can pitch. Time is running out on the month-long Betances intervention. We can't do this forever.

Last night brought another mini-meltdown, one that - though conveniently forgotten in the final score - leaves exposed a fragile psyche that cannot be ignored. It's painfully clear that that the Betances we once knew - the monster who terrorized batters and made all-star teams - has become the exploding cigar in a pile of Havanas. We now see a Dellin who is always one pitch away from imploding, who cannot hold runners, who cannot throw to first, and who cannot be brought into a game without a replacement warming in the pen. We can do this in April. I'm not sure we can in May.

Thus far in 2018, the Yankees have seen several players - Giancarlo, the most famous of them - with adjustment issues. But there is a difference between a welcome-to-NY slump and someone going full-tilt, Glenn Close-bunny-boiling-psycho - as Betances has done repeatedly. He has sandwiched solid outings with stinkers, where everything abruptly goes south. Clearly, Boone is trying to bring him along, and there is wisdom in patience, I suppose. Betances had thrown two straight scoreless outings in a row... reason for hope... before last night.

At some point, the Yankees must call the cards: Put Betances on the DL, send him to Tampa to work with a pitching coach and a shrink, and come back on a rehab assignment. I don't know the paperwork involved with rehabilitating a pitcher with a tweaked psychological gonad, but Betances needs a reset button. If the Yankees cannot give him one, it may have to come with another franchise. Right now, no lead is truly safe with Betances on the mound, and that is a terrifying reality.

Listen: We all want this guy to succeed. He's a lifelong Yankees. He's only 30. Physically, he has three to four years left. Mentally, though... yeesh. Something is broken. We can't do this all season.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

You Can't Complain...

...about four straight wins, outscoring the opposition 36-6, good pitching, great hitting, the kids taking charge at second and third.

Or CAN you?

As I like to tell people who say that, "This is New York. You can always complain!"

So what's not to like tonight?

Well, another Toonces head game, of course. But that's almost to be expected by this time.

More alarming was another backslide from Giancarlo Scranton. Not just 0-4, but three more strikeouts.

And the fourth at-bat came against Tyler Duffey, a used Kleenex of a relief pitcher. While his teammates were slow-roasting Duffey on a spit, Scranton looked completely overmatched.

First he laid off two, low-and-outside pitches that were balls.  Good!  Dis iz gutt!

Then...he got beat on an entirely predictable, straight-down-the-middle, 93-mph fastball. Swung right through it.

Um, it happens, I guess. And at least on the next pitch he grounded into a forceout. Instead of striking out again.

But still. Giancarlo looks like a big, broken machine up there, and I'm not sure why.

Non Player Talking Heads Vs. Talking Head Former Players

So Anxiety is the  space- filler of the day.

Andujar can hit .400, share a record with Babe Ruth for games with multiple extra base hits, field flawlessly, and hit home runs.

  But that isn't enough to shut up certain talking heads from saying, " well it's going to be a huge dilemma, because Drury is beginning to see double again ( a step up from blurred vision ), and he was brought here to be the Yankees starting third baseman."

I even heard one of the prime assholes theorize that Andujar could be sent back to Scranton to " get more at bats, " whilst Drury returns to third.  The logic being that he can't get more at bats with the Yankees.

The former players ( like Cone and O'Neil ) basically say that, as far as the Yankees are concerned, Andujar is now the Yankees third baseman.   Only an idiot could think otherwise.  It is these same useless assholes who would have sat Lou Gehrig down, after he took over first base from Wally Pipp.

Boone I think , is not an idiot.  He may concur with the upcoming dilemma ( when Drury returns, someone has to be taken off the roster ), and pretend that " it is an embarrassment of riches," even when it clearly is not.

Here is an alert; if you love Drury so much, let him try first base.   Send Walker to the South Mexican Dirt Field League.

End of story.

Don't mess with success.

I detest these overpaid assholes with nothing but anxiety producing gibberish to say when things are slow on the field.

When we're good... holy crap!

The other day, the Coney-O'Neill Intellectual Continuum - baseball's version of a two-person TED Talk - had just finished debating the unexpected impact of French imperialism on post-WWII free will advocates, when their discourse pivoted to whether baseball needs a 10-run "mercy rule." Both opined that such a rule would, a) do wonders in saving pitching staffs and b) rouse the fans to cheer as a 10-run lead came within sight. Nevertheless, as "neo-modern traditionalists," neither advocated such a transmutational basic fabric alteration. 

Last night gave us cause to celebrate their reasoning.

Some folks say a great Yankee win is when the team comes back in the late innings to steal a game. Not this bird. I'll take a laugher, any time. The only problem with Yankee blowouts is that usually, somebody will ground into a DP with the bases loaded, pissing me off that we scored only 16, when it could have been a magical 20. But fukkit. I'll take the laugher.

Thus far in 2018, the Yankees are 7-2 in blowouts, having scored 33 more runs than their opponents. In one-run games, we are 1-1. 

There is one other problem with rib-tickling laughers. They warp our perceptions of whom to trust. Last night brought rollicking joy, as Sir Didi and Fightin' Tyler Austin launched relatively meaningless HRs, padding their seasonal numbers. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) The Yankee lineup - mathematically projected over the season - now shows four hitters (Gregorius, Judge, Stanton, Austin) with 30 homers. That's not counting Gary Sanchez, who should hit 30 in an off-year. If you look at our ability to run up the score, we have a Murderers Row. Yet we're in third.

If you chew on last night's victory for too long, you start thinking of 240 homers, with Drury and Red Thunder returning, and ever start believing Sonny Gray can figure it out... you grow intoxicated with how good the 2018 Yankees could be. And it's only one game, against a team we have regularly tormented (but I wouldn't want to face in the playoffs; remember the 1980 Royals.

When we're good... well... as Joyce Carol Oates would say, we beat the motherfucking, living shit outa teams. Holy crap. 

The other Cole in your stocking

So it looks as though we have found the "adjustments" Gerrit Cole made:

But no need to worry! We just acquired Cole—for just cash!

A.J. Cole, that is, the Nationals' starter-reliever. He of the 13.06 ERA this year, with an NL-leading 6 homers in just 10.1 innings.  Over parts of four seasons, he is 5-8, with a 5.32 ERA.

The YES guys were saying the team was looking for a sixth starter over the course of this 18-game, no-day-off streak.

Not a bad idea...but just how awful can Chance Adams be, if this is the guy they prefer?

Meanwhile, David Hale gives us two clean innings in today's romp, and is immediately DFA'ed.

Oh, well, can't complain too much tonight. But—time to roll Sonny Gray in pine tar before we send him out there again. Roll him up in #!@* flypaper, if you have to.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Comparisons are odious. BUT.... this point in the season in 1998, we were 15-5, but still half-a-game behind a Red Sox team that had jumped off to a blistering, 17-6 start.

In 2009, we were a mere 10-10, in third place, four games behind Toronto, and three behind Boston, which had just lambasted us in three straight up in Fenway.

In fact, that year we lost our first eight games against the Sox, before winning nine of our last ten against them.

So there.

A Three Game Win Street Awaits

It is going to take some serious concentration, and possibly some risk taking, but the Yankees have a chance for accomplishing something they have, thus far, failed to do.

Post a three game win streak.  Start to accumulate " wins over .500."

But they have to get over some ( previously ) shaky footing to do so:

Nonetheless, we are structuring a team that can do that.  Duque said it best;  we finally
have ( except for Bird ) the infield of which we dreamed all winter and spring.

The following are all possible;

1.  Andujar solidifies his spot at third ( 4-4 always helps)
2.  Gleyber begins to rake ( his defensive looked elite yesterday )
3.  The pressure comes off Stanton and he joins the offense ( making two fine defensive plays yesterday )
4.  Same for Sanchez.
5.  Tanaka is shamed into a fine performance.
6.  A fresh bullpen feels young again.

The sun shines in NYC and on the Yankees.

It snows in Boston.

I will say this;  " I look forward to watching this team play."

Think 1966 Indians

Two losses in a row for the Red Sox, out on the ever treacherous West Coast.

Two losses, after the Carmine Hose ploughed through the Los Angeles Angels of El Segundo and even the Japanese Babe Ruth like they weren't the team and player of the future at all.

Two losses. In Oakland.

So far, all we have been told about, regarding the Red Sox this year, has been teams that ran away and hid in the past, such as the 1984 Tigers, or the 1955 Dodgers.

But what about the 1966 Indians? Could that be the real model?

That Cleveland team got off to a record start, going 10-0.  Even after that, The Tribe, bolstered by a deep starting staff that included Sudden Sam McDowell, a young Luis Tiant, Sonny Siebert,  Steve Hargan, and Gary Bell didn't cool off for awhile, getting to 14-1, then 27-10. Even as late as June 12, the Indians were tied for first, at 34-18.

But McDowell, who led the league in strikeouts, had been badly overused the year before, and missed weeks with arm miseries. Their lineup was mediocre, and the pen, even with Dick "The Monster" Radatz, collapsed.

By the end of the year, the Indians were 81-81, in fifth place, 17 games behind Baltimore.

A possible fate for our Red Sox? Well, we can always dream, can't we?


So Tyler Kepner's piece today on The Gleyber—inane as Duque says it is, in its praise of the Yankees' brass—combined with the game story, puts the Yanks even with Soccer, in the Times' coverage on the year.

Yep. 65-65. We're all even, folks!

Quite a comeback after being down, 15-1, after a January in which the Times felt the only thing worth covering about the Yankees was putting up the foul-ball net.

The Bronx team has fought its way even into the ram-hunting, sled-hockeying, soccer ball consciousness of the NY Times. Hoo-rah.

Sure, many obstacles remain. We have yet to get to this year's World Cup, for instance, during which we will surely see a furious comeback by Soccer, even with the U.S.'s dimwitted team out of it.


At last, the Yankees are fielding the infield their fans dreamed about

Yesterday, as the unopened package known as Gleyber Torres stepped to the plate, the crowd of 43,628 stood to chant his name. You could hear it through the TV - wild fans howling to the skies for a player who had never once delivered a big hit or - for that matter - done anything. They were cheering for the future instead of the past. When he struck out on five pitches, nobody even thought of booing. It was "Gleyber Day" in the Yankiverse, for four hours the most joyous place to be.

I wish I could contrast it with the first Yankee Stadium at-bat from Neil Walker. Unfortunately - though I was watching - I can't recall it. I'm not sure Walker does. He's the "proven veteran" brought in to play 2B because - as usual - the Yankees refused to trust anybody under 25. So that day in early April, the fans watched Walker march to the plate while his ceiling - .271 over 10 years - was laid out on the Jumbotron. I don't wish to demean Walker here. But it simply didn't move the needle. 

For three months last winter, we demented fans roused ourselves into a rapture over the idea of an infield with two ascending rookies - Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres (or even Tyler Wade) - in the lineup... you know, the way other teams do it. It was the ultimate Baby Bomber fantasy, and we lived it through mid-February, when Brian Cashman traded prospects Taylor Widener - (now 4.09 ERA in Double A) and Nick Solak - (hitting .333 at Double A) for Brandon Drury, and then signed Walker off the scrap heap, mandating that the two youngsters would return to Scranton.

Listen: It's patently absurd for fans to think they know more than the managers and scouts. I get it. My diamond-hard opinions about the Yankees - like yours - are mere manifestations of our obsessive deliriums, our assumed spiritual connections to the team. We know it's crazy, but it gets us through the night. (By the way, it's equally insane to condemn fans for having opinions; you might as well go on the soapbox to argue that pro wrestling is scripted.) Yes, we live in our own secret worlds, and our hearts tell us what to think.  

And yet... there are days when we fans are vindicated and the professional know-it-alls must stop to clean the spittle from their shoes. Yesterday, Andujar went 4-4 and Torres ignited the crowd, and those 43,000 fans went wild because - well, let me say it: 


Amazingly, the failing New York Times today has the unmitigated audacity to praise Cooperstown Cashman.

The Yankees could have given second base to Torres and third base to Miguel Andujar — who was 4 for 4 on Sunday — out of spring training. Instead, after camp began, they traded for Brandon Drury and signed Neil Walker. That was the Yankees at their best, protecting themselves with affordable veteran placeholders until the kids push their way up.

Huh? The Yankees at their best? Wait a minute... if not for Drury's still-unexplained migraines and Walker's .183 batting average, Andujar and Torres would be breakfasting at the Burger King in Scranton, wasting their swings on Triple A buffets. If Drury were hitting, instead of healing, Andujar would already be the subject of trade rumors. The great fear - and it still remains, by the way - is that we'll never have the chance to see what he can do in a Yankee uniform.

It's a long season. Drury has plenty of time to heal, and Walker to redeem himself, and for the rookies for fail, and for the pros to show once again their great knowledge about the game you cannot predict, (Suzyn.) 

But today, let's get one thing straight about baseball and life.

The unopened package is always more exciting. When you know what's inside, what's the thrill in opening it?

Sunday, April 22, 2018

This just in!

There is a shocking story out today about how a sex cult run by an heiress to the Seagram's fortune has set up shop in Brooklyn.

This stunning report brings some immediate questions to mind:

—Exactly where is this cult? How many women are involved in it? And how does one join?

—Are you allowed to follow baseball? I mean, in between all the sex and Seagram's?

Inquiring libidos want to know!

What could possibly be wrong...

...on this gorgeous spring Sunday?

As ALL-CAPS noted, yesterday was pretty much perfect.

Sox got no-hit, and their fans fell into a huge snit over the fact that they weren't allowed to cheat.

The Mets are tumbling slowly back to earth like that figure in the credits of "Mad Men."

A nice managerial move by Ma Boone, greenlighting Judge on 3-0. Montgomery pitched like he was back at El Alamein, Andujar continues to tear at the ball with all his might, and the Gleyber is with us! Hallelujah!

And hey, the Yanks even closed to two, in their momentous battle with soccer in the Paper of Record. It's now Soccer 65, Yankees 63.

What's not to like?

Well, there was Ma Boone's inadvertent admission at his press conference regarding Sonny Gray, Boy Pitcher: No, it's not physical, no, it's not mechanical. But his velocity is down.

Which IS physical.

That black swan of Alphonso's is going to have to go on the DL itself, if this keeps up. Wing spasm, or web foot strain, hauling all those Yankees over the Styx.

Here is another matter of possible concern:

Giancarlo. Again.

Here was his at-bat against the great Tyler Clippard yesterday (or "Clip-art," as my auto-correct likes to call him, appropriately enough).

First pitch: low and outside. Stanton swings and misses.

Second pitch: low and outside. Swings and misses.

Third pitch: too low and outside. Stanton lays off.

Fourth pitch: low but not enough outside. Stanton fouls it off.

Fifth pitch: High fastball. Stanton swings through it. Strike three.


Now, surely it can't REALLY be that Giancarlo has never seen a breaking pitch before, right? Even in the Straight Fastball League? I mean, this IS the 22nd straight year of Bud Selig's "Let's All Do Like the NBA Do" Interleague Play Idea.

Which got me to thinking. And turning to that invaluable resource,

So what does it show?

Well, the (relatively) good news is this: Stanton HAS hit 23 homers in 123 games of interrelate play.

The bad news?

He's also struck out 171 times in those 123 games. And his slash line compares this way:

Against everybody:  .267/.359/.551/.910

Against the AL:        .257/.338/.449/.787

How to analyze this data?

Well, for that I brought in renowned baseball commentator and animated star film and television, Scooby-doo.  Scooby, what are your thoughts?

Scooby: Ruh-roh.

And there you have it folks: ruh-roh, indeed.

What's this? Redsock '18 Hall of Fame Superteam of Destiny (TM) encounters speed bump en route to Cooptown

Things I was gonna write about today...

1. Let's be clear: This isn't the beginning of "the Gleyber Torres Era." It is Year II of "the Aaron Judge Era." 

2. After yesterday's skillful outing by Jordan Montgomery - with Austin Romine behind the plate - some will ask whether Romine should catch Sonny Gray? Anything is worth a try, but I say no. It's a slippery slope, linking a pitcher to a catcher, and Gray hasn't earned the right to a personalized backstop. One last note: Thus far, pitchers throwing to Gary Sanchez have a lower ERA (4.23) than to Romine (4.97.) And that's not just a 2018 small sample; last year, Sanchez had a 3.43 ERA, compared to Romine's 4.19.) 

3. Yesterday, the most frightening scenario in the Yankiverse nearly occurred. On a long fly to right center, the Aarons almost collided. Two big men on a trajectory course. At the last second, Judge got out of the way. I wonder if Giancarlo has the same instincts? 

4. The Master absolutely loves "Miggy." His HR call, by the way is: "ANDUJAR HIT IT FAR... AND HE'S GETTING MIGGY WITH IT!" This represents a great cultural time leap for Mr. Sterling - all the way to 1996. His other song-based homer-hollers generally stem from 1960s hits ("Grandyman") and ageless show tunes ("Bye-bye Birdie.) John is almost ready to join the new millennium. For whatever it's worth, the Brandon Drury may be the first to invoke another Yankee: "AARON'S THE JUDGE, BUT BRANDON'S THE DRURY." 

5. In case you're wondering, Syracuse once again won the Golden Snowball award, given annually to the upstate NY city that was most buried in snow over the winter. The "Salt City" tallied 153.6 inches - 33 above perennial runner-up Rochester. Only Erie, Pa., with a career-year 198.5 inches (far above its average) topped Syracuse nationally. (Rochester finished third, followed by Buffalo.) You want snow, it's upstate NY, baby!


Saturday, April 21, 2018

I Am Worn Out .... Stop the Madness !

Adam Warren has checked into the infirmary.

We can only hope his " soreness" is real.  Otherwise, he sucks.

And who is that Italian guy ?  Gucci?  Lucci?

He wasn't here long enough for us to learn his name.

I am told he was a "Plan B" starter.  No more.

I hear the team is bringing back re-treads.  But not Chance Adams.

I promise you he is hiding an injury.  I can just feel Dr. Andrews lurking.

Sorry situation.

And rumors of Ellsbury having lock-jaw are not true.

Tomorrow Is The Big Day !!

With Severino pitching, we have a shot at a 2 game winning streak !

It may be our last chance.

The Big Dog slowed down again today.

But the little dog might be emerging at third base.

Someone please teach him how to recognize those breaking balls out of the strike zone!

We have a shot.

We once ran the table after going 12-10 in April.

I think.

Teresa Brewer wants to do it with Mickey Mantle in this 1956 duet

Okay, Let's Start A Winning Streak....

Anyone want to take a bet?

Who's pitching today?

Do I care?

Take my money and pass the fucking bottle.

Gentleman Jack all day.

I say we lose.

Weird, weird, weird stats!

As a certain grumpy individual likes to remind us, it's early yet.  But how strange:

Red Sox vs. Yankees: 2-1
Red Sox vs. everyone else: 15-1

Blue Jays vs. Yankees: 3-3
Blue Jays vs. everyone else: 10-3

Orioles vs. Yankees: 3-1
Orioles vs. everyone else: 3-13.

Epic Yankees Flameout Seasons of the Past, Chapter Four!

You didn't ask for it, but you got it!

Season number four: 1959.

Yankees 79-75, 3rd in an 8-team league

After winning 9 of the previous 10 pennants, the defending world champion Yankees were a clear favorite. But nobody told the White Sox. Or they did tell them, but they refused to listen. Or something.


During their amazing, 1947-1964 run, the greatest in North American sports history,* the Yanks lost out on the last weekend of the year to a terrific, world champion Indians team in 1948, and were outpaced again in 1954—despite winning 103 games—by a Cleveland squad that did some all-time champion bottom-feeding, going 89-21 against the last five teams in the AL to set what was then the American League record with 111 wins.

In other words, they were just beaten out by great teams. But then came 1959...

*No, we don't count the Celtics, who were playing in a primitive, tiny NBA with franchises in places like Rochester and Syracuse, where you didn't even have to finish first to win it all, which was the case with the last 3 of the Celts' 11 championships in 13 years, and when nobody was sure if the league champion was as good as the Harlem Globetrotters. So there!

What happened:

Ennui? A pause to reload?

Hard to say, exactly. This Yankees team really tanked, finishing 15 games behind what was a middling Pale Hose assemblage, and never contending. They had dropped all the way to last by the end of May, and only moved back over .500 in mid-September.

Sure, veterans such as Gil McDougald, Hank Bauer, and even Yogi Berra were finally starting to show their age, while such potential replacements as Norm Siebern, Johnny Blanchard, and Clete Boyer were not quite there yet, and highly touted young players such as Andy Carey and Jerry Lumpe gave indisputable proof that they were never going to be what was hoped for them.

Moose Skowron missed over half of what was shaping up to be a terrific season with injuries. And Mickey Mantle, by nearly all statistical measures, showed that he was once again the best, all-around player in the American League—as he would be for an astounding 10 straight years, 1955-1964. But he had already scaled such amazing heights at age 27 that his 31-homer, .904 OPS, 21-steals-in-24 attempts season was viewed as a huge disappointment, and Yankees fans booed him relentlessly.

The pitching was all right, with crazy, alcoholic Ryne Duren wasting his best season out of the pen, Art Ditmar throwing well, and Whitey Ford still winning 16 games in what was (a little bit) of an off-year for him.

But as was his wont with the Yankees, Bullet Bob Turley suffered through arm miseries after a superb season the year before, going only 8-11. Other young heroes of year just past—Johnny Kucks and Tom Sturdivant—demonstrated that their arms were blown out for good (hmm, could there be something to that pitch limit stuff??).

And once again, Don Larsen—still just 28—failed to emerge despite a good season and excellent World Series in 1958.

"You look at him out there, and he always looks like he's gonna be great," Casey Stengel caustically told the writers, "but he ain't."

Casey's own behavior had become a matter of concern, as he had started to nod off in the dugout late in doubleheaders, and become cranky and impatient with young players. Del Webb and Dan Topping, the Yankees owners, started to plot his demise, desperate not to lose out on that great, up-and-coming talent on the bench beside him...Ralph Houk.

Bright spots:

A number of the young guys—Bobby Richardson, Tony Kubek, Siebern, and Ralph Terry—showed that they were clearly ready to step up and start producing. Elton Howard showed that he was ready to take over Yogi's position as Best Catcher in Baseball.

Beloved vet Bobby Shantz had another good year out of the bullpen and spot starting, as did almost universally hated young guy, Jim Coates.

And a new guy acquired from KC to fill in at third showed that maybe that wasn't his best position, but Hector Lopez, picked up for Lumpe, Sturdivant, and Kucks, hit 22 homers and drove in 93 runs on the year, and showed that he was ready, willing, and able to fill in just about anywhere. He would be the Yanks' consummate utility man for years to come.

Oh, and filling in for the Glass Moose on Opening Day was another player who had lingered in the Yankees' farm system for six years, belting 185 homers there, showing some power but not quite making it in two previous, brief stints with the club.

In the Yanks' opening win in Fenway, though, he was one for three with an RBI single, and fielded 11 balls cleanly at first. Yes, clearly Marv Throneberry looked like the Yankees' first baseman of the future.

What happened next:

The collapse in 1959 convinced many experts that the Yankees were a spent force.

The Go-Go White Sox team lost the Series to a very mediocre Dodgers squad that had somehow beat out more talented Giants and Braves teams, in one of the tawdriest World Series ever played. But Chicago had a host of good-looking players already on the roster: Johnny Callison, Norm Cash, Earl Battey.

All would be traded for various piles of magic beans. While the Yankees used their own kids and their "farm team" in KC to reload.

GM George Weiss brought in a young man named Roger Maris from the Athletics, in exchange for Throneberry, Bauer, Larsen, and Siebern (not as one-sided a trade as it now appears; Siebern was a terrific young outfielder for several years), and bought a nifty little reliever named Luis Arroyo from Cincinnati.

A revived Casey Stengel booted the team home with a great stretch run in 1960—the first of five straight pennants, which would give the Yankees 15 in 18 years. They would average 101 wins during those five years, looking more dominant than ever.

But after a flukey, Game 7 loss to the Pirates, both Casey and Weiss got the boot, one of the most foolish and callous moves the team ever made.

Are We Asking Too Much?

Yesterday, I posed the question:  "Can we win two games in a row?"

We  know the answer now.

We rolled " snake eyes" win and one be followed by one win and one loss.

A .500 team.

A team that has to score 10 runs in a game to win.

That projects as follows:  82 wins.

Likely 4th place.

Bust up the team and begin again.

And play the young guys.

And send someone to break Greg Bird's other foot.

And find a new GM.

Things that shouldn't frighten me, and yet they do...

Ranking the top 10 Yankee 2018 "What Were We Thinking" Spring Fiascoes

It's not the 8-8 record that should worry us. One quick win streak will remedy the standings. What galls me, though, is a mounting realization that we've been played:

We assumed last October's playoff success signified the return of Yankee dominance - the good old days were back. Over the winter, we were blinded by what seemed a low price tag to acquire the biggest salary dump since A-Rod... and we somehow forgot how that turned out. 

No, it's not the 8-8 record that should bother us. It's the team behind it. It's the glaring weaknesses that we somehow blocked from our minds. It peaked through in late spring training, and it has continued, unabated: A wave of Yankee disappointments that - had we looked more closely - should not surprise us now. We're too old to be this gullible, aren't we? 

So, behold... 

The Top 10 Yankee 2018 "What Were We Thinking" Spring Fiasco List.

10. Tanaka. Thus far, OMG. Shoot me. A 6.45 ERA and 2-2 record. Somehow, we managed to forget the entire 2017 regular season (13-12, 4.74) and remember him in the playoffs, when he pitched well. What were we thinking?

9. Bird's injuries. After an injury-plagued minor league career, he'd missed all of 2016 and most of last year (147 at bats)... yet we imagined him batting between the Twin Towers, hitting 30-40 HRs and anchoring the infield defense. Yeah, right. What possessed us? 

8. Gary's defense. Last year, he led the AL in passed balls (with 16). This spring, the YES bullshit machine posed the narrative of his rock-ribbed re-commitment to defense, which would make him an elite catcher. Uh-huh. He has four PBs already. He won't break baseball's all-time single season record, held by the immortal Rudy Kemmler (114 passed balls in 1883.) But he could reach 20-to-30, which would be certifiably, for-the-ages horrible. What were we thinking?

7. Betances. Same guy as last year - that is, we wouldn't want him in a playoff game. Incredible stuff. Still can't hold runners. We thought he could overcome it. Why?

6. The rest of the bullpen. We told ourselves - with help from the courtier media - our relief corps was the best in baseball. After just three weeks, we're on the verge of bringing up pitchers who were afterthoughts in Tampa. How could we be so gullible? 

5. Tyler Wade. He looked good in spring training, so we dismissed his failed audition last summer. Thus far, he has shown us next to nothing, and the shadow of Scranton now looms over every at-bat. Once he goes down - especially if he trades places with Gleyber - will we ever see him again?

4. Brendan Drury and Clint Frazier. We cannot blame players for being hurt, but both are suffering from bizarre head injuries, which mean all bets are off.  I don't remember a Yankee with a personal history of recurring migraines. And Frazier's concussion now has wiped away six weeks - no end in sight. We cannot expect either soon, and way down deep, we must wonder if either can make an impact on 2018. Head injuries are weird: Did you know that yesterday, Chuck Schumer actually signed a bong?

3. Giancarlo. When a guy wins the MVP on a team that finishes 20 games behind, what does it mean? It means he hit meaningless home runs in meaningless games. So he comes to NYC, and we somehow think he'll thrive on all the polarizing attention? What were we thinking?

2. Sonny Gray. There's no other way to put this: He's on the verge of joining an elite cadre of Yankee pitching monstrosities - from Jeff Weaver to Carl Pavano, from Javier Vazquez to Kei Igawa - "power arms" who arrived with too many miles on their shoulders. He was good three years ago. Isn't that the essence of every Cashman trade? Should we call him "Sonny Kei?" 

1. Cooperstown Cashman. All winter, he was lauded as a crypto-genius, the chess master moving pieces into place, while saving money and building a top farm system. Well, have you looked at the 7-7 Trenton Thunder lately? Last night, they fielded a lineup with maybe one legitimate prospect - Dillon Tate, who comes with a lot of caveats. Thus far, our vaunted farm system looks as mediocre as the MLB team. And already, we're bracing for a mid-season wave of acquiring salary dumps - more players who were good three years ago. What were we thinking. WHAT THE FUCK WERE WE THINKING? 

Sonny Gray is in my ears and in my eyes

With apologies to the Fab Four...

Sonny Gray is a pitcher you would hear about
It was said that he was very good indeed
But when you see him come and throw this muck
You say WTF?

Sonny Gray is in my ears and my eyes
Dear God, please  make it stop!
Sonny Gray is a useless piece of junk
And once again he stunk.

Sonny Gray was quite the pitcher back in Oakland
But he hasn't got a bit of guts or sand
He's a useless gland
Ain't it grand?

Sonny Gray is in my ears and in my eyes
Just like tse-tse flies
Sonny Gay deserves those blue suburban skies
After all our piteous cries
And not more rotten lies...

I. Don't. Care. About. The. Passed. Balls.

Look. You put a six-two guy behind home plate, and have him catch pitchers who specialize in bouncing balls in the dirt?

There are going to be passed balls. That's just the way it is.

What I want out of Gary Sanchez?

I want him to go all Tommy Lee Jones on their ass.

I watched that fifth inning. As remarked, it seemed to take about three days, as Domingo looked scared to death against a bunch of truly mediocre Blue Jays hitters.

I didn't care so much about the couple of Sanchez passed balls.

What I needed was for Gary to run out to German, who frankly looked scared to death, and get in his face and tell him:

"Son? Did you like the way the clubhouse boy carried your gear to your locker when you arrive? Did you like the free massage, and the after-game meal, and all that crap? You did? And you didn't miss the 32-hour Triple-A bus ride?

"Good. So why don't you get out there and pitch like you mean it? Why don't you try throwing like you're not scared to death? Here, I have the actors from the start of that Johnny Cash movie. They're here to say, hey, if you have one inning to pitch before you die, let's see it.

"Let's not see some wimpy-ass pitch on 0-2 that a hitter nobody's ever hear of can hit into right for a run. Let's not see you walk in a run because you're scared to death.

"Let's see you pitch like a gawd-damned MAN, son!  Just for once. Just this time."

In my opinion, when Gary Sanchez is capable of this, then he will be a great catcher.

In the meantime...this is what it's all about. It accounts for a bunch of the errors, I'm sure—all these scared little boys, slowing the game down until the fielders lose their concentration. It's why we can't win a damned thing.

Get out there and act like a man. Very simple, really.

Friday, April 20, 2018

I was really starting to enjoy watching the Tide Pod Challenge. What happened? I thought it was ready to take off!

The calls goes out, from all the Clans an' the Wee Woolly Beasties...

...where'n is Mike Ford???

Y'kin hear the name, whisperin' in the wind, up the hills an' down the dales, from Balmoral to Brigadoon, where our gallant Robbie still sits in limbo: where is the one mun who kin hold first base for us?

He's Mike Ford, as well they know from Dumfries to John O'Groats, and his time is now.

Tyler One is suspended for looking cross-eyed at various Fenwankies. Walker obviously can't play this (or any) position.

And what do we have at Triple-A?

A fine, mature laddie who is hitting .280, has been an on-base machine everywhere he's gone, and has worked hard to increase his power and to learn to pay the position.

The knock on him, through all of baseball, seems to be that he took time out to go to Princeton, and we all know how having some Ivy League guy at first worked out for the Yanks in the past. But still!

Get the man up here. I know it may be difficult, because MLB has adapted the old "Punish-the Knicks" rules, wherein we officially have to go with a 24-man roster while Austin is suspended. But still!

Time to send down Tyler Too—he's going anyway, folks, as soon as they assure themselves that the Gleyber's back is all right—and move Walker back to the other position he can't play. Time to give this Ford a test drive!!

Here Is The Question Of The Day.....

Can we win two in a row?

Teams that are playing .500 ball always have that dilemma.

We are on a hot streak, right now, close to being Booney's best run of the season.  I think we once won two in a row ( early ), but haven't repeated that in a while.

I hoped that we might sweep two games against the Marlins, but they proved far too tough.

So where are we, exactly?

1.  As Duque aptly pointed out, we got 4 innings out of our starter ( just off the DL.... he is on a pitch count).

2.  We used the best of our bullpen, and they did hang on.  Chad Green dominated, as did the guys at the end.  Only Robertson gave us his famous, "bases loaded with no outs" trick.  But those guys are not primed for any work today.  If they have to pitch, we need another rain day tomorrow.

3.  We climbed to the top of the league in errors committed.  A new low for Yankee teams.  As I always say, this malaise begins with the annual Greg Bird injury.  He can actually play first base.  On defense as well as offense.  The Neal Walkers of the world are only " good over there" in the eyes of manager Aaron Boone.  Austin is better, but he is sitting out a league-imposed penalty.  Bird makes Torreye's poor throw an out.

4.  Sonny Grey is reminding me more and more of Dorian Grey.  He looks in the mirror and sees panic, terror, incompetence.  He sees a small man in a huge world.  And he can't throw strikes.

5.  Romine better catch today because, when Sonny is good , most of his pitches bounce.  Some of those passed balls yesterday reminded me of the new kid from down the street who showed up with a glove, ready to play, and when I soft-tossed him the hardball, he put his hands together like Brer Rabbit, ducked, and the ball hit him in the face.  I was grounded for a week.

6.  And let me just offer an old bromide:  "good defense makes good offense."  And the opposite is true, also.  Which makes me worry about whether Gary is going to be MVP.

7.  Back to the infield for a moment:  it is terrible.  Didi is a genius, so we can put his work off to the side.  But Walker is awful at first.  Everyone can catch the easy throws, and field the charity hops.  Good gloves do a lot more.  Tyler is our best fielding second baseman, but cannot hit a lick.  He grounds out to first or second, 35 times out of 37.  Andjuhar needs work, as has been stated. But he also shows signs.   It was Girard-like  of Boone to sit him down right after he doubled and homered.    Torreyes is a really tough out and a good player.  But that flat footed throw was revealing.

8.  Our outfield is good, when Stanton is not part of it.

So where does that leave us?  I believe we need to score prolifically in order to win.  Ten runs should be our game target.  With that, even Adam Warren can pitch an inning, and give up three runs, without killing us.

Following that;  Bird must return ; Drury must return and Torres must arrive.  Until then, we are defending the Alamo and running short of ammunition.