Monday, August 6, 2018

Chronicle of a Humiliation Foretold

We all saw this coming, didn't we?

Some of us—not me—were actively predicting it. All we were missing in Boston this weekend was the pineapple, the humiliating ninth-inning meltdown.

It came out of the way this team was constructed, so much worse than the not-terribly-deep but really-well-balanced Beantowners.  Somehow, one of the deepest spring training teams I've ever seen, had been reduced to the Standard Cashman Model, desperately thin in bench and pitching.

Somehow, the ten—count 'em ten!—bee-you-tee-full outfielders we had in the spring had been melted down to Shane Robinson in right field, without a blessed thing done to alleviate that situation at the trade deadline.

Somehow, none of our starters could make it through the sixth inning. Somehow, Jonathan Holder became the vital piece in what all the Knights of the Press Box assured us was the greatest bullpen the world has ever seen.

But it goes back longer than that.

I had a twinge of pain when I saw the ESPN noodniks flash a graphic informing us that Machine Gun Chapman has saved 22 straight games going into last night—still far from the 36 consecutive saves The Great One had run up in 2009 for the Yankees record.

Did anyone ever really think that we were going to see this gigantic riddle of a man standing tall on the mound at the end of a World Series, the way that the great Rivera did four times?

Hell, in his one encounter with such a situation, Chapman got ripped to shreds by the Indians, and ended up standing as enigmatically as ever in the Cubs dugout while Carl Edwards, Jr., and Mike Montgomery bailed him out.

(To be sure, he actually may have helped Chicago win that Game Seven. The Indians beat him up so thoroughly in the eighth inning that they were swinging out of their shoes on every pitch in the ninth, instead of having the Sandy Leon-like patience to wait out what we now know would have been Chappie's inevitable crash and burn in a flurry of walks and singles.)

Our response to witnessing that effort should have been, 'He's all yours, Cubbies, and thanks for The Gleyber!' But not with Odysses Cashman, smarter by far than a smart man.

This pitiable, spiritless wreck of a team has come up at last against what has been staring it in the face for years now. There is simply not enough savvy, concentration, or passion at the top to make it anything more than a sometime contender.

Sure, if Cashman goes out and buys enough talent this off-season, we might get lucky some October, in a modern baseball world where one-third of the teams make the playoffs, and at least another third are always tanking.

Sure, if baseball continues to follow the inane Tampa Bay model, everybody will be a 110-130-inning pitcher, or a hitter with 20 homers and a .220 average, and that version of the sport will be almost by definition a crapshoot, in which the Yankees will be just as likely to win as Kansas City, or Shoeless Joe from Kokomo. Or the Mets.

But to me, that ain't baseball. And it sure as hell ain't Yankees baseball.


Publius said...

The surest sign, in hindsight, came yesterday at about 3:30 pm EDT. Tommy Kahnle took the mound in Scranton. It was the top of the 9th. The RailRiders, tied coming into the game with Norfolk for the IL wildcard, led Buffalo 5-2. One out and two runs later Kahnle left, replaced by someone named Joe Harvey. Three batters later, Buffalo led 6-5. Scranton went quietly in the bottom of the inning.

In professional baseball's long history, I wonder whether an organization's AAA team and big club have ever both blown 3 run leads with 3 outs to go, and lost, on the same calendar day. I hope not, because then the feat can truly be dubbed "The Cash Crash".

Joe of AZ said...

Hey but look on the bright side. They Yanks mayve in a catastrophe of epic porportions...but according to the Post Giancarlo's hot af girlfriend was watching the game -_-

HoraceClarke66 said...

She is crazy hot.

Meanwhile, Aaron Boone told the press that it was "a tough way to end a tough weekend."

They fool you, these big-league managers. They're so much more insightful than you think they are.

ranger_lp said...

Might be better to trade all the starters and have 13 relievers on the roster. Tampa Bay is on to something. It's better than what the Cubs did in 1961 and 1962 with the College of Coaches. Although, I wonder how much closer we are to the college now.

Anonymous said...

Think about it: you despise Hal Steinbrenner, ooze contempt for the ineptitude of Cashman and Boone, wallow in a blog founded on mockery of the ineptitude of the chief radio announcer. So really--what rational reason is there so maintain allegiance to the Yankees? Eventually children grow up, forsaking ketchup of bearnaise sauce, Superman comics for Dostoevsky, Bruce Willis for Tarkovsky, their mommy and daddy for lovers or spouses, maybe even their inherited prejudices for a sense of wonder about the world. Yet in this one thing alone--the brand name of a baseball team--you are forbidden to evolve, obsessively shielding this one childhood atavism from the graces of critique, reason, and judgment?

The Yankees are a pit of inteptitude, corruption, bad taste, and failure. Whatever frail tether to the greatness of their past was dissolved with the last blast of dynamite that imploded the real Yankee Stadium. Now you have a marketing ploy, a media empire, staggering along in the guise of baseball team.

Grow up. Move on. It's okay to realize that this team doesn't warrant your affection, your allegiance, your loyalty, any more than the Nike swoosh does. Find a baseball bastion of intelligence, taste, judgment, with real annnouncers, real executives, and, above all, a real team, not a chaotic agglomeration of faltering prospects and failing veterans, perpetually sputtering into incompetence and oblivion.

Rooting for a baseball team need not be a lifelong exercise in regression and masochism. Neither the Mets nor the Yankees deserve anyone's time, attention, nor money. Plenty of other teams do. Move on. Grow up.

KD said...

If a team went with a series of relievers rather than a standard rotation, would there be less TJ surgery? I’d love to see the stats on arm injury starters v relievers.

Anonymous said...

SO frickin' magnanimous of you, O Worthy Stat-Spewer, to spend a few minutes of your precious time on our humble little e-rag, valiantly attempting to convince a few superannuated geezers to change their allegiance from their chosen team of many years - - based upon the lack of worthiness of those who pull the strings, behind the scenes.

I DO SOOOO hope you will come back, early & often, to keep reminding us how unworthy of our adoration our chosen team really is. How, pray tell, could we get along without that??

Oh - - and by the way, I much prefer aioli to bearnaise sauce...but I have some thoughts regarding worthy uses for ketchup, as well.

Hope to see you soon - - on the Twinkies' blog. LB (No J)

Anonymous said...

Hey LB (No J)--sorry you have nothing but bile to splatter, nothing in the way of logic or reason. Don't worry--no one will take your Mickey Mantle rookie card from you. You're safe forever. Now cuddle up to your interlocking NY blanky, and sweet dreams.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Well, that's what we're about to find out, KD.

Basically, with 13 pitchers you could throw in 4 pitchers a game and have everybody pitch roughly every third game. 2 and 1/3 times 54 comes to around 125 innings.

Granted, some guys will flame out, or stink, others will be called on a little more. But basically, we'd be talking about 110-140 innings a year, for every pitcher, which does NOT seem like that much of a workload.

Of course, it remains to be seen if the frequency wears people out, which it may well.

If it doesn't, though, they will probably be throwing harder than ever. Think of every game becoming the All-Star Game, with hitters facing a constant carousel of changing pitchers, who they cannot possibly all know or keep straight. It will make them all the more inclined to simply guess and go for the fences on every pitches.

If that is, in fact, the game of the near future, I am gathering up every old Yankees or other great game highlight I can find, and huddling up in the bomb shelter out back.

I suspect that will be a common reaction, but who knows? When they destroyed movies, popular music, and Broadway, nobody seemed to give a damn, so why should they now?

Anonymous said...

O Stat-Addled Bile-Spewer:

Methinks you've picked up on one of tRUMPY's traits: attributing that to others, of which you, yourself are guilty.

I didn't see even one good reason to waste any reason or logic on your diatribe - - wouldn't do any good, anyway, unless you could look it up in one of your revered probability tables.

Go kiss a frog, Twinkie-Fan! LB (No J)