Thursday, August 23, 2018

Pedro is right

Maybe it was the manager: old Joe Girardi occasionally blew lava chunks like a vent on the Ring of Fire. Maybe it was the vets: You never saw old Jeet or A-Rod jogging out grounders, and O'Neill destroyed water coolers for sport. But this week's words from Pedro Martinez - that the Yankees don't seem to be hustling - has electrified a nerve of truth.  

Last night, in his most memorable at bat, Greg Bird slammed a liner off the pitcher's butt, then loped to first while the guy recovered, found the ball and threw him out. I realize that the play unfolded directly in front of Bird, who was surely demoralized by the loss of a rare base hit. But there he was, jogging merrily to first. Bird's batting average is near .200. If his past is prelude, it's almost time for him to announce that a foot hurts, requiring surgery, but he'll be rearing to go next spring! Listen: I am still pulling for Greg Bird. We all want him to succeed. But jogging out grounders is a virus, and the Yankees seem to have come down with it 

Last night, Aaron Hicks - generally a work horse in CF - lashed a single into right-center and smartly took second base on the throw to the plate. The YES team applauded his savvy. But on the replay, you saw Hicks break slowly from the batters box and not start running hard until he was halfway to first. On the Yankees, this is normalcy: Batters watch the ball and then, after a few steps, decide whether to run hard. The fellow in the opposing dugout - old Mr. Mattingly - must have been shaking his head. You never saw him jog out of the box. Those were the most important steps a batter would take.

Last night, after a dismal loss to a horrible team, our de facto Yankee captain, Brett Gardner, reacted to Pedro's comments, noting that an ex-Redsock will always show a pro-Boston loyalty. But as a TV analyst, Pedro has shown himself to be quite neutral and frankly, if he were really pro-Boston, he would not criticize the lackluster Yankee play. If anything, his comments look like what the Yankees need to hear. He was basically posting locker room quotes.

So what did Gardy say? He goes on to rattle off excuses. Excuses!

"We have the second-best record in the game. They have the best and have a great team that is playing well. We have dealt with injuries, have the toughest schedule and the worst travel. We went to Boston and they beat us four straight. We played Sunday night, they were off and we played in Chicago. Then we played a night game on getaway day and didn’t get home ’til 5 a.m. We played 20 games in 20 days. It’s fair to say guys were a little [weary]. We are doing the best we can.’’

Wow. That was no interview. It was a perjury trap. Yeah, the Yankees are tired. They use 13 pitchers and only 12 position players, and they don't have fresh arms in the bullpen. But where is the manager? The other day, after a close call went south, the YESsirs openly wondered if this could be the moment for Aaron Boone to go ballistic and light a fire under his team. Nope. Didn't happen. Boone is a modern manager, the kind who orders from the vegan menu and holds rookies' hands through their first menstrual periods.  

But I'm tired of watching batters decide whether to run hard. Pedro is right. The Yankees look lifeless. They better take his criticism to heart. If they have any. 


Local Bargain Jerk said...

I say Amen, brother.

Local Bargain Jerk said...

Actually, thinking about this a little more, I predict that in the future, we'll all have this thought:

     I shoulda known the season was over when I found myself agreeing with Pedro Martinez
     about the Yankees' lack of heart.

KD said...

we now have "situational effort" on our team. I'm almost certain that THIS IS BY DESIGN. The Millennial In The Basement (TM) has ordained that hustle is dangerous. It is to be avoided unless The Situation demands it.

You doubt me? you all saw what hustle did to Fat Sancho and The Professor, didn't you? (duque and Mustang, if you make "Fat Sancho and The Professor" into a block buster franchise, will you cut me a little slice? thank you.)

KD said...

I think that is Gardy defending his teammates, himself, and the organization. What I'd really like to be is a fly on the wall during Gardy's exit interview this winter. Gadry hustles and I don't believe that he approves of this new laid back Yankees ethos.

13bit said...

Of course Pedro is right. And I say this with love. I say this as somebody who was in the Stadium the first time we broke into a rolling chorus of "Who's your DADdy?" over and over.

They are not hustling. As one of the sages on this site said a few weeks ago, if being in pinstripes on the major league team up in the Big House in the Bronx is not enough to make you hustle, nothing will.

I don't care how many days in a row they have "worked" or how tired they are or who they have faced or blah blah blah blah blah. There is nobody in charge or in the club house who is inspiring or motivating them. It's damn sure not coming from within.

What season was it when some members of this team were sitting in the clubhouse at the end of a season and reading golfing magazines? Am I hallucinating? I have a memory of that.

Anyway, Bird should be shit-canned immediately. I, for one, have zero hope for him anymore. We should STOP counting games remaining and looking at the odds and START to set our ducks in a row for a GRAND SLAM SWEEP-OUT. Let them all know that nobody is sacred. Give them a shot to audition for us or another team by bringing their "A" game to September, then fire them all.

These games the last two months have been torture. The first month and a half were clearly the aberration AND, if they were not, then fire the whole training staff immediately, including the hand-job guy who squats next to the massage table.

George and Bill would not have stood for this. Casey might have, but he would have humiliated them along the way. Joey Binders, bless his soul, would have broke a few toes by this point, kicking that billion dollar concrete step at the bottom of the dugout.

We're talking about these guys like people talk about the current generation of over-coddled grade schoolers. They are supposed to be responsible men - getting paid a fuckload of money, by the way - who are playing a game and winning adulation wherever they go. They should be playing through bloody socks, fake or otherwise, knee tweaks, torn gonads, shrunken eyelids, pinched testicles and any other bullshit ailment - aside from a case of Pavano Buttock - that's too much to deal with.

Fuck this. Fuck that. Fuck them. There is no succor.

Ken of Brooklyn said...

Fucking BRAVO 13bit!
I will add that I was not the biggest fan of the ToddFather, but, in retrospect, anything resembling his hustle and on field enthusiasm is embarrassingly absent this year. Maybe it was finally letting go of the chase for first place in the division,,,,, and, I have to agree that a mea culpa of sorts to Joey Binders seems to be in order, at least in terms of lackluster play, he seemed to call out the bullshit when he saw it.

13bit said...

Binders was a champion. Cash-money is a chumpion.

KD said...

Hey 13bit! I was at that game to! did you get any of the radio station posters they were giving away outside the Stadium? Featured a red pacifier with a redsock logo. I have it framed and hanging in my man cave (a.k.a. the garage).

JM said...

I didn't think much of Binder Boy, but then, I didn't think much of Torre. And I think Boone is in so far over his head that, when his Xanax prescription runs out, his head might explode.

But this team is sad right now. As good as he's been lately, I'm just tired of seeing Stanton strike out on pitches ankle-high and often two feet outside. I mean, wtf is that? And the jogging. I noticed when Hicks just stood there, then started jogging, then somehow ended up on second base. The only good things lately are watching Torres play his natural position, where he's great, and the transformation of Neil "The Hat" Walker. The pitching is a shambles, minus Tanaka. Bird is an unmitigated disaster, even his defense has gone south.

At least there's no game tonight.

KD said...

"situational effort" is New Baseball's replacement for Old Baseball's "situational hitting". since all our guys do nowadays is swing for the fences (and dare to strike out), there is no more need for situational hitting skills. (But I do remember them fondly....)

Get used to the "hesitation hustle". It's not a bug. It's a feature! Guys with millions$$ on the line who graduated from schools finer than yours dreamed this shit up. Enjoy!

KD said...

Damn. I'm getting pissed. These New Baseball savants seem to have forgotten that baseball is entertainment above all else. It's supposed to be fun for fans, not just for number crunchers in the basement who never touched a ball or a bat (probably not a woman, either.) They are killing my favorite sport. My evidence for this is an almost unwatchable Yankees team. They never do anything that surprises me. I don't think Boone is even human. Has anyone ever checked him for a pulse?

Alphonso said...

They can't shit can Bird, even though he should be in Scranton. To take this action would unravel all that Cashman thinks he has accomplished; Losing Austin, having no back-up in the minors, refusing to let the ivy league guy play, etc....all spells incompetence and lack of planning.

They should demote Bird until he hits .350 at AAA.

He isn't very good on defense either.

A shit-Bird.

Austria's Only Baseball Fan said...

Perhaps it’s been decided to force-feed Bird, thus slowing him down and fattening his liver for sale as “Faux Gras,” thinly sliced, lightly sautéed and served on a bed of Astroturf. Well, that seems as logical as anything else…

I gotta agree with Ken of Brooklyn: I don’t miss the statistics the ToddFather churned out in his brief stay in pinstripes, but what the man had was a passion, an absolute infectious joy about being a part of the Yankees, no matter how small the role. I went off on this earlier in the week: this “team” is soulless.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Mmm, Clarice, you're making me hungry!

And John M., love the "Harry the Hat" reference! Wasn't he Dixie Walker's brother?

Anonymous said...

Based on all the evidence provided above I can only conclude, Guilty! On all counts.

Doug K.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I give Hicks something of a pass because I've only seen him hustle otherwise and, in a situation like that, with a guy on base, it's imperative for him to know where the ball is going so that he can avoid running into an out AND take the maximum number of bases possible. Which he did.

The lack of hustle by certain individuals—Sancho, Slo-Pitch, Torres at times—is indeed indefensible. Even O'Neill and Cone have begun to talk about how Slo-Pitch is "too easy-going" and needs to be prodded.

But what I object to most of all is the lack of, well, let's call it, "Brain Hustling."

Sure, Gardy always hustles on the field. But his second half is turning into his every other second half, over the entire course of his 11-year career. That is, he wears down and resorts to taking sweeping, powerless swings over the plate, swings so weak that, even if he should somehow make contact, they will be devoid of any power.

Year after year this happens, and there is never any adjustment.

I realize that, shorthanded as this team is, he cannot ask for days off. But there ARE occasional days off, and maybe, just maybe, if he needs to sleep every single minute between games, he should do it.

Ballplayers talk all the time about what a grind the game is, and I'm sure they're right. All those flights back and forth, the various distractions. But they never seem to get that most people are expected to show up for work every day, too, and not just for six months. Nor do they ever admit to how much "the grind" becomes the grind when you spend every other night in a barroom, chasing the sweet nectar of carnal pleasure.

Either way, this all gets back to management again. There is no one lighting a fire, there is no one providing the instruction necessary to make adjustments in hitting and pitching, and there is no one willing to bring up useful replacements—McBroom?—when certain, favored players crater.

Joe of AZ said...

Here here....MELT THIS mother fukin ice cream sandwich of a team!!!

The thing about Joey loose leafs is he had heart, grit, you could see his veins popping and clean hed jaws from first pitch his urgency backfired at times (over manage) but showed up when it mattered most
.. things these yanks millennials are inheritantly missing from their makeup and ARE NOT.GETTING FROM GQ BOONE

Few in game observations/question

Does Thames EVER pick up his chin from the dugout railing to provide MUCH NEEDED hitting instruction

Does Boone ever look up from his lineup card to actually see the shitty play and lack of soul/heary/hustle ( great name for a band) on the field.

Has Larry EVER helped a pitcher IMPROVE or make a positive adjustment.

Has Cash ever ON HIS OWN built a dynasty?

Us Yankee fans DEMAND to know!!!


Austria's Only Baseball Fan said...

Geez,you guys! This is like a pop culture quiz: first we have Neil “The Hat” Walker (any relation to the subject of the line “That’s some bad hat, Harry” from “Jaws” and/or Harry “The Hat” from “Cheers?”), then Dixie Walker who, according to Wikipedia, "may be best known for his reluctance to play on the same team as Jackie Robinson in 1947," and so many other Walker Brothers that it would make perfect sense for “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore)” to blare through stadiums throughout North America as the latest member of the dynasty drags his ass up to the plate.

13bit said...

If nothing else, this season has given us two of my favorite new Yankee player nicknames: Loretta Lynn and Johnny Lasagna.

ranger_lp said...

KD is right about situational one runs it out anymore...could anyone imagine Pete Rose hustling with a 20 million dollar/year contract in 2018? Fans are getting ripped off with these HR Derby games complete with shifts. And stupid ass Francesa saying that the players would work this out...BS...they've done more of the same and they'll do more of the same until they come up with a new metric LPG which stands for Lunacy Per Game which shows how much rinse and repeat per nine innings this shit happens. Pretty soon we will measure launch angle of our feet kicking in our LCD watching this poor excuse for Major League Baseball.

Someone tell me that Strat-O-Matic has shifts in their games now too....smh.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Yes, Austria, Dixie Walker actually broke in with the Yankees, but could not break into our awe-inspiring outfield of the time. The Yanks finally waived him to the White Sox, and a transition or two later, he was picked up by the Brooklyn Dodgers.

In Brooklyn, he proved hugely popular, and was soon dubbed, "The People's Cherce" in the vernacular of that fine borough. He won a wartime batting title in 1944, and the RBI crown in 1945 (In fact, I think he and Harry the Hat may be the only brothers ever to both win batting titles.)

But he refuse to play with Jackie Robinson, lest it hurt his hardware store business, back home in Birmingham. As a result, the brilliant Branch Rickey—another one-time Yankee we could sorely use now—traded him over the offseason to the Pirates, and in so doing acquired two key pieces of the great, "Boys Of Summer" Brooklyn teams, Preacher Roe and Billy Cox.

TheWinWarblist said...

My head is throbbing. The Yankees are pissing me off, CashDollars especially and I used to play and run and row through pain and I'm old now and still play/run/row hurt and nothing nothing nothing would keep me off the field in HS and college when I was young and I didn't play at an elite programs I wasjustanordinarynotpaticularilyskilledplayerwhowasslowbutcouldhitalittleuntilthetommyjohnthingadnfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck ...

Anonymous said...

Count me out of the Joey Blue-Binders Apology Tour...Never Binders!! I will admit, though, that he did have heart, and seems to be a good person - - but the way he mis-handled the games - - especially the BP - - still gives me nightmares.

In the main, I am in near-complete agreement with what John M has to say.

Hoss, I have to differ with your excusing Hicks' lack of hustle on that double: you would be absolutely correct, except for the fact that Hicks dogged it for the FIRST FEW steps, on the way to first base - - not between first & second. Like dugue, it rubbed me the wrong way.

Agreed that most of these guys are just plain playing out the remaining games, and it is depressing me (almost as much as politics); unfortunately, I have a masochistic streak, and am semi-retired, so I make it a point to watch every game, all the way through, whenever possible - - but it is dragging me down, to Walker Bros. territory. LB (No J)

HoraceClarke66 said...

I was just wondering if maybe he was having trouble picking up the ball from there. But certainly, there is too much shillyshalling and dillydalling going on. This team needs a little ginger!

Anonymous said...