Monday, December 31, 2018


Okay, everybody... one more time: LET'S SING ALONG WITH THE DEADLY SPINNERS!

That was many years ago. Here's an update.

The Final Count

Okay, boys and girls, here it is, the final count for 2018 on how many articles the NY Times ran on soccer, versus the Yankees:

Soccer 392, Yankees 262.

The month-by-month breakdown goes like this, in case someone wants to check my math:

January:     Soccer 15, Yankees 1
February:   Yankees 14, Soccer 12
March:       Yankees 23, Soccer 21
April:         Yankees 32, Soccer 22
May:          Yankees 28, Soccer 17
June:          Soccer 123, Yankees 31
July:           Soccer 62, Yankees 23
August:      Yankees 31, Soccer 18
September: Yankees 32, Soccer 15
October:      Soccer 29, Yankees 21
November:  Soccer 26, Yankees 8
December:  Soccer 32, Yankees 8

In fairness to the Times, you take out the soccer-mad, World Cup months of June and July, and the Yanks actually win this, 208-207.  I imagine the total is much more like that in most years (and no, don't worry, I will not be doing this next year—or ever again).

Also, the Yankees really got whacked in two months they used to dominate, November and December, losing by a combined 58-16.  I put this down to Food Stamps' botched off-season, and draw the same conclusion Duque did about tabloid covers:  the Yankees should not take their dominance of our current sports desert for granted.

Speaking of which, I don't know if anyone else saw the Times' crazy, double-paged spread on pretty much all NY teams, ever, or at least since 1900, and how many championships they've won, playoffs they've been in, etc.

It included some of the Times' usual, whacky decision making.  Neither the Cosmos nor the earlier NASL New York teams were included, for instance, though NYCFC and the Red Bulls were.  Team tennis and the New Jersey General were left out, but the current "Sky Blue F.C" women's soccer team was included—as were the Metropolitan Riveters, a women's hockey team.

Weird, but that's the Times.  What it did show was that, interestingly enough, baseball has always been far and away New York's top sport.  Let's hope that continues—and I don't mean in Flushing.

Happy New Year!

Keep it going everybody: IT'S THE MASTER AND THE BOSS.... BORN TO WARBLE

Seven solstice sentiments for Day Seven of the Manny Blackout

As the world waits for Manny Machado to play his cards, some observations to fill the Voit, I mean VOID...

1. The Yankees easily won our 2018 Tabloid Covers Race (see left), but they finished 40 fewer covers than in 2017. That's a significant drop, especially when you consider that the Mets and Giants showed growth, even while sucking. NYC  is growing tired of the Yankees' failure to win anything meaningful. If Hal Steinbrenner thinks his team will always rule Gotham, he is wrong. 

2. The Sonny Gray trade looks increasingly like a dead canary in a coal mine. 1. The Yankees wasted three top prospects to obtain Sonny. 2. He failed miserably in his NY trial. 3. He's not going to bring much in a trade. 4. He'll probably pitch well for his next club. It's a grand slam of failure.

3. Considering "Cooperstown" Cashman's woeful track record in trading for power arms, it's strange to see so many Gammonites and fans assuming that James Paxton will be an ace. The guy has major injury issues. If he goes south, we're back to a three-man rotation - (I'm sorry, folks, but writing in CC makes no sense) - without Justus Sheffield on the horizon. No matter what Manny decides, the Yankees need one more starter.

4. Against the advice of my cardiologist, I watched the Giants' yesterday. They are certifiably worse than the wretched teams of the 1970s with Rocky Thompson and Bobby Duhon. And next year, nothing will change. The statue of Eli Manning will return as QB. He can't avoid pass rushers, so the OL gets blamed for everything. Odell Beckham Jr.'s career will be squandered, with Saquan Barkley waiting for his turn. The defense - once a proud Giants tradition - will remain horrible. How can New York City so consistently produce hapless professional sports teams? Is it something in the water?

5. I still can't decide if I want Machado as a Yankee. But I do know this: If the Yankees sign Machado and then wave the white flag - that is, they claim to have no more money to spend (a complete lie) - we are screwed. Next year will look a lot like 2018.  

6. Call me a fool, but dammit, I still believe in Greg Bird and Clint Frazier. Certainly, the Yankees gave Bird numerous chances, and he failed. But we desperately need a LH bat in that lineup. As for Frazier, he's been dealt bad cards. I hope he gets the chance that Sheffield never received.

7. I cannot shed a sense that 2019 will be a crazy year in America and the world. So many tectonic plates are crashing together - (political, economic and even actual tectonic plates!) - that we will need the Yankees more than ever to celebrate or ridicule. America's tribal culture will seek to divide us. Let's not let that happen. 

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Keep the party going! IT'S JAY-Z AND J-STERL!

The year ends in a whimper

And so 2018 closes... Good riddance, muthafukkah. The Redsocks broke into our homes, slept with our spouses, ate all the Corn Flakes. It was their year, from start to finish. We just hung around, waiting for it to end. And 2019 will begin in the same way: Waiting for Manny Machado and Bryce Harper to render their decisions unto humankind. We just wait... 

The Chinese curse goes, "May you live in interesting times." And, yeah, 2018 was interesting. Aaron Judge turned out to be real. Gary Sanchez didn't. Giancarlo Stanton fanned in his final at-bat; if he just didn't swing, he might be a hero. Luis Severino mysteriously wilted, Greg Bird floundered, and the awesome specter of Super Luke Voit exploded, perhaps to make us forget them all. Will he return in 2019?

Aaron Hicks became "on paper the AL's second best CF," whatever that means. Miguel Andjujar outshone both Gleyber Torres and Joe Dimaggio, though his glove clanked and he might soon disappear. Didi Gregorius gave everything he had - a headfirst slide into home to seal the wild card - (because the underachieving team had crumbled at the end, to make it closer than it should have been) - and now he will miss half of 2019, his contract year. The juju gods owe both Sir Didi and Miggy D a better deal. 

El Chapo and Dellin Betances suffered massive meltdowns - again - but still survived. Aaron Boone may have learned how to manage in the playoffs. He sure didn't know this time. Brian Cashman remains the eternal Yankee Rasputin. He keeps those incriminating photographs of Hal Steinbrenner under lock and key. In 2019, we'll learn whether they are damning enough to force Food Stamps Hal to spend some money - aside from trying to buy back YES. 

One great victory in 2018: The Master and Suzyn made it through yet another season, unscathed. They have become the Yankiverse's center square, the tribe's primordial elders and keepers of the nuclear codes. I cannot imagine a long summer drive without a win-warble, or a homer-holler, or Suzyn muttering, "Oh, boy." One of these days, they will be gone, and all the critics who for decades were complaining will be faced with drone-voiced car salesmen, who will never measure up. 

Alphonso made it through another year. Yesterday was his birthday. Party on, Alph. We're not in the ground yet. One more Yankee dynasty before the ants get us? One more... ? 

May we all rejoice in such a sentiment. We're not dead yet. Who knows what 2019 will bring. My guess is that it will be - well - interesting.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

The New Year's Party Continues: JOHN SINGS "HONEY BUN" from SOUTH PACIFIC

The waiters and the hangers-on say Manny is coming to the Yankees

In a drought, this is what passes for a Yankee headline.

And this.
And this.
What if Manny Machado's friend dressed up as Bryce Harper and fooled a waiter into thinking that Sonny Gray was staying with the Yankees?

Now, that would be news.

Today, maybe someone will find a piece of toast that shows Manny in a Yankee hat, or the news will break that Greg Bird's dog has ringworm. That's the kind of news cycle we are now inhabiting.

Soon, all will be revealed. We must maintain every ounce of outrage, bile, venom, hysterical glee, delight and phlegm that we can muster. We will soon be called upon to spew. 

Friday, December 28, 2018




Soon, everything is going to happen, all at once... but not today

Okay, listenup, everybody: Sometime late next week - I'm guessing Friday - Manny Machado is going to announce his decision, unleashing a wave of change upon humanity.

Once Manny decides where he'll play next year, the juju gods will call the cards on the future of the Yankees, the U.S. government shutdown, the crazy stock market, the Mueller probe, the wall, Brexit, Syria, Greta Van Fleet, Harvey Weinstein, who drilled that hole in the Russian space station, the polar caps, the volcanoes, the earthquakes, Insta-Pots - everything! everything! EVERYTHING! - that is, except for Eli fucking Manning, who shalt remain quarterback throughout eternity for the hopeless New York Giants.

Once Machado - baseball's Hamlet on the Hudson - makes his decision between chasing material possessions (Philadelphia money) or pure, uplifting spiritual joy (playing for the lovable Yankees), the cosmic dominoes will fall. 

I'm fine with whatever Manny chooses. 

If he comes to New York, it means he has chosen the Yankee tradition; he wants to ride down the Canyon of Heroes, he wants to hear his name chanted in the pregame bleacher call, he wants to be mocked, savaged and personally attacked on this site, whenever he goes 0-for-3. And if he chooses Phily, or Chicago, or East Schunk, so be it. He can go there and rot. I will lead everyone in a joyous chant that the Manny grapes were always sour.

Once Manny chooses, the planet's magnetic poles will rearrange, unleashing tectonic events that strain the imagination. (My guess is that a certain Hollywood power couple - not naming names here - will call it quits!) Once the music stops, the remaining teams will scramble after Bryce Harper. 

At that point, Hal Steinbrenner will show himself as either an owner willing to spend money to save his family's tradition, or a miserly scumbag who finishes second in every auction, always talking the talk, while secretly draining the coffers dry. We will soon know.

Soon, folks, everything is going to happen. But not today. 

And, on that note, I've nothing more to say. 

Thursday, December 27, 2018




How to win the 2019 AL East

For me, the most powerful TV moment this Christmas happened on Saturday Night Live, when Miley Cyrus sang the John Lennon carol, "Happy Christmas/War is Over." If you missed it, here it is. The fundamental message: If we truly want something, we have the power to make it happen. 

Clearly, Miley was targeting an "audience of one:" Yankee owner Hal Steinbrenner. 

Her message: Yankee drought is over... if Hal wants it.

Let's imagine for a moment that Food Stamps Hal has one lone objective: To win in 2019. We must halt Boston's march toward a dynasty, and the best way to do that is by winning the AL East. Nothing else matters. We don't worry about money. We don't worry about long-term plans. Dearth is over... if we want it. 

So what do we do? 

1. Sign Manny Machado to play 3B. Give him a huge contact with an "out" clause after, say, three years. He'll sign. He's made it clear: He wants to be a Yankee.

2. Sign Bryce Harper to play LF. Same deal: Massive amount of money with a chance to become a free agent by 2021. Listen: All the Gammonites are saying the same thing: This guy wants to be a Yankee.

3. Sign a stopgap SS until Didi Gregorius returns.

4. Move Miguel Andujar to first base.

5. Trade Sonny Gray, Greg Bird, Luke Voit, Clint Frazier, Tyler Wade and the top prospects in the system - Florial, Loiasiga, Abreu, etc. - for a starting pitcher and a bullpen arm. Fortify the staff at the trade deadline.

Here is the September lineup:

Aaron Hicks CF
Aaron Judge RF
Bryce Harper LF
Manny Machado 3B
Didi Gregorius SS
Giancarlo Stanton DH
Miguel Andujar 1B
Gary Sanchez C
Gleyber Torres 2B

Here is the pitching staff:
Masahiro Tanaka
James Paxton
Luis Severino

J.A. Happ
TBA/ Jordan Montgomery

Here is the bullpen:
Aroldis Chapman
Dellin Betances
Jonathan Holder
Chad Green

This team wins 115 games. It hits 300 homers. Boston faces the wild card game, and the Yankees have home-field advantage in October. 

We could still lose in the post-season. And we will suffer long-term consequences. Frazier and Bird could become stars. Trading prospects is always touchy. Machado and Harper might leave in three years. But this summer - in 2019 - this is baseball's best team, by a mile. 

And so happy Christmas. And a happy new year. Drought is over... if you want it. Drought is over... now. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

To get ready for the new year, let's sing along with AC/DC and THE MASTER!

A polarized Yankiverse cannot seem to decide on Manny Machado

Generally, when a gold-plated free agent pops up on the MLB market, my cold, calculating-yet-spiritually-significant opinion turns out to be rock-solid simple:

Sign the bastard, screw the money, sign him, sign 'em all, every last one, and we'll sort it all out in spring training. (And, by the way, that strategy would work, dammit!)

And yet... here I am, on the day after Xmas, reciting a tortured scene from Hamlet over the fate of Manny Machado. To sign, or not to sign... that is the question.

WTF? This is nuts! Why are we - or I - even debating this? If Manny wants to be a Yankee, as the Gammonites claim, it should have already happened. Good grief, the guy hit 37 homers last year... at age 25. If he signs a 10-year deal, at the end of it, he'll still be younger than Brett Gardner will be this opening day. Why is this even a discussion? 

And yet... as a tribe, we are divided and undecided. Just like the country. Just like me. 

Here's why we should sign Manny: He's the best free agent on the market. He's young. He can play 3B for the next decade. He wants to be a Yankee (reportedly.) He hasn't won a world series, so he'll be hungry. He hates Boston (reportedly.) He can play SS until Didi recovers. As a result of recent dust-ups about hustling, and failure to hit in the post season, he'll have something to prove. He wants to play under the bright lights. 

Here's why we should not sign him: He comes with a reputation for dogging it and for dirty play. Do we want that to become the clubhouse norm? How would that affect Gary Sanchez, or Gleyber Torres, or Miguel Andujar? Speaking of Miggy, we already have our 3B for the next decade. With Manny, our lineup will keel heavily toward the right side. Signing him will force trades to remake the roster. If we sign him, we lose out on Bryce Harper or even the stud pitchers we more desperately need. We can better use that $30 million.

Jeeze. I cannot remember the last time I was so conflicted about a free agent. Seriously, tomorrow, Manny could announce his destination, and my reaction would be, "Oh, well..."

But all this angst and indecision stems from the sense - grown from disbelief - that Hal Steinbrenner may actually intend to turn cheapo this winter. For the last two years, the Yankees have dicked around with the luxury tax threshold - the de facto salary cap - always suggesting that they would be taking aim at the 2019 free agent class. Now, we're told the team may want to stay within that threshold. Last season, the Redsocks outspent us by $40 million and won the world championship. And we're being told to support Yankee plans for fiscal prudence.

Nope. I won't. If the Yankees aren't spending, it simply means the Steinbrenners intend to bank the money themselves. And folks, that's the issue that should unite this tribe.

We can argue about Manny until sunset. But let's agree on one basic point: We are the Yankiverse, not the KC Royalsverse, and we will not accept cheap. Sign the bastards, screw the money, sign 'em all, and then sort it out in spring training. Let's never forget that. We will not be splintered and discarded. 

It's a disgrace what's happening in the Yankiiverse, but other than that, I wish everyone a merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Cashman Delivers.

His holiday bag of gifts for Yankee loyalists:

A fully operational Death Star Christmas: Our annual message of peace and hope, dammit

On this, the holiest of holidays, may all the blessings of hope and love be yours and for your loved ones, and may you live happily in peace, always, with all the joys of the yuletide season, not only today and tomorrow, but throughout the coming year, without regret, and with new understanding that each day is sacred in our hearts, and in our dreams, driven by our own personal sleighs, and lit by the beacons of truth and harmony, plus goodwill, not only to man, but to all creatures, and we don't mean use that word in a negative way, because - hey - it's all about love, as stated above, and the prosperity that we hope shines upon you and your family throughout the coming year, and the year after that, and frankly, forever, even long after you and your family are in their graves, feeding microbial creatures that also are blessed in the holiday spirit, whether they are aware of it or not, because technically, microbes do not believe in anything, which is sad, but still okay, because each one of them is special in the eyes of Christmas, a wondrous holiday that compels us to wish that you never shall suddenly collapse, like a bullpen run by Larry Rothschild, for such is the splendor and pureness of this holiday wish, which I again stress is not a wish, which anyone can make, but a desire, and that it will include not only the entirety of the universe but the tiniest of your atomic composition, which includes the Higgs Boson particle, and that is a lot of empty space, which is also joyous in its own way, although it is hard for us to understand this, not only on
Christmas, but any time, except for the Fourth of July, when we are fired up with the patriotic fervor of true love and glee, so, in conclusion, may everything you've ever wanted to happen happen, and may nothing you never want to ever happen not happen, for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, may the Yankees win in 2019 and may God strike me down right now if this message is in any way insincere, and damn, I-

Monday, December 24, 2018


Hal Steinbrenner was eating his usual breakfast of old hot dog rolls and ten-year-old crackerjack in the Yankee Stadium executive suites on Christmas morning, when he heard the dreadful, scraping sound of chains being dragged over the concrete floor, somewhere deep in the bowels of the Stadium.

Up and up it came, level by level, over all the already cracked and stained pavement of the Stadium walkways that had been put in place less than ten years ago.  He rolled his eyes, and stuffed another stale bun in his mouth.

Closer and closer the dreadful dragging sound came, accompanied now by an awful wheezing noise, as if drawn from a creature in terrible distress.  It was at the mezzanine level, then at the upper grandstand—then the door to the executive suite burst open!

There stood none other than the ghost of Hal's father, dead these eight long years.  The dreadful apparition howled to wake the dead, and shook the long length of chain he carried behind him.

"Holy hell, who the fuck turned the elevators off?" wheezed the spirit of George Steinbrenner, bending over to catch his spectral breath.  "You know, people have elevators for their damned cars nowadays, and I have to haul all this up the whole fucking Stadium?"

"I have 'em turned off for the winter.  Saves on electricity," Hal told him, popping some candy-coated popcorn in his yaw, and almost gagging on the taste.

"How the hell are people supposed to get to their offices?"

"They want to work for the New York Yankees, they can take the stairs.  Besides, weren't you the man who once fired a woman for getting your the wrong tuna fish sandwich?"

"She knew what she was doing!" cried George, shaking his chains angrily.  "Besides, I hired her back the next day.  With a raise."

"And fired her the week after that, am I right?"


"So.  You again.  What is it this time?" asked Hal, before slurping down some Mountain Dew from a case stamped "1977."

George stared around the room in amazement.

"What, didn't the goddamned spirits show up last night?  These union rules—"

"Oh, they came all right, just like you said," Hal interrupted him, in a manner that would have earned him a swift backhand across his mouth for most of his childhood.

"So?  Why the fuck hasn't anything changed?  Why don't you have that insane little elf who likes to climb buildings in here, on the horn to Harper's agent?"

"In case you forgot, it's Christmas Day."

"I don't care if it's goddamned Guy Fawkes Day!  C'mon, business is business!  I signed Catfish Goddamned Hunter on New Year's Eve!  Didn't you hear a thing the damned spirits told you??"

"Oh, they were something all right.  Babe Ruth as the Ghost of Christmas Past.  Very cute.  He kept popping hot dogs in his mouth until all the rat droppings made him vomit."

"Didn't he show you the glories of the storied Yankees past?"

"Sure he did.  Then we got to my past.  You know what he told me?  'Kid, I had it better in the orphanage.' "

"Why that big, fat ape!"

"Uh-huh.  And then that bald, smirking bastard as the Ghost of Christmas Present.  Hey, is it just me, or is Derek Jeter beginning to look more and more like Nosferatu?  Good thing he married that swimsuit model with the horse."

"Well?  Didn't he set you straight?"  George screeched.

"Mostly, he kept needling me about the Stanton deal.  Making those straight-faced little jibes he loves so much.  Even tried to give me a gift basket.  Says he does that for everyone he screws."


"And then that little boy for the Ghost of Christmas Future.  Thing was, he couldn't look up from his phone."

The ghost of George Steinbrenner sat down heavily in a cushioned chair, sweating profusely and looking more than a little discouraged.

"What the hell is wrong with you? And what in the name of Beelzebub is that you're wearing?" he barked at his son.

"What, these?" said Hal, flirtatiously extending his legs.  "These are my kinky boots.  They gave me a pair to keep, after the parade.  Don't you just love the sequins?"

"What are you, some kind of goddamned pansy—"

"I am what I am, and that's no longer any concern of yours," Hal told him.

"But what about this business I built for you?  Why, I crawled all the way up from hell to warn you how it's about to go down, you ungrateful little creep!"

"Oh, yes.  The New York Yankees.  The love of your life.  Not mine."

"C'mon!  Don't you wanna do it better just to stick it to the old man?"  George asked, pleading now.  "That's what kept ME motivated."

"How is Grampa, anyway?"

"Eh, it's an adjustment.  The Lord of Flies has him running this hurdles race every afternoon, where the hurdles keep getting higher and higher, until he lands flat on his face.  I gotta say, it's a big hit in hell.  Cracks me up every time."

"What you rebuilt—and ripped to pieces, and built again—was the greatest franchise in a dying industry."

"What in Lucifer's name are you talking about boy?"  George said, rising up again and shaking his chain, making the odd brass trophies attached to it rattle and bump along the floor.  "Look at them!  Seven World Series trophies!  Why, I've been dead eight years, and you've yet to add a single one to YOUR chain!"

"Pops, pops, pops, you rotten old scoundrel," Hal chuckled indulgently.  "Don't you see how limited your way of thinking is now?  I AM going to surpass you, all right.  This family is building a global empire well beyond anything YOU ever conceived of."

Hal went over to the window, beckoning his dad to come with him.  When he did—after much more bumping and clattering and wheezing—Hal waved his hand toward a swathe of dilapidated building in the Bronx below.

"You see that old parking garage there?"

"Sure!  That was part of my very first rip-off of the City of New York, when I acquired the Yankees!" George chuckled in a hellish manner.  "Lindsay, Mike Burke—what a couple of rubes!  I took them for so much—"

"It's going to be a new soccer stadium.  For our NYCFC club."

"Whoozit whatzit?  Nobody's ever made money on soccer in this country, son!"

"They will now.  Changing demographics.  Plus, we'll get the rights to surround it with luxury condos.  But that's not all.  Next we'll take over Man City."

"A city of men?  I worry about you, boy," said George, staring nervously at the boots again.

"It's a soccer—excuse me, football—club in England."

"Aren't the majority partners those A-rab sheikhs you pal around with nowadays?"

"For now.  How long do you think THEIR money is going to last in the age of climate change, when the whole world goes off oil?  After that—the Nets."

"Doesn't one of Putin's pals own them?  You'd better watch your ass—"

"How much longer do you think Putin will last?  Or, maybe once Jimmy Dolan gets finished wrecking the Knicks I'll snatch them up for a song—and Madison Square Garden.  He's really not such a bad guy, you know—Jimmy. We spend a lot of time together, talking about fathers."

"But-but-but—what about THIS?" George cried, turning to gesture at the Stadium playing field behind them.  "What the hell do you think is going to happen to the YANKEES if you don't spend any money on them?"

"Why, you showed me the future on that one, Pops.  That kid with his eyes glued to his phone, the Ghost of Christmas Future.  Sure, we'll keep the Yanks going for a few years more, until MLB finally goes RIP.  Milk every last dime out of those rat-turd swilling altercockers.  But we're not going to spend one cent more than we have to, I don't care how far down the standings we fall."

Hal's eyes glowed, as his hand swept across the horizon.

"Then, we make it over.  Picture it, Dad:  the world's biggest gaming pavilion!  We'll slap a roof on it, put in a casino where the bleachers are, and charge the kids $50 a head to watch OTHER people play video games, the way they like now."

The Ghost of George Steinbrenner stood stock still, tears rolling down his face.

"Forgive me, son," he said.  "You're a goddamned visionary!  Think of how upset everyone will be.  Think of how degraded our culture will be.  Why, you'll wreck my creation just as surely as I ruined Gramps' shipping business!"

"That's right, Dad.  I thought you'd see it."

George began shuffling toward the door, dragging his chain of World Series trophies behind him.

"Son, I never thought I'd say this, but:  I'm proud of you.  Now, as to Hank—"

"Thanks, Dad," Hal cut him off again.  "Now, I've got work to do.  On the future."

George paused at the door, taking one last look back.  He raised a hand, in affection and in tribute.

"See you in hell, son."

"See you in hell, Dad."


Christmas wish: Could the Yankees trade Giancarlo to LA and sign Harper?

Interesting, wild, Info-wars-level rumored speculation - all Alex Jonesed on this website - how the Dodgers' recent trade of Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp could signal their interest in obtaining Giancarlo Stanton. 

Here it is, in a nutshell:

1. The Dodgers are now a LH-heavy lineup. They could use a righty slugger like Stanton. 

2. The Yankees, on the other hand, lean too hard to the right-side. If they could shed Stanton's contract, they could use that money to sign Harper, the lefty masher.

3. Stanton is from Southern California, so he probably wouldn't block the trade.

4. Harper grew up wanting to play for the Yankees, so if the money was there, he would probably sign with us.

5. With a little creativity, the Yankees might even pick up a prospect or bullpen arm, or even a glove SS to hold the seat for Sir Didi.  

The downside: Too many moving parts, plus one massive unanswered question: Can the Yankees sign Harper?

Fun to think about, though. Keep in mind: Harper is 26, still a few years away from peak. And every now and then, there is talk of the Redsocks eyeing him with more than a passing interest. We've waited eight years for Harper to escape Washington and fulfill his Yankee destiny. Could Stanton be the key?

The Ballad of Bill Ballou

A certain Worcester sportswriter who has, inexplicably, been given a vote on what constitutes a a baseball immortal, has decided that he will surrender this undeserved privilege this year, rather than cast a ballot for Mariano Rivera.

His logic here is, well, about equal to that displayed in his reasons why The Great Rivera should not make it to Cooperstown.

If this Knight of the Press Box, as Ted Williams loved to call them, really thinks Rivera should not be in the Hall, then he should have the courage of his convictions and vote against him.

But what could his reasoning be?

For starters (no pun intended), he feels that Rivera is getting in mostly because he holds the all-time major-league record in saves, and he believes that a save really isn't much of a statistic.

To prove this, he points to the fact that Craig Kimbrel picked up several saves in this year's postseason, while not pitching very well.

That's all well and good.  But, in addition to his 652 regular-season saves, Mariano Rivera compiled  42 postseason saves, in a remarkable, 32 postseason series.  His ERA for those postseason games was 0.70—just a third of his already, low low regular-season 2.21—and his record was 8-1.  And he accomplished all this even though the Yankees regularly extended him in the playoffs, making him pitch two innings instead of one, at a time of the year when he was most tired.

Our Worcester scribe gives another example as to why Rivera should not be honored:  Adam Vinateri.

This would seem, on the face of it, to be about the worst of all possible examples for him to cite.  Vinateri, after all, is about the closest parallel to Rivera in another sport, a specialty player who has performed spectacularly well in clutch situations, season after season, for a very long time.

Our Worcester Knight, though, cites a Super Bowl in which Vinateri kicked the game-winning field goal only after having missed an earlier field goal.

But again, this only further proves the greatness of Rivera.  Unlike VInateri, Mariano had ONE chance to succeed, and one chance only.  He did it more consistently, in more high-pressure situations, than anyone else in sports history.

What the Sage of Worcester is also saying in this example, though, is that early counts as much as late.

He's right.  But then, Rivera was never given the chance to decide any game early, ONLY late.  So, he succeeded constantly, in the role he was given.  Our writer's criticism on this score is like saying an outfielder should not go to the Hall because he never turned threw out a runner trying to steal a base.  That wasn't his role.

But beyond that, Rivera was necessary in those late innings, because modern starters—throwing many more pitches than their predecessors—can't get there.

To say that he "only" pitched a vital last inning is like saying that the oil in your car "only" kept all the parts of the engine operating, and didn't fill the gas tank.  You still need the oil to get you there.

But then, our Knight ALSO claims that any decent major-league pitcher could throw a single, scoreless inning.

This is true.  But it reminds me of something that Jerry Seinfeld once said about comedy.  Anybody can be funny.  Not everybody can be funny at nine o'clock tonight.

Any major-league pitcher can throw a scoreless inning.  Not any pitcher can throw a scoreless ninth, day after day, year after year, in some of the biggest situations going.

Mariano Rivera could.

And let's be serious:  late IS harder than early.  You can pretend all you want that there is no such thing as "clutch."  But there is.

Finally, our Worcester skeptic cites the example of hockey goalie who got a very cheap shutout to  circle back and question the whole definition of "shutout," as well as "save."

I would like to know one example of a sports statistic that does not include a few gimmes.  I'm sure that even the home run totals of Yaz, The Splendid Splinter, and David Ortiz include a few crippled ducks hit off the Pesky pole.

So what?

You do it forever, there's a reason for it.

Mariano Rivera has been on the mound for the end of four World Series triumphs.  No one else has ever done that.  Think there's a reason?

Rivera has, I think, the highest ever save percentage for any longtime closer who has finished his career.  Think there's a reason for that?

So what is this all about then?  Could our Worcester bravo be mostly interested in trying to steal some glory from a great, great pitcher just to publicize himself?

In the spirit of Christmas, I would like to think not.  I would like to think he is just dumb.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

My Xmas Wish For Manny Machado. he contemplates from whom he is willing to take $300 million for not hustling.

May the blackbird be his friend.

Happy Cheapo Christmas to Food Stamps Hal Steinbrenner

Hello, Mr. Steinbrenner, and thank you for visiting IIHIIFIIc. Everyone is excited to meet you. Have some of our Ellsbury Eggnog. Alphonso has a necktie for you.

A couple things, though, while I have you...

I read where David Robertson is supposed to be on the verge of signing with Boston. Apparently, the Yankees can't afford him? 

Uh-huh? Uh-huh? Huh.

They say Manny Machado this weekend is hanging with the fam, debating whether to take your relatively low-ball offer or take the money that Philadelphia is said to be dangling. What's that all about?

Uh-huh? Huh.

Bryce Harper... oh, I'm sorry, you look pale. I won't mention Bryce Harper. He costs too much, right? He is in "Dodgers territory." 

Let's talk about successes. I hear J.A. Happ turned down a better offer to sign with the Yankees, so he could stay in New York. Do you have plans for the money you saved?

Oh, please, don't leave. Sit down. SIT. Thank you. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the Yankees spent all of 2018 with a capped payroll, so they could cut luxury taxes and spend on the big upcoming class of free agents? Was I dreaming? No? Because... well... 2019 is here.

No, you don't need to leave. Alphonso wants to give you a neck massage. Just relax, as he goes through your pockets.  

You know, sir... used to be, a Yankee Christmas meant gifts under the tree - a Mussina or a Giambi - even a CC and Tex. But this year, we seem to be looking to trade the best young Yankee hitter in this generation for - what - a starting pitcher with a friendly contract? I mean, is that the Yankees of old?  

Oh, you have to leave? Okay, I understand. But if I may... one thing... 

Nothing is yet carved into stone. Maybe this Yankee frugality is just a Russian disinformation campaign? Maybe you're playing it cool, so we can swoop in and spend with authority?

Uh-huh? Uh-huh? Huh... 

Sir, before you go, one final request: Can we just match Boston, dollar for dollar? 

That's my Christmas miracle: The Yankees don't need to be the big-spending Dodgers. But this notion of being outspent by Boston to the tune of $40 million - sir, that's a disgrace. What? You gatta go?  

Merry Christmas. Hey, you forgot your necktie!

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Paging Dr. Oz

Did you know that we almost got to watch David Cone have a stroke on the mound?

Back when Cone had that aneurysm in his arm, in 1996, he was on a hot streak, 4-1 on the year with a 2.02 ERA.  Only trouble:  his fingers turned blue after his last start.

Even after the aneurysm was diagnosed, though, Cone claimed he was ready to go—and George Steinbrenner was willing to let him try.

But back then, the Yankees were run by men, not the Ibogaine-laced, statistical simulacra of human beings who direct the team now.  Cone was shut down, and operated on by Dr. Oz, of all people.  He recovered, and the rest is history.

Now we're being told that CC is going to be ready to go, 3-4 months from now.


CC—unlike Coney—is in terrible shape to begin with, and has never shown any ability to keep himself fit for any extended length of time.  Sending him back out to pitch after this is flirting with MLB's first-ever death on the field.  (Ray Chapman died in the hospital.)

Yes, CC has been a great contributor to the team.  But the Yankees owe him nothing.

CC has made over $252 million in his career, with over $216 million of that coming from the Yankees, and another $8 million due next year.  For that, he got us our last ring, which was great.  But overall, he has averaged just under 13 wins a year with a 3.71 ERA for us.

We stuck with him through the four years it took him to learn to pitch without a fastball, and stunk the joint out.

We stuck with him through the alcohol rehab he had to go to on the eve of the playoffs.

We stuck with him throughout his awful road performances last year, and his bullpen-killing inability to go more than five innings.

Or hey, if the Yankees feel very sentimental about it all, they should give CC some official front-office job for his money.  I don't care.

What I do care about is not seeing someone die on the ballfield.  And even if that doesn't happen, I object to us giving up both a rotation spot and valuable payroll money to someone who is more likely than ever to spend most if not all of next season on the DL, or completely ineffectual.

For whatever reason, CC has not been able to keep himself fit for the job we pay him to do.  That's too bad.  But this also should be the end of it.

Time for The Bear to hang it up.

Yankee fans may have just been spared the opportunity to watch CC Sabathia die on the mound

Full disclosure: I have a stent inside me. About seven years ago, after feeling chest pains, I underwent emergency angioplasty - "the widow-maker," the doc said later - and for about two years, I took blood thinners that made me bruise like a banana. Today, I feel fine. You could say I've had a complete recovery, though my dreams of playing in the NBA remain on hold. 

Two weeks ago, CC Sabathia felt chest pains. (It's amazing how those two words - "chest pain" - affect people in an emergency room.) He had such a procedure, and a stent was inserted. By all indications, he can expect a long and happy life - a miracle of modern medicine. But it's not over yet.

The Yankees say CC is expected to make "a full recovery," and that they are still slotting him in as the fifth starter. That's a nice public gesture to a beloved player. It's also bullshit. CC's entire outlook on life just changed. He might be able to pitch in 2019, but nothing will be quite the same. For one thing, he will be considerably more aware of aches and pains, especially around the chest. If he pulls a muscle, he will be terrified. Any tweaks, all the dings he used to disregard, he will think about them. He has entered a new world.

Make no mistake here: The Yankiverse just dodged a bullet. If CC had not reported the pains, or if he dismissed them - as I did, for weeks - we might have watched the unthinkable: A pitcher having a heart attack on the mound. 

CC is 38. He is listed at 300 pounds. Last year, he threw 153 innings - third highest on the team, just three less than Masahiro Tanaka. He is a far cry from the pitcher of 2009, who led the Yankees to their last world championship. I certainly appreciate the Yankees extending him a vote of confidence, and we should all wish him well... but he should seriously consider retiring.

Yep. It's the Ibogaine.

It's quiet out there.  TOO quiet.

For all that we keep spinning out our various preferences and theories—Yes, I'd like three Babe Ruths and two Ted Williamses, please.  Johnny Bench?  Well, only if he's going to hustle.  How many Koufaxes can we get?—the team of our heart is doing...absolutely nothing.

I mean, zero.  Nada.  Not one damned thing.

There are those of us who want Bryce, and those of us who want Manny, and those of us who want Bryce and Manny.  But you don't have to call us Johnson.  (Sorry, brief Burns & Schreiber flashback. from the seventies)

There are also some, such as our Peerless Leader, who would like us to aim more precisely and spend the doubloons we've forfeited to the Steinbrenner family on some strategically valuable, underrated role players.  Or stick with the kids.  Or something.

But if you'll notice, the Yankees are doing, well, nothing.  No big stars.  No little dippers.  No Bryce or Manny, at least so far—with Manny promising not to decide until next year.  Oh, joy.

While we fans busy ourselves doodling theoretical lineups we'd like to see, the Dodgers are engaged in an intricate set of maneuvers that will probably allow them to ink Harper.  And everyday, in every way, more and more of those vaunted role players sign with one team or another.

Those of us anticipating one of Cashman's trademark, last-minute deals or signings, swooping in after maintaining radio silence as steadfastly as Nagumo's fleet approaching Pearl Harbor, or engaging actively in  Houdini-level misdirection for weeks...had better think again.

I have it on good authority that the scotch and calzones of the Yankees' brass has been thoroughly dosed with Ibogaine.

Remember Ibogaine?  It was the drug that Hunter Thompson claimed in Rolling Stone that Ed Muskie had been given during his somnolent, 1972 primary campaign.

What is Ibogaine?

Thompson, quoting some actual chemical manual, claimed it was a highly effective hallucinogenic,  from "a little known root named Tabernanthe Iboga," long used by aboriginal tribes in Africa, Asia, and South America for hunting and mystic religious ceremonies.

"At a dose of 300 mg," Thompson wrote, "...Ibogaine produces a state of drowsiness in which the subject does not wish to move, open his eyes, or be aware of his environment."

Properly imbibed, Ibogaine reportedly enabled hunters to lie absolutely still for days on end while staking out skittish game.

Yep, sounds like the Yankees front office to me.

What else—save for a remarkable plague of petite mal episodes, or maybe that mind-altering mystery machine down in Cuba, also possibilities—could account for Coops and co. doing nothing at all, even in a small way?  Hell, even in a STUPID way by now?

No, they've all been drugged.  Probably by those masterminds up in Boston, the bastards.  Put it in the calzones, or employed Steve Pearce, still engaged in his endless rampage of revenge against us, to use his old credentials and sneak into Yankee Stadium with an ample supply of the drug, sixteen tiny needles, and a blow gun.

Right now, Hal, Coops, Lenny, and Lonn are having the trip of their lives, following the Coyote over a psychedelic landscape we can only imagine, while one free agent after another slips away.

Ibogaine.  You heard it here first.

Either that, or it's all the rat feces in the food.

Friday, December 21, 2018

My Xmas Prayer For The Yankees

Please make Manny Machado a Philadelphia Philly.

Much as I dislike Stanton, at least he tries to be a decent player.

He can't hit or field, but he is earnest about it.

Machado is a piece of shit slave trader from down under ( no offense to our Australian friends ).

I am referring to the down under of slime and sloth.

And I say this;  if he decides to honor the yankees with his presence, we shall regret it from moment one.

He represents everything that is wrong with America, and everything that is wrong with major league money ( read;  baseball).

On this weekend before Christmas, all through the house, only the rumors are stirring...

Some idle thoughts before I march, bootless and unsheathed, into the Valley of Death (aka the mall)...

1. You know all those free agents who said they want to become Yankees: Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Patrick Corbin, Andrew Miller, David Robertson, Zach Britton, J.A. Happ, CC Sabathia and Brett Gardner. Thus far, we have signed Happ, CC and Gardy - all returnees, nobody under 35. Used to be, kids grew up wanting to be Mickey Mantle. Eventually, it became Don Mattingly and then Derek Jeter. I'm not sure the next generation will lean toward the Yankees at all. It might even skew toward Boston. It's as if the United States were abandoning its role as world leader, allowing the likes of China and Russia to step in. (Of course, that would never happen.)

2. Can an almost entirely RH lineup win a pennant? We may find out. If the Yankees sign Manny and keep Andujar, that would leave Gardner, Greg Bird and Aaron Hicks as the lone lefty bats on opening day. Last year, Gardy was mediocre, and Bird an abomination. Hicks hit .240 from the left side, .312 from the right. This is a serious imbalance. We might see bullpen RH side-armers start games against us. Wait, maybe Jacoby Ellsbury will make a comeback!

3. It's great to hear that Clint Frazier is ready and raring to go. We've watched him for three years, and his concussions were among the worst disappointments of 2018. When Aaron Judge went down, it should have been Red Thunder stepping in, but he was nursing migraines. I, for one, hope the Yankees keep him - why trade a guy when his value is so low? - but, damn... he's another RH bat in an overcrowded outfield. I still see him hitting 30 HRs, but maybe not in pinstripes. The horror, Mr. Kurtz, the horror.

4. From a purely analytical standpoint, instead of sinking - say - $30 million into Manny, would the Yankees be better off signing: 1) the best remaining free agent pitcher - Dallas Keuchel, ($16-18 million?) 2) a solid-but-cheap fielding SS ($2 million) and a top reliever, maybe Zach Britton? ($10-$12 million). Keep Miggy Dimaggio at 3B, give Bird and Sanchez one more chance, have Frazier platoon with Gardy and let a few bullpen arms rise from the farm. Would they ever go with Tyler Wade? (who is only 24.) Will they ever try Chance Adams? (who is, you guessed it, 24.) 

Is Manny Machado - or, for that matter, Bryce Harper - the best use of $30 million? The answer is always no. The problem here is that Food Stamps Hal Steinbrenner is sitting atop a volcano of money, while he gaslights the world, poor-mouthing about luxury taxes. The Yankees have the resources to sign anybody. And it's especially galling when Boston outspends us by $40 million and takes aim at a dynasty. I hate to say this, but right now, the state of the Yankees is all fucked-up. Merry Christmas.

It's the End of the World as We Know It...

...and I don't feel fine.

No, I don't mean the spontaneous collapse of the stock market, departure of Mattis, and impending government shutdown.

Today, December 20th, 2018, a date which will ALSO live in infamy, the Evil Empire of the Bronx was suddenly and deliberately attacked by lesser clubs throughout major-league baseball.

Yesterday, Daniel Murphy, our fallback second-base signee and left-handed power bat was signed by the Colorado Rockies.

Yesterday, Andrew Miller, the reliever with the attitude that surpasseth that of all other ballplayers today, was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals.

Yesterday, David "Houdini" Robertson, a much-loved reliever and one of the last players from our last championship team, came to terms with the Boston Red Sox.

Yesterday, the two leading free agents on the market, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, remained mysteriously unsigned by Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner

No matter how long it may take to overcome this premeditated attack, Yankees fans in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

Hostilities exist.  There is no blinking at the fact that our legacy, our predominance, and our relevance in the American League East is in grave danger.

With confidence in the strength that surviving the greatest proportion of vermin droppings ever visited upon one team's refreshments have given us, with the unbounding determination of Jacoby Ellsbury trying to get back on the field of play, we will win through to the ultimate victory, so help us, John Sterling!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Will Manny Machado be hungover today in Phily?

So, it wasn't just a 90-minute, "slam-bam, thank you, Manny," after all...

Apparently, last night, the Yankee brain trust wined and dined "Manny Claus" - as the Post calls him - perhaps with CC Sabathia and/or another player. (CC was rumored to be at the first meeting, but the Yankees denied it. That wouldn't necessarily mean he turned up later.) Could A-Rod have been involved? (In Baltimore, Manny wore #13 to honor Alex.) 

If Heyman is right, it's a bidding war between the Yanks, White Sox and Phillies. The "losers" will presumably grapple over Bryce Harper (who might be a better fit anyway.) If Food Stamps Hal Steinbrenner is all-in on Manny - that is, this "no hustle" business is over - the last intangible would be an overwhelming bid by one of the other teams. It could happen. (See Patrick Corbin.) 

Today, Manny does Phily cheese steaks, and unless he is carted through the streets by Mummers, it could be over. (The Phillies might prefer Harper, anyway.) This should be settled by Christmas.

For now, we're just speculating upon speculations. Radio silence will break soon. Cashman will bestow upon one lucky Gammonite the type of exclusive that creates or wipes clean a huge I-O-U. Then hell will break loose.

Again, I cannot decide if Machado is right for the Yankees. Everything hinges on the fate of Miguel Andujar, whom I believe will be a great Yankee, if he is not traded. When I look at Andujar, I see a young Adrian Beltre, a kid whose body has not begun to fill out. In two years, those doubles will turn into home runs. If we trade him, especially for a pitcher who has already thrown 1,000 innings, I believe we'll regret it for the rest of our lives. 

If signing Manny does not force the trade of Andujar, Miguel gets half the season to either learn 3B or play a new position. 

If signing Manny unleashes Cooperstown Cashman to remake the roster, god help us.

They took him out last night. Should we hope they had a wonderful time? 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

" When You Come To A fork In The Road.....

Stick it, I say;

It's Manny Day, and the future of the Yankees is at stake

Yogi Berra once said, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."

Today, the Yankees hit that fork in the road.

Manny Machado is coming for a chat.  

He'll sit down with Brian Cashman. They'll start by lamenting the cold weather - (it's winter, you know) - and the traffic, and the malls, and the cab drivers, and all the shopping they still must do before Christmas. Manny will tell a story about the blight in Baltimore, and Cash will match it with one about White Plains. Talk will turn to the Kardashians, Springsteen on Broadway, Ariana Grande, the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and other topics that - when added to an internet post - are likely to draw outside clicks. Then, abruptly, the small talk will end. Each man will lean forward and stare into the other's eyes for 30 long seconds. At that point, they will either fight or fuck.

This is it, the fulcrum day for the future of humankind.

If conversation soars, if the minds meld, and if the numbers line up, Machado could become a Yankees fixture for the next decade. For better or worse.

If talks go sideways, if the franchise's public poor-mouthing is real, rather than a negotiating tactic, both sides will take different routes. For better or worse.

I cannot list all the ramifications of this today. It's beyond my capabilities. Hinging upon these discussions are the assorted fates of Miguel Andujar, Didi Gregorius, Clint Frazier, Aaron Boone, Giancarlo Stanton, Cashman, global warming, gun control, the stock market, Robert Mueller... maybe even Bryce Harper. The impact will cascade throughout the Yankee system, from Randy Levine's golden office urinal down to the pitted infields of Charleston and Pulaski... to the empty ballpark where Troy Tulowitski worked out yesterday before a smattering of scouts, and along the Canyon of Heroes, which could resound with future parades - or remain silent for the rest of our lives.

There are two Yankiverses - one with Manny, one without him. And the most maddening part of this day is quite simple: 

I don't know which I prefer.

But I do know this. This is no day to celebrate the signing of Scranton bullpen lug nut Rex Brothers, or to ponder the likelihood of Jacoby Ellsbury ever playing in another game, or whether Gary Sanchez is learning how to block pitches. They are inconsequential matters.

Today, I am hereby calling for a freeze on all speculation concerning pitchers and catchers. Whatever we think doesn't matter. Because tomorrow - or sometime soon - the Yankiverse as we know it will be newly defined.  

Folks, this is Manny Day. We have reached the fork in the road. We have no choice but to follow Yogi's instructions. It's time to take it. For better or worse.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The NYC media is convinced that Manny Machado is a done deal... just as they were with Patrick Corbin

Not long ago, the Gammonites of Gotham had already scribbled-in Patrick Corbin as the Yankees' opening day starter. It was a lock. Everybody knew that Corbin grew up in a Yankee household, on a Yankee street, in a Yankee coven, in a Yankee backwater. (North Syracuse.) Then Corbin shed his Yankee upbringing to become a Nat. The reason? Money. Washington offered more. 

So, realistically, what should we make of today's NY Post headline?

Okay, for starters, it's typical, self-serving NYC crapola. It sells the illusion that everybody wants to play in New York, and specifically for the Yankees, and though we fans desperately cling to this notion, it is simply not true. For today's professional athlete, there is only one true standard of loyalty, and it is defined by the number of zeroes on the paycheck. And, frankly, we are wrong to judge.

The Yankees are the most lucrative money-making machine in U.S. sports - (only rivaled by perhaps Alabama football and Duke hoops) - yet today, we stand at a crossroads on how the franchise will be defined in the future. We soon will learn if and how the Yankees intend to keep pace with the Redsocks, which - along with the Cubs - have become baseball's biggest rain-maker.

As of last Friday, here is where the Yankees stand in payroll, according to the wonderful website, Cot's Baseball Contracts.

Fourth place, $11 million below next year's tax threshold, nearly $40 million below the Redsocks. 

If this stands, it will be no less than a monument to Hal Steinbrenner's distaste for the legacy of his father. 

Clearly, the Gammonites don't think that will happen. You can feel it everywhere. Last night on YES, Jack Curry asked Sir Didi about the Machado speculation. In Sports Illustrated today, the Yankees are said to be "zeroing in" on Manny. 

Everything looks set. Everybody is waiting for Manny to say the right words, soothe the Yankee angst about his lack of hustle, shave that pubic hair beard, and don No. 13, the jersey worn by his former idol. Everything is locked in... except for the money. Hal must sign off on it. And he didn't with Corbin. 

But, jeez Louise, folks... here is where it gets complicated: 

Maybe - just maybe - signing Manny is a bad idea. The Yankees could be not only bringing in a dubious clubhouse personality, but by giving him the biggest contract, they will be installing him as a leader. They could also be painting themselves into a corner, where they must trade Miguel Andujar. Listen: Andujar - with any improvement - could challenge for the 2019 Triple Crown. Last year, at age 23 - and missing the first month - he hit 27 HRs and batted .297. (Manny, at 25, hit 37 and .297.)

So... WTF? I hate to say this - it betrays my obligations as an ignorant blogger - but I just don't a-fuckin' know

I believe Andujar will develop into a decent 3B, and that Machado will evolve into a gamer. But can they co-exist in the lineup. And what about all those RH bats? 

Listen: When I close my eyes and wish for a Christmas miracle, it always ends up looking like Bryce Harper. 

This is not helping

So, James Dolan is saying he has been entertaining offers of $5 billion for the Knicks alone.

I just thought this was Jimmy Dolan's own special way of, well, lying.  But then Forbes is apparently estimating the Knicks' value at $3.6 billion.

$3.6 billion.  For a team that has not won a championship since George Steinbrenner's first spring running the Yankees.

A team that would find the NBA equivalent of contending for the wild-card play-in game every year to be an unimaginable improvement.

The New York Knickerbockers.  $5 BILLION DOLLARS.

Seeing such figures, Hal Steinbrenner will no doubt value the New York Yankees at umpity-ziggity-miggity-zillion dollars.  He will never finder a buyer.


Monday, December 17, 2018


It is said that the sign of a mature individual is the ability to keep two opposing ideas in his mind at the same time.

I would add that another sign is the ability to adjust to changing situations, even when they wreck your original plans.  That's been a characteristic of our most outstanding presidents, generals—and baseball executives.

I was and am all for the Yankees building from within, and skipping free-agent signings like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, young, talented but flawed players, who are also inherent risks simply because of the size of the contracts they will command.

But.  But.

The situation has changed.  The Yanks now have a gaping hole in their infield, thanks to Sir Didi's injury—one they made worse by releasing the Toe.

The Yanks have a gaping hole in their outfield, despite all of Brian Cashman's defiant folderol.  I love Red Thunder, but sadly, we don't know if he will even play again.  I love Gardy, but he's done.  I...don't actually HATE Jacoby Ellsbury, but let's be serious.

Down on the farm, everybody raves about Estevan Florial, with his five tools and his superstar potential, and his great personality.  I love the IDEA of that.  But let's face it:  the guy is still in Single-A ball and just got through hitting .178 in the Arizona Fall League, with no home runs and two stolen bases.

Some of those tools seem to have fallen out of the tool box, and I'm not talking about the needle-nose pliers.  When Mickey Mantle was his age—barely turned 21—he'd just finished a season as the best player in the AL, and hit .345 in the World Series, driving in the winning runs in Game 7.

(And people still considered him a disappointment.  No wonder the guy turned to drink.)

Is it unfair to compare anyone to Mickey Mantle?  Of course it is.  But it's also unfair to assume anyone is going to BE Mickey Mantle.

So what's that leave us?  Big hole in the infield, big hole in the outfield...and, oh yeah, big hole in a lineup that is only going to swing one way if we don't grab Harper.

So sign both.  Nice as it would be to build from within, Brian Cashman has already screwed that up, and there's no indication he could ever do it in the first place.

In 43 years of free agency, there have never, ever been two players this young and this good on the market.  It could easily be another 43 years before there are again.

Are they imperfect?  Yes.  Could they be complete disasters?  Yes.  Hey, as a great man once said, there's no predicting baseball.

Will they be better than watching Brett Gardner try to play a whole season for us again?  And/or Neil Walker?


Disappointing as this postseason has been, it is not (yet) a disaster.  Signing Happ instead of Corbin might even have been the smart thing.  Sign up Harper and Machado, and we're guaranteed nothing—except a chance.

Without them, we got trouble.  The situation has changed.

Think of This Season's Birthday Cakes !

When those wonderful days of celebration roll around for three of our top starting pitchers;

CC  Sabathia

JA Happ

Masahiro Tanaka

Let's Count the Candles and " let them eat cake !"

"We are older than Boston"- President Levine.

Finally, he speaks a truism.

"And eternity in an hour..." The next Yankee decade could boil down to what happens Wednesday

Wednesday, Manny Machado visits the Yankees. Let's imagine it: 

At the front gate, Manny and his entourage are greeted by supermodel sisters Bella and Gigi Hadid, wearing only Yankee jerseys with No. 13 - Manny's old number. Escorting him through the concourse, beneath the giant pictures of the Babe, the Mick and Yogi, they recite Yankee lore. At the main office, Brian Cashman and Aaron Boone await them. They nod to the Jumbotron, which shows Manny's image in a Yankee cap.  

They talk for an hour. Manny tells how the Yankees were always his first choice, and Cashman declares that the Yankees agree. The meeting goes longer than planned, because of the hearty laughter and good will. In pops Reggie Jackson, with a Reggie bar refitted with Manny's name. 

There's a knock-knock in the doorway. "I heard we had a visitor!" Hal Steinbrenner chortles. Everyone slaps their knees. Hal leads the group to his private Yankee Owner's bar and sushi house, where A-Rod and Jennifer Lopez are waiting. In pops Sofia Vergara! Billy Crystal! Penelope Cruz! Shakira! John Leguzamo! Mayor Bill de Blasio! U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez! A bell gongs, and in comes the Broadway cast of "Kinky Boots!" Hal dons his signature red leggings and leads the merry group in Christmas carols, between toasts of his finest champagne from... Jared Kushner!

Then... holy crap! In strides Santa himself! who turns out to be... the legendary voice of the Yankees... John Sterling! With the crowd hushed, The Master performs his first-ever Manny Machado home run call: 


Bedlam! Joy! They're slithering around on the floor! Jared reads Tweet proclamations from his father-in-law and Vladimir Putin. Finally, it's the ultimate guest: Yankee President Randy Levine... serving ice cold hot dogs, straight from the Yankee commissary, covered in mouse turds, cockroach parts and month-old romaine... 

Okay, let's ditch the foodstuffs. Seriously... Wednesday could be the most important Yankee date in the rest of our Yankee fan lives. 

Seriously. I am not kidding.

If the planets line-up - if Manny says the right things, and Hal reaches for his wallet - the 2019 Yankees could be on the verge of a massive reformation. They would hit Opening Day with the highest expectations since the pressure cooker days of old George's mega-payrolls. Here's the potential lineup.

Aaron Hicks, cf
Manny Machado, ss
Aaron Judge, rf
Giancarlo Stanton, dh

Miguel Andujar 3b
Gary Sanchez, c

Gleyber Torres, 2b
Luke Voit/Greg Bird, 1b

Brett Gardner/Clint Frazier lf 

Wow. How does that team NOT set a new MLB season HR record? But there is a glaring problem: Too many RH bats. 

Until Sir Didi returns - (perhaps creating another problem, who plays where?) - the lone LH hitters, Gardy and Bird, scare nobody. Thus, it's easy to imagine Andujar and/or Red Thunder being traded for pitching (Bumgarner? Kluber?) It's easy to picture a cascade of trades before spring training... all stemming from what happens Wednesday.

Or... maybe not. Maybe Manny gets stuck in traffic, arrives 45 minutes late, and the highlight moment is Lonn Trost puking eggnog onto Larry Rothschild's seeing-eye dog. Maybe Manny signs elsewhere. The Yankees could still bring an imposing lineup, and - wait a minute - maybe yet another big day could loom: The visit from Bryce?  

I dunno about Harper. Manny seems to be on the radar. And everything happens Wednesday. We may someday view December 19, 2018 - the Wednesday before Christmas - as the day everything changed. (And not necessarily for the better.)