Saturday, June 29, 2019

Neutral ground, Tanaka and Tauchman... the London experiment is finally here

1. Something I never expected in my lifetime: A game between the Yankees and Redsocks on neutral ground. No Bronx berserkers. No Fenway fanatics. An equal playing field. Amazing.

Or will it be equal? My guess is the crowd will slightly favor us, reflecting the historical and magnetic ties between NY and London. Also, Boston can no longer claim status as adorable underdogs, as it did through the turn of the century. Boston is the dominant franchise in Major League Baseball, the closest to a dynasty that there is. 

I'm not sure the locals will give a shit about the differences between the two. They might associate the "Yanks" with WWII, and the recent anniversary of Normandy, and cheer the team. They might associate them Donald Trump, and boo lustily. Who knows? Most interesting to me will be whether the crowds show basic knowledge of the game. If a batter moves a runner to third with a ground ball to right, will he receive an ovation? (Not sure he gets one in Toronto, by the way.) Will fans shout "Luuuuuuuk?" For that matter, will anyone get booed?  

Much has been said about the crazy park dimensions and fake grass. They'll affect both teams equally. The intangible is the crowd. Will we hear a soccer-style craziness?  

2. Finally, the Death Star is giving Masahiro Tanaka a game on the world stage. When Tanaka signed in 2014, he surely expected to pitch in the World Series by now. He's started five post-season games, gone 3-2 with an ERA of 1.50. But no World Series. (Of course, today's game isn't one, either.) 

When he takes the mound, the whole world will be watching. At last.

We can debate whether Tanaka should have had that elbow surgery back in 2015, and what kind of pitcher he'd now be. Who the fuck gives a shit? What's done is done. Unless you find that porthole to an alternative galaxy, save your breath. The truth is, Tanaka has been a great teammate, a great Yankee, and we should wonder why Hal Steinbrenner hasn't signed another Asian free agent, especially considering their success in America. As the Yankees sit out auctions for Japanese talent, it's as if they're saying, "We have our Asian player, so we don't need another." Tanaka will be a free agent in 2021. Will that be when we finally look westward again? If so, is there a better definition of institutional racism?

3. Brian "Cooperstown" Cashman has gone public with an explanation of why Clint Frazier didn't make the London trip, even though he seems like the natural person to replace Giancarlo the Breakable. (Be honest: When Stanton went down, didn't you immediately think: Good! Frazier hits better anyway!) Cashman says veteran lug nut Mike Tauchman was always going to jump the puddle because of the wide foul lines and the extra OF to cover in London, and they wanted a fielder. Okay, makes sense. Let's give them that.

Also, Cashman denies setting a new Guinness World Record for Pettiness by punishing young Frazier for taking his allotted three days before arriving in Scranton this month. He says Frazier's three days of travel - he must have gone by camel - made no difference in the Yankee decision. Okay, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. 

But it's not as if the Yankee front office has had a winning month. Dallas Keuchel pitched into the sixth inning this week, giving up 3 runs to the Cubs. He's improving with every start. Meanwhile, the Yankees are touting their success with the Bullpen Gang of Seven going every fifth day, a plan designed to meltdown by October. We desperately needed a starter, and Hal let himself be outbid by a measly $1 mill. That leaves Frazier in the outbox, no matter what our owner says about his love and respect for young talent. 

Two games in London. I've hated this idea since they announced it. But today, it should be fun.

45 comments:

Unknown said...

Institutionalized racism? HUH? The Yankees were definitely players for Ohtani's services and they checked in on Kikuchi it's not like they've missed out on any legitimate japanese aces lol. Kikuchi was a revelation in april and has been a disaster since. Ohtani is great but everyone knew he would be and everyone wanted him.

I love Tanaka and his tenacity the guy is nails he reminds me of a right handed Pettite he always goes out and gives you whatever he's got and when the situation is bigger he tends to rise to the occasion!

If every asian free agent could play up to Tanaka's level of play and rise bigger when the moment came I'd sign up any day of the week...

Name one Asian not named Ohtani that would improve the 2019 Yankees

Carl J. Weitz said...

I bet none of the " Fuck You Trump" signs in the stands will be shown because it's Fox broadcasting the game.

el duque said...

As for Asian pitchers who could help the Yankees:

How about Hyun-Jin Ryu, currently 9-2 for the Dodgers with an MLB-leading ERA of 1.82.

Maybe you're right: Institutional Racism is too harsh a phrase. But I would like to see the Yankees be more robust with their checkbook. There is no reason to be outspent by LA, Boston and Chicago. But here we are.

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Der Kaiser said...

My first thought was, can we get Brian Cashman in touch with this spellcaster? Surely he could conjure do overs of some of the disastrous deals / non-deals of recent years - Scherzer, Stanton, Meulens, Ohtani, Martinez, etc. But then I thought - Brian's probably too proud to even admit that they were failures, or that second chances would be beneficial. I don't think even literal magic could save this franchise from its hubris and greed.

Anonymous said...

Institutional racism? I hope you are trolling, because if you're not then you are an idiot of monumental proportions.

HoraceClarke66 said...

"I put a spell on you..."

I got some chicken entrails and a newt eye, if you need them. Almost as fresh as the day I put 'em in the freezer.

Anonymous said...

So, because they aren't spending what you'd like them to spend, you throw around the term "racist"?! There is real racism in the world and you insult those affected by it when you use that word cavalierly. I'll never read this site again.

Joe of AZ said...

Bye Felicia!

Austria's Only Baseball Fan said...

I am furious: fucking MLB.TV has BLOCKED AUSTRIA FROM RECEIVING THE GAME! So being in Vienna is so close to London (a two hour flight - I was just there) that I am threatening their UK television income? Fuck this shit: sorry, but listening to Suzyn and The Master is just not enough for me on these occasions. And I built my entire weekend around WATCHING these games.

Local Bargain Jerk said...


In-game Update

The Bad

    - Fox cheesifying the intro by having all the players quote Shakespeare

    - There are friggin' ADVERTISEMENTS on the batting helmets and maybe the hats!

    - Porcello is on the mound. He's having a tough year but I think the bastard takes pride in being something of a Yankee killer.


The Good

    - LeMahieu leads off with a single.

Mustang said...

JOHN: “Good afternoon, everyone. It’s early evening back home, so good evening,”
SUZYN: “It’s the other way around.”
JOHN: “What?”
SUZYN: “It’s the other way around.”

Austria's Only Baseball Fan said...

Thanks for the update, LBJ. Some internet research told me that all I have to do is change the location of my IP address using my VPN, so changing my location from Austria to Brazil (!) has worked: the game comes through, and seems to be off to a jolly good start (do they really talk like that?). Didi just earned his knighthood. Sorry for my previous rant.

Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside said...

Ok I’m a child, cuz I’m loving this. Both wearing home uniforms though, is that a first too?

Oasisdave said...

So far this game is a thing of beauty.

JM said...

Good going, Austrian Fan.

Yankees are killing Porcello. Isn't that a mushroom?

Hicks homers. Jesus, this is brutal.

Mushroom is gone.

Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside said...

Porcellolololol

Oasisdave said...

Lol

Local Bargain Jerk said...


Hey, Austria's Only Baseball Fan:

That was a GOOD way to solve your blockout problem. I wish I had thought to tell you to do it. If it happens again or your VPN suddently stops working, try Tor which also gives you a randomly assigned IP from various parts of the world.

Glad you're watching now. I'm also really glad I was really wrong about Porcello.


Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside said...

What a great big long beautiful half inning. Right now it’s Boston Red Sox, International Embarrassment. Please Tanka, please please don’t fuck this up.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Porcello had limited overs today.

Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside said...

I never watch baseball on TV, but I have this game on with s sound off and John & Suzyn on... so I might make some obvious observations... what’s with the fish hook in Betts upper lip?

Austria's Only Baseball Fan said...

Maybe Porcello duplicated a mistake I made on one of my first visit to London many years ago, and, at a stereotypical pub, ate a sandwich with some mayonnaise that had apparently "gone off a bit." I had stomach poisoning for the next two days.

Why are they all cheering for the redstockings?

Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside said...

Tanaka suddenly is channeling his inner Porcello. Shake it off man!

Oasisdave said...

The way both pitchers struggle, wonder if the pitching mound is off somehow

Local Bargain Jerk said...


Dear Lord. You have to wonder if everyone in Europe is watching the game with their heads tilted at an angle and asking, "What's the objective of this silly game anyway?  Is it supposed to be that the one man throws the ball to the others until he gets tired or until it's time for an advert on the telly?

6-6. Ugh.

Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside said...

Now it’s getting boring.

Austria's Only Baseball Fan said...

The Curse of Astroturf. This field is ridiculous in its composition and layout. Can't they just put them all on a soundstage in Brooklyn and fill in the rest with CGI and spare them the adjustment to the time change?

Wezil1 said...

What kind of baseball are they using? Giant Titleist? Whatever they are using, it doesn’t really look like baseball since pitching does not appear to be part of the game.

Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside said...

Sanchez needs a shave. King George is rolling over in his grave.

JM said...

It's almost like a normal game now.

Local Bargain Jerk said...


@JM, yes. I'm pretending that it's 2-0 Yanks and that the players aren't wearing deerstalker caps on the promos between innings.

Joe of AZ said...


The General is awesome. Cheap Hal is pleased!

Rufus T. Firefly said...

...once more.

Joe of AZ said...

I love it Boston is getting DESTROYED on the International stage

Local Bargain Jerk said...


Now I'm pretending it's 11-0 and the Yankees are giving a demonstration of what keg league softball looks like as a way of introducing the sport to the continent.

Rob Manfred must be so proud.

ranger_lp said...

Cortez should have been yanked by now...jeez.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

John just said they closed to within a touchdown.

Is this Australian rules football?

Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside said...

I fell asleep in the fourth. :/

13bit said...

I am not a conspiracy theorist. In fact, I tend to go the other way and bemoan how conspiracies have taken over the narrative in almost all things. The Internet is like a gigantic field of steaming fresh cow shit in which the mushrooms of conspiracies can grow. People who used to once sit alone in the basements, wondering whether the government was doing this or that - they have found each other and, along with that camaraderie comes the confirmation bias that leads to wild ideas becoming belief systems.

Have I put you to sleep yet?

Well, all that being said, IF I WERE A CONSPIRACY THEORIST, here's what I would be typing right now on this blog:

I'd say "It's all planned out. The fix is in. Rob Manfred sat everybody down and said 'We want the world, especially those English, to think that we have an exciting game here. You can each get one game, I don't care which, decide for yourselves. The MAIN THING is to score a fuckload of runs. Make it look a non-stop actionfest. They can't appreciate the long pauses and endless waits of a real game. A 1 to 0 pitcher's duel would kill any chance we have of making international money out of this thing. Just put on a show and you can split the series."

Do *I* believe that? No, of course not, but IF I WERE A CONSPIRACY BUFF, it would make a lot of sense to me...

Just saying...

Anonymous said...

Or they could play the game with "special" baseballs. or make the pitchers mound just a little off.

also just saying... :)

Doug K.

ranger_lp said...

Rob Manfred has turned baseball into beer league softball.

And as for me being the resident conspiracy theorist, the Red Sox should win tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

I'll tell you one good thing though... If Luke Voit's core injury turns out to be minor perhaps he will think twice about doing the home run derby and save himself from a worse one.

Doug K.

Der Kaiser said...

If the fix is in, the joke's on Manfred. Europeans' idea of an exciting game is association football, where the players frequently fail to score a single goal during the entire match. Cricket, where hundreds of runs are scored, is widely considered a dull affair.

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