DEAR NEW YORK TABLOIDS

BOYCOTT MLB ON YOUR BACK PAGES UNTIL THE LOCKOUT ENDS!

Monday, June 17, 2019

"You finally really did it. You maniacs! You blew it up! Goddamn you! Goddamn you all to hell!"

Back in 1951, the Yankees had a very promising 19-year-old outfielder, a converted shortstop who amazed the sporting world with the great spring training he had.  He could hit a ball farther than anyone had ever seen, and he could run faster to first base than anyone, ever—3.1 seconds—and he had a cannon for an arm.

This guy was so good the team felt obliged to bring him north, even though he still seemed pretty raw.  Once up in New York, he did not disappoint, playing very well indeed.

So the Yankees, a great big, coldhearted operation that didn't feel it needed to do anything for anybody, decided they could just leave this kid—who had never been in anything resembling a real town before, never mind the biggest city in the world—alone to ferment in the Grand Concourse Plaza Hotel.

The kid was pretty lonely there.  He wasn't the type to check out America's postwar literary renaissance at the library in between games, or to venture out to see Broadway theatre in the midst of its golden age.

Instead, he mostly sat in his hotel room, scared and miserable, until, inevitably, he found trouble.  Or rather, trouble found him in the form of a showgirl about twice his age, who claimed that he asked her to marry him and in any event got him to sign over a large portion of his future earnings to her scamp of an pimp agent.

The Yankees could've done something like the other baseball team just across Manhattan was doing with its own prodigy, which was hire a wise, broken-down old pug to put him in a boardinghouse run by a protective, loving old matron, and otherwise keep him away from bad women, bad whiskey, and the lonely, existential ache that infests all our souls when he find ourselves far from home in a big, drafty hotel.

This prodigy on this other team would go play stickball in the streets with the kids sometimes, and the broken-down pug would make sure that all the newspapers in New York sent reporters and photographers to watch it, and pretty soon their kid was the most beloved ballplayer in the city.

Which was funny, since our kid was ALSO playing stickball in the street with the kids, but nobody paid any attention.

But hey, broken-down pugs and lovable boardinghouse matrons and newspaper shutterbugs cost money, don'tcha know, probably at least a combined $40-$50 a month back in the day, and these were the New York Yankees, with a bottom line and a business to run.

Sometime in late June, the kid was really stinking up the joint, and getting very mad at himself, and the Yankees let the Knights of the Press Box paint him as a spoiled brat, who couldn't control himself when he struck out.

Actually, he wasn't doing that bad.  He was still leading the first-place Yankees in RBI—although we all know now that RBI really has nothing to do with clutchness and is just a figment of our fervid imaginations—and he was striking out A LOT, though in his entire career he never came close to striking out as much as once a game, which was maybe the real problem he should've been striking out more because that's a very good thing, don't you know.

Anyway, out of thin air, the Yanks decided to send this kid down to Kansas City.  Somebody or other was coming back from the DL.  Maybe it was Cliff Mapes, who hit all of .216 on the year, or Johnny Hopp, who hit .206, but the new kid had to go.

Down he went to KC, where he proceeded to get reeling drunk, have a near breakdown, and threaten to quit the game.  Only the intervention of his zinc miner father kept him playing.  The Yankees, of course, had better things to do than worry about the feelings of the best player anybody had seen in a generation—maybe the best raw talent what ever was.

Well, as you all know, the kid screwed his courage to the sticking place, or screwed something or someone somewhere.  He hit .361 in Kansas City, and after another month-and-a-half he was back in New York where, just the next season, aged only 20, he was already the best player in the majors.

Not that the Yankees deigned to notice.  In the 1951 World Series, they let him go out and permanently destroy his leg because they were too busy to worry about some drunken groundskeeper covering a sprinkler head and because nobody dared to say anything to their god in centerfield, Joe DiMaggio, about how maybe it was time to let the kid take the balls he could no longer get to.

Hey, DiMaggio could have told the kid while he knelt over him, as the teenaged Mickey Mantle writhed in pain:  the Yankees don't care about nobody or nothing.  It was a lesson he had learned his rookie year, when the team let some clubhouse quack burn his heel to a crisp.

So it always was, and so it is again.

Of course the kid who now wears The Mick's number times two is no Mantle or DiMaggio, and never will be.  He is, frankly, not even all that likable, with all his caterwauling about fitting in, and I fear he even may have a screw or two loose, beyond the ones he jarred free running after balls last year.

But he deserved better than this.  And so did we, the fans.  We deserved a lot better than the Annual Hal-Coops Pennant Charade, in which another awful series of trades is made for the one player who will finally bring the team over the top.

One pitcher—not Madison Bumgarner, not even Max Scherzer—is going to do that for this squad which is already, really, 2 starters down and may soon be 3 or 4 down.  A better play would've been to sign Keuchel, or sign Corbin, or sign or trade for any one of a readily available, 5-6 top starters over the past few years.

But that would've cost money—money, mind you, that would've been more than made up with pennants and World Series.  But like some vicious Bavarian peasant out of his ancestry, Hal Zeig Steinbrenner doesn't believe in money unless it is cold, gleaming coins, jingling in his palms right now.

So, here we are.  I hope, wherever he's going, Clint Frazier wins the Triple Crown.








25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh stop riding your antiquarian hobby horse. No one has made any assertions about the relation of RBI to "clutch"--that's just incoherent. People have pointed out that RBI is a TEAM stat: if you have people getting on base frequently in front of you, you can compile a much higher RBI total than if they aren't getting on base--so taken by itself, it's not the best barometer of INDIVIDUAL offensive performance--so one player's 100 RBIs might not be comparable to another's 80 or 130 because of the people who batted in front of him or park factors, etc.

As for Frazier's likability: I find him tremendously likable--unlike, say, the robotic, dead-eyed Jeter, who always said the right thing and betrayed all the personal dynamism of a Disney animatron. The guy loves cats, despises hypocrisy and lies, and isn't afraid to speak his mind. He has guts--he stands up to the jackal pack of daily baseball beat writers, possibly the most mean-spirited, mediocre, and incompetent of any aggregation that makes its living by the written word. Of course, a dunderhead like HC66--who spews incoherent contempt for modes of player evaluation he knows nothing about (admits to never havig read a book about analytics)--prefers the buttoned-down robots who always say and do the right thing, thereby excluding the likes of Maris (who frequently blew off the press), Ruth (who was never the choir boy of HC66's wet dreams), and Jackson (as outspoken, moody, as any Yankee in history) from his personal Hall of Fame. What a fucking jerk and pompous blowhard.

And in case you were wondering, Mr. Blowhard, you might feast your eyes on the following--"clutch" this, you insufferable old gasbag:

MICKEY MANTLE CAREER STATS

Overall (9,907 plate appearances):
.298/.421./.557/.977

2 Outs, RISP (965 PA):
.303/.486/.581/1.067

Late and Close (1,474 PA):
.276/.405/.515/.920



Mediasavvy said...

Well said.

I long for the Yankees to loosen their ties and let a little passion and personal style back into the game. It was a good idea back in the Torres/Jeter days, but it's extremely out of step with the times.

Frazier will ignite whatever team he's on. I hope it's the Yankees. Let's see................

Pgpick said...

So the kid has a bad game or two in the field, try’s for diving catches when a “better” fielder would not have tried, and he is a terrible outfielder? Give me a break......Frazier is a dynamic personality who lived up to his hype and I hate to see the way he has been treated my the Yankees. Guess I am missing something......

Pgpick said...

Oh, I forgot....Clint was mean to the writers after the Red Sox game......guess that was the friggin kiss of death!

Parson Tom said...

The complaints about statistics vs. analytics do seem stale. You're a smart guy, Horace, study up a little.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Stat Boy!®™, you going to be able to make it on August 12th?

If you have to work, maybe you can deliver a pizza for us.

But remember -- NO anchovies!

JM said...

It's so tiresome to see vitriol based on a sociopathic personality and "incontrovertible" statistics. In this case, career numbers that prove nothing, when the the post was about Mick's early career. As players age and become less effective than they were, yes, the accumulated stats will show that over the long haul they are perhaps not incredibly special. But when in their primes, the numbers tell a different story.

Perhaps these comments are nothing more than performance art of some kind. Yeah, well, whatever.

Great storytelling, Hoss. Another nice one.

Local Bargain Jerk said...


As for Frazier's likability: I find him tremendously likable

Why doesn't this surprise me?

Parson Tom said...

MICKEY MANTLE CAREER STATS

Overall (9,907 plate appearances):
.298/.421./.557/.977

2 Outs, RISP (965 PA):
.303/.486/.581/1.067

Late and Close (1,474 PA):
.276/.405/.515/.920


These numbers show that Mantle was extremely special and also quite consistent over the course of his career, performing about the same in all situations, not better in "clutch" two-out or late-and-close at bats. If you want the numbers for his early career, they are readily available, too.

Look, I've been flamed by this anonymous guy almost as much as any of you, and I wish he did not feel the need to attack. But his analytical comments do hold water. Baseball statistics have evolved. They' can tell you more about a player's performance, and they're much more complex and in-depth than the counting stats we used to rely on. It doesn't change what we see and enjoy about the game; nor do they delegitimize the fun of watching Aaron Judge pile up bushel loads of homeruns. But mocking the not-so-new analytics, as Horace does in his otherwise excellent essays, seems to be a rejection of knowledge. Why?

You guys can continue your pissing matches. We're all old enough to know that nobody wins at these things. I come here to talk about the Yankees, but too often lately the conversation is devolving into an ugly the earth is round/flat and you suck merry-go-round. I don't know if Mr Analytics Anonymous can be convinced to tone it down, but maybe the rest of us could attempt to not rise to his bait?

Rufus T. Firefly said...

People tend to like people that share their own qualities.

Or lack of quality.

Funny, that no one is trashing Voit's personality here (except moaning when he tries for StatBall®™ and forgets to hit to all fields), even though he's not an automaton. Maybe because he seems like he actually enjoys playing and isn't a pompous ass.

Carl J. Weitz said...

I'm ambivalent about Frazier. But he does seem so much like a loner including in the dugout. It doesn't seem like his teammates ever come to his defense, either. At least not in the press. Being a loner isn't the worst thing but I do get the sense he isn't at all liked by his fellow players. And that isn't a good thing.

I don't have photoshop but I wish someone would take that Daily News back page of Robinson Cano and delete his figure and replace it with Hal Steinbrenner.
Cashman: " He Loves His Money". Print about 1000 and plaster them all over Yankee Stadium, inside and out.

It's not inconceivable that Stat Man could be on Cashman's payroll as a statistical analyst. I'm sure at least a few Yankee personnel read this blog. Who knows, maybe even old Coop, himself.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Thanks, JM. And Parson Tom, as somebody I DO respect, I have to say I regret that little aside because it took the focus off the main point of my jeremiad.

But as I've also written pretty consistently here—and as someone who has read a great deal about them in the writings of people such as Allen Barra and especially Bill James, the Godfather of the New Statistic—I very much respect the new statistics. I think they were a revolutionary way of looking at the game.

What I DON'T respect is when and how they are used as a substitute for common sense, or for perceiving the game before you on the field.

For instance, crazy overreaches like some from Bill James himself ("Derek Jeter was the worst fielding shortstop in history"), or others making out that "the analytics" show you're always better off hitting into the shift instead of going to the opposite field or bunting for a hit in the wide-open spaces the shift leaves.

Just like everything else in life, there are very, very few scenarios in which is "ALWAYS" best to do anything. And sticking to these extremes have made the game I love more one-dimensional and stale than it has ever been before.

Are RBI the most important stat? No. But they are important. Is "clutch" real? Of course it is!

And as JM mentions, lifetime stats can be deceptive and distorting about clutch stats or any other stats, as players decline. And as you mention, Parson Tom, when guys play at truly high levels of excellence, year in and year out, in ALL situations, their "clutchness" tends to be less evident.

In part, clutch depends on NOT sharply declining in a big situation. But don't take my word for it. Reggie Jackson says it again and again.

HoraceClarke66 said...

But again: I apologize if I am in any way annoying anyone here. I actually like arguing about statistics, and I think you'll find that I always do it in a pretty polite way, sticking to the argument and avoiding ad hominem attacks.

In the interests of comity, I will forego saying anything else about statistics, period. Which means, of course, that the person who screams and rants the loudest and insults the most people, wins (Hmm, funny how this is starting to resemble the political news...).

That's all right, I'm out of the stats fight. But if you think this will in any way diminish the pissing matches and the personal vitriol, you are sadly mistaken...

Anonymous said...

See? HC66 and Parson Tom get to cast all the personal aspersions they want in the guise of sermonizing against ad hominem posts. The fact is that I have been mercilesslly attacked and ridiculed from day one for insisting on the usefulness and superior analytical insights of sabremetrics, so I have seen these assholes and raised them. But I never initiated the acrimony. Yet I notice, with the unerring instincts of the herd animal, that Parson Tom and HC66 do not call out the most pathological manifestations of personal abuse on this blog, which come not from me but from exactly four people: HC66, Dufus T. Firefly, Warplist, and Psycho Anus, most of whose posts are wallpaper repetitions of chronic flaming and abuse, although HC66 has grown more restrained but no less persistent in his compulsive obloquy. Yet these chronic perpetrators go unmentioned and get a blanket pardon from the presiding self-appointed etiquette therapists on the blog, while these therapists continue to aim all their selective ire at me alone, whos is more sinned against than sinning. At least Parson Tom has the decency and honesty to note the worth and substance of my contributions--which no one else on this blog has managed to do--mostly they just gleefully join in the toxic pile-up of acrimony, frat-house vulgarity, and willful philistinism.

You may have noticed that I have never directed any sharp comments to duque and Alphonso--why? Because they don't indulge in it themselves--plus, they are genuinely witty, skilled, insightful writers who make this blog the unique asset that it is. If enough of the commenters here would emulate their example instead of that of the frat-house hit squad, this would be a far more attractive and interesting resource.

So one cheer to Parson Tom, and a big extended figure to the rest of the cowardly jerks who mar every thread on this blog--until and unless they begin to figure out what it's like to function as decent human beings rather than preadolescent gang members.

Anonymous said...

JM--You can break down the clutch numbers vs. total plate appearances for any phase of Mantle's career--or that of any other player--and they will always tell the same story: over a large enough, meaningful sample size, there's no such thing as a "clutch" hitter, although there are, obviously, clutch hits.

Anonymous said...

HC66 is full of shit. He spent a year or two piling on with the psychopathic "puckered" brigade, and then retreated to more subtle forms of abuse. But overall he's remained a stubbornly philistine and at least subtly abusive presence on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Also, in his last preposterous attempt at analysis, HC66 sets up a series of cherry-picked strawmen about analytics instead of dealing honestly with the overall corpus of insight and knowledge, about which he is admittedly totally ignorant, never having read a single book on the subject. He insists that clutch hitting is a real thing even though he cannot adduce a shred of evidence other than his own fond anectodal memories of this or that player to support his preposterous assertion, which he nevertheless risibly presents as self-evident. He cites one purported statement by Bill James as a pretext for discrediting the entire field of inquiry--another sleazy, dishonest polemical ploy that has zero logical or factual merit. And his comments on lifetime total stats vs. clutch stats are pure sophistry: you can break down clutch stats for any phase of a career, and as long as the sample size is large enough, the story is always the same: the numbers in "clutch" situations will never vary appreciably from the overall offensive stats. Period. End of story. No exception, not for any player or any phase of his career. And somehow he tortures the evidence to argue that doing exactly the same thing in clutch situations as one does in non-clutch situations--which self-evidently demonstrates no overall tendency to excel as a clutch hitter--somehow demonstrates the opposite, that you are a clutch hitter. When faced with such dogged mangling of obvious fact and reality, such perverse determination to declare black white and white black, the resources of reason and logic are exhausted, and you simply have to realize that you're dealing with someone who is stubbornly dishonest and/or stupid.

Anonymous said...

I’m Stat Boy!®™
I just got off of my shift at The Pizza Pit. Mommy had a sandwich waiting for me in my basement apartment and I ate it. Then I picked my zits and changed out of my cool orange and red uniform. After I attempted to sooth my onanism, I decided the world should know of the depth of my baseball knowledge. I’m Stat Boy, and the world should pay for me being such a loser!
I’m Stat Boy!®™
I just got off of my shift at The Pizza Pit. Mommy had a sandwich waiting for me in my basement apartment and I ate it. Then I picked my zits and changed out of my cool orange and red uniform. After I attempted to sooth my onanism, I decided the world should know of the depth of my baseball knowledge. I’m Stat Boy, and the world should pay for me being such a loser!
I’m Stat Boy!®™
I just got off of my shift at The Pizza Pit. Mommy had a sandwich waiting for me in my basement apartment and I ate it. Then I picked my zits and changed out of my cool orange and red uniform. After I attempted to sooth my onanism, I decided the world should know of the depth of my baseball knowledge. I’m Stat Boy, and the world should pay for me being such a loser!
I’m Stat Boy!®™
I just got off of my shift at The Pizza Pit. Mommy had a sandwich waiting for me in my basement apartment and I ate it. Then I picked my zits and changed out of my cool orange and red uniform. After I attempted to sooth my onanism, I decided the world should know of the depth of my baseball knowledge. I’m Stat Boy, and the world should pay for me being such a loser!
I’m Stat Boy!®™
I just got off of my shift at The Pizza Pit. Mommy had a sandwich waiting for me in my basement apartment and I ate it. Then I picked my zits and changed out of my cool orange and red uniform. After I attempted to sooth my onanism, I decided the world should know of the depth of my baseball knowledge. I’m Stat Boy, and the world should pay for me being such a loser!
I’m Stat Boy!®™
I just got off of my shift at The Pizza Pit. Mommy had a sandwich waiting for me in my basement apartment and I ate it. Then I picked my zits and changed out of my cool orange and red uniform. After I attempted to sooth my onanism, I decided the world should know of the depth of my baseball knowledge. I’m Stat Boy, and the world should pay for me being such a loser!
I’m Stat Boy!®™
I just got off of my shift at The Pizza Pit. Mommy had a sandwich waiting for me in my basement apartment and I ate it. Then I picked my zits and changed out of my cool orange and red uniform. After I attempted to sooth my onanism, I decided the world should know of the depth of my baseball knowledge. I’m Stat Boy, and the world should pay for me being such a loser!
I’m Stat Boy!®™
I just got off of my shift at The Pizza Pit. Mommy had a sandwich waiting for me in my basement apartment and I ate it. Then I picked my zits and changed out of my cool orange and red uniform. After I attempted to sooth my onanism, I decided the world should know of the depth of my baseball knowledge. I’m Stat Boy, and the world should pay for me being such a loser!
I’m Stat Boy!®™
I just got off of my shift at The Pizza Pit. Mommy had a sandwich waiting for me in my basement apartment and I ate it. Then I picked my zits and changed out of my cool orange and red uniform. After I attempted to sooth my onanism, I decided the world should know of the depth of my baseball knowledge. I’m Stat Boy, and the world should pay for me being such a loser!
I’m Stat Boy!®™
I just got off of my shift at The Pizza Pit. Mommy had a sandwich waiting for me in my basement apartment and I ate it. Then I picked my zits and changed out of my cool orange and red uniform. After I attempted to sooth my onanism, I decided the world should know of the depth of my baseball knowledge. I’m Stat Boy, and the world should pay for me being such a loser!
I’m Stat Boy!®™

Anonymous said...

And of course, HC66 and others raise the usual red herring--this is not about "stats" vs. observation or intuition--all the "anti-stat" floggers use all kinds of outworn and deficient stats: BA, RBI, ERA. They're just too dumb and/or intellectually lazy to understand the deficiency of those stats and to understand the superiority of more recently evolved sets of stats, so they dishonestly frame the debate as "statheads" vs. what--clairvoyants? Sages? It's laughable.

Anonymous said...

Hey Parson Tom--I'll believe that you're sincere in you admonitions about tone the first time I see you rip a new one for one of the usual compulsive flame-addict psychotics who afflict this blog. Your selective targeting makes a farce of your hypocritical sermonizing.

Anonymous said...

Like a four year old with a potty mouth, who claims everyone calls HER names.

Anonymous said...

Shut up, Psycho Anon. You need to get a new hobby other than slathering a baseball blog with your sock puppets. Seek professional counseling.

Anonymous said...

Of course, Psycho Anon, you never call anyone any names. You're a demented freak. Really rather disgusting and pathetic. The blog Caliban. Isn't your dinner of your own vomit getting cold?

Anonymous said...

I’m Stat Boy!®™
I just got off of my shift at The Pizza Pit. Mommy had a sandwich waiting for me in my basement apartment and I ate it. Then I picked my zits and changed out of my cool orange and red uniform. After I attempted to sooth my onanism, I decided the world should know of the depth of my baseball knowledge. I’m Stat Boy, and the world should pay for me being such a loser!
I’m Stat Boy!®™
I just got off of my shift at The Pizza Pit. Mommy had a sandwich waiting for me in my basement apartment and I ate it. Then I picked my zits and changed out of my cool orange and red uniform. After I attempted to sooth my onanism, I decided the world should know of the depth of my baseball knowledge. I’m Stat Boy, and the world should pay for me being such a loser!
I’m Stat Boy!®™
I just got off of my shift at The Pizza Pit. Mommy had a sandwich waiting for me in my basement apartment and I ate it. Then I picked my zits and changed out of my cool orange and red uniform. After I attempted to sooth my onanism, I decided the world should know of the depth of my baseball knowledge. I’m Stat Boy, and the world should pay for me being such a loser!
I’m Stat Boy!®™
I just got off of my shift at The Pizza Pit. Mommy had a sandwich waiting for me in my basement apartment and I ate it. Then I picked my zits and changed out of my cool orange and red uniform. After I attempted to sooth my onanism, I decided the world should know of the depth of my baseball knowledge. I’m Stat Boy, and the world should pay for me being such a loser!
I’m Stat Boy!®™
I just got off of my shift at The Pizza Pit. Mommy had a sandwich waiting for me in my basement apartment and I ate it. Then I picked my zits and changed out of my cool orange and red uniform. After I attempted to sooth my onanism, I decided the world should know of the depth of my baseball knowledge. I’m Stat Boy, and the world should pay for me being such a loser!
I’m Stat Boy!®™
I just got off of my shift at The Pizza Pit. Mommy had a sandwich waiting for me in my basement apartment and I ate it. Then I picked my zits and changed out of my cool orange and red uniform. After I attempted to sooth my onanism, I decided the world should know of the depth of my baseball knowledge. I’m Stat Boy, and the world should pay for me being such a loser!
I’m Stat Boy!®™
I just got off of my shift at The Pizza Pit. Mommy had a sandwich waiting for me in my basement apartment and I ate it. Then I picked my zits and changed out of my cool orange and red uniform. After I attempted to sooth my onanism, I decided the world should know of the depth of my baseball knowledge. I’m Stat Boy, and the world should pay for me being such a loser!
I’m Stat Boy!®™
I just got off of my shift at The Pizza Pit. Mommy had a sandwich waiting for me in my basement apartment and I ate it. Then I picked my zits and changed out of my cool orange and red uniform. After I attempted to sooth my onanism, I decided the world should know of the depth of my baseball knowledge. I’m Stat Boy, and the world should pay for me being such a loser!
I’m Stat Boy!®™
I just got off of my shift at The Pizza Pit. Mommy had a sandwich waiting for me in my basement apartment and I ate it. Then I picked my zits and changed out of my cool orange and red uniform. After I attempted to sooth my onanism, I decided the world should know of the depth of my baseball knowledge. I’m Stat Boy, and the world should pay for me being such a loser!
I’m Stat Boy!®™
I just got off of my shift at The Pizza Pit. Mommy had a sandwich waiting for me in my basement apartment and I ate it. Then I picked my zits and changed out of my cool orange and red uniform. After I attempted to sooth my onanism, I decided the world should know of the depth of my baseball knowledge. I’m Stat Boy, and the world should pay for me being such a loser!
I’m Stat Boy!®™

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