Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The hope of the Yankees might be Tony Clark

The Baseball Players Association and the true Dark Tower - the corporate monopoly called "MLB"- are launching mid-term contract talks, hoping to avert a strike two years from now, when the current labor pact goes poof. 

Good luck with that.

Actually, we all know what will happen: Absofuckinlutly nothing... until the final hours of spring training 2021, with picket lines outside stadiums, and beer league replacement patsies are cinching their belts to take the field. That's how the Wheel of Fortune grinds. A strike is probable because - by most accounts - in the current contract, the players had their pickets pocked, uh, I mean... you know what I mean.

The union is led by former Yankee late-stage lug nut Tony Clark, profiled in yesterday's Gray Lady, whose survival talent matches anything Rasputin pulled off with a belly full of arsenic. Despite botching the last contract, opening the floodgates for owner collusion - (a term nobody wants to hear, but that seems the only way to say it) - Clark is getting a do-over. But this time, his rank and file is muy pissed off and won't settle for upgraded clubhouse buffets.

Before going further, let's get this out of the way: Yeah, Manny Harper, Bryce Machado, Giancarlo Ellsbury, Jacoby Stanton, Joggy, et al, all get paid wayyy too much for anyone's good. Their obscene contracts disgust all fans, and when the players whine, beach volleyball becomes a fine summer rec alternative.  

But here's the thing: We never get to see Food Stamps Hal Steinbrenner's paycheck, and it surely holds several more zeroes than that of his highest paid employee. Somehow, we created a world where, when a player comes to bat, his salary practically flashes on the Jumbotron. But the owners hide every penny of their wealth. The corporate media riles us with tales of Bobby Bonilla, while the Steinbrenner lawyers burnish Crummey Trust Dynasty Tax packages for generations not yet born. It's probably good that we don't know how much the owners make. If we knew, I believe blood would flow in the streets. 

But I digress. Yankee fans should root for Tony Clark to break the de facto caps on team salaries, draftee bonuses and spending on international players - rules that give Food Stamps Hal his public excuses to bank more coins. This won't necessarily save the Yankees: Already, the Dodgers, Redsocks and Cubs spend more on their teams, and nothing Clark can do will pull Hal off his gold-plated crapper. But a set of new rules could give us an advantage.

In my lifetime, I have awaited The Yankee Singularity - the imaginary era when the franchise smartly uses its money advantage to build the best roster and the best farm system. That nearly happened in 1996-2000, but Ruben Rivera turned out to be two surgically connected Zoilo Almonte clones, and we annually dealt away our future for the wrong generations of Raul Mondesi. (Also, Boston achieved its own singularity - high spending and a powerhouse farm.) 

Today, the Yankees have a solid farm system, but even with a cash-cow stadium, Hal does not open his fanny pack. Last month, he showed his miserly spending habits by being outbid by Atlanta for Dallas Keuchel. This month, he'll trade our future for some salary bloat, and we'll stagger on, as usual.

Let's hope Tony Clark knocks collusion out of the next contract. And let's hope Prince Hal at least spends on an even keel with the Dodgers and Redsocks. If the Yankees don't win the 2019 World Series, this will be arguably our worst decade in history. We can't blame Tony Clark. But maybe, as a former Yankee, he will help.


JM said...

Can Tony Clark pitch?

Just asking.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Speaking of things that have been bad for baseball, Bumbling Bud has a book out.

HoraceClarke66 said...


Love it, Duque! And you're right—we DID have that briefly, c. 1998-2000, when we had what was not only the greatest team in history, but also a farm system that was ranked No. 1.

This is the amazing thing about the Steinbrenners, as you pointed out in an earlier post: all the executives who they have thrown away. The holy trinity that built that team—Watson, Buck, and especially Gene Michael—did all that...and were practically run out of town on a rail.

(Buck because they lost one game—to Ken Griffey, Jr. Watson because the 1996 division race got close for awhile. Stick because, well, STEINBRENNER, that's why.)

The Steinbrenners have benefited bigly from being in a town full of incompetent, uninvolved, uncaring owners.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I did like Clark, an affable guy who filled in as best he could when we had those crucial, 1B injuries in the terrible year of 2004.

(By injuries, I mean when The Giambino's PEDs tried to eat his brain.)

Clark had a bad back, which meant some years he would light it up, some years he could barely drag himself up there.

Of course, the year after we got rid of him, he had an all-star caliber year for Arizona. In fairness, he had an even worse year when he was on the Red Sox.

HoraceClarke66 said...

One objection, Duque: the Yankees do NOT have a solid farm system. I don't consider it a solid system when you don't even have a back-up outfielder you can bring up, much less a starting pitcher (I know, I know: German is sort of a starting pitcher. And after that?)

Anonymous said...

"you don't even have a back-up outfielder you can bring up"

They do. (Frazier) They just wont. So I guess they don't, but it is not because of a lack of talent.

As far as pitching goes... in the last three years the farm provided..

Sevi - Who is now hurt.
Montgomery - Who had a great rookie year and is now hurt
German - Wins leader! Who for now is not hurt. But was hurt.

Next year Devi (if he doesn't get hurt.)


Doug K.

HoraceClarke66 said...

It's true, Doug K., they HAVE produced a bunch of guys over the last few years.

But Duque was talking about now—and now, as far as I can tell, it's pretty bare bones. As Duque also says, with the Yanks' advantages, a well-managed contender would/could/should have a contender AND a great farm team EVERY year.

That's what they did back in the day...and as long as we're not back in the reserve-clause plus draft days, that's what they SHOULD be able to do again. But they don't. Because they don't care (see Alphonso).

HoraceClarke66 said...

Oh, and P.S.: Clint should be a STARTING outfielder. But...

Anonymous said...


Yes. It is pretty bare bones in AAA. Supposedly there is some real talent in the lower minors but you are correct that the cupboard could be better managed. That said, producing three good to very good starters in three years (with a fourth on the way) is no small doings.

I couldn't agree more about Frazier. That he is not up in the majors is a form of madness. I am now in the "trade him" school because they clearly don't want him. I hope he brings back someone of his "actual" value. He's going to be really good somewhere.

And most importantly of all, the fish stinks from the head down. Hal really doesn't care. (As Alphonso reminds us) And that's the worst part.

Doug K.

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