Thursday, August 8, 2019


Hey, I'm a fan of the New York Yankees, and as such, I don't mind chewing up as many inferior teams and spitting out their bones as we can get our fangs on.

My favorite year is 1998, followed by 1939 and 1927.  Sure, 1978 was a thrill—but way too close for true pleasure.

Hell, I'll admit it:  deep down inside, there's a part of me that really believes most other teams exist simply as opponents.  It's a world of Washington Generals out there, and we're one, great big, brain-sucking Globetrotter.

But I have to admit, this week has pushed my comfort level with all this.  A little, anyway.

The Baltimore Orioles, a once-proud franchise that we used to respect and even fear, are a disgrace.  D.J. Stewart's head bonk in left field was the single most embarrassing play I have ever seen by a professional baseball player in 53 years of watching the game.

Take a look:

It's not just that he lost the ball in the sun—or the lights.  It's that by the end, as the excruciating slow motion shows, he's not even trying to pick it up.

Like some Little Leaguer terrified of the hardball, he is clearly just trying to avoid being hit by it:  his head turned away, his arm flailing about protectively.

And he gets clonked anyway.

Hey, I hate to see anyone get hurt.  But this was more embarrassing than the Mark Sanchez "Butt Fumble."

Then there was the Chris Davis thug-out in the dugout.

Gee, what a shame that yutz didn't sign with us when we first drafted him.  Chris, read the sign on the ride:  you must hit at least .200 to get that angry.  You should stick with what you are, which is sorrowful.

And then there was the almost empty park, once the gem of major-league baseball, the few remaining fans overwhelmingly NYY louts in full Yankees regalia, no doubt abusing the hometown fans and so drunk on winning they were actually battling our own outfielders for flyballs.

(A battle they did not win.  Hey, you don't tug on Superman's cape, and you don't mess around with Tauch.)

Folks, this was just sad.  And it goes on and on, all over baseball, in the name of "rebuilding."  The Marlins team the Mets just dispatched was nearly as pathetic, in its own way, a bunch of half-involved vets and hopeless rookies, lackadaisically flailing at everything.

There is no possible way that rebuilding should be this:  5-10 years of utter futility, followed by a couple years contending for the Wild Card Play-In spot.

Then—if your GM is stupid enough to give a blob like Chris Davis a stupendous, years-long contract—more "rebuilding."

This has, of course, long been the trouble with leagues, which are essentially cartels, and thus inevitably end up discouraging real competition no matter how much they try to promote it.  In the old days, it was even worse, with nearly a half of the original 16 teams checking out for 10, 20, 30 years at a stretch.

Yes, a much wider range of teams get in it now and win it now.  But this only covers over the fact that the sucking still goes on for years and years and years.  Take a look, for instance, at the KC Royals.  Their fans are going to have to live off that 2015 ring for a long, long time.

And don't think we're that far away from it.  Exactly how much difference is there, really—save in attitude—between a Chris Davis and a Giancarlo, or an Ellsbury?

For that matter, we're only one bored, HAL phone call away from a quickie sale to Jimmy Dolan to fund HAL's Future World Soccer Empire, and then it's Orioles time in the Bronx for a decade.

Hey, it was one thing when it cost you two bits and a box of cracker jack to kill a summer afternoon watching the Washington Senators or the St. Louis Browns stink up the joint.  Now, the doofuses who are, somehow, still allowed to run these teams are charging the rent money for the privilege of watching Stewart and the Yeti make fools of themselves.

It's not just hurting Orioles fans, it's hurting the game.


BernBabyBern said...

1. There is very little incentive for teams to be good now. They still make a profit, and that's all some owners give a shit about. Plus, and the system is set up so that if you do want to win cheaply, it's better to be truly awful than it is to be a .500 club.

2. As for Chris Davis, it's not like the manager was in any danger if Davis had managed to get to him and try to punch him. All he's done all season is swing and miss.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

I went to a game at Camden Yards last year (got to see the immortal Neil Walker play along with Shane Robinson). Made the mistake of sitting in 'club' level seats. Not a beer vendor to be seen after the first inning. Since they expect vendors in the stands, very few actual taps in the concourse -- all with ridiculously long lines. They don't have many vendors in the stands because, if they aren't playing the Yankees or the Carmines, there's no one sitting in those seats -- you can go right down behind the dugouts.

Still a good place to see a game as long as you don't get mugged going to or from the ballpark.


2. is classic.

el duque said...

I was going to write something similar about Baltimore, but Hoss beat me to it.

All I would add is...

1. For the price of a jolly decent lap-dance, the O's could have Gio Urshela, Mike Tauchman, Cameron Maybin, Breyvic Valera and Luke Voit in their lineup.

2. I'm a New York Giants fan. Every year, I suffer embarrassment and humiliation. I used to be a Knicks fan. I couldn't take it anymore.

3. Cities are lucky if they have one winning sports team. Baltimore has the Ravens.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

While we're all lamenting what's happening NOW, let's time-travel back a few decades . . . to when the Kansas City Athletics were (basically) a NYYs farm team . . . while simultaneously masquerading as a major league baseball team.

The web offers a page (link below) which proclaims that team's BEST EVER SEASON as 1966, when the KC A's went 74-86.

Nothing is new under the Sun. It says so in some old, moth-eaten book of some kind...

HoraceClarke66 said...

I know. They moved out of, what, the 4th or 5th biggest market in the country...because they couldn't take the heat from the Phillies.

Then they went to Oakland.

Smart, smart, smart.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Joe FOB, you're completely right. I think the Phillies did not actually contend once between something like 1915-1950. The Browns won one pennant—in the war year of 1944.

These teams were so bad that they almost delayed the breaking of the color line. The Senators made a huge amount of their nut from games the Homestead Grays played in Washington.

Today, though, it's almost impossible to actually lose money. There's just no excuse. If the other owners really wanted to do something for the game, they would make a better effort to keep out the incompetent and the undercapitalized.

But hey, why would they do that? It's just more competition for themselves.

There will be an end to it, though. None of that handful of Orioles fans out there last night is going to remember that as such a wonderful time and rush to take theirs son or daughter to the park years from now.

HoraceClarke66 said...

That's a good point, Duque. Even in the old days, when people said the Yankees were U.S. Steel, they didn't really have some automatic monetary advantage—not before TV.

Going straight up the middle, they signed Yogi because the Cardinals wouldn't match the bonus they gave his pal, Joe Garagiola. They signed Whitey after the Giants and Dodgers gave him the thumbs-down in tryouts. They signed Mickey when the Browns—the BROWNS!—wouldn't take a look at him when Mutt Mantle took him to St. Loo for a tryout.

Mantle got a smaller signing bonus than Mario Cuomo. True story!

This week, the Orioles got run over by the Yankees 2nd or 3rd team. That's beyond embarrassing.

Publius said...

Baltimore is infested with bad baseball.

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