Sunday, May 31, 2020

Plague Theater: The comedy team of Swisher and Papelbonn

Actually, one of the better ones...

Plague Theater: Andy picks off the Mariners

Buhner and Tino, too.

Virtual Baseball: Abreu Abysmal But Yanks Yank Out Win! UN Intervenes in AL! The Master Goes Under the Knife!

In yet another tumultuous day and evening—is there any other kind in Virtual Baseball?—the New York Yankees rallied despite another virtually awful start from virtual prospect Albert Abreu, edging the Anaheim Angels Near Los Angeles, 9-8, in 12 innings.  

Abreu was awful, and a titanic, grand-slam home run by Mike Trout put the Celestials up by 6-2 in just the third inning.  But the Yankees rallied behind home runs by Mike Ford and The Matador, Miguel Andujar, and a two-run single by Gio Urshela tied the game in the ninth.  The winning run came on a rare squeeze bunt in the twelfth by Kyle Holder, after which Manager Ma Boone was fined the mandatory $10,000 by MLB for daring to play small ball.

Meanwhile, the decision by the Cherubim to start Dylan "Ted" Bundy tonight officially triggered a global alert.  The UN promptly declared the American League a "pitching-free zone," with all that implies, and the General Assembly was called into special session to see what could be done about this situation.  Relief in the form of additional relief pitchers and breaking-pitch instructors were among the options being weighed to keep the AL from slipping deeper into disaster.

Back in New York, meanwhile, renowned brain surgeon Dr. Olu Bogadan was flown in from Port-au-Prince to operate on beloved Yankee broadcaster John "The Master" Sterling, for his potentially fatal, cranial distance-assessment condition.  

The surgery took over seven hours, or about the time of an average major-league game this season.  Sterling is reported to be resting comfortably, but Dr. Bogadan warned that, "There's no predicting the results of brain surgery on a distance-impaired individual."

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Covid-19 Baseball

There will be no more of this " hanky pinky" with social distancing.

Will umpires call " foul" if the pitcher loads up the ball with Purell? 

Will holding a runner on first be outlawed?

Will fans still fight to catch or snare a foul ball ( how long do microbes live on cowhide)?  

I assume dome ceilings will be not allowed.  

Will the personal catering service to those in the Goldman Sachs seats be terminated?

Maintaining six feet of space between patrons lined at the sausage stand will result in a queue that goes around the stadium. Is that a proximity hazard?

Who is going to want to squeeze mustard out a previously used container?

Will players use protective gloves over their protective gloves? 

When is opening day?

Plague Theater: Jogginson Cano returns

Not the greeting he expected?

Mother of Mercy, Is This the End of Baseball?

Duque, our Peerless Leader, got me thinking with his last post, as he so often does.

I think he's right that this SHOULD be a great time for the Yankees to make hay while the sun shines—to use a very urban metaphor—and mold the next Yankees dynasty.

If the rest of baseball wants to melt down its minor leagues, pick up the best prospects they cut loose.  If the other owners want to fight it out on a new agreement, quietly let the old one die, and kill them with our monetary advantage.

But that's what team owners truly concerned about their brand and its long-term sustainability—not to mention their team's fans and communities—would do.  That's not how American capitalism operates these days, and it's not how that awful, soulless entity known as "MLB" has ever operated.

I have to agree with Carl Weitz about what WILL happen:  What we can actually expect is that Hal and the Family Greed will fall in line with the usual, standard short-term thinking and cartel-licking that has so reliably reduced American capitalism from world domination, to an institution unable to turn out toilet paper on demand during a national emergency.

But another question arises:  Is this the end of baseball as we know it?

I don't mean baseball baseball.  Some kids, somewhere, will always be playing that, if only on their X-boxes.

I mean organized, professional baseball.

As discussed here, any kind of 2020 season is still a longshot, and probably should be a nonstarter.  But who's to say this virus will go away anytime soon?  We could be looking at a silent ballpark in 2021, as well.

IF that happens—and I very much hope it DOESN'T—what do we have?

I get the feeling that the longer this goes on, the more everything will change in America.  Old habits, old allegiances, old ties (no, not those 1970s ties that were way too thick!), will be dropped.

Will we even recognize what the Yankees are in 2022?  Will Giancarlo Stanton still have a calf strain?  (I think we can count on the answer to the second question being "yes."  Some things never change.)

If two years go by with no baseball, will the owners and players ever be able to reach a new agreement?  And what then?

The players tried forming their own league before, back in 1890.  It almost worked.  They mortally wounded one of the two major leagues at the time—the old American Association—and nearly finished off the National League, as well.

What if, starting in 2022, major-league players get their own backers, and form their own league?

Sure, it would be hard getting hold of stadiums at first.  But hey, among other charming things little noted by our sporting press, the Yankees are planning to abandon the pretty little Staten Island ballpark they got us chumps to spend $30 million on.

Suppose a bunch of players decided to form new teams made up of their friends, joined them into a league, and played where they could?  Suppose we suddenly had the New York Gothams, or the Staten Island Isotopes, playing ball?

Maybe that wouldn't be such a bad thing.  Maybe it would be time for something new.

Hey, put this all down to a fever dream.  Chances are, the players and owners will reach an agreement.  Chances are, there's just too much money involved for them not to.

Chances are, we'll be right back where we were, later this year, or in 2021.

But I don't know.  If there's no baseball until 2022?  If that agreement somehow falls through?

I say, Go Goths!  Go Topes!

Under the new reality, could the Yankees use their fiscal clout to build a dynasty?

Kudos, for now, to the Death Star. It is one of the teams still paying its minor league players and personnel $400 a week, according to the Murdoch Post. The Yankees are feeding families, and for that, they deserve a cheer. Hip-hip, hooray... for now, anyway. Says the Post...

According to reports the Mets, Dodgers, Marlins, Pirates, Rays, Brewers and Cardinals are paying their non-40-man roster minor leaguers $400 per week through June. And the Dodgers have help since lefty starter David Price is giving each non-40-man minor leaguer in the system $1,000.
As far as non-uniform personnel (front office, scouts, staff members, etc.), the Yankees recently told them they were going to pay them through June 15. reported the news on May 26. In April the Yankees said they would look at the situation at the end of May.
So it goes. What's amazing in this golden, hedge-fund, money-ball era is that a player - the oft-maligned David Price - turns out to be the hero who saves his teammates. Seriously... do the Dodgers not have money? Ah, but I digress...

For years, the de facto salary cap - (alias the luxury tax) - has supplied the excuse for Food Stamps Hal Steinbrenner to refrain from using his billionaire's endowment to sign free agents. In their next labor agreement, MLB players have vowed to blow up the luxury tax system, but it might just be the 2020 season that goes up in flames, like a police precinct. Who knows what kind of financial structure will emerge in 2021? Not me.

Regardless of what happens, you'd think the Yankees would have a grand opportunity to fortify their system with the minor league talent being jettisoned by other franchises. This won't mean adding a star. But every year, a few career minor leaguers become valuable Yankees. In fact, Brian Cashman's greatest talent has been in finding scrap heap additions - Luke Voit, Ronald Torreyes, Mike Tauchman, Gio Urshela, Cameron Maybin, Mike Ford - and there might just be a few more out there looking for a home. 

Seems to me that this would be a great time for the Yankees to pay their people, to keep players and families intact, and to be a good employer. Four hundred dollars a week cannot mean much to Hal. It sure could make a difference to the next Mike Tauchman, and I believe it would pay off in spades. There are times to be smart. There are times to be righteous. This is a time when Hal will be measured for the person that he is. This is a time for him to rise. 

Virtual Baseball: The Curse of Anaheim Continues. Sterling Gets the News.

Not even J.A. Happ, the best pitcher in the American League so far this season, could salvage a win for the Yankees in Anaheim, as two home runs and a double by Mike Trout drove the Angels on to a 5-3 win.

Solo home runs by Gio Urshela and Mike Ford were just not enough to get the Yanks back in the game, ending their seven-game winning streak.

Meanwhile, the Yankees clubhouse was somber following the latest news regarding the Maestro of the broadcasting booth.

"We regret to announce that John Sterling, the Master, as he is frequently called, has been diagnosed with a rare brain disorder," Dr. ZaSu Pitts regretfully announced at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital this morning.

The disorder, which was announced with regret by Dr. Pitts, is known as Knievel Syndrome, and leaves victims congenitally unable to successfully estimate distances.

"Victims of this syndrome might never be able to successfully determine just how far certain flying objects might travel," Dr. Pitts continued, her announcement heavily tinged with regrets.  "Why, let's say he was trying to determine how far, oh, say a frisbee would go, or maybe a discus, or a shot-put, or the hammer.  Even a javelin!  Or let's say, one of those things they fling at a Celtic Fling.  Why, he would have no idea, the sorry son-of-a-bitch."

Sterling was immediately prepped for the incredibly dangerous surgery, despite his warning as he was being wheeled into the operating room that, "There's no predicting the affect of anesthesia on the human brain!"

The Yankees regretted to say that they had no announcement to make, but they did announce that they would regret having to make another announcement about their beloved broadcaster, should there be a regrettable turn of events that would necessitate such an announcement.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Plague Theater: Jorge stands his ground

Old-fashioned hardball.

“Being a really bad former player, I have a fairly good understanding of how these negotiations go back and forth. You just hope that both sides recognize and appreciate that in some capacity, everybody’s going to have to take some type of a setback here. It would be unrealistic to think that that would not happen.”

Supposedly, the owners and the owned have set a Monday deadline to cut a deal and save the 2020 "payback the Astros" baseball season. Don't believe it. They'll wheedle for at least another week, until somebody blinks. 

The above quote, from Tampa manager Kevin Cash, comes from today's Gray Lady. 

Virtual Baseball: More Fireworks at the Stadium! And Everywhere! Suzyn Brawls with Tim! Musk on Way to Mars! With Martian!!!

There have been some unusual days in this 2020 virtual baseball season, but perhaps none quite so weird as today.

The game—a 4-3 thriller won when Mike Tauchman tumbled over the right field fence to rob Miguel Sano of a potential, game-winning home run in the ninth inning—was the least of it.

Masahiro Tanaka and Jake Odorizzi hooked up in what was a downright pitchers' duel for this series and this season, both departing after the seventh in a 2-2 tie.  Tommy Kahnle then allowed a go-ahead home run to Jake Cave, but back-to-back doubles by D.J. LeMahieu and Miguel "El Matador" Andujar, put the Yanks out front in front once more.

Adam Ottavio, subbing for a tired Zach(k) Britton as closer, got two men out but let two men on, before Sano hit a blast that seemed headed for the seats.  Only Tauchman's Judgeian leap and catch kept it from going out.

The Yanks' seventh straight win—which cut the chafing-dish hot Tampa Bay Rays' lead in the AL East to nine games—was overshadowed, though, by other events both within and without the Stadium.

The big news was how Elon Musk, released from custody on one of Attorney General William Barr's new "Get Out of Jail Free Because I Say So" warrants, promptly seized control of his stranded Space X rocket and blasted off on his own, telling the control tower that he was planning to travel to Mars and set up the first human space colony there.

In anticipation of peopling his Martian civilization, Musk first kidnapped the Knicks City Dancers AND Jasson Dominguez, the Yankees prospect known as "The Martian."

"He really IS a Martian!" Musk was heard screaming as his spaceship left the atmosphere.  "There are TV antennae that come out of the back of his head!  It's true!  I've seen it!  To Mars with the Martian!  Bwahahahaha!"

Yankees GM Brian Cashman denied reports today that the Yankees had actually expedited Musk's kidnapping of their leading prospect because he was batting only .098 for the Pulaski Skyway Yankees, in the Appalachian Hollow Jug League.

"Bee hazards reeling!" Cashman told a reporter through his special, Eagle Protection gear.

When the reporter asked him, "What?" Cashman repeated, "He-has-a-high-ceiling!"—then crushed the man's larynx with his steel glove.

Meanwhile, back in the Bronx, Suzyn Waldman got into an intense argument with Special Kars-for-Kids Booth Guest Tim McCarver, who told her during the seventh-inning stretch that he had never much cared for the Yankees or the Steinbrenners, especially old George, who he described as "a loathsome bully with body odor."

Their heated argument soon turned to fisticuffs, and Stadium fans were treated to the sight of them tumbling out of the booth and onto the protective netting behind home plate while they continued to flail at each other.  They were stranded there for most of the next inning until Stadium personnel could rescue them, but they did return to finish out the game like the pros they are.

Afterwards they made it up, even enjoying a drink together at one of Yankee Stadium's many family whiskey bars.  Suzyn confessed that she may have been particularly on edge because of the latest medical reports concerning her erstwhile partner, John Sterling.

"I can't say anything," she sniffed, while putting back her third single-malt in ten minutes.  "But I think he's really in trouble.  There's no predicting the fate of 81-year-old masters with irregular brain patterns."

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Excellent tweet

Couple more good ones in the thread.

Plague Theater: Jorge's barehanded catch

Should have been interference.

For sports, 2020 must be the year that everything changes

According to the Internet, the embattled MLB players union this week will send the owners a counter-proposal for playing ball in 2020. From there, the two sides either will negotiate a deal or - like the rest of American society - slink away, throw up their hands and blame the other guy. 

The NBA, NHL and NFL are also cobbling together plans for made-for-TV seasons, without fans in the seats. Then there is the group with the most to lose - the NCAA - whose main job over the years has been to bank the billions of dollars grifted from the sweat of unpaid athletes in football factories. Somehow, the NCAA must convince another matriculating class of freshmen to put their bodies on the line for "the old college spirit" and little more. 

Today's Times studies the issues faced by college football, including these words from Big 10 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby: 

“It isn’t a matter of when we’re going to have outbreaks, it’s a matter of how big they are and how we go about triaging.”

Of course, he's right. There isn't enough hand sanitizer in Larry Kudlow's bourbon bunker to keep 125 Division I football rosters infection-free for five months. How many tests can a school run on its jocks, before it draws down community resources from essential workers or at-risk seniors? And what happens when a player dies... because simple math tells us that some surely will. 

Before the kickoff, will the public address announcer call for a moment of silence to remember the 20-year-old who just gave his life for the Buckeyes or the Scarlet Knights? 

Without fans, that moment of silence will last the game. 

Sorry to be so pessimistic. I really do hope MLB can somehow play a season, or something like one. But what has happened in America is catastrophic, and 2020 must be the year that sports fundamentally change. We may yearn to return to the way things were. That's not an option. 

Virtual Baseball: Blast Off at the Stadium If Not in Florida. The Kaat Came Back.

Three true outcome baseball reached its logical point of absurdity tonight, as every starting player for both the Virtual New York Yankees and the Virtual Minnesota Twins homered in tonight's action at the Stadium.  In a game that took 6 hours and 34 minutes, the Yankees had just a little bit more, prevailing by 17-16 for their sixth straight win.

For the Yanks, Mike Ford, Luke Voit, D.J. LeMahieu, Kyle Holder, Gio Urshela, Kyle Higashioka, Miguel Andujar, Brett Gardner, and Mike Tauchman all went yard, as did...nine of the softball beer league guys who play for the Twins.

New York starter Deivi Garcia was routed early, as was Twins hurler Jhoulys Chacin, who joined the Twins as a free agent for 2020 after being voted A.L. Pitcher Whose Name Was Least Likely to Be Pronounced Correctly while with the Red Sox and Brewers last year.

All of the balls blasted out of the park helped obscure the day's main news story, which was the canceling of celebrity noodnik Elon Musk's planned Space X blast off today from Florida.  The launch had to be canceled after federal DEA agents arrested Mr. Musk on charges of importing and selling massive quantities of "red pills."  His intentions are still unclear, though as he was escorted from the premises Musk was heard repeating over and over again:  "Hyperloop...hyperloop..."

Meanwhile, the latest guest replacement for John Sterling today turned out to be much-loved former broadcaster and Minnesota Twins pitching great, Jim "Kitty" Kaat.  He called a fine game, and at 82 was still younger than many of the Yankees' minor-league catchers.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Plague Theater: Luis Sojo's greatest moment

The throw hits the runnner!

Ken Griffey Jr. elected IT IS HIGH All-Time Yankee opponent in centerfield

Over his 22-year career, Ken Griffey Jr. played 133 games against the Yankees, roughly one regular season. 

Over that mythical year, he hit 36 HRs, drove in 102 runs, stole 14 bases and batted .311. He was intentionally walked 11 times, and he scored 101 times. Basically, he killed us.

Only two other teams - Cleveland and Minnesota - surrendered more HRs. (By the way, his lifetime MLB career batting average: .284.) 

He deserves to be the all-time IT IS HIGH Yankee killer in center field. 

The final tally: 

Ken Griffey Jr. (78 votes): 31%
Kirby Pucket (34): 13%
Mike Trout (32): 13%

Fred Lynn (31): 12%
Jim Edmonds (29): 12%

Amos Otis (18): 7%
Johnny Damon (15): 6%
Jacoby Ellsbury (8): 3%
Willie Wilson (7): 3%

He shoulda been a Yankee. After all, his dad played five years for us, hitting 45 HRs and .285. Maybe if Buck Showalter hadn't complained about the kid wearing his ball cap backwards, Junior would have spared us a little. 

But in fact, there was never a chance of the Yankees drafting Junior - the first selection in the 1987 draft, by Seattle. (The Pirates, picking second, took Mike Merchant, and the Twins then chose Willie Banks.) The Yankees had no first or second round picks, having squandered everything to finish second in the AL East the previous year. Thus, over the first 58 selections, we watched the White Sox take Jack McDowell (5th), the Royals Kevin Appier (9th), the Expos Delino Deshields (12th), the Reds Jack Armstrong (18th), the Astros Craig Biggio (22nd), the Tigers Travis Fryman (30th), the Indians Albert Belle (47th) and the Jays Dereck Bell (49th.)

The Yankees that year drafted Dave "No Man Is An" Eiland in the seventh round. Later, they picked Gerald "Ice" Williams. Basically, it was a blowout, and we were on our way to the first pick in the 1991 draft (which we would squander on Brien Taylor, but that's another story, right?)

Next up: Right field. Nominees?

Virtual Baseball: Fireworks Come Early—Yanks Homer Homer to the Showers, Win Fifth Straight. White Back in the Booth.

In their latest round of Home Run Derby, the Virtual Yankees out-homered the Virtual Twins in the Bronx, to take their fifth straight win, 10-7.

Yankees rookie Clarke Schmidt managed to hang on for five innings and claim his first-ever major-league win, despite allowing a home run to former Yankee Jake Cave, another to the ageless Nelson Cruz, and two more to Minnesota behemoth Miguel Sano.

The Yanks were able to hold their own, though, thanks to home runs by Gio Urshela, Mike Tauchman, Mike Ford, Luke Voit, Kyle Higashioka, and—yes—Thairo Estrada, off the appropriately named Homer Bailey and a bevy of Twins relievers.  Zack(h) Britton got the save for New York.

In a historic milestone, the game was also the first ever broadcast by a former National League president.  With The Master, John Sterling, remaining under observation at Columbia-Presyterian Hospital and the voice of Phil Rizzuto still on the lam, White became the latest ex-voice of the Yankees to join the virtual broadcast team.

At 86, White's performance was deemed impeccable, save for a tendency to call Suzyn Waldman, "Frank," and several innings of snoring.

The win improved the Yankees' record to 34-21, a mere ten games behind the still moderately warm Tampa Bay Rays.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

"Jeter" is trending on Twitter: WTF?

Apparently, it hearkens back to someone suggesting he was - gulp - overrated? 

Plague Theater: And ANOTHER reason Mattingly belongs in the Hall

(I lost my nerve and named my daughter Madeline.)

Plague Theater: Another reason Mattingly belongs in the Hall

A moment the kid will never forget.

Virtual Baseball: Montezuma's Revenge: Yanks Rout Cortes. Thairo Hero, a Win for Mr. Zero.

The Virtual New York Yankees finished a sweep of the sinking Mariners in today's Memorial Day Game, with Thairo Estrada's high-bouncing double over the head of Seattle third baseman Shed Long scoring three runs in a dramatic, 9-8, walk-off win that sent Estrada's pharaonic following into paroxysms of joy sufficient to have re-parted the Red Sea.

Asked about his newfound celebrity after the game and the thousands of Yankees fans wearing Egyptian headdresses at today's game, Estrada told reporters, "You know, it's not pronounced that way."

However you say it, "Thairo" sounded a lot like "win" today.  The bulletproof infielder had two more hits as well as his game winner, which only epitomized the Yankees' changing fortunes. Long was only in the game because Gold Glove Seattle third baseman, Kyle "Give That Man A" Seagar was attacked by "Challenger," the same American bald eagle that brutalized general manager Brian Cashman on Opening Day.

"I don' know what happen," said his trainer, Zog Hoxha, who like Challenger actually hails from Albania.  "Iz all good, then he see special Stadium rat dog, go berserk."

Going to Shed Long only seemed to further weaken the confidence of starter Nestor Cortes, Jr., the former Yankees prospect, who was also touched up for home runs by Mike Ford and Gia Urshela.

And still another highly overrated Yankee prospect got his chance to make his major-league debut today, this time Albert Abreu, who was considered a can't-miss superstar sometime during the Obama administration.  Abreu, who had a 5.45 ERA in Scranton when he was called up, was hit hard, surrendering 6 runs in just 4 innings of work.

Bailing out the Yanks was largely ignored bullpen lug nut Adam Ottavino, "Mr. Zero," who was indeed a hero today with two key innings of scoreless relief work, after hitting the first batter he saw with a pitch when the bases were loaded.

Meanwhile, the Yankees honored some real heroes as part of their Memorial Day Festivities.

Since the Steinbrenner family's lavish Memorial Day and Fourth of July celebrations have already covered veterans from every major American conflict going back to King Philip's War, today's ceremony paid homage to the heroes of the Second Dominican Intervention, from April-May, 1965.

The veterans of the conflict on hand bravely disavowed any intimation that they had suffered unduly during the confused and absurdist conflict, and seemed a little unclear as to why they were at the Stadium.

"Hell, we were just glad we weren't goin' to 'Nam," remembered Pvt. Tyrone "Clean" Miller.  "But I guess we made the D.R. safe for another 20 years of strongman rule."

Monday, May 25, 2020

Plague Theater: Mickey and Whitey for Lite Beer

"The Beer Drinkers Hall of Fame!"

Plague Theater: Don Mattingly and the rain of hats

Good thing it wasn't Forty Gallon Beer Cooler Day.

Virtual Baseball: Happ-less Mariners Founder on Grounders. Phil Flees!

The Virtual New York Yankees took their third straight win today against the Seattle Pilots Mariners, 4-2, as J.A. Happ reduced them to mere groundball machines in pitching a rare, complete-game win.

Happ did not have command of all his pitches today, walking six, but he always got a groundball when he needed one—usually to substitute shortstop Thairo Estrada, who started four double-plays and added a bases-clearing trouble, as Thairo Mania continued today at the Stadium.

Local entrepreneur Harman Blennerhasset announced that he is ordering another 50,000 pharaoh headdresses, while Yankees fans joyfully walked like Egyptians and cavorted like Cairoans through the aisles of their less-than-ancient Stadium.  The Yankees announced that they would now be adding a new, special section next to the currently moribund "Judge's Chambers" in right field.

It will be called, "Thairo's Tomb," and feature individual, open sarcophaguses modeled after those at the Met, which will be sharing in the profits from seat holders.

Meanwhile, just one day after Yankees creatures Lonn John Trost and Randy Levine completed an agreement with a couple of upstate grifters for the rights to Phil Rizzuto electronic personality, "the Phil Sessions," as they are called, seem to have somehow gained control of a Cadillac in the players' parking lot at some point during the seventh inning, and managed to drive it out past the air tight security of the Stadium lot.

Police were later able to trace the driverless car's roundabout route through Brooklyn, Glendale, and across the George Washington Bridge to Hillside, New Jersey, before losing it.  Bystanders reported hearing the strains of "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" as it passed by.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Plague Theater: Mick and Norm Crosby

Struck out agin.

Plague Theater: The Legend of Joba

Always loved him.

Virtual Baseball: Thairo Mania! Tanaka! Scooter Settlement!

"Thairo Mania" swept Yankee Stadium the Third today, as the Yankees swept to their second straight win today, 7-2, over Seattle.

Masahiro Tanaka, the iron man of the Bombers' staff, got the win with seven innings of pain-defying pitching, keeping his elbow ligament in place with the use of paper clips, the sort of huge binder clips you use to put on college papers that are too big to be merely stapled.

But the real story in the Bronx was the way that Thairo Estrada seems to have captured the hearts of Yankees fans with his timely hitting in this injury marred season.  The unexpected enthusiasm has been a boon for local entrepreneur Harman Blennerhassett, who two years ago bought 50,000 Egyptian  "King Tut" pharaoh headdresses in anticipation of Estrada becoming a major star and being called, "Thairo the Pharaoh."

Estrada did not disappoint, hitting a long triple and a home run to deep left-center, as thousands of Yankees fans paraded through the stands in their souvenir headgear, to the tune of The Bangles' "Walk Like An Egyptian."

"I took a huge bath back in 2012, with Linsanity," Blennerhassett told reporters.  "I bought 10,000 souvenir straitjackets with a Knicks logo on 'em, thinking I'd move 'em in no time.  Next thing I know, Lin's in Houston and the National Alliance on Mental Illness is threatenin' to sue me.  If it hadn't been for that totally accidental fire accident in my warehouse, I woulda been wiped out."

Blennerhassett mentioned that he was just about to get in touch with his old warehouse fire accident prevention associate, Frankie Sheeran, when Estrada finally broke through.

"A little dust, a few spider eggs, otherwise they're perfectly good to go," he told reporters.  "That Toast guy on the Yankees bought 10,000 of them right away.  Pretty good, huh?  Walk like a fuckin' Egyptian!  An' yeah, yeah:  I know that ain't how you pronounce, 'Thairo.'"

Meanwhile, the Yankees also announced that they had reached an agreement to acquire the rights to the random ramblings of Phil Rizzuto from "upstate blatherskites Rollo Tomasi and Kaiser Soze, or whatever their names are."

The full terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but it is believed that the Yankees agreed to turn over at least six plastic windshield ice scrapers, eight containers of antifreeze, and four official, maple tree, J.A. Happ sap tappers.

Saturday, May 23, 2020


Plague Theater: "I'm Mickey Mantle, Egzekutiv"

 For men who use their heads about their hair...

Existential Question: Does it matter that Aaron Judge's girlfriend was arrested?

You may have heard that Aaron Judge's girlfriend - name unimportant - was recently nabbed for "extreme DUI" in Arizona. (This actually happened in February, but the news just surfaced last week.) In normal times, such an event would rightfully go unnoticed across the Yankiverse. But without the daily avalanche of scores and tweaked gonads, it passes as an actual news tidbit. 

Hence, our Existential Yankee Question of the Day: 

If a girlfriend gets into trouble, does it reflect on the player?

The answer includes several caveats. 

1. If by "trouble," you mean homicide, genocide - actually anything involving a "cide" - the player will be tinged by the soil of scandal. This is unfortunate but unavoidable. Felony-grade actions, involving death and destruction, are hard to overlook, even if it involves a Yankee. 

2. If a girlfriend is linked to a Redsock player, absolutely! She must be held accountable! The list of scandal-accessible Redsock links includes family members, hangers-on, buddy bros, one-night stands, household pets and next door neighbors. Also, the mere notion of a girlfriend begs one immediate question: WTF is she doing with him?  

3. If the girlfriend is linked to a Yankee, it gets complicated. 

3a. If he's hot and leading the team in an important category, then whatever the girlfriend has been doing, it's working. Who are we to judge? She's good for him. She's helping him. Besides, we cannot dismiss the possibility that she was set up by Yankee-hating cops. A key here: It happened in Arizona, where hatred for the Yankees burns hotter than a billion suns. Never forget how, moments after they won the 2001 World Series, the Diamondbacks mockingly played "New York, New York" on the stadium p.a. system. Can we ever believe anything that happens in that godforsaken hellhole?

3b. If the Yankee is slumping, or if he simply went 0-5 last night, then the girlfriend needs to answer some critical questions: What is she doing to him? Is this a toxic relationship? Does she have a plan to get her shit together? Hopefully, authorities will take this into consideration and maybe dish out a proper sentence. Maybe the best way to get a Yankee player back on track is having his no-good partner face a good 10-year stretch of prison time!  

3c. If, as in the case with Judge, we have no easy way to discern whether he's currently running hot or cold, assigning swift and proper judgement to the girlfriend becomes a tough matter. I say we must defer a verdict until we know whether Judge's broken rib has healed, and if he's ready to play. If he's okay, then - hey, we're all reasonable people here - this woman deserves a second chance. If he's unable to play, well, throw the book at her!

Existential questions are really quite simple, while living in a binary Yankiverse.

Virtual Baseball: Killer B Swatted. Yanks Top Mariners as New Prospect Tops Old One. The Fight for Phil Continues.

Hey, it's good to be back home again!  The New York Yankees returned to their long-lost friend the Bronx and their winning ways tonight, topping Seattle at the Stadium, 12-8.

Stumbling back home after a 2-8 road trip that dropped them into third place at 29-21, 12 games behind the boiling hot Tampa Bay Rays, the Yanks jumped on former "Killer B" Manny Banuelos early and often, with home runs from Gio Urshela and Miguel Andujar.  

The best performance of the day was turned in by Thairo "Bulletproof" Estrada, however, who had another superb night at home in New York, going 4-4 with two doubles and a homer, and throwing a runner out at home.  Yanks rookie Deivi Garcia, who has had an up and down season so far, threw a credible six innings, surrendering three runs and striking out eight.

Banuelos is the last of the "Killer Bs" currently active.  Former would-be star Andrew Brackman is now a professional big-game hunter in East Africa, while ex-Yankee all-star Dellin Betances is currently rehabbing his foot in Florida, with hopes of joining the woebegone New York Mets sometime later this year.

In other Yankees news today, "The Fight for Phil," as the tabloids have dubbed it, continued, with the Yankees reporting some progress in resolving just who owns the rights to the late Phil Rizzuto's random meanderings, the Yankees or a pair of "snowball reprobates" who made a small fortune publishing a book called "O Holy Cow!" back in the 1990s, when life was slow, and oh, so mellow.

"These slack-jawed troglodytes—I think their names are Tomaso Pennybacker and Hartzell Harte, or some such—are trying to deprive Yankees of what they should be able to hear every night:  the voice of a long-deceased Yankees shortstop rambling on about lasagna, birthdays, and Steve Balboni," remarked Yankees creature Randy Levine.  "But I think we're close to an agreement.  They're holding out for another snowblower and some new chains for their tires, I believe."

Tomorrow afternoon will be the Yanks' first promotional game, "Bud Selig Cheesy Toupee Day," in which the first 15,000 fans will be handed a limp piece of oil cloth to put on their heads, in honor of the former permanent acting baseball commissioner and professional funny man.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Plague Theater: Charlie Brooker's Antiviral Wipe 2020

Charlie Brooker, creator of Black Mirror, is a UK TV comic on the order of Jon Stewart or John Oliver. Last week he revived his much-missed mock-the-news show, Charlie Brooker's Weekly Wipe, for a one-shot burst of sarcasm at the pandemic. Five stars, highly recommended.

UPDATE: Never mind; they took it down. But if you see "Brooker" and "Wipe" in your internet video wanderings, give it a look.

Plague Theater: Future star Rob Refsnyder spanks the Redsocks

We called him Brigadoon, because he would appear - play well - then vanish.

Are we kidding ourselves? "Fallow stadiums would not signal a return to normalcy as states reopen. They would confirm that we remain in a time of dire abnormality, undercutting the appeal of sports as escape and distraction. And they would raise an uncomfortable question: If it is unsafe for people to gather in the stands or in places like restaurants and parks, why is it acceptable to ask athletes to compete for our entertainment?"

Today's Gray Lady wonders if sports played in a vacuum tube will fill the void?

Jere Longman - who covered the infamous 2015 Orioles game, played before an empty stadium due to riots - warns that baseball without fans will be a troubling experience. Some memories of that day:

"Bullpen phones could be heard ringing more than 400 feet from the dugouts. And players could hear the voices of broadcasters while on the field... Balls leaving bats produced hollow echoes. No one scrambled to retrieve a home run or a foul ball and hand the souvenir to an excited child. The official attendance was announced as zero."

For whatever it's worth, I believe baseball must attempt a half-season, at least reopening camps and playing a few exhibition games. We should see if it can be done. But before plunging into a season, we must also decide if the results will be worth it. The worst thing that could happen would be to start - and then stop again. 

Virtual Baseball: Another Day, Another Catcher: Yanks Lose Again, On Road Trip to Hell. New Receiver Dodges Questions.

The Yankees set a new virtual baseball record in their getaway game in Milwaukee today, playing their seventh catcher in the young season.  Donnie Sands, only a Tampa Tarpon prior to this season did not disappoint, hitting a long home run on the very first pitch he saw in the major leagues. But the Yankees flopped about like a harpooned tarpon, dropping a 4-3 decision to the Team Formerly Known as Harvey's Wallbangers.

The game also saw the debut of yet another pitcher, Clarke Schmidt, one of the very few first-round Yankees draft picks ever to make it into a major-league stadium without a ticket.  Schmidt pitched well enough, surrendering only four hits in five innings, but also walking five and giving up two, two-run singles by former Yankee Ben "Camel" Gamel.

Afterwards, Sands was repeatedly grilled by reporters as to whether or not he was related to highly rated, 1960s Yankees catcher Charlie Sands, who was later part of the Thomas Frondorf trade.

Q: Are you related to Charlie Sands?

A: Who?

Q: Don't play coy with us.  Charlie.  Sands.

A: I'm sorry, I—

Q: Was Charlie Sands your father?

A: Huh?

Q: You know what your father's name is, don't you?

A: Sure, but—

Q: Was it Charlie?

A: No.  Look—

Q: Was your grandfather's name Charlie?

A: No.

Q: Your uncle's?

A: No.

Q: How about your perfume?

A: Wait.  Is that a trick question?

Q: So, you're a catcher.

A: That's right.

Q: And your name is Sands?

A: Uh-huh.

Q: And you're saying you're not related to another catcher named Sands, who played for the same team 53 years ago?

A: No!  Look, isn't anyone going to ask about my home run?  The first pitch!

Q: We'll ask the questions here, kid.  I suppose you're going to tell us that's just a big coincidence?

A: I guess.

Q: And that you've never heard of Thomas Frondorf?  Or Dave Kent?

A: No!

More than coincidence?

Charlie Sands, Donnie Sands.  Donnie, Charlie.  YOU be the judge!

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Plague Theater: Fred Willard in BEST IN SHOW

I'm having a little fun with you.

Plague Theater: We have seen the future and his name is Jesus Montero

9/5/11. A garbage game made immortal by two titanic clouts by future Yankee superstar Jesus Montero.

Why not afternoon games and 10,000 seat limits?

Some naive questions. Feel free to school me on why this cannot happen...

In talks about reopening baseball this summer, I keep hearing that fans will be absent, that a made-for-TV league will be played in cavernous, empty stadiums. The result: A weird, dystopian setting - maybe cool at first, but eventually, a huge buzzkill. 

If a home run crashes into empty bleachers, does it make a sound? 

We may soon know.

But does this require an all-or-nothing scenario? At capacity, Yankee Stadium seats 50,291. Surely, a crowd of, say, 10,000 - (or pick a number) - can be dispersed with social distancing policed by ushers. (If fans abuse it by storming the box seats, they get booted; that's already the policy.) A 10,000-person crowd can make noise, especially with zoom mics aimed their way. 

In the case of the Tampa Rays, a 10,000 crowd is normalcy.

Secondly, what if games are played in afternoons, with sunlight offering a side-dose of disinfectant? (Does this actually happen? I'm hazy on the science, but I know it's been suggested.) With a breeze blowing and facial masks - (Yankees/Bud Lite Mask Day!) - safety at games could certainly rival the situations at NYC parks or beaches, right? 

On that note, doubleheaders make sense. If you're going to call in a staff of ushers and concessionaires, you might as well play two games, even seven-inning outings. This would allow MLB to play maybe 100 games, and since most doubleheaders end in splits, it would likely mean more teams remain longer in the pennant race - not the worst outcome.

Listen: The ongoing negotiations between owners and players are complicated, angry and unprecedented. But I keep hearing about games in empty stadiums, as if it's already been decided. Even if the number is in the hundreds, rather than thousands, boisterous fans can make a difference. (And yes, there is a legitimate question about who would get those few tickets - corporate fat cats or regular people; that would need to be resolved.)

I can already hear The Master announcing proudly that the Yankees have sold-out another game. Just sayin'...

Virtual Baseball: Yanks Go With What Doesn't Work, Lose to Brews. New Camp Doctors Order Bed Rest for All.

Deciding to give perpetual prospect Luis "Unecessa" Cessa one more shot, the Virtual Yankees were dismayed to see the young pitcher routed against last night, as Milwaukee rolled to a 12-6 victory.

Christian Yelich, the former NL MVP the Brewers grabbed while the Yankees were busy securing the services of their vastly superior outfielder and mystic, Giancarlo Stanton, Yelich hit two towering home runs and a pair of run-scoring singles to lead the team from the Land of Cheese.  Ben Gamel, International League MVP while still a Yankee farmhand, added another home run and two doubles for the Curds and Whey boys.

Luke Voit and Miguel Andujar each homered for the Yankees, who also left 17 men on base.

Elsewhere in the Empire, the new pair of European doctors taking over the Yanks' Legends Rehab Facility in Tampa, urged bedrest for all their patients.

"We recommend that they not only go to bed, but remain completely still there.  The slightest nervous excitement could be injurious to their health," Drs. Behrens and Krokowski told the press in a joint statement.

Asked if this did not constitute an archaic treatment for tuberculosis, Behren and Krokowski replied, "Of course.  This is a tuberculosis clinic, isn't it?"  The doctors also expressed the opinion that most of the reporters present were looking a little green around the grills, and should probably enter the facility for a long bedrest themselves.

Yankees creatures Lonn Trost and Randy Levine both denied any responsibility for hiring the German doctors, and blamed their arrival instead on longtime Yankees batboy Eddie Bennett.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Plague Theater: Slade Heathcott's great moment

9/14/15. Must game. The Yankees are down to their last out in the ninth against Tampa. A walk by Gardy. A double. An intentional pass. Somehow, it all comes down to Slade Heathcott...

Plague Theater: The late Fred Willard in SPINAL TAP


ESPN: The season can happen, but at what cost?

This week, ESPN dispatched a journalistic Seal Team Six to study the feasibility of an abbreviated MLB season, starting in July. It's a thumb-sucker. You'll need beer and chips... and, of course, hydroxychloroquine.  

The study offers three bottlenecks to the proposed season.

1. MLB still must figure out testing. It plans "frequent" tests - whatever that is - and to quarantine anybody who comes up positive. It will not quarantine all who came in close contact with that infected person. Thus, no matter how diligent the plan, every team will remain a ticking time bomb, vulnerable to one badly timed hotel hookup. Last year, the Yankees famously overcame an unprecedented wave of injuries - (basically, because they field a team of china dolls.) This could be like last year's wave - on steroids. And here's an ugly thought: What happens if a player dies? 

2. MLB must secure enough personal protective gear, so it cannot be accused of siphoning off supplies from the public health sector. By July, you'd think there'd be enough. But that's what we thought in April. To protect 30 teams of 40-man rosters - plus ancillary workers - that's a shit-ton of masks, sanitizer, test kits, everything. It's more daunting than it seems. MLB better get China on speed-dial.

3. MLB must face the reality that local governments will still be empowered to shut down the season, if things go south. If an outbreak occurs in Milwaukee, can the Brewers keep playing? I sure dunno. To all who fear a second viral wave in the fall, this is a real concern. Nobody wants to see everything go poof, as the pennant race reaches a finale. That's a worst-case scenario, and it's very real. 

If you're looking for a money quote:

In March, an MLB trial balloon to play inside a protective bubble at spring training sites deflated, in part because of the players' reluctance to be isolated for an extended period and limited broadcasting capacity. But the latest plan -- with players and other personnel free to circulate in their communities as state rules permit -- is a riskier, less certain strategy, according to health experts interviewed by ESPN. One sports executive gave MLB a 75% chance of completing the season.

Seventy-five percent. Beats being morbidly obese, I guess. 

Virtual Baseball: Happ, Du Stew Brew Crew. New Bosses for Yanks' Rehab Camp.

J.A. Happ resumed his winning ways today, and the Yanks resumed hitting behind him in Milwaukee, the city that was once in the National League, came back to the American League, and then went to the National League again, though the Yankees sometimes go there for inter-league play.

Happ breezed to a 13-4 win, throwing seven strong innings, as "El Matador," Miguel Andujar, continuing his torrid play of late, belted two long home runs and threw a runner out at third.  Kyle Higashioka, New York's starting catcher, also homered, upping his average this season to .111.

Meanwhile, Yankees creature Lonn Chaney Trost announced today that the organization would be terminating the contracts of Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, and Dr. Drew to run the team's rehab facility in Tampa.  Dr. Oz was in fact arrested later in the day, after remarking what an "appetizing opportunity" running the facility had been, and then making a lung for Trost's neck.

Dr. Phil left without incident but remarked that, without his guidance, injured Yankees players were in danger of catching an infectious swimming pool incident, while Dr. Drew pointed to the constructive work he had done getting teams of the Yankees injured to compete in putting on beachside Hawaiian luaus.

Trost announced that the rehab camp would be completely revamped under the direction of a pair of renowned sports therapists from the Bundesliga, Drs. Behrens and Krokowski.

It will also be renamed the "Kars for Kids George M. Steinbrenner Legends Rehabilitation Campus."

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Plague Theater: The Yankees' Historic 9-0 Comeback at Fenway

April 21, 2012. If memory serves––and I think it really does, shockingly––I got to watch this with Duque & Alphonso at one bar, then another, and then a swing to the home of good Dr. Jeter. A great day for baseball, a great day for beer.

WHO is up next?

Never gets old.

Plague Theater: When Eddie Haskell appeared on "Happy Days"

Talk about being typecast...


Previously on Yankee World: As teams ponder reopening, the narratives we left behind

Remember the 2020 baseball season? How we were everyone's faves, until a wave of injuries left us fearing the worst? It was long, long ago and far, far away - before "social distancing," logo masks and Tiger King. There was nothing to fear. We simply needed to wash our hands. "PPE" stood for - what? - Purple People Eaters?

Seems like 20 years ago, eh? On March 2, Yankee beat reporter Bryan Hoch asked fans for questions on the upcoming season. Here they are, paraphrased, in case you've forgotten.

1. How was Geritt Cole fitting in? (Hoch's answer: Just fine.)

2. Were the Yankees headed to another year of decimating injuries? (Hoch said no, but at the time, Aaron Judge was supposed to be ready around opening day. He's still recovering.) 

3. Could Miguel Andujar play in the outfield this year? (Yes.)

4. Was Gary Sanchez adapting to his new catching style? (Work in progress.) 

5. Was switch-hit utility IF-OF Rosell Herrera for real? (He was impressing people.)

6. Who was leading candidate for fifth starter? (Michael King, Jonathan Loaisiga and Clarke Schmidt topped his list. Also, James Paxton might be ready by June.)

And now they tell us that Eddie Haskell is dead?


Virtual Off-Day: Tanaka Exposes Conditions in Yanks Rehab Camp.

Controversy enveloped the Virtual New York Yankees today, as Masahiro Tanaka, speaking through an interpreter, shrugged off his magnificent, bullet-dodging performance in Houston, which came about only after he was able to manipulate his ulnar collateral ligament back into place.

"I only did what had to be done—what the team needed me to do," Tanaka told reporters.  "Any true Yankee would do the same in my place."

But it was his revelations about the Yankees' rehab camp in Tampa that truly rocked the sports world. Tanaka painted a picture of a facility that features regimens and devices that do little to actually make anyone better, and may in fact extend the stay of players on the DL indefinitely.

The camp is now run by a troika of TV doctors—Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, and Dr. Drew—dubbed "The Unholy Trinity" by patients.  It features approaches such as cupping, bleeding, the drawing out of the foul vapors, exorcism, tobacco therapy, and those fat-jiggling bands and steam boxes that are always featured in old Hollywood movies about ridiculous businessmen trying to lose weight in time for tonight's big dinner with the boss.

"There is something else—another machine—which they call 'the Ellsbury,' but no one likes to talk about that," Tanaka said darkly.

These techniques are generally considered to be archaic and even dangerous, except by the CDC.

Ronan Farrow and several camera crews were reportedly headed for the rehab camp.  There was no comment from Yankees GM Brian Cashman, who was last seen walking undisturbed through the firefight at Jett Rink Park, in his special Eagle Protective clothing.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Plague Theater: Greg Golson's great moment

9/14/10. Must game in Tampa. Greg Golson snags a Matt Joyce fly ball and unleashes an immortal throw to third, nabbing Carl Crawford to end the ballgame.

Kid Bids Apple Fans Adieu: Ted Williams elected All-Time IT IS HIGH Yankee Opposition Left-Fielder

As his cryogenically frozen brain awaits regeneration, the late Ted Williams should savor the warmth of awareness that IT IS HIGH voters have voted him left-fielder on our All-Time Yankee Torture Opponents team.

The vote, with 199 ballots cast:

Ted Williams (74 votes): 37%
Manny Ramirez (48): 24%
Rickie Henderson (40): 20%
Carl Yastrzemski (31): 16%
Willie Horton (6): 3%

It's hard to disagree with this choice. Williams was a 19-year-all star, a two-time MVP, six-time batting champion and two-time Triple Crown winner, with the highest career batting average in the live-ball era. He was a military hero in both World War II and Korea, and sort of a dick. He spat at fans, raged at sportswriters and ignored cheers.

He shoulda been a Yankee. 

In 1937, after the 19-year-old Williams hit .291 for the independently owned San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League, the Redsocks got him in a trade for $35,000 and two middling players. 

Imagine the Yanks if Williams played for 15 years next to Joe Dimaggio. Yikes.

So, our all-time opponents, thus far:

1b Eddie Murray
2b Rod Carew
ss Cal Ripken Jr.
3b George Brett
lf Ted Williams 

Next up, CF. Nominees?

Virtual Baseball: A Hero Rises in the East: Tanaka Goes West, Beats Astros Amidst "Freedom Chaos."

Masahiro Tanaka activated himself from the DL, took himself to Houston, and pitched his New York Yankees to a desperately needed victory, as the Pinstripers topped the Astros amidst the bloody chaos of Houston's "Show Us Your Gun Night."

Miguel Andujar, "El Matador," completed an outstanding series with four doubles today, driving in as many runs, to lead the Yankees' effort at the plate.  But the day truly belonged to Tanaka, who after watching the Yankees' seventh straight loss, declared himself fit, maneuvered his ulnar collateral ligament back into place, and managed to cut his way through the barbed wire fencing of the Dr. Oz/George Steinbrenner Rehabilitation Camp and hitch a ride from Florida to Houston.

Once on the mound, the feisty Far Easterner pitched seven innings of dominant baseball, allowing just two earned runs—an effort made all the more remarkable by the havoc descending all around him.

"Show Us Your Gun Night" began in a festive atmosphere, as an estimated 25,000 of the capacity crowd at Jett Rink Park entered the stadium heavily armed.  Each fan who open carried received a complimentary, Confederate flag windshield decal and bumper sticker.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick—on his second marriage, second religion, second legal name, and fifth or sixth career—started the festivities by lauding Texas as "the land of second chances except, of course, for immigrants."

Things began to sour, though, when rival political factions attending Jett Rink Park fell into an argument over whether rancher Cliven Bundy or Sheriff Joe Arpaio was the greater American, and began to exchanges small arms fire.  A running gun battle ensued throughout the Stadium.

Tanaka, however, continued unconcerned, even as stray bullets buried themselves in the mound just behind the pitcher's rubber.  Afterwards, he said through a translator that it was not up to him to comment on exotic American customs, and that the commotion had served to distract him from the excruciating pain in his pitching arm.

Afterwards, as stretcher bearers worked through the night carrying the dead and wounded out of the ballpark, Lt. Gov. Patrick remarked that while the deaths were lamentable, "a little freedom chaos" was no worse than the flu.

"Look, there are more important things than living," Patrick told reporters by Zoom, while ensconced in an armored military vehicle surrounded by Texas Rangers.  "I don't want to die, nobody wants to die, but it's important that we make it possible for our grandchildren to defend  the dubious victory of our great Texas ballteam with the gratuitous use of lethal weapons."

Reporters trying to get an accurate idea of the number of fatalities said they had given up counting after 300-400 body bags, but Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told the media that there were no fatalities or wounded civilians, and that in fact the ballpark had been closed all evening, nothing happened, no one dead here, go away.

With the win, the Yankees managed to close the Tampa Bay Rays' lead in the American League East to nine games.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

"Ms. George was best known for her interviews with athletes. A noteworthy moment happened in 1975 when Roger Staubach, the Dallas Cowboys’ stoic quarterback, unexpectedly confessed to her: “I like sex as much as Joe Namath. I just like it with one person, my wife.”

Twilight of the gods...

Phyllis George, the original Suzyn, is dead at 70. 

PS, OMG: Fred Willard, too. 

Virtual Baseball: Astros Blast Off On Gil; Celebrate Heritage Day.

The Houston Astros celebrated "Heritage Day" in style at Jett Rink Park this afternoon, routing the virtual New York Yankees, 11-6.  Only a home run and two doubles by Miguel Andujar brightened the Yanks' otherwise dismal, seventh straight loss, which left the team ten games behind Tampa Bay.

The Bombers, throwing out yet another in a long line of underprepared, overwhelmed pitchers, started Luis Gil, who had been having a mediocre year at Trenton this season.  After breezing through the first three innings, Gil was summarily routed by a Houston team that openly gloried in its cheating.

Disdaining the notorious hidden wires from the playoffs, Astros stars Jose Altuve and George Springer carried cellphones up to the plate, and openly discussed what pitch was coming next from the Astros' "Spies in the Skies"—fans selected at random to convey the information to them from a Houston coach.

Meanwhile, other 'Stros fans freely paraded through the stands carrying Confederate battle flags and signs reading, "MAYBE IF WE'D CHEATED THEN WE WOULD'VE WON!"

The first pitch was thrown out by Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick—born Dannie Scott Goeb, in Baltimore—who told the sell-out crowd, "It's not hate, it's heritage.  And the heritage is hate."  The divorced, bankrupt, former bar owner and evangelical then led the crowd in prayer, asking God to please not let the Bahais suffer too much in hell.

"Y'all come on back now tomorrow for 'Show Us Your Guns Night!'" Goeb Patrick told the crowd in parting.

Meanwhile, upstate yokels Todd Peyton and Hart Seals formally filed suit in New York County today, to stop the continued use by the Yankees of old Phil Rizzuto recordings in their current daily radio broadcasts.

"They are just small, angry men with hairy faces and burning feet, running away from poverty, intolerance, law, and the army," remarked Yankees creature Lonn Nol Trost.

"And the army," added fellow Yankees creature Randy Levine.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Plague Theater: Pat Kelly's greatest moment

It's Sept. 29, 1995. Must win game against the mighty Blue Jays. Ninth inning. Yanks down 3-2.

Batting ninth is Pat Kelly...

In MLB's push to reopen, Blake Snell is not the villain

The Tampa Devil Rays' Blake Snell picked open a sore this week on a live Twitch stream, talking about MLB's planned half season of baseball at half the players' pay. 

(Note: I suspect a few of you might not know what a "Twitch stream" is, so I contacted the experts at QAnon. It is live video that launches whenever a U.S. citizen streams urine into his or her toilet. As part of the 2011 Double-Secret Patriot Act, the flush valves of all American toilets were retrofitted with hidden cams to transmit images of streams - or fannies - to the Dept. of Homeland Security's base below Utica, N.Y.) 

Snell said of MLB's offer, (as retrieved by the Times' Tyler Kepner:)

“I’m not splitting no revenue. I want all mine. Bro, y’all gotta understand too, because y’all going to be like, ‘Bro, Blake, play for the love of the game! Man, what’s wrong with you, bro? Money should not be a thing.’ Bro, I’m risking my life. What do you mean it should not be a thing? It 100 percent should be a thing.”

For starters, this stream flatters neither Snell's fanny nor his mind. Here he is - your standard, stock-issue millionaire bro, wheedling about whether he'll have enough money to move his in-ground pool six-feet closer to the chocolate waterfall. Who doesn't want to lure this guy into a sauna for hot stones therapy? I sure do. 

But but but... he's right. 

Look, I'd love to see baseball restart in July. Seriously. These daily screeds about nothingness... this sucks. I want to start ripping on Giancarlo's manhood or Red Thunder's hair. I don't want to be defending Blake Snell. Who gives a shit about Blake Snell? But here we are...

The thrust of Kepner's story is that the owners, or the Lords of the Game - I also call them "the billionaires," because that's what they are - fear fans will forget baseball, and that the sport will lose profits. They are right. Many of us will move on, discovering that a summer without baseball isn't as bad as we thought. In fact, we have all discovered far bigger issues than would fill one of Suzyn's Clubhouse Reports. Right now, I'm not sure I can rightfully generate the phlegm required to welcome the Astros to New York.

But baseball's troubles did not start with this virus.

Let me repeat that: Baseball's troubles did not start with this virus.

For years now, the owners have exploited every advantage in their dealings with players, and their absolute control of municipal tax bases. Their profits grew exponentially, as they continually sold off the game's traditions, while cloistering themselves from the rest of America. Today, most owners own the very media that covers them. The YES Network will question any player who doesn't run out a grounder, but it never questions a salary cap imposed by Hal Steinbrenner. 

Now, the owners are telling players to suck it up and play ball, during a pandemic that is far from under control. Their plan is for about 1,200 players - and families - plus the staff required to run games - and their families - to be quarantined for an 82-game season, and then the playoffs. It's a huge undertaking. For that, I'll give them credit. And pro athletes are generally young and healthy - (Giancarlo remains high-risk, of course.) Still, complications from the virus - liver or lung damage - can kill a career. There is absolutely no way to ignore this: Every player would be taking an extra risk.

If the season is lost, baseball's popularity will take a hit. But the roots of the problem extend far beyond the virus. 

Years ago, the owners - the billionaires - set the table for this labor dispute.

Years ago, they turned broadcasts into non-stop commercials and monetized every aspect of the game's traditional support.

Years ago, they turned municipal budgets into their private bank accounts. 

Years ago, they allowed to game to devolve into tedious marathons of strikeouts, walks and homers.

Now, they want players to return for the love of the game. Okay, I get it that these are tough times, and everybody can use a distraction. But paying the players half is not enough. 

Bro, this is 100 percent about money. And you better believe that, over on the owners' side, it sure is. 

Virtual Baseball: Yanks Smacked by Lawless Houston, Drop 6th in Row. Upstate Cranks Threaten Suit.

The Virtual Yankees were smacked around mercilessly by a surprisingly unrepentant Houston team tonight, losing 9-1 at Jett Rink Park.

The only tally for the Bombers came on a home run that Miguel Andujar, "El Matador," lashed into the left field seats off Astros starter Zack Greinke.  Otherwise Greinke completely dominated the Pinstripers for seven innings, striking out 15.

Yanks starter Deivi Garcia, meanwhile, backslid dramatically from his strong effort in Fenway last evening, peppered with a steady barrage of Astros hits and looking understandably unnerved by the whole atmosphere at Jett Rink.

To the surprise of all visiting teams, Astros fans have been amazingly defiant after their favorite team was slapped on the wrist for a major sign-stealing scandal.

Rather than any show of penitence, the Houston faithful paraded through the Jett Rink stands banging on trash cans with baseball bats, and carrying signs that read, "IF YOU AIN'T CHEATIN', YOU AIN'T TRYIN'," "OUR HOUSE, WE MAKE THE RULES," and simply, "AH-HAH!"

Throughout the game, 'Stros fans deliberately tilted mirrors to shine lights in the faces of Yankees batters, and targeted Garcia and other players in the field with red laser dots.  These were of special concern, because under the new Texas gun laws fans are allowed to bring any ordinance short of anti-tank weapons into the park.

Adding to the Yanks' woes today, the team received cease and desist demands from attorneys for a pair of longtime upstate cranks, who claimed that their clients actually own the rights to the random Phil Rizzuto recordings now providing color commentary to the mellow offerings of Yankees broadcaster Suzyn Waldman.

"We have dealt with the disruptive antics of these hooligans before," responded Yankees creature Randy Levine.  "They are simply bitter that their financial circumstances force them to reside in the snowbelt section of the state, and are looking for any way to reach a warmer clime."

Levine said that the plaintiffs were named "Tim Paisley and Hart Crane, something like that," but that he did not want to give them any further publicity for their latest venture, an Escape Room enterprise based upon the city of Buffalo.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Plague Theater: The Complete Joe Friday Lectures 1967-70

Over one hour! I give it five Chesterfields and a bottle of Dewar's.

What Has Happened to Our Culture???!!!

Sure, we're all down in the dumps over the lack of any new baseball to watch, and the whole Republic falling apart thing.

But let's turn out attention to more pressing business for a moment.

I suppose you all saw that the reviews for the new TV series Snowpiercer are not exactly raves.  Funny, but the producers' strategy to run an ad for it every three minutes on every channel in the world didn't keep this from happening.

But the truly inexplicable error here is the failure to create a theme song for the show to the tune of "Goldfinger."

I think we must remedy this.

My own first effort:

It's the train
The train that goes through the snow!

Wow, this stuff almost writes itself.  Feel free to join in anytime...

None fiercer!
Sure, it's a train
A train that goes mighty slow!
So don't go!...

Is Shirley Bassey still alive?  They've already ordered a second season!