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Friday, July 31, 2020

Suzyn effing CRUSHED the National Anthem Friday night

Listen and swoon:

Better but not BETTER

Looks like Rickie Ricardo will continue to do the play-by-play through the weekend (with Suzyn, of course) for the redsock series.

We wish the Master a speedy recovery and in his absence, here are a few vintage images of our hero.




Virtual Baseball: Yanks Polish Off Mets, Lose Opener to BoSox

(NOTE: Due to nothing working anymore, anywhere, ever, this HoraceClarke66 composition had to be posted by Mustang, but make no mistake: Hoss is the writer.)

You will have to excuse your virtual baseball correspondent, who found himself trapped near the inner circle of thought, from which he is hoping to escape soon. 

In the meantime, though, just to put an Altoid on your bated breath, you should know that the virtual Yankees finished sweeping all four games against the Queens team this season.  For the second time this year, Yankees ace Gerrit Cole bested Mets hurler Jacob "Hard Luck" deGrom.  

Cole allowed only two hits and struck out 13, but was nicked for a run when old friend Brett Gardner bounced a pitch off the overhanging, right field facade now known as the Your Name Here Porch.  That 1-0 lead held up until Giancarlo Stanton, reaching second base in the eighth inning, managed to steal the Mets signs, and alertly signaled Aaron Judge what to expect from reliever Edwin Diaz.

"Actually, it being Diaz, I was expecting a big meatball right across the plate with no movement," Judge told reporters, "and that's what I got.  But it was very cool that Giancarlo was able to do that.  He is truly a man of knowledge."

Traveling up to the virtual Fens tonight, though, the Yanks were not so fortunate.  James Paxton left all his maply goodness behind in New York, it seems, as the Sox jumped all over him in the third, with Rafael Devers hitting a grand slam to cap the rally.  

The Bronx team fell, 7-3, to Boston ace Eduardo Rodriguez, despite solo homers from Luke Voit, Gary Sanchez, and Mike Tauchman.  

The incredible thing is, though, that...wait we're fading!...can you read me...can you...ca...

Barnstorming Time

(NOTE: Due to nothing working anymore, anywhere, ever, this HoraceClarke66 composition had to be posted by Mustang, but make no mistake: Hoss is the writer.)



So, the Yanks' schedule series against the Phillies got canceled on account of the virus running rampant amongst the Marlins.  Or was it the other way around?  

Frankly, I'm having trouble keeping up.  So they went to play the Orioles, instead.

Fine.

What this whole insane season suggests to me is that it's time to get back to barnstorming.  Pack up the duffel bags, and some extra bats.  Wrap a few dozen sandwiches in wax paper, and don't forget the cooler for the beer. Then get the boys on the bus and let's hit the open road, taking on all comers.

There are plenty of games to be had out there.  I hear the Troy Haymakers are eager to test their mettle.  Then there's the Fort Wayne Kekiongas and the Forest Citys, the Olympics and the Middletown Mansfields, the Elizabeth Resolutes and the Keokuk Westerns—and let's not forget the Cuban Stars, and the Monarchs, and the Bacharach Giants and the Hillsdale Daisies.  

Why, we can get all the way to Ioway before the weather starts to turn, beat it back to the city to take on the Eckfords or the Atlantic, the Excelsiors or the Niagaras, whoever the champion of Brooklyn is this year, in the Challenge Cup.  

Go into each town singing our team fight song to draw the crowd, and take on the locals for half the gate.  No need to have formal leagues or schedules which we can't maintain anymore anyway.  No need to impose meaning on any of it.

Just get out there and play whenever we can.  Wink at the pretty girls during infield, and shake hands with the mayor.  Sleep over in a cabin court, or out in the barn.  Wash the dust from our faces in a country creek, and buy some roadside corn on the way out of town.

Barnstorming.  Its time has come again.

Are we back to the Yankee denial machine?

It starts in the fourth, when Gleyber Torres leaves after getting plunked on the elbow by an "errant pitch." (Note: This is something the Orioles threw a lot of last night; where is CC when you need him?) Following the game, the Yankee brain trust dismisses any worries about Gleyber, saying x-rays were negative. (Note: this also means they worried enough to take him for x-rays.) 

Then manager/press secretary Aaron Boone leaves a cryptic suggestion re: Tommy Kahnle.


"Something on that tomorrow..."

Oh, great. Any ideas what that could be? Class?

a) Tommy's dog has ringworm, and he stayed home to be with his buddy.

b) Tommy's been acting strangely since planting those mysterious seeds that arrived in the mail from China. Also, his new green beard fails the team ban on facial hair.

d) Tommy tweaked a gonad and will miss eight weeks.

Ah, yes... I'd almost forgotten the great Yankee policy of denying injuries until a player's first month of rehab. As trainer, the team should hire Louie Gohmert. Don't get me wrong: All sports teams lie; there are no rules against it. But in hard times, with demons in every public restroom, it sure would be nice to trust the Yankees to say what's going on - aw, but why bother? That's something we will never again know in our lives. 

Today, the safest belief is to expect Gleyber to miss a month - half the season - and that's if we're lucky. Anything less is gravy. As for Kahnle... who knows? But don't expect good news. Nope, it's not gonna be good. 

Last night, while the Yankees seemed to be clobbering Baltimore - (before J.A. Happ threw batting practice and squandered a 5-0 lead) - I channel-hopped to CNN, where Anderson Cooper was interviewing Bob Costas about sports. (For some reason, CNN has decided to make Costas their go-to analyst for the pandemic; I'm not complaining - they could do worse than dust off Syracuse University's pride of the Newhouse School, but there are scientists out there who actually study sports and pandemics.) In describing MLB's situation, Costas invoked the same phrase he used last week: "That they have to thread the needle." Costas painted a bleak picture of MLB's chances for a full season, but when asked directly about it, he offered up the "If-I-had-the-answer-to-that, I'd-go-to Vegas" chestnut. A pitch right down the middle, and he didn't swing.  

So, last night, Aaron Judge hits what would be of his greatest home runs as a Yankee, beating the O's in a game his team desperately needed because - hey, it's Baltimore! Ironically, the YES announcers - Kay, Coney and Pauly - earlier had been recalling the great Yankee HRs that were relatively forgotten in history, because of outcomes that went against us. 

Specifically, they mentioned DJ LeMahieu's HR last fall in the ninth inning against the Houston cheaters, tying the game for 10 minutes... and Alphonso Soriano's blast that seemingly beat Arizona in the 2001 World Series. Both great moments, lost in the tumult of what came later. 

I wonder if Judge's homer last night will be similarly dismissed, after the 2020 season crashes and burns. I hope not. It's only been a week, but I've already found that ball games bring my blood pressure down to earth. It's the rest of the news that does to us what we should be doing to the O's. 

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Virtual Baseball: Testing, Testing! Can you hear meeee....

Muy Bueno!

If you caught Wednesday night's Yankeecast, the unfamiliar voice in the booth might've been slightly familiar from last seasons' commercials for a local healthcare provider.

But "Rickie Ricardo" proved to be a great fit with Suzyn, as this ink-stained wretch affirms.

He straight-out says he wants to take over for the master when he retires someday in the far, far future and it's not as far-fetched as it seems; he's a highly respected announcer in Philly, whose football calls (he even sings!) get love from above:


And his Sir Didi call (thanks to Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside)
Rickie will be on tonight as John rests up for the weekend, so give him a listen.

In the meantime, groove with Suzyn from 1986




Aaron Judge's homer hang time reminds us of baseball's secret sexuality... and the need for John Sterling

Last night - in a blow-out victory, with nothing better to do - the YES techno-nerds decided to measure the exact time it took for Aaron Judge's home run to land in Camden Yards' left field bleachers: 6.6 seconds.

Replays showed an astonishingly high blast that floated lazily into the atmosphere until running out of space, several empty rows beyond the fence. It prompted a rare sports reference from Michael Kay: If you had "Recall Oakland Raider punter Ray Guy" on your YES Broadcast Bingo card, you won the patio furniture. 

Left unsaid was the raw sexual meaning of Judge's clout. 

Among top scientists, it's well known that a key reason for baseball's early popularity was its connection between home runs and the male orgasm. 

Studies have shown the time it takes for a home run to leave the park equals the exact duration of the male orgasm. This extends back to the era without fences, when barefoot outfielders chased balls into creeks and cow pastures, extending the pleasure beyond our modern capabilities to withstand. And it shows why every baseball announcer develops a signature home run call: It's his or her greatest moment of pleasure, re-lived. 

Yes, Abner Doubleday knew what he was doing.

Today, many laser line drives HRs - the kind given up by, say, an overworked Scott Proctor - leave the field so quickly that hitters and fans barely feel relief. (And Kay's homer call reveals a sad, tormented, one-dimensional character; imagine him yelling to his wife, "SEE YA!" Horrible.) 

But imagine the satisfaction provided last night by Judge's mighty member - er - timber. Nearly seven seconds of blissful gratification! 

Kay was ecstatic. On the video replay, he actually counted off the seconds, from one to six-point-six, voice rising with each number. After the game, he surely needed an ice bath. 

Which brings up the real reason for this issue: 

Last night, The Master missed another game due to illness. (He tested negatively to COVID, but we definitely must worry.) 

By now, you surely recognize that the home run duration measurement corresponds to another element of the Yankiverse: the John Sterling WinWarble.

Historically, John's final shout - "Ballgame over, Yankees win, Thuuuuh Yankees winnnnn..." - runs between five and six seconds - timed precisely to the explosion within each Yankee fan's loins. (A few WinWarbles have gone past seven seconds, leaving us barely functioning for the next day.) 

And of course, there is nothing more damning than The Master re-enacting the title of this blog - the most painful moment known within the Yankiverse. Thus far, I don't believe it has happened in 2020. But let's hope John feels better. One day soon, he needs to manage.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Babalu?



We wish the master a speedy recovery.



As the season slips away, we must enjoy each game, each inning, each pitch...

So... onward! Mr. Sulu, set the new coordinates for Baltimore. Warp speed one. As per directives, we'll wear our shields...

And so it goes... 

Frankensteined schedule on Snowpiercer trains to Zombieland cities with The Shining hotels... baseball goes on. Somehow, we ended up in one of those movie dystopias we've been watching for the last 30 years. We finally made it Beyond Thunderdome, where everything but the virus moves in slow motion, and, sadly, there is no Tina Turner to lead us. We're here, on the Sci-Fi channel. We're in the movie. 

See the newsreel of last night's violence? It's part of every apocalyptic movie, the thumbnail recap of how humanity turned against itself, leaving this small band of strangers - this baseball team - to roam the planet in search of games. Supposedly, a cannibalistic tribe in Baltimore has issued a challenge, and so we will try to make our way to that burned-out, urban hellhole and play them... tonight.

We have assembled the tropes: 

Giancarlo, the aging soldier who seeks redemption for his once good name.

Gerrit, the mysterious newcomer, said to have escaped a tribe that was known for dark magic. 

Gleyber, the impetuous youngster who struggles to control his incredible powers.

Clint, their former friend, now banished, who may yet hold the key to everything. 

And if we survive Baltimore, other battles will loom.

If one bit of information can be teased from yesterday's marathon of doom-scrolling news, it is that we should savor every single moment of baseball this year, while it lasts. 

Thus, I am hereby suspending all complaints about fake crowd noise or the horrible new extra-innings base-runner rule. At any time, this year in baseball could halt. Robert Frost once wondered if the end would come in fire or ice? In fact, it might happen in a tweet.

Despite the Whine Ban, I do want to maintain some bile-burning indignation towards the juju gods, who had to make this the year everything turned to shit. 

I truly believe that 2020 offered the best Yankee team in this millennium, our best chance to win a world series since 2009. We had everything. But we've all seen the movies. We know what happens: Only a chosen few get out alive. 

The late Warren Zevon was once asked what he had learned after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. He replied, "Enjoy every sandwich." Words to live by. 

The Yankees play Baltimore tonight. I say, watch every game as if it might be your last. Four games in, and the 2020 season has hit the crossroads. Beam us up, Scotty.

Virtual Baseball: The King Is Back! Only to Be Eaten By a Polar Bear. But Jordy Picks Him Up! Then Has to Face Gardy! Oh, just read the story already!

The back nine of the Virtual Subway Series resumed today at the Stadium Formerly Known as Shea, and what a doozy!

Recovering Yankees starter Mike King got his first start since his ruinous no-hitter in May—only to be touched for a pair of mammoth home runs by the Mammoth Polar Bear, Pete Alonso.  The large manchild also belted a third one off reliever Adam Ottavino, driving in a total of 7 runs on the night.

But the Yankees responded with their own hitting display against Mets starter Mike Wacha, the major-league pitcher most likely to be mistaken for a supermarket chain.  A reviving Aaron Judge drove two balls to the farthest reaches of left field, while Giancarlo Stanton and Mike Ford added dingers for New York.

The biggest hit, though, was the bunt Stanton alertly pushed to the opposite field against the shift,  a move that caught Mets second sacker Jogginson Cano literally sleeping, and ended up scoring three runs.

"Look, I was out late drinking and whoring, okay?" an exasperated Cano replied, when asked after the game for an explanation.  "Geez Louise, it's not like I don't have a social life, you know?"

It all came down to the bottom of the ninth inning, though, in the ballpark the Mets chose to name after the bank responsible for more depressions than any other in American history, rather than the beloved figure who made their existence possible.

Former Yankee Brett Gardner, whose fiery leadership has been credited for the Flushing team's dramatic turnaround this month, had already lined a single, double, and triple on the day.  Facing Jordan Montgomery, who had pitched four innings of outstanding relief with two on and two out, Gardy smashed another hot shot down the third-base line—only to see Gio Urshela make an incredible pick.

Urshela somehow managed to beat Cano, the runner on second, to third base for the force, despite stumbling, falling, and having to ultimately crawl to the bag.

"Look, it was a tough night!  Wow, I'd love to see you guys get interviewed every time you went into work hungover," Cano told reporters.

The play preserved the Yankees' 13-12 victory and put the team 40 games over .500 for the first time this season, at 73-33, just two games behind the surging Tampa Bay Rays.

Still, Brett Gardner pronounced himself pleased with his team's inspired play this month, despite a pitching staff that has been riddled with injuries.  The Queens team is now in third place, only 9 games behind the division-leading Nationals.

"Hey, anything is possible," said Gardy.  "It's almost like the Big Guy in the Sky is writing the story this season."










Tuesday, July 28, 2020

New Rules....


So we are seeing the chess match unfold.

The Marlins will not play anyone until Sunday, at the earliest.

The Phillies vs Yankees series will not occur, either in Philadelphia or New York.  

The president will not throw out a ball ( or anything else )at Yankee stadium when, and if, the Yankees play a game there. 

Phillies get to play on Friday, at the earliest ( opponent, to be determined ).

So the way this now all plays out is as follows;

Whichever team has the most completed games at the end of the sixty game season. gets an automatic playoff bid.  Wins and losses, notwithstanding.  It is played and completed games that now matter.

If no other team is within 10 completed games of the lead team, the leader is declared the World Champion.

Wins and losses are important only if......well, we can work that out when the time comes.

The thing to watch today...and you can bet on this in Vegas ....is which four teams will next be subject to the 5-7 day hiatus and re-scheduling?  I have Detroit, San Diego and the under.

I finished another bottle of Jack Daniels at 10:23 am, today.  ( pacific coast time ). 

Next Jack up !

No game tonight, so I guess we're back to Plague Theater: Mike Ford breaks Statcast



Yanks/Phillies canceled due to the hoax.

Meanwhile, Statcast ridiculously calculates Mike Ford's homer at traveling 680 feet, the longest ball ever hit by a Major Leaguer. WTF? 

Miami's outbreak reveals the heroic - yes, heroic - nature of baseball's struggle

Four days into the 2020 season, we have reached a crossroads.  

Stricken by virus, the Marlins might have to shut down. The Yanks and Phillies wait in limbo. Over the next few days, an outbreak on any MLB team - anywhere - could trigger a league-wide freeze. After one weekend of play, the sports world is glimpsing the immense, Stygian reality of attempting to resume normalcy. At any time, one single infection could gut a team, an organization, a division, and maybe the entire structure of baseball.

For weeks now, from our sanitized basements, we've understood the dangers of trying to play a baseball season. Despite empty stands, and with a ridiculous fake crowd murmur, for three glorious nights we go to lament Clint Frazier's future, or argue over who should play first, Ford or Ferrari (my hilarious new nickname for the slimmed down Luke Voit.) For one weekend, we got to see Gerrit Cole, and Gleyber... and even, at long last, we got to witness what Giancarlo Stanton might do as a Yankee. Three games. Three nights.

Now... we wait. And while we wait, I need to say something I've neglected for weeks:

The Yankees - and MLB as a whole, both players and management - deserve our praise for this Quixotic attempt to restore normalcy to our lives. 

Yes, I recognize that it's a money thing - what isn't? - but thousands of people each day are putting themselves at risk, so that fans can escape for a few hours the relentless drumbeat of competing cable news outlets, and the braying of pundits who seem to be paid by the lie. 

We knew that playing baseball would be a nearly impossible mission. And today, with the news that Eduardo Rodriguez of Boston may have suffered a serious heart issue, we must live knowing that some young men will pay an enormous price for this season. The virus will hit players and coaches. It will take a toll on them and their families... and perhaps our consciences. 

With each new city, in every new hotel and every new clubhouse, the Yankees face a danger they have never known. 

For whatever it's worth, I doff my cap to the effort. 

If the season ends next week - and it might - they will have tried. 

Virtual Off-Day: Yes, It's SOCCER!



In a further sign of the apocalypse today, the Yankees took advantage of a virtual off-day to announce the imminent start of construction on Soccer City, Da Bronx, the team's long planned, massive development to build a soccer stadium, luxury condominiums, a hotel, office space, and "a good half-dozen" affordable apartments—"at least!"—on the other side of the Macombs Dam Replacement Park.

"This will revitalize the whole borough," claimed Yankees Generalissimo Hal Steinbrenner.  "At least, if by 'whole borough,' you mean the nearby acres of the Bronx that the Yankees control."

The team's beat writers and other media thought they had talked Steinbrenner out of a press conference having anything to do with soccer, but were lured up to Yankee Stadium by rumors of a major trade, and all the whiskey and fried pangolin they could devour, provided courtesy of the Stadium's new Pangolin House restaurant.

To their dismay and then horror, the press discovered that this was to be a soccer presentation only when the doors were bolted behind them.  Many were asleep even before they could get to their scotch bottles.

"Soccer City is what the future is all about," Hal continued, as those still conscious screamed in agony.  "It's synergy:  the New York Yankees' next move forward to becoming a world brand, able to compete on a global basis in nearly all aspects of the sports, entertainment, and leisure fields."

"Make him stop!" someone shrieked from the assembled press corps.  "Next he'll talk about a paradigm!"

"With Soccer City, we see the Yankees moving into a new paradigm, wherein we will provide you with all your entertainment needs, 24/7."

"ARRRGGGH!"

When one member of the press had recovered sufficiently to ask when Soccer City's NYCFC franchise might be given a name, Yankees creature Randy Levine stepped forward to say that was up to the fans.

"This is meant to be organic.  Some names are already emerging, and we are hoping that others will as well, selected by the fans themselves."

"Organic?"

"Yes, that's right."

"A team created out of whole cloth, five years ago?  In a league called 'MLS' that was created out of whole cloth 25 years ago?  What could possibly be 'organic' about it?"

"Well..."

"Did it start as a neighborhood club team?"

"Umm, no."

"What does the 'FC' stand for?"

" 'Football Club.'"

"Is that a Bronx term?"

"Um, no."

"Is it an American term?"

"Well—"

"When you say 'Football' in America, do you mean, 'soccer'?"

"No—"

"Well then why don't you give the team a fucking name?"

The press conference broke up soon after, as the Yankees executives went to board the buses for a tour of the parking lots and abandoned industrial sites where Soccer City is expected to kickstart a badly needed economic boom that will benefit all those soccer players not good enough to play in Europe.





















Monday, July 27, 2020

The Cheaters Can Still Win....


Houston today announced that Justin Verlander is out for the season due to an arm thing.

But they can still win if they cheat.

So nothing has changed.

But baseball is back on the precipice, after nearly five months of planning and three games that counted. 

The NBA will follow suit.

Football is next.

The ship is sinking.  

Following MLB.com's lead, here are 30 first impressions of the new baseball season


Well, since this is the lead story on the MLB.com site -- instead of those silly little coronavirus postponements -- I figured I'd give my own top 30 first impressions of the season.

Impressions No. 1 to 29: This season will never make it to the midpoint. Hell, it might not make it to the weekend. It was a bad idea pushed solely for TV money so Hal and his cronies wouldn't have to lease out their private jets for a couple weeks to raise some cash.

Impression No. 30: Wow, Giancarlo Stanton is off to a great start!! He looks like his old MVP self!!

More terrible news today

Certainly didn't want this.

Socks v Yanks. Red v blue. Peanut butter v jelly. 

You know what? Maybe we ought to start pulling together, rather than pulling apart.

Just a thought. 

Ruh-Ro!

Fourteen Marlin players and coaches infected. And the Yankees are about to inherit the locker rooms that Miami just used. What could go wrong?


A note about the occasional politics and the comments on this blog

Over the weekend, IT IS HIGH had a bit of a dust-up over politics. 

My bad. I read something about Rudy Giuliani, and I blew a gasket. 

Look: I have my views, as you have yours. Occasionally, mine will drift into this blog. I strive not to let my politics overwhelm IT IS HIGH's main purpose: 

To simultaneously love and hate the Yankees, to cherish or despise the team has a force of goodness or pure evil... depending on how they did yesterday.

I know some of you disagree with me, politically. That's fine. As I've said in the past, I make no claims about being right. In fact, I was wrong about Jesus Montero. I thought he'd be great. (But I ask you, hardcore Trumpians: WERE YOU NOT ALSO CONVINCED THAT MONTERO WAS THE REAL DEAL? And don't sit here and claim otherwise, because I remember the comments, and I remember certainty that practically all of us - except for Alphonso, I must admit, not him - all of us had when Jeez hit those two HRs on the last day of the season. He was going to be great.) Yes, I can be wrong about many things.

Occasionally, something will overpower my vow to stay apolitical. Some of you will like it. Some of you will hate it. That's how it's going to go. Feel free to tell me off. I'm good with that. You can call me names, if you want. That's okay. I'll have brought it on myself. But I do hope we don't turn on ourselves, and that this site doesn't deteriorate into a place where people just go to fight. 

If that happens, the Redsocks won. 

Listen: None of us will change his or her opinion about politics based on this blog. I think we should recognize that. But now and then, I will say how I feel. All I've got is an honest opinion. Sometimes, we break. 

I hope you stick with the blog, even if you hate my occasional comments about Trump or Montero. But if you cannot deal with them, I cannot help you. 

So where are we now? Well, I believe Clint Frazier will have a great career. Okay, assholes, come at me!

A Yankee weekend of Frazier, Gleyber, Syracuse and - gulp - Trump.

Clint Frazier - aka "Red Thunder," the worst baseball nickname in history - is back in the Electric City of central Pennsyltucky, this time with a difference. This time, he cannot go into an 0-for-30 funk, being psychologically neutered by the Yankee front office. This time, there is no International League, no Governor's Cup, no Scranton-Wilkes Barre - just a shuttered Anthracite Museum, fewer takeout options in Moosic and less traffic on Route 81.

Once again, Yank fans should wonder what hath Cashman wrought for this poor guy. He would make most 25-man rosters, start for many teams and maybe even bat third for a few. For the Yankees, his only path to playing time involves the starters getting hurt. While injuries are inevitable, who wants to root for tweaks and strains? 

So Red is back in Scranton, as another season slips away. He turns 26 in September. 

Which brings me to 23-year-old Gleyber Torres - whose John Sterling Homer Holler - "And like a good Gleyber, Torres is there!" - is the worst since "Georgie Juices One," with its suggestion of chemistry. Gleyber's fielding at SS is starting to worry me. Yesterday, in the eighth, his botched grounder led to a bases-full crisis for Tommy Kahnle, who fanned two Nats to save the lead. In the ninth, he botched another. Then again, Gleyber's bat effectively won the game, so what do we do? 

Late-inning replacement? Right now, we have none. Neither Tyler Wade nor Thairo Estrada represent vast improvements with the glove. The closest to a MLB-ready SS might be Kyle Holder, who is hanging with Frazier in Scranton, or to send Cashman out to the MLB scrapheap, where defensive middle infielders are always lurking.  

In my fantasy world, Gio Urshela - a Gold Glove level 3B - moves to SS, a position he basically plays during overshifts. Gleyber moves home to 2B, and DJ LeMahieu to first. Which raises the fundamental question: Can Miguel Andujar play 3B? Did the Yankees give up on him too soon? It's a dream of mine, of course, and at times, we simply must assume the Yankees know what they are doing. But the perfect lineup has Andujar at third. He's wasted in the OF (and standing in the way of Red Thunder.)

Which brings me to - well - Syracuse, home of IT IS HIGH and true epicenter of the Yankiverse. This was revealed Sunday as Patrick Corbin - a Syracusan who grew up wanting to play for the Yankees - flirted with a perfect game through the first four. Two winters ago, the Yankees should have signed Corbin. Had they done so, they would probably be defending World Champions. 

But today, our great hope is Gerrit Cole, whose dad grew up in - yep - Syracuse! He was/is a die-hard Yankee fan, which is a huge reason why Gerrit is now a Yankee. Thank God we woke up. Let's hope Cashman doesn't whiff on the next Syracuse connection. (Remember: It's Syracuse, not Rochester, the home of lost first-round draft pick Cito Culver. And don't even think about Albany.) 

Finally, there's Trump. For some reason, he has pulled out of throwing the ceremonial pitch at a Yankee game next month. His excuse - that he's too busy fighting the coronavirus - is ludicrous, considering that he spent an afternoon this weekend playing golf with Brett Favre. 

Nope. I don't buy it. I think the guy can't throw. He's got a weenie arm, a rag for a shoulder, and he would make Doc Fauci look like Nolan Ryan. The guy can't throw a whit. He's big on bluster, a regular Mad Hungarian on the mound, but he can't throw. Sad.

Virtual Baseball: Yanks Stomp Sox, as Fans Mock Neil.

The New York Yankee subjected the Boston Red Sox to a good old fashioned stomping, 11-3, behind J.A. Happ in ESPN's Virtual Sunday Night Baseball game tonight.

ESPN virtual analysts Jessica Mendoza and Alex Rodriguez said they had never seen the rivalry look so one-sided, as the Yanks sprayed double after double around Yankee Stadium.  Giancarlo Stanton wound up with two, as well as a home run, while Aaron Judge hit two dingers, and made a terrific, one-handed catch over the wall in right, robbing Rafael Devers of a three-run homer.

As it was, only Xavier Bogaerts' three-run shot to left spoiled Happ's six-inning sheet tonight.  Gary Sanchez and Miguel Andujar also homered for the Yanks.

Rubbing in the one-sided Yankees win, a group of drunken fans seized control of the sound system, and mocking played Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" during the seventh-inning stretch.

"Oh, what sad times are these when drunken ruffians can mock the mellow song stylings and First Family tributes from an open-shirted aristocrat of pop," A-Rod remarked.  "It's only a matter of time before Barry Manilow is hoisted from a lamp post, and Boz Scaggs is scourged in the streets."

Jessica Mendoza thought the real problem might have been the 7th inning beer cut off






Sunday, July 26, 2020

Update: He weaseled out of it. Good.


Singalong


(Too good for only the comments section:)


Hoss’ Prison Blues


(with apologies to Johnny Cash)

I hear that D train comin'
It's rolling round the bend
And I ain't seen a ballgame, since I don't know when.
I'm stuck in Hoss’ prison, with guys named 13 Bit
And unlike Steve McQueen, they took my baseball mitt.

I went to see the Yankees and hang out with the guys
And drink a bunch of liquor, pay twenty bucks for fries...
Then someone done paid forty, for some Cracker Jacks…
By the time the riot ended, there’s numbers on our backs.

I know there's rich folks eating, in boxes in the sky,
And watching big screen TV’s, and drinking their Mai Tais.
While we sat in the cheap seats, and we could barely see...
But they don’t care ‘bout the ballgame
And that's what tortures me.

Well if they freed me from this prison
no more live games for me.
No selling blood for tickets. Won’t stand in line to pee
No more hard earned money, to a guy named Lon
When I get out of Hoss’ Prison ... I will be high, far and…gone.

Doug K.

Don't touch that dial. More than ever, for a refreshing blast of normalcy, turn to John and Suzyn

On the radio, you see no empty bleachers. Nobody wears a mask. You hear the usual background soundtrack - the clapping, the chants, the walk-up music - and all is right within the Yankiverse - if not the universe overall.

Even in a blowout loss, hearing John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman call last night's game brought one of the great joys of the last six months. Last night, I caught six golden innings, and for that period of time, there was no COVID, no street protests, no economic devastation, no hurricane, nothing to fret over, aside from the thin Yankee bullpen. Today, I heartily suggest you turn off the TV and travel back in time with the most loyal and unifying voices in the Yankiverse, while we still have them. 

Some observations from last night:

1. There seems to be far fewer in-game promotions. At one point, I caught an entire half-inning without one ad - can you believe it: no, Geiko no New York Life, no Cellino & Barnes (R.I.P. and good riddance.) I cannot recall a half-inning in Yankee history without some mechanical reference to muffler repairs by the Tri-State Auto Dealers or gut bomb snacks from Little Debbie. The number of sponsors must be way down. Despite the financial implications, that's fine with me. Let's enjoy it, while it lasts.

2. John takes a dim view of the CGI fans promoted by the sports networks. He says - paraphrasing - he'll take the virtual fans seriously when they start buying hot dogs and hamburgers. Ever the realist.

3. In my six inning stint, I did not hear John use his signature chestnut: "You can't predict baseball, Suzyn." Not once. This, I believe, is the greatest quotation in history equating baseball with life. He didn't go there. 

However, in a late-inning rage rant, Suzyn defiantly stated that some outcomes are quite predictable: When Ben Heller throws a pitch right down the middle, she intoned, it's going to be hit out of the park every time. Every. Single. Time. 

I'm still shaking. Could this be her long-awaited response to The Master's theory? Could the 2020 baseball season bring forth an existential debate on the meaning of fate vs. free will? More on this, as the season progresses. 

4. John did note, late in the game, that this was only one loss, and that tomorrow, the teams would take the field in an entirely new game, and that the outcome will be different, because in baseball - unlike other sports - a different pitcher creates an entirely new game. Thank God. To have the Yankees blown out so easily, and to NOT be reminded that it's only one loss, and that there will be another game tomorrow - that would be frightening, indeed.

5. There was, of course, no WinWarble. But John's game-ending Loss Lament was especially thin and droopy. BallgameoverWashingtonwins. It was nearly a murmur. Hopefully, he won't face too many this year.

Virtual Baseball: Deivi Eaten Up By Sox and Sent Down. Idiots Released.

In Virtual Baseball today, Nathan Eovaldi managed to somehow pitch a complete-game victory, stranding 15 Yankees runners, as Boston edged out the Yanks, 7-5, at the Stadium.

Yankees starter Deivi Garcia was hit early and often, but while Eovaldi was touched up for home runs by Gary Sanchez, D.J. LeMahieu, and Gleyber Torres, he managed to skate through one threat after another.  With the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the ninth, new Red Sox skipper Curt Schilling decided to leave him in, much to the incredulity of his infielders, who argued vociferously with their manager.

Nonetheless, Eovaldi stayed—and gave up a line drive rocketed so hard to Xavier Bogaerts that it knocked the shortstop down, though he held on to the ball.

In other Yankees news today, attorney Carl J. Weitz and local prelate Parson Tom (no relation to Major Tom, the storied astronaut) managed to secure the release of "The Cracker Jack" gang from custody in their secret, Stadium Force location, which turned out to be Rye Playland, seized by the Department of Homeland Security as a detention site, three years ago.

Many of the gang were still queasy from the constant roller coaster, spin-a-wheel, and rolling waves rides they said government agents had subjected them to, in hopes of securing a confession.  On the other hand, they professed to "very much enjoy" the shoot-the-chute, log flume ride, particularly when they weather turned muggy.

"We were really disappointed.  We found that Zoltar figure, and we all tried to get him to turn us back to being 10 years old," the leader of the miscreants, an upstate hoodlum named Bart Steel told reporters, "but it was no dice."

Arraigned before a federal judge in the Bronx County Courthouse today, the Cracker Jack gang pleaded guilty-in-general.  The judge, citing the 1971 precedent of Mellish v. U.S., let them off with the promise that none of them would ever move into his neighborhood.




Brian Cashman Is a Corporate Tool.

Well, that didn't take long.  Just two days to get us back to everything that I hate about—


—The current Yankees organization.

—Baseball today.

Yep, Red Thunder has been optioned off—even when there is no place to option him. 

Is there any better illustration of how deeply useless Brian Cashman, the Office Boy, is at anything besides corporate gamesmanship?  

There is not even a semblance of another place to play, but...off Clint Frazier goes!  To...THE ALTERNATE SITE.

Look, there are plenty of reasons NOT to give Frazier the one more chance that may be all he needs to finally break through.  He certainly has been a frustrating character in the past, with his various moods and torments, and he was not exactly the winner of the Lou Gehrig Iron Horse Award in this year's abbreviated spring training, being laid up with plantar fasciitis.  

But this is just another way for Cashman to slowly destroy Clint as a player.  

One might think that this is because Frazier seems to have personally offended Cashman by objecting to being sent down in the past—the very first time that ever happened in the history of major-league baseball.  But I refuse to believe that ol' Coops could ever be so petty.

No, Sonny, it's not personal.  This is how Cash does it.  What is needed—what was needed about two years ago—was to make a decision, one way or the other:  give Clint a shot, or trade him while he still has value.

But in the boardroom twilight of Brian Cashman, either route has unacceptable corporate risks.  Clint might fail if they give him a chance, and he might break out with another team.  Hence, the decision must be:  keep him around but don't play him, while his skills and value slowly deteriorate.  

What a stupid waste.  But it's why Brian Cashman has had his job for 22 years and counting.

And what do we get instead of Clint?  Why, two more middle relievers, of course! 

Plus, we just signed Fernando Abad, which sounds like the name of the genie who appears when you rub that magic lamp you find on a beach.  

But yes, of course:  because in our wonderful, modern game, most of the roster must consist of  pitchers who can throw 1-5 innings.  You can see what this is doing to the sport.  It's as if a majority of basketball rosters were devoted to shot-blocking specialists who could do anything else.

No room to see if an exciting young outfielder can break through.
  




Saturday, July 25, 2020

WHOA, WILD PITCH! And baby, I mean a WILD pitch!

On an off-day, Rudy Giuliani falsely accuses the Yankees of disrespecting the flag

For some time now, Rudy Giuliani has been cramming for the Trump cognitive brain test for dementia. Used to be, you might not agree with his politics, but you didn't imagine him debating a street lamp. Yesterday, his mini-dust up with the Yankees came straight out of Crazytown. Here's the quick slice: 


Okay, I know what you're thinking: There he goes again, injecting politics into a Yankee blog. What a schmuck. For that, I apologize. Generally, I try not to go there because of - well - Jesus Montero. Once upon a time, I was absolutely sure that Jeez would be a great hitter, maybe in the Hall of Fame. Turned out, he was a walking ice cream sandwich. If I dead wrong about Montero, I could be wrong about anybody - even Dear Leader.

But after six decades in politics, you'd think Giuliani would know better than to tweet first and ask questions later. A phone call or email to Randy Levine would have been quickly returned. He could have easily received an explanation about the Yankees' actions regarding BLM, which I think were heartfelt and appropriate. But that would have gotten in the way of a fun tweet. 

I have five words for Rudy and suggest he writes them down.

Person. Woman. Man. Camera. TV.

Virtual Baseball: People All Over the Bronx Join a Cole Train. Miscreants Held at Secret Location (Hint: Rhymes with 'My Ray Band.')

In virtual baseball tonight, people over the Bronx joined the Cole Train, Cole Train, as the Yanks' new free agent ace tied for the league lead with his second complete game of the season, besting Eduardo Rodriguez and the Red Sox, 2-1.

Cole struck out 12, and was generally dominant, surrendering only a solo home run to Rafael "Danny" Devers.  This was matched by an Aaron Judge roundtripper, going into the ninth inning.

There, Cole ran into some trouble for the first time, but Manager Ma Boone left him in to fan Andrew "Babe" Benitendi, as people all over the Stadium joined hands and chanted at the Babe, "I feel sorry, sorry for you!"

In the bottom of the ninth, Giancarlo Stanton flashed his new, all-around game again, scoring D.J. LeMahieu from third with a "Baltimore chop."  He thus became the first Yankee to execute the play since Wee Willie Keeler.  MLB Commissioner Rob Manfredmann called the MLB Rules Committee into emergency session, to consider how baseball was to survive into the future with so many unexpected occurrences.

Meanwhile, the brawling band of Cracker Jack fanatics arrested by the Stadium Force last night for disrupting the Yankees-Popladores game were reportedly being held at an undisclosed location, one that authorities would only say rhymed with "Sty Gay Gland."

Carl J. Weitz, attorney for the miscreants, attempted to bail them out today, but was told by Stadium Force Generalissimo Chad Wolfmanjack, "Prisoners, what prisoners?  Why, I know nothing about any prisoners!  Bwahahahaha."

Weitz remarked only, "Hey, let 'em cool their heels for a few more days.  Maybe they'll sober up for once."

Friday, July 24, 2020

Maybe Baseball Can Help....


What a perfect metaphor for 2020.

Lightening, thunder and unrelenting rain to ruin, and prematurely bring an end to,  a joyless game.  

But I noticed something else, as well.

Baseball might just be demonstrating to the country the proper way to deal with this pandemic.

Players are tested every day and, if they test positive...even with no symptoms....they are properly isolated from others, and all their recent contacts are " traced," tested and similarly quarantined if they test positive. 

Despite the importance of the player.... e.g. Washington learned at 9:00 am the day of the opening game that their star outfielder had tested positive..... the same actions will be taken. There are no exceptions.

Specifically, that player will be quarantined for a proscribed number of days, and may not return to the team until he has twice tested positive, at medically recommended intervals.  The team and the game take precedence over individual desires, and yet the health of the ill person remains paramount.

In other words, staying home when you may be sick ( asymptomatic ) is the right thing for everyone. Of course, frequent, accurate and immediately available results from testing are required.  America has pretty much dropped the ball on this so far. 

In addition, masks are required whenever practicable, and social distancing gets the same treatment. Bench players, for example, were not in the dugout...but in the stands wearing masks, several rows separating them.

It may not be perfect, but it is allowing them to safely return to a workplace which has high risk factors....closeness, hard breathing due to exertion, shouting, perspiring,
common ball touchings ( couldn't resist) etc.

They have thought this scientifically-derived process through, and it might just work.

There will not be any fans because fans cannot yet be regulated like that ( inadequate testing), and have shown that they will not co-operate anyway ( mis-guided, self indulgent attitudes ).  

But if they watch their fairy tale idols adhering to a medically derived protocol, and all accepting it as part of the new normal...maybe they will catch on. 

If I am right, baseball will actually matter this year. 

Making Opening Day Not Great Again


Having already ripped the country asunder, kowtowing to the Russkies and ignoring, then gaslighting the pandemic, the fetid orange splotch from Queens has set his sights on ruining another aspect of this great country, Opening Day at Yankee Stadium.

Better, he should have done so at Shitty Citi Field in the appropriately-named Flushing, but that curly-headed yutz, Randy Levine arose from his tomb and foisted this horror upon us.

Yes, Mo might be there, too, though he gets a lifetime pass, right? But the current regime should have known better. Hank certainly would have prevailed as the Voice of Reason here, much like myself now.

I'm going back to my condo in Boca now.  Go Yankees!

Cut the crap

When I was a kid in the later 60s, Yankee Stadium was often a ghost town. But it was great to go see a game. You could hear the chatter, hear the ball hit a glove and a bat hit a ball.

Now, baseball has a chance to showcase the game. Not cutout fans, CGI fans, fake crowd noise, and stupid music.

The problem is, the sport doesn't have the confidence to present itself naked. It can't just play the game without the idiotic touches that management thinks will make the fans happy. (In case nobody noticed, MLB and teams trying to make the fans happy has resulted in a too-long game too dominated by algorithms and ratings that keep falling.)

Let's hear the action on the field. Let's hear what the guys are saying during the game. Let's hear the handclaps of a happy first base coach.

In short, let's hear baseball. See baseball. Watch baseball. Not all this other shit. Maybe fans will surprise the suits and actually like the game itself.

Fucking jerks.

CASEY AT THE CHEAT: Our annual state of baseball poem



(Thanks to the late Ernest Thayer)
The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
The wi-fi had been cutting out, its signal gone astray,
And when Casey’s laptop froze-up, so the screen he could not read,
The former mighty slugger cried, “We’ve lost our camera feed!”

A bench coach checked the power cord, the sign-in, and the rest,
Then slapped the screen with all the pain within his aging breast;
It’d taken weeks for Casey’s ap to crack their foe’s designs;
And now their path to glory hinged on Casey’s stolen signs.

But the laptop looked quite lifeless, like their batter, Jimmy Blake,
Without knowledge of each coming pitch, he’d never catch a break;
And after Blake, they’d send the hapless rookie, Jimmy Flynn.
This better work, thought Casey, as he typed his password in.

Now on his screen, a hand appeared, the catcher signaling “two.”
It meant the coming pitch would be a curveball, Casey knew.
And as the pitcher stretched, up through the tunnel Casey ran,
Then grabbed a bat and banged it twice upon the garbage can.

Then, as the ball came hurtling, to the wonderment of all,
The worthless Blake connected, tore the cover off the ball!
And when the dust had lifted, and they saw what had occurred,
There was Blake, the toothless, grinning widely, safe at third.

Across the Mudville bleachers, rabid fans careened and lurched;
Voices rumbled out to centerfield, when Casey’s man was perched,
His camera stashed inside his shirt, a scheme beyond description,
Where algorithms cracked the opposition’s weak encryption.

There was ease in Casey’s manner, as he twiddled with his screen;
There was pride in Casey’s bearing, as each image came in clean.
Now he clearly saw the catcher drop one finger down below,
A fastball, Casey realized, then rushed to let Flynn know.

Ten thousand ears ignored the bang on Mudville’s garbage can;
Not one lone soul asked, “What was that?” as Casey clanged the pan.
And as the pitcher hurled the sphere, not noticing the drumming,
Young Jimmy Flynn attacked the fastball that he knew was coming.

The batter raised his club, just like a giant loaf of bread,
“This one’s your style,” yelled Casey. “Uh-oh,” the catcher said.
Across the hills and waterways, there rose a thunderous roar,
As Flynn’s home run seemed headed toward a foreign, distant shore.

The game now tied, fans loudly booed the pitcher’s slumping frame;
As he wondered what had happened to his mastery of this game.
Now, the catcher dropped three fingers, unaware of Casey crimes;
“A change-up,” Casey whispered, and then spanked the can three times.

“  Change up,” thought old Cooney, and the batter dug in hard;
Then slammed a walk-off homer, well beyond the outer yard.
The pitcher’s eyes grew teary, as befits a broken man,
And that is when he realized the clangs from Casey’s can.

Now the sneer is gone from Casey’s lip, his work is finally done!
He sets his laptop in its case; the Mudville nine have won!
But something’s wrong, the pitcher yells, and calls his coaches out,
And now both dugouts empty, as the umpires mill about.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land, the sun is shining bright;
The Super Bowl has come and gone, and spring is back in sight,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
   But there is no joy in Mudville; cheating Casey’s been found out.