Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Hush, Hush, Sweet Cleveland

This morning, in a justifiably chest-thumping post, El Duque wrote: "Last night, the Yankees beat the everlasting snot out of Cleveland, embarrassing the city even more than the Presidential candidates did." 

Duque is right, and a look at the front page of today's Cleveland Plain-Dealer proves it.

Are the people of Cleveland permitted to know that their team is in the playoffs? Did a daily newspaper in a playoff city ever bury its game story so deep?

Some Critical Correspondence...

I did receive some tweets today.  Also some emails and e-messages.

Most were objecting to my favorable predictions for our seven year, contracted-in-cement, feet-in-cement, $250 million DH.

Here is my response;

1. He raked. The launch angle and the exit velocity on that critical HR were off the charts.

2.  Did the announcers " gush," or did they "GUSH?"

3.  Some will say...."well, the Yankees had a nearly 10 run lead at the time, no one was on base, the game was already over, and the pitcher for the Indians was their back-up first baseman."

So what, I say?  

When the stat sheets are printed today, the column on Stanton will include both a home run and an RBI.

It will not read 0-4 with 2K's.  It will not.

No one will even remember him looking at that third strike down the middle. 

Want more?  

"Stanton will win the game tonight, for us, single handedly."  Every time Tanaka gives up a "dinger, "Stanton will "re-ding" Cleveland's bell.

 He has become, "THE MAN" for us.  The Stanton MAN.

It is Giancarlo time in the Rock and Roll "Hall-of-Fame" City.

Listen for the music.

A pleasant Yankee night, despite missing the big debate

Last night, it was around the time of Giancarlo Stanton's clutch solo homer - a critical tack-on - when the revelation hit: O, no! I missed the Presidential debate!

It had skipped my mind. (I'd forgotten to take my Prevagen; is there a pill I can take to remind me to take Prevagen?) I'd made it a point - as all right-minded U.S. citizens do - to watch the event, because nothing showcases democracy like having the candidates go, as The Master would say, "back-to-back and belly-to-belly" on policy matters. But darn it all, I missed it. 

So, what happened?

Of course, I couldn't leave the big game. A 12-2 lead is not safe, especially with Luis Cessa on the mound. Also, I needed the post-game show to learn the thinking behind Aaron Boone's winning strategy. 

So, what happened?

Clearly, last night was a great moment for... 

a) the Yankees
b) Yankee fans
Gerrit Cole
d) Democracy.

I should note that, today, National Public Radio interviewed undecided voters who watched the debate and still could not make up their mind. I wonder what these true critical thinkers would say about last night's Yankee-Indians game? My guess is that they would need to gather more information before deciding which side won. 

Here's what I think: 

Last night, the Yankees beat the everlasting snot out of Cleveland, embarrassing the city even more than the Presidential candidates did. 

We are one win away from the Rays and one month away from the election. God save us on both fronts. Here's where everything stands.

Tonight, Masahiro Tanaka faces Carlos Carrasco. We'll probably play Brett Gardner and, this time, Gary Sanchez. It's likely that Giancarlo's HR will win him another start. Sorry, Clint Frazier. 

When a team looks as flat as Cleveland did last night, it's easy to dismiss them. But if there's one thing the 2020 Yankees have done, it's ride the roller coaster between blowout wins and losses. Over the last two weeks, it seems that we either won by 10, or lost by 10. At some point, we must turn over a cliff-hanger to the bullpen, and only then will we know how far the Yankees could go. 

So, what happened last night?

Virtual Off-Day: Rays Survive, Marlins Upset Braves. Trading Suspended on Wall Street!

The Yanks were disappointed to see the Ever-Annoying TB Rays bunt home two runs in the ninth today, as they edged out Shane Bieber and the Cleveland Napoleons, 2-1 and set up—sigh—yet another series with your New York Yankees.


In the National League, Derek Jeter’s feisty Marlins, meanwhile, bounced back to surprise the Braves, 5-4.


Elsewhere in virtual New York, though, President Trump ordered trading to stop at the New York Stock Exchange, and had the whole area sealed off as a public health risk. Few of those who had viewed the widespread projectile vomiting of the past couple days would argue with that, although many were disturbed to see soldiers accompanying doctors in hazmat suits into the Wall Street no-go zone. 


Ensuing reports of screams and gunshots were quickly dismissed by new government spokeswoman, Mildred Ratched.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Tonight Will Be Different !

Derek Jeter's barely noticeable smirk will have to be swallowed.  Once and for all. 

Giancarlo Stanton is going to break out tonight, and show the world why he is paid the " big bucks" and gets the long, long, long contract.

Cleveland will wilt under the exit velocity of his home runs.  He will dent Cleveland's walls with his doubles.

I fully expect the Indians to intentionally walk him after his first three at bats.

They will walk him even if he is up with two outs and no one on.  

They will walk him with the bases loaded. 

It is Giancarlo time.  

Finally, some payback. 

Put your feet up and enjoy the show. 

Tonight is the night. 

New York Times' Bombshell: Cashman is a dick

 Biggest story they've published in a long while.

Crystal Ball

By HoraceClarke66

Did you know that 2020 marks only the 4th time that Yankees have led the AL in homers and batting average in the same year—AND the first time that two different players made it possible?


It’s true!


The previous years were 1924, 1934, and 1956.  In 1924, Babe Ruth hit 46 homers to lead the AL, and won the batting crown with a .378 average.  He missed a Triple Crown by 5 ribbies, to Washington’s Goose Goslin.


In 1934, it was Lou Gehrig, who won the Triple Crown, with 49 homers, 166 RBI, and a .363 average.  And of course, in 1956 it was The Mick, in his greatest year, going 52, 130, and .353. 


So what do Luke Voit’s and D.J. LeMahieu’s accomplishments bode for this season? 


Well, not much, judging by history. The 1924 Yankees finished 2 games behind the Senators, who went on to win their one and only World Series. The 1934 Yanks also finished second, 7 games behind the Tigers, who won their first World Series.  Only in the unforgettable 1956 Series did our boys in pinstripes bring home all the bacon.


So what can we look forward to?


Well, as several of my brethren here have opined, the Yanks would actually have been better off finishing eighth, and getting to play Tampa Bay in the short series. The Rays have a weak enough lineup that the Bombers’ best chance to beat them would’ve been in a best-of-three.


In any longer series—no way. But don’t worry. The Yanks weren’t going to beat anyone else anyway.


To be sure, the Yankees have a puncher’s chance, particularly in a short series, with an ace such as Cole and with Tanaka, one of the best postseason pitchers in the team’s illustrious history.


But really, you know and I know that there is no way this sloppy, uninspired, physically feeble, one-dimensional, and generally confused ball club is ever going to get through four rounds of playoffs. Hell, they won’t get through two. Most likely, they won’t advance at all.


The way my crystal ball sees it is:




TB over Toronto, 2-0.


Cleveland over Yankees, 2-0.


Minnesota over Cheaters, 2-1.


Pale Hose over Athletics, 2-1.



Cleveland over TB, 3-2.


ChiSox over Twins, 3-2.



Cleveland over White Sox, 4-3.





LA over Milwaukee, 2-0.


St. Louis over San Diego, 2-1.


Chicago over Miami, 2-1.


Atlanta over Cincinnati, 2-0.



Dodgers over Cards, 3-0.


Cubs over Braves, 3-2.



Bums over Braves, 4-2.



World Series


The Tribe tops The Flock, 4-3.



Basically, because I can’t bear to pick the Dodgers. Ever.


And hey, history tells us that when the Yankees win the home run and batting titles, an AL team is likely to win the World Series for the first time.  Or, the first time in a long time, anyway. 


Cleveland rocks.

A simple request for the Yankees: Either go all the way, or get out quickly, so we can be hateful, bad sports and root for Houston

It's no coincidence that MLB's shortest season will lead to its longest post-season. The owners secretly never expected to finish a 60-game schedule, so they front-loaded the extra playoff round. Our "regular season" winnowed out less than half the 30 clubs, allowing two sub-.500 teams - the Astros and Brewers - to advance.

And if the Death Star implodes this week, I hereby nominate as our official, IT IS HIGH secondary team of hope... 

The beloved and earnest Houston Astros, America's sweethearts, who can leave their indelible fragrance upon the game for the rest of eternity. 

Across the world, America will be known as the country where flat-out cheaters succeed, even when they lose. (Hmm...) 

Yep, if the Yankees flop, I say we boil our bile and close ranks behind Li'l Jose "Bang Bang" Altuve, the mighty mite of mendacity, and his lovable gang of thieves. Wouldn't MLB love to watch the Astros - 29-31 on the season - run the table against, say, the Twins or A's, who raise hopes among long-suffering fan bases? Wouldn't it be delicious, listening to Joe Buck bleat his reasoning for why baseball should celebrate Houston's triumph?  

Of course, it won't be the same as rooting for the Yankees. In fact, I might squeeze in a few Netflix binges, rather than watch Houston play, say, Milwaukee (also 29-31.) But it would be juicy.

And so will it be over the next three nights. Soon, we will know once and for all whether Giancarlo Stanton has a future in New York or needs to join the Bobby Bonilla/Jacoby Ellsbury retirement plan for retired punch lines. 

I don't want to waste my time watching the Yankees fall in a best-of-seven against Tampa, or Oakland, or even the Dodgers - or again any more deserving team than what we fielded in 2020. I guess I would accept a World Series ring. Hell, in this shit show year, I'll take anything the juju gods send our way. What I don't want is a 7th-game Aroldis meltdown, or a Nick Swisher botched fly ball, or a re-enactment of 2004. I have one request of the Fates who are running baseball this fall: 

If we're going down, make it fast. This week. Bang bang. Over.

Tonight, the idea of Gerrit Cole v Shane Bieber suggests I will get my wish. If we beat their best, we can win this series. If they beat ours, well, I'd hate to put our eggs in a basket carried by Masahiro Tanaka and J.A. Happ. Tonight, we might just learn everything there is to know about 2020. 

So, Yanks, who are you, and what do you have? Because in terms of displaced anger and fury, Houston looks rather enticing.

Virtual Off-Day: Yanks Prepare for Next Round, Mets Strut Their Stuff. Pangolin Panic on Wall Street!

 By HoraceClarke66

The New York Yankees took a rare breather today, while reflecting on a season in which they won 108 games, hit a new, MLB-record 416 home runs, and narrowly avoided bizarre deaths on several different occasions.


“Well, it’s not your usual season when the team plane has to make an emergency landing on the Mets’ playing field,” said Yankees’ infielder D.J. LeMahieu, the likely AL MVP due to his batting title and generally brilliant, all-around play. “But it is fun.”


Starting the first game will be Yanks ace Gerrit Cole, an almost certain pick for the Cy Young Award—a selection that would mark the first time the Yanks have boasted both the MVP and the Cy Young winners since 1961. 


Their first-round opponent will be the winner of the Tampa Bay-Cleveland Wild Card Play-In game, while the Athletics will host the AL Central champ Pale Hose. 


Over in the NL, Mets players pranced gleefully through a media workout at the Stadium Formerly Known as Shea, and gave all credit to how the man known as Gardy had put a spark in the team once he came over fro the Yankees.


“They were already good.  I just had to tell them how good,” Gardner told reporters. “And remember:  we’re playing so we don’t have to wear those Amazon penises on our shirts.  We take this very seriously.”


Jacob deGrom will almost certainly win another Cy Young for these Mets, while a revived Robinson Cano—revived by repeated kicks to his caboose from his old teammate—somehow snuck off with the NL batting title.  Dom Smith led the league in RBI, while Michael Conforto is a leading contender for the MVP, and the “Bronx Trio” of Dellin Betances, Justin Wilson, and Chasen Shreve, managed to miraculously stabilize the Mets’ ever-shaky bullpen.


As the team with the second best record in the Senior Circuit, the Flushing crew will place Central Champ Chicago first.  The other division series will pit L.A. against the winner of the Atlanta-Marlins play-in.


But all baseball took a backseat to the strange scene down on Wall Street, where traders and brokers staggered about the sidewalks projectile vomiting—victims of some weird virus they were said to have contracted originally from Yankee Stadium’s now shuttered Pangolin House. 


Victims of the virus were so plentiful that the NYSE suspended trading for the afternoon—thereby at least halting the dizzying descent of the Red Bear market for at least a day.


“There is no truth to any such rumors,” said Yankee spokesman and creature Lonn Trost in response to the reports.  “No virus started here.  The only things to be found on our Yankee Dogs are good old, American rat feces.  Now—ulp!  Aargh, URFF!”


Trost bolted away from the press conference at that point, setting off a near panic in the press corps.


Playoffs begin tomorrow!


Monday, September 28, 2020

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People

By HoraceClarke66


So in the Grey Lady today, Tyler Kepner quotes—sympathetically—centerfielder Harrison Bader of the St. Louis Cardinals on the Cards’ season, which was interrupted for 17 days by a Covid scare that, fortunately, did not take any lives:


“Fans don’t really understand what we went through; they just see the score at the end of the game, and that’s fine—we don’t expect them to understand it. But we just accomplished a lot.”


Umm, yeah.


Mr. Bader seems like a nice enough kid.  A good glove with a weak bat, at 26 he’s likely made at least a couple million out of baseball already, and good on him.


But the fans don’t know what you went through? 


I know that athletes have to put up with a lot of guff today, mostly for doing exactly what all the rest of us would do if we were in their place. That is, accept large checks and room keys, and why not?


But the same edition of the Times that Bader’s quote appeared in happened to mention how many millions of Americans are on the verge of losing their health care. Not to mention how many have already lost it, and/or their livelihood, or their lives or their loved ones.


We don’t know what you went through, son? We know it in spades. The fact that you had to while away some off-days in your corporate bubble…we’re not impressed. 


Chances are, Harrison here is just oblivious. But it’s this sort of solipsism that turns more fans off the game every year.

“Dear Bri, Hey, I really like this general manager business!”

 From the desk of HoraceClarke66...

I guess we have to call it one for me, after today. Who could’ve imagined it? The Miami Marlins taking a series at the Stadium that the Yankees really needed to win!


Look at this, will ya:  you finished second in the East Division, and we finished second in the East Division. Oh, hey, I don’t mean to imply that we’re on the same level yet. I mean, the Yanks won one more game than our guys did.


And that cost how much more in payroll?


I know, I know: you guys had all sorts of injuries. So did we. Even more than you guys, I think.


Even so, there all our guys were out there today, making great plays all over the field. Boy that Jazz Chisholm kid looked great out at shortstop, didn’t he? Why, he reminded me of a young…me.


All of ’em hustling and laughing, just enjoying the thrill of being out on a major-league ballfield. You know sometimes it makes me think we’re better off with kids like that out there, rather than some prematurely old guys who act like it’s a great effort to play a whole 60 games of baseball.


Speaking of prematurely aged, where was Stanton today? Didn’t see him out there. It couldn’t be that he’s hurt again, could it? And Judge—man, I couldn’t believe that he missed on that 87-mph meatball right down the middle. Well, it looks like he’s still got warning track power anyway.


I wish I could give you some advice on Torres. Or Sanchez. Or…well, never mind! You’ll figure it out. Or not.


In the meantime, I’ve got Miami in the playoffs for the first time since 2003—back when I was playing. Huh. You know, wouldn’t it be funny if we took home a ring before the Yankees did? For just a fraction of the money? Wouldn’t that be a hoot?


Hey, I don’t mean to rub it in. Good luck in Cleveland, and afterwards feel free to come on down and watch us in the Bubble. I’ll get you some good seats, on me.


Meanwhile, Donnie says hello. I know he’s just trying to suck up for when you can Boonie after next season, hoping he can get some leverage out of your offer. But here’s a little tip, just between you and me: he’s told me in private he will NEVER manage for you.


There, didn’t I save you a little time and effort right there?


Your old pal,


Virtual Baseball: “Inning Over! Ballgame Over! Regular Season Over!...”

 From the desk of HoraceClarke66...





In a game for the virtual ages today, the virtual New York Yankees fought back over and over against a feisty Tampa Bay Rays team that has tormented them all season.


Starter J.A. Happ, pitching with a flair and a passion that has sometimes eluded him during his stay in New York, came out of the gate en fuego, striking out the first six Rays he faced. Nonetheless, a pair of critical throwing errors by shortstop Gleyber “El Conquistador” Torres gave the Lungers a 4-0 lead after four, and so demoralized the young star that he was reduced to tears in the dugout.


“C’mon, buckaroo. There’s no crying in baseball,” teammate Aaron Judge gently teased him, before smashing a mammoth home run to deepest centerfield, with a calculate exit velo of a gazillion miles an hour.


Not long after, it was a restored Torres himself who jerked a triple down the third base line, putting the Yankees back out in front—then scoring on the Yanks’ second suicide squeeze in as many days.


“As we said when Willis walked out on the court,” Yankees’ 2020 substitute commentator Clyde Frazier remarked, “Game on.”


Tampa Bay was far from done, as dazzling rookie call-up Wander “As I Wonder” Franco and the irrespressible Ji-Man Choi smashed back-to-back moonshots off Adam “The Human Punching Bag” Ottavino, to pull back in front by 8-6. 


“It’s a barnburner, all right, full of nonstop, ding-dong action.  Call the doctor, hold the phone, and get Katie to bar the door,” The Master told his breathless listeners, gulping fish-like at home before the old Victrola.


It was a two-run homer by Miguel “El Matador” Andujar that tied the game at 9-9 going into the ninth. But with two outs in the top of the frame, Cool Hand Chapman suddenly went all clammy, walking the bases loaded with the ever-dangerous Choi wobbling to the plate.


It was at that moment that D.J. LeMahieu, “the Smartest Man on the Ballfield” pulled the hidden ball trick, and tagged out Tampa loudmouth Mike Brousseau just off second base.


“I studied the tapes of Gene Michael doing that, back in the seventies,” LeMahieu told reporters after the game, with the hint of a tear in his eye. “I guess, well, I guess that’s just another one we owe the Stick.”


In the bottom of the ninth, it was the Yanks’ unexpected hero of the past two years, Luke Voit, who put an exclamation point on this remarkable season, driving a pitch from TB closer Nick Anderson high into the delirious, cheering masses in the upper deck of left field, and setting off the longest win warble in recorded history, with The Master accompanied by Suzyn Waldman and Frazier—who left the Karz-for-Krazy-Kat booth after it was all over.


“Walt—come back, Walt! Come back, Walt!” Suzy called after him, but Clyde shook his head and tipped his fedora.


“My work is done here, now. You can win the World Series by yourselves. It’s the Knicks who need me now.”


“The Knicks are past the point of any possible human intervention!”


But Clyde had already left the building.


“There is no quit in this team,” Manager Ma Boone told his reporters about a Yankees squad that won a total of 108 games, the fourth most in franchise history. 


Asked about GM Brain Cashman’s statement that Boone had completely wrecked the team’s rotation for the postseason, Boone burped loudly and waved it away.


“Aw, he’s all wet. We’ll get another pitcher out there and do just fine. And if we don’t, this was worth it. This is what it’s all about, boys, just playing the game the best you can, and not worrying about this number or that number. And if Mr. Cashman doesn’t like that, why, he can have my job whenever he wants it. My granddaddy was playing ball in the show when his was still mucking out rich men’s stables.”

Asked for a comment on Boone’s remarks, Cashman suffered a coughing fit that persisted for 25 minutes.    

No matter how you slice it, the Yankee future will hinge on the next three games

It's been a long, weird, twisted, short season, 2020. I'm glad it's over.

The Yankees were great, then awful, then great again, then miserable. They backed into the playoffs and, frankly, deserved to be the AL's lowest seed. (Toronto, you blew it.) When you think of the breakout seasons from DJ LeMahieu, Luke Voit, Gerrit Cole, Clint Frazier and Gio Urshela, the depth of this year's Yankee malaise becomes breathtaking. 

Our "Twin Towers" - Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton - fizzled from muscle strains. Even today, neither sprints to first base without Aaron Boone clutching his Rosary. After Cole, the rotation imploded, and our bullpen - originally touted - became a horror show. We have no second or third starter, no lights-out relievers, and - after DJ - nobody who can drive in a run from second. If the Indians score three in the first, we are more likely to be blown out than to mount a comeback. We have been a team of passed balls, stranded runners, embarrassing batting averages and failed instant replay reviews. In simple terms, we sucked.

I believe the Yankee future hinges upon this week in Cleveland. If the Yankees advance, their talent and depth might coalesce in sets of longer series. But the three-game crucible has haunted this team since August. If we go out quickly, the Yankees, as we know them, might be shredded this winter. And, to be honest, that might be a good thing. 

We've talked so much about shedding Gary Sanchez that it's barely worth mentioning anymore. But several other areas cannot be ignored. The team has six outfielders - a plane with three wings and no propeller. The 2021 Yankees will need pitching, pitching, pitching. Cole is just one starter. Paxton will be gone. Tanaka and Happ are old. Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt are unrefined. Severino is a roll of the dice. German will still miss a month or two. The Yankees will need at least one top starter, and the only means to that end might be to trade their hottest properties. Yes, I am stating the unthinkable: Aaron Judge and/or Gleyber Torres.

Keep in mind that a) the devil is always in the details, and b) I'm not saying the Yankees trade somebody for the sake of jettisoning them. But neither Clint Frazier nor Miguel Andujar will fetch a top starter - do we always want Michael Pinedas? - and nobody will take Giancarlo Stanton off our hands, unless we add a great talent to the mix. Put Stanton in with Gleyber, and you've got a package that most GM's would love to take to their bosses.

The Yankees next year will face a newly competitive Mets and an AL East with at least three ascending teams - (Rays, Jays and O's). If we collapse this week, this year will be remembered most for its crushing disappointments. And if we're lucky, it might just signify the end of an era - and the dividing line for a better future.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Virtual Baseball: TIED!!! Yanks Ruin Pitching Rotation for Playoffs, Throw Cole Train at Rays! Win on Suicide Squeeze! Commissioner to Investigate.

 From the lost computer of HoraceClarke66...

Blatantly defying GM virtual Brain Cashman today, Yankees manager Ma Boone went ahead and threw Gerrit Cole against Tampa Bay—and Cole responded like an ace, pitching a five-hit shutout for his astonishing fifth complete game of the season, while striking out 12.


The Rays responded with their own ace, Blake “Romantic” Snell, who pitched five shutout innings of his own. But hoping to maintain the integrity of their rotation for the playoffs, the Elasmobranchii pulled Snell for their usual, depthless array of interchangeable relief pitchers.


They also shut down the Yanks with ease until the ninth inning, when TB reliever Aaron Loupgarou walked Aaron Hicks. Loupgarou was replaced by the Krillsuckers’ closer, Nick Anderson, but Hicks managed to steal second and advance to third on a grounder by Luke Voit. 


The very next batter, D.J. LeMahieu, despite leading the American League in batting, promptly stunned the ground and Sabremetricians everywhere by laying a perfect, suicide squeeze bunt between the pitcher’s mound and first base, as Hicks stormed home.


“Why, it was as if they planned it out beforehand!  With-with signals and everything!” fumed an astonished Commissioner Rob ManfredvonRichtofen. “This sort of madness has to stop.”


“How is this happening???” Cashman was heard to wail in the owner’s box, as he banged his Eagler Protection Helmet repeatedly against a wall. “Careful statistical analysis inveighs against it!”


The win left New York and Tampa Bay tied, with just one game remaining in the 2020 regular season. And strangely enough, both teams seem to want it.


“One day more,” Ma Boone commented after the contest today. “Another day, another destiny, this never-ending fight with Tampa Bay. This team that seems to never die will surely come again and try.”


Meanwhile, longtime Yankees creature Lonn Trost denied that the seats within the team’s Legends Luxury Moat were even more empty than usual for today’s game.


“Actually, that was a record turnout, and I think these aerial photos will confirm that,” Trost said. “Also, there is no truth to the rumor that pangolin has been removed from the Legends Club menu. It is still available to our luxury box patrons, along with a free side drink of hydroxychloroquine, or one Tide pod, whatever the customer prefers.”


THE END IS NEAR. The 2020 Yankees have but one path to redemption, and it runs along the fiery precipice of eternal damnation!

First, let us pray...

"Oh, almighty juju gods - hunched into your cubicles or huddling on the street in your smoke breaks - breathe not the microwave popcorn fumes of death, and visit no more violence upon the commissary vending machines that mock you like crows in a cornfield. Keep our Yankees safe and secure, and keep yourselves safe and secure, with New York Life, which has been keeping families safe and secure for nearly 175 years, yatta yatta, amen."

Now, a few words about MLB. 

Congratulations, people, you did it. Back in July, when Covid cases were over the moon in the doorknob-licking southern states, I'd have bet the Barcalounger that the 2020 "season" would last two weeks. Yet here we are - craggy and confused on the final day of a miserably short pennant race, one that should be heating up, rather than grinding to a halt. We should have three months to chase down the Tampa Rays. Instead, we're stumbling into October with the most underachieving lineup in baseball. But that's on us. The fact is, you did it, MLB! We didn't fall into The Abyss. Congrats...

So, what have we learned? A few things...

1. DJ LeMahieu is baseball's best player. He might be the MVP; I'd have to check the other candidates. But nobody hits and fields three positions as well as LeMahieu. He will be a 32-year-old free agent this winter. I have a sinking feeling that the Yankees bid for a while, then let him go and poor-mouth about money or lengthy contracts. If we lose him, we will regret it.

2. On the last day of the season, we still have no idea who we will play next week. In this regard, MLB resembles the NFL, which cooks its seasons with endless wild card tie-breakers. Depending on today, the Yanks could play Minnesota, Chicago or Cleveland - all with better records. Frankly, it doesn't matter. Because...

3. The 2020 Yankees are an all-or-nothing lottery ticket. Either they win the World Series, or they will have squandered their best shot in years. Considering the ascending talent in Tampa, Baltimore and Toronto, we might not see a championship for a long time. 

4. This winter, our first order of business will be to find a catcher. The second will be to find a team willing to take Gary Sanchez. (I suppose Gary could go crazy in October, hit a bunch of HRs and lead the Yankees to the Canyon of Heroes. Also, dolphins could rise along the coasts and demand an end to casino gambling.) Who knows? But the Yankees need a gamer behind the plate, and Gary is done in NYC.

5. We probably have squandered the peak season of Luke Voit's career. No recap of 2020 is complete without a standing O for him. He might win the HR crown. He could win the Silver Slugger at 1B. He has hobbled his way into our hearts. Gio Urshela is not far behind. There is something to be said for overachievers.

6. We must decide whether Aaron Judge is the future. I cannot forget that Judge, who missed much of this season, was gifted by the fates when the first half of the year was canceled. He would have missed it anyway. There is something seriously wrong with Judge's inability to stay on the field. Boston cut bait with Mookie Betts last winter, and the guy they got - Verdugo - is among the league-leaders in hitting. The Yankees must think the unthinkable: Could we trade Judge for a package of young players? 

7. I think Aaron Boone is done. It's not that he's a bad manager. Yeah, he's blown some decisions, they all do. But those bags under his eyes. The lifeless way he moves and shrugs. Did you know that you can rent him on Cameo? For $350, he does birthday greetings and get well videos? This weekend, when Boone got tossed for arguing balls and strikes, it hit me: The guy looks psychologically fried. This two month season was a soul-crusher. 

8. Deivi Garcia remains our most hopeful sign for the future. If Luis Severino can return - (BIG if, there) - the 2021 Yankees could remake themselves into a pitching-first club, behind Gerrit Cole, Garcia and Clarke Schmidt (who inexplicably got no chance this season.) If they can trade one of their 20 outfielders for an ascending pitcher, who knows?

Today, it's the beginning of the end.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Fun Facts About the Twin Towers!

By HoraceClarke66


Did you know that…

Like many people, I thought that Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton might not only match but even surpass their career-year, 2017, combined total of 111 home runs in a season.


And they (almost) have!  Why, between them they now have—count ’em!—108 home runs.  In three seasons.


Hey, I know, that’s unfair.  They’ve been injured.  A lot. 


Still…they have played 439 games between them.  As opposed to the combined, 314 they played in 2017, the last time both of them could stay on the field. 


In other words, they’ve gone from 1 HR every 2.83 games to 1 every 4.06.  


But don’t worry.  Some day they might even bat back-to-back!

Virtual Baseball: Amazing Reappearances! Miraculous Coincidences! Incredible Concatenations!

By HoraceClarke66


It happened in the middle of Ma Boone’s pregame speech to the Yankees. He had sat the whole team down, and started to talk to them in a low, sad voice.


“Well, boys, you’ve played a great season—and now your general manager says it’s over. I guess we can’t expect to win ’em all,” Boone told them. “But now I’m going to tell you about somebody most of you never saw on a ballfield. How many of you ever heard of Giancarlo Stanton?”


Most of the Yankees shook their heads, and looked at the floor. One or two tentatively, doubtfully, raised a hand.


“I know. It was before your time, most of you. But you know what a tradition he’s become here at the Stadium.”


There was a gentle, faraway look in his eyes.


“But you know, the last thing Stanton said to me before he went on the DL for 345 days…or maybe it was that time he insisted on being on the playoff roster even though he couldn’t play…or I guess it was when that mysterious cyclone swept him away in Iowa,” Boone recalled.  “But whenever it was, the last thing Stanton said to me—besides ‘Please God, help me!’—was ‘Boonie, sometime when the team is up against it, and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to go out there with all they got and win just one for the Giancarlo.’”


Just as Boone finished, a familiar silhouette appeared in the doorway of the Yankees’ clubhouse. 


“Why is it…could it be…Is it…???”


“It’s me, of course, why you just saw me show up unexpectedly at the clubhouse in Toronto last week,” said John Sterling. “But I brought a certain someone with me, a Yankee man of knowledge!”


Out from behind him, stepped Giancarlo Stanton.


“Geez, what kind of story is this that has unknown silhouettes appearing in a doorway every few days?” asked backup first baseman Mike Ford, though he was quickly silenced by cries of “Shut up, Princeton!”


“I won’t be playing right away. Or maybe, you know, ever,” Stanton told his teammates, to audible exhalations of relief. “But I want you to go out there and win one for, well, me.”


In the epic, ensuing battle of anonymous relievers versus anonymous relievers, beginning with Yankees “opener” Johnny Lasagna, and ending with Aroldis Chapman in the ninth, the Yankees managed to edge the TB Rays, 5-4, and cut the Tampa Bay lead to just 1 game with only 2 remaining. 


The winning blow was a gigantic home run to dead center field by Gary Sanchez in the bottom of the eighth, following home runs by Miguel Andujar and Clint Frazier earlier in the wild, back-and-forth contest.


The unmitigated joy over the Yankees’ stunning win was only mitigated by the fact that the Pangolin House restaurant in the centerfield cube remained closed for the second straight game. Rumors abounded that the New York Department of Health was avidly searching for all the Wall Street executives who attended a large party there early in the week.


While stories spread about food poisoning and worse, Yankees spokesman Lonn Trost issued a statement assuring the public that, “Contrary to rumor, nobody has died—directly—from anything they ate—or inhaled, or touched—at Pangolin House.  At least as far as we know.”

Shoot me: Baseball's worst defense, five DPs, and the insane inability to bunt crush the Yankee season

In the end, last night came down to one fundamental difference:

In the 10th, the Marlins could bunt. The Yankees could not. The Marlins advanced their runner to third. We popped up. 

You can add that we also horribly blew two gift-wrapped second chances. We flubbed a rundown - your basic Little League hotbox - letting Miami stay alive. Then, with the bases loaded, we failed to score the tying run.

So it went. So it goes. Another miserable loss in a season of bed-crappings. Another pile of steaming what-ifs? Another post-game of the zombie Aaron Boone, dead but not knowing it, claiming that so-and-so is ready to breakout, and the such-and-such shows positive signs. If not for that - (choose your excuse) - bad call, bad hop, bad plate of clams... aw, why bother? 

For the record, the Yankees are tied with Pittsburgh (18-40, MLB's worst team) for the most errors in baseball. They average 0.81 per game. Last night, they added four.

They rank fourth in hitting DP grounders per game, last night contributing five - including the reverse walk-off.

They are fourth from the bottom in defensive DPs, converting just 0.62 per game.

Worst of all, by a wide margin, they lead all of baseball - no, all of sports - in excuses. They average 100 per post-game.

One of the Hollywood's great lines comes at the end of King Kong, when Carl Denham points to the big, hairy, lifeless head and says, "It wasn't the airplanes. It was beauty killed the beast."

Today, looking at the big, hairy, lifeless head of the 2020 Yankees, let me proclaim that it wasn't power, or speed, or opposing teams that exploded Cooperstown Cashman's "fully functioning Death Star." Nope, it was the rank fundamentals that are supposed to be learned in high school. Somewhere along the way, the Yankees exchanged honest baseball for the mid-season All Star Break Home Run Derby.  

I wonder - because nobody gets to see batting practice anymore - do the Yankees ever practice bunting? Do they even try? Half this team could add 100 points to their batting averages and crash the defensive over-shifts that are killing them... if only they learned to bunt. Remember how David Ortiz did it? He'll make the Hall of Fame. But the Yankees - with careers swirling the drain - cannot (or will not) learn that fundamental skill.

At this point, I'd like to put on my Yankee Nostradamus cap and make a prediction: Long after we are dead, some Yankee manager will impose a crackdown like Andrew Cuomo and capture the hearts of NYC with a hustling reincarnation of Billy Ball. Someday, it will happen. Until then, the Yankees will continue to be the team that gets killed by quality pitchers, that cannot advance the winning run, that cannot score without long balls - and that always goes home in early October.

Today, I suggest we all start preparing for Phase Two of the pandemic. We had a two-month run, with nights full of Yankee games. It's going to end soon, probably by end of next week. Last night, we caught a glimpse, and it wasn't pretty. When the end comes, have your affairs in order. Kong is looking dizzy. Look out, below.