'98 Yanks rally to tie All-Time Yankee series with '51 team

Series tied: 2-2
Knobby, Jeet, sparkplugs!
Gil takes El Duque downtown!
In dramatic appearance, Joe D ignites stadium!
Mo flubs lead, then comes through!
Billy fails!
Next up: Vic Raschi v David Cone!

Friday, January 29, 2021

The Yankees made a subtle promise to Masahiro Tanaka. They let him down.

Yesterday, while opening a Zoom gaggle to celebrate his re-signing with the Yankees, D.J. LeMahieu briefly flipped the script and showed, once again, the grace of a de facto team captain. 

LeMahieu directed his words toward Masahiro Tanaka, who had announced earlier that, at 32, he will end his MLB career and return to Japan. LeMahieu said: 

“Just wanted to mention what a great teammate he’s been, what an impact he’s had on the Yankees and the city. As exciting as it is, I’m disappointed I’m not going to be able to play with him anymore.”

Despite America's horrible polarization, I'm with Maya Angelou, who said, "We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike." That said, if you're a Yankee fan, and you don't love how Tanaka battled for us over the last seven years - well, Slappy - meet me in front of the Rexall at high noon, cuz this here town ain't a-big enough for the both of us.

For me, Tanaka goes down as a C.G.Y. - a Certified Great Yankee - who gave his all, every game, every year. He finishes at 78-46, with two All-Star appearances, a workhorse, who at any time could have skipped 18 months to repair a tear in his elbow, as some are known to do. Had he'd done that, Tanaka might now be fielding offers of five-to-seven more seasons on a surgically restored arm. Remember that, whenever you think of him.

I've seen Tanaka struggling from the git-go - no command - yet he'd give us five innings on semen and spit. In the post-season, he built a big game reputation - which crumbled last fall in two disastrous outings. Against Cleveland and Tampa, he surrendered a total of 11 earned runs in two starts. Ditch those games, and his October ERA would be 1.76. Heroic. (As it is, his post-season record stands at 5-4, and 3.33.) 

Of course, we cannot choose which games count. And Tanaka's October numbers fall under one huge fog. They don't reflect a World Series appearance, because the Yankees never made it that far.

Seven years, nothing. 

When Tanaka signed with the Yankees, the whispered understanding was that he would get to pitch on the world's greatest stage, with a ring in the balance. The Yankees would provide that opportunity, because - hey - they were the Yankees. 

Repeating: Seven years, nothing. 

Actually, our drought as fans extends to 12. Last time the Yankees were the Yankees - that is, they won it - they played under the looming P.E.D. fog of Alex Rodriguez's uncanny home runs. The final verdict on that 2009 championship will be reargued next January, when A-Rod's rehabbed smile goes before the cranky, self-righteous Hall of Fame voters. 

Tanaka won't make Cooperstown. But his farewell leaves the Yanks without an Asian star, almost a rarity these days. (No veiled charge; I think it mostly reflects the owner's cheapness.) He deserves a plaque in Monument Park - (though, frankly, with 38 honorees there, that's becoming rather diminished.) 

Tanaka deserved more. The Yankees failed him. I hope they're happy with the money they saved. And I hope Masahiro carries his team to a championship. I wouldn't bet against him. 


ranger_lp said...

Wasn't all Tanaka's fault. I blame the buzzers...and the trash can lids...and the cameras...

13bit said...

They treated him like shit. They are a classless organization - and I'm a Yankee fan for life - and Brian and Hal are the main reason. It comes from the top.

Speaking of "coulda, woulda," and their cousin "shoulda," they should have just given him the Tommy John after the first year, when he needed it, instead of leaving him and all of us wondering when his arm would fall off. Instead, he went out every last fucking start and pitched his heart out.

He deserved better. At the very least, he deserved better treatment, even though they thought it was wiser to hire a bunch of other broken arms in front of him. How much is loyalty worth these days? Apparently, nothing on the Yankees.

Shame on you Cash-Hole and Halligator Arms. Shame on you.

JM said...

True, Ranger.

Not resigning Tanaka is the latest plaque in Hal's Hall of Shame. Really terrible. Very, very, very shameful.

I hope he enjoys great success now that he's reunited with Mr. Fuji. A great tag team for the ages.

DickAllen1964 said...

The Yankees, for all their high-brow pretensions, have always been a low-class organization:

Ask Yogi (oh, wait, you can't do that)
Or Dick Howser
Or Joe Torre
Ask Dave Winfield
Ask...I'm sure I'm missing a whole lot of names.

However, in spite of all the bullshit surrounding the organization, let one piece of information give you some hope: there is an HBO Max special called

"Under the Grapefruit Tree,"

which gives us a glimpse into the downward spiral of CC Sabathia. There is also an article from ESPN today worth reading:


Anonymous said...

A thought or two...


"I hope he enjoys great success now that he's reunited with Mr. Fuji. A great tag team for the ages."

Hopefully not too soon what with Mr. Fuji being dead and all...

Asia Minor

We coulda signed this guy. "Japanese ace Tomoyuki Sugano Sugano, 31, twice won Japan's equivalent of the Cy Young Award. He was available this off season. To be fair, no one bit and he went back to Japan. Maybe no one wanted to pay the posting fee. He's an unrestricted free agent next year. I guess he will try again .

Stupid Tanaka Math

Take his record of 78-46 and compare to two other guys I would hand the ball to in a Game Seven.

If you double it you get 156-92. (Ron Guidry 170-91)


Leave it alone (78-46) and compare to Orlando Hernandez 61-40.

Not saying this means anything. Particularly because it's W-L which is a poor comparison at best. Just three guys who I loved watching pitch.

Doug K.

Anonymous said...


Thanks. That was a really good read.

Doug K.

JM said...

Doug, I see your point.

This just in from the Tweetler:

Cashman theorized that the Yankees fit “two for the price of one” in going with Kluber and Taillon over Tanaka. Since Kluber and Taillon will make $13M in 2021, it’s reasonable to assume Tanaka was seeking something similar to $13M. That would have been fair $$ in this market."

I suppose you can argue that Tanaka's are has been a question mark for some time now, so why not get two guys whose arms are question marks for the same money. It kind of makes sense. At least to Hal;

JimmyEatsHotDogs said...

Yankee fans are used to the Rope-a-Dope antics of Hal and Cashman!

Thanks for the memories Tanaka-San!

HoraceClarke66 said...

Yeah, he will be missed. I don't know if he's a more beloved Yankee than, say, Roy White, who I don't think is in Monument Park. But all that aside, he gave us everything he had, never complained...and is just as likely to have something in the tank as that compost pile of arms we have acquired in his stead.

Dick Allen, you are very right.

The Yankees since 1920 have always been a ruthless franchise, and often classless. Now they are a ruthless, classless franchise that can't win.

Anonymous said...

Uh, duque--did you happen to notice that Tanaka wasn't a very good picther anymore? Sheesh.