Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Hicksy and Higgy, and two bravos

I grew up in a small Upstate town, full of tropes: Opie Taylor, brush cuts, Moose Lodge, Woolworths, pancake suppers, Little League parades, support for the war, etc. The boondocks. Also, it was Yankee Country. That's why I am what I am (and, as a certain sailor once said, that's all that I am.

One of my starkest memories is the day our six-grade teacher, an Irishman named Hogan, went around the room, from kid to kid, asking why we had done our homework last night?

It was weird. Scary, because of the look in his eyes. Why did you do your homework? Some kids hadn't. They coughed up lame excuses. A suck-up, I'd done mine... but I didn't know why. 

Hogan said we all failed.  

He'd have given an A to anyone with the right answer: 

They didn't feel up to it, because yesterday, the President of the United States had been shot. 

The lesson that day: You are supposed to care.

Often, it seems easier if you don't. If you don't care about the country, you never think about the homeless, or about racism, or any social ill. Just go about your business, don't give a shit.  

Today, America is horribly polarized, in part, because people on both sides care. 

My take: I think major corporations have created a massive media industry that thrives by dividing us. Every day, forces from the right and left push our buttons. The industry rakes in billions, and we grow angrier. And at the roots, it's because we care.

Okay, that's just my opinion. I know what happens around here when I shoot off my mouth on politics. I could be wrong. Hey, I was wrong about Jesus Montero. 

But all our differences would fill a thimble, compared to what we agree on. 

Last night, Aaron Hicks removed himself from the lineup because he didn't believe he could play a game. He has roots in Minnesota. He sees his city in turmoil. He cares. I say, bravo. 

Fortunately, the Yankees won. That happened because of two players, Gerrit Cole and Kyle Higashioka, who hit two HRs. It's the latter who deserves a little attention. 

For no good reasons, I have monitored Higashioka since 2008, when he was drafted out of high school in the 7th round. He went lower than expected, because teams weren't sure he'd sign. Some draft boards - (and yes, they're bullshit, but I still read them) - rated Higgy much higher. When the Yankees signed him, it was considered a coup. He rose through the lower A leagues - low average, high power - then missed two years due to Tommy John surgery and a broken thumb. (He played just 24 games in that period.) He fell off the radar. In 2015, the Yankees released him, then signed him 12 days later to a minor league deal. Any team could have had him. 

From then on, something clicked. In 2016, Higgy hit 21 HRs, mostly at Trenton and Scranton. In 2017, the Yankees gave him a cup of coffee. Two years ago, he hit three HRs in one game against Toronto. In that period, he has 9 HRs in 113 MLB at bats. 

Give him 350 at bats, and I believe he'd hit 30. 

This raises a question the Yankees should seriously ponder: Will Gary Sanchez do more?

A final note, for whatever it's worth: Last night, after the final out, as Higgy was high-fiving teammates, Sanchez was the first person out of the dugout to congratulate him. The first. 

I say, bravo. 

18 comments:

Ken of Brooklyn said...

And an epic third BRAVO to you El Duque, for this insightful and poignant post. Thank you for the time an effort you put in, day in and day out, to give voice to the agonies and ecstasies of Yankee baseball, and, our American life.

Anonymous said...

I could not agree with you more that there are people in the corporate/media oligarchy that profit and benefit from dividing people.
It is a bane because it corrodes any conversation between people of different views.
I would respect Hicks if he said that he donated his 66K per game salary to the business owners whose business were sacked and looted by vandals over the last two nights. [My sincere apologies to any persons of Central Europe who are descendants of that semi-nomadic tribe who may be offended by my racist characterization of their ancestors.]
The Archangel

Anonymous said...

Watching Boonie explain why he was allowing Hicks to refuse to play was like watching the POW videos during the Vietnam War.
Boonies eyes were darting around like a rodent in a crack cocaine experiment.
Cops should just get rid of Tasers altogether and that way there could never be a mistake like this again

Anonymous said...

Eloquent. Bravo to you as well.

Doug K.

13bit said...

Great stuff, Duque.

If Hicksy-Wicksy really cared about the team, he would retire and return his salary.

And if Booney-Wooney and Cashy-Washy really cared about the team, they would fire Sanchez, get another catcher, and platoon him with Higgy-Wiggy.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Hear, hear, Duque—on all counts! Truly peerless leadership.

Absolom Bracer said...

Thanks, Duque. I appreciate your comments. It could not have been said better.

JM said...

I never understand the trope that the victims of looting should somehow be the focus of the issue. I don't approve of the looting, in the sense that two wrongs don't make a right. But to take your eye off the ball that is the "police problem" is not only denying reality, it's saying it doesn't matter, in a sense. It's the reaction that's the problem instead of the real problem--which, if we could somehow solve it after all these years--would make both legit protest and looting a thing of the past.

But, whatever. I couldn't watch Higgy rounding the bases without thinking of the Asian people, some in my neighborhood, who've been attacked by morons because, you know, they're somehow responsible for Covid. Or from simple racism.

Kyle made me smile.

Anonymous said...

I'm very happy for Kyle Higashioka as well. He's got a lot of power. He might not be that bad of a hitter as well. Remember the single that he hit to right field in that extra inning game against the Blue Jays, might have been the third game of the year? Going the other way is a sign of a good hitter.

America is a racist country. We should acknowledge that off the bat. The long history of slavery, Jim Crow laws, voter suppression, the KKK, lynchings, cross burnings, riots (there was a big one in NYC during the Civil War), the false imprisonment of Japanese-Americans during WWII, the Chinese Exclusion Act. The list is practically endless. That said, probably every country out there is also racist to some extent. It is human nature. We've all got to try to be better.

I wonder if the idiots who go around attacking Asian-Americans realize that, every time they do such things, it is helping Communist China. Because almost every Asian-American is vehemently anti-Communist. That is why they're here in America, because they hate Communism and want to be free. Communist China is only one country in Asia, but it has been involved in all of the major conflicts in the Far East, from Vietnam to the Korean peninsula. It is now trying to usurp control over the entire South China Sea by building artifical islands.

One thing that all of us can do is to refrain from buying anything that is made in China. Instead of stupidly attacking Asian-Americans, who have nothing to do with Communist China, how about buying "Made in USA"? How about buying stuff made anywhere except in Communist China? How about refraining from buying counterfeit goods made in Communist China? How about exerting pressure on corporate America to refrain from making products in Communist China? How about reading some world history and American history and keeping up with current events? Spread the word.

All over the world, there are trouble signs pointing to serious conflict within the next decade. Look at what Communist China is doing in Taiwan airspace lately or what Russia is planning in Ukraine and the rest of Eastern Europe. Look at the situation in the Middle East. The clock is at five seconds to midnight.

The Hammer of God

ranger_lp said...

Well said el duque....

Wezil1 said...

And thank you, KOB- for recognizing El Duque and his writing. I read this blog every day. Every day!
Where else to go to read what people are really thinking about this rapidly sinking franchise in a rapidly sinking sport.

HoraceClarke66 said...

And...we're back to politics. Sigh. I guess it's inevitable, in a country that now feels almost as divided as it did in 1968.

I apologize for my own overreactions. And in a no doubt naive attempt to find common ground:

—Hammer, great points on how immigrants enhance this country. For centuries, we benefited by drawing off many of the most talented and ambitious people from Europe. I was reading recently about what an incredible industrial boon getting European refugees—particularly Jewish Europeans—was for America from the 1930s on. We should try to attract as many Asians as we can.

—Rioting and destroying people's businesses, for any reason, is wrong and should be punished.

—Rioting in the Capitol of the United States of America, for any reason, is wrong and should be punished.

—Policing is hard work. I have relatives who are local cops and staties. I think police officers should be given the moon when it comes to salary and benefits...AND ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN, UNDER PENALTY OF TERMINATION, from attending seminars by these assholes who teach them that policing the streets of America is like patrolling Fallujah.

It's not. The number of people who cops shoot is way, way down from 50-60 years ago—and the number of cops who are shot is way, way down from 50-60 years ago.

Whether it's the media, these kill-or-be-killed seminars, or whatever, we have to turn down the temperature.

And now, back to baseball.

TheWinWarblist said...

I'm going to sit this one out, but I'll be on during the next game dropping the indignant profane observations that so endear me to you all.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...


I don't like racism, and won't excuse it. Yet I think I know something about something related to this.

The nation of Italy has 17 regions.

The Milanese can't stand the Neopolitans and the Sicilians (prob. the Romans, too.).

The Sicilians can't stand those from Naples. For my grandparents (3 of 4 born in Sicily) "go to Naples" (in Sicilian) was a curse. No, I'm not making that up.

As kids, we inherited all of this . . . prejudice. I grew up in a mostly Italian neighborhood (in BKLYN, of course). Almost all of the American-Italian kids had grandparents from the South (the Milanese, Florentines, and Venetians, I guess, did not leave for the USA -- or settled in Scarsdale or Bergen County, not Brooklyn).

One of my friends had an Irish father and a mom whose parents were from Calabria.

You guessed it: We picked on the guy NOT because of the Irish thing, but because everyone know the Calabrese were thieving smelly dogs who raped children (or was it children who raped smelly dogs?).

I'm not proud of any of this. But it's what I've seen, with my own eyes. My conclusion, which you can dispute: I look at you. I see you are different (in some way). I don't trust you, I don't like you, and I sure don't want you near my sister!

Mike said...

"But all our differences would fill a thimble, compared to what we agree on."

I could type all day about this but there's no need. Though I will type a little.

I look what most people would call white, although I am a whole bunch of things that don't show up if you see me, maybe. I can't judge what others think of me, as none of us really can.

I consider myself a conservative regarding government, which actually might make me an extreme liberal. My feelings aren't based on political parties. I'm not a supporter of political parties. I dig individuals. I usually keep my thoughts to myself; not out of fear but because it's hard to believe anyone with a political agenda would listen to those thoughts. Not to say they should; just that mostly I know they won't. Even if they think they seem to agree with me, they usually won't. (I can usually say something that pisses everybody else off, and mean it wholeheartedly.)

Back The Blue, for instance. It sounds good; it really does. I wish it were something I could jump behind and support. But...when you're a North Country NY'er who notices some movement in the backyard of his camp at 11 at night, goes out to investigate, and ends up handcuffed with an AR-15 aimed at his head for no reason other than stepping outside his back door, it changes your perspective on things. And it shouldn't matter that I wasn't doing anything illegal, nor that I do a damned good job of passing as a white guy. But it does lead one away from the Back The Blue agenda in a hurry, and, along with other instances in the past when I was doing nothing illegal or even questionable but was moderately bothered (read: no handcuffs or rifle aimed at the noggin) makes me think some people have it a lot worse than I in the profiling department.

I'm not in any way justifying burning and looting businesses or homes; I'm not defending any criminal activity. I only say that once you've had the Blue draw a bead on your head because they didn't announce themselves, you will after sarcastically thanking them for not shooting you (yes; that happened) have a little different take on things. Not a bad thing. And I wouldn't mention any of that except that Duque's above-quoted line got me remembering and thinking. Truest thing I've ever seen on here, or anywhere else.

That said: Keep getting Higgy with it! Someone a while back (and I'm sorry I can't say who...Doug K., I think; please pass it along if I'm wrong)said the only fun of this team is the surprises after the certainties go down. Not verbatim but something like that. I agree.

Anonymous said...

@Mike, did you sue the police department? You should. (Deadlines are short against municipalities and their underlings.) Filing a lawsuit to suck money out them is the only thing that puts a damper on that kind of incident happening even more frequently.

The Hammer of God

The Adze of Agnosticism said...

Seely,thanks, agree on the sentiment can argue the villains.

Mike said...

Hammer: I didn't sue them; I kept it quiet for a couple years among even the people who know me best because I didn't want to scare them. I also figured if I pushed the issue the place would catch fire with me inside it some night. Not good reasons to be silent and not try to clean them out of cash (NOT for the cash but as you say to lead them to stop pulling this shit with people). It was a few years ago; 8/17. I was concerned with other people's reactions a lot more then than I am now. I'm happy I survived it but it isn't among my proudest moments.