Thursday, April 22, 2021

Hoss' take: “Like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel…”

 From the demented computer of HoraceClark66... 

“…Never ending nor beginning, on an ever-spinning reel”—this is the musical definition of our Yankees conversations nowadays.

 The song, “The Windmills of Your Mind,” was first sung by Noel Harrison for the 1968 movie, The Thomas Crown Affair, in which Faye Dunaway and Steve McQueen first introduced us to the idea of chess as foreplay.

 

(That’s right, young people:  That’s how classy America used to be!  Watch it and weep!)

 

But I digress.

 

A full season of games like the ones your New York Yankees played this week and not just the Yankees but the entire game of baseball will be deader than a mackerel. This is not only pathetic, it’s mind-numblingly dull.

 

A few statistical milestones:  last night, the Yankees dropped to 6-11, their worst start since 1991. They have scored all of 58 runs this year—their worst total in the first 17 games of the season since 1984.

 

Last night, the Yankees became the last team in the majors this year to score in the ninth inning. They have also scored one (count ’em, 1) run in the first inning this season.

 

We were discussing earlier the fizzle of Gleyber Torres, our superstar of the future, who is hitting .186 this year, with no homers, 1 RBI, and all of 2 doubles—never mind his awful fielding. 

 

But Gleyber’s problems didn’t start this season. According to the good souls at YES, he has hit all of .238 since mid-2019.

 

Nor is it All About The Gleyber. The fizzle, as you have named it, extends to nearly every player who blossomed for the Yankees since the glorious “Bronx Spring” of 2017. 

 

Aaron Judge is 3 for his last 17, with 1 ribbie, no homers, 3 walks, and 7 strikeouts.  Take away his 3-hit, 2-homer game against Toronto, and he’s 3 for his last 26. 

 

Clint Frazier’s blooped single finally drove in his first run of the season last night. He’s hitting .175 on the year. Gary Sanchez is down to .200 and sinking fast. He’s had no homers and 1 RBI after the first two games of the season.

 

We are all fizzle, no rake.

 

I have never seen so promising a group of young players crumble so fast and so mysteriously. 

 

Players get hurt, and they are gone forever. Dustin Fowler runs into a utility box, and is never right again. Miguel Andujar slides back into third and goes from Joe DiMaggio to Joe Shlobotnik. Greg Bird looks like a world-beater until he fouls a ball off his foot and it’s as if he’s fallen into, well, “a tunnel you can follow to a tunnel of its own, down a hollow to a cavern where the sun has never shone.”

 

Everyone gets hurt, no one gets better.

 

We’ve come up with a hundred visions and revisions as to why this Yankees team is so bad and getting steadily worse. But it all comes down to the same, terrible tautology.

 

Obviously, the Yankees’ coaching and training staffs—not to mention their scouting and player development departments—stink.

 

They should be replaced, a clean sweep. But they can’t be replaced. Why? Because Brian Cashman hired them, and getting rid of them would reflect badly on Brian Cashman.

Obviously then, Brian Cashman should be replaced. But he can’t be replaced. Why? Because HAL Steinbrenner is convinced that Brian Cashman is a baseball genius who saves him millions and millions of dollars.

 

Obviously then, HAL Steinbrenner should be replaced. But he can’t be replaced. Why? Because he owns the team.

 

You see the dilemma here.

 

“Like a door that keeps revolving in a half-forgotten dream, or the ripples from a pebble someone tosses in a stream…”

 

Nothing can get better until it gets very much worse—and maybe not even then! In the meantime, we’re stuck, as the images unwind, like the circles that you find, in the windmills of your mind.

 

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

According to Aaron Judge, "we're on the cusp". The existential question of the day is will it be on the cusp of breaking out, or on the cusp of falling off a cliff into oblivion?

Have we scored a run in the first inning this year? I don't know if I remember it. Was it a Judge home run? Probably. And he was hitting second so if the leadoff man doesn't make it on base, it's just a solo homer. Brilliant!

We finally scored a run in the 9th inning yesterday. Hooray! Clint Frazier's timing is definitely off. He got a hanging slider belt high and barely fought it off into right field. Was that Atlanta first baseman playing too far in for some reason? That ball barely made the outfield grass, yet he wasn't close to catching it.

The Hammer of God

Anonymous said...

I for one have found my own peace.
As a wise Jesuit told our case in the 1970-somehting, there are books that you should read when you are 20, 40 and then 65 and see how much wisdom you have gained.
I did re-read some, like Catcher in the Rye, The Merchant of Venice and Don Quixote.
During the pandemic, I re-read The Plague and 1984.
I also re-read Dante's Inferno and had a revelation last night----
I will be a good boy for the rest of my life because My Inferno is an eternity of an endless loop of Boone explaining that the Yankees don't suck basketballs out of garden hoses.
The Archangel

HoraceClarke66 said...

Yes, Hammer, as noted, the Yankees have scored 1 run in the first inning this year. And after their tip-tap rally last night, 1 run in the ninth inning.

This is pathetic. It also shows, I think, a lack of preparation. How many times do these guys look at their crib sheets, even on the field?

Brief yourself on the pitcher before the game. See what he's throwing in the game, and tell your teammates. It's not that hard.

Platoni said...

I haven't found my own peace yet with this team. In fact, I am seeing red every time they're on. But, also, ALSO, this site is much better when the Yankees are losing. So one of those tunnels in the song has some twinkle of light around a bend

Anonymous said...

Archie,

I read Steppenwolf and Siddhartha every 10-15 years. It's amazing how different they are each time I do.

Doug K.

Matt P. said...

I think analytics has taken the soul out of the players. Instead of letting baseball players take their own approach to the plate and make adjustments, feel the rhythm and pitches being thrown and get a feel for when to strike using *gasp* talent...they are rolling through a spreadsheet in their mind. The yankees no doubt have them study the most likely pitch thrown on every count by every pitcher. Opposing teams know this and just throw something different. Hence why each Yankee stares at fastballs down the middle and swings out of their shoes at a slider two time zones away. If this was one or two players in a slump, thats one thing....but since it is their whole team its from teaching and planning higher above.

Alphonso said...

Excellent piece on that passed along and failing computer.

I think Hal only responds to a drain of money.

The fans have got to move on before he will notice anything.

We will thrive on mockery.

Various items will be thrown onto the field to express dismay ( nothing harmful ).

Perhaps someone can design a nerf-turd than can launch 20-30 yards.

They can rain down with player names upon them.

And owner names.

Otherwise, as usual, we...the people..are powerless.

Kevin said...

"Windows of Your Mind", great song, and so apropos (although I prefer the Dusty Springfield version). Now I have to watch the movie which I bought a couple of months ago. Hey, maybe you guys can turn this into a movie blog for a few months? Well at least we are back in the eighties, and are feeling young again...

Anonymous said...

@Matt P. I think you may have something there. Hard to explain such a team wide hitting slump otherwise. The only other explanation would be that someone at MLB told them that they're all getting tested soon for PEDs. So they're being super careful and put away all their steroids and amphetamines.

The Hammer of God

Anonymous said...

Matt P.

Ditto. Good Analysis!

Doug K.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I agree, Matt P. What was the old Yogi quote about how he can't think and hit at the same time?

HoraceClarke66 said...

Thanks, Alphonso, and I love your idea. It would be great if, after each particularly egregious strikeout, a hail of nerf balls with the player's name came tumbling out of the stands.

Of course, Stadium security would probably put an end to that very quickly...

How about this? A riff on the "Moon Papi" idea: after an especially hideous at-bat, everyone rises and turns their back on the playing field for a few seconds. How's that for shaming?

HoraceClarke66 said...

And Kevin, I agree: almost anything done by the late, great Dusty Springfield is better. Her rendition of "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself" is one of my favorites.

Unfortunately, it looks like it's also about to become our theme song for this year!

HoraceClarke66 said...

That's a great idea, Archie and Doug K.

My very limited experience in such re-reading has also taught me that—at least for myself—certain works go best at certain ages.

For instance, I still think Faulkner is a genius and I love the rhythms of his writing. But now that I'm older I find myself more impatient with the lavishness. On the other hand, I appreciate Henry James much more than I did at twenty. Dostoevsky holds up well (for me, anyway).

And unsurprisingly, I'm much more attuned to books about age, loss, disappointment, reconciling with the vagaries of life. Hmm, could it all more to do with ME than the book...?

I think that this season we will have to get used to all those things concerning the Yankees, too!

ranger_lp said...

I know Hoss know this but in 1991 at 6-11, the Yankee manager was Stump Merrill. The team was awful too. This team presently is not awful, but they sure are playing like it.

Urban Farmer fka DutchFan said...

There is something y'all forget to savour. Like fine wine or caviar on ice on a moonlit night. (Did you know that caviar on ice with Dutch genever is the best).

Decay, like autumn, has its own particular beauty.
The thrill of prelancholia. You know what is coming. The end is near.
Inevitable Mr Anderson. You simply cannot win.

Prelancholia is the wisdom of feeling the inevitable end and live through it, before it is actually there.
We live through flailing batters. Burnt out talents. Ripped tendons and tweaked gonads.
We feel the pain of goodbye, but the final curtain is yet to fall.

We pain ourselves willingly through summer

And then, A Hot August Night, with in the distant the chants of first boys having another day in the sun, it is over.

But we feel no pain.
We already bled to death in June
We lost our heart in July
We saw our last loved one turn her back on us the night before

So we bury the remains without hurt in September.
And in February we just start over again.

Untill the the next recession

Anonymous said...

Hoss, you gotta give credit to Michel Legrand, who wrote “The Windmills of Your Mind.” I saw one of his last concerts – he was well into his 80s – and he sang it in the original French.

Ken of Brooklyn said...

@ Dutch Fan, that is by far one of the most poignant things I've ever read, absolutely beautiful, and sooooooooo appropriate after living through the events of the past last year. THIS is just another reason why I never miss a day of reading this blog, thank you, and thank you all!!!!!!!!!!!

HoraceClarke66 said...

Yes, that is GREAT, Dutch Fan!

It reminds me of nothing so much as the great, "September Song," written for Knickerbocker Holiday by a German immigrant, in a musical about, well, New York's Dutch founding fathers. (Is this a great country, or what?)

"And the days turn gold
As they grow few
September, November
And these few golden days
I'd spend with you.
These golden days I'd spend with you!"

(Notice how he leaves out October. So will the Yankees.)



Anonymous said...

Dutch,

Wow! That was moving, beautiful, and sadly, all too true.

I hope it doesn't turn out to be written by Paul Simon :)

Doug K.

Anonymous said...

Hoss: you got something against composers? “September Song” has music by Kurt Weill and lyrics by Maxwell Anderson (who also wrote the book for the show). Calling Weill an immigrant is a bit of a stretch: he literally received a phone call in 1933 in Berlin (where his music had been banned) telling him to not even pack a suitcase and to just get out NOW as the Nazis were coming for him (he was Jewish). He drove to Paris and eventually came to NYC. I think “refugee” might be more applicable.

Do you know he also wrote “Mack the Knife?”