Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Ten Yankee thoughts that make you think "WTF?"

1. The '21 Yankees' two best-pitched games - Cory Kluber's no-hitter and Gerrit Cole's 1-0 shutout in Houston - came with Kyle Higashioka behind the plate. Coincidence?

2. Twice, Aaron Judge has trolled a rival. Three years ago, after a playoff win at Fenway, he famously blared "New York, New York" on the boombox. The Redsocks rebounded to clobber us. This week, he mimicked Jose Altuve's HR trot. Altuve rebounded to clobber us. Smart moves by Judge?

3. In Saturday's 1-0 win, the Yankees twice had Tim Locastro and Brett Gardner - our fastest runners - on first base. Neither tried to steal. They both were stranded. Why play these guys, if their greatest assets aren't even used? 

4. On the matter of doctoring balls, Gerrit Cole has erased the doubters. But Aroldis Chapman has been terrible, since MLB cracked down on stick-um. The Yankees seem to assume El Chapo will rise from this funk. Maybe they shouldn't. 

5. The Yankees open the second half by playing Boston in seven out of ten games.  Then it's Tampa for three. That brings us to July 29. By then, we'll surely know if it's time to tank. 

6. If the Yankees collapse - that is, with Covid cases rising in NYC and a tedious team in freefall - the Death Barge could see incredibly sparse crowds in August and September. For months, Hal Steinbrenner whined that the pandemic cost him more money than any other owner. The worst may be yet to come.

7. Once known for their mystique and aura, the Yankees have been a sad franchise since leaving the old Yankee Stadium in 2009. (Hat tip to Joel Sherman for noticing this.) It's time to note that their "pride and power" has never translated into the new ballpark, which Sherman describes as "more placid mall that gladiatorial hellhole." 

8. The recent Home Run Derby, as seen on TV, was awful. A split-screen broadcast never showed the trajectory of balls. Announcers wailed about majestic blasts, but all we saw were fat old men pitching from the CF camera and crowd shots. What a fiasco.

9. For me, the future of the Yankees hinges on Gleyber Torres, who has - there's no nice way to put this - become a substandard player. He's neither a solid defensive SS nor a decent hitter. If that's Torres, we are screwed for years. 

10. Yesterday, after just two weeks in a rookie league, the Yankees promoted The Martian, Jasson Dominiquez, to low Single A. Fine. Still, I cannot dismiss the sense that are using this kid as a public relations distraction - trying to tout an otherwise middling farm system. This seldom ends well.


Exit 33 said...

Do we have the new "Curse Of The Bambino"? Hal tore down the House That Ruth Built.

Anonymous said...

The "Moat" that was created in this stadium, to separate the unwashed masses from the special folks, has rendered this version truly sucky.
BTW, to add to your malaise, according to Spotrac, the Yanks have over 150 million committed to next year salaries, such as Stanton's 29M and Chapman's 18M. I would add like Britton and Hicks, but I don't want you to lose your breakfast.
The Archangel

Anonymous said...

11) Brett Gardner is still our #1 Center Fielder

and most mind blowing of all

12) The Yankees are in such a sorry state that there is a large percentage of readers and writers on this site, HUGE Yankee fans by definition, that will be actively rooting against the team when they play against Boston no less, so they can bottom out and hopefully get meaningful change!

To say it again, many of us will be ROOTING FOR THE BOSTON RED SOX this week!

If that doesn't blow your mind - nothing will.

Doug K.

JM said...

The schedule shows the Yanks playing Boston 8 of the first 10 games starting tomorrow.

If we take 6 out of 8, a highly, highly unlikely prospect, we get somewhere.

Anything less and we should see if we can get anything at all for a lot of our guys or go whole hog into grabbing real players from other teams, although all we realistically have to offer for them is piles of money.

JM said...

If only the Yankees had some balls. When a big-salary "star" can no longer cut it, is there anything in the contracts that say he has to be used? I doubt it. Can they be cut from the 40-man roster? I think so. They can always get picked up by some other team.

The solution to the long-term contract salary trap isn't to keep playing guys who aren't worth the money. It's to just drop them and bring up the Parks and even Florials, and see what you have.

But you know that. And we'll never do it. And Boston has. Which makes rooting for the Sox easier this weekend, although I can't do it. I. Just. Can't.

Ken of Brooklyn said...

Re Doug>>> RIGHT!!!!!! I'm actually rooting FOR the Red Sux, it's literally upside down Dada Surrealist Planet of the Apes Escher on Crack territory that I find myself in, never ever ever EVER in a million years did I think it would come to THIS!!!!!!!!!!

Carl J. Weitz said...

Gardner for several years has lost his biggest asset-stealing bases. That's why his attempts are way down the last few years. His hitting decline not withstanding.

@ JM- Sure, they can cut aging/non-productive stars but realistically only lower salaried players because I'd they did cut someone like Stanton, the would be responsible for every penny minus the MLB salary minimum per year which currently is around $575,000. So they would never do that as every team would want to add him to 40 man roster.

Carl J. Weitz said...

If they did cut*

HoraceClarke66 said...

The only time I ever "rooted" for the Boston Red Sox was when they played the Dodgers in the World Series. And then I "rooted" by skipping most of the Series.

I cannot ever root for the Dodgers or Giants, the two teams that skipped out on New York City. But that's as far as I go.

HoraceClarke66 said...

As for Jasson, he got his average all the way up to .200 in the Florida Complex League, with 2 stolen bases. No homers and 1ribbie, but fine.

So far, in the romantically named Low-A Southeast League, with Tampa, Jasson is 2-4. With TWO ribbies. And a double!

Well, fine.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I can't really say that the 1976-2008 Yankee Stadium was the original beauty. It was in fact almost a complete makeover—and a miserable one. But again, that "hellhole" factor Sherman writes about was great.

The current one has very little character—easier though it is on the upper deck.

But it was, all in all, a missed opportunity, and packed with all sorts of bad karma—and I don't just mean the buried Sox uniforms.

The Old Cathedral should've been rebuilt, with a few modern updates. As it was, the focus on luxury boxes was a disgrace. The destruction of a beloved local park was a disgrace. The MOAT is a disgrace.

The general shabbiness and corruption of the construction, the awful black monolith in centerfield, the botched "museum," the outrageous prices...probably don't fall to the level of "disgrace," but they are more indications of how essentially mediocre, uncaring, and generally shabby this organization has become.

Matt P. said...

New stadiums are needed to have open viewing when walking around and experiencing the park...I get that. 2009 was cool, you experienced a ton of new features, the grand hall is gorgeous to walk into and then they won a world series against a hated rival city in Philly. I used to have a great spot near an escalator in the loge (I know, old stadium term) that I would stand and watch Mo pitch the final outs and then scoot out to the Subway before the crowds. But everything has gone stale from there, most notably the team. And you realize most features are not built for the everyday fan, including prices and perhaps the most awful and nasty ushers in all of baseball. (So many parks have joyous elderly folks who love visitors and the game! Even the Mets have great ushers!) All in all it feels like a deathstar against US and the short porch has helped opposing players more than our own, especially lately. We love the crack of the baseball bat from a Yankee hitting a home run (which we seldom here now). Hal loves the CA-CHING of the cash register every time a $15 dollar beer is sold. It's sad. I live west coast now, 15 minutes from Angels stadium. It could have been a good model for how to upgrade the old stadium while leaving some of the old charm. And they have plans to upgrade it and the surroundings again soon. However, if you can go to San Diego it is the BEST park.

As for "rooting" for Boston, never...but you CAN root for the Yankees to lose in general even if it is Boston. We've hit that time where it is better for things to fall completely apart than pretend we are contending for the second wild card. Just look at Boston last year (and they did this in between championships too), and wouldn't you know they drafted arguably the best player in the draft as a result and are in first place thanks to a good manager. FML.

Ken of Brooklyn said...

Matt P> you are CORRECT!!!!!!!!
I amend my above statement to say that I'm rooting for the Yankees to lose in spectacular fashion with the SOLE purpose of it hopefully, against all odds, shaking up the status quo of the miserable small minded management of this team.

WHEW, I'm glad I was pushed to clarify, I just stepped off of the existential ledge, LOL!

Anonymous said...

@Hoss I think they should've installed a roof that opens and closes like in Houston or Seattle. With global warming causing more severe rainstorms, it sure would've been nice. We wouldn't have had to worry about Chapman whenever the tarp comes on the field and the endless rain delays.

In the last World Series, I had to root for the hated Dodgers. Because I despise the TB Rays. My hatred for the Dodgers is nothing but a tiny spark of fire, compared to a nuclear bomb blast for the Rays. TB, what initials for a city. I think we should call them "tuberculosis". After all, they are just as dreaded by Yankee fans as dreaded diseases like tuberculosis, leprosy or smallpox.

The Hammer of God

Anonymous said...

@Doug K. Yep, I'm rooting for the Bo Red Sux too. What the hell is the world coming to?

The Hammer of God

Anonymous said...

@JM We'll be lucky to win 2 out of the 8 against the Red Sux. I think the Sux take 7 of 8.

And this Yankee front office has got no balls. Or brains. They are the complacent fat cats of baseball. As long as they're raking in the money and saving their own butts from getting roasted, they're happy. Perhaps getting blanked by the Sux in 8 straight will wake up that fool Prince Hal.

The Hammer of God

Anonymous said...

@El Duque "The '21 Yankees' two best-pitched games - Cory Kluber's no-hitter and Gerrit Cole's 1-0 shutout in Houston - came with Kyle Higashioka behind the plate. Coincidence?"

I think both of those pitchers probably felt that they're not on the same brain wave frequency as Gary Sanchez, so they prefer to pitch to Kyle. Not really Sanchez's fault. I don't have much sympathy for pitchers who feel they can't throw to a certain catcher. They're being paid to pitch. Do they have to dictate who they're going to pitch to as well? Suck it up and just do your job, that's the way I see it.

We've seen Jordan Montgomery pitch well with Sanchez behind the plate. And Nester Cortez and the bullpen pitched great with Sanchez behind the plate in the recent Houston series. So we know Sanchez can catch a shutout.

The Hammer of God

Alphonso said...

I am rooting for the Yankees to lose. But not rooting for the red sox.

It is kind of a generic wish, ignoring the reality of it all.

No one mentioned that Aaron Judge, wile not all star MVP, did get an award for being " the tallest player."

Yankee Daddy Roger said...

My son and I were there for all three Astro's games, although we had to leave in the bottom of the eighth so that he could get to the ballgame to return to Arizona where he lives. Our leaving early clearly undid the juju magic we created by sacrificing goats on our arrival jets from Arizona and Connecticut.(My son works for Trackman; I practice law solo in New Haven) Nevertheless, we enjoyed 26 innings of baseball, and not once did the need to tank arise in our thinking. There were many Yankee fans there, and none of them were rooting for the Yankees to lose. I don't understand rooting for the Red Sox, no matter how frustrating this current embodiment of the Yankees may be. The Yankees are just as apt to screw up the tank as they have been in creating this left-handed-hitter-free lineup. I believe we should double down on our rituals, and pray for Gleybar, Andujar, Red Thunder, and the Martian. Pray that the Yankees find a left handed bat. It is the only way out of this maelstrom of mediocrity.

Anonymous said...

@Yankee Daddy Roger We can pray that Hal wakes up and fires the entire front office and brings in real baseball people to clean up this mess.

Ain't it funny that Gleyber and Frazier both have similar batting stances now, with both of them tapping the front foot? It looks to me that Gleyber is completely screwed up mechanically. I saw a side view of his swing a couple of weeks ago, and his front foot was still up in the air as he was swinging the bat!

When Jose Bautista said that he started hitting home runs after fixing his swing, I was really suspicious. But after seeing how Gleyber has lost all of his power, with his mechanics all screwed up, I've changed my mind. Maybe Toronto really was able to fix a glitch in Bautista's swing.

And we've seen Gio Urshela, who was a just a so-so hitter come here and become a much better hitter. And they've finally fixed Gary Sanchez's leg kick, enabling him to turn it around. For the most part, however, the Yankees just don't seem to be able to fix struggling players quickly. It took them three years to fix Sanchez. They've ruined Gleyber and Frazier and seem utterly incapable of fixing those two.

The Hammer of God

Kevin said...

Hammer, I have to disagree with your opinion. Coaches are only as good as the pupil is both in ability and learning aptitude. I always think of Ray Miller and his, "work quickly and throw strikes" bullshit. It seemed to the layman to be gold for roughly a decade. Then suddenly he became the "man behind the curtain". Chilli Davis, great hitting coach, until, I don't know. Bad breath? All three of our problematic hitters are young men. Who knows what is going on in their lives? WOMEN, wine, song, roids, pressure that gives them insomnia and causes them to muscle up on every swing? Dunno. But chances are that you or I see something wrong, it either isn't, or the coaches are all over it. Ultimately it's the player's responsibility to get it figured out. I'm of the opinion that organizations don't ruin players anymore, especially positional players.

Anonymous said...

yankee daddy Roger.
I too practiced law. Thank the good Lord that I LIVED LONG ENOUGH TO RETIRE in the lap of luxury down South.
Those that post here are realists.
This franchise has treaded water for almost 20 years.
Made several people very wealthy
Made the cost to actually go to games beyond the reach of many families and they insulted us along the way by building a MOAT to sell tickets to corporations and more rich people who don't love the game like we do. And , of course, playing games in steady rain to make their TV money.
We need a sea change in attitude and outlook for the franchise.Hal must lose money, Boone must leave and Cashman must be fired. We need an owner who actually loves baseball.

Sometimes you need to do a controlled burn to stop a wildfire.
So ,yes, I hope the Socks burn us down the next 2 weeks.

This is coming from a Yankee family that started 100 years ago when my immigrant grandfather rooted from them because Lazzeri was a Yankee and he came into NY through NYC.

The Old Retired Archangel

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

I'm not sure if I'm right about this, but probably the time to sell your property in New Orleans was BEFORE H. Katrina visited, not after.

Ditto the NYYs this week. Don't wait for the Red Sox to clobber us. Hey -- a split of the 8 games gets us nothing.

SELL NOW. Sell Big. Sell it all.

If you wait, and we go 2W 6L in the series . . . the people on the other side of the telephone when Cashmoney calls are going to visualize him over a very large barrel.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I am rooting for the Yankees to crush Boston, period. Having grown up largely in Massachusetts as a Yankee fan, I can't abide seeing the Sawx win anything.

Nor can I root against our boys. And who the hell knows? Baseball is so weird these days, teams seem so rickety, that it's possible if the Yanks' starting pitching could have a great second half—and SOMEBODY could be found to close—that TB and Boston could fall apart and they could win.

But I very much doubt it.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Don't count on anything changing anytime soon, if the Yanks should continue to drop. Really, I suspect HAL will let Coops "rebuild," which will take years. Only when attendance and TV ratings are way down, will HAL finally begin to take stock.

As to the Stadium, yeah, it's terrible that it's not better.

A dome would have been a smart idea, Archie, and I like the open-air top deck (where I almost always was), Mike.

But it was simply outrageous that—in a Stadium with massive public subsidies—they reduced the number of seats in order to build more luxury boxes. That should not have been allowed to happen.

HoraceClarke66 said...

As to the coaches...I don't know enough to say. But there is SOMETHING wrong when so many talented young players get hurt or go wrong in so short a time. A good GM would look into that. A very good GM would've nipped it in the bud, three years ago.

Thank goodness our latest DOA No. 1 draft pick already has a huge leg kick. That way they won't have to teach him it.

Kevin said...

Who knows? I spend most of my baseball time reading and watching the Yankees. But what is happening to us happens to other teams. Squads are decimated with injuries, budding stars get scouted and their confidence shatters, the will to succeed wilts, and we a oh so many cases where a player doesn't have the emotional resilience.

With all that being said, Yankee fans need to stop prattling on about tanking. In almost all cases it takes five years, give or take. Yeah, it's been done in two years but that's the exception, and we lack high floor talent in the minors, and most of our best talent has a low floor. Years of success, middling or otherwise will do that. And of course our GM has no experience with such a task. Finally, Yankee fans IMO are less than tolerant when it comes to losing. Hal knows that, and is hamstrung in taking that route. TANKING SUCKS.

Anonymous said...

I'll amend the "rooting for the Sox" and change it to "When the Yankees lose I will be more than good with it."

Boston is the better team by far so I will just let nature take its course. They don't need my rooting. That said if the Yankees win even one I will not be happy. I want them to get swept.

Doug K.

Anonymous said...

Ray of sunshine;
the last I looked our farm system has the highest winning percentage in the MILB.
Yes, many are retreads or fillers, but all farm systems are thus.
There really really may be hope in the not too distant future.
We have a lot of intriguing young players.
Have some fun with the Yanks and read about them in MILB or Sports Kibble.
Some may make it and some will be traded, but it is okay to dream.


The Pollyanna Archangel

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