Monday, August 23, 2021

Dismantling the myths of 2021 (with apologies to Dick Allen)

I'm a regular guy, pretty even keeled, put my socks on three at a time like everyone else. (What? You don't?)

So after a day off yesterday with Henri Sleeping Syndrome, I finally caught up to Dick Allen's post from yesterday. Don't get me wrong: I like Dick Allen. I respect him. I value his opinion. But I kinda sorta have to disagree with him on a couple of points. 

First, there's the myth of "we're only winning a lot because this was a stretch of tomato cans," otherwise known as a "soft spot in the schedule." The Twins, the Royals...yeah, Hunt's or Il Pomadoro, take your pick. One game against the Angels, not a great team there, either.

Three against the Red Sox, all wins. Yes, they have gone into a tailspin, but they were still in second place when we beat them, and had led the division for most of the summer. Sorry, no way can I call those guys a "soft spot." They are dangerous, and always are when we play them.

The White Sox? First-place team, so far ahead in their division that everyone else has gone home to finish the season on Nintendo...and we woulda beat them all three games without another stellar Boone choice for the game's "closer." Hint: he didn't close nothin'.

The Mariners? Not great, but if they were in the NL East, they'd be battling for the title. Take away the three out of four we beat them and they'd be leading. If you go back a bit further into July, we also went 4-4 against the Red Sox, took two of three against the Rays, and took two of two from the Phillies. Just before the break, we took two of three from Seattle and two of three from Houston.

Then there's the idea that "we sucked in the first half and now we're great in the second half, in large part thanks to the moves at the trade deadline." Well, we had stretches of suck in the first half and could look moribund, yes. But we also had a stretch or two of looking like a champ and winning a lot. It was the sudden and jarring switch from one to the other that sent the brain reeling.* We were in no way consistently awful.

Also, we started winning in early July. We were winning quite a bit, in fact, before the trade deadline. Are we better with Gallo and Rizzo? Yes. Heaney may even work out. Too small a sample size so far, to be honest. But the moves by Genius Boy came in the midst of winning, they didn't start the ball rolling.

This next one makes me a little uncomfortable: "nobody here thought we could pull this off." I'm uncomfortable because I went to Catholic school and do not like to push positive views of myself, even to myself. But in June, if not before (I'm too lazy to look; I'm sure someone else will), I was saying that we had a streaky team. We could win a lot, we could lose a lot over any chosen period, but all we needed was a winning streak to be right back in it. And lo and behold, that's what we got. Even among all the Covid ILers and injuries, that's what we got. It was always a distinct possibility. I have a feeling I wasn't alone in thinking it, but Juju understandably precluded some from saying it out loud (and still does).

So there, I've said my peace and laid myself open to criticism for my nebulous reasoning and shoddy lack of research. But these things needed to be said. OK, I needed to say them. Shoot me.

Now, let's catch the goddamn Rays.

*Speaking of reeling, I've been watching a lot of British crime/cop/mystery shows, and was astounded by an old episode of one from the 80s or 90s where a character used a Popeil Pocket Fisherman. In Britain. Keeping alive the legacy of the recently no-longer-alive Ron Popeil. "And it really catches fish!" was one of my favorite lines from his string of commercials, along with "The problem with buttons is, they always fall off. The problem with buttons is, they always fall off." The repetition of the line, with emphasis, continues to tickle my ad-addled brain.


Anonymous said...

Two men having a dispute come before the Great Rabbi of Molensk. The first man states his case. The Rabbi listens very carefully, considers, and then says, "You're right".

The second man jumps in and quickly states his case as well. The Rabbi nods his head and says, "You're right."

At this the Rabbi's disciple turns to the revered and learned man and says, "But Rabbi how can they both be right?" The Rabbi looks at him and replies, "You're right too."

Doug K.

HoraceClarke67 said...

Ghost of Hoss here.

I hear ya, JM. All this year, I've been thinking that X means the Yanks are done.

Those crushing, non-closer defeats. All the injuries. The idiotic, "no lefties allowed" lineups. Boston's sudden rise from the ashes, how good the Toronto Juniors looked at times, early on. The outright lethargy and disinterest that seemed to infect some of our stars (looking at you, Mr. Gleyber).

And I suspect that, in some glory years of bygone days (or is it glory days of bygone years?) teams would've run away and hid from us.

But I don't see that happening now.

Ran into a ChiSox fan on the subway before our series, who was bragging about what a bunch of world beaters is team is, with "one of the greatest ever power lineups and now great pitching."

Uh-huh. Did the Pale Hose look like the greatest ever to you guys? Does anybody?

I'm not saying we'll win it all. I'm still not even sure we'll make the playoffs. But our starting pitching has been way, way better than I thought it would be and having found, however serendipitously, some fielding and hustle, I agree that this looks like a whole new ballteam.

Which may last another two days. But still...

DickAllen said...

JM, you are a font of optimism! My hat, if I had one, would be off to you.

So you think the Sux and Chisux are dangerous teams?

Since July 1, the Sux have gone 19-24. The Chisux? 24-21. The Yankees in that same stretch? 31-13.

We caught both of those teams while they were sitting on the toilet reading Mad Magazine (my personal pre-teen favorite along with Soupy Sales). The Sux are not a dangerous team. They have finally arrived at a place where they know they're not that good. They can't pitch their way out of a paper bag. Except for Eovaldi who seems to have a resentment against the Yankees. The Sux collective WHIP is 23/30 in all baseball. Absolute rubbish. As to the team from the South Side, they are likely getting the August Blues being so far ahead in their division. A division that truly sucks.

As to your assertion that Seattle is a quality team? Bollocks. It's Seattle for heavens sake. If they were in the NL East, they'd be the Mets. The only point you make that is reasonably sane is that we took 2/3 from Tampa and Houston. Good on you.

What scares me the most is the feeling I have that at any moment an implosion can occur. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water. That and the fact that we still have a month of game left and I still don't have much faith in their collective ability. They fucked the pooch in April, May and June and I don't know if the team has the cujones to finish the job.

I love your optimism. I wish I could share it. But, again, good on you for your optimism. Someone in this den of iniquity has to keep rolling the joints.

And fuck the Tampons. And Harold. And The Brain. And Boooooooone.

Anonymous said...


Soupy Sales does not get anywhere near the credit he deserves as one of the funniest and most innovative "Kid Show" hosts of all time.

I used to have an office at the old Hollywood Center TV Studios and one day while rooting around the attic looking for a better desk I came upon a gigantic four foot by three foot photo of Soupy mounted on wood. It went right up on my wall.

The man was incredible. I still sing Pafalafika for no reason at all. I'm glad you put him in the same sentence with Mad Magazine. He deserves it.

Doug K.

ranger_lp said...

I met Soupy after one of his stand up shows at The Bottom Line years ago. Really nice guy.

"Now what do we mean by that?"

Anonymous said...


Very cool. That he was at The Bottom Line makes it even cooler.

Doug K.

DickAllen said...

Doug, I still have one of his blackboard sayings etched in my mind:

"You show me a man who carries his pipe in his back pocket and I will show you a man who burns his britches behind him."

Pure genius. I haven't sung Pafilafika since I was ten. But I will today.

" sounds so romantic in Turkey..."

DickAllen said...

Soupy at his best:

DickAllen said...

I might not get any work done today.

ranger_lp said...

Fun fact...Braves and Yankees tonight...first time in 120 years that two MLB teams with 9 or more game winning streaks face against each other.

HoraceClarke67 said...

Great fact, ranger!

Anonymous said...


You have to love that he's smoking and drinking in that clip.

I read his autobiography some years back and was blown away by just how much time he had to fill with basically outlines of sketches. Oh and NO budget to speak of. He was amazing.

Doug K.

Alphonso said...

I was with you until the footnote.

I am not aware of most that goes on in the entertainment world ( though I love British mysteries ...with subtitles ).

Is that fish thing a band?

ranger_lp said...

Yankee Roster Moves today:

08/23/21 New York Yankees recalled CF Jonathan Davis from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
08/23/21 New York Yankees activated RHP Clay Holmes from the 10-day injured list.
08/23/21 New York Yankees placed LHP Zack Britton on the 10-day injured list. Left elbow sprain.
08/23/21 New York Yankees placed 3B Miguel Andujar on the 60-day injured list. Left wrist sprain.

DickAllen said...

Well, JM, with two games against the Braves, and a west coast trip coming up, we will see if this ragtag bunch is for real, or if they're just buttons.

Will they fall off?

Kevin said...

Dick, your analysis certainly has plenty of merit, but I have to disagree on the Crux of the Biscuit. When the Yankees were playing your Tomato Cans, they weren't Tomato Cans. Those teams had been playing really well for months. Even Seattle was at least "respectable", and even "Great Teams" (we are not) will lose to such teams. For example, there were some playoffs back in the "first decade" that we lost to because we ran into buzz-saws. I will not recount those tales, I start having horrible flashbacks.

JM said...

I agree with everyone and think everyone has great points. --A. Boone

Ok, Dick, we can disagree. Though I side with Kevin. Those teams were better, or considered so, when we played them. Or something like that.

Anyway, it's all good clean fun, especially when you're drinking. These Atlanta games will be a big test. Let's reassess afterward.

Carl J. Weitz said...

I attended a Soupy Sales " concert " as a little kid at the Convention Hall on the boardwalk in Asbury Park, NJ circa 1965.He told jokes and sang his hit song. That was my first concert, I suppose. My second later that year was the Beau Brummels outside a record store at the Monmouth Shopping Center where they played 2 or 3 songs while wearing their ostentatious purple and green ruffled garb.