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Thursday, September 30, 2021

This is it, the night of nights


HoraceClarke66: "It could be worse."

 From the cigarette-and-ice tortured desk of HoraceClarke66...

 Let’s face it. Last night’s crushing loss probably put paid to our boys’ chances of making a playoffs they had absolutely zero chance of winning. (All right, a 1.9 percent chance, or whatever other risible number baseball reference has assigned to it.)

 Tonight we face the AL’s real Cy Young winner, and then we go on to face the best team in the league, while neither Toronto nor Boston is likely to lose again on the season.

Sure, there’s hope. The TB Rays might tank all three games to us. If they’re smart, the last thing they’ll want to see is Toronto in the playoffs. But that’s a pretty weak reed to lean on.

 So let’s look at what your New York Yankees won the night before last, to go along with that 29th consecutive winning season:  their 90th victory of the season.

 That makes 64 times they’ve won 90 or more games (including 21 times they’ve won 100 or more), out of 119 seasons. And really, just 116 seasons when, thanks to lockouts or Covid, they actually had a chance to win 90.

 Think of it. That means in 55 percent of all Yankees seasons—better than even money—the team won 90 or more games.

 For contrast, take a look at your New York Mets, who were 4 ½ games up on their wobbly division in early August, but now will ring up yet another losing season, their 34th in all.

 How many times have the Mets won 90 or more games in their 60, tortured years of existence?  Just 11 (including 3 in which they won 100 or more, the last time in 1988.).

 Sure, I hear you say, but the Yankees have been around much longer. True. Yet 30 of those 34, 90-plus-win seasons by the Bombers and 11 of those 100-plus-win seasons have come since the Mets have been in existence.

 The Mets are the only big-league team in New York baseball history that has stuck around for at least five years and managed to compile a losing record. 

The Yankees, the Giants, the Dodgers—hell, even Boss Tweed’s old New York Mutuals—all had winning records here.

 

Not the Mets, who yet again saw a major free-agent signing come to town and come apart at the seams. (Hey, say what you want about George Foster or Roberto Alomar, at least they didn’t turn thumbs-down at the Flushing Faithul.)


Year in, year out, under new management or old, almost every season is a major disappointment for our brethren in Queens and their fans. Like the song sort of says, one seasons follows on another, laden with sloppiness and tears.

Things could be worse. We could be…Mets fans.

There. Feeling better already?

The closer the Yankees get, the farther away the wild card seems to be

There's this slasher movie trope where the screaming babysitter - fleeing Jason/Freddie/Corey Lewandowski, etc. - staggers down a creepy hallway, only to see it telescope into an endless dark abyss.  

That's us, watching the daily standings. 

The closer we get to a wild card, the louder we scream. 

You cannot predict baseball, Suzyn... 

But you can predict slasher flicks, Jamie Lee.

Latest cause for panic: Goddamm Seattle, which looks increasingly like the guy in the hockey mask. Without the Mariners on a 9-1 run, we could effectively clinch a wild card birth tonight, by knocking out Toronto. As it is, even with a win tonight - no sure thing - we'll probably need to beat Tampa at least once this weekend. Michael Meyers is going to terrify us all the way to Sunday. For now, we can't kill the boogey man.

Still, painful as last night was, it did not capture our souls and send them to Hell. Here's why:

1. We came back. We fucking came back! Earlier this season, when down 4-0, it was time to switch the channel to pro Cornhole. Even after Joey Gallo flubbed that pop fly - (more on Barney Google later) - setting the table for Toronto to expand its lead, you had a sense that the game wasn't over. Last time we played Toronto - back in our ballpark - a lousy one-run lead seemed like Mount Everest. We fucking came back. That's not nuthin. 

2. Jonathan Loaisiga came back! Facing the heart of their order, he pulled a 1-2-3. If this were 1995, he'd be Mariano. Listen: I don't want to hang such a comparison on him; it's unfair. But if El Chapo crumbles next year, or next month, Loaisiga would become our closer. And if he's really back - that is, no aches or pains this morning - he's our Wild Card wild card. And Aroldis is our Wetteland. 

3. Joey Gallo needs a night off, and his bad wrist might be timely. Listen: I don't wish him ill - truth be told, I've warmed to ol' Googly Eyes - but Gallo's game has deteriorated, and it's time for Giancarlo to play LF, even on that carpeted parking lot. For the last two months, I believe Gallo has suffered the "Welcome to NY" slump that infects many sluggers. But lately, it's affected his fielding. He needs a few nights off, and tonight - facing LH Robbie Ray - is the time. (Not that Luke Voit as DH offers much; he looks terrible, though Luke often does before breaking out.) 

Whatever happens in October, Gallo will face a hard winter crossroads. If he's smart, he'll see a swing coach and overhaul his approach to hitting - at least when he has  two strikes, he needs to shorten his swing and make more contact. If he doesn't change, he'll be on the waiver wires by next June. But if Gallo adjusts, his best days could still be ahead of him. Today, his wrist gets X-rays. Let's hope it's nothing. But tonight, either way, he should sit. (And all this talk that Robbie Ray won the Cy Young last night? The Yankees must stand up for the pitcher who stood up for them all year.) 

4. Interesting, last night, how Michael Kay was outlining the final out choice between Tyler Wade and Rougned Ordor. He made it an arguing point - why weren't they using Odor? (Of course, Wade popped out, so in a way, I guess he's right.) And after the game ended, they showed Odor sitting alone in the dugout, as if Boone had ignored some great secret weapon? That's crazy. Wade has had a tough series in Toronto - twice thrown out stealing. But he's one of the Yankees most important players, and I'll take a .274 hitter, by far, over one who's batting .204. 

5. Kluber tonight. Can we get four innings? Then... gulp... German? Green? Wandy? Soriano? Aroldis? It's a bullpen night against their ace. And if we lose, the light at the end of that hallway is going to look 1,000 miles away. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

New Game Thread - Help Me Mr. Wizard!

 


I started setting this up before we got the run.  

Let's intervene! 

Here we go again...

 

The funny thing is, (Not funny ha-ha.) our little slice of the Yankee Fandom World has always known that in the end we would be playing the play-in game.  We've accused Hal of designing the team for just such an occasion. Not doing enough to win.

And here we are, on the doorstep of just such an event, and we are such chumps that we are excited and almost grateful.

I get it. We are Yankee fans. It’s impossible to root against the team. 

I tried. 

We all know that any success they have, even the lamest of success, such as being the second wild card, means we continue with Boone and Brain for another year. 

But still we thrill. Dare I say, we dream.

Stanton is finally everything he was supposed to be. Judge breaks a pinky and just pops it back in and hits a HR. Gleyber goes to the opposite field! Was that Urshala trotting around the bases?

Sevi’s back! Johnny Lasagna returns. Cole on the mound tonight.  

We’re as good as anybody!!!!!!

Plus, we finally have that magic thing that gives the team it’s character. The Thumbs Down Gesture! The Toe Show…

We have a turtle Goddamnit!  And not some stuffed toy of a turtle! A real one!

(Note to marketing department: Have 10,000 stuffed turtles with NYY Logo on back ready for sale at the Play-In Game.)

We could go all the way!

I get it. I AM it.  

But I can’t help hearing that small voice inside that says, “You sir, are an idiot. You know where this ends." Our collective said we make the play in. We did. 

Our collective says it ends with an El Chapo meltdown in a must win game.  Will it be the play in? Will it be the ALDS? ALCS?

Hal hopes we make it to the series. Because he loves the team and his goal has always been to restore the Yankees to their rightful place in the baseball universe? 

No.  

10,000 plush turtles aren’t going to sell themselves. 


Amid the looming future chaos, the Yankees have a chance to snatch a ring. They better use it.

You cannot predict baseball, Suzy. But you can read the writing on the outfield wall: In Syracuse, it's ads for lawyers and hospitals, engines of the local economy.

On that note, I hereby predict another Yankee post-season - and one that will never be forgotten. 

I believe historians will view the 2021 season as a year of transition, the height of the Plague Era, before the sport declined in popularity. It will have come before the Lockout, before the craziness. Not to get heavy here: America survived Dick Nixon and Sharknado IV; it will survive Bronxie the Turtle. 

But baseball, as we know it, is about to change.

The owners are freaking out over the length of games and lack of action. As they should. The sport has become a tedium of walks and strikeouts, which amplifies the influence - and inaccuracy - of home plate umpires. Eventually, this will bring us  automated strike zones -with implications we cannot imagine. But it will happen.

Nor can we foresee the endgame of this winter's looming labor dispute. It could be a strike. It could be a lockout. At its roots, the battle will rival American politics: It will pit big markets against small ones. Do the bigger cities get to use their financial leverage? For Yankee fans, it's pivotal: If a NY team cannot use its financial advantages, it actually faces a tougher battle than other franchises.

Apparently, Hal Steinbrenner will never sell. Why should he? At 51, he's a billionaire, several times over. Nothing can touch him. Still, it's been 12 years since America's most storied sports franchise won anything, or even reached the World Series. We are a perennial also-ran, a franchise perpetually falling to younger, hungrier teams. And fans can get ornery. (See Sunday's booing of John Mara by Giants fans.)

Soon, we will watch the rise of Baltimore. I know, I know... some of you snicker at such a concept, but it will happen. (Ask Boston, after last night.) It is the Iron Law of Tanking: Finish last enough times, and you build a powerhouse of top draft picks. It happened in Houston. It's happened in Boston several times. But the Yankees will never tank. Like a dog after a milk truck, they instinctively chase that wild card. 

For now, it looks as though the 2021 Yankees will succeed. Barring a huge collapse, we will reach the post-season, at least for one game. We have lost the last four AL divisional series, twice by walk-off HRs. Once upon a time, the Yankees sharpened their spikes for October. Now, they look overmatched. Whatever happens next month, they will have to win in another team's park. 

Tonight, with a little luck and Gerrit Cole, the Yankees will lower their magic number to one. Tomorrow, they can clinch a wild card birth. If so, they deserve our unbridled cheers. Yeesh, it's been a hellish year. They've taken all the bullets, faced everything that could go wrong: Slumps, injuries, mystery ailments, meltdowns - they've been kicked around and left for dead. But here they are, on the verge.

As is baseball. 

And maybe, as is America. 

Let's get ready, everybody. Win tonight and we can rest this weekend. Did you feel that icy breeze? October is coming.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Big Game Tonight

 

HoraceClarke66: "Oumuamua Youa"

 From the dark and disturbed, yet still salvageable mind of HoraceClarke66...

Dr. Odu and Dr. Ogu transported down from the Oumuamua to the same, seemingly abandoned warehouse along the Bronx River where they had materialized just three weeks before.


Lying on the concrete there was the same wino they had seen the last time—only now he was sleeping on his back, with an empty bottle of Night Train next to him, a Yankees hat on his head, and a beatific smile on his face. 

 Dr. Ogu and Dr. Odu frowned at each other, causing thunder to rumble over Queens. Then they passed into the warehouse, with its sign reading “JuJu Enterprises.”

 “Well, well, gentlemen, this is a surprise!” exclaimed the chief imp, rushing over to greet them.  “What brings you back to this neck of the woods?”

 “Consternation,” said Dr. Odu.

 “Over a certain series in Boston,” said Dr. Ogu.

 “I thought that might catch your attention!” exclaimed the chief imp, politely offering each of the doctors a bowl of blood. 

 “Management was certain that a soul-crushing sweep was in order,” said Dr. Ogu. “That is, a sweep by the other guys.”

 “Losing to the Red Sox in their evil yellow and blue jerseys. The Wild Card race, pathetic as it is, ending in Fenway before thousands of demonic, Bostonian smiles,” said Dr. Odu.

 “Yes. That’s what The Big Guy expected to happen,” said Dr. Ogu.

 “When he sat down in front of his big-screen for the weekend he was most disappointed. He was forced to switch to the Mets and the Jets for healthy, soulless entertainment,” said Dr. Odu. “Although he still has a soft spot in his heart for A-Rod and Joe Buck.”

 “Well don’t you worry your little…um, heads!” the chief imp told them a little too excitedly—shivering when he noticed how they had drained their bowls of blood without seeming to have so much as moved their strangely nondescript faces in any way whatsoever.  “We have the situation, er, well in hand!  Just you wait and see!”

 “Is it going to be a sweep by the Blue Jays up in Toronto?” Dr. Ogu asked eagerly, his eyes shining like a cobra’s. “You know, The Big Guy bought a patch on that jacket!”

 “Are they going to lose it in The Devil’s Triangle—that stadium down in St. Petersburg? You know he loves that place!” Dr. Odu asked eagerly, his incisors a suspiciously red shade.

 “Oh, you’ll just have to see!”

 “What, what, tell us!” the bad doctors said together, they were so excited. “The playoffs, is that it? Extra innings in the seventh game of the World Series???”

 “Now, now!” said the chief imp. “That would be telling!”

 “It’s all right,” said Dr. Odu, giving the chief imp a shoulder squeeze that left the little rascal wondering if his shoulder blade was broken. “You know, The Big Guy really trusts you, the way you came off that 13-game winning streak.”

 “We’re sure you’re going to outdo yourselves,” said Dr. Ogu, giving the chief imp a slap on the back that almost caused his pancreas to jump out through his throat. “We can’t wait to see what you come up with next on the Season in Hell!”

 “Oh, yes, you can!” laughed the chief imp, and after a few more affectionate nipple twists, head butts and wedgies, the doctors dematerialized again, and left.

 The chief imp look back at his staff, their faces still chalky with shock. Fortunately, that was how most people and even fiends looked around the doctors.

 Impatiently, he pushed back the usual piles of pizza boxes, half-eaten taco shells, and empty Cel-ray soda bottles. Underneath, the JuJu controls were turning bright red with heat, smoke pouring up from the console.

 “Dammit, who the hell stuck this software in?!” he exploded at his staff.

 “I don’t get it. It worked just fine with the Mets,” a junior imp programmer said miserably.

 “The Mets can take this stuff! They always loose in awful, evil ways!” exclaimed the chief imp.

 “Instead, it’s-it’s making the Yankees better!” pointed out another junior imp.

 Instinctively, they all started to back away from the console.

 “I don’t know if this season can take anymore!” an imp with a heavy Scottish accent said, helpfully pointing out the obvious. “I think it’s going to blow!”

 “It ALREADY blows!” yelled the chief imp. “I’m-I’m starting to feel like a fan!!!”

Okay, let's look at the prospects the Yankees traded to get this far...

As you know - to get where they are, chasing the one-game Selig Sweepstakes - the Yankees swung a July 31 deal with Mephistopheles.

They traded 10 prospects, draining an already depleted farm system. Over the next few years, as Baltimore inevitably rises - (well, you'd think they would) - the Death Barge will find itself struggling to keep pace.  

(Note: Baltimore's farm system currently ranks 1st on the MLB Pipeline site. Tampa ranks #6, Boston #12 and Toronto #14. The Yankees rank #19.)

MLB Pipeline dropped the Yankees several slots, following the late-July trades. So, as we head to Toronto - where we better damn well beat those beery, hateful Canadians - it's worth asking: To get to this hallowed precipice, how much of our future did we give up?

So... here's a snapshot.

To Pittsburgh, for reliever Clay Holmes (who, yeah, dazzled Boston two nights ago):

Hoy Park, 25, IF. So-so. In 115 AB with the Pirates, he hit 3 HR, 11 RBI and batted .191. He came up, hit for a week, then went cold. Still a legit prospect, in a Brigadoon Refsnyder sort of way.

Diego Castillo, 23, IF. At AA and AAA, he hit 18 HR, 54 RBI and batted .278. Will challenge for a starting role next year. Surprised he didn't make Pirates' top prospect list. Still, had a damn good year. 

To Texas for OF Joey Gallo:

Ezequuiel Duran, 22, IF, At High A, hit 19 HR, 74 RBI, .267. Uh-oh. Might regret this one. (Now ranked Texas' 7th top prospect on MLB. com.) 

Trevor Hauer, 22, 3B, former 3rd round pick. At High A, hit 15 HR, 70 RBI, .274. Got off to incredible start at Tampa farm, then cooled off. (Now ranked 14th in Texas.)

Josh Smith, 24, OF. At High A, hit 13 HR, 41 RBI, .309. A little on the old side. But nice numbers.

Glenn Otto, 25, starting pitcher. At AAA, went 9-4, 3.20 ERA. Was promoted to Texas, made 5 starts, 21 innings, 8.02 ERA, 0-3 record. Considered a power arm. (Ranked 24th in Texas.) This could be trouble.

To Cubs for Anthony Rizzo: 

Kevin Alcantara, 19, CF.  At Rookie level, hit 5 HR, 24 RBI, .345. Highly touted. At 6'6," the next Aaron Judge? (Ranks 16th on Cubs, despite being at low minors.) Still a few years away. But this could be the deal that haunts us.   

Alexander Vizciano, 24, starter RHP. At High A, 5.95 ERA in 19 innings. Was highly touted a few years ago. (Ranks 19th on Cubs.) 

To the Angels for whipping mule Andrew Heaney: 

Janson Junk, 25, starting RHP. At Triple A, pitched 93 innings, 2.81 ERA. Was promoted to Angels, made three starts: 12 innings, 3.75. (Ranked 22nd on Angels list.) 

Elvis Peguro, 24, reliever, RHP. Threw 55 innings at four levels, 3.58 ERA. Big guy, 6'5." (Ranked 23rd.) 

Keep in mind that the Pirates, Cubs and Rangers all have farm systems considered superior to the Yankees. So when new prospects slot in at high levels, they probably would have ranked higher in the Yankee system.

Alas, what's done is done. 

Without Gallo, Holmes and Rizzo, we're probably out of contention this week and waiting for Dog the Bounty Hunter to crack the Gabby case. Still, Rizzo is a rental, and Heaney, an abomination. Was Gallo worth four prospects? All I'm saying is that, whenever one of these guys gets a hit or strikes out a batter, the YES glee club praises the Yankee front office for its guts and genius. It's way too soon to be celebrating the Yankees as deadline trade winners.

In fact, the more you look at it, the more we better win that muthafukkin wild card! 

Monday, September 27, 2021

Reviving an ancient tradition, Giancarlo Stanton named IT IS HIGH Yankee Employee of the Week

 





Savor the moment: The Yankees just battered Boston at home, in the late innings, and even in their formerly lucky yellow pajamas

It started with a blowout and ended with Giancarlo Stanton Groundhog Day. 

By Saturday afternoon, Boston's lucky yellow jerseys had become a punch line, and an amazing surge of Yank fans had taken Fenway, like the Taliban in Kabul.

Best Yankee weekend since 2015 - last time we swept the Redsocks at home. 

We overcame two Little Leaguer dropped flies and a bonehead decision by Aaron Boone to remove a pitcher who looked unhittable. Twice, we overtook them in the eighth. Twice, indie fave Tyler Wade blew a stolen base. Twice, Giancarlo Stanton silenced his contract critics. (Give that man a raise!)  And twice, Aroldis Chapman, our nightly heart attack, held the lead.

So... the question: 

Will the Yankees, as they have done all season, now give away the three games in Toronto? 

Final week scenarios:

1. We stay hot and run the table, 6-0. This would mean a 12-game winning streak, but we've been there before. It would guarantee us home field advantage in the wild card, and the sense around baseball that we are the dark horse team to beat.

2. We go 5-1.  We're in. To steal home field advantage, Boston would need to sweep their final six, and I think Baltimore is waiting to surprise them.

3. We go 4-2. This means we win at least one game in Toronto. Thus, we're in the wild card, maybe as host. 

4. We go 3-3. Okay, now it's dicey. What's key is that we win at least one game in Toronto. If the Jays sweep us, yikes. 

5. We go 2-4. Uh-oh. We'd really need at least a win in Toronto. If we go 2-4, we have to be saved by tomato cans. 

6. We go 1-5. Let's hope that one win came against the Jays. We're probably dead.

7. We get swept 6-0. Loud boos in Yankee Stadium. The tabloids are furious. This sweep in Boston becomes the memory of a fart.

Listen: Any fan who has watched this 2021 Yankee roller coaster knows a full scale collapse is possible. It is what they have done all year: Get hot, then get cold. 

So... savor this moment. We just ruined Boston's week, month... maybe their year.

On that note, Trivia Question: Who is the 2021 Triple A Home Run King?

Answer:

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Game 156: To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women



Big game tonight.


 

Note to millennials: Long, long ago, this is how the Yankee-Redsock rivalry used to be

Biggest win of the season? Yeah. I'd say so.

Biggest comeback? Of course!

Biggest single hit? Probably.

Biggest moment since 2004, when Boston assumed dominance, finally restoring the Yankees atop the rivalry?  Um, humina-humina-humina...

Win tonight, and fans across Boston will be turning those $29.98 commemorative yellow jerseys into animal bedding...

1. Unlike the other night against Triple A Texas, which seemed a toad-licking flashback, what a it was joy to watch Luis Severino! Two scoreless innings. A fastball hitting 98 mph. How far can this go? (He is, after all, Setback Sevy.) Could Severino lead the Returning Yankee Vanguard of Hope? Can Jonathan Loaisiga return? Jameson Tailon? Could we receive an ICU bed infusion of horse dewormer?

2. In nailing down the ninth, El Chapo wasn't exactly Goose Gossage. And let's face it: We could still leave Boston tonight following a Cat-5, torture-chamber loss. The glimpses of Mean Chad Green warming in the pen had me peeing under the couch. For all the excitement, we are merely two games into a nine-game gauntlet. But damn, our chances sure have improved, and Boston fans are terrified. Long ago, my friends, this is how it used to be.

3. After four journeys around the sun -with countless trials, tribulations and gonadal tweaks - did last night finally bring Giancarlo Stanton's "Welcome to the Yankees!" moment? It certainly was majestic, in a Buckyfuckin Dent sort of way. If we win tonight - and do anything meaningful in October - that grand slam will be his glory moment. Just a reminder: He's only 31, with two-to-three good years left. Or am I still drunk?

4. Tonight, Boston throws Eduardo Rodriguez, a lefty. Would Boone dare put Judge in CF, Giancarlo in RF and stick Luke Voit, the circus strongman, at DH? (Keep in mind that Gardy has been a tough out, lately.) This offense needs to support Jordan Montgomery. 

5. Wait... ooh-ooh, jumpin' Jehova! Francis, what if a Juju God Court secretly restored the Curse of the Bambino? Wouldn't that be somepin!


Saturday, September 25, 2021


 Giancarlo murdered the bastards

Game 155: Murder the bastards

 

The day Ted Williams spit on the fans

All They Have To Do...


 .....is put on their normal uniforms for the game today.

The Yankees are comfortable playing against the canaries, because they can easily forget who they are actually playing, and where they are.

It seems like a bird cage with a field, not Fenway with a wall.

Devers seems like a clown in seaside colors, rather than a yankee killer.

I hope they don't figure this one out.

There is no fear in yellow.

Yanks beat Boston Yellowshirts! Now, will they roll over and give it right back?

The 2021 Yankees have proven to be a sexually compliant group - always seeking to provide a baseline of satisfaction for their on-field partners. 

If they dominate one night - scoring with abandon, and having their way at numerous positions - they'll show up next day ready to accept extreme degradation in order to supplicate their rivals. 

If the past is prelude, the Yankees will give back last night's victory, perhaps with chocolates and a promotional video. (Does Jeter have any leftover gift baskets?

This evening, we'll learn whether the Yankees are finally making their run, or they simply won a game last night and now will give it back.

Win today, and fears of a modern Boston Massacre will boil inside every Redsock Yellowshirt fan. Lose, and last night was just another false-positive.

Which Yankee team will show up?  

Which reminds me...  

1. Joey Gallo remains an enigma. Damn - he's such a K/W/HR - and yet he's a great fielder. Last night, early on, he ran down a shot into the corner, holding the hitter to a single. It meant runners on first and second, rather than second and third. Huge difference. Is there no way for this guy to alter his swing with two strikes and put more balls into play? Damn, if he could bat - say - .240, instead of .200...

2. Gerrit Cole's W-L record last night improved to 16-8, but because of that 3-run HR by Devers, his ERA increased slightly to 3.08. Today, Robbie Ray goes for Toronto. If he pitches well, Ray would almost wrap up the Cy Young award. But if he gets whacked - well... Either way, they'll each at least get one more start.

3. Today, it's Nasty Nestor (4 innings?) and Michael King (three?). If they make it to the eighth, it'll be mix-and-match. (I doubt Mean Chad Green goes two straight nights.) But if we have a shot - spoiler alert: It's Aroldis in the ninth, seeking to close the Gates of Hell. We always knew 2021 would boil down to that. Here it comes.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Why We Fight

Update from Mustang: Most of the links in this post don't work anymore. You must take their claims at face value.

This is an El Duque post from 2019:

Tonight, we once again battle the big-spending, hate-filled, deep-state Redsocks - a franchise steeped in racism and violence, which for decades preferred to blame its defeats on a supernatural, anti-God, anti-America "curse," rather than its own failed policies.

These are horrible, wretched, human beings, the absolute worst, whose treasonous attempts to hurt the Yankees are an attack upon America. These monsters in human form should be investigated by MLB and made examples of, by spending the rest of their lives in prison, where they can't do any more damage. They are enemies of the people, and the mere wearing of their illegal "B" caps in public represents a breakdown of basic morality and an affront to our democracy.

Did I mention that they are liars, and anything they say - such as denying the above words - proves everything I'm saying is right! Trouble is, the Boston-leaning announcers on YES never give the Yankees a break. Did you know that the traitorous David Cone, at the end of his career, sold out and pitched for Boston? 

Tonight, as we take up arms against this red tide of human scum, we must show them that we have not forgotten their evil history.


Red Sox complicity in U.S. torture flights

They fed their own fans prison food

They're bigger racists than Joe Torre ever was

Their groundskeepers are thugs


Varitek clawed A-Rod's face, kept his own mask on

Schilling poured ketchup on his sock, called it blood

They decapitate their players when they're done with them


Big Papi had it in for Joba for no reason

They tried to freeze out John and Suzyn.

They can't lose a game without whining about something.


Damn them. Demand that the pro-Redsock YES announcers give the Yankees a fair break! Tonight, we fight.


This back page is why we became Yankee fans

10 Questions for the season's final 10 days (Note: Some are not questions)

 1. Will Boston fans give Brett Gardner a nice ovation in his final at-bat in Fenway? Ever since they started ruling the "rivalry," the Redsock fan bros have sought to be magnanimous with retiring Yanks. (Two caveats. A, They are still assholes. And B, are we sure Gardy will retire?)

2. Is the Yankee-Redsock thing an actual "rivalry" any more? Boston crushed us this year. We remain the "2009 World Champions." Considering the near brawl yesterday between the Rays and Jays, that playoff match-up looks far nastier. Let's face it: The Yankees - 2009 World Champions - and the Redsocks are comprised of millionaires who golf together over the winter.

3. Should we bother to opine about winter moves until a new collective bargaining agreement takes shape? Baseball is probably headed toward a strike or lockout. The players union is still boiling over how the owners turned luxury taxes into a salary cap. Without their financial advantage, the 2009 World Champion Yanks have surfed mediocrity now for 12 years. Until the new contact is set, why waste valuable drinking time by pondering Trevor Story? (Whom I pray we don't sign, by the way.)

Joey Gallo
4. Oh, fuck dat, let's speculate. They'll have to sign somebody, just to save face. Still, aren't the 2009 World Champion Yankees' hands tied this winter? Nobody - not even Elon Musk - would want to assume the contracts for Giancarlo Stanton, Aroldis Chapman and DJ LeMahieu - and that's $60 million. Add Gerrit Cole, whom they must not trade, and there's $96 million - half the payroll -  tied up. They can write-off Zack Britton's $15 mill, but Aaron Judge's payday is coming. Plus Jigsaw Gallo? Yeesh. It's a mess. 

5. Isn't Cole just two quality starts away from the 2021 AL Cy Young Award? Right now, it's Cole or Robbie Ray of Toronto. If Cole beats Boston and the Blue Jays, he wins, hands down. Look at the numbers. No contest. Unless he gets blasted...  

6. After an uneventful premier season, will Jasson Dominiquez - our favorite Martian - maintain his fantastical prospect status? This year, age 18, he hit .252 with 5 HRs at low Single A Tampa. It wasn't terrible. It wasn't Mantle, either. The Yankees relentless hyped this kid through 2020, and I believe they used him to justify draining their farm system in August. (They kept assuring us they were keeping their best prospects - him and Anthony Volpe.) Well, is he real, or is he Melian? (Jackson Melian, look him up.)

7. Am I alone, or is the Redsocks' willingness to wear those silly yellow uniforms - which they are associating with a seven-game winning streak - a sign of nerves? Are they really choosing superstition over tradition? If so, all we need do is win tonight. Maybe it's their turn to ride the roller coaster.

8. Until Aroldis Chapman pitches a strong ninth in Fenway, he remains a dice roll. Frankly, I'd prefer Wandy Peralta. Still, let's give el Chapo credit: He's third in the AL in saves, with 28, and most ordained "nine-inning closers" have less than 20. This season has been a killer for closers.

9. Will John and Suzyn return in 2022? I have a feeling - a tingling spider sense - that this it, win or lose. That flood event, when Ricky Ricardo rescued The Master, was a warning sign. The guy is 83. He cannot be dealing with traffic jams and air travel. I think Suzyn would retire with him. We might be seeing the end of an era. Roll the tape recorders.

10. Should we not assume that, by now, every MLB player playing in October has been vaccinated? Would it not be crazy if a team - (looking at you, Tampa) - is decimated by Covid quarantines in the post-season? 

Thursday, September 23, 2021

How to Enjoy Our Current In-Season Post Season

First of all, congratulations are in order. It’s been a GREAT year and, to no surprise of anyone here, we have made the playoffs once again!  

MLB, with their never-ending wisdom and marketing genius, has once again altered the playoff format to everyone’s benefit.  

This year, instead of a play-in game to get to the Post Season we have the first In-Season Post Season. The ISPS is a round robin tournament that pits the top four teams in the AL East against each other in a death struggle to get to the play in game that gets the winner into the first round of the playoffs.

The Yankees will play nine games, needing to win only seven of them to advance. Get your popcorn ready. This is as close to what we old people used to call Real Playoff Action!

So, let’s talk about getting the most out of our ISPS experience

3 Games in Boston!

Tomorrow night the Yankees will be in Fenway, the site of the Bucky Dent Home Run. 

For you kids out there it was a one game playoff back when there were no playoffs to get to the playoffs to get to the playoffs.

But this blog post is not about just about watching them play in Fenway, where nothing ever goes wrong, and every lead is safe. This is about having fun!

Boston Tips

1) Find A Comfortable Place To Sit

Games against the Red Sox can last as long as a cricket match between India and Pakistan and contain the same amount of good vibes. You might as well be comfortable. 

Think of it like this, you are flying from LA to Melbourne Australia. Do you want to sit in coach in-between two fat guys with Covid or do you want to sit in first class next to a hot chick with chlamydial?  Sure it's not going to go well in the end but...

2) Pace Yourself

If you are going to drink alcohol, pacing yourself is VERY important. Don’t drink pre-game. By the time you reach the later innings you will be blackout drunk. 

Actually, being blackout drunk for Chapman’s meltdown in the 9th is not that bad an idea.  I’ll leave it up to you.

That said, it might be best to tie your consumption to on-field events.

Passed ball? Drink!

Gleyber throws late to first?  Drink!

DJ doesn’t move a guy up? Drink Twice! Once for the failure and once for the sadness of dealing with DJ’s decline.  

He was "The Machine" damnit!  Now, every time he comes to bat, I feel like I used to on cold February mornings in Brockport NY (Where the only thing in between the winds of Canada, made even more frigid by Lake Ontario, and Rochester, was my face.) and I’d sit in my Plymouth Fury and beg, “Please start. Please start. Please start.”

You’ll be drunk by the third inning.

And finally…

3) Buy a TV

Usually there are specials on electronics around the Super Bowl for viewing parties but that’s not what I’m talking about.  Chances are you have a nice big screen 4K or 5K TV already. I’m suggesting you go to Target and pick up a couple of 45 inchers for around 200 bucks each.

These are for destroying in the late innings.

Boone takes out Holmes after a 7-pitch inning to put in Heaney? You take out a TV.

Greene give up a two-run bomb with two outs and two strikes on Rafael Devers. You bomb a TV.

There is something very satisfying and dare I say Elviserating about this act.  

--- 

I’d write about having fun watching the ISPS against the Blue Jays but we’re not getting out of Fenway so what’s the point?

Enjoy!

I believe we have seen the last of Luke Voit playing first base... and other off-day ponderings

Someday, Luke Voit will be the answer to a great barroom trivia question: 

Who was the 2020 Covid home run king?

Also, as long as there are baseball card conventions and airport Ramadas, he will never starve. 

But last night, after watching him mosquito-slap one ball and throw away another - (a veritable Clint Frazier fielding display, then to be pulled by Aaron Boone, a rarity) - who here does not think he's done at 1B, at least this year? From here on, no more debate, no more squawking... it's Andrew Rizzo.  

Personally, I hope Luke has a comeback year in 2022, wherever he plays. And maybe he has a comeback weekend in Boston or Toronto. The Redsocks' Sunday starter will be LH Eduardo Rodriguez, and maybe Luke will DH. But for three years now, he's been a linebacker playing first, and that cannot happen anymore. He looks like a circus strongman, and, lately, he's been swinging a dead mallet. I won't blame him for the failure of Gleyber Torres at SS, but a DH playing first didn't help. Barring an injury, I don't think we'll ever see him play 1b again in a Yankee uniform.

So... an off-night and then... here we go.

Friday, Gerrit Cole v. Yankee killer Nathan Eovaldi. WTF with Eovadli? How did the guy come to hate us? You'd think we traded him for a butt plug, when all we did was not re-sign him. Still, a major fuck-up by Cashman. But this game is on Cole: If he pitches as he did against Cleveland, we're screwed, and it's over. We'll be three behind Boston with eight to play. This is the absolute most critical game of 2021, and we'll have our ace. No excuses. I hope Cole's dad shows up and brings the sign.

Saturday, Nasty Nestor v Nick Pivetta (9-7, 4.63). One of those 4:10 p.m. starts, which the Yankees seem to fumble away. That could put an evening shadow between the mound and home plate - a nasty shadow. If we won Friday, I like our chances here, because Nestor looks like the type who thrives under pressure. He reminds me of Luis Tiant and Bartolo Colon; in three years, he'll be one of those tubby, froglike pitchers who defy the portrait of a professional athlete. A strong outing on the national stage could create the Legend of Nasty Nestor. But if we're already down one game - that is, if we lost Friday - Boston will be on stilts. The rout could be on. 

Sunday, Jordan Montgomery v. Eduardo Rodriguez. Though Monty's the better pitcher, momentum will be everything, by then. We're ahead 2-0, I like our chances. If we're down 0-2, forgetaboutit. 

If we're tied at 1-1, it'll be on Monty, and who knows? But we have our best three pitchers locked and loaded, ready to go. No excuses. 

I hate it that we will apparently miss Chris Sale in this series. I think Boston wants to save him for a wild card game - if we're lucky enough to make it. We won't have seen him. That would be a problem - one I'd like to have. 

Finally, there is the matter of Aroldis. He can dominate. Or he can kill us. Same with Mean Chad Green. Hell, same with everybody in the bullpen. A little surprised that Boone went with El Chapo last night. I understand him wanting Aroldis to stay sharp, but I thought it a perfect chance to try Domingo German. He will be a "break glass" emergency pitcher in Boston.  

But not Luke. I do not think we will ever again see him play 1B for the Yankees. 

R.I.P. Glove of Stone.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Game 153: The Blue Jays lost today

 


Can the Yankees sweep Boston at Fenway? Gulp - they may have to.

In the bottom of every fast-food takeout bag sits The Last Fry. 

You must dig deep to find it, but it's always there. It's petite and shriveled, but way down there, it absorbed all that salt and grease from the order - your last chance at a heart attack! - and it's worth excavating for the sheer taste and satisfaction.  

Since baseball, as we all know, is a metaphor for life, I submit that this last tiny fry represents the final MLB Wild Card playoff berth. 

We can still find it. We can still raise it. We can still suck on it. But in the end, it's just going to sit in our gut and make us sweat.

Ten games left - nine against teams that sadistically put us in this limbo. And if we end up tied, we won't be handed The Last Fry. 

That's on us, by the way. We couldn't beat Boston - 6-10 on the season - which in other years would be, by itself, a reason for self-loathing. Nor could we beat Toronto - also 6-10 - and if we somehow win the season against Tampa - we are 7-9 - it will only be because they've clinched everything and honestly don't give a fuck about humiliating us anymore. 

Every AL East tie-breaker scenario leaves the Yankees without a seat when the music stops. Unless we steal a game tonight - that is, we win and Boston loses - the Yankees must sweep at Fenway, and for all its ups and downs, this team does not display that kind of heroism. 

In fact, if I had to pick the True Yankee Hero of 2021, it would be radio announcer Ricky Ricardo, who braved a flood to save The Master. Nobody has beaten that performance - or even come close.

Thoughts heading into the vortex: 

1. All this otherworldly happy talk about returning pitchers - Tailon, Loaisiga, German, Severino, Kriske - has a weird Sunset Boulevard vibe, and I feel like William Holden, stuck at the bottom of the bannister while the old lady creeps my way.  The YES announcers act as if something incredible is about to happen - the My Pillow guy has nothing on them - as all these Olympians make comebacks.

Sure, if they all return and pitch well - (while we're at it, let's add El Chapo, Mean Chad and Kluber!) - it would be a formidable boost. But they'll have to self-resurrect in Fenway, or the Rogers Center, without showing any rust, to pitch at the top of their game. 

Right now, here is our staff:

Cole (coming off his catastrophic loss)
Montgomery (holding firm)
Nasty Nestor (starting to crack?)
Kluber (improving, maybe?)
Fifth starter - Heany, King, Green, Holmes, Luetge, Peralta, Rodriguez, Abreu, Rodriguez and Severino.
Closer - Aroldis Chapman (don't get me started.)

Obviously, we can use an infusion. But parachuting guys from the IL directly into Fenway? Yeesh.

2. While we're yeeshing... check out Boston's stats over the last 15 days. Yikes.

Frankly, I don't know what to make of this. If Bobby Dalbec has finally arrived - and he's a .300 hitter - well, this blog should start devoting itself to Bridgerton, because we are fucked. Also, they have won without Rafael Devers and/or JD Martinez, and those two guys always kill us. 

Can we hold three ninth inning leads against this team... in Fenway? I'll be happy if we can take two in Boston, then two against Toronto, then two against Tampa. We go 7-3 down this stretch and hope the tie-breaker doesn't kill us. 

And if we lose tonight, we're probably never going to find The Last Fry. It must have burst out of the bottom of the bag.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Game 152: Voit still in time-out

 


It's time to talk about Dermis

In the summer of 2014 - as America was discovering Toy Story 3 and Ed Sheeran -  MLB began moving to a cap on international free agent signings - (a move that effectively killed the Yankees last financial advantage, by the way.) 

Thus, the franchise brain trust adopted a one-off strategy:

The Yankees would spend about $20 million to sign about two dozen teens - mostly 16-year-old Latinos (though Hoy Park, now of the Pirates, was also one. Estevan Florial is another.  Then, they watched most of them fizzle. 

In this class, the guy who got the most money was a strapping 6'3" 3B named Dermis Garcia, (the only "Dermis" I ever heard of. (Once, in a Woody Allen satire in The New Yorker, he wrote a Greek tragedy with a character called Epidermis, which I thought quite funny.) Dermis was said to possess first-round draft pick power (which made him, gulp, the next Jesus Montero, eh?) 

And that's pretty much his story over the last six years. For most of that time, Dermis was a dud. He hovered at Single A, moved to 1B (too big to play 3B) and hit tape measure HRs, just not enough of them. In 2019, he whacked 17 HRs and batted .247. He missed all of the pandemic year, 2020. 

This weekend, at Double A Somerset, Dermis hit his 31st HR, a franchise record. His  batting average is .210, the OPS at .793. Unfortunately, he has fanned 168 times - (that MUST be a franchise record) - more than one every third appearance. 

He is a young (23) cheap Joey Gallo. Three outcomes - HR, K, BB. He's definitely got power. (I have no clue of his defense.) 

So, do the Yankees protect him this winter on the 40 man roster? Do they trade him? What to do about Dermis? 

It's important to have a player with skin in the game.

Badabadoom.

Thoughts at the edge of the 2021 Yankee precipice

Last night, as the ongoing mediocrity known as the Texas Rangers steadily chipped away at our four-run lead - (while we continually went down 1-2-3) - the revelation hit me: 

Holy shit, this is it! 

Lose to these bozos, and we'd fall three behind Boston and - gulp - be tied with Oakland, creating a mathematical clusterfuck for the last Bud Selig wild card. 

Lose to these unvaccinated, backwoods cretins, and we'd practically need to run the table next week, and - I'm sorry, folks, but that's more toad sweat than I prefer to lick. Ryan McBroom doesn't live here anymore. We traded him for a pack of cigarettes. The Yankees are not going to steamroll Boston and Toronto like General Sherman, who - by the way - is now a tree. 

Also, let's not kid ourselves into thinking Tampa - with no stakes in the final series - will lie down against us. If anything, they'll revel in our looming demise. 

Tampa hates us with the heat of a billion suns, and that red tide souring their beaches just made them meaner.  They might phone in the final game, but they'd happily torture the NY team that steals their mojo every March. 

In the meantime, some thoughts at the edge of the 2021 precipice: 

1. Am I the only one who thinks the notion of Luis Severino pitching is the biggest sign of unbridled desperation since Trump hired Rudy? I mean, no rehab games, he just throws some bullpen sessions, and they bring him in? That's crazy! Sure, it'd be nice to see "Setback Sevy" again, but to have him shake off two years of rust and pitch in a high-leverage moment in a critical game? Dear god, everything we feared about this team... it's worse.

2. Nasty Nestor (Octavio) Cortez has been a wonderful surprise in a season of moldy breadcrumbs. But the drunk doesn't last forever. Last night, he wriggled out of a first-inning jam that, in retrospect, could have cost us the game. Then he imploded in the fifth. I don't know what playoff rotation Boone would use - we'll probably never know - but it would be nice if Nestor could pitch out of the bullpen. I think he's a three or four-inning guy, and we're going to need a few.

3. Aroldis Chapman threw a 1-2-3 ninth and looked somewhat dominant. Michael Kay shouted, "THE STARE IS BACK!" which sounded like the kid on Christmas morning, unwrapping the horseshit and yelling, "THERE MUST BE A PONY." Also, I say "somewhat dominant" because if the leadoff batter - a catcher who had struck out three times - had simply not swung the bat, he would have walked. And we all know what happens when El Chapo walks the leadoff man. 

4. Once again, the Yankees scored early and then napped. During the 13-game winning streak, they often snapped out of the doldrums by stealing bases. Now, with Tyler Wade and Andrew Velasquez safely removed from game action, they're back to inching glacially, base-to-base, and going nowhere. (Last night, DJ LeMahieu stood at second, choosing not to challenge their CF on a long fly nearly to the warning track; maybe it was a smart move, I dunno, nobody wants to get thrown out at third. But yeesh, that's our team now, slow and tiresome.)

5. Here are the Yankee batting averages over the last 15 days. As you see, nobody is hot. Nobody. And you're not imagining that our best hitter has gone somewhat cold.