Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Boonzooka Joe #1

Ok look, I just thought of this today so it will be an evolving thing...

That said... collect em all.  Even better make your own. 

http://www.bazookajoecomics.com/


On a team known for its giants, a diminutive Yankee saves the day

It's crazy to think of a "must win" game in May. 

Flat-out nuts. No such thing. 

Between now and the pumpkin patch, we'll see streaks and slumps, fantastical wins and indescribable losses - and so much turnover that we might barely recognize the Yankee lineup of October 1. 

So let's be clear: Last night was neither a season-saver nor a turning point. The Yankees beat Baltimore, a team with the 8th worst record in MLB, a certified tomato can, albeit one that looks to be ascending. By winning, they avoided: 

a) a four-game losing streak, worst of 2022

b) their second straight lost home series 

c) no longer possessing the best record in MLB. 

Still, last night, the Yankees enjoyed one of those unexpected moments that - when you look back - all great teams have during a fateful season. It came from Jose Trevino, a 29-year-old, stumpy, who looks like a miniature Jose Molina, with a dash of Luis Sojo - who - (keeping our train of obscure Yankee images going) - enjoyed his Jason Giambi arrival in NY moment. In two critical, late-inning at bats, Trevino singled in the tying run and then drove in the walk-off game-winner - flinging his hands into the air as he danced between first and second base. What a moment! Take his picture! Put it in his personal file! Someday, he will play in an Old-Timers Day, as that video appears on the Jumbotron. 

And make no mistake: Trevino did NOT save our season or rescue the Yankees from anything more than a no-good, very-bad, stinko, crapola week. 

But if Trevino failed - the way Gary Sanchez so often did, the way Kyle Higashioka has been doing - the Yankiverse today would be having - as they say on the list of side-effects during the TV drug ads - "irregular heartbeats, depression and suicidal thoughts." (But not an erection that lasts longer than four hours.) Even with the victory, our setbacks are mounting, as the Death Barge heads into the toughest part of the schedule.

Last night, a shoe dropped. Giancarlo Stanton tweaked a muscle. We know what comes next. Boonie will assure us it's a minor thingy, and that he'll soon be back. Then June will become July. Meanwhile, the spotlight glare of NYC will grow even hotter upon Aaron Judge, whose injury history is remarkably similar to Stanton's, and who has carried this team into first place, for now, in the AL East.

This came as DJ LeMahieu sat out with a bad wrist and Aroldis Chapman disappeared with a barking ankle. Neither had played well lately. Still, the Yankees will need them between now and the apocalypse. Jose Trevino won't have that many incredible nights. 

Still, we shall not bemoan the fates - not on Jose Trevino Day. 

For starters, let's NOT compare him to Gary - (hitting .216 with 4 HRs for Minnesota)- or Higgy - (.154 with 0 HRs, and out with Covid.) Or the two pitchers we traded to Texas for him. They are 26-year-old Albert Abreu - whom we came to call "Double A" - who currently has a 3.52 ERA with Texas - and a 22-year-old lottery ticket named Robbie Ahlstrom, currently in the low minors. 

Trevino, 29, last night raised his average to .246 with 2 HRs - fifth highest BA among Yankee regulars. For a team known for its giants, Trevino - at 5'11" - is tied with Jonathan Loaisiga, Nestor Cortez, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa for the honor of being the shortest Yankee. 

Here's to short Yankees. 

And JP Sears - 5'11" - today's starting pitcher, it's your turn. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Those Who Do Not Bottom Feed Will Not Get Fruit Cup!

 


Sportswriters, who like to write about major-league baseball as if it were junior varsity high school ball, will no doubt insist that the Yankees' glorious season of 2022 came a-cropper due to the fact that Horrible Josh Donaldson killed their mojo by so grievously insulting Timorous Timmy Anderson and Lyin' Tony La Russa.  

(Even as they personally do everything possible to make that distraction a reality.)

In fact, Donaldson was a(nother) terrible pick-up by GM Cooperstown Cashman, not so much because he dared to utter the words "J----- R-------" but because through nearly two months of the campaign the aged third sacker is hitting all of .238 with just 15 ribbies.  

Much as it's fun to moan about the mojo, in baseball—as it has oft been said—momentum is the next day's pitcher. In our case, that was our alleged ace, Gerrit "Sometimes You Win Sometimes You Lose and Sometimes the Lack of Ticky-Tack Gets Ahold of You" Cole. Who...came up short. Against the Baltimore Orioles.

Needing to do some truly gargantuan bottom-feeding before the schedule tightened again, your New York Yankees found themselves presented with the gift (we don't say "gifted") of 14 straight games against said Orioles and the J----- R------- inspired Chicago White Sox.

Against these perfect palookas, the Yanks started off red hot, going 6-1. Visions of an 11-3 or even 12-2 skein were dancing in our heads. 

Now, all of a sudden, they are just 7-5, meaning that an insufficient 9-5 is the best result possible, and that they may well do no better than split even, 7-7, against the dregs of the American League.

The problem isn't that Dopey Donaldson stole away their mojo. It's that this team lacked, from the beginning:

—A reliable closer.

—A reliable ace.

—A bullpen that could not keep from being overworked.

—A lineup that was anything more than four deep.

—Any depth, in the Bronx or in the minor leagues, that could rescue the club when the inevitable injuries started to deplete this dangerously overaged team. As they are doing now.

I would bring in Howard Cosell to say, "You heard it here, first"—except that I don't think this analysis was due to any particular perspicacity on my part. 

Instead, it should have been quite evident to any and all who have been following the Yankees during the course of Brian Cashman's career, and can judge the situation with any objectivity. 

(This last, of course, exempting pretty much every press box denizen of New York, who seem to bolt down more and more of the access Kool-Aid every year.)

The sheer number of tankers and soon-to-be tankers in the Junior Circuit will likely allow the Bronx team to go on competing for the Wild Card Play-In spot for much of the season. O happy day.

In the meantime, prepare yourself for those true bottom-feeders, the Tampa Bay Rays, who get a shot at our crumbling team next. 

I'd say drop that fruit cup, if you value your hand.















Hey, so I wrote a story and then deleted it but...

... before I could Mildred wrote a long comment and I realized that if I deleted the story it would also delete her comment and that didn't seem fair. 

I also don't know if she backed it up so I'm going to stick it in the comments here. 

Sorry if I caused any confusion. 



Suddenly, everywhere, you can feel the Yankees unraveling

This we know: Normalcy is an illusion.

In this modern world, everything can change in an instant.  

One day, the kids are playing soccer. The next, they're watching their town be shelled by invading artillery. 

One day, life is being restored. The next, MONKEYPOX!

Damn. Everything was going so well for the Yankees...

Even today, believe it or not, we still possess the best record in baseball. But tomorrow, well...  MONKEYPOX!

Everywhere you look - (one exception: Aaron Judge) - you see elements of the team crumbling or crashing to earth. Aaron Boone faces a wave of problems.

1. We have no closer. Right now, it's hard to imagine Aroldis Chapman holding any lead - even five runs. You see it in his eyes, or the way his fastball rises all the way to the backstop. He's lost more than his fastball. He's lost everything. But who replaces him? And how will Chapman react to being - in essence - demoted to a lesser role? This crisis has been a long time coming. Now, MONKEYPOX!

2. We still have a massive void in left field, where Joey Gallo has given the Yankees no sign of hope. The recent winning streak masked Gallo's failures, but now, his lack of production is glaring. This is no "Welcome to NY" slump. Gallo has now played four months (93 games) with the Yankees, hitting .166 with 18 HRs and only 29 RBIs. Imagine that: Take away those 18 HRs. and the guy has 11 measly RBIs. (Actually, fewer, because not all the HRs were solo shots.) Coupled with Aaron Hicks, the left side of the outfield has been a disaster.

3. We still face an inevitable plague of injuries. Last week, we lost Chad Green and Luis Gil - plus a bunch of Covids. One of these days, one of our irreplaceable players will tweak something - they always do - and the cupboard is bare in Scranton.  

The farm system has failed to produce an MLB-ready impact player who might boost the team. The high hopes for Oswald Peraza (hitting .200) and Oswaldo Cabrera (.186) are now pleasant memories of spring training. If one of our big hitters goes down, we are a staggering short distance from Greg Bird (.196) or Ryan LaMarre (.208.) And we still don't know what to do with Miguel Andujar, steadily rotting on the vine (down to .289.) 

4. Some Yankees have simply played above themselves. Jose Trevino. Nestor Cortez. Michael King. Tim Locastro (before his injury.) Much of the bullpen. How long can Clay Holmes continue to be lights-out? Some players will face a correction. That will bring pain. 

5. The Josh Donaldson thing. Have you noticed? It's not going away. Even Boone says it was a stupid move. And here's the rub: It will worsen on the road.

Donaldson will face questions in every city. He'll hear about it every time he steps to the plate. To make matters worse, his dustup might turn out to be the fulcrum point of the Yankee season. We're in a losing streak, the worse of the season thus far. 

Before, everything was going so well. 

Ah, but that was yester-MONKEYPOX!

Monday, May 23, 2022

This Water Is Getting Dirty


 So now Donaldson gets shelved.  Suspension for bad behavior, and a Covid IL kicker.

Unfortunately for Chapman, his MRI came back negative. so he has no excuses for sucking.  There must be a psychological mis-alignment that is triggered by profuse sweating, and surfaces as the "yips" on a fastball.?  I am not a doctor, but....

So Boone will bring up Andujar and play Gonzalez at third.  

The red hot, gold glove Hicks will move to left.  So Miguel will have a really good view of things from the bench.  And can pinch hit and fail. 

Meanwhile, Florial gets his last shot in CF.   Do something or sell ceramics .

Someone is going to get injured tonight.  I can feel it in my wings. 

Honk. 


Dept of Eternal Hope: Jasson Dominguez went 5 for 8 yesterday in a doubleheader, and he is now leading the single-A Tampa Tarpons in batting

 


He's hot. And still 19.

Of regular CFs in the Florida State League, he's got the second highest batting average.

Why am I doing this to myself? 

The Variant Is Back...


 The Yankees were the first team in ages to lose both ends of a double header in the modern era. ( Anyone who does research to contradict this will be dealt with harshly ).

They score 1 run in 18 innings.

They did so by hitting one solo HR. 

Our closer ( whom Boone still defends as such ) peed himself.   Wouldn't it be nice if the manager was honest?  And said;" Chappy hasn't been the same in a while.  He starts sweating as soon as he steps on the rubber.  His fastball is like everyone else in our bullpen, and that slider is now like meat waiting to be eaten. I'm going to re-assign him as an inning eater in one-sided games." 

Instead, Boone plays the age-old manager card of, " I don't want to rattle this confidence." And prays that it will make a difference. 

No matter who plays for the Yankees, the big hit doesn't happen.  The rare in-game opportunities to turn things our way results in a pop up or a strike out. 

Then the defense starts to wobble and strange things happen ...not in our favor.  ( See that non -reviewable ground ball hit off the shoe of Henderson for a base hit?).  Why the fuck do we still live in a world where any umpire calls are not reviewable?  Half of their calls are wrong. And now two guys get put on the covid list even though they have not tested positive for covid. What?

So our bullpen now resembles the vegetable offerings of a 7-Eleven, rather than the selections and fresh produce of a Wegman's;  Chad Green is done and dusted ( and he was one of our best ); El Chappy is melting like the ice sculpture in spring;  a potential new arm ( pre-tested last season ) from Scranton has gone missing ( Luis Gil );  Castro has lost confidence ( which cost him his Mets job ) and Leutge throws about 78 mph.  And does anyone really believe King will remain this good?

We have a closer that Boone won't call our closer.  But he does the closing in big moments.  His name is Clay Holmes. 

Baltimore beat us 9-6 last time we met. Leutge got drilled for a three run walk-off dinger. 

Our starting pitching has been great.  And it doesn't matter. We lost two.

The old Yankee failings  have returned like the omicron variant. 



This Tony Deserves an Oscar

 

Tony La Russa's been around a long time, as this pic from the bad old days of the sartorially challenged Sox will tell you. 

He's a baseball lifer who was even on the field when The Mick hit his epic, 1963 blast into the rafters of the Original Yankee Stadium, the shot that shook loose the pigeons or the bats or what-have-you, depending on who's telling the story. 

The point is, he knows what he's doing. And what he was doing on Saturday involving the great Anderson-Donaldson kerfuffle was not right.

  

In the ChiSox clubhouse after the game, Tony put on a performance that deserved the full recognition of the Academy.

Had Josh Donaldson said something racist?

Yes, confirmed La Russa, setting his jaw grimly. It was racist.

Oh, asked the assembled press corps. What was it?

No, La Russa demurred, casting his eyes down to the floor, as if this seasoned old salt thought he had seen just about everything in this tired old world but this—this—took the cake. It was racist, was all he could say. And he was not about to repeat it.

The implication, of course—which someone as savvy and experienced as Tony La Russa must have known would be the case—was that what Donaldson had said was something truly horrible and obscene.

We all know the word I mean. I'm not even going to dignify it with its usual euphemism here. Obviously, it was supposed to be that word—or one of its close cousins—that Donaldson had spewed out. 

Except, as we learned, it was "Jackie." As in "Jackie Robinson."

Which, I completely agree would also be an appalling racial insult if Donaldson had just picked it out at random to apply to a Black player. Suspension, banishment, the works—if that was what he did, throw the book at him.

But as it turned out, "Jackie," in this case, referred to Tim Anderson calling HIMSELF "the new Jackie Robinson" in an SI piece in 2019. Which Donaldson has mocked him for ever since—claiming it started as a friendly joke between them.

Now, I don't take much exception to Anderson going off on this, during a hot, frustrating afternoon in the Bronx. Even the mildest insults get under the skin after a time. 

And maybe this one was said with a certain, racial insinuation—an intention that Anderson picked up when most of our white ears would be oblivious to it.

By most accounts, Donaldson sounds like a true, old-school asshole—'nother great pick-up, Coops, sure glad we don't have that Correa instead!—and maybe he did make that further insinuation.

But for La Russa to deliberately try to turn it into something much more gross and blatant...

Yes, Tony La Russa has been around for a long time.


This is the same Tony La Russa who swore up and down that he had no idea that his Oakland Athletics were juicing, even as the players he was managing were merrily shooting up in the bathroom stalls and blowing up to Macy's parade-balloon proportions before his eyes.

The same Tony La Russa who, for that matter, never had a word to say about Albert Pujols' 73-inch neck in the years he managed the Cardinals.

The same Tony La Russa who helped hang the sportswriters who first uncovered the juicing out to dry, rather than face the reality of what his own team was doing. 

PEDs were what first wrecked the balance of the game, nearly 35 years ago now; nearly all of the subsequent foibles in restoring it (or capitalizing upon it) can be traced back to what was going on in that A's lockerroom. 

Infinitely worse has been the massive wreckage of not only professionals but countless young, amateur ballplayers who thought that they, too, had to bulk themselves up by artificial means—and thereby did irreparable harm to body and mind.

But Tony La Russa still insists he didn't know a thing.  

Now, along comes a dust-up over what may or may not have been a racial implication. Of course it should not be taken lightly. Racism—and especially, white-on-Black racism—has long been the leading bane of this country, and there should be zero tolerance of it.  

But TLR decided that this was a good moment to pour a little fuel on the fire, incite misinformation, and tap into one of the most dangerous currents in America today...just to get his team rolling.  

It was a helluva performance. One that makes me think that La Russa ought to bow out on it, once and for all.

Suddenly, bad omens for the Yankees are everywhere

How does something collapse? First, the lies on which it was built are exposed for all to see. Then, its mightiest pillars reveal structural weaknesses, worse than what was believed possible. Finally, it receives an unexpected stress.  

The Russian Army. 

The Amanda Heard legal defense. 

Netflix. 

Crypto.

The Yankees...

This being a Yankee blog, I'll forego my deep dive into the statistical nuances of Etherium. I'll stick to bombastic attacks on Joey Gallo. 

It sure was one nice run - April 22 to May 22 - a month of glory! But yesterday's debacle revealed massive falsities and withering strengths - leading up to a jolt that's about to come.

WTF is happening? Well, where do we start? 

The lies. That Josh Donaldson was just being clever, that the White Sox can't take a joke, that his comment was just a dustup and will be quickly forgotten. 

Sorry, folks. Donaldson has stepped in it, and the smell is going to linger. I think it's going to get worse.

Listen, we live in a racially charged world, and words are often skewed beyond original intent. Generally, I favor the jesters - the comics who make jokes, even bad ones, sometimes. If a line makes us laugh - be it from Bill Maher or Dave Chappelle - we can all use a few. But if your punch line clanks, you own it. 

Was Josh Donaldson being witty by calling Tim Anderson "Jackie?" I don't think so. He was being a fucking asshole, and - yeah - it definitely conveyed racial undertones. I wonder what Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton, and Aaron Hicks, and Cameron Maybin and CC Sabathia are thinking... as they contemplate the Yankee response - or lack of it. This is a bad thing. A really bad thing.

The pillars. Our bullpen is the best in baseball...

For a month now, I've cringed at the sight of Aroldis Chapman warming. And when he's on the mound, I can't escape the look in his eyes: Pure, unadulterated terror. 

His fastball scares nobody, and that slider - the pitch that was going to keep him dominant until age 40 - it's heading for the bleachers. He hasn't been the Force of Nature since Rafael Devers - as a rookie - cleaned his clock. 

El Chapo has given up a run in each of his last five outings. Do we dare bring him into a save situation against Tampa Bay, or Houston, or the Mets... or any team with with a lineup that doesn't include Anthony Bemboom (the new IIHIIFIIc name of futility  by the way.) 

Along with the loss of Chad Green to impending TJ surgery - and the sense that the Yankees will perform an even more painful cut on Green, abandoning him after years of loyalty - suddenly, our bullpen looks like Lake Mead in the drought. Simultaneously, some of the arms being touted in the minors - one named Will Warren recently garnered hype, then got rocked - don't look like sure things anymore.

Somebody must close Yankee games, and he'll have to do it while the regular closer battles his demons. In the meantime, no lead is safe.

The jolt to the system. The Yankees still have the best record in the AL East...

The stress comes Thursday, when we visit Tampa. Now, wanna buy some Etherium?

Sunday, May 22, 2022

While two Yankees Go on Covid Watch.....


 Chad Green gets scheduled for Tommy John.   

It's been nice knowing you, Chad.  Thanks for the effort. 

Did I just get a call about Luis Gil?  (He'll call back).

Note to editor :  That third baseman of yours better not call me " Jackie," or some pejorative of my color.

I'll come honk him. 


In a run of 22-4, the Yankees sure didn't need a dispute over racism

It's hard to figure out what Josh Donaldson planned to achieve yesterday by calling Tim Anderson "Jackie" and triggering a near bench-clearing fight. At worst, it was a racist slur. At best, it was an exceptionally stupid taunt, especially from a 36-year-old veteran.

It comes as the Yankees were winning again - they've taken 22 out of their last 26, opening their biggest lead this season (5.5 games) in the AL East. It should be celebratory time, but here are today's headlines...


When the Yankees traded for Donaldson, he was advertised as a savvied, hard-nosed veteran and solid teammate. Today, he looks like an idiot - perhaps worse - prompting questions about why he's been on six teams in 12 years.

He needs to explain his actions to the public and, if necessary, apologize to Anderson, the White Sox and his own team.

The Yankees have been on their greatest run in years. But they are almost done with the Orioles, and heading into the toughest part of their schedule. 

This is a bad deal. 

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Let's get real.


 
We turn officially to hot town, summer in the city, back of even No-Neck Williams' neck turnin' dirty and gritty weather.

Your New York Yankees are playing .737 ball, 5 1/2 games ahead of their leading division rivals, and 6 in the AILC (All-Important Loss Column). The sun is out, the heat is on, and we got a twinbill lined up against the same Pale Hose baseballers we just thrashed in Chicago. 

The good folks at baseball reference give the Bronx team an 11.3 percent chance to make the World Series and a 98.2 percent chance to make the postseason—both percentages trailing only the mighty, Los Angeles Juggernaut Dodgers.

What's not to love?

Time to get real. And hey, as the movies tell us, reality bites.

(And hey, was Winona ever so young? Were any of us?)

The hard, honest truth is, folks, this Yankees team—at least as presently constituted—is not making the Fall Classic, unless we're talking the PGA RSM Classic at Sea Island, Georgia. 

Much less winning it.

There just aren't enough hitters in this lineup to overcome top playoff pitching. The bullpen is already giving way.  

And already, Cashman's paper-thin depth is wearing through—thanks in part, of course, to our Peerless Leader, El Duque's Icarus-flying-too-close-to-the-sun moment, when he just HAD to go poke the juju gods (We understand the impulse, Duque. It's like John Cusack needing to "tickle-the-dragon" in that Los Alamos movie. Before he even got to sleep with Laura Dern.)

Friends, this team ain't gonna make it through another four months. Get those dreams of a World Series—or even a division title—out of your head, lest they trouble your sleep.  

Let us look instead to some realistic goals. And they would be impressive accomplishments:

—Nothing in our world today is 98.2 percent certain. BUT, this year's Yankees might just make the much-adulterated playoffs (that is, finish in the top 40 percent of the league). Which would make the 24th time in 28 seasons. Which is not nothing.

—All the Yankees have to do is go 54-70 the rest of the way to clinch their 30th straight winning season. Which is also not nothing, second only in major-league history to the 39 straight winning years the Pinstripers compiled from 1926-1964.

That's all ye can hope for in this world, and all most of ye baseball fans can hope for. Welcome back to HAL's Big House of Mediocrity.







 

Yankeetorial: Will someone please explain to Aaron Judge that if he wants to stay a Yankee for life, he better start to suck

Every day lately, it seems as though Aaron Judge is hitting a big HR, or driving in a big run, or making a big play in centerfield - in essence, ensuring that his days as a Yankee are dwindling down. 

Doesn't this man give a whit about his team?

Doesn't he care about the threat of inflation?

Does he just hate New York City?

Judge claims he wants to be a Yankee for life. Ha. If that's true, he better stop playing like some $300 million MVP-level slugger - and return to earth, cap in hand. Surely, Judge knows that if he singlehandedly propels his team to the 2022 world series, he'll end up leaving New York: The franchise simply won't be able to afford him and all his championship malarkey. 

Listen, people: Money doesn't grow on trees! And even if it did, trees don't grow in Gotham. Owner Hal Steinbrenner, the prince of prudence, does not have the kind of money that Judge -posing as a Triple Crown threat - would demand. 

To show a little concern about the Yankees, this giant ingrate ought to launch an 0-for-40 slump, or a stint on the 60-day list. As it is, Judge is literally trying to embarrass the team by homering his way out of pinstripes.

And for this, we're cheering him? 

Rather than stand for Judge, fans should not only stay seated but, in fact, swivel around to face the opposite direction - (not an easy contortion, in fact, somewhat painful, if you have a bad back) - to tell this arrogant nincompoop that we will NOT be held for ransom, and our owner will NOT go penniless... just so Judge can win a ring and a bunch of post-season awards.

If he wants a batting title, or an HR crown, or a ticker-tape parade - whatever - I say, trade him! Now! To the Dodgers, or the Redsocks, or the Mets - whomever wants to go in hock to buy their precious little pennant! We fans will be happy, thank you, with Jasson Dominguez, who went 1-3 last night for the Single-A Tampa Tarpons, lifting his average to .238 (but he's young) - and you know what? Now that I'm on a roll, I say, let Judge take Giancarlo Stanton and DJ LeMaheiu with him, because we prefer an owner who practices fiscal responsibility and isn't afraid to fight inflation! 

Stick to your guns, Mr. Hal! We're behind you all the way!

Friday, May 20, 2022

The Booth

INT – HAL’s OFFICE – DAY

A calendar on the wall says February 2022. A meeting is taking place between Hal, Brian Cashman, and Michael Kay.

Hal:  Looks like Coney’s going to be doing a lot more for ESPN this year we need a replacement.

Brian:  Why don’t we give more games to O’Neill?

Michael Kay:  He’s losing it. He hasn’t left his basement in over two years. I spoke to his wife. He’s taking all his meals down there. They had to install a toilet. Half the time when he’s on the air he’s taking a crap.

Brian:  Also, Singleton is serious this time. He’s out.

Hal:  Damnit. OK, we need new blood.

Kay:  We could try Maybin. He’s raw but likeable.

Brian:  That sound’s right.  Should we move Ruocco to full time?

Hal: He’s out grown us as well. Plus, Levine just showed me the cost of powdering his head to keep it from shining on camera. It’s prohibitive.

Kay: We still need a third guy. Even I can't talk that much.

Brian: Yes you can.

Kay: Well I don’t want to.

Hal:  Yes you do.

Kay: Well, I could if you wanted me to me too.

Hal and Brian: We don’t.

Kay: Then who? Riccardo?

Brian:  Heh.

Hal:  What?

Brian:  I’ve got an idea.

Hal:  It’s not extending Hicks for another 5 years is it?

Kay:  I hope it’s better than trading four guys for Gallo.

Brian:  Cut it out! I can solve our booth problem and settle an old grudge.

Hal: Go ahead.

Brian:  Beltran.

Hal: Fuck that guy.

Brian:  Hear me out. We make Beltran the third guy.

Kay:  Are you nuts. We hate him for masterminding the Astros cheating scandal. Besides he’s shy and fairly inarticulate in English.  

Brian:  Exactly.  We make him the third guy. Put him back in the spotlight. Feed him to the Twitter Dogs. Humiliate him. Make. Him. Pay.

Hal:  Interesting… go on.

Brian: Every Yankee broadcast he will be exposed. A lightening rod for anger. After a couple of months, he will quit to “pursue other baseball interests” “spend more time with his family” who gives a shit. He will quit.

Hal: Yes! Let’s do it.  Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Kay:  I always knew you had a little Michael Corleone in you.

Kay exits.

Brian:  Next on the agenda… extending Chapman.

 

 

 

 

After a loss, the Yankees just don't look so dominant, but at least one rock remains

It's hard to sweep four games in another team's love cave. Even against Baltimore, our favorite can of tomatoes. 

Yesterday, as we surrendered lead after lead, you felt the cosmic juju burden continually shift: It's damn hard to take four of four. And as Meat Loaf might have sang, "Eight out of ten ain't baaaad..."

Soon, we will be done with the O's and Chisox. Soon, we'll face our real world nemeses - the Rays of Tampa - with a new crop of interchangeable names. 

Who the hell is Manual Margot, anyway? He's a short, stout, bearded RF who is hitting - gulp - .348. Where did they get him? Well, they had him. He's 27. This might be his year. 

Ever hear of Harold Ramirez? Of course not. They got him from Cleveland, by way of Miami. He's a DH, hitting .321. He's also 27. 

Yandy Diaz? Don't ask me. He's a 3B, hitting .287.  

And don't get me going about their pitchers. Two starters - Drew Rasmussen and Shane McLanahan - have ERAs of 2.33. How the fuck? Year after year, they just replenish. Wander Franco? Shit. I just thank God that Randy Arozarena didn't turn out to be the Second Coming of Hank Aaron, as he seemed to be two Octobers ago. Otherwise, we're done. If fact, until we beat Tampa, all those wins against Baltimore - well, they count, but they do not matter.

You know how Aaron Judge seems so locked-in on this contract year, potentially his last in NYC? Well, every Ray is in his contract year - always. They're always on the verge of being traded. Tampa never lets a player walk. They always convert him into a younger version. If they ever go into Bitcoin, the U.S. dollar is toast.

Soon, it's Tampa. Meanwhile, a tough loss late yesterday. As a throw bounced past Marwin Gonzalez, putting the leadoff man on base - we once again realized how critical Anthony Rizzo is to the Yankees. (He'd been tossed out of the game for arguing a strike.) 

Surely, right now, Aaron Judge is the team MVP. But after Judge, you'd have to ponder all the errant throws that Rizzo has scooped from the dirt or turned  into lunging tags - only then could you realize the difference Rizzo has made.

Which brings me to someone who might yet be salvageable in the Rizzo reality. Down in Scranton, Miguel Andujar now plays almost exclusively at 3B - (as he should have for the last three years.) For nearly all his time at 3B, Miggy was throwing to Luke Voit, a bona fide NFL linebacker, but not a 1B. You have to wonder what might have been?

Last year, Gleyber Torres flopped spectacularly at SS. For the most part, he was throwing to Voit. 

Tyler Wade, Thairo Estrada, Andrew Velazquez... always troubled, always throwing to Voit. 

Look, I can't hang all our infield woes on Luke - who always battled hard. (Right now, with San Diego, he's hitting a sub-Gallo .174 with 2 HRs.) But the difference between a lug nut and a gold glove at 1B - it's the Marvel multiverse where, instead of Peter Parker, Spider-man is Peter Falk. (Hey, there, Goblin, ya'know, I got one more question...) 

Soon, Tampa. But this time, we have the right guy at 1B.


Thursday, May 19, 2022

When Chekov Said It Would Be A dark Winter ......

 ...he might have foreseen this late spring day in Baltimore. 


I have been publicly removed and silent for some time now.  Corresponding with the historic start of this surprising Yankee team. 

Bt today I saw the beginning of something heavy and grim.  

The yankees could not hold on to a lead or a tie with the Orioles.  And it didn't matter who was utilized.  A leak in the dam appeared and widened the innings wore on. 

Aaron Hicks extended his batting streak to 4 hits in his last 46 ( maybe 47 ) at bats.  His last at bat was with the bases loaded, and on a 3-2 count he lurched at ball four in a wild attempt to get a big hit. A walk drives in a key run.  Instead, he struck out.  Another non -productive at bat which will diminish the laudable "on base percentage" El Duque flashed at you in his rant, above. 

Castro was let go by the Mets because of control problems.  With the Yankees, his control has. been excellent, and he has been " lights out effective."  On this day, however, with the Yanks trying to sneak away with another one run win, he walked the first batter he faced.  It was a clear sign to Boone to get him out of there.  He didn't. And it cost us the lead. 

Chad Green, soon after,  left the game with a strange feeling in his forearm. Think that is just a mosquito bite?

Rizzo was thrown out for challenging a pitch about which we don't think he said one word. But once an umpire ejects someone, they stay ejected. 

That forced Boone to use Gonzalez at first base.  This guy is a really useful utility player.  And has come through on many occasions lately.  When he got to bat he fouled a ball wide of first base.  Video replay showed the ball did not ricochet off his leg, even though he flinched and grabbed behind his knee, as though it had.  He remained at bat but took a strike three that just looked too good for him to miss.  Unless he was pre-occupied with pain somewhere.  Watch for trouble here. 

In a 6-6 moment, as the bottom of the ninth opened, Boone did not do what he had previously done.  In an away game tie, he had used Chapman to pitch the 9th.  This time he went to Leutge, who had not pitched in about 8-10  days.  Has the trust in Chappy fallen that low?  Leutge low?

Needless to say, Leutge failed and we limped away.  Patting ourselves on the back that we won our " 9th series in a row ."

So mistakes were made by players, by the coaches, by the pitchers, and a bunch of  injuries have struck like sleet on the windshield. 

It is still May.  But beginning to feel like December. 

Brrrr.....

Well, it's happening: As soon as we publicly mentioned the lack of Yankee injuries...

My bad. I screwed up. This is on me...

I hereby call upon the U.S. Supreme Court - and/or the Secret YES Network Star Chamber - to ban me from all Yankee public discourse that violates the natural laws of juju. 

I should be tomatoed, milk-shaked, turnipped - whatever foodstuff it takes, to learn me a lesson. On Saturday, I took to the Al Gore Information Superhighway to boast of how the Yankees had escaped injuries this season, despite the Gilbert Gottfried-voice inside me shouting, "Shut the fuck up, you reanimated pork rind." In that moment, my celebratory ejaculi mocked the low-level deities whose soul function is to fix sporting events. 

Yes, I pissed off the juju gods.

What can I say? I drank the bathwater. The Yankees had suffered one key injury - one - to Domingo German, a pitcher so far out on our depth charts that you'd need the Webb space telescope to find him. I thought myself witty and juju-proof. I was a fool.

The 1st rule of juju: Nobody talks about juju.

The 2nd rule of Juju: If you think of something witty, keep it the fuck to yourself.

Since Saturday, Yankee minor league catcher Ben Rortvedt - perhaps assuming the role of team juju magnet - has undergone knee surgery. We still have yet to see The Rort in action. Now, he's out until July. It looks like a wipeout year, a Pavano.

Last night, Luis Gil - who days ago delivered a serviceable spot start - pointed to his elbow and walked off the mound for Scranton. Call me a fogy, call me a loon, call me an Uber... but I hate to see Yankee farm hands point to their elbows and walk off the mound. Today's new reality: We might not see Gil until 2024. If so, it's on me.

Meanwhile, another Yankee farm hand has been jettisoned for stealing teammates' belongings, selling them on the Internet - and then scamming buyers with bogus merchandise. Wow. Was he stealing from teammates and fans... at the same time?  Now, that's a profit margin. This kid doesn't belong in baseball. He has a future in crypto currency.

Meanwhile, Aaron Hicks! This weekend, he will reach his 100th AB of the season. Hicksy - said to be baseball's best golfer! - is hitting .204 with one HR. One. (Could Pete Mickelson do worse?) But before you shout, "Estevan Florial!" Hicksy's On Base Percentage is .342 - 4th on the team behind Judge, Donaldson and LeMahieu. He's higher than Stanton. He's higher than Gleyber. He's way, way higher than Joey Gallo - then again, so would be the electrified corpse of Arnold Palmer. 

One of these days, Hicksy will heat up. Then, and only then, he will point to a part of his body and walk off the field. That's what Hicks does. He starts cold, gets hot, gets hurt. Cold, hot, hurt. Cold, hot, hurt...

On that note, I'm going to shut the fuck up. He's all yours, juju gods.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Yankees cut minor leaguer for allegedly selling stolen equipment

I guess the Yankees have been stealing more this year. 

https://www.nj.com/yankees/2022/05/yankees-cut-3rd-round-prospect-who-allegedly-stole-equipment-from-teammates-and-tried-to-sell-it.html

BALTIMORE — The Yankees considered Jake Sanford a legitimate hitting prospect who could hit with power and play both corner outfield positions. Among his teammates, however, he was known for stealing.

The Yankees cut Sanford over allegations that he repeatedly hounded teammates for their equipment to sell online, while also occasionally swiping it from their lockers," 


Boone-speak

 

So you've heard of "Stengel-ese," the rambling, crazy-like-a-fox language the greatest of skippers, Casey Stengel, invented in order to simultaneously entertain and befuddle writers?

(I hope you've heard of it. Otherwise, well, I just despair.)

We now have "Boone-speak" ("Boone Badinage?"), courtesy of new friend Mildred Lopez.

Mildred—any relation to Hector?—passed along these quotes, from Boone's assessment of The Man Who Never Was, catcher Rort Biceptvedt. Somehow, in between rehabbing the right oblique strain that

has kept him out all this season and raiding small Saxon villages along the coast, Rort of the Norse also managed to injure a knee.

Or did he?

"We'll see. It could be some kind of surgical procedure that he may have to get," Ma Boone tells us.

Translation: Rorty will need surgery.

"It's something he's dealt with in the past," Ma Boone tells us.

Translation: Brian Cashman acquired even more of a pig in a poke than we thought possible.

No, Rorty is not "only" a 24-year-old who hit all of .169 in his only, partial major-league season. Nor is he "only" someone who has never played in more than 90 games in any professional season, nor hit more than 7 home runs in any such season, or run up a lifetime, minor-league batting average any higher than .242.

Nope.  Muscles Rortvedt is also, it seems, perpetually injured, having "dealt with" tweaks, creaks, and obliques—and bad knees—before.

In the past, Cooperstown Cashman was always ready to settle for lottery-ticket, Single-A pitchers. Now we're down to injured Vikings. Wouldn't more international signing money have been a better deal? You know, so we can sign the next Martian?

Prepare the flaming longboat! This one's starting the long voyage home to Valhalla.

 




A Lose/Lose

As long as we’re piling on…

The last two posts, one by El Duque and one by JM, point out that there be some rough waters ahead.  

Chapman cannot remain the closer. On that we’re all agreed. For the record, trade him for ANYTHING. It would be great to get some decent minor leaguers for this “top closer”, but the truth is, he is Sanchizian. Addition by subtraction.  

Brain – Do it today!

As to the schedule… Yes, June is going to be a bitch but if you are the best team then you beat the better competition. It is a Crucible as JM points out. It’s also a gauntlet, and a freshman paddle hazing, a voting line in GA, and what’s it’s like talking about important things with my ex.

Sadly, we’ve got bigger problems.  

Not just Joey Gallo (And may I add to the chorus of praise in recognition of the Duque line, “Joey Gallo approaches like a sanitation worker creeping up on a talking turd”)

That's some great imagery right there. 

Not even Aaron Hicks. Although you’d think that having 2/3 of your outfield be, for the most part, worthless is both a short and long-term issue. The problem is the other outfielder... 

Our Lose/Lose is Aaron Judge. 

MVP candidate. Home grown hero. Heir apparent to Derek Jeter. Beloved by all.

Here’s why...

Judge is having one of those special years that will enter Yankee lore and we should all thoroughly enjoy it. He's been nothing short of magnificent!  

It’s not a good thing.

If the Yankees are not planning on signing him, they should trade him. We missed out on a windfall for Cano if you recall.

But you can’t trade your superstar during a career year when the team is one of the best in baseball and a championship seems doable.

That’s a Lose.

So, he stays. Finishes the year. Wins the MVP. Maybe we win the Series. More likely we don't. He becomes a free agent. He signs with the Mets, or anyone really, and we get nothing for him.

That’s a Lose

He Stays. He Signs With Us.

We overpay in money and years. Money is a problem because… Hal and the budget we shouldn’t actually have. We lose flexibility going forward. The number of years is a problem as well. He’s heathy right now but let’s face it we still wince when he plays full out.

That’s a Lose.

I guess the best scenario is we win the Series because… duh. And then we sign him.  The worst is we don’t win, and we don’t trade him, and he signs with the Mets.

Like I said above... just piling on.  

The Crucible

 


Coming soon to a TV near you. Enjoy May.

Apparently, the Yankee plan is to let Aroldis Chapman close until he starts blowing games; last night, he came close...

You better sit down, kids. 
I'll tell you why.
You might not understand, kids.
But give it a try.
Now how should I put this.
I've got something to say.
If El Chapo is closing,
The game's going away...

Pssst. In the kitchen. It's Cher. She wants to talk... It's about Aroldis.

Last night - in case you switched to the heartstring-tugging piquancy of NBC's This Is Us - El Chapo pitched the ninth. He replaced Michael King, who'd thrown three perfect innings, fanning six. I don't fault Aaron Boone for the move. He didn't want to overuse King, and this was a classic save situation - a two-run lead - the kind of finger food that Chapman is supposed to devour without chewing.

Everything looks copacetic. Chapman fans the first Oriole on four pitches. The guy appears overmatched. Next batter grounds sharply to third, a lunging stop by DJ LeMahieu that later, in hindsight, will take on more significance. 

Two outs. Mop up time. Ho-hum, right? Well, suddenly, Chapman fires a fastball directly to the backstop. Higashioka barely touches it. It's as if a rubber band just snapped. On a 2-2 count, he gives up a single to left. Tying run at the plate. Hmm. Fortunately, the next batter is Robinson Chirinos - hitting .141 - who spent much of last year as a Scranton Railrider. First pitch, he lashes a line drive single up the middle, nearly takes off Chapman's glove.  

Tying runs on base. Hmmm. Next batter hits a fly to LF that Joey Gallo approaches like a sanitation worker creeping up on a talking turd. The two-time Gold Glover plays it on a hop, holding up at the last moment. WTF? With the game on the line, Gallo holds back. It's lucky the O's had a catcher on first base. Only one run scores. 

Tying run at third. Winning run at second. The O's best player, Cedric Mullens, at the plate. Clay Holmes warming in the pen. The Yankees strategize at the mound, a moment sponsored by Cellino & Barnes, or somebody. Mullins swings at the first pitch, a towering foul pop to third, LeMahieu catching it and celebrating like Charlie Hayes. Chapman looks like a rescued hiker who just spent the night atop Everest. The Yankiverse sighs with relief.

Remember all those games our bullpen lost last year, and the year before, and the year before that, with out-of-body, traumatizing moments of pain? Well, we just came within an inch of our first Chapo meltdown abomination of 2022.

I get it that there is "tradition" in Chapman as closer. Last night, he tallied his 9th save of 2022. He is tied for fifth in MLB. Three of the closers ahead of him - Jordan Romano (whom we recently battered), Liam Hendricks (whom we recently nearly battered) and Daniel Bard (he's still around?) - have higher ERAs than Aroldis (at 2.65). Aside from Milwaukee's Josh Hader - who hasn't given up a run in 14 save opportunities, no pitcher is a sure thing - though King (1.40) and Holmes (0.49) - are damn close. 

Still, here's the moral of last night:

We can never feel security with Chapman closing. 

It doesn't matter if there are two outs, or how dominant he looks after the first batters.  

At any moment, Chapman can start flinging balls above the tree-line, and then leaving sliders over the plate - and suddenly, the game is out the window. 

Changing closers is never easy. But at some point, this will bite us. 

The O's last night were a warning. Soon, the Yankees must deal with a dark reality. Our closer is the weakest part of our staff. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

"There but for the Grace of God..."

 

So, after last night's big Yankees win—and yes, EVERY Yankees win is a big win—I switched over to the Mets' channel, to see if they might still be on.

As it happened, of course, the Metsies had been rained thunder-storm-threatened out, and so they had a "Mets Classic" on instead.

Which baffled me at first. 

What was playing was a Mets-Pirates game from what the screen told me was "9/27/12."

I could not recall either franchise playing a significant game that season—certainly not so late on the calendar—and so I turned to the good people at baseball reference.

My memory has (not yet) given way completely. The 2012 Mets went 74-88, good for 4th place in the NL East, 24 games out of first. The Bucs were 79-83, good for fourth in the NL Central.

So why was this a "classic"?

Turned out, it was the day R.A. Dickey nailed down his 20th win on the season.

No disrespect here directed toward Dickey, a pitcher who overcame a seemingly insurmountable, physical handicap to become a major-league pitcher.

Dickey not only went 20-6 that year, but also led the NL in shutouts, complete games, and strikeouts, to win a well-deserved Cy Young.

The Mets traded him after the season, in a deal that brought them Noah Syndergaard from the Blue Jays. Dickey got a big new deal...and was a perfectly mediocre pitcher in the AL East. So it was win-win all around for us Yankees fans.

But what it also led me to realize, with a little shiver down my spine, is that this is the sort of thing that qualifies as a "Mets Classic."

SNY seems to own the rights to pathetically few big Mets games as it is...but there have also been pathetically few big Mets games over the many years. 

Much as we scream and holler about the inadequacies of HAL, Cooperstown Cashman, and the rest of our boys—and we have to, how else will they get better?—if just a few things in the Jujuverse had been a little different...any and all of us might have ended up rooting for the wrong team in town. We might be left with reliving the halcyon day of 9/27/12, when our feel-good story of a pitcher had his one shining moment...before we trucked him off to Canada.

Kinda makes you wonder, doesn't it?







On Saturday, the Yankee farm team in Tampa struck out 24 times in one game

In the second inning, Grant Richardson hit a pop fly to CF.

In the third, Roberto Chirinos hustled out an infield hit to 3B. 

In the forth, Anthony Siegler flew out to CF.

In the seventh, the Tampons Tarpons mounted a rally: Siegler singled, and Alan Mejia grounded out to 2B. Siegler moved to second, then stole third. Connor Cannon was hit by a pitch. And that was all.

Everybody else, 24 batters, 24 strikeouts. 

They struck out swinging. They struck out looking. In the ninth, with the game still theoretically on the line - a 1-0 score and only one out - two guys walked. Then the others struck out. 

Twenty four out of twenty seven outs... 

KKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK...

The future of the Yankees? The future of baseball? Did the fans go home that night and say, "What an exciting game!"

We can't yet see it from here, but a Yankee championship season will mean avenging a long and painful vendetta list

This we know: Father Fate is a maniac. The great spring can become a long, hot summer. The best record in baseball means nothing... in May. As a bathroom wall once told me:

April may...
But June julys.

Still, let's face it: We're smitten. We're guzzling the Kool-Aid. Going forward, anything less than a 2022 Yankee world championship will mean a disaster - that the ghosts of 2004 still rule our universe.

This must be our year. It's all or nothing. I never thought I'd say this, but if it means trading prospects at the Aug. 1 deadline, so be it. The Yankees cannot squander this opening without a meltdown/letdown of epic historical proportions, and I don't need to see a replay of Javier Vasquez pitching to Johnny Damon. 

I don't mean to heap more pressure on the Yankees, by why kid? This is no year to chase a Wild Card. We must win the AL East, decisively, and lock down home field advantage through October. This is the year we must face down the demons that have tortured us over the last two decades. 

It must start by dominating Boston, who currently has the seventh worst record in baseball, 12 games behind us. Despite their issues, the Redsocks are merely 4.5 games out in the Wild Card - it's May, after all! We won't see them until early July, just before the All-Star break. 

Until we beat Boston, we haven't beaten Boston. 

We must continue through Tampa, currently second in the AL East. Ten days from now, we visit them in a four-game series. Ten days is a lifetime. 

Until we beat Tampa, why should we believe we can beat Tampa?

Then comes Houston, currently with MLB's third best record. We play them four times, beginning June 23. That's way too far ahead to speculate. 

Until we beat Houston, we have never avenged their cheating - which they now downplay with The Big Lie. And when they beat us, it lets them say, "See? We've always been better! There was no cheating..."

Of course, we must beat the Mets, whom we won't face until late July, days before the trade deadline. They are NYC's most popular team, whose owner more resembles old George than the son who reputedly shares his DNA. (I think Hal was adopted from a sperm bank run by the Dolans.) 

Until we beat the Mets, they carry the swagger and the pride of New York.  

In the end, it will bring us to the Dodgers, the best damn franchise in baseball. It's been a quarter century since people looked at the Yankees and said, "These are the perennial front-runners..." 

Until we beat the - oh, fuck it - it's too far out to speculate. It's like those NASA pictures from deep space - somewhere in those strange and exotic pinpricks of light are the answers of the universe. But all we see is a mosaic. 

You can't predict baseball, Suzyn. But here's a prediction, anyway: 

Anything less that a trip down the Canyon of Heroes, and 2022 will sit atop my list of late-life Yankee disappointments. Get ready to bundle the prospects, Cash. It's all or nothing. The universe is calling. Buckle up! Here we go!

Monday, May 16, 2022

Rangers Come From Behind!

 


Congratulations to all my fellow Rangers fans out there. 

Last night, as many of you know, the Broadway Blueshirts became the first NHL—ever—to come back from a 3-1 deficit despite trailing in all three of the comeback games.  

This is such a tremendous victory that our city's oldest professional ice hockey team is even making a run at St. Peter's basketball, in the total back covers standings.

Pretty cool—and, I have to admit, much better than I thought they'd do. After their initial, heartbreaking loss in triple overtime, at home, I figured that this Rangers season would end—like so many others—not with a bang but a whimper.

I was wrong. 

And now, in our juju-haunted world, the question arises: Does the rise of the Rangers have some greater meaning?

Could this be a sign of the End of Days?? (You know, besides all that incidental, worldwide plague, constant mass shootings, war in Ukraine, deteriorating climate, democracy in peril, bees no longer producing honey stuff.)

Or...could it be an omen for your New York Yankees, presaging some greater destiny come this October???

I dunno.

But being a Rangers Skeptic, and based on the whole, long history of MSG's cavalcade on ice, I expect that this gutsy, heart-stopping victory will be followed by...losing in four to the team formerly known as at the Boston Whalers.  

And being a Yankees Skeptic, I suspect that our own Pinstripers' season will also likely end sooner than greater.  But hey, we can always dream!