Friday, December 30, 2022

Homage to a Champion.


So the great Pelé died yesterday, age 82, making it all the more a shame that Brazil could not manage to bring home one more World Cup for him. 

Pelé was the man who brought soccer into the modern age, and to worldwide dominance. Shepherding it out of its adolescence as an intense turf battle, played mostly by rival ethnic groups or communities under the shadow of factory walls and smokestacks, to—for better and worse—the grandiose spectacular we just witnessed in Qatar. 

Pelé, more than anyone else, made it "The Beautiful Game," leading Brazil to three Cups in four tournaments. And after a career spent mostly in his native land—a near impossibility for such a star today—he became the "ambassador of soccer," bringing his game to the US in 1975.

This was with the New York Cosmos, of course—the only other club Pelé actually played for besides Santos (another near impossibility today). Those were the wild and whacky days of the Cosmos, with the team winning three, North American Soccer League (NASL) "Soccer Bowls" in the course of four years, and routinely drawing crowds of over 60,000 and even 70,000 to Giants Stadium.

(A 1977 playoff match against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers drew 77,891 customers—a record for soccer in America that stands to this day.)

I was at some of those games, and they were great fun, a mob scene, but never threatening or violent—as the baseball crowds of the time could become. I was even at Pelé's (supposed) last match, a friendly between Santos and the Cosmos, in which he played a half for each club.

Pelé scored in that game, as he usually did: a Ruthian 1,281 goals in 1,363 games, including league games, friendlies, international tournaments. He was past his best days by the time he got to New York, but he was still in great shape—as the picture here indicates—and still a constant threat, someone the opposition always had to keep an eye on, even when he was not doing much of anything.

This was supposed to be the start of a new era, but in fact it was already the twilight of the NASL. Instead of inspiring America's youth to go gaga for the beautiful game, Pelé mainly inspired dozens of other, aging stars to cash in with big American contracts. 

The quality of the soccer varied wildly with these guys' enthusiasm and fitness, and the model proved economically unsustainable. But damn, it was fun while it lasted—a sort of senior tournament of soccer, drawing huge crowds of ex-pats to see their idols. The NASL gave us the wonderful "shoot-out" to resolve ties, and any number of priceless moments.

I can't do them all justice—though a great documentary that can is the hilarious, affectionate Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos, written by Gavin Newsham, and directed by Paul Crowder and John Dower. Watch it if you can find it.

Among other things, the film relates how Pelé was ready to quit after his first Cosmos game at Downing Stadium, on Randall's Island. Why? He discovered afterwards that he had a mysterious green fungus all over his legs. Turns out, the Cosmos had spray-painted the field, so it would look better on national TV.

Not everyone was pleased by Pelé's arrival. His introductory press conference at 21 was famously interrupted by (an insane? drunk? take your pick) Dick Young. Young just started shouting in the back of the room about how "un-American" soccer was.

Later, Dick went with another Daily News sportswriter and Pelé to a game at Shea Stadium. The columnist had a serious bet down that no one would recognize the great star. He lost that bet, much to his astonishment. Everyone knew Pelé

Messi, Schmessi. Edson Arantes do Nascimento, you're still the greatest.

Dawn of the excuses: "[T]hey may pass on remaining left-field free agents...They want to stay below the $293M “Steve Cohen tax” threshold.."

It has begun: 

The annual grieving of the purse, Hal Steinbrenner's inevitable ejaculations of lamentations, shouting in the town square that...

1. Money just doesn't grow on trees, people.

2. Nobody should have to spend $200 million on a ballclub.

3. The Yankees must all learn to do more with less.

4. The happiest players are the ones who come cheaply.

5. Estevan Florial looks ready to go.

And so, says Jon Heyman in today's Murdoch Mash...

Okay, deep breath. Look, we all knew this was coming. We understood that Hal's gushing promises to "keep improving" this team, his wild December shopping spree, would soon end, and belt-tightening would begin. And the first signs would come from beat writers extolling the wisdom of frugality. 

I suppose we should be thankful for Aaron Judge's return and Carlos Rodon's arrival. They weren't cheap. In the shadow of Steve Cohen's Supermarket Sweep, Hal's willingness to spend should not be overlooked. 

But what remains is a gaping hole in the Yankee 2023 roster - no LF, no big lefty bat, and bullpen depth a few arms short. The last two years have taken a toll on whatever confidence we once had in Brian Cashman's trading acumen. 

Last winter, his deal with Minnesota - Sanchez/Urshella for Donaldson/IKF/the unspellable catcher - became a season-long debacle. His Aug. 1 trading deadline moves didn't do much better. 

The year of 2022 shall be remembered for Judge's historical greatness and a withering second-half collapse, fueled in part by ugly trades.

The beat writers have begun feeding the narrative that the Yankees have spent enough, that frugality should be the new course. The spending spree is over. From now on, to get anything, we've got to give blood.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

It's Alphonso's birthday, and he's steeling himself for Yankees disappointment in the new year

O, Master of Negative Juju. 

Another year, shot to hell...

As it stands today, the 2023 Yankee pitching staff has improved, but is it enough?

Breaking News: In three days, 2023 - the year, not the baseball season - begins.  

For posterity's sake, here is the current Yankee pitching staff.

Gerrit Cole
Carlos Rodon (L)
Nestor Cortez (L)
Luis Severino
Frankie Montas

Swing men
Clarke Schmidt
Domingo German

Wandy Peralta (L)
Tommy Kahnle
Jonathan Loaisiga
Ron Marinaccio
Lou Trivino

Clay Holmes

Albert Abreu (out of options)
Michael King (recovering from injury)
Luis Gil 
Greg Weissert 

Gone are Jamison Taillon, Lucas Luetge, Aroldis Chapman, Zack Briton, Scott Effross and most of last year's rotation in Scranton. (Hot scoop: Luetge, 35, was traded last night to Atlanta for two dirt league minor leaguers.) 


1. Once upon a time, Chapman's impending absence would cast a Stygian shadow over this franchise. Instead, it brings joy. Not only was El Chapo certifiably bad last season, but he quit on his teammates in October, running home in a hissy-fit after being - (rightfully, considering his performance) - bumped from the first-round playoff roster. Sad. If he stayed and worked hard, he might have coaxed the brain trust to restore him for the Houston series, especially after Effross went down. Instead, he's gone, and pass the Spanish fly. This is why the world invented caller I.D: If Chapman's on the line, let it ring. 

2. The major change, of course, is Rodon. If he repeats last year, the Yankees have two beasts - maybe three, considering Nestor. No other team in the AL East can beat our rotation. If Setback Sevy can deliver, say, 150 innings, our starters could keep the bullpen from melting down, as it did last June. The starters are like the OL on a football team; if they fail, everything else eventually turns to shit. No way around it: Switching Rodon for Taillon, and bringing back Severino, means an improved rotation. Getting anything from Montas would be gravy. 

3. The big intangible is King, who suffered last year what they called - scarily - a broken elbow. WTF? They claim he could be ready by opening day. I hope he takes his time. A broken elbow. W.T.F? In early 2022, King was our best pitcher - starter or reliever. He could pitch out of any situation and shut down the opposition. When he went down - broken elbow? Yeesh - the Unraveling began. If King returns to form, the Yankees will win the AL East. If he cannot, well, it's a wild card year. 

Hal Steinbrenner says he's not done improving the 2023 Yankees. One could argue this staff looks fine. The problem is depth: You know all those young stud pitchers we had last year, around this time? They're in Oakland, Chicago and Texas. It's pitching, pitching, pitching. You never have enough.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Ten Ways to Improve the Pinstripe Bowl.


Can it really be that here we are, on the eve of the Pinstripe Bowl, and NOBODY is talking about the premier American football game to be played in Yankee Stadium this year???

I mean, c'mon. The stakes are pretty high, what with Syracuse having a chance to become the first, three-time winner of the event. Can't you feel the thrill in the air as you walk the streets of the city? Looking at all the little knots of New Yorkers, distracted from their Christmas gift returns, huddling together over trash-can fires while the debate who's going to win the big game this year?

No? Hmm. Neither can I.

Maybe it's the whole distraction of the deadly, upstate storm, and the question of whether the Orange will even make it down for the game. Maybe it's the fact that Syracuse's leading players are apparently planning to "opt out" of the game—you can do that?—leaving Minnesota's Golden Gophers a prohibitive, 10.5-point favorite as of now.  

Last year's champions! Remember? No?

All right, so let's admit it: the Game That  George Started is in the serious doldrums right now, even if it is December. What can be done to improve that? Let's take a look at a few suggestions from serious Pinstripe fans:

1—Rename the Game. I love tradition as much as any man. But the "Pinstripe Bowl"? How about making it, "The Boogie-down Bronx Bowl"? Bobby Bonilla could be the annual grand marshal, starting every game by screaming at the fans, "You want me to show you the Bronx???"

2—Upstate-Downstate. Screw random match-ups like Minnesota or Maryland playing somebody. The game should match the football champion of upstate (always Syracuse, let's face it), against the city champion, who this year was...Anyway, it would settle football bragging rights in New York State once and for all!

3—Make the teams play in pinstripes. No, not the hallowed uniform of our favorite team—something even more fun! Did you know that, shortly after the New York Yankees first adopted their dark blue pinstripes, the team tried playing in multi-colored pinstripes? True story! Needless to say, this didn't go over so well, and the rainbow unis were donated to the Sing Sing prison team. 

But why not bring them back? Who wouldn't come out to see this jamboree of holiday color, and tribute to diversity? Sure, it might sow confusion over which team is which...but just go to horizontal stripes for the visitor! Problem solved!

4—Two-way football. Make both teams play both ways. Again: a tribute to diversity! And a throwback to the good old days of the game. Rename it "The Iron Horse Bowl" as a paean to the Yankees' legendary iron man, Lou Gehrig.

5—Two words: drop kicks. (Or is that just one?)

                                     Yes, it's a battle of letters.

6—Kings of New York. A Bronx pick-up teams chooses which borough it will play. (Staten Island does NOT count.)

7—"Tackle the fan." At halftime, two lucky fans selected at random will get to field a kick-off, as one team tries to tackle him. You'll laugh, you'll scream...well, mostly the fan will scream. If he or she somehow makes it to the end zone, they will immediately be given full ownership of Yankee Stadium.

8—"Shake out the rats!" At a certain point in the third quarter, all fans still in attendance will be encouraged to stamp and jump in place until the Stadium's countless rats are driven from their winter hibernation holes. The players will then compete to see how many they can stomp. A tribute to one of New York's greatest professional sports, rat-baiting, this will have old-timers beaming with nostalgia, in between throwing up.

9—International friendly. What encourages better relations between peoples, than international friendlies? This one will be between an American football team, and a team representing another version of the sport, from a foreign land. Australian rules football, Irish rules football, rugby, Afghani skull kicking—even soccer—everyone is welcome! The two teams will play by whatever rules the visitor chooses, though all must wear their traditional uniforms.

10—Beer fling! Fans will be encouraged to fling all purchased beers at each other, the players, or Brian Cashman. Beer purchased outside the Stadium will not be permitted into the fling, and the New York Yankees are not responsible for beer-related frostbite.


The Yankee batting order, as of today, doesn't look so promising

Now and then, let's ignore the rumors, ditch the fantastical makeovers, and take simple stock of where we stand - right now, today, at the conclusion of 2022.

On that note, here is a proposed Yankee opening day batting order. Clip and save. Then burn it.

cf Harrison Bader
rf Aaron Judge
1b Anthony Rizzo
dh Giancarlo Stanton
2b Gleyber Torres
3b Josh Donaldson
lf Aaron Hicks
c Jose Trevino
ss Oswald Peraza

(Note: This assumes DJ LeMahieu is still recovering from his toe injury.) 

So, what to think?  

1. Considering our improved rotation - Rodon instead of Taillon - this lineup could contend. With expanded playoffs, it would chase the wild card and have a shot at the postseason.  

2. Again, we see a massive drop off at the bottom of the order. From the six to nine holes, no firepower. If Stanton tweaks his usual gonad, missing 50 games, things could go dramatically south.  

3. It's hard to see this lineup on Opening Day. The Yanks will have trouble unloading both Donaldson and Hicks, but it's hard to imagine the pair - viewed by the fan base as pariahs - being trotted out for another season. On April 1, you try to avoid boos. 

4. This lineup still ridiculously leans toward RH bats. From the left side, there is only Rizzo and the switch-hitting Hicks (who hits better as a RH.) This is a major issue, a gaping hole in Cashman's plans. Another reason why this lineup cannot hold.

5. Peraza remains the dice roll. A rising young shortstop would do wonders for this team. But if he flounders, and they must fallback to Oswaldo Cabrera or Anthony Volpe, we could require a wipeout makeover at the Aug. 1 trade deadline. Good luck with that.

6. This is a lineup that went .500 over the second half of 2022. Aside from Rodon - and that's not nuthin' - little has changed. 

So, here we are, stuck in the snowdrift, while the eyes of NYC turn toward the Amazin' Mets. Something tells me, the Yanks are about to start dealing.  

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

A Hidden Advantage

We are all understandably worried about how we are going to find a strong Left Fielder but remember, the Yankees have a hidden advantage... 

The best thing about having a front office that doesn't know how to draft and develop good ballplayers is that we can never be hurt trading them away. 

With major free agents off the board, the Yankees may look to an old friend, the Salary Dump

Last week, after securing Carlos Rodon via a massive contract and a convivial smile, Hal Steinbrenner said he is not done improving the 2023 Yankees. 

He said this while sitting out the auctions on Andrew Benintendi, Michael Conforto and the reigning "Mr. MRI," Carlos Correa. Today, the team's free agent options in LF have shrunken down to Trey Mancini and Andrew McCutcheon. (Here's a full breakout; it's not pretty.) For now, the odds are good that we'll spend the month of March hearing the YES team gush about Aaron Hicks' new swing - a prospect about as enticing as learning that Aaron Judge is dating a Kardashian. 

Generally, I avoid trade speculation because: 

1. It's too depressing, trading Yankees. Usually, they're youngsters, full of hope, with endless promised. Yeah, most of them flop, but we're always trading our future for another team's past.

2. Brian "Cooperstown" Cashman never does what the bloggers predict. Frankly, I think he reads the rumors and purposely rules them out. My prediction: Whatever the "experts" suggest, Cashman will do something different.

3. They're often salary dumps, which is why our payroll is so bloated. The salary dump requires us imagine a player five years ago, and to believe the team making the trade is stupid. 

Last winter, we giddily penciled in Josh Donaldson for 30 HRs and a position of prominence. This year, we'd happily trade him for a can of sardines, if someone would assume his contract. And Minnesota doesn't look so stupid, eh? 

I'm not saying the Yankees cannot improve via trades. But over the last two years, we've drained the farm system down to stems and seeds. As far as trade chips go, we have Gleyber Torres (coming off a horrible second half) and Domingo German. I don't know what they'll bring, but I'm not sure we should look forward to it. 

The Yankees need a LF, a 3B and pitching, pitching, pitching - that with the assumption that Oswald Peraza or Anthony Volpe can play SS. There are no certainties, but the 2023 team, right now, looks more like the second half of 2022 than the first half.

The Pirates and Diamondbacks are dangling outfielders in front of us like bullfighters waving red towels. Hal says he's not done. Do such words inspire hope? I dunno. But one of these days, the bomb will drop. Get ready.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Buffalo is running away with the Golden Snowball

 Yikes. Whatever happened to the Syracuse snow dynasty?

Some Suggestions For MLB.TV

I have MLB.TV and, as much as I like “Baseball Zen”, a show where they just put things in slow motion for a half an hour, for example, rolling out the tarp - it's sort of like ASMR – "ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. ASMR Is typically a video consisting of a person whispering, smacking, eating, or making other relaxing sounds."  Smacking is the sound made by the lips where… Where was I?

Sorry, ASMR is some trippy shit. 

Back on the road… 

I like Baseball Zen, but the other shows are pretty standard fare and, believe it or not, there are only so many times I can watch the Official 1996 World Series Video. They need some new programming to get us through the rest of the winter. I have a few ideas…

Here’s the pitch…

GM Swap

Much like Wife Swap we take two GMs from vastly different franchises and let them take over the other’s team for a month. Picture Brain Cashman as the GM of the Pirates.

Feels good, doesn’t it? Maybe we should leave him there.  

OK I’ll admit it, this show is just a trick to get him off the Yankees for a month, so he doesn’t trade the rest of our minor league pitchers to get a mediocre left fielder.  

I’ve got others.

Ballpark Parts Unknown

Loosely based on the Anthony Bourdain Travel Food Show, “Parts Unknown”  we send legendary consumer of ballpark food Paul O'Neill to the factory that makes the hot dogs for Yankee Stadium to discover what the unknown parts actually are.

They Shoot Michael Kay Don’t They?

The premise of this documentary is similar to the dance contests held during The Great Depression. Michael Kay has already shown he can do a taping of Center Stage, followed by three hours of radio talk show followed by three and a half hours of a baseball game and a three AM taping of a cock fight, but how long can he really talk? Let’s find out by making him enter a Talkathon.  Sure, he could outlast John Smoltz but how would he fare against say, Sean Hannity? We raise the stakes by making it to the death.

MLB All-Star Dunk Tank

Hosted by former All-Stars Gary Sanchez and Joey Gallo,  MLB All-Star Dunk Tank works just like the carnival game.  

Each episode takes a celebrity from the baseball world that we are tired of putting up with, such as Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, Alex Rodriquez, or Jack Buck and puts him on the hot seat suspended over a vat of actual bull shit.  

Guest pitchers taken from the rosters of the prior year’s All Star Game take turns throwing up to three pitches to hit the target and drop him into the vat.  

To make it more interesting the victim, uh guest celebrity, gets to pick which of our hosts will stand at the plate and try to prevent the ball from hitting the target.  Good luck with that.  

Need a left fielder? Easy. Here's all the Yankees need to do...

Invent a time machine. Go back to July of 2021. Shoot Cashman and keep the Yankees from trading for Joey Gallo. 

Here's what happens:

1. We spare ourselves from Gallo's horrible second half of 2021.

2. We spare ourselves from Gallo's horrible first half of 2022. 

3. We eliminate 194 strikeouts, many in key situations.

4. We spare ourselves from Gallo's 0-for-4 in the 2021 wild card loss to Boston.

5. We keep the four prospects that we traded for Gallo. This includes Glenn Otto, a starter who threw 135 innings last year for Texas. Two others - Ezequiel Duran and Josh Smith - have reached the majors.

6. We spare ourselves from Cashman's horrible set of deals at the 2022 trade deadline.


Somewhere within the Yankee front office is a scout, or a numbers wonk, or an algorithm, or somebody who thought Gallo would be a great acquisition. That person should work for Steve Cohen. Practically all our problems can be traced back to that deal. And though Brian Reynolds is not Gallo, excuse me if I flinch at the thought of Cashman bundling our best prospects for an outfielder who hit .262 last year.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

War on Christmas is over. Christmas wins, again.

(And Carlos Correa is still a cheater.)
Have a great one.

A Christmas Carol. Or Something.


Hal sat in his kitchen, sipping a cognac, and thinking about the year nearly past.  As the clock struck twelve, he heard the dreadful clanking and dragging of the chains begin, deep in the basement.  Followed by the sound of a large man in an ugly turtleneck bumping into things, and cursing vociferously.

"Goddammit, who moved the exercise equipment?"

Hal sighed, and walked down the basement stairs, to look upon the dreadful apparition there, so recently emerged from the depths of Hell itself.

"Hi, Dad," he said.

"What the fuck are you doing with all this junk down here?"

"There've been a few renovations since you came by last—" 

"Rowing machines, treadmills, Nordic tracks—don't you use any of this shit anymore? Why, my father—"

"I know, I know, Dad. He coulda won the 1924 Olympics."

"Except he wanted to get married. Why, if he hadn't done that instead—"

"You told us, Dad. Where would we all be now?"

"Damned straight!"

Hal Steinbrenner took another long breath, and tried to compose himself.

"How's Hank holding' up?"

A puzzled expression crossed the face of the apparition who had been George Steinbrenner.

"I dunno. He's in the Other Place. Something about a goddamned 'Bad Childhood Exemption.' As if HE had a bad childhood!"

"You told us a thing or two about that. And how granddad coulda been the greatest hurdler in the world."

"Well, it's true, dammit! And another thing—"

"Dad! Why the hell'er you haunting me? I got that party tonight, the in-laws coming over in ten minutes."

Old George's face split into a big grin, despite the fifty-foot long chain of cash boxes and money ledgers manacled to his legs.

"I see you got into the game at last, son. Forty million a year for the big guy in right, who's already 30. Another $162 mill for a pitcher with the name of Jap movie monster who's never won more than 14 games in a season—"

"I know, I know, Dad. I had to do it."

"I've never been prouder of you son."


"You finally broke out of playing cartel patty cake with that collection of CPAs they call MLB. That Manfred guy must be having a fit!"

"Dad, you see, I had to do it—"

"No more of that soccer nonsense. Don't think I don't know about your little stadium over in Queens! Good God, the fucking MLS?"

"How could you possibly know about that?"

"What do you think they make us watch 24/7 in Hell? The soccer channel, of course! Not that that wasn't a great final in Qatar. But penalty kicks? I saw Satan laughing with delight when Argentina won it."

"Dad, what's your point?"

"You finally realized this is the big time, son. The New York Yankees. This is the big top, and you're P.T. Barnum! By the way, he sends his regards. You know, he's a hunchbacked midget down here. Sorry, 'little person.' "

"I had no choice, Pops. Look at what Steve Cohen and those Mets are doing—"

"Bushwa, son! You think I didn't have competition in this town in my day?"

"Oh, what? M. Donald Grant? The Wilpons? Yeah, that must've been tough."

"Hey, when Nelson Doubleday started signing the checks and they brought in Frank Cashen in the 1980s—"

"Still nothing like Steve Cohen."

"You think so? Don't let it get around, but the word down here is that Carlos Correa's leg is a lot worse than anybody's letting on."

"I knew that was a mistake!"

"Don't get ahead of yourself! You still need a left fielder, a bullpen, and you gotta replace 3/4 of your infield. And Frankie Montas' right arm is already down here in the seventh circle—"

"Cute, Dad!"

"You re-signed that little twerp, too, am I right?"

Hal looked down at the bear paw Christmas slippers on his feet.

"I know what's it like," George told him. "Does he still give those great massages?"

"Like you wouldn't believe."

"Uh-huh. And the way he'll do absolutely anything you say. Anything at all! 'Brian,' I used to tell him, 'I want you to find a way to take out Jerry Colangelo.' And he's get right on the horn to his mob connections, before I had to tell him it was a joke."

"I know. Once I told him Boone had to go. He looked like he was going to cry for a whole afternoon. It's irresistible."

"I always used to say, no one kisses ass, man, like a Cashman! But hey, you're in the big time, now, son. You'll never win a damned thing until you fire him."

"I know, Pops. But he's so much fun."

"Look, I gotta get back. Beelzebub wants me to lead the daily calisthenics again. He says nobody can torture a lost soul the way I can."

"When can I expect the other spirits?"


"You know. The ghosts of Christmas Past, and Christmas Future."

"Oh, that. They're not coming, son. For the Steinbrenner family, nothing ever changes. There's just good luck like you wouldn't believe, morning, noon, and night. Not that we ever stop complaining!"

Hal's eyes suddenly welled up.

"I-I miss you, Dad. But I guess you're doomed to an eternity in the underworld, huh?"

"What?' George frowned. "Oh, no, son. I don't have to stay in Hell. In fact, Lucifer tried to peddle my ass to Limbo a few years back. I invoked my no-trade clause. Hell is the best place in the (next) world! It makes a man out of you!"

"See you next fall, Dad? At the ticker tape parade?"

"I dunno, son," George said, waving as a fiery portal opened under his feet, and Jason Varitek stood by waiting to push the down button on the elevator that suddenly appeared there. "You still ain't gonna win shit without a left fielder!"

Saturday, December 24, 2022

A Christmas Card to our readers, driven by Jeep

Merry Christmas, everybody.

Merry Christmas from IT IS HIGH

Matt Blake will return as pitching coach.

The Yankees signed minor league infielder Wilmer Difo.

Mother Nature declared war on Christmas.

And you are thuhhhhhhhhhh greatest readers on the Internet. 

Friday, December 23, 2022

Dear Mr. Hal: Wanna raise a little hell with your crosstown rivalry? Sign Michael Conforto

Dear Mr. Hal, 

They're on to you. 

Everybody knows the problem. 

Left field. 

It's a sinkhole. Aaron Hicks won't work. Oswaldo Cabrera is a stretch. The way you treated Estevan Florial, forget it. The Pirates will demand too much for Brian Reynolds. Arizona hates the Yankees; they won't barter in good faith.

Nope. You're in a corner. So... how about doing something, well, crazy?

Wanna raise a little hell? Wanna piss in the Mets punchbowl? Wanna wipe that grin off Steve Cohen's face? He thinks he owns New York. Let's fuck him up.

Sign Michael Conforto. 

That'll do it. Let Cohen stew over the outside chance that, for all the money he's shat out over the last month, the big one got away. It's delicious. 

Sign Michael Conforto.

Yes, it's a gamble. Of course, it's a stretch. Conforto didn't play last year, he'll turn 30 soon, and he hit .232 in his last full season. But he bats LH, he'll field the position, he's been a Met all his life, he was their first-round pick, and if he's in Pinstripes, every psycho Met fan will sweat an oyster before gushing about their super team lineup. 

Sign Michael Conforto. 

Listen, sir... 

Over the next few years, for the Yankees to win a championship, there is a very high likelihood you will need to win a Subway Series. What greater redemption drama than sending into the fray a former Met rising star? 

It needs to happen.  

Sign Michael Conforto. 

You can still look for left fielders. If Conforto fails, by mid June, there will be outfielders on the market. 

Let's stir the pot.  Sign Michael Conforto.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Are The Mets Better Than The Yankees?

For the most part the money has been spent and the rosters are set. The Mets are paying, after the competitive balance tax, almost $500M next year. There is no doubt that they will make the playoffs. As will we. But it begs the question... Are the Mets better than the Yankees? 

Let's take a look at the position players using last year's stats and this year's salary. 

RF  Sterling Marte             .292/.814    16 HR 63 RBI    20.7M

RF  Aaron Judge                .311/1.111   62 HR  131 RBI  40M

Well this one is easy.   YANKEES


CF  Brandon Nimmo       .269/.827   16 HR  64 RBI   18.5M

CF  Harrison Bader          .250/.356   5 HR    30 RBI   5.2M

Bader was hurt for a lot of the year and gives GG defense and was clutch in the playoffs. But Nimmo is better.  METS 


LF    Mark Canha         .266/.770    13 HR 61 RBI  11M

LF      TBD 

I gotta believe whoever the Yankees slap in left will be better and, since it's the last of their major needs, they will will trade for a good one.   YANKEES


1B   Pete Alonzo          271/.869    40 HR 131 RBI  12.4M

1B   Anthony Rizzo     .224/.817    32 HR   75 RBI  17M

As much as I like Rizzo this one isn't even close.  METS


2B  Jeff Mc Neil         .326/836      9HR  62RBI   6.5M

2B  Gleyber Torres      .257/.761    24 HR  76 RBI  9.6M

This could go either way.  Avg. vs. Power plus Gleyber is hopefully as good as gone because I want to see the kids.  That said...  TIE 

SS   Francisco Lindor 


Sure I could painstakingly write in the stats but why bother. If/when/they'd better fucking do it, the Yankees give it to Peraza it will be interesting to look at next year especially with Lindor making 34M and Peraza on a first year rookie deal . In the meantime METS 

3B  Carlos Correa  26.5M

3B  Josh Donaldson 21M + 6 M buyout = 27M

Donaldson by a mile. Close to the same money.  Plays a great 3B and... Ok screw this, we all know the answer.  The real question is... who is the bigger dickhead?   METS 


C    Omar Narvaez    .206/.597   4HR 23 RBI  8M 

C    Jose Trevino      .248/.671   11HR  43 RBI 1.9M

Gotta be Jose right?   YANKEES


DH   The Mets use a couple of guys who frankly are not good. 

DH   The Yankees also use a couple of guys. Unfortunately they are both Giancarlo Stanton. The good Stanton is one of the best. The bad Stanton is easily one of the worst. That said, on average... YANKEES

Are the Mets better than the Yankees?  The score was 4-4-1. So it's a tie. 

Let's go to the pitching staff...

Verlander  v. Cole   We've seen this one before .  METS 

Scherzer v. Rodon   Scherzer is too old. Better. Proven. But I think it's Rodon. YANKEES

Senga v .Nestor      Senga is an ace but it's his first year so there is no way of knowing.  Nasty Nestor is... Nasty Nestor. YANKEES

Quintana v.  Severino   Sevi's gotta stay healthy which has never happened.  But when he's healthy he's an ace as well. Uh, TIE?

Carrasco v. Montas    Technically it should be Montas but he has shown nothing. Particularly away from Oakland.   METS 



I'm skipping the pen and going straight to the Manager. 

Boone or Showalter... Hmmmn.  

Boone or Showalter...  Let's see, Boone 99 Wins. Showalter 101... Close. 

Boone... or Showalter.   

Oh G-d... 

The Mets are better than the Yankees. 

It's Christmas time, so sing along with The Master and The Choir

Somebody's kissing Santa... with John and the Master

With Steve Cohen, baseball is entering a new world of unrestrained ownership wealth. Will it be heaven, or something else?

By now, you all know that Mets owner Steve Cohen has gone batshit loony on spending - unfathomable wealth will do that - and baseball's competitive balance is about to explode, as it did n the 1970s, when a certain fellow named George took over the Yankees.

In recent weeks, Cohen has committed $806 million to nine players, including one or two that might be worth it. For posterity, here's the list:  

Carlos Correa, 12 years, $26 million per year.
David Robertson, 1 year, $10 million.
Brandon Nimmo, 8 years, $20 million.
Jose Quintana, 2 years, $13 million.
Justin Verlander, 2 years, $43 million.
Edwin Diaz, 5 years, $20 million.
Adam Ottavino, 2 years, $7.5 million
Kodai Senga, 5 years, $15 million
Omar Narvaez, 2 years, $7.5 million

So it goes. This is the world we built. We've seen the rise of a multi-billionaire aristocracy with godlike excesses, uncontrolled whims and absolutely no restraints. Musk treats Twitter as a toy. Zuckerman runs Facebook down a VR rabbit hole. Bezos fires rockets, Putin kills thousands, the Saudis dismember their enemies, and Trump is Trump. So what if Cohen flings money at players who don't even have a position. Get used to it. One of these days, earth will spawn its first trillionaire. Let's hope he buys the Yankees. 

Night tremors:

1. Looking at the above list, sorry, but I see no dynasty. Correa's .291 and 22 HRs are great for a SS - good for a 3B. Robertson and Ottavino are past their sell-by dates. Verlander and Scherzer are getting mail from AARP. A Japanese pitcher? What can go wrong? 

Of course, the Mets will make the 2023 playoffs. This is Oprah, folks. You get a car, and you get a car, and you get a car...  Come October, who knows? But the Gammonites are already comparing this year's Mets to the 2004 Yankee dream team - when A-Rod arrived and moved to 3B - as if that is a ray of hope. 

The Yanks went five years before winning a world series, and in the meantime, they suffered the most humiliating collapse in sports history.  

If Cohen follows the path of George Steinbrenner - as he seems bent to do - 2023 could be a Bobby Bonilla-level shit show, with the tabloids constantly carping about underperforming stars. We've seen it. History is dirty, but it practices recycling. 

2. Whatever happens this year, Cohen will never stop. If the Mets crumble in July, he will go for broke at the Aug. 1 deadline. If the Mets fail in October, he will double-down next winter. That could mean Ohtani. Eventually, Cohen will buy himself a championship, and then- if we live long enough - we'll see how it sits with him, when he learns, as Bukowski told us, that money is piss and the sparrow is immortal.  

For the next few years, the Yankees will play second fiddle in New York. Our era of dominating the back pages will end. But we could still get lucky. Look at the Jersey Giants.

3. I keep waiting and wondering... where is Boston? Strange -the Redsocks' apparent willingness to be dominated by - gulp - San Diego? (I realize that the city lost its beloved NFL franchise, so its fathers desperately have rallied behind the Padres.) Still, I keep waiting for Boston to rear up and buy somebody, anybody. (They did get the Japanese outfielder, so there's that.) But on almost every top free agent this winter, we heard whispers that Boston might jump in. Never happened. 

How do they let Bogaerts go, two years after trading Mookie? 

Did their owner suddenly become poor? Or in this new world of egos, did their billionaire simply get bored? 

That's the trouble, Met fans. Take my word: The team that lives by the whim, dies by it, too. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

I Totally Relate To Steve Cohen

(I would rather BE related to Steve Cohen but that's another story.)

Every few years I sit down with my copy of "Baseball Mogul 2010", start in 1964 and, with the 100% accuracy that is hindsight, save the Yankees.  

My rosters are comprised exclusively of Hall of Famers. I draft extremely well. I make "one sided" trades that seem like great deals for the other team. For example, I once traded the 1966 version of Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle and four nobodies for some kid named Tom Seaver. He won 546 games over the course of his career. 

Hard to do? Not when your team averages 126 wins a year. 

I liked watching the Yankees win. 

So, when Steve Cohen seizes the day and puts Correa at 3rd to go with Lindor at SS (Shades of A-Rod moving over to accommodate Jeter) plus adds Verlander etc. I immediately thought…

Maybe he's a time traveler or The Man Who Fell To Earth but regardless...

On any given day the Mets are going to win because their billionaire owner is actually going to watch the game and gives a crap.

I remember having ownership like that. 

Speaking of falling to Earth...

With all of those insanely great teams that I put together as I played from 1964 to 2010. I only won the World Series about half the time.

There’s a lesson in there somewhere.

Mets' spending out of control? Don't blame Steve Cohen

Every MLB owner is a billionaire. 

They are all capable of spending money as Steve Cohen does.

They choose against it. They prefer to run their teams as businesses. 

They are the reason for the disparity. Cohen simply wants to win. The Mets will replace LA as baseball's marquee team. As of now, the Yankees are NYC's second tier franchise.

But - hey! - we signed Michael Hermosillo.

The Yankee love story with Matt Carpenter has ended. Here's looking at you, kid.

Last night, on the JFK tarmac, IT IS HIGH bade farewell to Matt Carpenter, one of the most enjoyable Yankee stories of this millennium. Emotions ran high, as he realized it was time to board his flight to San Diego...

I don't understand. What about you? Aren't you coming?
I'm staying here with Boone 'til the plane gets safely away.
No, Duque, no. What has happened? Last night we said --
-- Last night we said a lotta things. You said I was to do the thinking for both of us. Well, I've done a lot of it since then and it all adds up to one thing. You're getting on that plane to San Diego, with Machado, where you belong.
But, Duque, no, I, I --

-- You've got to listen to me. Do you have any idea what you'd have to look forward to if you stayed here? You can't play left field, you were worse than Andujar, and we already have Giancarlo as the DH. Nine chances out of ten, you'd wind up on the bench, if not Hal's shit list. Isn't that true, Cash?
Cashman shuffles some papers.
I'm afraid Mr. Hal would insist.
No. No. You're saying this only to make me go.
I'm saying it because it's true. Inside of us we both know you belong in San Diego. You can be DH. You can hit between Tatis and Manny. You can grow a beard. If this plane leaves the ground and you're not on it, you'll regret it.
No. No. No.
Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your entire two-year contract.
But what about the blog? What about the Yankees?
We'll always have last June. We'd lost it, and then you returned, and then - well, fuck - then you went ice cold in the ALCS.
I said I would never leave you.
And you never will. Not as long as there is an Old Timers Day. But I gotta job to do, too. I've gotta keep yapping at Hal, you know, to keep him honest. You can't be any part of that.
Look, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of bloggers and fans don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy AL East. Someday you'll understand that. Now, now--
Matt's eyes well up with tears. IT IS HIGH puts its hand, figuratively, to Matt's chin and raises his face to meet its own.
Here's looking at Aaron Hicks, kid.