Monday, May 30, 2022

Worse Than Stalin???


On this Memorial Day, I think it's pertinent to ask if our general manager, Brian Cashman, is actually worse than that longtime enemy of the United States, Josef Stalin.

Hear me out!

Back during the long-ago days of the Soviet Union's second, five-year plan—or was it their fifth, two-year plan? I forget—Stalin's propagandists came up with a model mine worker named Alexey Grigoryvich Stakhanov. 

You all know the Tennessee Tuxedo Ford song? "Mine 16 tons, and whattaya get..."

Fuhgeddaboutit!  On August 31, 1935, Stakhanov supposedly mined 102 tons of coal in one shift. Less than a month later, on September 19th—these are the kind of sporting stats they kept in the USSR—ol' Stakie mined 227 tons.

What he got was a bunch of medals, and a chance to live the Soviet equivalent of la vida loca at the Moscow Industrial Academy ("Show 'em what's behind Door No. 2, Carol Merrill!"). 

What the rest of the Soviet workforce got was the "encouragement' to emulate Stakhanov's incredible work effort through the "Stakhanovite" movement.

(It still seems incredible to me that a loose shelf of coal didn't tragically fall on Stakie's head at some point, but there you are.)

Basically, the idea behind the Stakhanovite movement was that the best you ever did—or the best that some bureaucrat ever made up—was the new norm. You were always supposed to equal it or top it.

Which is basically the same mentality that Brian "Cooperstown" Cashman goes by. Only worse.

"Worse" because even the "bests" that Cashman expects the recipients of his biggest contracts to live up to...ain't even that great.

The perpetually injured Aaron Hicks had a decent enough year in 2018, hitting .248 with 27 homers and 90 walks, and playing a very good centerfield. But it wasn't exactly Mickey Mantle in 1956. Hell, it wasn't even close to Curtis Granderson in 2011.

Joey Gallo, whose every appearance on the playing field sends a shudder through our bodies today...was a lifetime, .211 hitter in 7 seasons BEFORE he came to your New York Yankees. 

Sure, he could hit for some power, draw some walks, and had played a Gold Glove outfield. But .211?? What could possibly have made any reasonable observer think this guy was the answer to anything? Plus he had a history of injuries.

Even Giancarlo Stanton, who DID have a Stakhanovite kind of season with lowly Miami in 2017—lotta big pressure games that year—had had exactly one season in which he did not spend considerable time on the DL.

Didn't matter to Coops Cashman. 

Your best season would now be your average season with the New York Yankees.  Perpetual greatness awaited—even if you never had a really great year.

It's as if ol' Alexey Stakhanov had spent most of his shifts accidentally drilling a hole in his work boot. 

Not even Stalin was self-delusional enough to have convinced himself that that sort of performance should become the standard.

Okay, okay, I hear ya:  So Cooperstown Cashman DIDN'T brutally murder 30 million people or more, and subject the Bronx to abject terror for 30 years.  

So all he's done is...some rather admirable charitable work.

Okay, so he's NOT worse than Stalin.

But right now, his five-year plan is looking just about as successful.


Mildred Lopez said...

Darkness At Noon Horace. Watch your back (or the back of your neck actually).

Doug K. said...
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Doug K. said...
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Doug K. said...

Mildred - In the book "Flashbacks" by Timothy Leary, he talks about dropping acid with Arthur Koestler. I could do a bad job of retelling it here but actually the whole book is worth a read.

Doug K. said...

Hoss -

That is a really interesting and totally out there take. It is also sadly accurate.

You should try to get it published at one of the following magazines:

(Translated from the Russian) Forkball and Forklift.

Home Run Trotsky and other stories

Diamonds and Miners (Covering Miner League Baseball)

and Schwartz Illustrated (Which has nothing to do with either subject but sounded funny to me.)

Mildred Lopez said...

On it Doug. Wish there was a Kindle but I found a few used. Thanks for the tip

AboveAverage said...
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AboveAverage said...

I wonder what's it like to be inside the mind of Joey Gallo?

The darkness, the diet, the demons, the joy of being Joey . . .

Someone should score an in depth interview with the Man.

Perhaps I can approach him as a field reporter for this "publication" and do the interview.

I'll get working on it right away.

Doug K. said...


That's a great premise. If you can't get the interview you should channel him. If you can't channel him put the questions you want answered in the comments. Maybe he reads the blog...

AboveAverage said...

Doug - I am willing to channel him so long as I'm immediately extracted from the great inbetween if I press that panic button - because if something goes wrong and our two consciousnesses begin to merge into one - I just shudder to think of what could happen next . . .

HoraceClarke66 said...

I would love to see that, AA. And you SHOULD be cautious.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Thanks, Doug K. And I love how Trotsky was living in the Bronx before he went back to Russia for the revolution.

He would have been better off staying put. Getting one of those great old apartments the borough had, taking his kids to the Stadium. They would have grown up perfectly Americanized, rooting for the Babe and Joe D., and patiently tolerating their dad's occasional outbursts about world revolution.

He would have gone to his grave a convinced socialist, surrounded by all the amenities of his adopted country.

Doug K. said...


Here's something to get you started.

AA: What's your approach at he plate?

JG: "When I come to the plate I focus and ignore everything in the ball park, the crowd, the stadium, the opposing pitcher, the ball...

I reduce all the thoughts in my head to one small voice...

AA: What does it say?

JG: Swing batter batter batter, swing batter batter batter... Swing!

C... said...

Well Written.

AboveAverage said...

I tried an experiment to see how the Gallo-Channeling would work out and strangely enough, it didn't.

Instead I intercepted a zoom call between Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner. I was only able to maintain my connecion for a couple minutes before there was a bright burst of light and I blacked out.

When I can to I quickly wrote down what I remembered from the zoom call and typed it up here for everyone to see:

Hal Steinbrenner: Well Brian, even if we lose the division and fail to get past the wild card and go home early for the winter, at least we've given these ungrateful fans a few historic weeks to remember, right......RIGHT!?!

Brian Cashman: You're correct, Mr Steinbrenner

HS: And this Keuchel guy. He knows he has to shave right?

BC: Yes, Mr Steinbrenner

HS: I want the whole thing off. He’s got to be clean shaven. We don't need another player on the field with a goddamn porn star mustache, you know what I mean? When people think of the Yankees I don't want them thinking of Pornography. You understand!?!

BC: Clean shaven, Mr Steinbrenner. Dallas understands.

HS: DALLAS? He's not another goddamn player from Texas, is he?

BC: No Mr Steinbrenner. Chicago.

HS: Good. Get it Done. Speaking of Texas, I want Gallo out of the line up and back on the IL. He's really awful. Terrible. Embarrassing to the franchise.

BC: He back to 100% again, Mr Steinbrenner. There's nothing currently wrong with him to put him on the IL for.

HS: NOTHING WRONG! Have you looked at the guy? He's clearly got something going on. Can't you say he has Migraines or Vertigo or something?

BC: We already did that last year with Clint Fraizier. No one really believed us.

HS: Well this guy is clearly hearing voices or something. Is he Catholic? Put him on mental health leave. I don't care what the reason is. JUST GET IT DONE!?!

That's all I could remember.

I'll get back to Gallo once the headache goes away.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Funny, I went to look up "Keuchel" and "Yankees," and found a report on how he's a likely fit for our boys...from 2019.

This would be another typical Coops move, though—getting a guy when he's finally done, after passing on him 3-4 times when he wasn't.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

I hate to bring Reality in here, but Uncle Joe won WWII.

As of the end of 1943 (according to one source I've read), the Russians/USSR/whatever accounted for 83% of the Nazi killed/wounded/missing/captured in that war.

The urgency to invade in June 1944 wasn't about defeating Hitler. It was about getting into mainland Europe before Stalin extended his empire to the English Channel.

Another source I've read said the Nazis had upwards of 200 divisions on the Eastern Front. How many were in France when the Invasion took place?


I realize this post may not be appropriate for Memorial Day. This is not to short-shrift the heroism of the American soldiers and sailors (my dad was one of the latter, and had the wounds to prove it).

However, Stalin's forces were better at attracting, distracting, capturing, and killing Nazis, and went at it for a lot longer time, than the US/UK/allied forces. Simple fact.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Sorry, Joe FOB, I ain't buyin' it.

Quite possibly, without Stalin, there wouldn't have BEEN WW II. Hard to say, as Hitler was determined to have the war. But neither the German people nor the German high command wanted to fight a two-front war, and if one had been imminent from the beginning, they might have found a subterfuge to dispose of Herr Hitler right then and there.

The excuse Uncle Joe put out later was that the terrible Western democracies dawdled too much in forming a pact with him, so what could he do?...

HoraceClarke66 said...

...But the sticking point? He wanted authority to invade Poland if and when he felt it militarily necessary. Britain and France, faced with the prospect of explaining to their people why they were letting the USSR gobble up Poland in order to fight a war about saving Poland...passed.

And Stalin really thought they had a nifty little alliance going. He disregarded all of the overwhelming warnings, even from his own spies and other personnel, about how the Nazis were coming. He was stunned when they came, almost paralyzed into inaction.

And again: thanks to Stalin's purging of the officer corps a few years before, the Red Army was in no condition to meet the Nazi onslaught at first. Indeed, if Stalin had not had Zhukov—and had the Nazis had not commenced killing civilians right and left from the very beginning—Soviet resistance might have collapsed...

HoraceClarke66 said...

It WAS certainly true that the Soviets took on the bulk of the fighting in the European Theatre. But no less an authority than the military historian John Keegan—citing other historians' estimates, as well—judges that, without the enormous shipment of munitions and other aid from the US, the Soviet counterattack could not possibly have proceeded past Poland.

So I honor the sacrifice of the Russian (and captive) peoples in that war. But it was only made so terrible by their own, sociopathic leader—and they were, in the end, only triumphant because of American production.

13bit said...

God bless you, Hoss.

Always on the money.

Local Bargain Jerk said...

Hoss, thank you.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Sorry, didn't mean to go on at such length. And Joe FOB is certainly right about what a courageous stand the Soviet peoples made.

But Stalin was always an abomination—like all dictators, left and right.

Doug K. said...

AA -

Good channeling!



And for the stat guys... if the land war in 1943 was over in France and essentially Europe (before D-Day) and the Germans had 27 (let's call it 30 divisions in a zone that wasn't "hot" and the Eastern Front had 200 divisions and accounted for 83% of the German casualties that pretty much a statistical wash.

My father was in the Army Air Corps BTW. He was shot down while bombing Ploesti. Just a Memorial Day shout out to him, all my uncles, and everyone else who fought for our country.

BTW Joe FOB no disrespect. And I mean that. But the Russians were fighting to defend their homes and as Hoss pointed out Stalin signed a non-aggression pact with Hitler. To say I'm not a fan of either is an understatement.

Last - Great win by the NY Rangers!

Kevin said...

LMAO! All of you guys were in a State of Grace in this post! Made my day. May humour and logic save us all.

Doug K. said...

I know my shout out is more of a Veterans Day thing but they are all gone but one now. So just wanted to acknowledge them. Sorry.

AboveAverage said...

True Believers - Remember - Tomorrow we are back in facing off against THOR (hahahahahahahahahahahhahah).

HoraceClarke66 said...

I love these tangents, and was happy to see Joe bring it up. Arguing civilly these days—what a concept! This might be the last place left.

Doug K., what an amazing thing your father went through. Can't imagine getting shot out of a plane—and living! My father was in the Marines, but hit the sweet spot, right between WW II and Korea.

My uncle signed up for the army to get the GI Bill. He couldn't see in one eye, but memorized the eye chart (I guess the exams weren't too thorough.). The Korean War broke out, and they sent him to the front lines! His father wrote a letter that got him pulled back—but he still had to guard prison camps for the duration.

A shout out to all of them!

HoraceClarke66 said...

And yeah, the Rangers won! This really must be the End of Days.

Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside said...

I’ve found a solution to the Joey Gallo problem.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Now, Beauregard!...

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

I don't agree with the analysis here by Hoss -- just for the record. Statistical analysis? Men (and women) fighting and dying (and Killing) is what defeated the Nazis.

However, I have spent most of my life NOT knowing when to shut up.

Perhaps on this occasion I can make an exception . . .

Doug K. said...

Joe FOB,

No worries. We're all just having as Hoss said, a civil conversation about something.

I brought up the stats because you mentioned a % and I felt it was because of the overwhelming amount of fighting that took place at that time 1943 was on the Eastern Front.

This as opposed to the conclusion...

"However, Stalin's forces were better at attracting, distracting, capturing, and killing Nazis"

That said, maybe they were.

Like I said not a fan of either side in that one. That said, killing Nazi's will always get a thumbs up from me.

Oh, and I never know when to shut up either. :)


I need to clarify about my Pop. He was forced down not shot down (Although I guess you get forced down by being shot at - Anyway he didn't have to bail out.)

There was an airstrip (located on an island in the Mediterranean?) that served as a place where allied planes would try to go if they were too damaged to get back to their bases in England. That's where he ended up.

The book, The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s Over Germany 1944-45 has a good description of it as apparently George McGovern was forced to land there once.

Anyway just wanted to clear things up.

HoraceClarke66 said...

So he was FLYING the plane, Doug? Wow. I still stand in awe.

HoraceClarke66 said...

And Joe, don't worry. I was sorry to go off at such length. But to me it is a civil conversation and a good one, and worth having (in between Yankees rants!).

Bottom line, the Soviets sure did kill a helluva lot of Nazis They fought with incredible valor and persistence.

But I'll never buy giving Stalin any credit for that. His shameful pact with Hitler made the war possible in the first place, and enabled the Nazis to crush the Western allies in 1939-40 (It also ended most remaining support for communism in the US.).

His awful treatment of his own countrymen made Soviet losses much greater than they needed to be. Right to the end—see the battle for Berlin—Stalin was perfectly willing to sacrifice untold numbers of Soviet civilians and Red Army troops even when he didn't have to.

Oh, and an awful lot of those Nazis were killed by American-made shells, bombs, and bullets, no matter who fired them.

HoraceClarke66 said...

By the by, Manhattan in the twenties today was full of Rangers flags, flying outside of sports bars.


Doug K. said...

Hoss - sorry for the confusion - gunner. tail, ball turret.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Also a job that looked scary as all get-out.