Saturday, July 30, 2022

No, I'm not letting this go.

 

Ah, Old-Times' Day! What a wonderful tradition—and one started by your New York Yankees, I believe, with the immortal tribute to Lou Gehrig on July 4th, 1939. 

On hand were two of the greatest teams of all time, Gehrig's old 1927 teammates, and the 1939 squad. One of the most poignant moments in all sports history, thanks to The Iron Horse's "Luckiest Man" speech, soon to be captured on film with Gary Cooper.

Often imitated, never surpassed—the Mets would bring in old Giants and Dodgers, nice try, Mets!—the Yanks' Old Timers' Day reached such a peak of nostalgia during the Dry Years of 1965-75 that The New York Times would sometimes run an actual box score of the jokey little game the old timers would play.

In those years the True Immortals would always be on hand—Yogi and Whitey, and then Mickey, and of course, above all, Joe, Joe DiMaggio. Have you ever seen a god walking? Well, I have

Of course, the Immortals beyond human ken—Lou, and The Babe—had already passed on to Valhalla, but their widows and daughter were there, looking like the Trojan Women (or maybe mob widows) in their all-black dresses and veils, as if they were still keening the dead, so many decades later. 

Now, for some reason, nearly all other teams have ended the tradition, which would seem inexplicable save for the fact that MLB today is all about pretending the game—much like Charlie perfume—is kinda hip, kinda now, kinda WOW!

Case in point, of course, being Shohei Ohtani, who we are now assured at every turn is the greatest player you, me, or the American people have ever seen.


And hey, Ohtani—now 9-6 as a pitcher and hitting .251 as a hitter—is indeed a fine ballplayer and a really fun phenomenon. 

But the accompanying drive to make him the Greatest Of All Time—and this year's MVP?

Not so fun.

Case in point being all the drooling over Ohtani's back-to-back games against KC, on June 21st-22nd of this year, in which Shohei first, drove in 8 runs, and then, struck out 13 in 8 innings of two-hit, no-run pitching.

Pretty damned phenomenal!

But let's look at the last two games for Aaron Judge now, against those same Kansas City Royals:

Game-winning, bottom of the ninth home run on Thursday. 

Robbing the very first hitter of the next day's game—and some of the imbecilic spawn of our fellow Yankees fans. 

(Note: Ohtani, supposedly a part-time outfielder still has yet to record a single chance at any position, save pitcher.)

Followed by a two-run homer, and a game-clinching grand slam.

In short, on their two days of work, a little over a month apart, we have:

Ohtani: 4-7, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 2 Runs, 2 Ks, 0 BB.

Pitching: 8 innings, 2 hits, 1 BB, 0 Runs, 13 Ks.

Results: 1 extra-inning loss, 1 win.

Aaron Judge:

4-8, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 3 Runs, 3 Ks, 1 BB, 1 SB.

Fielding: 1 HR-saving catch. 

Results: 2 wins.

All of which is to say...it's Kansas City. Not exactly the test of tests. But to act as though Judge does not come close to this guy as MVP...

One of the best things about baseball is its traditions. It leads to an endless debate over who really was the best, or how players of the past would fare today, or vice versa. 

As such, that debate gives meaning and credit to our memories, to what we were all lucky enough to see at the ballpark, and are eager to pass on to the next generation. To wipe away the past, just for the sake of a passing hype—even in the cause of such a talented, deserving player as Ohtani—does none of us any favors, including Ohtani himself, who will surely find his own way into the pantheon without all the public relations chatter.

Oh, here's another shot of Judge stealing a home run. Who hit the ball? Why, Shohei Ohtani, of course!





50 comments:

borntorun999 said...

RE: Old Timer’s Day: it seems a pale version of the OTD I watched growing up, and even once attended. We used to see Legends: DiMaggio, Mantle, Ford… so many others. Now? Did they even mention the Babe and Lou Gehrig? (l missed the first few minutes.) And no Mariano, Posada, Petite, O’Neil...and Jeter??? Where were those guys?

At least they spared us the embarrassing exhibition game.
Let’s beat these tomato cans today!

JM said...

Nice to see Bernie and Rivers and the others, like Shane. But yeah, not exactly packed with immortals. Who knows? Maybe a couple of those guys will end up immortal by generations younger than us who weren't born yet when we watched them play.

2-0 already. Should get more here.

borntorun999 said...

More failure for Donaldson as he K’s on a questionable pitch. He’s done. Carpenter, a natural third baseman, should play there everyday..

borntorun999 said...

So much for more, JM. Donaldson K’s then Hicks hits into a DP with the bases loaded!

Doug K. said...

Hoss - DO NOT READ THIS FROM MIKE LUPICA!!!!

https://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/ny-shohei-ohtani-trade-dreams-20220730-u6qmanammva37gtnnkto5rxtiq-story.html

You have been warned.

JM said...

This is getting weird now. 42!

Doug K. said...

This Judge guy is pretty good.

borntorun999 said...

Hicks has returned to form. Last 15 games AVG .209 OPS .557

AboveAverage said...

So Benintendi plays with his jersey's top button either unbuttoned or buttoned.

I wonder what his motivation/superstitiousness is (if any) for switching this up.



JM said...

So he won't be getting hurt anytime soon.

Wouldn't it be great if Judge could hit 74 home runs, eclipsing Bonds, bringing the record back to the Yankees and having a clean player hold it? Unlikely, but ya never know.

JM said...

Getting Chapman back to form, relatively speaking, would be great. He and Marinacchio and Holmes make a terrific end of game combo.

AboveAverage said...

Yes - Solid pitching will help keep us all regular . . .

HoraceClarke66 said...

It WAS a bad turnout, JM—and the fans were less than enthusiastic, too. Why go, if you don't want to cheer these guys to the rafters?

Loved seeing Brian Doyle—with Mick the Quick laughing and clutching him from behind. Rivers looks like he's lost none of his spirit, which is great. Terrific to see Willie, Bucky, Guidry, the ever-classy Roy White, and Chambliss.

Yeah, they should encourage guys to really show up. And to play!

HoraceClarke66 said...

Oh, and Bernie, too!

HoraceClarke66 said...

Re Judge...from your lips to God's ears, JM. And for him to get to 74 would be truly Ruthian.

BUT...as far as I'm concerned, if Judge gets to 62—or to 61 in 154 games, HE'S the new home run champ. The non-juiced champ.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Boy, the Royals are a bad team.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Couldn't get past the Daily News paywall, Doug K., but I assume from the tagline that Lupica wants the Yanks to pick up Ohtani?

Actually, I don't think that solves a lot for us. Ohtani pitches once a week, then DHs. We have DHs. And how does that not throw off our pitching? Also, as someone here wrote, he's a West Coast guy who probably runs back there for 2024.

But hey, it all depends on the price!

Doug K. said...

Hoss,

Here's a taste.

"And if Ohtani did end up in New York, it would only be the biggest transaction in baseball since the Yankees got Babe Ruth from the Red Sox. And would also mean this: For the first time since The Babe, it would mean that the single biggest attraction and the single biggest star in baseball played his baseball here."

"The last time New York City had the best player in any sport was when the Yankees had Ruth and he towered over baseball. Mickey Mantle, which means the young Mantle, was a force of nature when he was young and still had his legs underneath him."

We keep hearing that a 23-year-old like Soto become available every half-century or so. Double that with Shohei Ohtani... But the Sho Hey Kid is the one they should want... And so should you."



JM said...

I think I'd be a big Ohtani fan if he had a season like Judge is having or one like Verlander is having. He needs to show me that he's an elite player as either a batter, a pitcher, or both. Right now, he's too mid-level in both categories to be as remarkable as the hype paints him.

EBD said...

Thanks, Travis Bickle. If the Yankees ever acquire Ohtani, you will choke on the mountain of crow you will have to eat.

JM said...

Carp!!!

JM said...

Hey Barney, how's Fred?

HoraceClarke66 said...

Yeah, I preferred the days when sportswriters didn't tell me what I SHOULD like.

I like Lupica all right, but he can be grievously wrong. Hence his joining the stoning of Matt Harvey for daring to suggest that maybe he SHOULDN'T wreck his arm just to help the Mets get to the World Series. Lupica and others goaded him into it. End of the Dark Knight.

Ohtani is a .251 hitter, and a 9-6 pitcher. He is a DH who pitches once a week. He ain't Babe Ruth. I'm not sure he's even Red Ruffing.

Pair up Soto with Judge? Yeah, I think that would be a pretty big attraction.

HoraceClarke66 said...

There comes a time in the life of almost all sportswriters—particularly the smarter ones, like Lupica—when they get bored to death and start demanding teams do things that they will find interesting.

What they should do instead is switch professions.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Oh, and also: Josh Donaldson is done. There is no reason to have him on the team anymore.

But look: in comes Joey Gallo!

HoraceClarke66 said...

Michael Kay just informing us that Gallo would be a good fit, because they lost a similar hitter to injury: Adam DuVall.

DuVall was hitting .213. Gallo is hitting .159. Gallo's lifetime BA is .201 now.

That is not a similar hitter.

Mildred Lopez said...


Besides his insufferable smugness Lupica is a Red Socks fan.

EBD said...

Just when the Yankees begin to slide, they are granted a reprieve with a four-game set with The Bad News Bears.

borntorun999 said...

Unfortunately Hoss, Donaldson ain’t going anywhere, thanks to his contract. Good job Crashman! And we while I’d love to see Judge hit 74 or even 62 (I haven’t fantasized so much since I got that Farrah Fawcett Poster) I’d rather see him maintain a sane, measured approach, just in case…you know…maybe we go deep in the playoffs….maybe?

EBD said...

JM -- Fred has been assigned to clean up the Augean stable that is this blog.

EBD said...

Gallo is untradeable, unless the recipient is a semipro beer league team that can at least offer a six-pack of Budweiser in return. They will have to DFA him.

borntorun999 said...

Man, Torres is an awful defender. Don’t need that in October. Feel free to trade him.

borntorun999 said...

Barney, I don’t find myself in agreement with you too often, but you’re right on target about Gallo. Hard to imagine any team wanting him, even if we pick up most of his salary. I’d love to read an oppo team’s scouting report on him. They do still have actual scouts? Or is it just guys in analytics reading numbers?

ranger_lp said...

Yankees Win!!!

HoraceClarke66 said...

Agreed on Torres, 999! Good to hear O'Neill calling him out on losing concentration—something all Yankees fans have known for 3 years. Yeah, if he's really what it takes to get Soto, I would not hesitate.

But, alas, that's not going to happen.

EBD said...

And in Gallo's case you would need a scout to do what? Verify that he can feed himself?

JM said...

I agree with you also, Barney. Beer league is just about right. Bad News Bears was pretty good,too. And good of you to throw in "Augean." You don't see that word enough anymore.

borntorun999 said...

Honestly, I almost feel sorry for the guy…almost.

I know the Royals Stink with a capital “S”, but this is how we’re supposed to play the bottom feeders.

Get the brooms out tomorrow

Stang said...

Sheesh, take a compliment.

Stang said...

If you're going to act like a prick, you can't stay. And I don't care how you feel about it.

Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside said...

Let change topics, to everyone’s Grandma, Georgie’s Girl herself, the one of kind unique and all our Suzyn Waldman:

https://nypost.com/2022/07/30/suzyn-waldman-on-career-obstacles-yankees-memories/

Would John be John without Suzyn? It was so many years ago he was still with Kay I don’t remember how he behaved. How many orphaned baseball boys have adopted Suzyn as their mom….

Stang said...

(That was in response to a couple of deleted comments.)

Stang said...

When Ricky saved John in the flood, Suzyn was the one who dispatched him. She doesn’t get enough credit for that.

EBD said...

JM -- "Augean" is not a word used by itself. It is used only in conjunction with "stables." See the following:

https://www.greeklegendsandmyths.com/augean-stables.html

JM said...

You could use Augean as an adjective, referring to anything that belonged to or is similar to Augeus or any of his actions. "Well, that was certainly Augean of him," for instance. But.... not something ya hear a lot, or really at all.

A shame. Nifty word.

Kevin said...

HOSS, your "Charlie" reference almost gave me a hernia! I actually went on YouTube last month to watch that commercial one more time! One great advertisement campaign, it's attached itself into my DNA sequence. LMAO

HoraceClarke66 said...

Glad somebody got it, Kevin!

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