Tuesday, January 31, 2023

The NFL and late-game penalties

I haven't been sitting around thinking about this the past day or so, but something did occur to me.

Duque--who I respect and admire, in case that needs saying--said that NFL games shouldn't be decided by penalties, especially playoff games.

I don't disagree, really. It does seem a kind of cheap way to win.

On the other hand, it's fairly inevitable.

Take that KC-Cincy game. Close game, winner goes to the Super Bowl, loser goes home. Everyone feeling the heat. Every guy on the field amped up on adrenaline (I won't speculate on whatever else they might be on).

The situation itself means that any given player is probably going to do something stupid to a lesser or greater extent. Ever get into an argument and say something you regret in the heat of the moment? Imagine gigantic guys who are going through that for a half an hour or more, but it's not an argument, it's a physical battle.

Pair that up with all of the rule changes in football over the last decade, where some penalties have been redefined to make calling an infraction easier and easier. The bar of transgression has become lower and lower. I think roughing the passer now includes calling the QB's sister dirty names, but I'm not sure. The rule changes are impossible for me to keep up with.

Put it all together (it spells M-o-t-h-e-r...) and penalties near the end of the game are a lot more likely, especially in the playoffs, especially in a close game. Meaning a penalty has a far greater chance of being committed, called, and ends up determining the outcome of the game.

We may not like it, but I don't understand how it doesn't happen more often. Whether or not a penalty "should" decide the game really doesn't matter. It's built into the game, which means it sometimes will. We either change human nature or a bunch of NFL rules so it won't.

So it goes, as Linda Ellerbee used to say.

On another topic, I wish we hadn't given up on Chad Green. Good reliever, sometimes more than good. Fare thee well, Greenie.

Keith Law on Jasson Dominguez: "He started 2022 with 57 games of pro experience, total, and that’s all he had had since signing in July of 2019. He ended up hitting well enough in High A that he would have finished in the top 10 in the Sally League in OBP and slugging if he’d qualified. Why do I get the sense people think he’s a disappointment?"

Hmm. Let's ponder that question. 

Why would Yank fans wonder about "The Martian?"


Jackson Melian. 
Jose Tabata. Jesus Montero. Dermis Garcia. Ruben Rivera. Ricardo Aramboles. Wilkerman Garcia. Nelson Gomez. Juan Deleon. Hans Montero. Et al. And those are merely the international signings. The first-round draft picks would need another post. 

Yesterday, Keith Law - (now of The Athletic; jeez, the guy changes uniforms like Cory Kluber) - ranked Dominguez #32 on his annual Top 100 Prospects list. This came with a gushing 300-word synopsis of The Martian's last three years, since the Yankees signed him at age 16. It questioned why some of us might feel as if we're being paid in Mallo Cup coupons at a Bitcoin convention. 

Somebody, please - shoot me. I can't do this anymore. Seriously. If I must endure another year of prospect boosterism about Dominguez, my head will burst like in a Cronenberg movie. This must be the year his testicles drop. He must arrive in 2023. If he spends the year at Double A, "adjusting," and shows up next year at, say, #58, all will be lost. I know he's only 19. I'm sorry for doubting him. But how much more Martian water can we carry, when there might not even be water on Mars.

We covered him here. 

He's been christened a teenage Mike Trout, compared to Bryce Harper at 16 and - in the most dangerous lines of all - evoked memories of another switch-hitting CF, the one who ruled my childhood. Dominguez received the highest signing bonus in Yankee history. As a result, the Death Star will surely get its money's worth in hype.

And here. 

It's a make-or-break season. He either hits, or he'll start to slowly disappear like superheroes on Thanos' hit list.

And here

Twice, he's ranked No. 1 on the Yank prospect list. (He's now 2nd, 3rd or 4th, depending on the site.) Twice, he appeared in Futures Games, once before he'd even played a year in the minors... Damn, he's done everything but date Pete Davidson.

So, why, why, WHY must we always swing at the biggest pinata? Are we doomed to our own gullibility? We question the Yankee Death Star, aware that it manipulates us, knowing the front office is Lucy with the football, awaiting our kick. We know it's a scam, a slight-of-hand designed to make us salivate like Pavlov's cocker spaniel. Yet we bite the hook. They sign another kid from somewhere far away - like Mars - and we oogle him every day, as if he's a sparrow in a webcam nest.

For the record, I'm glad that Keith Law believes in The Martian. Maybe he's right. Maybe everything will turn out in the end. But every Yank fan in captivity has good reason to question the truckload of bullshit that comes with every mention of Jasson Dominguez. It's not his fault that the Yankees eat their young. And we're not wrong to question them. 

Monday, January 30, 2023

Of Bernie, the Hall, and that certain other third baseman.


You know who's NOT in baseball's Hall of Fame?

Abner Doubleday, that's who's not. Even though the Hall is in Cooperstown because, one glimmering day in 1839, young Abner supposedly laid out the rules and dimensions of our national pastime along the shores of the Glimmerglass.

Tommy rot, as it turned out. Doubleday was quite a character, sort of the Forrest Gump of the 19th century, a soldier, mystic, and bibliophile with an uncanny knack for being around when anything of significance was going on.

He read Sanskrit, corresponded with Ralph Waldo Emerson, attended White House seances with Mary Todd Lincoln, was at Fort Sumter when the first shot of the Civil War was fired, held the line at Gettysburg—and took the train back there with Lincoln, when he gave the Gettysburg Address. 

But he did NOT invent the game of baseball. 

One of Doubleday's best friends, one A.G. Mills, the man who arranged his funeral and got him buried at Arlington, admitted that he never heard Abner so much as mention baseball. Why was this significant? Because Mills was the president of the National League for about 20 years.

In a brief autobiographical sketch, Doubleday himself wrote that, "In my outdoor sports, I was addicted to—"—wait for it!—"topographical work." 

Not even the HOF could convince itself to admit Topographical Work Doubleday, despite his being the entire excuse for its location in a charming, upstate town. 

Pretty much everything else everyone has said here about the Hall is also true—and more! The HOF is indeed controlled by the evil Clark family, a bunch of exasperating, right-wing zealots whose own main addiction is...polo. And the standards for just who should be in the Hall and why have been wildly inconsistent over the years, which...is just fine, as I see it.

Hell, it keeps the hot stove arguments coming. When was the last time you heard a passionate discussion over who should or should not be in the NFL's Hall of Fame, in Canton, Ohio?

Sure, the sportswriters who first select the Famers have generally made a hash of it. Even worse has been the follow-up, Veterans Committee, which should really be renamed The Old Cronies and Drinking Buddies Committee, and which is responsible for the likes of Rabbit Maranville, holder of the all-time record for choking up, being in Cooperstown.

It may be true, as the late Sen. Moynihan claimed, that everyone is NOT entitled to their own facts. But everyone sure as hell has their own concept of the Hall of Fame.

Some want it to be JUST the immortals. Ruth, Wagner, Mays, Aaron, Mantle, etc. Nothing below the really, truly special. 

Others have seriously proposed a multi-ringed Hall of Fame, with the all-time greats in some very special Valhalla, and the lesser greats in lower rings. But this seems more than a little mean-spirited—and would no doubt open new disputes.

Some even want to remove the unworthy selections from the Hall. But this seems unbelievably cruel to those who were chosen and their friends and families—such as the aforementioned Rabbit Maranville, seen below at the age of 39.

 (No, he really is 39 here, you can tell by that whacko arm patch honoring some sort of Pilgrim anniversary. Grizzle much?)

Anyhoo, no matter what system you adopt, the Hall always has and always will start to bleed around the edges. 

"Are you saying Dopey Dildox is no Fibber McGee? Why, don't you know that statistics are/are not the whole story?"

Which, again, is fine by me. 

But the way selections to the Hall have generally evolved, you get in if you were, indeed, an immortal, or if you were pretty damned good, for a very long time. Which I also have to admit has its merits. Hence the selections this year of Scott Rolen and Fred McGriff.

Much has been written here about whothehellis Scott Rolen, and how if HE'S in the Hall, then why not Graig "Puff" Nettles? 

Well, I love me some Graig Nettles. To death. Both he and Rolen were power hitters with magic gloves at third base, both of whom played for a very long time (Nettles, 22 years in the bigs, Rolen, 17). And in the course of those long careers, Rolen compiled an OPS that was over 100 points HIGHER than our Graig's, .855-.750, and won 8 Gold Gloves to Nettles' 2. 

In short, a typical Nettles season over his whole career, projected out to 162 games, was 20 doubles, 2 triples, 23 homers, 79 RBI, and a .248 BA. The same for Rolen was 41 doubles, 3 triples, 25 home runs, 102 RBI, and .281.

So there we are. Rolen was indeed a model of consistency—outstanding consistency, year after year. So was McGriff, who we lost in perhaps the worst single trade in Yankees history. 

Did you know, for instance, that McGriff's career OPS was 56 points higher than Don Mattingly's, .886 to .830? I didn't, until I looked it up.

Donnie Baseball is one of those guys on the HOF cusp. Six seasons that were Grade-A, Cooperstown-quality great...and another 5-6 that were perfectly respectable, along with 9 Gold Gloves at a position not considered that important.

Then there's Roger Maris, for whose induction there has been quite a clamor of late. But the Rajah had two great seasons and 3-4 good ones, before his career was foreshortened by injury. By almost all HOF standards over the years, that doesn't cut it.

The real specter haunting Cooperstown these days? The fact that—just like the rest of baseball—it still has yet to come to terms with juicing.

In fact, the compromise the Hall and its voters have stumbled into seems about as stupid as possible. Admitted juicer Mike Piazza gets in—after enduring a "penalty" of four years of delays. Admitted juicer Big Papi is in, apparently on the personality vote, while the likes of Manny Ramirez and Albert Belle—even more deserving, when it comes to the stats—will probably never get in.

And then, of course, there's the likes of Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens, and that other, certain third baseman, the man, the myth, the human satyr known as A-Rod.


What is there to do about a problem like Rodriguez?

I dunno, but SOME standard would be appreciated, lest the Hall become simply, Players We Like the Bestest.

What the failure to deal—still!—with steroids does is occlude the candidacies of other, deserving players.

Years ago, Bernabe Williams, another just-miss Haller, made the provocative argument that players like he—who went pretty much their whole careers playing AGAINST juicers, without juicing themselves—should make the Hall.

After all, without having to take on all those cheaters, their stats would be both relatively and absolutely better. Right?

It's a difficult argument to refute. And it makes me think of the one former Yankee who has really been done dirt by MLB's refusal to think straight about steroids.

That man is Jor-ge Posada, who for about ten years was widely acknowledged to be the second-best catcher in the American League. 

The man widely acknowledged to be the best? Widely acknowledged juicer—and Hall of Famer—Ivan Rodriguez. 

Jorge has never been so much as accused as juicing himself. And even so, his career OPS was FIFTY points higher than I-Rod's, .848-.798. (Amazing, when you consider the wind resistance that Posada's ears alone must have created running down to first base.)

So sing me no Rogers, no Graigs or Donnies. The man we need to get in the Hall is Jorge Posada!

(Of course, he was no Rabbit Maranville.)

One game decided by injuries, the other by the refs: Bad day for the NFL

Yesterday, around 7 p.m., the hashtag #NFLrigged began trending globally on Twitter. It's still going, like a tire fire in a coal mine. 

Basically, it's a hell scape for furious fans, far more volatile than our most volcanic IT IS HIGH, Aaron Boone threads. It chronicles humanity's brooding indignation towards the National Football League, perhaps the most evil corporation in the world. But it won't matter, not a whit. Nothing will change, ever. That's China Town, Jake. 

In the end, two conference championships were decided as much by the referees as the players, as our most militaristic sport slides into a violent chaos that, like war itself, cannot be governed.  

Comparatively speaking, baseball's issues with the home plate strike zone are a parking ticket. Cram 22 testosterone-laced, steroidal mutants into a mosh pit on every single play, and no handful of on-field umpires can keep play in line. 

Yesterday, the San Francisco 49ers were called for 11 penalties, the Philadelphia Eagles four. This included an excruciating third quarter Philly drive that was kept alive by penalty after penalty - the master stroke being a roughing-the-kicker call in which a 49er was pushed into the punter. Frankly, it didn't matter: The game was decided after two SF quarterbacks went out, one with a concussion. The outcome was never in doubt.

In the second game, with overtime looming, the Kansas City Chiefs were awarded an extra 15 yards on an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that - in the end - was a push, not a hit. People can argue the call. What cannot be debated is that, once the penalty flag was thrown, the game was over. The Chiefs would beat Cincinnati by a field goal. A referee had decided the game.

This happened after a KC punt return where the refs missed a block to the back, what used to be called clipping. That oversight let the Chiefs start their drive at midfield. 

In one case, the ref held his flag. In the other, he threw it. The result: KC goes to the Super Bowl to play Philadelphia.

Listen: The NFL is not rigged. Remember the XFL? That league was launched by pro wrestling moguls, and not even they could fix the games. The sheer pandemonium on every play is so breathtaking, so overwhelming, that it cannot be controlled. 

As long as we live, losing fans will always grouse about the refs. Still, I'm glad the NY Giants weren't in the fray yesterday. To get so far, and then to lose because of a referee's discretion - I'd be brooding all year. 

Which reminds me...  Aaron Boone!

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Texas is now the place where former future Yankee legends go to die

Every now and then, the doorbell rings, and your past shows up on the stoop, bags in hand, to remind of a simpler world. In that moment, you live a lifetime. Then you blink, and it's gone - just a mirage.   

Happened yesterday: Clint Frazier and Ian Kennedy - two icons of unfulfilled Yankee expectations, 10 years apart - signed with Texas.

Their backstories run so deeply that - frankly - where to start? Each arrived in a wave of youth surely destined to restore the Yankees to dominance. Each suffered the consequences of our unlimited expectations. 

Ian Kennedy and Clint Frazier... 


I need a drink. 

Kennedy came as a 1st-round pick in 2006, a lefty from USC with polish beyond his years, maybe the next Andy. He formed part of a holy trinity with Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes - a wave of young arms that included Tyler Clippard, Sean Henn, Colter Bean and, gulp, Kei Igawa. He suffered a frightening setback - an aneurism cost him a season and threatened his life. Once, after being shelled, he didn't express enough remorse for the NY sportswriters, and he was ridiculed and banished to Triple A, later dealt to Arizona in a massive swap that brought us the Grandyman and sent Max Scherzer to Detroit.   

In the desert, Kennedy became an ace. In 2011, he went 21-4 with a 2.88 ERA, finishing 4th in the Cy Young. He became a workhorse in San Diego and in 2019, moved to closer in KC, notching 30 saves. He's had a great career, the best of our original triad. Imagine the last 15 years, if the Yankees had kept him... Wow. Another drink, please...

We recently remembered Frazier - he of the "legendary bat speed," Cashman said -  the jewel of the 2016 trade that sent Andrew Miller to Cleveland. Soon, Yank fans heard of a brash 21-year-old who rubbed some old farts the wrong way. Somebody concocted a bullshit story about him demanding Mantle's #7, and some writers went with it. Videos showed him ruling weight rooms and breaking a bat over his knee. Also, he ran into walls. Concussions cost him two years. 

Frazier was going to join an emerging lineup with Greg Bird, Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, Aaron Judge, Tyler Austin and Billy McKinney (who, interestingly, will be competing for LF with the Yankees this spring.) The Yankees were rising. He wore #77, perfect balance with #99 in RF. 

So much history, it hurts.

Both will seek a shot in Texas. Kennedy will be 38. Frazier, who now goes by Jackson, is 28. 

Good luck to both. Wow. Another drink, please.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Walk Up Song Update: Final Update

Based on all the suggestions and a little flipping around. 

Aaron Judge "Big Bad John" - Jimmy Dean / Honorable Mention "The Jolly Green Giant" by the Kingsman 

Anthony Rizzo  "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" - Pat Benatar

Giancarlo Stanton "All Or Nothing At All", Frank Sinatra

Josh Donaldson “Money For Nothing” - Dire Straits

Aaron Hicks "It's Over", Roy Orbison / Honorable Mention "Seasons in The Sun"   - Terry Jacks

Gleyber Torres "Winkin'Blinkin' and Nod" The Doobie Brothers 

Harrison Bader "These Boots Are Made For Walking" Nancy Sinatra.

Oswald Peraza "Can't You Hear Me Knockin'", Rolling Stones

Oswaldo Cabrera "I'm your Handyman" by either Jimmy Jones or James Taylor

DJ LeMahieu "Hurt" Johnny Cash

Jose Trevino "I am a Rock"  Simon & Garfunkel

Kyle Higashioka "Catch Me Now I'm Falling" The Kinks

IKF "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" Buddy Holly 


Pitchers don’t get walk up songs but they do get music when they enter the field from the bullpen so... 

Gerrit Cole "Sweet Sticky Thing - Ohio Players was a great suggestion. 

As was Nestor Cortes "Fool on the Hill" and Luis Severino - "I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down" - Elvis Costello 

Of course there's always “Send in the Clowns” but Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Heaney are gone.  

Speaking of gone...  Gary Sanchez "All Things Must Pass" George Harrison

Is the 2023 Yankee lineup past its sell-by date?

Let's talk Time: the immortal master of us all, our one true Prime Mover, our overlord through eternity and - most importantly - a clear and present threat to the 2023 Yankees.

We cannot escape time. We cannot bend it, halt it, reverse it or cheat it. Already, you have squandered a few precious seconds, pondering this post (which, believe it or not, took me longer to write.) For each of us, those incredibly finite moments are gone, spent, vanished - never to return. Were they worth it? I wonder... But what choice do we have? This train only goes one way.

On that note, let's ponder the projected 2023 opening day Yankee lineup, with players' ages for the forthcoming year. 

3b DJ LeMahieu, 34
RF Aaron Judge, 31
1B Anthony Rizzo, 33
DH Giancarlo Stanton, 33
2B Gleyber Torres, 26
CF Harrison Bader, 29 
SS Oswald Peraza, 23
LF Aaron Hicks, 33
C Jose Trevinio, 30 

Mercifully, this sidesteps Josh Donaldson, 37, and Kyle Higashioka, who somehow will be 33. Out of our starting nine, six players will be 30 or over. 

This will be a "veteran" team, a John Sterling way of saying "old." Each of our first four hitters will be past his peak season, and the bottom four will scare nobody. Gleyber Torres is the fulcrum. This is no Murderers Row. It's more 80 for Brady

Studying this lineup, let's remember that:

1. Our pitching staff could save us, if Luis Severino, 29, and Frankie Montas, 30, step up.

2. Oswald Peraza might be the answer at SS.

3. Oswaldo Cabrera, 24, might take LF. 

Still, right now, the bottom of our batting order looks like a sandwich break, and if Harrison Bader's 2022 postseason turns out to be an anomaly, the cliff-dive happens after the No. 5 hole.

And if LeMahieu and/or Stanton go down with injuries - well - any bets? 

I raise this because, right now - at this point in Time - the 2023 Yankees look far more like last year's second-half team than the first-half. 

And Time is not on our side. 

Friday, January 27, 2023

Walk Up Songs

I read this article in the New York Post the other day and was playing with solving it for him with limited success.  

Aaron Judge’s meticulous search for walk-up song drives wife crazy


I thought I'd open it up to the rest of the commentariat.  It would be cool if we found the perfect walk up songs for the whole line up. 

The good news is that the Yankees have three players on the Top 100 prospects list. The bad news is who are ahead of them

Hey, it's the final Friday in January - time for the Top 100 Prospects, MLB's version of Mel Kiper's mock drafts, the greatest waste of time in American sports. It's dead winter, and the sportswriters have gallantly volunteered to do the shoveling. We can lick our collective chops about players who might never appear in a Yankee game. Drew Henson! Dave Parrish! Cito Culver! Pitter patter, let's get at her!  

Now, there are prospect rankings, and then there are fucking prospect rankings. Ranking the rankings, I rank Baseball America's rankings at #3, MLB.com's rankings at #2, with the top-ranked ranking being our own, IT IS HIGH Top 5, based on coolness of name. They sound like comic book characters, but these are true up-and-comers within the Steinbrenner plantation.


1. Matt Krook
2. Clayton Beeter - 
3. Tyler Danish
4. Indigo Diaz   
5. Tie: Tanner Tully and Drew Thorpe

On that note, back to the giblets. Yesterday, MLB.com released its Top 100, with three future Yankee superstars: Anthony Volpe, the great white holpe, at #5; Jasson "The Martian" Dominguez, at #47. And Oswald Peraza, at #52. Congrats to all. 

We've watched these guys so long now that, really, what's to say? They're here due more to scouting reports and signing bonuses than last year's stats. Still, it's hope! Right? And let's note that some Top 100s also list Spencer Jones, the towering OF we drafted last summer. 

So, victory lap? I dunno. Get out a pen and paper. Let's do some math: MLB has 30 teams. In a perfect world, each should place at least three in the Top 100. So, the Yankees have... um, three. Statistically, they're Malcom in the Middle. 

The thing is, the game of prospects is much like poker: It's not what you have in your hand, but what you have compared to the others at the table. So...  

On this list, the Orioles place eight (8) prospects, including MLB #1, Gunnar Henderson, a SS who might reach the majors this season. They also have the #7 prospect, RH pitcher Grayson Rodriguez, who also should arrive this year. He will throw to the game's best young catcher, 24 year old Adley Rutschman. And six other young O's. 

Should we fear them? Hell, no: It's just Baltimore, right?

Last year, the eternally hapless O's finished fourth in the AL East, 4 games above .500. In July/August, they went on a 33-19 tear, while the Yanks ate mothballs. This year, the O's could be a long way from Rougned Odor, and they hate hate HATE the Yankees. Be afraid. Be very afraid. 

Then there is Boston. We laughed when they lost JD Martinez and Xander Bogaerts. They placed four prospects in the Top 100, led by #9 Marcelo Mayer, a SS deep in the farm. They have a rising young 1B (they always do, right?) and the top free agent signee from Japan, a LF named Masataka Yoshida. We don't know how good this guy could be, but his credentials suggest he's on a par with Godzilla.

Boston played dead last season, and now they're clawing up from the grave. In this millennium, they disappear for a couple years, then rise to eat our lunches. This could be one of those years. We think we won the winter. Well, we better not sleep on them. 

Tampa always has prospects. They've also placed four in the Top 100, let by Taj Bradley, a 21-year-old RH pitcher, who should make the team this year. We know the Rays will be good. They are the most cost-effective franchise in baseball.  

Finally, Toronto - which might have toppled onto the other side of the talent curve: One Top 100 prospect, 20-year-old Rickie Tiederman, who is two years away. But they have a team of players who might be reaching their peaks, career-wise. Anybody want to imagine what Junior Guerrero's best season might look like? I don't. 

So, we've done our jobs. We just wasted 10 minutes. That's all these prospect lists do. But there is a message here: When it comes to grading the future, the Yankees sit in the middle of the pack - neither great nor awful. But if they trade - say - Volpe or Dominguez, that will abruptly change. 

Amid this talk about trading kids for a slugging OF or a 3B, we need to ask ourselves: How deeply do we want to drain our system?  

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Congrats to Scott Rolen for making the Hall of Fame. One question, though: Who the hell is Scott Rolen?

It's the award season in America, where the Jewels of humankind - along with the Chers, Beyonces and Mileys - get to hug golden trophies and cry rivers of self-validation. In this annual anointment of cultural gods, nothing compares to the Oscars, except - well - the Grammys, the Tonys, the MTVs, the SAGs, the People's Choices, the Kennedy Center nominees, the Country Music whatevers and - of course - the Golden Calves Globes.  

This week, sportswriters across America - baseball's version of the sleazy Hollywood Foreign Press Association - elected Scott Rolen to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Across the nation - at least in Philadelphia and St. Louis - fans reacted happily to the news. Rolen gave 17 dutiful years to the Phills, Cards and - in a brief cameo  - Blue Jays. 

As far as Yank fans are concerned, they might as well have elected Sidd Finch. 

If you're a Yank fan, for the last two days, you've been scouring your memory banks, trying to recall the guy in the way that Baruch College volleyball diehards do for George Santos. Good luck. Over his 17 years, Rolen played 14 - fourteen - games in the old Yankee Stadium: That's 57 plate appearances with a .300 batting average in what we like to call Small Sample Size. Rolen played four games (4) in the new Yankee stadium, with a total of 19 plate appearances! He got four hits, drove in two runs. Was he real, or did we imagine him?

Listen, I don't mean to toss water upon Rolen's great honor. From all accounts, he seems like a righteous, standup dude who appeared in seven all-star games and won eight Gold Gloves. That said, a few points:

1. Rolen is a career .281 hitter. He averaged 19 HRs per season. In postseason play, a lifetime .220. Only once did he crack the National League's MVP's Top 10: He finished 4th in 2004. Surely, his numbers don't fully outline the great player and person that he is. 

2. The Hall of Fame in Cooperstown is a private enterprise owned by an unbelievably rich family. It was established on the lie that Abner Doubleday invented baseball in that town, and over the years, it has refused to honor people because of their political beliefs.

3. In the balloting, the Yankees simply do not always get a fair shake. Amazingly, ridiculously, Roger Maris still has never been inducted. Same with Thurman Munson and Ron Guidry. Bernie Williams. Andy Pettitte. All those rings under Joe Torre? Apparently, they just happened by themselves. Oh, one other thing: Don Fucking Mattingly. 

4. The Hall of Fame voters are mostly old, white, small market fart bags who have devoted much of their lives to ranting about the Yankees ruined baseball, by paying the players too much money. They yearn for the time before Curt Flood and the players union - and when people still read newspapers.

So, Scott Rolen is in the hall? Congrats! And I mean it. He must have been great! I'll take their word for it. Frankly, I have no choice. I can't place him. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

The Max Kepler trade rumors beg one question: Why would the Yankees seek another Aaron Hicks?

You know the theory: A butterfly that flaps its papery wings in China somehow creates the bomb cyclone that devastates Buffalo. On that note, here is today's giant Rube Goldberg Machine of Fate: 

Yesterday, the Twins traded for a veteran CF named Michael A. Taylor, creating a logjam in their outfield. That prompts rumors that Minnesota will trade leftfielder Max Kepler, possibly to the Yankees. 

Which raises questions: Who the eff is Max Kepler? (Note: Born in Germany, he surely is a distant relative of Johannes Kepler, the 17th century astronomer now remembered with a massive telescope. Perhaps Max Kepler's ability to project planetary movements will help Aaron Boone plan his pitching rotation.) Are the rumors valid? And why would we view Kepler as an upgrade over Aaron Hicks?

For the record, Kepler will turn 30 in two weeks. He bats LH,  which is a must, and he's a moose: 6'4." Four years ago, he hit 36 HRs for Minnesota. Since then, he been a twig: batting averages of .228, .211 and .227, with little power. Whatever he showed in 2019, it seems to have left the building. 

Okay, let's acknowledge the chance that someone in the Yankee brain trust - maybe a new executive? - sees something in Kepler. Maybe he suffered injuries or life issues. Maybe he's the type who can rescue a flagging career by altering his approach. Some players can. Maybe Max Kepler has a second act.

But for now, obtaining Kepler would mean the Yankees basically replace Aaron Hicks with, gulp, another Aaron Hicks. (Or worse, they collect a second Aaron Hicks.) The similarities: 

1. Both would come in trades with Minnesota.

2. Neither has hit higher than .227 over the last three years. (Hicks' career average: .231. Kepler's: .232.)

3. Both are pushing, if not having passed, his sell-by date. Kepler will be 30, Hicks 33. 

4. Both are costly. Kepler will earn $8.5 million this year; Hicks will make $28 million over the next three. 

5. According to Baseball Reference, both are statistical career doppelgangers with Don Lock, Curt Blefary and Gregory Polanco, three rather forgettable players. 

So... if the rumors are true, the Yankees would replace Hicks with a slightly younger version of Hicks. Why? 

Okay, with any trade, the devil's in the details. Maybe they'd get Kepler in a big three-way, a cascade of prospects, pitchers, money, draft picks, dogs and cats, Herschel Walker - the whole nine yards. Should the Yankees roil their farm system for Max Kepler? Is he our answer in LF? Yikes. We need to start eradicating butterflies in China.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

“I suspect he will be the guy that emerges, because he’s still really talented, and everything’s there. Hopefully, we get the Aaron Hicks that we know is in there.”

Yesterday, Brian Cashman said that Aaron Hicks will likely start in left field next season for NY Yankees, a team he once described as a "fully operational Death Star."

The news jolted fans from their MILF Manor trances, prompting outcries of anger and fear that Hicks - like microplastics - has become a permanent part of the Yankiverse. 

In fact, we are contractually lashed to him, like Ahab to the whale, for the next four years, until 2026, on a pay scale that will rise to $12.5 million in his final season. There is no escape from Aaron Hicks - or for Aaron Hicks. He is ours, and we are his.

On that note, dear comrades, I have one request. 

Kindly sit down and STFU! 

Yes, we're all stuck on this dinky lifeboat. Yes, there are not enough provisions to last. Yes, we can't drink the seawater, and yes, we can hear you screaming. So has every shark within 100 miles, and, yes, they're circling. Thank you for reminding us that we're going to die. Why, the thought hadn't occurred to me, until you began bellowing your personal terrors to the sun and the moon. We really need to hear again how we'll starve to death, if we don't first die of thirst. So, take a deep breath, Elon, and if you have any private thoughts about jumping overboard, feel free, okay? Just keep your ideas to yourself. The TV clicker is yours, and Oak Island is beckoning. Thank you for your consideration. 

Excuse me. I got a little loud. 

But seriously, we should all know by now that Cashman's gonna say whatever Cashman's gonna say. Want a historical analogy? Here's one: Yesterday's statement - to satellite radio - is most reminiscent of Cashman's claim in 2006 that Bubba Crosby would be the Yankee CF, a statement that came days before we signed Johnny Damon. 

Here's what Cashman was thinking:

1. "I'm desperately trying to trade Aaron Hicks, but I won't say it, so if other GMs hear this, they will think I don't want to trade Aaron Hicks, and thus I will outsmart them... by trading Aaron Hicks. Ha ha!" 

2. "I'll tell Aaron Hicks that he's my man, because it will stoke him up to workout harder and have a big spring training... and then I can trade Aaron Hicks. Ha ha!" 

3. "Whatever I say now doesn't matter. Nobody out there remembers how I pulled the wool over everybody's eyes back in 2006 with Bubba Crosby. Ha ha!" 

Folks, here's the reality: Aaron Hicks might be our LF next April. 

He'll be 33. And maybe - just maybe - he's got a half season left, before he tweaks a gonad, (which he will.)  But frankly, I'd rather give him one more shot than DFA him, or trade him for somebody with a worse contract. He's ours for four more years. Deal with it. Okay, back to Oak Island. HOLY SHIT, SOMEBODY FOUND A FORK!

Monday, January 23, 2023

Sometimes a tweet is worth a thousand words, too.


The Yankees are dangling Josh Donaldson in trades, as they did last year with Gary Sanchez... which is how they got Donaldson.

According to the Internet, the Yanks are still seeking to trade fan pariahs Josh Donaldson and Aaron Hicks, which is sorta like looking to swap two Chuckys for a M3GAN. Either way, it's gonna get messy. Nobody wants them. In fact, nobody will even pick up the phone unless - wait  - here's a number: 1-877 KARS4KIDS!

It's an acid flashback to last winter, when Brian Cashman was so determined to trade Gary Sanchez to the Twins that he tossed in Gio Urshela. The Yankees celebrated their acumen, and then, over the next eight months, the deal slowly festered into a debacle, as the hapless Donaldson came to symbolize another October collapse. 

So, here's the question: To disappear Donaldson - and his sidekick, Hicks - will the Yankees take on someone with an even more odious contract? 

You betcha they will! 

In fact, that's the play. They'll trade them for Dopey Dildox, who once starred for the Expos, and pencil him in for opening day. Cue the balloon drop! Winter will be over.  

So who is on our list? Glad you asked. Here are the worst contracts in baseball (which makes them the worst contracts ANYWHERE. Keep in mind, Donaldson would be on this list - at $21 million this year, and Giancarlo Stanton is 2nd worst contract of all - $175 million over the next five years. We are bad contract dynamos.)

So, the list of possible future Yankees...

Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: $32 million this year.
Yasmani Grandal, White Sox, $18 million this year.
Joey Votto, Reds, $25 million this year. 
Madison Bumgarner, $37 million, two years.
Yoan Moncada, White Sox, $42 million, two years.
Chris Sale, Redsocks, $57 million, two years.
Patrick Corbin, Nationals, $60 million, two years.
Nick Castellanos, Phillies, $80 million, four years. 
Jose Berrios, Blue Jays $119 million, six years
Kris Bryant, Rockies, $157 million, six years.
Anthony Rendon, Dodgers, $156 million, four years
Stephen Strasburg, Nationalsm $140 million, four years
Christian Yellich, $176 million, seven years.

Last year, we couldn't imagine how any trade of Sanchez could backfire. Addition by subtraction, we told ourselves. Besides, we obtained a starting SS, a 3B and a catcher, whose name I still cannot spell.

Well, be careful what we wish for. We all want Donaldson and Hicks to leave, while we plunder some team's farm system. What's more likely is that they'll plunder ours, as we throw in prospects. 

We know that neither Donaldson nor Hicks might hit their weight in 2023. But here's a thought: It won't take us the year, or the summer, or even the months of April and May - to recognize that they are Donaldson and Hicks, and that they are finished. That might be our best play of all. 

Sunday, January 22, 2023

And another New York sports year ends in a humilating defeat at the hands of an arch-rival

Okay, I think I'm detecting a pattern...

Our team gets off to a great start. They win games they shouldn't. Then we struggle and lose a bunch. Somehow, we make it to the post-season, where our hopes skyrocket. We actually believe. 

Then, on national TV, we get wiped-out - embarrassed, humiliated, whacked, whupped, walloped, wing-nutted, wankered, Wally Worlded, whatever - molested, undressed, deleted, biglateeded, garbered, wantooned. It's not even close. In fact, it is so utterly overwhelmingly awful that we begin to wonder if our early success was merely a mirage. 

Soon, we will spend all our allotted money just to keep together the same team that, basically, just came up a few light years short.

I know, I know... Giants fans are supposed to think 2023 was a "magical" season, that the team outdid expectations, that our coaches brings hope for the yatta-yatta-yatta. I get it. Still, I dunno...

After last night, I can easily foresee the New York Football Giants floundering for another 10 years. 

Something about New York sports and payroll caps... they just don't mix. All things considered, a $200 million team in Kansas City will almost always beat a $200 million team in NYC, because they simply don't face the distractions.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Leadership Styles

El Duque's column about Shelly Duncan got me thinking about leadership styles.

The game is on the line...

Daboll knows how to get the most out of his players.

Thibs cares deeply and plays the hand he's been dealt. 

While Boone just blows.  

With Shelley Duncan managing Scranton, the Yankees have someone who will fight for his teammates

Congrats to Shelley Duncan, new manager of the Scranton RailBidens, and kudos to the Yanks for hiring him. (Maybe those old guys DO know something?)

Duncan, 43, is the hero who stood up for Frankie Cervelli in March of 2008, after a Tampa goon named Elliot Johnson, in the ninth inning of an exhibition game, barreled into the 22-year-old catcher at home plate - in an exhibition game - breaking Cervelli's wrist and nearly derailing the kid's career - In. A. Fucking. Exhibition. Game.   

Yank manager Joe Girardi called it "uncalled for." Cervelli, who held onto the ball for an out, missed months, playing only 27 games that season. He'd been on the cusp of making the roster. He basically lost the year.

Disgracefully, weasel-faced Rays manager Joe Maddon - known for the over-shifts that MLB now bans - said nothing. Nada. Zilch.  

A few days later, the Yanks and Rays met again. Early on, Duncan drop-kicked himself into second base, spikes high as Tom Cruise's forehead, nearly excising a Ray's testicle. In the brawl that ensued, the Yankees - lead by the 6'5" Duncan - stood up for their teammate. The whiny Rays griped about a high slide. Little babies. 

It was one of our finest hours.

Duncan was no hot-head brawler. He comported himself well through a seven-year MLB career, hitting  43 HRs with three teams, and finishing in -of course! - Tampa. In 2009, the year the Yankees won it all, Duncan won the International League MVP at Scranton. Back then, he posted thumbnail movie reviews on his Twitter account - along the lines of Not Seth Rogan's Oscar or Will Farrell scores again!  

Cervelli ended up playing 13 years with four teams, finishing with a .268 career average. He faced multiple injuries, including a home plate beaning that sent Damar Hamlin shivers across the bleachers. For a while, he was known for his huge helmet, which looked like something out of Flintstones. Last year, he coached for the Padres. 

So, here's how this should go. Come October, Boone either wins a ring or goes fishing in the Bermuda Triangle and catches super gonorrhea from the loo. The Yankees hire a replacement who has won the respect of their future franchise stars - Anthony Volpe and Jasson Dominguez. Duncan becomes Yankee manager, and you know what we have? 

A fighter. And I'll take it. 

Friday, January 20, 2023

Twilight of the gods: The David Crosby Yankees Song Book

Sing along, campers...

Three runners and Rothschild’s coming!
This save has been finally blown!
Altuvi hears trash cans drumming,
Four runs off El Chapo!

There is a season, Boone, Boone,
Never a reason, Boone, Boone, Boone...
And a time for every pitcher
Signed by Cashman.

Now Scott Proctor’s bombed and bagged,
And he's hanging in the air,
Won’t you trade him to Chicago
For a buck.
On a bullpen run by Torre,
How can he still be out there?
Won’t you trade him to Chicago
For a fucking rubber duck!

Almost cut my hair...
Happened just the other day.
Heard I was gettin' dealt
To New York for Sonny Gray.

Teach your prospects well,
For they'll know hell,
Four years in Scranton...

Wooden mitts, on the catcher,
Gary's so uneasy.
Striking out the way
It's supposed to be, so breezy... 

So Who Really WAS the Greatest Yankee Left Fielder of All Time?


Well, it's complicated.

As previously discussed in the comments section, I love Roy White to death, and he was certainly an outstanding player, who took a lot of HIGHLY undeserved flak during his 15 seasons with the team. 

Yet the truth is, the Yanks have enjoyed many years with better all-around players out there. Rickey Henderson, Charlie "King Kong" Keller, Dave Winfield, Hideki Matsui, and Gene Woodling all come to mind. And don't get me started on Twinkletoes Selkirk.

Only trouble? For various reasons, none of them played enough games in left to really qualify as the greatest of all time. 

Keller, with six seasons, had the longest stay, and he was a near-HOF player at his peak. But a terrible injury left him a shell of his former self by the time he was 29.

So, who is the man?

Actually, it's men, plural. And this is not an attempt to start still another gender.

The best Yankee left fielder of all time was BabeRuthBobMeusel. Or call him BabeBob, or Bobby Baby, as a tribute to the late, great Stephen Sondheim. Or maybe MeuselRuth.

Whatever. Point is, for ten seasons, 1921-1930, The Babe and The Bob—pictured here in their off-season garb as Wall Street bicycle messengers—split the position. 

The way this worked was that, basically, Ruth played left field except when he didn't wanna. Usually when the sun was too intense, always a problem when you have consumed 714 beers the night before.

Ruth would then shift over to right, and Meusel would take over in left—though this was not necessarily the optimum lineup for your New York Yankees.

Ruth was considered to have an outstanding arm, and was said never to have thrown to the wrong base. But Bob Meusel was widely believed to possess the best outfield arm in the game.

The two men—seen here in some of the stylish warm-up gear from the time—would often entertain fans before games by placing a towel over home plate, then having a contest to see how many times each could hit it with a throw from their respective outfield positions.

(I know, I know: I should have posted a trigger warning over the idea that two ballplayers would voluntarily do anything to entertain fans. Hey, it was a different era.)

"Long Bob" Meusel, a key link on "Murderers' Row," is mostly forgotten now—probably in good part because he was known as a moody, quiet player on a team full of boisterous characters. (He was also known as "Languid Bob" or even "Silent Bob," decades before Kevin Smith.)

Languid or not, though, Bob was a superb ballplayer. He not only played a great corner outfield, but stole as many as 26 bases in a season, regularly pounded 40 or more doubles and 10 or more triples around the yard, and had an MVP-quality season in 1925, when he led the AL with 33 homers and 134 ribbies, despite The Babe being sidelined for a good part of the season with his mysterious stomach explosion.

He's seen here with his brother, Emil "Irish" Meusel, who played six years with the New York Giants. During that time, the brothers shared a house in New York, and played against each other in three World Series. 

Both lasted a total of 11 seasons in the bigs. Bob hit .309, Irish, .310—though Bob led in almost every other statistical category (.847-.810 in OPS). Supposedly, Emil was just as quiet as his brother, and one can picture the fun times they had around the old manse.

(We are an odd lot, we Irish.)

All in all, Long Silent Languid Bob played 625 games in left for the Yankees, and would have been a constant all-star, had they had all-star games in his time. 

On the other hand, Babe Ruth, the greatest player who ever lived, played 868 games in left for the Yankees. But to name him the Yanks' all-time greatest left fielder would mean that Ruth was the team's greatest left field AND right fielder.

So what to do? 

Frankly, I suspect that if you just pushed Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and Joe, Joe DiMaggio out of your dugout, and told them "You boys sort it out," you'd be fine. At least until Aaron Judge puts in a couple more years.

But if we have to go with one, full-time guy who actually played a lot of years out there—I gotta go with Languid Bob Meusel. Or Babe Ruth. Or both—depicted below with the third great in that incredible, 1920s outfield, centerfielder Earle the Pearl Combs. But I digress.



It's time we had a talk about Isiah. Is there a place for him on the 2023 Yankees?

A month from now, story lines will start bubbling up across Tampa like red tide after a motorcycle rally. Who's in LF? Who's on 3B? And WTF about IKF?

That's Isiah Kiner-Falefa, first hyphenated U.S. player in Yank history - (Chien-Ming Wang broke the Strunk & White line in 2005) - our starting SS from April to August, before he turned into Alvaro Espinosa.  

I won't belabor IKF's 2022 season, aside to note that his ups and downs came in equal shot-glasses. I'll never forget his first Yank HR, beating the Redsocks. Nor can we un-remember the botched grounders, plays an MLB shortstop simply must make. That summer, we watched him degrade, until the brain trust was suddenly scouring the landscape for someone, anyone, to replace him. 

For the record, IKF - he'll turn 28 this season - hit .261, with 4 HRs and 22 stolen bases (out of 26 attempts.) He outhit Josh Donaldson, our pair of catchers and the Lucy-at-the-fudge-conveyor-belt consortium in left field, which tortured us all year. He never dogged it, never moped, never quit - a stand-up Yankee. 

But we need to talk about Isiah. Specifically, where does he fit in 2023? Here are the options.

Third base. Much is made of IKF's Gold Glove at 3B, which he won in 2020. Unfortunately, that was the abbreviated season of Covid, which was like Superman after eating red kryptonite. Luke Voit won the HR crown. DJ LeMahieu led the AL in hitting. And Clint "Jackson" Frazier was named as a Gold Glove "finalist" in left field. 

Yeesh. Anybody who ever watched Red Thunder patrol an outfield corner suddenly realized that the Gold Glove award had become baseball's Golden Globe. 

I don't want to demean IKF's big moment - wait, no, that's exactly what I wanna do. In fact, I'd pitch that trophy into the right field bleachers like a Knoblauchian toss to first. IKF can be a serviceable, light-hitting 3B, but he's not ready for the Pro Bowl. To play 3B, he must beat out LeMahieu, Josh Donaldson and Josh Donaldson's contract, which places Josh Donaldson first in the chow line.  

Could IKF play 3B? Sure. But first they must find somebody to take Donaldson. 

Shortstop. You can't put the same school budget up for a second vote, after its been already rejected. Last year, IKF was a stopgap. He can't do it again.

The spring training battle for SS is Oswald Peraza's to lose. If he gets hurt or develops the yips, the fallback option is Oswaldo Cabrera or maybe Anthony Volpe - who is more likely ticketed to a summer in the birthplace of Joe Biden. The Yanks hibernated for two winters, passing on free agent shortstops. They didn't do it for Kiner-Falefa. 

Utility. Again, this comes down to other spring training competitions. The Yankee left field is not Vegas: What happens there does not stay there. It will affect the entire team. If the Yankees sign somebody or trade for somebody, they'll move the switch-hitting Cabrera into the utility role, along with LeMahieu, who is always - like the potential Oscar best picture - Everything, Everywhere, All at Once. 

Trade. Well, he'll be a free agent next winter. If they wait, they'll get nothing. But what are their chances of receiving decent value? 

The thing is - damn! - I like IKF. He is a good player, a stand up teammate, and in the late innings of a close game, a tough out. He wasn't to blame for the second half collapse, or the second round knockout. I just wish he had a role. As for now, he's just a hyphenation mark between here and gone.  

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Two years after trading for Joey Gallo, the Yankees apparently think Estevan Florial strikes out too often to play LF

Often, Yank fans mirror the characters in those Progressive TV ads about kids becoming their parents. We stand around, carping about who will play left field.  You can imagine Dr. Rick shaking his head, then blurting, "NO MORE TALK ABOUT AARON HICKS!"

But, really, how can we not?

If the season launched today, our starter in left - the ancestral grounds for Mel Hall, Luis Polonia and Chad Curtis - would be Aaron "the Wrong Aaron" Hicks, who batted .216 last season and gives us the same feeling House Republicans must have when George Santos trends on Twitter.

The free agent ranks of lefty-hitting leftfielders has dwindled to cigarette butts and bottle deposits, and unless future Hall of Famer Brian Cashman can trade for somebody, another year looms of Hicksy, who - fun fact: is said to be the best golfer in baseball. The mere notion of Hicks - again - conjures George C. Scott in the 1979 movie Hardcore. I want to scream, "Turn it off!"

But I am not here today to turn it off... hope, that is. I'm here to open a can of happy, even if Hicks turns out to be our man. I'd rather we move slowly with trades, especially if the alternative is to further drain our farm system, which already resembles Lake Mead, for somebody who was good five years ago. 

At some point, the Yankees must give youth a chance. Tampa does this, all the time. The Yankees seem to view prospects for their hype value: They spend years touting a kid, then trade him and say he was never in their plans. It's time to give left field to the next generation. The answer to our problem can come - forgive me, here - out of left field.

Here's why Cashman and his AARP should stand pat.

1. The Yankees never have star left fielders. According to Baseball Reference, here's our list of starting LFs in the 1990s, arguably our last great decade: Oscar Azocar, Mel Hall Jr., Dion James, Luis Polonia, Gerald Williams, Tim Raines (age 37), Chad Curtis, Rickie Ledee. Never mind the police rap sheets. This is a list of goober hitters and defensive statues. The Yankee left field G.O.A.T. might just be Roy White, and while we all love Roy... really? The G.O.A.T? Ouch. 

2. We can't do worse than last year. In case you've forgotten, our best months came with Joey Gallo in left. He hit .159 and fanned in nearly half his ABs. We ended the year with Oswaldo Cabrera playing a position he hadn't held since little league. In the meantime, we had Hicks, Tim Locastro and the cast of Glee. Seriously, who cares about left?

3. We do have a lefty-hitting left fielder, right in front of us. His name is Estevan Florial. Yes, he carries the weight of prospect fatigue: The Yankees have hyped him for five years. Our biological clocks think he's pushing 50. But he's 25. Last season at Scranton, he hit .283 with 15 HRs and 39 stolen bases. 

Yes, Florial strikes out. Last year, roughly once every three ABs. That's Josh Donaldson territory. He needs to put balls in play. But let's circle back to those 39 stolen bases. This year, along with the over-shift ban, MLB is enlarging the bases, shrinking slightly the distance between them. I'm not sure this is wise, tampering with the fundamental dimensions of the game. But the owners are geniuses, right? Otherwise, they wouldn't be so rich, right? If Florial stole 39 bases last year, he should be a terror this season - when speed is a premium. 

One other thing: The Yankees have no more options on Florial. If he doesn't make the roster, he must be designated for assignment or traded, or both. 

I believe the Yankees can get by with a solid fielder, a speedster and 15-to-20 HRs. Too many strikeouts? Bat him ninth.  

Most of all, let's not kill our farm for somebody who peaked in 2017. At the least, stand pat. It's just left field.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

No matter what happens in 2023, at least it won't bring another Aroldis Chapman disaster

Now and then, let us celebrate small victories: The car started. The coffee machine perks. The internet didn't go out. Springsteen. Jeopardy. Brisket. Velcro. Provolone. Bohemian Rhapsody... And no more Aroldis Chapman. 

As we march the endless, existential beach of despair, at last, we find a tiny, glittering gemstone. 

No more El Chapo. No more opening pitches to the backstop. No more leadoff walks. No more waterfalls of sweat, the dripping faucet from his visor, cascading down his neck tattoos. No more Mr. Sardonicus grin. No more blown saves. No more Michael Kay yelling, "The stare is back!" No, sir, it is not. It's gone. 

He can't hurt us anymore. (Yes, he could face us in the postseason, but if so, I like our chances.) No more out-of-body torture events, no more season-ending walk-offs. No more moments that we've already relived too many times.

That HR Rafael Devers, a rookie, hit to beat us. The 2020 playoffs finale, when Tampa's Mike Brosseau homered to beat us. The Jose Altuve walk-off HR to beat us. That time he gave up four runs against Minnesota without recording an out, to beat us. The blown saves against the Mets. And last year, like the cherry pit on a zombie sundae, his quitting on the team, leaving for Miami in a hissy fit.

He's not coming back. According to the internet, a few teams are interested in Aroldis. The Savannah Bananas? The Washington Generals? The Traveling Wilkes Barres? Is Eddie Feigner still hiring? The Timbuktu Toad Lickers? Could he become the new Mr. Marlin? Good luck with that.

Frankly, I don't care. He's gone, that's all. No more screaming for Boone to take him out, knowing he won't. No more hearing from the YES booth that Chapman looks ready to recapture his fastball, despite it having disappeared three years ago. 

Believe it or not, I wish Chapman well. Until he gave up on the team, he had never given up on the team. And you can't hate a guy for getting old. What I hate was the Yankees' decision to re-up on a massive contract, which they then blamed for their unwillingness to spend on other players. For the last three years, I've watched Chapman pitch, cringing from behind the couch. No more. 

Life coaches and singer-songwriters tell us, don't sweat the little stuff (and it's all little stuff.) Frankly, our love for the Yankees is just the little stuff. On that note, let's celebrate what microscopic victories come our way. And here's one: El Chapo is gone, and he's not coming back.