Sunday, April 30, 2023

The Great Descent

 As the Yankees plummet toward .500, we should all remember that Hal Steinbrenner rewarded his General Manager, recently, with a new contract.  And Hal rewards failure.  He says: "I love incompetence.  The more stupid things you do, Brian, the more I value you." 

And here is what we have:

Our veterans are coming apart at the seams. 

Players for whom we traded top prospects, all linger at the MRI machine, awaiting results. 

The starting pitching consists of " two and counting."

We have no closer.  

Luck has turned to the dark side for yankee prospects ( new guy comes up, makes great play, and is probably headed for knee surgery without an at bat.). Worse, this exact scenario happened to the Yankees before. 

We cannot rid ourselves of Aaron Hicks, who is now a danger to the other outfielders ( one of whom is an infielder), as well as to infielders.  

Our offense is 2 runs and a prayer. On a good day. 

Our catchers are not a threat of any kind on either side of the ball.  And, they are getting old. The guy we secured as catching depth has been injured for three straight years.

Relievers are now "no names" who couldn't make it in the minor leagues. And we don't have enough of them. 

Our top prospects are all in Venezuela or the Dominican Republic.  Florial remains our top prospect at AAA. 

This NY team is now falling to a level worse than the Giants, and dare I say Knicks, have been. 

And there is no way out. 

Bring on the Rays. 

Then or now? Which is better?

 Ten years ago.

Beware falling objects: The Yankee offense looks like 2013, and with a dollop of bad juju



I dunno anymore. Fuckinay, I just dunno...

Thus far, I've proceeded on the good faith notion that the 2023 Yankees, at full strength, are a wild contender, and that sometime around July, the planets will realign and they'll start rolling. 

But I dunno anymore... 

This thing with Jake Bauers last night - guy crashes into the LF wall and never comes to bat - honest to God, it's got me rattled.

Something's up. The juju gods are nasty, but seldom this nasty. Remember Dustin Fowler, the young OF who debuted in mid-2017 and wrecked his knee in the first inning at Comiskey Park? Joe Girardi wept. This isn't quite as bad - Fowler was in his first MLB game, while Bauers has been around - but it totally stinks, I MEAN, IT REALLY FUCKINAY STINKS. And it proves once and for all that something is up. We knew the juju gods were assholes, but I didn't think they were evil assholes. This is just ridiculous. 

We're like those kids in  The Blair Witch Project, hiking in circles through the haunted woods.  No matter what we do, we end up lost, with an Aaron Hicks stick figure in LF. He's like the Babadook: We throw him away, and he returns. 

Today, light a juju candle for Bauers. Supposedly, his x-rays came back negative. But - a) we never can believe what the Yankees say about an injury and b) a jammed knee can cause him to miss a week. Poor Bauers. We've seen this movie way too often. 

Yeah, it's got me rattled.

(Final note: If you compare the above lineups, the 2013 version is better at CF, LF, 2B, RF and DH. Today's lineup wins at 3B, 1B, SS and C. Dear God...)

Saturday, April 29, 2023

So long, Franchy, hello, Jake: The desperate Yanks grasp at a new straw

If you hear an evil, Draconian cackling on the wind, don't grab the garlic. It's not Nicolas Cage - just the unholy chuckle of Redsock fans, savoring the Franchy Cordero narrative.

For a few magical days in an otherwise rainy April, Yank fans lived the fantasy that Cooperstown Cashman had - (holding my nose now) - "done it again!" Yes, the Bigwig of Baldness he had woven yet another patch on his quilt of scrap yard reclamations. He had plucked Franchy from a recycling bin following a Ruthian month of March for the then-inconsequential O's. He hit three HRs, two game-changers, and John Sterling shouted, "You can bet the ranchy on Franchy!" a homer-holler soon to be a trivia answer in hardcore Yankee hellholes.  

I plead guilty. I envisioned Franchian blasts that bent Bostonian noses, as he achieved the potential he once embodied. It's been a while since the Yankees found gold while panning Redsock stool. The worst part of this millennium is not insulated crocs, but Boston's four rings, twice as many as ours (and that's if we include 2000.) On April 10, Franchy looked like a steal.

Oh, those were the days...

Last night, he was dispatched to Scranton after going 0-for-3 - (on an Ozempic-worthy 1-for-21 shrinkage) - with two Ks and a pair of OF blunders. I haven't read the agate in Franchy's contract, but my guess is that he'll look around - fruitlessly - for another MLB team, and then start calling rental agents around Moosic. 

The Yankees will turn to Jake Bauers, another former OF-1B prospect who is better suited for DH. They will swap Bauers' April for Franchy's March, though neither matter. Bauers, 27, is a career .213 hitter with a puncher's chance of homering - he  had 7 in Scranton. Last year, bumbling around Triple A, he hit .183. No matter what Bauers does tonight, let's hold off on the Matt Carpenter comparisons. 

Of course, last night never felt real. It was a mismatch - their best starter against our worst. (Though that is arguable, I suppose: Brito vs. Schmidt? A debate in hell.) 

By the fourth inning, the Yankees were plucked and cooked. Meanwhile, the outcome was overshadowed by an MRI on Aaron Judge's hip, a scan with implications beyond our dolphin-like comprehension. This could be a hiccup, with Judge returning soon. But if the scan reveals something - (and rest assured, the Yankees won't tell us) - it might affect the season and the decade. We're talking about a hip. This is not a hamstring. 

Yes, it's early. That's our golden mantra. But at the standings are starting to pinch. Look at the AL East: Three young, ascending teams are starting to separate from the tired, lackluster bottom-dwellers. It's too early to self-immolate, and swapping out Franchy for Bauers is a nothing-burger - no, a meatless Impossible Nothingburger. 

So long, Franchy, we'll always have Paris. I'm just glad we didn't bet the ranchy. 


The Yankees transferred the rehab assignment of C Ben Rortvedt (left shoulder aneurysm surgery) from the Tampa Tarpons to Double-A Somerset.

So now he's not playing at a higher level.

Friday, April 28, 2023

Friends, Romans, Countrymen...

Some thought it was his shoulder.

Others, his hand.

I thought it a wrist.

Egads.  To be a hip?

How can his hip be hurting from a bad slide on a needless steal of third base?  

Or did it derive from repeated belly flops in CF to catch low line drives? 

Is it because he was playing a position he was never meant to play?

Is it because Hicks' career ended years ago, but not his contract?

Is this another Cashman wreck?

Is this Bo Jackson redux?

If Judge is injured...


...which seems highly likely, after he pulled off perhaps the stupidest single play in Yankees history, the question becomes...

What the hell do we do with ourselves?

I mean, really. This team was already all but impossible to watch even with Judge in the lineup. Save for those of us with serious sleep deprivation problems, what do the next five, Judge-free months hold?  

Sure, we can see if Volpe and the Oswaldii (sorry, already patented the name for my next garage band) can become true major leaguers. But to what purpose? So they can play out the prime of their careers fighting for lineup space with the likes of Jackie Donaldson and Aaron Hicks?

I don't think that we will be entertained.  

So, I've made up a list of possible other things we can redirect our interests toward at this estimable website. Here are some leading possibilities:

—Two words: Book club! Or is that one? Never mind. I suggest that we start with Anthony Trollope, and work our way through his oeuvre. Trollope wrote 47 novels in all, many of them quite long and wordy. By the time we reach the end, we might—might—be at the end of Brian Cashman's tenure as GM. If not, well, Trollope's mother wrote 40 books, and then there's his brother, Thomas Adolphus Trollope, who wrote 60 more, and his sister-in-law, Frances Eleanor Trollope, who wrote another 13, the slacker. 

Barsetshire Chronicles, here we come!

Other possible authors for outlasting Cashman:  Joyce Carol Oates, Stephen King, Charles Dickens, Honoré de Balzac (185 books).

—"Foaming." This is from what Amtrak employees derisively call train enthusiasts: "Foamers." We could while away the hours recounting sightings of vintage cabooses and exchanging photos of the Rock Island Line and the 20th Century Limited. 

Hey, it will be more exciting than the average Gleyber Torres at-bat.

—Stamp collecting. Is your 1918 Jenny upside down, or are you just happy to see me?

—Jets! New York's perennial after-thought is primed to make another run at the Super Bowl after a mere 54 years, thanks to the recent acquisition of a quarterback who is even older than any Yankees starter. Surely Aaron Rodgers will follow in the footsteps of such previous Jets QB saviors as Zach Wilson, Sam Darnold, Mark Sanchez, and, um, Brett Favre. 

Added bonus: our theme song will of course be "Jet" by Paul McCartney and the Wings, and we can spend our free time puzzling over its mysterious lyrics ("And Jet/ I thought the major/ Was a little lady/ Suffragette!/ Jet!").

Hey, it will be more exciting than the average IKF at-bat.

—Pickleball. Because we've all died and gone to hell.

—Drinking. I think we got this one.

—Tiddlywinks. Looking forward to using your squidger to squop a wink or give it a good scrunge? 

Hey, it will be more exciting than listening to the mumblebums in the YES booth talk about exit velocity and bad metrics to the left.

O Captain, my Captain: Without Aaron Judge, the Yankees will intimidate nobody. But can they rally?

Let the record show that, even before the month of May arrived, the Yankee Death Barge was signaling a "MAYDAY" distress call to all ships at sea, or at least Scranton. 

Of course, you know by now that Aaron Judge removed himself from last night's game due to "right hip discomfort," rousing the potentials for a lost or degraded season. 

Judge's magnificent 2022 came with a rare burst of health. His avoidance of the Injury List allowed him to chase Babe Ruth and Roger Maris. Today, we don't know the extent of his ailment - he, himself, may not know. But the Yanks, seeking to protect him through a long, grinding season, might put him on the Injury List. If there is something worse than missing Judge, it's playing him while compromised, flailing at pitches and maybe turning a short-term malady into a season-killer. 

So, jeeze, holy shit, goddamm, I mean, WTF...?  We all knew this could happen. Judge's tweakless 2022 always looked like an an anomaly. He was destined to get banged up, especially playing coast-to-coast in CF. Tonight offers a vision that, frankly, you might wish to avoid. We pitch Clarke Schmidt - who floundered until his last start, when Boone left him in too long. And we face Jacob deGrom, still infused with the Met stench of Citifield. Without Judge, we have two certified MLB hitters - DJ LeMahieu and Anthony Rizzo - surrounded by carbohydrates. It's a night for Woodstock on the Turner Movie Channel. 

But I want to break from the usual doldrums and suggest - gasp - a bit of hope. 

The Yankees are about to face their first absolute test of 2023. Throughout baseball history, great teams managed to rise to the occasion when great players went down. In this case, they are losing their captain. It's time for someone to step up, and if they cannot, maybe it will soon be time to start re-thinking the 2023 season.   

Brian Cashman, still stunned from the magnitude of his disastrous 2022 trade deadline deals, cannot save us. But could Oswaldo Cabrera? Or Gleyber? Or Michael King? Could Estevan Florial? 

Where have you gone Marinaccio, our bullpen turns its lonely eyes to you... 

Here's a thought for the Yankees: Crunch Time has come early. We have lost almost everything, and maybe now our captain. Will this team sink like a stone, or is there something worth believing in, something we don't yet know? Or have I been watching too much Ted Lasso? May arrives Monday. By then, we might even have a read on the 2023 Yankees.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Yesterday, for a moment, across the totality of the Yankiverse, The Matrix glitched, and time abruptly stopped

The Glitch occurred around 2:30 p.m., E.D.T., with the epicenter traced to the ancient metropolis of Minneapolis, home to the world's largest mall. 

To celebrate his 31st birthday, Aaron Judge had cleared the bases with a double. For an imponderable reason, he sought to steal third. Judge dove headfirst, awkwardly. He seemed to crumple his right wrist. It looked ugly. It looked like a slide Jeter once made. 

It looked like the end of 2023.

Judge rose quickly and did not argue the call. He loped to the dugout and disappeared into the clubhouse tunnel, followed by grim-faced Yankee trainers.

And the Earth stood still. 

Across the globe, trains, planes and automobiles stopped movement. Wars ceased. Births and deaths intermingled. Glaciers refroze and the sun turned red. Everywhere, blood drained from the faces of Yankee fans. Somewhere, the glass tubes in Rupert Murdoch's crotch clicked out a direct S.O.S. code to Satan, whose acolyte, Brian Cashman, summoned the Four Yankee Horsemen of the Apocalypse, led by Franchy Cordero and Willie Calhoun. 

False alarm. 

Turned out that Judge didn't bust a finger - that The Worst Thing That Could Happen... didn't. For now, anyway. That one terrifying moment did not effectively end the 2023 Yankee season in the month of April. 

But with due respect to Anthony Rizzo and DJ LeMahieu, the Yankees are perilously close to a one-man offense, drawing comparisons to the recent, broken down Angel lineups that featured Mike Trout and the cast of Glee. If Judge had, say, broken his wrist - no, NO, NO! let's not go there. Simply stated, instead of the game's premier slugger, the Yankees would be unveiling Jake Bauer, the Scranton Scrapper. Rather than chase the final 2023 wild card birth, we might be better served seeking a lottery No. 1 draft pick in June of 2024.

One of the great vanishing acts of spring is the Yankees' depth. Remember all those candidates vying for the few roster openings? Whatever happened to that? Yesterday, we played Isiah Kiner-Falefa in CF and Willie Calhoun - a DH if there ever was one - in RF. In March, if we had viewed that future lineup in a crystal ball, we would have been mystified. WTF happened? 

So, the story here: Nothing happened. Not yesterday, anyway. (Wait... it shouldn't surprise anybody if Judge misses a week, with Aaron Boone citing "tightness, nothing to worry about," as the Yankees pooh-pooh machine revs up.)

Take a deep breath, everybody. The polar caps did not reverse themselves, and the asteroid did not hit. Nothing cracked or shattered, aside from the glass tubes in Murdoch's crotch. Jerry Hall took a toll, but we all knew that, eh? 

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Cheer up El Duque! It's going to be alright...

Sure it looks hopeless. This current lineup would have trouble beating our 1967 team.  And, let's face it , when Gerrit Cole looks in the mirror he's starting to see Mel Stottlemyre.  

And yes, 2/3 of the line up's baseball cards would be bicycle spoke food if they actually qualified to have their own baseball card, which I'm not so sure they do. 

And OK, imaginary savior Brian Reynolds just signed an eight year 106 million dollar contract with Pittsburgh taking him off the trading block...

(BTW eight years for only 106 mil?  How... reasonable. What's with that? If we traded for him his extension would have been twice that.)

And, I know. I KNOW. We are still stuck with The Brain calling the shots but we're going to be OK. 

Why?  I will tell you...

1) The Yankees will still make the playoffs! 

MLB in their infinite prescience changed the qualifications to make the play in game to the play in game easier than ever. By the end of the year both The World Champion Houston Astros and their perennial whipping boys The New York Yankees will both get in. Ratings uber alles. 

2) Aaron Hicks just had his "Two quarterback sneaks in a row moment".

For those of you that are not NY Giant fans (and there's still time to climb aboard with out being called front runners - a lot of time actually. Years. But, they are going in the right direction.) former and currently disgraced Head Coach Joe Judge had so little confidence in his offense (designed by Offensive Coach and Cowboy mole Jason Garret) that, with the Giants pinned back in their own end, called not one but TWO quarterback sneaks in a row so they could punt.

It ended his tenure. 

Aaron Hicks bunting with two outs the other day and his failure to catch last nights deep fly, after which Aaron Judge actually looked at him with contempt, was it for him. He will not make it back to the stadium. They will bring up someone/anyone to take his place. 

The Captain will take Boone aside and then call Cashman. We won't hear about it for years but if you saw the look on his face... 

It would be fitting to leave Hicks in Minny from whence he came.

3) The kids will be alright.

Anthony Volpe is dealing with being elevated from a prospect to the next NY Media Market Superstar. He's at a Ranger game with Aaron Judge, hobnobbing with Pete Davidson, getting fitted for a bobble head... It's a lot to deal with for anybody much less a 21 year old. He's pressing. It's understandable. The talent is there. Also, he should be the second baseman and let Peraza play short but that's for another day.

Jasson is dealing with the opposite problem. After kicking ass in spring training and being one of the chosen ones he's back in the minors and not AAA... AA. Back to a shabby Motel Six with a roommate who snores. He is depressed and facing pitching that is "beneath him". In a couple of weeks he will have shaken off his slump and start crushing the ball again. He'll be in AAA by mid June at the latest. Who knows? Maybe a call up in September. 

Peraza is pressing as well. Trying to prove that the job he earned last year and then lost to Volpe, should be his.  Plus he's learning 3B. A lot of pressure. No glory. 

He will straighten out.

4) Our pitching is not that bad and will get better 

Eventually Sevi and Rodon will return. They will. I'm pretty sure they will. At least one of them will. For a while anyway. 

We just can't hit. 

5) We will hit.

Eventually the hitters will revert to the mean and play like the back of their baseball cards and...

OK fine. We stink. At least the Knicks and the Rangers are still playing. The NFL draft is tomorrow. The brand new MLF football league will have a NY team and who doesn't like watching MLFs.  

The Yankee question: Is this a slump, or is this 2023?

 Essay contest, everybody! Winner gets dinner with Willie Calhoun (be fast with the fork.)

Who is coming to save the 2023 Yankees? 

Giancarlo? Setback Sevy? Bader-Ginsberg? Jackie Donaldson?  Lou Trivino? Estevan Florial? Rodon? Rodan? Mothra? All of the above? None?

And when they return - assuming they return - who will then be M.I.A? Last year, Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortez, DJ LeMahieu and Anthony Rizzo all missed time. The Yanks are an old team, perhaps an aged-out team, and we know what happens to retreads when they hit the potholes of July and August. 

We have nobody in the minors on the verge. Somebody decided Florial is a dud. Our fleet of young pitchers - remember "The Gas Station?" - is gone to Oakland, Chicago, Pittsburgh. The Martian - who homered last night - has looked overmatched at Double A. If he flops, we're back to throwing darts at Single A. 

Cooperstown Cashman is on an incredible streak of bad trades - even for him. Right now, he has nothing to deal. 

For the first time since 2001, before Anthony Volpe was born, the Yankees have lost a season series to Minnesota. Tonight, the Twins can sweep us for the first time in 32 years.

Yeah, it's only April. And we're still over .500, tied with Houston. You can say that this is the bottom, that it will soon get better. But I dunno. So please - somebody, anybody - tell me what about this team inspires hope? 

Aaron Judge might hit 63 HRs, but most will come with nobody on. Franchy Cordero turned into a pumpkin. Willie Calhoun is a likely future IIH punch line. Volpe might have needed a month at Scranton. Don't ask me the bullpen pecking order; it changes every night. Clay Holmes is sinking, the way his sinker used to. 

Tell me, how can a franchise that spends $280 million on payroll be so dead, so stiff, so devoid of hope, and so unable to change? Didn't Cashman vow to build the farm system? When was that, 2006? How did we blow all that money on 16-year-old Latinos and still miss the young stars - Soto, Tatis, Acuna, Franco - who now populate the rosters of our rivals? 

Is this a spring slump, or is it 2023? Who will save this team? Please tell me. And don't be afraid to lie.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

A message to the "anemic Yankees lineup"


Is it too early to be this disillusioned with the Yankees?

Despite scoring 2 runs in our last 18 innings - both at the end of lopsided losses - I am convinced the Yankees do not need another hitter. 

They need Mary Temple Grandin.

She's the beloved, autistic animal rights advocate who designs more humane slaughterhouses, reducing the anxieties of cattle who are destined to grace our lunch menus. 

Last night, watching Sonny Gray - Sonny frickin Gray!? - breeze through our vaunted Herderers Row roused premonitions of a long, agonizing season ahead. We can keep repeating, "IT'S JUST APRIL!" but come next Monday, the chant turns into "MAYDAY!" 

The Yankees look like the .500 mediocrity that occupied our second half of 2022. With Giancarlo Stanton tweaked until who knows when, the lineup offers four viable hitters, followed by the cast of Emily in Paris. 

Consider this: 

1. Opposing starters have gone at least seven innings in our last three games. 

2. In nine of the last 11, we have scored three runs or less.

3. We are batting 20 points below the league average (.245.)

4. We do hit HRs, but two-thirds of them are solo shots. 

5. Our bottom five is hitting .190, below above only Colorado and KC. 

Watching the Yankees come up to bat is like attending visiting hours for a colonoscopy. At the least, Mary Temple Grandin would replace morbid Michael Kay with happy calliope music. She would protect us from painful scoreboards, batting averages and replays of our DP grounders. We would not have to hear about Harrison Bader's upcoming return, painted in brush strokes of hope that could rival the sermons in a church of snake handlers. (Really now, who knows what Bader will do? We've only seen about three weeks of him. Career-wise, he's just an IKF who takes better routes in CF. )

Of course, it's pointless to get so frustrated in April. The juju gods are bastards, but really, now... Joey Gallo? Sonny Gray? Are we that horrible a fan base, that we should be punished, subjected to taunts on our way to another loss? Are we really supposed to get excited about the return of Jackie Donaldson? Are we really going to wait another month on Aaron Hicks? 

I call upon the Powers That Be for a more ethical, more humane, treatment of Yankee fans. Remember all those hopes they sold us in spring training? Look closely, and you must wonder: Where will the runs come from? Damn. We might be looking at a season-long wipeout. Can somebody, anybody, find my blinders? 

Monday, April 24, 2023

Is This a Tea Party or Baseball?

 Do we have one Yankee pitcher who has moxie?

The team cannot allow Vlad Jr. to do to the Yankees what he has been doing.

In baseball, there is a price attached to strutting around the bases, with a huge smile and a finger to the crowd ( he pretends it is a finger for silence, but we know better ). 

What would Bob Gibson do?

What would Sal ( The " Barber" ) Maglie do?

It is time to put Vlad on his ass.  To make him remember that there is a price for digging in and getting comfy at the plate.  There is a price for taunting and arrogance. 

I don't care if it starts a riot.  That may be what this lethargic bunch needs. 

The Yankees are not only losers here, they are cowards.  They are the ones whose leg the bully is peeing on in the schoolyard. 

 Vlad has to be on his back the next time he shows up.  Maybe every time. 

Vlad Jr. hates the Yankees, and these days, so do many of their most loyal fans

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. - New York's reigning antagonist - is declining to publicly explain his hatred of the Yankees. That leads to speculation...

Is it a NYC thing? Did an Uber driver ditch  him in Staten? Did a roach turn up in his soup? Is it management? When Vlad Jr. signed in 2015, age 16, did a Yank scout insult him? Is it some player? Did Aroldis shave him? Did fans yell hurtful taunts? Did a hooker break his heart? Was it something Bill DeBlasio did? (When in doubt, blame DeBlasio.) 

Junior says it's personal. We'll have to wait for his memoir, as told to Joyce Carol Oates.  

Apparently, all those millions the Yanks spent on p.r. didn't sway the Guerrero family of Montreal. So be it. Everybody doesn't like something. 

However... I am not so timid in expressing love and hatred toward the sports team that captured my childhood obsessions. Why did I become a crazed Yank fan? I do not believe I ever had another choice.

Growing up, my favorite cartoons were Mickey Mouse and Yogi Bear. Who would they have translated into?

I turned 9 in a year remembered for the greatest baseball team in history, with two sluggers named for my favorite delicacy - M&Ms. They chased the legacy of a favored candy bar, the Baby Ruth. Was I not groomed?

For years, I viewed myself lucky to be a Yankee fan, because the team outspent all others in building the baseball's premier history.  

I never worried about a player's price tag. No Yank fan did. If a free agent came on the market, everyone knew the Yankees would outbid all others. In life, I struggled to pay the rent, but in my baseball fantasies, I never fretted over payroll. There, I was the millionaire. If other fans hated the Yankees, fine. The New York Yankees were the greatest franchise in American sports.

That's why it hurts so much to watch the current owner make every decision hinge on money. The Yankees are commonly outspent, out-gunned and out-managed. Right now, we are not even the dominant team in NYC. With another key injury - and we are a team of tweaks and strains- the Yankees could be looking at writing off 2023. 

We just finished a weekend when nobody hit, and we barely escaped being swept at home. Out lineup scares nobody, our bullpen has no closer, and our rotation leans far too heavily on two arms. Yeah, it's too early to panic. But how can you look at this team without wondering if this is a meltdown season? 

Vlad Jr. hates the Yankees, eh? I don't blame him. When I see what they are - compared to what they once were - I nearly do, as well. 

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Of Course

 So Schmidt gives the Yankees 5 shut - out innings.  Finally.  Naturally, Boone will let hm continue, likely until the first baserunner gets on in the 6th. ( this is my hope ). 

The 6th begins quickly with an easy out.  But, somewhere in there, Volpe makes his first error. My reaction would be: 

 " I know that is not Schmidt's fault, but I also know his history. Time for a relief pitcher, so Clarke can leave feeling good about himself." 

I knew that if Clark stayed in the game, he would lose the game.

And, sure enough, Vlad Guerrero takes him deep with a runner on, and the next hitter goes into the upper deck in right field.  Suddenly, it is  3-0 Toronto, with a middle finger extended by Vlad Junior to the crowd. 

And Clark has lost all his great work. Just another waste of time.  Another "L" on the resume. 

The Yankees struck out 12 times.  Three times after a lead-off double by DJ ( actually, maybe an error by Toronto's  great CF).

It is as though the team was playing in a fog all day.  No-one could hit.  In fact, it has been that way for all three games against Toronto. We got lucky once.  Yesterday.

But this offense is putrid.  So our pitching can't win, even when it is good. 

Heading toward the cellar. 

Cashman traded away all our young pitching talent. 

It's a Schmidt Show, and it may be coming to an end

Now and then, I dream of being back in high school, having skipped classes all semester, with the final exam due, and I can't find the room, and I'm buck naked, and everybody is staring and - on top of everything - Clarke Schmidt is starting that day for the Yankees.

I wake up shivering, soaked in sweat, and as I go to pee, I slowly realize it was merely a dream - then to remember that - gasp! - Schmidt is starting. 

This cannot go on. Schmidt, that is. Ever since we lost two-fifths of the rotation, after trading Jordan Montgomery for a guy who does Batman cameos, Schmidt has been a bulwark of the foreshadowed Yankee 2023 meltdown. But you don't need me to tell you this. His numbers tell the story, as horrific as girls snacking on each other on Yellowjackets. Something must happen. Somebody must rise from the scrap heap, or the coal mines of Scranton. (Fun fact: There is nobody.) We cannot go every fifth day with a pitcher hoping to last four innings and give up less than five. 

Here's a sobering graphic: Our Scranton pitchers who have started more than one game this season. Read and cower.

Looking for a solution? I got nothing. Apparently, neither does Cooperstown Cashman. 

Thus, today, we all go naked in the halls, as the Yankees tee up Schmidt in the rubber game of their first 2023 confrontation with a team that openly despises us. I don't know what we did to Toronto that made them the most Yankee-hating club in baseball. Are they just angry Canadians? If so, how do you make a Canadian angry, aside from serving N.A. beer. 

Teams Ranked By Their Stone Cold Hatred of the Yankees

1. Blue Jays (inexplicable.)
2. Rays (every March, we eat from their dog dish.)
3. Redsocks (always.)
4. Houston (cheater scum.)
5. Baltimore (from years of abuse.)
6. Mets (obviously.)
7. Royals (still spiteful from long ago.)
8. Giants (missed out on Judge.)
9. Phillies (fans hate everyone.)
10. Twins (longstanding grievances.)

HM: Seattle, Dodgers, Tigers.

Today, Clarke Schmidt starts the rubber match. I gotta believe that a) this is his last shot, b) Boone will empty the bullpen, and c) whatever happens, that recurring dream isn't going away. 

PS. Check out my poetic missive on in today's New York Times.)

Saturday, April 22, 2023

La plus ça change...

That's French, of course, for "Where the hell's my change??"

The more things change, the more they stay the same. That could be the Yankees' motto.

Remember how we kept hearing, from the mumblebums in the TV booth, and Brian Cashman's trained media, how THIS year, everything was going to be different? How THIS year, thanks to the pathetic, artificial, baseball equivalent of "stand your ground" rules—stand your ground on one side of second base or the other—EVERYONE'S batting average was going to shoot up like...well, I would say an Elon Musk rocket, but Duque's already used that analogy today, damn his jet fuel.

Instead, 20 games in, I believe the Yanks have all of one, count 'em 1, contest with more than 10 hits this season. Even when they scored 9 runs the other day...they got 9 hits.

Right now, the team has a total of 147 hits on the season. That's 7.3 a game, or fewer than they had during the plague years of 2013-2016. 

By way of comparison, The Great Team of 1998 AVERAGED more than 10 hits a game. The last-place, 1966 Yankees, playing in the midst of a pitchers' era, with the pitcher batting, averaged 7.7 hits.

The only Yankees team in the lively ball era—from 1920 on, that is—that I can find (in a less-than-rigorous search) that averaged fewer hits per game was the 1968 team, which set a major-league record by batting only .214, again in a pitchers' era with the pitchers batting, and pitching mounds the height of the Grand Tetons. And THEY averaged just 7.0 hits a game—a mark easily in reach of these Bronx Bummers.

Yep, we may be looking at a Yankees team that will set a 100-year mark in fewest hits. One that could easily run up the lowest hit total of any NYY squad in the DH era.

La plus ça Cashman...

In their first face-off with a real contender, the Yankees look toothless

 Maybe they'll win today, behind Gerrit Cole, but this is how they looked last night. 

Friday, April 21, 2023

Could the return of Harrison Bader mean a trip to Scranton for Oswaldo?

Harrison Bader heads to Somerset, N.J., tonight to begin a rehab assignment, which could mean a return to the Yankees next week.

Okay, Yankiverse, altogether now, stand and repeat after me:


Actually, it should just be "Meh." I'm not sure this warrants Trumpian all-caps. If we're not bellowing, that's sorta sad, because - as you may recall - Bader was our best player last October in the shameful, four-game train wreck against Houston. (Wait... Was it a train wreck or a dumpster fire? I'm never sure.) He deserves a Somerset, N.J., round of applause. Trouble is, I don't want to tax his auditory canal with excessive noise. He might tweak his Eustachian tube and miss another two months.

Bader is the bright, colorful Christmas package we have never been able to open. A Cards fan friend once told me that Bader - with his long locks flying horizontally as he chased down flies - was the most thrilling outfielder in baseball. We will never get to see that comet tail of hair, but we can sure use a gold glove CF who hits his weight. So, there's that... hopefully. 

But Bader's return means someone must go, and here's where it could get sticky: 

It might be a Yank fan fave, Oswaldo Cabrera.

That's a case made today by Mike Axisa in his Patreon (membership required, but it's worth it) Yankee blog. I try not to copy Axisa because 1) he's great, 2) he rightfully charges a fee and 3) I don't want to steal content from a guy trying to make a living (again, join his site!) But what he says today would be fightin' words for Team Oswaldo:

"If Oswaldo is still running a slash line that starts with 2s across the board and is striking out nine times as much as he walks when Bader returns, then yeah, a trip to Scranton is in order.  It wouldn’t be a punishment. It would be a step toward getting Cabrera back on track..."


Technically, it wouldn't be a punishment. But spiritually, it would be the Edmund Fiztgerald - a soul-crushing demotion, the kind that leaves a guy struggling at Triple A and on a fast train to East Palestine, Ohio. Yes, Oswaldo is flailing - yesterday, he was thrown out cartoonishly trying to stretch a single into a double, and his K rate is climbing into Zolio Almonte territory. That said, if Willie Calhoun is not the one to go, I don't know why the Yankees keep a farm system. 

And don't get me started on Aaron Hicks. Nope, not a word about Hicksy. Well, okay a word or two. The cheapo Diamondbacks yesterday released Madison Bumgarner, despite owing him $34 million, because the guy just doesn't have it anymore. (Could the Yankees take a flier on him? Why not?) If the notoriously frugal D-backs would pay Bumgarner $34 million to disappear, why can't the Yankees cut their losses with Hicks? Do they really think he'll magically turn back the clock five years? And if he did - for a week maybe - where does he fit into the newly configured OF? 


Thursday, April 20, 2023

"Bad Metrics to the Left"

In the first game of this series with the Haloes, one of the mumblebums in the Yankees' television booth was talking about how well Gio Urshela had played for the Bronx team.

Surprisingly good hitter, with even a little pop...excellent fielder...

But then, no doubt after being passed a note from the GM's box, our brave observer remarked that apparently Gio had "bad metrics to the left, bad metrics, apparently, going to his left."

Bad metrics to the left. It almost matches the rhythm of that old Steve Gibbons Band song, "No Spitting on the Bus."

Well, overshadowed by Judge's heroics and that epic Yankees rally in the 10th, last night was a typical Gio game, full of small but vital contributions. 

Needing a run to tie the game in the 8th, he reached down to get a Wandy Peralta sinker out of the strike zone, and hit a duck snort into centerfield, plating the evener. Next inning, playing first base, he made a terrific play on a bunt, to cut down the lead runner at second and extend the game for the thrilling conclusion the Manfred Man always guarantees.  

Gio plays nearly every position for the California Angels of Anaheim near Los Angeles. Much like, say, IKF. Or an IKF who can hit.

Of course, Urshela always hit for the Yanks, .292/.335/.480/.815 in his 3 seasons. Even if the 21 home runs, 34 doubles and .314 average he ran up in his first year, 2019, was maybe a juiced-ball mirage, he was a pretty consistent hitter.

And a terrific fielder, as we saw when he slung himself into the visitors' dugout and preserve a Yankees playoff spot in 2012.  Oh, sorry: that was going to his right.

But Cashman said he was no good to his left, and Cashman is an honorable man—I guess.

So last year, he bettered the OPS of his replacement, Jackie Donaldson, by 50 points, .732-.682.

But Cashman said he was no good to his left, and Cashman is an honorable man.

Last year in Minny, Urshela fielded third at a .983 clip in 136 games there, making all of 6 errors and turning 25 double-plays—I guess all of them on balls hit down the line.

Jackie fielded third at a .961 clip, with 17 DPs and 12 errors in just 104 games. BUT, he did have 310 chances to Gio's 343, which comes out to a few more per game.  

How much of a difference did that make?

Well, baseball reference put Donaldson's defensive WAR at 0.8—as opposed to 0.7 for Gio. And calculated that Donaldson saved 7 runs more than the average third baseman—as opposed to 4 more for Gio.


That's what the (theoretical) difference comes down to: 3 runs. Over the course of a full season, that's 1 more run Donaldson saved in the field every 54 games.  More than negated, methinks, than Gio's offensive WAR of 2.8, compared to -0.1 for Jackie.

But hey, that was then, this is now.  And we can rest assured that Donaldson is still going to his left more effectively than Gio Urshela.

Going to his left for his beer, going to his left for a burger, going to his left for a magazine, as he sits and watches the Yankees game at home on TV, and hears all about his superior metrics to the left.



How to fix the bullpen

1) Marinaccio should be the closer. 

2) King remains the high leverage inning guy. We need him as a fireman.

3) Clark Schmidt goes to the pen and becomes a 1-2 inning guy.  

He should only throw the two pitches he does well and always empty the tank. He's not a starter. All of his problems stem from trying to develop two additional pitches. In the pen he won't need them. 

4) Wandy is the other 1-2 inning guy.

5) Holmes should only pitch in low leverage situations.  

Without Stanton and Rodon, the Yankees look mighty ordinary. Without any injuries, so do the Redsocks.

Last night on streaming video, YES host Michael Kay sought to describe the Yankee cast with the role of Giancarlo Stanton played by Willie Calhoun. Without Stanton, he said, the order didn't seem to be "lengthened." 

That's one way of putting it. Stanton is 6'6". Willie is 5'8". For those of you scoring at home, that's a 10-inch deficit. It's like Jason Statham being replaced by Danny Devito.  

Stanton will be gone for four to six weeks, give or take. Knowing Gio as we do, it could easily be eight to ten. That brings us to mid-June, when only God knows what the lineup will be. Again, knowing Gio as we do, a pulled hammy in April hardly guarantees a tweak-free August. He'll still have two months to tweak something in time for the playoffs. It won't matter if he's playing LF or DH. It never does. There is no reason to count on him being healthy. There never was. 

But here's a prediction: By August, with all due respect, Willie Calhoun - currently 3 for 19, hitting .158 - will be a distant memory. 

Meanwhile, Carlos Rodon yesterday went for tests on his back, which is "barking," according to Aaron Boone. This happened after Rodon missed a month due to a barking forearm. Sensing a pattern here? It might just be that Rodon is - well - a dog. 

Thus far, he's been replaced by Jhonny Brito, an afterthought back in spring training, which now seems 100 years ago. Like most rookies, Brito has been erratic. Lately, his outings have deteriorated into "bullpen starts," burning all available arms like raked leaves in October.

The takeaway? Replace two key players, Stanton and Rodon, with Calhoun and Brito, and you've effectively declawed a team that was expected to challenge in the AL East. It's too early to count out the 2023 Yankees - or anyone, for that matter - but let's no kid ourselves: The lineup is ordinary, and the pitching staff is barking. 

That said, let's at least take pleasure from the state of Boston. Here's the Redsock pitching line from last night's loss to Minnesota. 

Say aloud - "kluberbras-ierblier-ort." It sounds like the giant robot's password on The Day the Earth Stood Still. Whatever our woes, Boston's looks worse. 

Not saying the Redsocks can't turn it around, but Cory Kluber? I dunno. I thought the Yankees two years ago rung out the last decent season from his dish rag. Then the Rays took their cut in 2022. I think Ort's a former Yankee farmhand. Check out those ERAs. It could be a long year in Boston. Take joy wherever you can find it. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Cashman Rolls Craps, Again

Josh Donaldson has played in 5 games this season.

He said he was feeling chipper.  Almost ready to return from his 10day visit to the IL. 

Then, he had an MRI.

Now he is back on the IL " for an undetermined amount of time."

He and Stanton will be playing donkey kong on the patio for 6 weeks or more. 

No matter how many times we fans have said, " don't give big money contracts to old veterans, whose days in the sun have long expired,"  Cashman, like a junkie, just can't stop doing it. 

He makes the Yankees a failed franchise.

Soon enough, he'll have another trade deadline during which he will feel compelled to correct his earlier mistakes. 

By trading prospects for old guys.

Find another sport, mates. 

"Give Up" Games

 If the 2023 Yankee's starting pitcher is not named, Cole, Nasty, or ( sometimes ) German, we are looking at what long time fans call, " A Give Up Game"

To confirm, observe how Boone " packed" the line-up yesterday;

1.  Aaron Hicks gets another chance, coming off his three strike out game.

2.  IKF is inserted for defense.

3. Higgy is assigned the task of catching, and hitting long fly ball outs.

4.  A "prized" rookie is inserted and his job is to go 3-4 with 5 RBIs.  The only pressure being;  "deliver or get back on the bus."

5.  Available relief pitchers are those guys who eat innings and give up extra runs.  In other words, the bullpen does not use its : shut down " guys ( as if we have any ).

So this is Boone's 2 run offense.  And, almost always, the Yankees lose when they only score 2 runs. 

But little " front line talent" is wasted.  In reality, we weren't really trying.  But Boone gets to pretend, " anyone on this team can do the job.  That's why they are here."

Editorial Note:  We'll be okay as long as our top three starters are flawless, and we get lucky on one or two " give up " games.

Goofus and Gallant.

Moving on from the new Babe Dahlgren Ruth for a moment, the Metsies got shut down last night by Clayton Kershaw out in L.A., losing 5-0.

So what's new about that? Well, it was also the 19th career, two-homer game by a new Dodger—and a player the Yankees really could have had, for no more than the cash.

The man I'm talking about, of course, is J.D. Martinez, who has at least moved on to tormenting that other New York team after five years in Boston.

You remember. Way, way back in the 2017-2018 off-season? With the Yankees on the brink of what seemed like another dynasty, the team had a choice of pursuing Giancarlo Stanton or Martinez. 

Thinking in the old, greedy Yankees way, I didn't see why they couldn't pick up both. But I'll confess: I thought Stanton was the better choice. So did most of us, though I remember Alphonso raging and foaming Cassandra-like warnings against that idea. 

So what happened?

Well, I think we're better off breaking this down like the old Highlights magazine cartoon, Goofus and Gallant, a handy-dandy guide to boys about how they should behave—if they wanted to be beaten senseless every day of their childhoods on the playground.

For our purposes here, Gallant will be Martinez, seen in his recent colors:


And here is Goofus, complaining about another ouchie:

Gallant came to Red Sox for cash only, $109,950,000 of it over 5 seasons.

Goofus cost a serviceable second baseman and two minor leaguers. And the Yankees will be picking up $265,000,000 of his contract. Forever.

Gallant played in 90 percent of scheduled games as a Red Sock, 637 of 708.

Goofus has played in just over 63 percent of his games as a Yankee, 448 of 708, through 2022. But don't worry: this year he'll probably drive that percentage down even lower.

Gallant's splits for his time with the Red Sox were .292/.363/.526/.889.

Goofus's splits for the Yankees are .255/.339/.501/.839. 

Gallant hit 130 home runs for the Red Sox.

Goofus has hit 115 home runs for the Yankees.

Gallant led the Red Sox to a World Series title in his first year with the club, batting .330/.402/.629/1.031, with 37 doubles, 43 homers, 111 runs scored, and a league-leading 130 RBI. He finished 4th in the AL in MVP voting.

Goofus led the Yankees to a wild-card play-in spot in his first year with the club, batting .266/.343/.509/.852, with 34 doubles, 38 homers, 102 runs scored, and 100 RBI. He finished 19th in the AL MVP voting. But he also struck out 211 times!

Gallant hit .357/.421/.571/.992 against the Yankees in their four-game playoff series that same, 2018 season, homering, driving in 6 runs, and walking 3 times without a strikeout.

Goofus, in that playoff, hit .222/.222/.222/.444 against the Red Sox. Which you have to admit is a wonderful statistical anomaly. He didn't hit aaannny thing other than a single and didn't drive in aaaannnny runs at all or get aaaaaannnnny walks. But he did strikeout 6 times in those 4 games, including one against a relief pitcher in the critical last inning who could not have found the plate with a GPS, a compass, and two service dogs. 

Gallant homered again and drove in 5 more runs in Boston's five-game triumph over the Dodgers in the 2018 World Series.

Goofus...but don't worry.  With Goofus, the Yankees will neeeeevvvvvver be in the World Series again!

Last night, Ohtani did not homer in Babe Ruth's footsteps

 Hate to burst the spin-bubble, but it's not the same Yankee Stadium. The Yankees tore down the House that Ruth Built. 

The latest running gag in NYC goes that the Yankees will land Ohtani. What a joke.

Lately, the parlor game in NYC is projecting the future home of Shohei Ohtani, as he grows tired of LA phonies, Kardashian influencers and Disneyland, which is basically just a giant Chuck E. Cheese. The narrative goes this way: 

Ohtani is done with the also-ran Angels and yearns to conquer the world's greatest baseball market - New York, New York ! Inevitably, he belongs in the House of Ruth. 

This is utter bullshit, of course, for several reasons.

1. The Yankees will never spend the money it will take to land Ohtani. This is not 1998, and Old George is not running rampant over Shiv, Roman and Kendall. If Ohtani truly wants to come East, he'll draw the biggest offer from the Mets - though they'll have to outbid Boston and Philly, too. 

It won't be Food Stamps Hal making the calls. The poor guy must shell out all that lost money to Hicksy, Giancarlo, Jackie Donaldson and "Rehab" Rodon, the new Sultan of Setbacks. 

And that's if Ohtani really wants to come East. The Rangers, Dodgers and Padres may have something to say about that. Hal spent to keep Aaron Judge because he had no other choice: Losing Judge would have destroyed the Yankee brand. 

If Ohtani comes knocking, Hal will hide under the bed, as he did for Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. It's been a long time since the Yankees were the biggest spenders in baseball. 

2. Frankly, what would be the point in signing Ohtani? Aside from pitching, his position in the field is DH - where the Yankees are filled through 2028. That's Giancarlo's slot, when he's not injured. 

There is no opening for a second DH, unless MLB  comes up with another rule change. Hmm. Should we start the campaign?

3. Finally, all this talk about Ohtani walking in the footsteps of Ruth on this week's 100th anniversary of Yankee Stadium's opening... is bogus crapola. 

For the record, the Yankees do not play in the House that Ruth Built. They razed it. They play in a sterile, 12-year-old ballpark with a disco, five-star steak house, kiddie playground and all the sporting traditions of the Vince Lombardi Thruway Rest Stop. They call it "Yankee Stadium." That's all.  

I hate to be so negative, but that's what happens after a loss like last night. The Yankees looked like a team from 2013, with Travis Hafner and the Grandyman. If the YES team hadn't brought in a likely stoned Woody Harrelson for a bizarre half-inning, there would have been nothing worth watching. 

When your first five batters go 1-for-16 - and your last four are Peraza, IKF, Higgy and Hicks - you don't have much going on. It sure is fun, playing parlor games.  

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

And The Drum Keeps Beating...

So Carlos's back continues to Honk.

Said exterior body part will now be examined by a group of surgeons.

Boone says it is "nothing."  It's like he had a sleep on a long bus journey and woke up a bit achy.

His arm, meanwhile, feels butter...I mean better.  He can't throw the nurf ball yet, but all is well.

Can they do back replacement surgery?

I just don't feel 100% confident that Boone's assessment is correct or even truthful.


Maybe we shoud ask Cashman, 


A Monumental Anniversary

A century ago, in the debuth
Of his eponymous stadium, Ruth
Hit the inaugural tater,
Auguring the later
Parade of glory under that roof.