Friday, June 30, 2023

Game Thread: Big Trade Today Ensures Yankee Playoff Success!

 Aroldis Chapman just got traded to the Texas Rangers. 

I Have Discovered The Most Irrelevant Fact Of Anyone So Far

 This only took the consumption of  four Disarrono Sours ( form of Amaretto ) and one bong hit of freshly grown " Lemonade Haze," but I found it.

Pay close attention:

Every Yankee pitcher who has ever thrown a perfect game, has a first name that begins with "D."

One Don

Two Davids

One Domingo.

And I am the first Yankee fan to identify this clear trend. 

Happy July 4th.

Above Average's UNWAVERING (and PERFECT) positivity in Oakland

As you may recall, IT IS HIGH commenter Above Average attended Wednesday night's perfect game, with his UNVAVERING sign of Yankee positivity.

Here is his report:

It was really something special.

It is a tough sentence to write, and likely harder for some to read and believe but it was very a magical night in Oakland. 

My sign was sneakily snatched away by security after a sudden and distracting BUMP (I was  impressed by their masterful. pick-pocket-like technique) and carefully stored somewhere hidden away in the bowels of the coliseum.

 I was informed that it would be returned to me after the end of the game and indeed it was in perfect, fresh smelling, unnibbled condition.

 Unwavering Satisfaction!

Here's the final pitch:


Estevan Florial in Syracuse, Anthony Volpe in paradise, Anthony Rizzo in a bandage?

Like a traveling Scranton dinner theater presentation of Damn Yankees, the never-ending saga of Estevan Florial plopped down in Syracuse last night.

Florial went 2-for-5 with a pair of roped singles, but he fanned once - enflaming a bugaboo that doesn't apply to other Yankees, which leaves him trapped in Wilkes Barre for eternity, or at least the Aug. 1 trade deadline. 

We've discussed Florial ad nauseum. It's complicated. He fans too much, some scout is blackballing him, and he's out of minor league options, so if the Yankees promote him, they can't send him back. He passed through waivers this spring, but he won't this time, so... 

Quick, everybody! Sing along with the Kingston Trio: 

"Oh, he'll never return,
"No he'll never return,
"And his fate is still unlearned.
"He may ride forever on the streets of Scranton,
"He's the man who'll never return..."

Last night, Florial was the toughest out in Syracuse. It's a continuing toothache that the Yanks won't give him 100 MLB at bats, just to see what happens. He's tied for the International League lead in HRs, hitting .294, and he's one of the fastest Yankees in the system. Last night, he beat out a fielders choice on pure speed. And he's the man who'll never return. 

Between now and Aug. 1, you'd think the Yanks would give Florial a chance. At worst, he's a solid defensive OF - better than either Jake Bauers or Billy McKinney. If he hits, he might save Cooperstown Cashman from another disastrous deadline deal, as the Yankees continue to squander bright young assets in a darkening future. But don't hold your breath. He's the man who'll never return.

One other thing about last night: Elijah Dunham - playing CF and wearing number 7 - went 3-for-5 with a HR. Dunham started the year hot, then became a human Ice Bucket Challenge. Last night, he broke a 1-for-19 skid, lifting his average to a mere .223. Still, the guy looks scary coming off the bus. He has the shoulders of a Giambi. If he could just get hot...

Other matters:

Anthony Volpe. I want to scream at the TV when the YES Men talk up Volpe's recent resurgence. They are bombarding the kid with disastrous juju, the kind usually reserved for Russian subversives and tourist submersibles. Every time Volpe comes up, they mention chicken parm and his recent spree: He's 8 for 15 in his last four games. It's way too soon to pronounce Volpe done with his rookie slump. (Before this mini-streak, he was 3 for 18.) But but BUT... he's up to .212. (Could he make .230 by the all-star break?)

Anthony Rizzo. Last night, amid the rollover of poor Oakland/Las Vegas, he took a fast ball to the elbow. X-rays came back negative. But cross your fingers. Even though he's not been hitting, the loss of Rizzo would be catastrophic. His glove at first base is indispensable.

Jackie Donaldson. The Yankees finally won a game in which he homered. That likely means another month of him. He won't move at the deadline. Nobody will take him. At some point, maybe mid-August, the Yankees will give up and DFA Donaldson. And we know what will happen next: He'll sign with a rival, hit a few HRs and rail about how he didn't get enough chances in NY. Shoot me.  

Luis Severino. Sevy in Saint Louie tonight. He needs to build off that last outing. Could Domingo's perfecto raise all troubled Yankee boats? Could Setback Sevy become Salvation Sevy?  Are we talking about Domingo German and the Dial of Destiny? 

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Poor, poor, pitiful Athletic(s)


The Athletic Club of Philadelphia first started playing baseball in 1860. The team went on to win the very first pennant—I mean the first pennant anywhere, ever—in the very first league (amateur, pro, you name it, anything short of the Hanseatic League) in the National Association, in 1871.

Various incarnations of the name—sometimes with an "s" on the end, sometimes not—popped up again in the National League and the American Association in the 19th century, but then vanished like the vestigial limbs on an evolutionary tree.

The 19-aught-1 Athletics were a charter member of the American League, managed and owned by a mediocre former catcher named Cornelius McGillicuddy, a.k.a., Connie Mack.

"The Tall Tactician," as he was invariably called—seen here with Fatty Arbuckle when the latter was a lammester from Hollywood morals charges—was the last manager to NOT wear a uniform, sticking instead with his undertaker suits, right down to the old-fashioned, attached collars.

Mack was considered a baseball genius, and managed the A's for 50 seasons, a record that will never be broken.  (It helps to own the team. Or to be on the good side of Brian Cashman.) 

He was also desperately short on cash most of the time, which would become a theme for the A's: their owners were either savvy baseball men who lacked for money, or men who had the money but no baseball.

Mack won 9 pennants and 5 World Series—and finished last 17 times. His feuding sons sold the team to a sharp, self-made Chicago businessman named Arnold Johnson, who had built a fortune in vending machines and real estate.

Johnson just happened to own the lease on Yankee Stadium. And the Yankees' Triple-A farm team in Kansas City. And be in the vending machine and real estate businesses with Yankees co-owner Del Webb. 

On buying the A's, Johnson sold off his lease on the Stadium in the interests of propriety, the Yanks cleared him to move the team to KC, and for the next five years, the Kansas City Athletics served as a de facto farm club for the Yanks. The two teams made 16 trades, involving 61 players. It was as if Scranton was suddenly made a major-league franchise.

(Johnson is second from right. And generally last in the American League.) 

Hey, no collusion here! 

Missed in all this palm-greasing and back-scratching was the fact that the A's were moving from the 3rd largest city in the country in 1955—Philadelphia—to the 20th. But hey, that was all the rage in baseball then! 

Major-league owners were convinced that most big, Eastern cities were dying hellholes filled with—shudder—Black people! Surely, the future lay in overwhelmingly white, heartland or West Coast towns, such as Kay-cee, or Minneapolis, where Horace Stoneham first wanted to plunk the Giants.

In 1960, Arnold Johnson had the temerity to die, spoiling a beautiful relationship with your New York Yankees. The new owner, a certain Charles O. Finley, knew baseball—but was short on money. Or commons sense. His big idea was to complete the Athletics' cross-country hejira to California. 

Charlie O. chose Oakland, a floundering old port town, which meant moving from what was by then the 26th largest city in the the 38th largest.

In Oakland, the A's became the only team other than the Yankees to ever win three straight World Series, 1972-74, and they won three straight pennants again in 1988-90, once Charlie O. and his mule had wandered off into the sunset. And Oakland even mounted something of a comeback.

But it was still a small city in a shared market, and the team still had to play in the cookie-cutter, Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, which looks like something out of Thunderdome when you're inside it.

The team got by, famously, on Moneyball, which decreed that on-base and slugging percentages were all that mattered, and that things such as fielding and mental acuity on a ball field were so much hooey. Billy Beane's Moneyball teams went out and averaged 98 wins a season from 2000-2003—and lost every playoff series in the first round because of egregious mental and fielding mistakes.

But hey, the whole thing got an Oscar nomination for Jonah Hill!

Today, though, Oakland is still just the 45th largest city in the country, and the Giants are more firmly ensconced than ever across the Bay. So the big idea of the new owner, after he and Al Davis had milked the community of all it would give? 

Move the team to Las Vegas. In 2028.

To be sure, Vegas is the 25th largest city in the U.S., and a hot-hot-hot destination. It will also be the world's largest sand trap in another generation or so. 

Here is the A's new home in April, 2022, just in time for Opening Day:

Move to a sizzling desert town with a shrinking water supply, where the average June-August temperatures are already 102-107 degrees, on a rapidly overheating planet?

What could POSSIBLY go wrong?

Looks like another boffo A's decision. And hey, since their Oakland lease expires after 2024, at least three years of Yankees visits will probably be hosted in either Reno or Vegas' current, minor-league park.

Why not the Bellagio??

Oh, and by the way? Philadelphia is still the sixth-largest city in the United States. 

Suffice it to say, I have trouble summoning up sympathy for such "small-market teams," after almost 70 years of awful decisions. But hey, the A's can always move next to Saskatchewan, I guess, or maybe Point Barrow, Alaska. 

I bet they'll still win another World Series before Brian Cashman does.

What a wonderful night for Domingo German, Mr. Perfect! Now, does anybody have a clue what he'll do next?

For the rest of his life - through eternity, and beyond - Domingo German will enjoy the incredibly rare celebrity of having thrown a perfect MLB game, one of the greatest accomplishments in American sports. Hooray for him! (And Higgy, for catching.)

In a perfect world, German's perfect game would make him a perfect certainty to stay in a perfect Yankee rotation, throughout this perfect season. 

Breaking News: It's not a perfect world - it's Waterworld, but with wildfires - and German's up-and-down career has made him the Jekyll/Hyde, if not the Ricochet Rabbit, of Yankee pitchers. 

He's either unhittable, or unwatchable. He'll go the distance, or go out early. Before last night, in his last two starts, German had surrendered 17 runs in 5.1 innings. Yikes. Along with making the list of perfect pitchers, he might qualify for one of spontaneous human combustions.

Today, on that Perfect list of 24, German appears with Roy Halliday, David Cone, David Wells, Sandy Koufax, Catfish Hunter, Cy Young, Jim Bunning, Randy Johnson and Addie Joss. The question is: Will his next start be Koufax... or Joss?

Which German will show up? The one who overwhelmed miserable Oakland - (yes, it must be noted: this came against baseball's worst tomato can) - or the one who was recently clobbered by Seattle and Boston? Flip a coin. But at the least, this adds to German's fantastical Yankee narrative, which already reads like a Cormac McCarthy novel. 

He's been injured, he's been suspended, he's been caught with stick-um, he's been perfect, he's been awful, he's been abusive, he's been abused... sweet dreams are made of these, who am I to disagree? 

Soon - say the all-star break - the Yank rotation could look like this: 


Not chopped liver, if everybody stays healthy. (Which they won't.) Today, German owns that 5th spot. But Schmidt has improved and doesn't lug around all that - ahem - imperfect baggage. 

Could the sudden illusion of pitching depth prompt the Yankee brain trust to trade German? Billy McKinney and Jake Bauers are not the M&M boys, and the team desperately needs a big lefty bat. The Yankees have German through 2024. He could draw interest. For two years, Cooperstown Cashman has crapped the bed at the trade deadline. Will he try again? (Of course, he will.)

Two years ago, the Joey Gallo trade exploded in Cashman's face. Last August's trade of Jordan Montgomery brought immediate humiliation, as Harrison Bader couldn't take the field. (Even today, with Bader back, that deal is hard to justify.) 

Still, everything is pitching, pitching, pitching, and last night brought perfection. Now comes the happily ever after: Who is the new Mr. Perfect? And will Domingo German get the chance to burnish his newfound celebrity in October?

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

You Want The Truth?

 Here is the truth.  Ugly and direct.

When the Yankees use Cabrera to pinch hit for anyone, in a tight game moment, the yankees have given up. 


Breaking News: IT IS HIGH will be secretly showcased at tonight's Yankee game


Says our esteemed commenter Above Average...

I will be in the front row behind home plate - screen left - approximately three seats out of frame of the centerfield camera's shot.  However the camera is constantly adjusting so it is likely that this will be seen over and over again (so long as I am willing and more importantly allowed to to raise it up during the game).

 I will also grab some shots of the sign in various situations that might be fun and will share if any of them come out well.

 I thought the message was an understated and simplified nod to IIHIIF :)

The sign alludes to a form of our positivity...

Big Black Cow


I don't know when it was, exactly. Sometime on Sunday, I think, when the Yankees actually played one of their most entertaining games of the past month.

It was something, or a combination of somethings, that came up.

Maybe how Aaron Judge, the only watchable player on the team, would be out indefinitely. 

—Plus how Oswald Peraza had mysteriously disappeared from the Railriders' lineup, but the Yankees weren't saying anything about it.

—Plus how Everson Pereira had mysteriously disappeared from the Somerset Patriots' lineup, but the Yankees weren't saying anything about it.

—Plus how the Yankees' entries in the Minor League Futures Extravaganza would be Spencer Jones and Clayton Beeter, two prospects whose relative excellence this season (Jones is hitting all of .268) are due mostly to the fact that they are too old for their respective minor-league levels...

Something just broke. Maybe it was the realization that the Yanks will not be any good, not really, for a long, long time. Maybe it was sheer exhaustion. 

Whatever the case,  in this season of Steely Dan reminiscence, a random lyric popped unbidden into my head:

I don't care anymore...

It's nothing new. In recent years, I give up on the Yankees two or three times a season. 

I don't mean, "give up," as in lose all hope that they'll win anything (usually, that hope never really existed). Nor do I mean "give up," in the sense that I will actually stop following the team. 

I confess, after 57 years of fandom, I'm addicted. And even if I weren't, you gang of lovable rogues, roustabouts, and general mountebanks would keep pulling me back in.

I mean, "give up" in the sense that I have to step back, emotionally, from the now downright neurotic way in which this franchise conducts its business.

I don't care anymore

Why you run around...

Much like the narrator in "Big Black Cow" speaking to his secretive yet transparent girlfriend, running around on him behind his back, I just get exhausted by all the Yankees' shenanigans. They are the actions of a classic narcissist—the classic narcissist who runs the team—thinking that he has discovered any number of great, hidden wisdoms and ways of doing things, and cannot reveal them to those of us who simply wouldn't understand. 

Break away

Just when it seems so clear

That it's over now

Drink your big black cow

And get out of here...

Sometimes, I just need to take an emotional step back from looking down into the sandy desolation that is our New York Yankees. 'So, after a scintillating series win against a leading team in the AL, they get an off-day, fly out west...and get beat by one of the worst teams assembled in recent decades. A team whose owner is actively trying to lose...' Okay.

I don't care anymore

And you know the worst part about it? I'm sure I will care again, probably very soon.

ZacharyA: "I can't adequately express how worried I am about Giancarlo Stanton."

From commenter ZacharyA...

DJ LeMahieu continues to look extremely lost. He's hitting .179/.220/.295 (.515 OPS) in his last 30 games with no encouraging underlying metrics. If we find out at the end of the year that he's playing through an injury and the Yankees didn't want to put him on the IL, I'm going to be furious.

Anthony Rizzo has been better the past week, but he hasn't homered in more than a month. We need his power back desperately.

I can't adequately express how worried I am about Giancarlo Stanton. He's hitting .167/.245/.356 (.601 OPS) since last year's All Star break! This is the worst stretch of his entire career. I looked it up to verify. We're in uncharted waters with how bad he's been for so long.

There are 39 catchers with at least 120 PA this year. Kyle Higashioka ranks 33rd in OPS and Jose Trevino ranks 36th. These guys are bottom-of-the-barrel bats even when compared with their weak-hitting peers. I don't think the Yankees will dump them or anything — game-calling and defense are too important — but it puts more pressure on the rest of the lineup when you have an auto-out in the lineup.

The Yankees rank 28th in hits and 25th in walks this season, which combines for a 29th-ranked OBP. That OBP, currently sitting at .296, is our worst team OBP since 1967. That was during the offensive doldrums that led to the mound being lowered. Now, most likely Judge will come along and rescue us from a sub-.300 OBP, but we're 2800+ PA into the season. This is no longer a small sample size.

There have only been three Yankee teams to finish the season with a sub-.300 OBP: the 1908 New York Highlanders and the 1967-1968 Yankees.

Donaldson climbs out of hole and sees a gopher ball, signifying six more weeks of winter

Congrats to Jackie Donaldson, whose solo shot last night guarantees him a spot in the zombified Yankee lineup at least through the all-star break, if not the Aug. 1 trade deadline.

Somewhere in Cooperstown Cashman's mysterious iPad, an algorithm pegs every Donaldson HR - aka "solo shot" -to another 100 at bats, in a last chance trial run that seemingly will never end.   

Last night's HR would be welcome news, if Yank fans could forget the last 18 months of headache and distress. As it goes, we are torn by the deja vu of yet another former slugger in his final MLB incarnation, hitting just enough to conjure up yet another month of playing time, as we tread water, while our rivals power on. 

Honestly, I don't hate Donaldson. Last night, when he homered in the 5th, a romantic particle inside me fantasized that a return to Oakland, where his career began, facing baseball's worst team - maybe ever - would lift Donaldson back to solvency. He went 1-for-4, fanning twice, lifting his average to .132. From where he sits, you can't even see the Mendoza line. Anybody else on any other team in baseball would long ago have been stuffed in a bottle and put out with the Yucatan tide. But the Yankees slog onward, looking to build on Donaldson's big night.

Insert sigh here. 

Last night, we lost to a team of staggering mediocrity, a veritable Washington Generals, whose owner is monetizing ineptitude, using it to move the franchise to Las Vegas. Generally, you only find owners this evil in movies. And to this, the Yankees lost, their lone offense coming from the guy who is destined to disappear. Throughout last night's pregame show, the YES team talked up the Yanks' need for a sweep. Now, they seek to avoid one. 

But but BUT!... somehow, we remain in the wild card - America's yacht race of tomato cans. Seven games above .500 might do it. Come October, with Aaron Judge and Carlos Rodon presumably back, the Death Barge can hope for a three-week miracle. In theory, it could happen. So, come Aug. 1, they'll double-down on veterans and jettison another wave of youth. 

As for Donaldson, along with a batting average near Lady Gaga's weight, he will forever be tied to last summer's dust-up with Tim Anderson, an incident that - at best - showed him to be racially tone deaf. Some teams would have ditched him, right then. The Yankees were paying him too much money. 

Now, at 37, the trouble with Donaldson is the trouble with the Yankees... as it was with Joey Gallo, as it was with Jay Bruce, as it was with Edwin Encarnacion, as it was with Kendrys Morales, as it was with Troy Tulowitski, as it was with Chris Carter, as it was with Chase Headley, at it was with Matt Holliday, as it was with Stephen Drew, as it was with Ichiro Suzuki, as it was with Vernon Wells, as it was with Kevin Youkilis - and that's just the last 10 years. It is the trouble with a franchise that cannot distinguish hope from hubris, and which believes the "NY" logo somehow transforms a retirement home into an MLB clubhouse. 

So, a home run! Expect Donaldson to get another month to save his career. And I suppose we - as Yank fans - will root for him, right? Maybe this is his last, final, closing, climactic, concluding, fat-lady-singing-finale chance. But lemme tell you: When other fans suggest it must be easy, rooting for the mighty Yankees, they just don't know... 

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

It's time to start planning for the August 24th Insurrection

Nothing happened yesterday. Jackie D didn't get booed. Giancarlo didn't strike out. Nobody stubbed a corpuscle. So... 

Friends, Romans, Yankee fans, lend me your beers: 

Coming soon... August Twentyforth, two thousand and twenty three... a date that will live in Yankeinfamy... 


That day - that incredible, unforgettable day - we, the bottomless and unhorsed truth-telling fans of IIHIIFIIc, shall overthrow the current Yankee regime of dorks and juju gods... and restore the team to greatness! 

To outsiders, this will be the "Mastercard Half-Price Game" against the Washington Nationals, beginning at 1:05 p.m. In fact, it will be the long awaited Double-Secret Second Gathering of the IT IS HIGH NATION, launching the GREAT YANK FAN AWAKENING AND TASTINGS OF FORBIDDEN TRUTH. 

Prior to the game, we shall surround the ballpark, clasp hands and levitate the stadium three feet into the air! Then, with precise movements, we will SHAKE the goddamm foundation, causing subservient lackey fans, doofus hangers-on and buttercup front office cabana dandies to puke their almond-milk and tofu power lunches, as they are physically and spiritually forced to contemplate the truest of true Yankee truths.  

It's time to show the front office - and the juju gods - who is really running this show.

Immediately, upon taking control of this sorry clown car, we shall institute a ban on all Yankee injuries and out-of-body, walk-off losses.  

August twenty-forth, two thousand and twenty three, the most important date in Yankee history. To join this monumental event, and to meet - up close and personal - some of this site's legendary superstar readers, bloggers, lurkers and thinkers, contact: 

motelsign(at)protonmail(dot)com  -- OR -- localbargainjerk(at)gmail(dot)com

I'll be there, wearing my "I MOONED BIG PAPI" t-shirt. 


Monday, June 26, 2023

The Yankees have no recourse but to stay with Anthony Volpe

For weeks now, Yank fans have grown increasingly uneasy about Anthony Volpe, the locally grown rookie SS, who now has his own personal in-game radio ad read by John  and Suzyn. ("... As Anthony Volpe steps up to the plate, you can step up to a plate of delicious pasta,at Volpe's Italian Restaurant in Fox Hollow, Long Island...") Hold the rigatoni! It might be the first one-player radio since Hideki Matsui's appearance summoned praise for the Benihana Steakhouse. 

The Yankee front office can't find pitching, but it sure knows how to monetize an asset. 

Yesterday, Volpe electrified the Yankiverse with an 8th-inning double, triggering a game-saving rally. It was magical. Now only did he rouse the crowd, but Volpe psyched out the Texas pitcher, prepping to steal third. On the bases, Volpe is one frigging spicy plate of pasta.

The problem: Getting there. Yesterday's double was Volpe's sole hit of the Rangers series. (He went 1-7, with two walks.) He's an enigma. He has yet to be thrown out stealing. He's sorta warm, hitting .258 the last two weeks. Overall, though, he's hitting .195.

He doesn't hit righties (.198) or lefties (.182). He doesn't hit at home (.197) or on the road (.191.) On a 2-2 count, he has yet to record a single hit. (33 times, 24 strikeouts.) With two strikes, his batting average is an anemic .106. Let's face it: Once he has two strikes on him, everybody in the crowd loses hope. He leads the Yankees in strikeouts.

Why go on? I know Volpe, you know Volpe, we all know Volpe. We also know that he's been the Yankee Chosen One - our designated future savior - for the last two years, when he lit up Single A and soared to the top of the team's prospects lists. We sat out two classes of star free agent shortstops, because he was on the way. 

But lately, there have been coded whispers. Last week, Jon Heyman of the Murdoch Post quoted two unnamed scouts who suggested that Volpe should go to Triple A and retool his swing. Sometimes, that's a double-secret trial balloon, a sign of what the front office is thinking, a warning to the player and the fans. 

Well, for now, anyway, scratch that option.

The reason: Oswald Peraza - our secondary can't-miss rookie SS - has disappeared. Peraza hasn't played since June 18, and the Yankees haven't said why. The Scranton Times-Herald beat writer Conor Foley has reported that the team is awaiting the results of "tests." Uh-oh. I don't think they mean pop quizzes.  

Peraza had been crushing Triple A: .292 with 11 HRs in 34 games. I think Heyman's story was a sign that the Yankees were ready to make a move. But if Peraza is hurt - well - so much for replacing Volpe. 

Playing SS for Scranton yesterday was 26-year-old Max Burt, a converted 3B who is hitting .261. Burt was filling in for Wilmer Difo, a 31-year-old banjo-hitting vagabond who has played for Washington, Pittsburgh and Arizona over the last decade. He's fast and can play defense, with a lifetime batting average of .250 (almost Ruthian, compared to Volpe, eh?) 

With due respect to Burt and Difo, our choice is probably Volpe or the scrap heap. If Volpe were to tweak a gonad tomorrow, we'd probably see Oswaldo Cabrera play SS for a few days, while Cooperstown Cashman works the waiver wires. 

So when Volpe steps up to the plate, you should step up to a plate - of hope. Because it's him or meatballs. It worked Sunday. Keep fingers crossed and your fork on stand by.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Judge is gone. Good.


I don't mean it's a good thing that we won't get to see Aaron Judge until...who knows when, if ever. 

Last season, he gave us the greatest single year that I have ever witnessed, and—almost unbelievably—this year he upped his game. Before crashing through that Dodger Stadium fence, he had been playing like something out of boys' storybooks, smashing home runs and doubles seemingly at will, leaping high over—or through!—any fence to take away another sure hit.

On the field and off, Aaron Judge has been a delight, a rare pro athlete who seems to love what he does, and throws himself at the game with full abandon.  

And what happened to him is yet another in an endless line of moronic club owners letting their players get folded, spindled, and mutilated because they will not take the same care with their fields of dreams that your average playground director does with the see-saws and merry-go-rounds.  

Wee Willie Keeler getting hung up on some barbed wire used to separate a bleacher, Earl Combs and Pistol Pete Reiser shortening brilliant careers by hitting walls before the owners could figure out to lay down warning tracks, Joe DiMaggio AND Mickey Mantle AND Elliot Maddox injuring themselves by stepping on outfield sprinkler heads, Dustin Fowler leaving his future on a Chicago utility box thoughtfully strapped to the outside of a wall on the playing field...on and on it goes, and stupider and stupider ,the more money the owners shell out to have these wonderful athletes clipping coupons on their dime.

Money, it has often been said, is wasted on the rich. Given to a major-league club owner, it might as well be ripped up and flushed down a toilet.

But I digress.

It is good, at least, that we finally have an answer (of sorts) to what has happened to Judge, and what the future holds. Time to stop pretending that this awful Yankees team only has to squeak into the Manfred Mann All-You-Can-Eat Breakfast Playoffs and then who knows what can happen???

Time to stop pretending that we fans are forcing you to sign up great stars, of which the Yankees now have exactly none. Time to use the rest of this wretched season to at least find out who can do what going forward.

Start by sending Josh "Gepetto" Donaldson back to his home woodworking shop. No need to watch Mr. Fun Times spend the rest of the year fanning the breeze and bobbling easy grounders. I would say the same about Big G, but we know that's not going to happen. Instead, play him. Play him in the field, every day, until his swing comes around or—much, much more likely—he pulls something.

For goodness sakes, get rid of Gleyber Torres already! If he doesn't really want to get up for games, there's no reason we should make him. There must be some playoff contender we can con into taking him.

Then see what we got. Move Volpe to second or third, tell him to stop swinging for the fences and try to hit line drives, and let the little dog loose to steal whenever he makes base. Bring up Peraza, for cryin' out loud, and plant him at shortstop. I suspect Cabrera is already a lost cause, but play him—somewhere—everyday for the rest of the season, then make a decision. I'm sure by now he can make the drive to Scranton and back blindfolded.

Trade both Trevino and Higgy for what you can get, and bring up Biceptvedt and Austin Wells, the part-time parmigiana coach, from the minors. Past time to see if we have a catcher in the damned system. Put Billy McKinney in right field until he absolutely falls apart.  And for the love of God, bring up Estevan Florial!!!

Anybody and everybody else who might help, the same. See what we have. Then make a plan to improve. Make two plans to improve, in the immediate and long-term futures.

This is how successful businesses work. Time for the Yanks to try it, instead of yanking us around.

Oh Captain, my Captain: Thank you for telling us the truth about your injury. Clearly, the Yankees were not planning to do so.

Oh, Captain, my Captain, 


Seriously. Stay off the toe. Rest that bad boy. Inject platelets. Take a cortisone shot. Hit the jacuzzi. Do foot massages, pedicures, hot stones, goat yoga, milk baths, magic mushrooms, gummies - eat a human placentas, great nutritional value! - whatever. Dip your foot into the healing waters of the Hudson. Receive a blessing from the Pope. Or Taylor Swift. Are you getting me? Heal thyself. 

And thank you for telling us the truth.

It's a torn ligament, not a strain, and you could be sidelined for a much longer period than earlier suggested, in fact - gulp - indefinitely - the scariest word in the Cashman New World Yankee dictionary. 

Clearly, the front office was not planning to tell us. Ever. They'd leave fans in the dark through July and August - gulp - indefinitely.   

It's refreshing to have someone who speaks honestly to us, the bootless and unhorsed, lowly fans. When you became captain, I bet you didn't think that would become a responsibility. 

For weeks now, the Yankees have lied. At first, they suggested your toe was hardly a concern at all. (This was probably just wishful thinking, so we shouldn't condemn them.) But now we learn that the injury is far worse than disclosed, and that, once again, we should never believe a word that comes out of their mouths - gulp - indefinitely. 

Look, I understand why the Yankees lie. We're just fans. We don't matter. They can raise ticket prices, charge higher cable fees, play Jackie Donaldson, whatever they want. We'll squawk, but in the end, we'll capitulate. We are hapless, pathetic creatures, barely a notch above TV zombies. So they just say that all is well, and we plod through our miserable lives in the usual state of drunken unreality. 

They see themselves as Jack Nicholson, yelling you can't handle the truth! If we hear Aaron Judge could be out for the rest of the year, we might do something disastrous - like watch the Mets. Thus, like generals in a ground war, they cross their fingers and tell us what they think we want to heare.

What amazes me, though, is how effortlessly - how cleanly - they do this. Giancarlo Stanton would be back soon, Carlos Rodon would be back soon, Luis Severino would be back soon. All is well. Go home, everybody, there's nothing to see, Nasty Nestor will be back soon, along with Ellsbury and Pavano.  

Well, all is not well. The 2023 Yankees have fallen into a chasm. A season on the brink. And it might stay that way indefinitely. 

Saturday, June 24, 2023

By attending games, Yankee fans are spending vast sums to view the wreckage of baseball's Titanic.

In this era of expanded playoffs, when any team with a pulse can chase October dreams, the miserable Yankees are tied with Houston - #$@% Houston - for the final AL wild card slot. 

We are struggling. We don't manufacture runs, a team of solo shots. Most BA's fall below .220. Our defense botches critical plays. The bullpen cannot hold a lead. Our team seldom rallies. 

The manager gets tossed from games but never criticizes shoddy play. He's a decent human being, but a kiss-ass for management. The fans boo:  the jeering of Jackie Donaldson brought last night's loudest moment. The GM has few options, and his disastrous deals killed the team last August. Over the last calendar year, they are a middling mediocrity - a record of about .500, despite a $277 million payroll. Business schools should study how the Yankees harvest so little from spending so much.   

Which raises three questions: 

Where the fuck are we? how the fuck did we get here? and what did we do to deserve this?

Where we are: Okay, honestly... we're not terrible. In theory, when Aaron Judge returns, and if Carlos Rodon pitches well, we could make a run. Not at the division - forget catching Tampa. And we probably can't overtake Baltimore, (led by the great Aaron Hicks.) But there's that last wild card berth; we're in a race of tomato cans, and some of our holes should plug themselves. Giancarlo Stanton may be reaching his career twilight, but he won't hit .180. Anthony Volpe should improve, though he's suffered enough trauma for three rookie seasons. We are also-rans, deal with it. That said, so was Philly last year, and they damn near pulled it off. 

How we got here: Well, it's taken 20 years of hubris, of expecting to get huge returns in trades, of getting something for nothing. A few years back, free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado came to NY and campaigned like politicians for the chance to play for the Yankees. Either would be cornerstones. We blew them off, not wanting to face a bidding war. To this day, we have no great LH slugger, and 3B remains a disaster. 

We let Boston outbid us for Yoan Moncada, after he came from Cuba. We wouldn't get involved in a bidding war. The Redsocks converted him into Chris Sale. For the last three years, we ignored a wave of star free agent shortstops, and now we wonder if Volpe will hit, or if he should play 2B. Brian Cashman's success has been picking players off the scrap heap. We value from the minimum salaries. But on big deals, we clutch our purse, then swing and miss. 

What did we do to deserve this? Well, we watch. We scream at the TV, we hide behind the couch. We care. As long as the Steinbrenner family owns the premier sports team in New York City, and all they have to do is be competitive, we are willing soldiers in this deception. To that, I plead guilty. 

I am old, and I doubt I'll live to see the Yankees win another championship. I wish I could put my allegiance to the team in a box and throw it in the ocean. The Yankees are doing what they've done for the last 15 years, and they are going nowhere.

That said, the season didn't end last night against Texas, or in Boston last weekend, and it won't through the month of July. The Yankees are big, slow dinosaurs, but they still can thrash through a forest. We have Judge and Gerrit Cole - the two players Hal Steinbrenner broke the bank for. (By the way, he was sorta shamed into it by both.) But look across baseball and you see young, emerging stars everywhere. They are remaking the power structure of the game. None play for the Yankees.  

Friday, June 23, 2023

Circle the Date


Warning: Fun times ahead.

As noted in this space a few weeks ago, we are planning the second IIHIIFIIc outing to Yankee Stadium in Bronx, New York.

The game is at 1:05pm on August 24, 2023 against the Washington Nationals.

We will be sitting in the upper deck on the first base side, underneath the overhang so we'll be sheltered from both the sun and any inclement weather.  Wizened planners are we.

The price for all this fun is $30.00 per ticket inclusive of all taxes, fees, etc.  Only $30.  Don't even think about it; just grab your mouse and sign yourself up.

To join in and meet some of your fellow readers/contributors, send an email to:

motelsign(at)protonmail(dot)com  -- OR -- localbargainjerk(at)gmail(dot)com

Once we get your email, we'll send you the Paypal or Venmo info needed to pay for the tickets.  We'll also put you on the IIFIIHIIc logistics email mailing list.  As noted in a previous post, we'll be meeting at the same world-class watering hole as last time after which we will triumphantly march up River Avenue.

We're going to have to pull the trigger for the tickets on Monday so please order now.

I'm sorry, if that's confusing.  What I meant was that you should order now.

Order now.

Today, the Yankees' fan family settles all its business.


Since Yankees GM Brian "Carlo" Cashman seems unable to understand what we are saying, we brought in an associate from a prominent, East Coast...shall we say, "syndicate"? explain things to him, a certain Mr. M. Corleone from the Genco Olive Oil Importing Company.  

Here is a transcript of how that conversation went:  

Mr. Corleone, striding into the owner's box, with a Mr. Clemenza, Tom Hagen, and several other "businessmen." Carlo Cashman glances up from the phone he is dialing.

MC: Who are you calling, Carlo?

CC: (alarmed) Look, I told you, all it will take is a market correction—

MC: Big G Stanton is done. So is Jackie Donaldson.  D.J. LeMahieu. Severino. Nasty Nestor.

CC: (starts to whimper) We don't KNOW if it's a rotator cuff yet—

MC: Ah, today we finish all family business, so don't tell me you really think this. Judge is out. How long, we don't know—

CC: Oh, God!

MC: Frankie Montas—

CC: Not Frankie Montas! (bawls uncontrollably)

MC: Effross. Trevino.

CC: Don't you mean, "Trivino"?

MC: Oh, yeah, right: Trivino. Willie Calhoun popped a hammy the other night.

CC: Hey, there's plenty of season left!

MC: Forget him, he was a dumpster dive anyway. Rodon is never going to pitch. gonna be Gleyber. Rizzo is a wreck.

CC: (sniffles) Okay.

MC: Gary Sanchez is on the coast. Hicks is in Baltimore. Then there's Ellsbury. Andujar. 

CC: All right, all right, I get it already.

MC: Thairo Estrada. Joey Gallo. Greg Bird.

CC: What's your point???

MC: You're finished, too, Carlo. You're out of the family business, that's your punishment. You're going to Las Vegas, here's your ticket.

CC: (puzzled) I thought the A's were going to Las Vegas.

MC: (looking back at his associates) What, that's a done deal? That's really happening?

HAGEN: (shrugging) It is, Mikey.

MC: Nobody tells me anything around here. They're gonna make guys play in a 110-degree heat? And what about the taxpayers of Oakland? What's wrong with people these days?

(Sighs in disgust, stands up) All right, then. I didn't want to do this. But I have to bring in another friend of ours to tell you where you're going then, Carlo. Don John Sterling?

A powerful, towering figure appears in the doorway.

STERLING: That's right, Carlo! You'll be going to Riverwalk, a senior community at the Hebrew Home for the Aged!

CC: No, NO! Anything but that!

Clemenza and others wrestle him out into a car and throw him into the backseat. The Godfather music  swells up.  MC calls after him.

MC: What, you thought you could fool a Yankees fan with this little comedy of a team you were playing?!

For the struggling Yankees, the days are now getting shorter

Last night, three Yankees in the starting lineup were batting below .200. Five came in submerged below .230, and seven out of the nine were hitting less than .250.

Congrats to Yankee batting leader Anthony Rizzo... now at - gulp -  .268. Can anyone crack that elusive .270 mark?

What a dead, tired club.

Sorry, but that's all I've got today. 

What a dead, tired, sluggish club. 

Technically, the Yankees remain in possession of the final wild card slot - and you thought young millennials were being awarded too many meaningless trophies?  

What a dead, tired, sluggish, lackluster club.

I mean... down by 10 runs after four innings. And this, from a pitcher who not long ago looked like our potential Number 2. 

A no-hitter through six. And then, courtesy of Isiah Kiner-Falefa - our pitcher/slugger answer to Ohtani -  the most meaningless HR since Jackie Donaldson's late inning shot in the 15-5 loss to Boston. 

Tired team, tired lineup, tired everything. And 42,000 in attendance. 

Nope, I got nothing. 

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Good news! Harrison Bader to do less!


Thanks to JM, for bringing to our attention the Yankees' brilliant new strategy for keeping Harrison Bader on the field.

Yes, that's right: he should try less hard.

Ma Boone summed it up, in his usual, trademark gobbledygook:

"Experience is your friend in that situation, understanding how to do that. [Bader's] athleticism is his calling card. You don't want to throttle him back too much. But there's also an experience factor of learning how to do it and how to go through it in certain situations. That experience certainly allows you to make smarter decisions within a game on particular players that come up."

Polonius could not have put it better.

Sure, instill in your centerfielder's head the idea that, on every play, he should be calculating not only whether he can catch the ball or not, but if he'll injure himself. What could possibly go wrong?

Look for exactly the sort of second thoughts, hesitancy, and last-second changes of mind that are the very things that CAUSE injuries.

Beyond Boone's "neither a borrower nor a lender be" advice, lies the usual ineptitude of Cashman's decision-making. 

Why, oh, why, oh-why-o do you trade for a guy whose skills are his athleticism and fielding...then tell him not to go too hard in the field? What else does Harrison Bader bring with him? His lifetime, .246 batting average? His 58 home runs in 7 major-league seasons?

Couldn't help but notice that Giancarlo Stanton, who is now a mind-bending 5-45 since his return from a month-and-a-half on the DL, got the night off last night against the Mariners' ace. Obviously, "Big G" needs at-bats, but instead, the brilliant strategy is to bench him against a hard pitcher. 

Whatever. Yankees' management wields "The Medusa Touch." Soon, the whole team will be ordered to stand rooted like stone at their positions or in the dugout, unable to move lest they tweak something and vanish again for a month or two.

Willie tweaks a trunk, Hal talks tough, Gio wrecks his pelvis, and the Yanks win by HRs, a plan that won't fly in October

Let's start with the ultimate question: 

Is it real, or is it Memorex?

Are the Yankees solid, or is Seattle a tomato can? 

Last night our limping, sickly lineup topped their Olympian batting order - France! Hernandez! Kelenic! - which is not exactly Junior, Edgar and Jay Buhner, eh? We won with HRs - three blasts, four runs - a strategy hailed by the YESsirs, but which tends to flop, come October. The homer-offense malaise extends back to the days of Grandyman and Swish, to Alfonso and Robbie, to Chris Carter and Joey Gallo: Live by the HR, die by the K.  

Look, I'm not whining: The Yanks beat Seattle, which hates us like the gout, and tonight we go for a Ryan McBroom. Take that, you fuggin' latte-drinkers. But here's the rub: Our HR offense might win a wild card slot, but come the post-season, we better find somebody who can move a runner. 

Last night, the middle of our order brought a gaping sink hole of nothingness. NY fans now bemoan the very sight of Jackie Donaldson, who was booed as he sprinted to first, trying to avoid a DP (botched by the Mariners' tomato defense.) He's now hitting .133 - zero for his last 10. 

I'm starting to feel sorry for the guy - generally a sign that The End is near.

Other matters: 

1. Apparently, while busting it to first, the adorable Willie Calhoun tweaked one of those twin water heaters that he calls "legs." He'll probably go on the IL and miss a month. Come late July, we'll hear Michael Kay talking excitedly about Calhoun's big bat returning to the team. By then, who knows where we'll be? 

Calhoun was a fine offensive lug nut, the closest we had to "a bat" off the bench. But the days are getting shorter, and it's time to let the big dog run. 

I mean Giancarlo, of course. He must play every day, even if horrible. He needs to roam an outfield, and damn the tweaked gonad. I suspect the brain trust will bring up Oswaldo Cabrera again. (Whenever Oswaldo gets demoted, somebody gets hurt. The juju gods are messing with us.) We should keep Bauers and McKinney on the fringes, but Giancarlo must play every day. Let the big dog run!

2. Yesterday, Hal Steinbrenner emerged from his nest, saw Michael Kay's shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter. Before scurrying back to the panic room, Hal was asked if the Yankees might see big managerial changes. He said: 

“If we don’t make the playoffs, and we’re healthy the second half of the year … and we get the team we intended to be on the field, on the field, then I’m going to be asking some tough questions.”  

So, there you have it. If the Yankees flop, Hal will be "asking some tough questions."

So that's what it's like to be a billionaire: You live in a world without consequence. My guess is Hal's tough questions will be along the lines of,  "Does the lake house need a new kitchen?"  

3. Terrible news. The Angels' Gio Urshela fractured his pelvis and will miss the rest of the season. Damn. This sucks. Yank fans shall always have a soft spot in our hearts for Gio. Remember that time he dove into the opposition dugout, full tilt, to catch a critical foul ball? He was a great Yankee, a great pick-up, and we swapped him out for Donaldson in pursuit of a few more HRs. Damn. Then again, the lake house can always use a new kitchen, no?

Wednesday, June 21, 2023



The g'int to the left is one Norman Arthur Elberfeld, a.k.a., "The Tabasco Kid," the first regular shortstop for your NewYork Yankees. He is pictured here at Hilltop Park, a.k.a., "The Rockpile," back in the days when the Yankees were more often known as the Highlanders, and they played up at 168th Street.

Kid Elberfeld was a pretty fair shortstop for his time. For about 5 years, he was the second-best major-league hitter at the position, finishing his career at .271, with 213 stolen bases. (Today, with those numbers, they would be measuring his plaque for Cooperstown.)

He was also an excellent fielder, with great range and a "cyclonic" arm. He was also, it seems, a gigantic pain in the ass.

The Kid was described by one contemporary observer as "the dirtiest, scrappiest, most pestiferous, most rantankerous [sic], most rambunctious ballplayer that ever stood on spikes." For fun, he liked to smash the crockery on the spring training tables. Most of his career, he wore whalebone shinguards in the field, for all the times that opposing players would try to spike him. He was also hit 165 times in his career, which is still high on the all-time list.

Why am I telling you of this long-ago hooligan?

Because your current New York Yankees are seriously threatening an all-time low that occurred when The Tabasco Kid was still hauling his whalebone shinguards around the Junior Circuit.

Despite last night's dazzling offensive display, the Yanks still boast an on-base percentage of .298. This is the worst such OBP the club has compiled since it finished at .292 in 1968, "The Year of the Pitcher," when hurlers tossed aspirin tablets down from mountaintops, and hitters were forced to stand at the plate with mere toothpicks in their paws.

But wait! I hear you protest. During the Year of the Pitcher, didn't pitchers still bat? 

Yes, indeed, my knowledgeable friends—a practice that was soon ended, in the American League at least, by the SPCA. Take away the pitchers' curious at-bats, and the 1968 Yankees—who that year set the post-1900 record for lowest MLB team batting average, at .214—actually had a lofty OBP of .303 on the season.

Taking that into account, for the lowest-ever, franchise OBP, we have to journey all the way back to...1908, when the Tabasco Kid still roamed the shortstop's ranges, performing herculean feats with his cyclonic arm. 

The Yanks started off well enough that year, then dropped 12 of 13 games in June, after being beset by injuries. Clark "The Old Fox" Griffith—the Highlanders' only manager to that date—resigned, saying the team was laboring under a "hoodoo," and that the bad luck sign was he himself. They didn't call him Old Foxy for nothing.

The pair of professional goniffs who ran the Yanks at the time, Frank Farrell and Big Bill Devery, gave in and made Elberfeld, who had been agitating for years to manage the team, their new skipper. This was a mistake.

"We are...playing under the direction of a crazy man," one of his players told the press. "It won't take Elberfeld more than two weeks to make us the most demoralized team that the American League has ever known. He thinks he is a manager, but he can't convince anyone but himself that he has the first qualifications for the job. It's a joke."


Among other things, apparently the Kid wouldn't choose his starting pitcher for the day without consulting his wife—a habit guaranteed to win you respect amongst professional baseballers. 

Whatever the reason, the Yanks went 27-71 under the Tabasco Kid, finishing the season at 53-101—only a hairsbreadth better than the very worst mark compiled by the Yankees, 52-100, in 1912. And among other depressing statistics, the 1908 Yankees/Highlanders had an OBP of only .283—and still just .292, not counting the hurlers that Mrs. Elberfeld selected.

CAN the 2023 Yanks be even worse??? I wouldn't bet against it.