Monday, July 31, 2023

Protecting Mediocrity

 Last night we saw how the Orioles went from a regular cellar dweller to a championship contender.  The broadcasters even showed us charts. 

They suffered the consequences of poor talent ( came in last )  and earned top picks in the draft.  They made no idiotic trades which caused MLB to penalize them, by moving them ( say ) 10  spots down in the draft ( see Yankees ).

And when they drafted, they drafted well. Young Baltimore players  come up and perform like major leaguers.  Not guys  ( see Yankees ) who struggle to hit .200, don't field well, and have not been taught how to run the bases, bunt or work a pitcher. 

Baltimore dealt the one or two decent veterans they had ( eg Trey Mancini ) well before their expiration. dates. and secured young, highly rated prospects.

On the other side of this coin sits Brian Cashman. Whose trade gaffes are legendary.  But whose major crime is not drafting well and failing miserably at developing talent. Our farm system has been  ( except for Judge ) awful for decades,  and Cashman is not held responsible.  But he is responsible. He is the General Manager, in charge of everything. 

Look at the yankee line-up.  In ten years ( more, actually );

1.  The Yankees have not developed a quality catcher.

2.  We have not developed a first baseman or a third baseman.

3.  Did I forget second base?  Nope.  No one there either.

4.  If you are happy with a .200 hitting, average fielding SS, Brian drafted and developed that position.

5.  We have failed to develop a left fielder, and had to trade one of our best young ( lefty ) pitchers for a .250 hitting centerfielder. 

6.  As to pitching;  We traded for our Ace; we traded for our closer  ( Holmes, Kanele, Wandy ? ).  Cashman's big move was to sign and develop Luis Severino. Need I say more?

We are drowning with multi million dollar contracts, paying for players who can't help. Cashman has used a failed strategy for years ( trade for burned out guys with huge contracts), and all it does is assure continuing mediocrity.

The Yankees make the "play-in " game and win sometimes.  Maybe they even get to the next level. But not close to the World Series. And, because we got as far as we did, our draft position is low to horrible. So we acquire no obvious talent, and have to take high risks on our picks, trying to compensate for the low drafting slot.  Those risks always seem to go up in flames. 

We are about to ring the bell again.  Another round of the same old crap.

We all know;  the Yankees will never win another World Series with Cashman and Boone running things. 

Not with a bang.


Some wag posted this tasteless taunt on the internet a couple summers ago. It's wrong, of course. The Yankees will win another World Series...

...just not this decade. And maybe not next decade, either, when the team will be officially known as the Starr Insurance-Wendy's Bacon Cheeseburger-Barbie 8 The Rise of Midge Yankees, and, under the latest Manfred rules, every inning starts with a man on third, and another runner in a rundown between first and second.

What we are witnessing is decades of inexplicable, unaccountable incompetence, finally coming home to roost. The wonder is that it took this long—yet another tribute, perhaps, to the durability of the Stick/Buck/Bob team and system built before Brian Cashman took over.

El Duque, our Peerless Leader, thankfully back from being runked, writes that Cashman has painted himself into a corner. More like he has painted himself into a corner, and scattered the floor with broken glass, barbed wire, and anti-personnel mines. 

It's astonishing to look at how many positions on this Yankees team are being played right now by guys who were never anything more than back-ups, starting with catcher, and moving on to left field, third base, etc.. And as my SoCal Yankee fan friend, James, points out, this is hardly the first time. In Brian Cashman, we're talking a GM who thought it was all right to play a whole season with Chris Stewart as our starting catcher.

It's even more astonishing to think that serious people once considered this team a contender. No doubt, it was the pitching. The Estimable Keefetothecity—whose blog you should really check out today—noted this weekend that, when scoring 4 or more runs, the Yankees are 45-12. 

But no could do again last night, and now the pitching is—quite predictably—starting to come apart.

What is to be done?

Well, obviously, sell at the trading deadline. Sell and sell down to the wall studs. Harrison Bader and Sevvy have to go, or the Yanks will get absolutely nothing for them when their contracts expire with the season. Rizzo, DJ, Higgy, and Torres should all go, too. 

So should every single player on the Yankees' 40-man roster who any other team has any interest at all in, if they can get any sort of useful return at all.

This won't happen, of course. 

While I have my doubts about the Mets' big trades, I at least credit Steve Cohen with being willing to cough up $35.5 mill to get rid of Max Scherzer for a major prospect. 

HAL Steinbrenner is never going to do anything like that. He's not going to give another club any part of the $45 mill still due on DJ's contract, much less the $98 mill still owed to Giancarlo after this season. As we have witnessed, he and Cashman will give up players to other teams to get rid of our dead wood, before they give up a single, U.S. dollar (waving sadly to you, Gio Urshela).

So will the Yankees be buyers at the trade deadline this year? Will they continue in the delusion that they actually have a contender on their hands?

Don't count on it.

The defining characteristic of Brian Cashman's tenure as GM is that he is usually paralyzed by fear. This is why all the dumpster-diving around the margins, constantly signing guys that he will only be praised for if they do well. It's the classic sign of a boy who grew up with an overbearing father—or George Steinbrenner. 

Whenever he tries something bigger—such as last year at the deadline, or with Giancarlo—it tends to blow up in his face. He prefers, always, to go after some carefully targeted role player...who usually proves to be not carefully targeted at all. Hence the Randal Grichuk interest.

But now that Grichuk is off the market—now that the only possible additions that would make any difference would entail going big for a Bellinger or a Soto—he's not going to do anything.

I once saw some nature film about lionesses hunting in the veldt. They waited, concealed in the tall grass, while a herd of wildebeests went thundering past. In that usual cat way, their heads flicked back and forth, watching one wildebeest after another. Is that the one? No, maybe that one! Oh, they're all going so fast!

In the end, of course, being lions, they pulled down one of the sickest, most crippled wildebeests hobbling along at the end, and culled it from the herd.

Be prepared to welcome our latest, sickly wildebeest.



For the Yankees, "The Estevan Florial Story" is about to conclude, and it's a bomb worthy of Oppenheimer

Dear Mr. Cashman,

How is the summer going? Fun in the sun? Hope you didn't vaycay in Phoenix (ha ha!) From what I hear, it's been rainy in Scranton. Good for the crops, am I right? 

Speaking of Scranton, how 'bout that Estevan Florial! 

Guy's hitting .297 with 23 HRs - 3rd in the International League - and 18 stolen bases. Not too shabby, right? He's only 25.

What's that? Oh, dear. Your stomach is upset? Lie down. Breathe. It's probably the clams. After all, it's Florial Day in the Yankiverse, and I thought it deserves mention. 

Yes, I understand your concerns: That today, ignorant Yank fans will look at Florial's performance in Scranton and wonder why he's not in the Bronx? These dolts are idiots. They don't understand that super scouts in the Yank front office recognized last winter that Florial will never hit MLB pitching, so promoting him would be a waste of everybody's time. 

Me, on the other hand, I accept the super wisdom of super scouts, who know far more about hitting that I shall ever learn. Take Dillon Lawson, for example. 

That said, there seems to be a glitch in the Matrix here. 

That's because the same super scouts who nixed Florial last spring apparently thought that Oswaldo Cabrera would hit, and that he or Jake Bauers or Willie Calhoun or Franchy Cordero would solve the Yankee LF problem, which emerged for everyone to see - even ignorant Yank fans. In fact, everybody saw it except the super scouts, who told the Yankees to stand pat, because Jackie Donaldson would have a bounce-back year.   

I don't want to make this all about Florial - the Yankees' problems run much deeper- but today, July 31, is FLORIAL DAY, his final hours as a contractually certified Yankee farmhand. Tonight, when the clock strikes twelve, he should be on his way to some team that actually values him, and the Yankees will have - well, next to nothing to show for the great Latino 16-year-old Signing Class of 2014 - which you commandeered, along with the super scouts. Remember the excitement of landing Dermis Garcia? Nelson Gomez? All the others? 

Oh, dear. You look rather green. Take deep breaths. Must be those clams.

Clearly, the Yankees won't get much in exchange for a player in whom they have no respect. So, have at it! Trade Florial for whatever you can get, right? And good luck! 

I mention Florial not to criticize. In the name of Frankie Montas, no front office is perfect, am I right? Still, I've been wondering if you'll ever question the super scouts  unfathomable wisdom, when their LF track record includes Oswaldo, Miggy Andujar and now Greg Allen.  

Like most ignorant fans, I see little hope in 2023. Could it be time to ponder 2024? Of course, you're in a straight-jacket of sorts - you cannot trade Giancarlo Stanton (who is too expensive), Jackie Donaldson (who is out), or Luis Severino (who is, frankly, terrible.) 

Actually, I have no clue what to do. Everywhere, the Yankees seem to have painted themselves into a corner. Your only way out is to trade prospects for some new geezer with a pulse - which is how we got to this awful place - last in the AL East. 

But Estevan Florial needs to go somewhere where the front office won't have reason to root against him, because he could make a super scout look bad.

Today, The Estevan Florial Story must end. Damn, it's gone on longer than Oppenheimer. 

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Jordan Montgomery to the Rangers


Wish we could trade for a pitcher like that....

Oh.  Wait.

Game Thread: This Game Will Determine The Fate Of The Franchise...

It's a coin flip. 

We win we buy. We lose we sell. 
Because that's how well run franchises make decisions. 

Dead Line

We are getting closer and closer to that annual colon cleanse known as the trade deadline where World Series are won, seasons are lost, and the Yankees try to empty their Rule Five Shed, because they fear that they will lose a single prospect and get nothing for him, as opposed to trading all their MLB ready prospects for injured players who have already peaked.

I’ve recently come into possession of some audio of Brian Cashman’s trade conversations with other GMs and have transcribed them. For the record, The Boss, if he were still alive, would have wanted them deleted.  



Brian: Giancarlo Stanton…

Other GM:  No.


Brian: Giancarlo Stanton and…

Other GM: New phone. Who dis?


Brian: We need a LFer, a Starter, two bullpen pieces, and a third baseman. What do you have?

Other Team: A better GM than you.


Brian: Sevi and Aaron Hicks for…

Other Team:  Aaron Hicks is no longer on your team.

Brian:  I know. I just love to hear you say it.


Cardinals:  Nolan Arenado for Jasson Dominquez

Brian:  But Arenado is on the wrong side of thirty, trending downward, is owed a fortune, and you’re asking for one of our top prospects.

Cardinals:  Did we mention that he’s been hurt?

Brian:  Damn. That’s a good offer. What’s his barrel rate?

Cardinals:  He doesn’t have one. He’s down to a six pack a day.

Brian: Let me check with analytics. What about for Giancarl…

Cardinals: No.


Other team:  We want Luis Severino.

Brian: Go on.

Other team: But given that he’s only a rental, our offer is going to be a little low.

Brian: What if we signed him to a 5-year extension?

Other team: Well then, our offer would go up.

Brian:  OK I’ll do it! Let me get back to you.  

Other team: OK.  (Faint to other guy in the room) What a maroon.


Other GM:  Brian, who is that guy, plays second base, hit’s well but always get thrown out on the base paths?

Brian: You mean Gleyber Torres?

Other GM: Yeah yeah, that’s the guy… we don’t want him.


Brian:  Gerrit Cole and one other piece for two of your top ten farm guys.

Other GM:  Wow! Sure. Wait… What’s the other piece? It’s not Giancarlo, is it?

Brian:  No. No. It’s uh… me. Things are getting a little hot here and I need a place to land. I could help with trades or building your minor league system, working with your analytics department. Stuff like that.  What do you think? Hello?  Hello? (Tap tap) Hellllooooo. Damn it, not again.

Runk blog ends

 With a victory over Baltimore that leads into the scariest day of the year.

Trade Deadline Day. 

The Mets are selling. The Redsocks are soaring. 

Will Cashman kill another season?

I need a drink.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Is Aaron Judge the Patrick Ewing of baseball?


My friend James, the Yankees superfan from SoCal, tells me that of all 50 guys named to the NBA's 50 best players on the league's 50th anniversary, Patrick Ewing is the only one who never played with another Hall of Famer.

I don't know if this is true, but James is very adamant in his opinions, and he knows people in his business who would be happy to kneecap me if I disagree, so I am willing to accept it. I was also a Patrick fan, and it did seem to me that Mr. Ewing got all sorts of unfair grief over the Knicks' failure to go all the way, even to the point of being blamed for John Starks' infamous Game 7, as if Pat Riley had somehow dematerialized from the Knicks' bench.

But I digress.

The point is that I fear a sad, similar fate for our own big man, Aaron Judge. Frankly, I am very glad he signed again with the Bronx team, for if he had not there would be virtually no one to watch on this sad collection of stumblebums. 

But if Judge did so with any hope of ever winning a World Series...he was nuts. 

Had he signed with the revivified Giants—now three games out of first place—he might have had a better chance. He might even have had someone to knock him in—someone such as Thairo Estrada, the doughty little Yankee who Cashman traded for a bag of cash because, after all, the Steinbrenners so desperately need more money that they are willing to put up "This space for rent" signs on the sacred pinstripes.

As previously noted, in the almost eerie coincidence of their careers, nearly 60 years ago to the day, 31-year-old Mickey Mantle returned from missing 61 games after taking on a cantankerous fence and breaking his foot, and pinch-hit a three-run homer to help the Yanks pull out a win over the Orioles.

Judge, also 31, returning from 42 games out after contesting ground with another fence, returned against the walk three times, and there remain, stranded on first.

I should have mentioned that the Yankees won Mantle's return game by 11-10, implying that there were a few other people on the team displaying basic competence with a bat. 

There were. Namely, the MVP at catcher, the all-time greatest catcher who was his back-up, two-time MVP Roger Maris in the outfield, Tommy Tresh, Johnny Blanchard, etc., etc. That 1963 Yankees team could do many things well, boasting three Gold Gloves in the infield and a pitching staff that went rucketing through the AL, with Whitey Ford (24-7, 2.74), Jim Bouton (21-7, 2.53), Al Downing (13-5, 2.56), Bill Terry (17-15, 3.22), and Stan Williams (9-8, 3.21).

In the end, they finished with 104 wins, 10 1/2 games ahead of the competition.

Brian Cashman is never going to put together such a team. Or anything vaguely resembling it.

That win over the Orioles in 1963 put the Yanks 9 games ahead of the third-place Birds. The loss last night puts our fifth-and-last-place boys 9 games behind them.  

More than coincidence?

The world has turned on its axis, and now we're down where we once were up, and figure to be there for a long time. Eventually, this will be blamed on Judge himself, as it was on Ewing, which is a shame, but at least the big man will be well-compensated.


Runk blog continues... Baltimore owns us

Big thought: When a six-pack of decent beer costs  more than the minimum wage, this country is courting violent revolution.

And we just saw how teams will deal with Aaron Judge, if walking him poses no consequences. Put him on and go for a DP grounder.

Four games behind in the wild card, and the Weekend of Hysteria is here.

The Mets have moved on to winning next year. Will Cooperstown Cashman attempt to save this season - and destroy future ones?  How much worse can this get?

Friday, July 28, 2023

Yes, it can get worse.


Reportedly, Brian Cashman is looking to acquire this man: Randal Grichuk.

No, it's not a joke. 

Grichuk is a 31-year-old, right-handed hitter, whom you may remember from his four years with the Blue Jays, when he hit all of .243. Moving to the hitter-friendly confines of the Rocky Mountains, Grichuk—in part-time duty—is a .337 hitter at home...and a .282 hitter on the road.

The big plan of The Brain? Have Grichuk—a mediocre outfielder—platoon in left field with Jake Bauers, the bumbling, converted first baseman and .218 hitter (.222 versus righties!) we currently have out there much of the time.

It's hard to know what to say about this—though "a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing" does come to mind.

The last thing the nearly all-right-handed Yankees lineup needs—in a ballpark specifically built, just 14 years ago, for lefties—is another righty bat. Particularly another mediocre one.

The only player on the market the Yankees should be interested in is Cody Bellinger—who Cashman could have signed for a mere $25 mill over two years, in the off-season. 

Had he scooped up him, and/or Masataka Yoshida, the Yankees, even with all their toe-jammed miseries, would probably be fighting for the division title just now, instead of watching the wild card slip out of their grasp like Norman Lloyd trying to hang onto the Statue of Liberty in Saboteur.

Yes, it can always get worse.

Runk blog continues

Think this: 

Edible 3D scans of deviled eggs.

I gotta go. Yanks v O's tonite. Do we have a chance?

Yes. We'll have Judge, plus Rizzo and Stanton are out of their slumps. They're still entering their first pennant race. They'll crack.

No. This is the beginning of a long, gruesome period in Yankee/Baltimore history. We can't measure up against these guys. We're dead.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Runk blog continues...

 Somewhere along the line, gerbils got a bum rap. There’s nothing wrong with gerbils. I’d get one, but what’s the point?

Let the great work begin!


Comrades! Citizens! Dingbats!

Gone are the summer Metsies and the sunshine Coast trips. Now comes the real quest, the fight to achieve the only significant goal your New York Yankees really had a shot at from the start of this whole long, loathsome campaign:

A 31st straight winning season.

Can it be done? On the surface it seems easy-peasy lemon squeezy, as the people who sired Shakespeare like to say. 

Right now, the Yanks are 54-48. With 60 games to play, that means they need only go 28-32 the rest of the way to keep alive the main excuse for Brian Cashman keeping his head. How hard can that be, considering that Toe Jam Judge is soon to return, the veterans are finally starting to hit again, Carlos Rodon is dominating Pete Alonso, German just had an off-night, Cortes will be back soon, Sevvy is finally ready and surely goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives?

Not so fast, Tondelaya.

First, the Yankees have only 26 games remaining at home, where they occasionally manage to play some semblance of baseball. The other 34 games are on the road, where they are 22-24 this year.

Worse yet, 41 of those remaining 60 games are against teams with winning records. Starting with 10 straight against Baltimore, Tampa Bay, and Houston, three teams that have taken to treating our boys like a trio of schoolyard toughs confronting Little Lord Fauntleroy. 

After a brief rest stop in Chicago, the Yanks play six in Miami and Atlanta, then return for three more against Boston. I think they'll be lucky if they still have a winning record after that stretch, which ends August 20th, never mind the end of the year.

This season should have been nicely set up for our gang. Houston has stumbled, TB got out fast then fell back to the pack, Toronto spit the bit again and save for the Braves, everyone else looks extremely vulnerable. 

Had a certain someone just gone out and signed Yoshida, dumped Jackie and Hicks earlier, and not traded a serviceable pitcher for a centerfielder who plays on matinee days only, the Yanks could have been sitting pretty, Toe or no Toe.

Instead, baseball reference lists them as having a 20.3-percent chance of making the playoffs, and only a 0.4-percent chance of grabbing the whole enchilada. Hey, could be worse: after last night's game, the Mets' odds for same are only 3.1-percent and 0.1-percent, respectively.

And what makes me think we will soon be looking back nostalgically on these days when we had a 1-in-5 shot to make the wild card play-in?

Runk blog continues...

Big thought: 

If New York City wants people to visit, they have sidewalk peddlers sell real Rolex watches for ten dollars. I’d go.

Bader with a big night. Judge coming soon? 

We can beat the Mets!

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Runk blog continues...

If humanity has learned how to put peanut butter into pretzels, it should be able to end war.

Take THAT, Showalter.

Runk blog continued...

Ooh, ooh... think this:

If somebody ever tells you, "That's Chinatown, Jake," your snappy reply should be, "That's baseball, Suzyn."

In fact, whenever somebody says anything to you, your snappy reply should be, "That's baseball, Suzyn." 

STRANGER: "Man, that Kim Kardashian, she's a go-getter
. Whaddaya think?"

YOU: "That's baseball, Suzyn."

STRANGER: "Yeahp, I guesso. You mean, like, in life, right?"

YOU: "That's baseball, Suzyn."

STRANGER: "Absolutely."

BTW, you know what's going to happen? The Yankees are going to lose tonight, then lose to Baltimore this weekend, and Cashman is STILL going to trade prospects for over-the-hill farts. You know why? Because that's baseball, Suzyn.

Time to Resolve the Toe.


Readers of a certain age will recognize the kicker to the left as Lou "The Toe" Groza, the last original Cleveland Brown.

A left tackle, at 6-3, 240 pounds, Groza was only a little smaller than Aaron Judge's troublesome digit. But he was most famous for being the team's placekicker until he was 44 years old, setting league records for most points scored, and longest field goals.

Which brings us to our own Toe.

Last night's loss to a floundering Mets team (Is there any other kind?) can hardly be attributed to the lack of a toe alone. 

All the usual devils were there: a down night for another woefully inconsistent starter, appalling play in the field, and—most disturbing of all—a strange flatness and lack of urgency in such a big game. Truly, this is not only one of the most disappointing Yankees teams of the past 60 years, but also one of the most unlikable.

Worst of all was the hitting—perhaps understandable against a veteran great like Justin Verlander; inexplicable against the Mets' ragged bullpen corps, right down to old friend Adam "They don't call him zero for nothing" Ottavino.  

Your New York Yankees are now batting .230, sinking slowly toward the 1968 Yanks' (non-pitcher) mark of .224. Incredibly, this Yankees team is now below that of the 1968 team in (non-pitcher) on-base percentage, .302 to .303.

There are many reasons for this, of course, all of which start with "Brian Cashman." But one thing it's far past time for the Yankees to resolve is the Case of the Missing Toe. 

This is, again, not to cast any aspersions on Aaron Judge's gameness. I am sure he is dutifully following every recommendation by the Yankees' crack(ed) medical staff. 

To which I have to say...C'mon!

I will not bore you with more stories about how The Mick, or The Great DiMaggio limped back on the field with suppurating wounds and hit game-winning home runs...although they kinda sorta did.

In 1963, a year when he was Judge's age of 31, Mantle was off to a great start when he broke his left foot trying to climb a seven-foot-high, wire fence in Baltimore's dreary old Memorial Stadium, on June 5th. (Idiotic fences are a long MLB tradition.) 

He reportedly cried with frustration, knowing that it would ruin his season. And sure enough, The Mick did not get back into it until 61 games later, on August 4th...when he literally hobbled to the plate, and pinch-hit a three-run, line-drive, game-tying home run against the Orioles in the Bronx, a blow that also left him in tears.

Reportedly, Mantle "wasn't sure how he made it around the bases." The game was later won in the 12th by Yogi, part of the Yankees' catching tandem that year with MVP Elston Howard. (Not quite Higgy and Trevino.)

But I digress.

What do I know from toes? I will leave such medical expertise to The Warbler (sadly un-heard-from of late).  For all I know, the toe is a mangled mess, gangrenous and painful just to gaze upon.  

Sure, I have the sneaking feeling that everyone of those linemen trying to block or protect Groza's kick, above—and probably The Toe himself—had two or three such toes simply taped together. But that's not the point.

It's time to resolve this, so that this Yankees team is no longer caught in a toe jam (sorry). Tape it, cushion it, and get Judge back out there, at least as a DH—or cut call the whole thing off. Really. 

If he's not going to play, end the suspense. Send him in, now, for whatever dire surgery he needs and let him start resting up for 2024. Finally call up the long-suffering Florial.  

But of course, this won't get done. Like the subjects of some magical realist writer from South America, the main purpose of Brian Cashman is never TO get things done. In that sense, Aaron Judge must be his favorite player:  always providing him with a ready-made excuse, always on "a timeline to return."


Annual Runk Blog continued:

 Screw the Mets. I just had a thought, and it's a biggie.

It’s a good thing they print your credit card number on your credit card, because you’d never be able to remember it, otherwise.

WTF about German? If they didn't print the zero on his back, we wouldn't remember his number. All these guys, they're wearing 60s and 70s on their backs, it's ridiculous. The Yankees are as dead in the laundry as they are in the field. The best number they could give Volpe was 11. That's horrible. Someday, they're going to actually have an up-and-coming star - we'll all be dead, so don't worry - and they won't have a number for him under 65. 

From now on, if a star emerges, they should retire his name. That's all. So, for example, we will never be allowed to have another player named Judge. Or Cole. Hold a big ceremony, dignitaries, everything, and retire the names. and screw the Mets.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

A game thread for if there is a game and it doesn't rain like it has been doing this afternoon

And I got this in an email today. Think they're thinking ahead a little?


Meet the Mets: The Rodney Dangerfield of Baseball


This is the New York Mets' 62nd season of baseball (so to speak). Do you know what the Yankees' 62nd season of baseball was? 1964.

That's right. That was the year the Yanks were wrapping up The Big Dynasty, 29 pennants and 20 World Series wins in the space of 44 seasons.

The Mets? Try 5 pennants and 2 World Series. Total.

The Yankees have finished first 49 times, and last, 4 times. The Mets? First 6 times. Last...13.

The amazin' part is that the Mets actually started faster, at least when it came to rings. The Flushing team took their first title in 1969, just 8 years into their existence; the Yanks, not until Season 21. 

After winning it all in 1986, the Metsies were still "tied" with the Yankees: 2 World Series wins in their first 25 seasons.

Since then? NYM has played in exactly two Fall Classics—and won exactly two World Series games. That's right: just two wins since Jesse Orosco hurled his glove in the air and the fans hurled flares onto the field.

Meet the Mets/ Cleat the Mets/ Come right down and beat the Mets...

Think that's bad? Try this on for size: the Mets, all-time, are 4,698-5,041, .482. 

Every other major-league team that's played as many as 15 years in New York has a winning record. The Giants. The Dodgers, by any other name (Trolley Dodgers, Grooms, Bridegrooms, Superbas, Robins, Flock, Bums). Even Boss Tweed's old New York Mutuals, tossed out of the National League for "hydroplaning" (throwing games), had a winning record.

This leaves the Mets in the company of the obscure and the abandoned, the losers in old Negro Leagues and forgotten circuits and outlaw leagues: the Brooklyn Gladiators and the Tip-Tops, the New York Black Yankees and the Brooklyn Royal Giants. And, oh yes, the New York Metropolitan, of the original American Association.  

Even in the 19th century, the "Mets" were losers.

Cheat the Mets!/ Delete the Mets!/ Come on out and bleat like Mets!

How did this happen? 

Well, mostly thanks to the same things we complain about every day in this space. In Metsland, it's all gone on for generations.

You shiver in fear of whatever terrible trade Brian Cashman will make next week?

Try Amos Otis for Joe Foy, Nolan Ryan for Jim Fregosi, Rusty Staub for Mickey Lolich, Jeff Reardon for Ellis Valentine, Melvin Mora for Mike Bordick. 

After 1986, the Mets decided that Kevin Mitchell was a corrupting influence on Doc Gooden and Daryl Strawberry (hahahahahahahaha), so they traded him for Kevin McReynolds. A couple years later, Mitchell won the MVP—something no Met has done yet.

In 1992, they traded David Cone to the Blue Jays for Ryan Thompson and Jeff Kent. Then, in 1996, they turned around and traded Kent and Jose Vizcaino to the Indians for Carlos Baerga and Alvaro Espinoza. Kent won the MVP for the Giants in 2000. Vizcaino ended up driving in the winning run in the first ever, Mets-Yankees World Series game.  For the Yankees.

Tired of Cashman signing guys who are over the hill and making believe they will perform like they did at their peak?

How about George Foster, Vince Coleman, Bret Saberhagen, Bobby Bonilla (twice!), Mo Vaughn, Mike Hampton, Baerga and Roberto Alomar (Yes, two second basemen from Cleveland! What are the odds??), Kaz Matsui, Jeromy Burnitz, Mike Stanton, Graeme Lloyd, Pedro Martinez, Mike Cameron, Shane Spencer, Tom Glavine, Cliff Floyd, Moises Alou, Shawn Green, Johan Santana, Francisco Rodriguez, Jason Bay, Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, and Robinson Cano, don'tcha know.

Even one of the Mets' best free-agent acquisitions, Carlos Beltran—an outstanding postseason hitter—is best remembered for standing at the plate with his bat in his hand, while Cardinals reliever Adam Wainwright pumped strike three down the middle of the plate to end the 2006 NLCS.

Then there were the guys they gave up on too early and let walk, people like Jim Hickman, Ron Hunt, Daniel Murphy, Justin Turner, Zack Wheeler.

Think Brian Cashman embarrassed himself in that tawdry sex scandal ("The Yankees run the world—and I run the Yankees.")? Come on down, Steve Phillips! With extra, heaping doses of hypocrisy.

Think the Yanks' front office of HAL, Lonn Trost, and Randy Levine is a a bunch of uncaring, arrogant jerks? 

Hey, the Mets fired Yogi AND Willie.  

Mets general manager M. Donald Grant shipped out the heart of the club's miracle teams, Jon Matlack, Tug McGraw, Jerry Koosman, and Tom Seaver, mostly for back-sassin'. He publicly humiliated Cleon Jones for the unprecedented baseball sin of sleeping with a woman not his wife.

Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz? They spent over a decade running the team on the cheap because they claimed to have lost all their money to their pal Bernie Madoff, which was a lie. 

Think Aaron Boone is a boob? Mets manager Bobby Valentine was once thrown out of a game and tried to return to the dugout wearing a fake moustache and glasses. 

Weird, disturbing things happen to the Mets, like Edwin Diaz injuring himself by celebrating in the World Baseball Classic, or Yoenis Cespedes.

The Mets' best hitter ever, Mike Piazza, was a known juicer. But hey, they made him wait four times before putting him in the Hall.

The only Met ever to pitch a no-hitter was Johan Santana, while making his comeback from serious arm surgery in 2012. Carlos Beltran—now a former Met—hit a ball that clearly landed on the line in left field. The umps somehow ruled it was foul. Santana was left in to complete the no-hitter, threw 134 pitches, and ruined his arm all over. He never pitched again, once the season was over.

The first Met ever to win a batting title was Jose Reyes, in 2011. It came down to the last day, and almost 29,000 Mets fans turned out to watch an otherwise meaningless contest. In the first, Reyes laid a bunt down the third base line against a disinterested Reds team, decided that was good enough, and took himself out of the game. He never played for the Mets again, signing with Miami in the off-season.

Last year, Jeff McNeil won a second batting title for the team. He's now batting .248.

Who can forget the Mets losing back-to-back playoff spots in the last games of the season, at home, in 2007 and 2008? The second year, the fans were treated after the game to a "celebration" of Shea Stadium, about to be demolished for a new park named for an odious bank.

Meat, the Mets...

The Mets never seem to quite get it. 

Last night, with the off-day, YES broadcast, back-to-back, Games One and Five of the 2000 World Series. Wild, pulsing, scintillating contests, playing in a cacophony of sound, with the Yanks' Old Guard pulling out the wins.


They showed a replay of the Mets coming back from four runs down to J.A. Happ, and winning on a tenth-inning, walk-off homer by Pete Alonso off Albert 2020, the Covid year. It was a make-up game, played on an overcast September afternoon, with all those eerie cardboard faces they put in the seats in Flushing, and fake crowd noise pumped in. The win put the Mets at 17-21 on the year, inspiring them to a 26-34 finish, good for fourth place in the NL East.

Is this the future? Have we met the Mets, and they is us? Let us hope not.


Annual Runk blog underway


ALL the Yankees should adopt Taylor Swift walk-up music for their at-bats. Everyone will get hot, we'll win the Wild Card, blow through the ALCS and then, in the world series, with the entire world watching, Taylor and her band will preform each walk-up ditty LIVE from the top of the Yankee dugout, with a rotating band of supermodels and celebrities, which include Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and whatever fellow divas are currently on Taylor's shitlist, because the glory of the Yankees will have cause all the animus to dissipate. Am I the only person thinking of this? GODDAMN, GET ON THIS. WE CAN SAVE THE YANKEES. WE CAN SAVE THE WORLD. 

Oops, a Redsock fan just arrived. I gotta go ask him about Bobby Dalbec.

Runk blog continues

 Idea: Whatever Boston does at the deadline - selling off players or buying new ones - we should do the opposite. 

And if we lose to the Mets, then screw it, we should try to out-collapse Boston - trade everything but the interlocking NY logo. 

I mean it: Trade everything. Duct tape Giancarlo Stanton to Aaron Judge and deal them to the Dodgers for their entire farm system, plus their entire library of Tommy Lasorda publicity glossies with movie stars, plus the Hollywood sign, the Hollywood Bowl, the UCLA cheerleaders, Nicholas Cage, and that Chinese restaurant where people get discovered. Not only that, but if we lose to the Mets, we should form anti-everything bands called the "Oafkeepers" and the "Loud Boys," and storm Yankee Stadium, overturn the administration and launch a civil war. And wear sandwich boards. Let's bring back sandwich boards. Those people who wave signs at intersections, they should wear sandwich boards. 

Abandon Ship!!!

As El Duque is off to a secret location somewhere near Canandaigua to take part in his annual Drunk Week (Sort of like Shark Week and probably just as bloody, or as the old joke goes… “I went to the doctor. He asked me for a blood sample a urine sample and a stool sample and I said, “Take my underwear.” )

Where was I? Ah, yes… El Duque is off enjoying has annual bacchanal and has left the rest of us to mind the store. So… 75% off all Luis Severino merch and we’re going to do a BOGO with the bullpen.

Why? Because we are one week away from the trade deadline. It’s Let’s Make a Deal time hosted by our own personal Monty Hell. Our annual Mistake Con. Where the con comes from anyone dealing with Brian Cashman.

“Sure, he’s batting .056 and only has one leg, but his hard-hit rate is in the top 5% of players batting under .100 plus he was an All-Star only three years ago before the surgery and the leprosy issue. But hey you don’t need your nose to hit home runs, right? He’s due to revert to the back of his baseball card any day now.”

In a small, and I do mean small, way I kind of feel sorry for the Brain. After all this is the only job, he’s known for the past twenty-five years and, even though he is an abysmal failure, perhaps the worst GM in the history of New York sports, a guy who makes Dave Gettleman and Isaiah Thomas look like geniuses... by next year he could easily sitting in his living room wearing an elf suit and rappelling down a bottle of vodka.

Now to the main business before us…

The real question facing this team is BUY or SELL.

This will help. Let’s think of the team as say, the final season of The Love Boat.

Sure Captain Stubing was still there and who doesn’t love Bernie Koppel, but they traded Ted Lange for Ted McGinley, and added,” The Love Boat Mermaids” as if that could make up for it.  Also, for some reason they refused to DFA Fred Grandy and drug issues reduced Lauren Tewes participation to a guest appearance. 

No amount guest shots by Carol Channing, Tom Bosley, and Jo Ann Pflug were going to make this cruise any more enjoyable. The ship be sinkin ‘ and the team be stinkin’.

Conclusion:  SELL!  Sell Sevi. Sell Bader.  Sell Gleyber. Sell them all!  Put Judge and Cole in a lifeboat throw in Volpe and Peraza as cabin boys and start rowing because, I don’t know if I can stick around for The Love Boat: The Next Wave (A real show BTW – you can look it up.)



Annual Runk Blog begins:

Ooh, ooh, jumpin' Jeshosivat! A revelation:

You can't judge a book by its cover, and you can't judge a song by its cover, unless it's Springsteen covering it, because you can judge a song by who is covering it.  

Which reminds me... Gleyber!

The Death Barge claims his hip is fine, just rub some dirt on it and get back out there, only pansies go for tests. If they say so, we believe them, right? They never lie. 

I'm drinking this week, nonstop through Sunday, with occasion breaks for bacon grease and hog gristle. A couple Redsock fans are coming. They never read this blog, so I can tell you straight up that I'll pretend we're still in the pennant race, just to fuck with them. I love when their forehead veins turn purple. Also, I've found that it's great fun to ask them how Bobby Dalbec is doing? Ah, Redsock fans... there's nothing like them, when it comes to mindless torture. The Bobby Dalbec reference always gives them a charge. (Just hope they don't bring up Franchy.) 

Oops, gotta go. Zap you later. By the way, when this is over, I'm changing my image to X and my walk-up music to James Taylor-Swift. 

Monday, July 24, 2023

Harrison Bader Hates Being Home.


When I was first questioning the Yankees' trade of a serviceable pitcher for Harrison Bader last summer, my esteemed friend Lucas, who knows much more about baseball than I did, gently pointed out to me that Mr. Bader was not only a Gold Glove outfielder, but a pretty fair country hitter away from the vast expanses of Busch Stadium.

Who knew? Well, Lucas did. 

It's true: on the road, through the course of his career, Harrison, our Harrison has a split of 39 homers, .275/.334/.465/.799, with an OPS-plus of 121. At home? Not so much: 20 homers, .216/.294/.350/.644, OPS-plus at just 80. Ouch!

Combined with his stellar fielding, Lucas—and maybe Cashman—figured that the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium might be just the thing to make him an all-around ballplayer.

Sadly, it hasn't turned out that way. 

Since coming to the Yankees, Harrison's home-away gap has not been so extreme, but he's still weirdly better on the road:  .240/.280/.420/.700, 87 in the Bronx; .260/.281/.429/.709, 95, everywhere else.

Why this is, I dunno. Maybe he gets too comfortable in whatever apartment he's renting. Maybe he finds travel stimulating. (Houston in the summer? Sweet!) But whatever the case he's a road warrior soldier.

I hate to rank on the guy, as no other Yankee can match his enthusiasm and what they call "General Athleticism." But the obvious conclusion is that Harrison should be a prime trade candidate at the deadline. 

It's not just his inability to hit at home. Other parts of Bader's game have just never developed. Despite his speed, he has all of 66 stolen bases in his seven-year career. 

And like all too many other Yankees, he simply cannot stay on the field. He has played in barely half the club's games this season, and has never played more than 138 games in any season—and that was in 2018. Still just 29 years old, like so many Yanks he seems to be sliding slowly backwards, unable to keep up, injured constantly.

Harrison could make a tempting piece for some real contender. With the Yankees, though, he is clearly not the answer, long-term, to a key position. He's up for free agency after this year, and it would be a huge, Cashman-typical mistake to give him a big contract. 

The only thing that makes sense is to deal him. Which is why we probably won't.



As the trade deadline nears, the Mets and Yankees vie for dominance in a loser sports city

Pop quiz/Parlor Game: Name the most successful NYC men's pro sports team?

Mets? Yanks? Nets? Knicks? Giants? Jets? Devils? Islanders? Rangers? The FC? Red Bulls? The Riptide (Lacrosse?) Rugby NY? Yikes.  

I wanna wake up in the city that never sweeps,
Until I'm stiff on my back, lost in the heap,
Down on my luck, last in the East...

BTW, my answer? Probably it's the NJ Devils, who technically don't even qualify as a NYC franchise. Basically, who cares? NYC sports is a joke - not even a college program worth supporting. The bar is so putrid that Syracuse - rhymes with Sheer Abuse - claims to be NY's sports school. Bah. 

But but BUT... the Yankees can still beat KC! 

Tomorrow, it's the Mets, two games, followed by a trip to Baltimore. The O's are the cream of the AL, and their farm system includes eight of the current top 100 prospects in baseball. It took a quarter century, but they finally rebuilt - a word the Yankees shall never utter. They might be entering a mini-dynasty, while we continue to drift.   


1. Yesterday, our best hitter lately, Gleyber Torres, tweaked his hip. Of course he did. Was there doubt that he would? The Yankees assure us he might not miss any action. Well, well, that's certainly good news. I mean, the Yankees wouldn't say so, if it wasn't true, right? 

I'll say six weeks, mid-September, and we'll be desperate. 

2. Yesterday, Nestor Cortez pitched in Double A, went 2.1 innings, gave up four hits and a run. Good news for a popular Yankee, whose magic, though, had seemed to be waning. If Nestor returns, the rotation would be Cole, Rodon (ouch), Severino (?), Schmidt and Mr. Perfect, Domingo German. That's not mentioning Brito and Vasquez, down at Scranton. Could German be dealt, maybe for a stud prospect?

3. Yesterday, Anthony Rizzo got four hits, prompting the Gammonites to proclaim his two-month slump is history over. The reason: He switched his walk-up music to Taylor Swift. Was this the doing of our new hitting coach? (And I'm  supposed be nuts for talking up juju?)

4. It will be interesting to see what Boston does at the trade deadline. My guess is that they'll read the room and try to jettison older players - aiming for 2024. That strategy has won them four world championships in this millennium, while the Yankees chased instant gratification. 

4. Tomorrow marks the start of my annual Runk Blog. For the next five days and nights, I'll be rinking with a bunch of old - I mean ancient - buddies from my alma mater, Hobart College (aka Camp Ho-Ho.) I will be reduced to scattered ramblings, when I get a crack at the laptop. I hope this blog's mainstays will remainstay, and if the floor caves, if Cashman trades for Jared Kushner, I'll try to report from my runken delirium. But it won't be pretty. 

Sunday, July 23, 2023


In preparation for the teardown, Yanks move into tie with Boston (UPDATE! This is also the game thread. Which saves us on thread.)

Soon, it just won't matter...

Soon, Brian Cashman will push the button on a trade, triggering a second deal and then a third. Instead of Willie & Billy, or Oswald & Oswaldo, or Estevan & Domingo, we'll welcome Cody Bellinger or a reasonable facsimile, for a package of prospects that - we'll be assured - will not matter. 

And they'll be right: Soon, it just won't matter...

Here comes the Yankee August tradition: 

We seek to save this year by trading away next year.

We are trapped in a time loop, eight behind in the AL East, two in the wild card, once again preparing to lard-up on payroll in the hopes of staving off the disaster of ceding October to the Jets and Giants.

Oh, well... KC today, then the Mets, and then July waves goodbye, Cashman drops the bombs, and who knows what we'll look like from then on? Some minor  thoughts...

1. Oswaldo Cabrera has been demoted to Scranton. Long overdue. Love the guy. He has a stage presence, a winning smile, charisma. Just can't hit. He needs an intervention. I wonder if we'll see him in pinstripes again.

2. DJ homered yesterday. He's hitting .317 in his last 11 games. Small sample. (And his on base percentage remains under .300 - terrible.) If he stays hot, well, this might be the last chance the Yankees ever get to deal him. Not saying they should. But they should think about it. 

3. Willie Calhoun and Jake Bauers are in minor league rehabs. One or both will soon join the team, but - somebody tell me - where? Billy McKinney deserves a shot at everyday LF. Franchy and Willie and Jake, O my.   

4. In these two wins over KC, the Yankees have used all their bullpen mainstays rather than visiting the gulch that is Abreu, Marinacio, Hamilton & Ramirez. And even yesterday, with a three-run lead, we watched Clay Holmes nearly revert to Aroldis '22 form, putting the tying runs on base. Johnny Lasagna is going to start rehab soon. We sure could use him. 

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Kansas City can hurt the Yankees for a long, long time. All they have to do is lose

So... at last... victory... um... hip hip... uh huh... hooray... 

Last night, balloons of happiness dropped over the YES Channel, as the Death Barge celebrated a Big Yankee Win ™ over baseball's second worst team, coaxing Kansas City's 71st loss of the season. The Royals are last in the untesticled AL Central and 26.5 games down in the expanded Wild Card, MLB's version of awarding trophies to toddlers. The franchise - known for Brett, Otis and Mayberry  Pratto, Isbell and Waters - appeared on YES as a roving nostalgia show, featuring the fossilized remains of an ancient rivalry. 

I wonder: Do the current residents of KC still loathe us? Do they remember Li'l Freddy Patek bawling in the dugout? Or the Mad Hungarian losing his psycho? Is anything left of that long-ago war of primitives, which is now only recalled by crotchety future coffin-fillers on Prevagen?

Honestly, I dunno. Wait. Who are you? How did I get here? Did you know that stuff comes from jelly fish? Oh well, wait... I DO know this... 

This weekend, KC might just hold our long term fate in its trembling tiny hands. If the Royals get swept - Ryan McBroom! - it could give Brian Cashman the impetus to remake this moribund Yankee team at next week's trade deadline, all so we can chase that final wild card nothing-burger. Three home wins over this rusted tomato can could propel Cashman to claim his failed strategies have worked, and we might end up with another Joey Gallo or Frankie Montas for our August/September run to nowhere. 

Last night, I watched the entire game not even sure of whom to root for. Yes, it was nice to see Franchy Cordero hit a HR, but he'll soon go 0-for-25. Yes, it was fun to watch Billy McKinney star at the bat and in the field, but is he anything more than a stopgap? We used the pillars of our bullpen - King, Peralta, Kahnle and Holmes - to beat a team that has won 28 games this year. Twenty-eight. One more than Oakland, which once stole KC's team, and which will soon know how it feels to lose a franchise. 

I'm sorry, folks, but the 2023 Yankee team has 2013 written all over it. Moving forwards, the biggest question might be whether they will ruin Aaron Judge for 2024, by pressuring him to come back too soon, without foot surgery.  Instead of buying at the deadline, we should be selling. And I think everybody knows it. Cashman and Food Stamps Hal simply cannot deal with this reality, and they will do anything to avoid it coming to a head.

Folks, we are nearing the precipice. Look over it, if you dare. But this is the question: If we sweep KC, will we end up regretting it for the next 10 years? 

Friday, July 21, 2023

Game Thread: When Tomato Cans Collide!


Another Bites the Dust

Our part time, starting catcher has opted for wrist surgery rather than hitting poorly and throwing poorly against the KC Royals. 

Jose Trevino is gone for 2023, but expects to return next spring in time for mimosa's and wind sprints.

Ben Rovtveltd ( no one can spell his name, even his parents in the Netherlands, or Finland...wherever he first picked up a weight and began smashing a ball with it) will return as back-up catcher.

Ben was 2-7 in his first appearance at the major league level. So at least we don't have to bite our knuckles until he gets his first hit.

I think he struck out his last five at bats, so there is that.

Which brings me to Peraza.  Four strikeouts against the Angels puts him on a level with Stanton. 

But much less costly per whiff. 

It's almost time for the annual Yankee Big Lie

To the world, July means Shark Week, heat domes, garage sales and National Lampoon family vacations.

To Yank fans, July means bad trades. 

I mean, really, awful, no-good, terrible trades. 

July is when all the holes left unfilled in March widen, as Brian Cashman seeks to fill them with used parts. He then bundles our top prospects and trades them for Joey Gallo, or Lance Bergman, or J.A. Happ, or Lance Lynn, or Edwin Encarnacion, or  - really, I can do this forever, but why? What would it accomplish? Life is too short. 

Whatever. We trade youth for age.

But then comes the Yankee Big Lie: Through courtier legions of Gammonites, they assure us that none of the traded prospects was going to be protected on the 40 man roster, and - come December - rivals would pillage our system like roving waves of locusts, stealing the harvest from our abundant fields. We had to trade them. We had no choice. Otherwise, the talent would have burst our seams, an exploding stardom bomb, and we would have gotten nothing... NOTHING, DO YOU HEAR ME, NOTHING!

As for those sites that rate the Yankees in the middle tier of farm systems? They are fools. The Yankee system is so clogged with talent that it must continually drain off the excess, or the entire Death Barge will explode. 

Get ready. We're about to hear the Whopper. As always, with cheese.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Of GOATs and men


It now seems likely—especially if the rest of the major leagues keep pitching him as mindlessly as the Yankees did—that Shohei Ohtani will break Aaron Judge's short-lived, Real Original Home Run Record.

This will, of course, trigger all the more, MLB-inspired acclamations that Ohtani is the greatest all-around player what ever lived. 

Hey, what can I say? He certainly is an outstanding ballplayer, hitting, pitching, and rocking a sleeveless sweater vest like nobody's business.

Ohtani should look to his laurels, though. Coming up fast behind him is MLB's newest p.r. project, Ronald Acuna, Jr., who an AP story last weekend was calling maybe the greatest "power-speed player" that ever was.

AP's reasoning? 

Well, currently at 23 home runs and 44 stolen bases, Acuna has a chance to become the fifth ever, 40-40 player—40 dingers, 40 steals. 

What's more, we were told, his future could be almost unlimited. What is to stop him, this year or the next, from going on to 40-plus homers and 60, or 70, or 80 steals for the season, which would indeed make him the greatest power-speed guy ever?

Hey, not to take anything away from either Ohtani or Acuna. Both are extraordinary players who are a joy to watch. But their being hailed as The Greatest of All Time at anything is indicative mostly of how MLB deliberately misuses statistics—and why the game is so bad today.

It used to be that you decided "the greatest ever" after the fact. No more. Now, the selective use of statistics can tell you the future today.

Shohei Ohtani, great as he is, will not come close to Babe Ruth—among others—in any of the lifetime stats, old or new, that matter most: runs, RBI, home runs, batting average, OPS, OPS-plus, wins, complete games, shutouts, relative dominance of the era they're playing in, etc.

MLB's commentators know this—which is why we get bombarded with claims such as, "Ohtani has more strikeouts," or "Ohtani has been a combination pitcher/position player longer than Ruth ever was." 

But of course, Ohtani is not really a pitcher/position player at all. He has never recorded a single chance in the field save on the mound. When he is not pitching, he is a Designated Hitter, a "position" that did not even exist until 1973. 

It's nice that he strikes out a lot of guys—as everyone does, in an era when nearly all batters swing from the heels on every pitch. What he can't do, usually, is pitch into the eighth inning, something he has achieved only 6 times in his 81 lifetime starts. He isn't close to becoming what the Babe was in his time, which was the dominant, left-handed pitcher in the game.

The "power-speed" calculation is even more contrived. 

The four previous, 40-40 guys Aruna is supposedly chasing were Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, old friend Alex Rodriguez, and Alfonso Soriano. Three of them were infamous juicers. (Funny to think that good old Soriano is the only legitimate 40-40 guy.)

But in any case...this is the standard?

Bobby Bonds, sire of Barry, came within a single home run of becoming a 40-40 guy back in 1973. No one much cared. 

Then there's Rickey Henderson, who only hit 297 homers, stole 1,406 bases, and flagged down a mind-boggling, 6,468 outfield putouts, third on the all-time list.

Think Rickey might have stolen even more bases with the special, super-size bags of today, and limits on throw-overs to first?

I think so. In fact, I did the algorithms. According to my calculations, the exact number of bases that Rickey would have stolen under present conditions, + or - 4, is...a bajillion. He would have stolen a bajillion bases.

But forget Rickey. What about Ken Griffey, Jr., who stole as many as 24 bases in a season, and finished 9th on the all-time putout list, before his legs started to go?

What about Mickey Mantle, clocked the fastest man ever to first, as 3.1 seconds, and whose stolen base rate of 80.1 percent is a little ahead of Aruna's 79.5%?

What about Henry Aaron, 9th on the all-time putout list, with a record 755 home runs, and 240 stolen bases? What about...oh, who was that guy...FIRST on the all-time putout list, 660 home runs, 339 stolen bases, despite losing two years to the Army...?

Oh, yeah. Willie Mays. We're ready to say that Ronald Acuna, Jr., is a better "power-speed" guy than Willie Mays?

In a pig's eye.

Supposedly, too, Jolting' Joe DiMaggio was very fast, but they never ran him. Hell, for that matter, even Babe Ruth stole home ten times. 

I could go on. (And do!) But the fact is that all of these ballplayers played a different—usually much smarter—brand of ball in their eras. They ran as much as they thought it was a good idea—and they didn't try to strike everybody out, or swing for the fences on every pitch.

The one argument the presentists might have is that some of these GOATs played before the smashing of the color line in 1947.

Even this is mitigated by the fact that many of the best Black athletes today choose football and basketball over baseball. 

But the hypocrisy of the commentators is revealed by the fact that, somehow, none of the greatest Negro League players ever figure into these conversations.

Martin Dihigo, an incredible player, inducted into the American, Cuban, and Mexican baseball halls of fame, used to be a top-flight pitcher, and played nearly every other position on the field. Ted "Double-Duty" Radcliffe was considered an outstanding pitcher and name just two among many other Negro League stars who pitched and played the field.

To be sure, it is more difficult to measure exactly how good Black players were before 1947, because the statistics are limited or incomplete.

But that's just the point. MLB and the baseball press want to rely only on the stats—and only on the stats they like. 

What you end up with is comparing sprinters to marathoners. The players we generally think of as the true, Greatest of All Time, played at least 15, 20, even 25 years.

MLB's GOATs of today...have trouble just staying on the field. Ohtani has missed an average of 23 games a year so far. Acuna, 32. Aaron Judge, whose record-breaking I thrilled to last year, in what really was one of the greatest seasons of the modern era, averages 33 missed games a year, and counting. And all those numbers would be even worse without the Covid epidemic of 2020.

These incessant injuries to the greatest ever is all too indicative of baseball as it's played today. (Shocking fact I heard yesterday on the Mets' broadcast: 19 of the 30 MLB teams have not yet had a starter pitch into the 8th inning this year.) 

As Kevin pointed out recently, today's trainers somehow think that the regular wear-and-tear of playing the long season is not a workout on its own.  It is.

Today's game is full of shiny, pretty things, that are played full-speed, all the time, until they break. Which they do constantly. Then we're told, never mind, that while they were out there, they were the best there ever was. 

I'm not buying it. Endurance counts, too. Give me 20 years of Ronald Acuna, Jr., and then I'll tell you if he's better than Willie Mays. Say hey.