Thursday, August 31, 2023

Happy to help the hype!

and of course...

Live the hype. (Continued)

 Let's get it all out of the way. 

Let the hype continue! (Continued)

 The Yankees are the greatest hype machine of all time. Lean into it. 

He's a prince.


In case there was any doubt, Brian Cashman proved yesterday that he was, indeed, the Machiavelli of the front office.

Don’t put baby in a corner. Facing what promised to be the most desperate day of his (apparently endless) Yankees career, a 9/9 Old Timers’ Game featuring Derek Jeter and the entire, 1998,Greatest Team That Ever Was, complete with endless choruses of “Fi-re Cash-man” and “Hi-re Jet-er”…The Brain got going.

Cashman’s “solution” was what we have seen this week: throwing the kids into the breech. Up comes Everson Pereira, Austin Wells—and even The Martian. Hell, before it’s all over, we might even see Estevan Florial released from Scranton, like some show-trialed Soviet general brought back from the gulag by Stalin when the Wehrmacht was closing on Moscow.

Should the kids be brought up now? I dunno.

I tend to agree with Doug that it’s better now than later, especially considering how expert Cashie’s little analytic minions are at wrecking young ballplayers. If they’re flash-in-the-pans, better they flash up in the Bronx than in Dunder Mifflin land.

But how can we really know? After all, less than two months ago, The Martian was flailing at Double-A pitching. Is he really ready for the majors? Or will a premature promotion kill his confidence, and permanently hobble him?

We’ll find out. But what we already know is what a cynical, self-centered individual Brian Cashman is. 

I’m not just talking his usual incompetence at baseball. I mean that he stands revealed once again as a bad guy and all-around schmuck.

The promotions of Pereira, Wells, and Marvin Martian have nothing to do with whether they’re ready or not. They have to do with Brian Cashman doing everything he can to ensure that that 9/9 crowd is inclined to be happily cheering the future on—rather than calling for his head.  

Will he get away with it?  Most likely.  If, by chance, any of the rooks hit a home run or even a solid fly ball, the Knights of the Press Box will write about how sunny the future looks, and how Cashman is about to launch a whole new dynasty, just like the one he inheritedmade.  

I’m sure Hal, at least, will believe them.

Let the hype begin!




Bringing up babies. 

Whatever you want to call it... I'm in. 

Yes it's a desperate move. Yes, it designed to give fans like us... baby they should score some runs... (Sorry, not sure how Springsteen got in here) a reason to watch past the second inning.

But, as mentioned in another thread, if Oswald Peraza (23 yrs old), Everson Pereira (22), Anthony Volpe (22) and Jasson Dominguez (20) all start together in a game this weekend, it will be 1st time the Yankees have 4 position players age 23 or younger in same starting lineup since Sept. 18, 1969. Ron Blomberg, Frank Tepedino, John Ellis, and Thurman Munson. 

OK so they didn't win for seven years but Blomberg was a lot of fun and Munson was Munson. As an aside, I took this picture last week in the Yankee Museum. It's supposed to be Thurman's locker. Apparently he played his entire Yankee career without wearing pants. Seriously, could they have gone any cheaper with this? 

But I digress. Let's talk youts. 


Volpe will be just fine. 

The alternatives for this season (because Brian is a terrible GM) were IKF at shortstop (already proven to not be up to the task) or Peraza who probably should have gotten the job but also would have been a rookie. 

So it was Volpe to help sell tickets. 

They were a marginal (at best) team the second half of last year and didn't do anything in the off season but get worse so why not have the kid play. 

He's been pretty good of late and will be a 20-20 guy in his first season. He's also fixed his swing (No thanks to the myriad of Yankee hitting coaches) and is getting into the groove. 

He's a keeper. Ultimately I still think he belongs at second, with Peraza at short, Murakami at third and Gleyber somewhere (anywhere) else. 


As to bringing up Jasson...

Sure. Why not? Granted it is premature but Bader is gone no matter what and Jasson is not going to be any worse at the plate and will certainly be more interesting. 

That said, I will miss that prancing move that Bader does in the outfield. What with that anyway? Was his HS coach Arthur Murray? It's just so weird. Good defender though. 

The thing is, Jasson has not shown himself to be a good defender thus far. He's had trouble with his routes in minor league ballparks. The vast center field in Yankee Stadium is going to be VERY hard for him.

But, at this point it is not like the games matter, so if he's going figure it out or prove himself to be the left fielder that he most likely is... better to do it now.

And he will hit.  


Last - If i were the Yankees I'd give Wells a bunch of starts at DH. If hitting is really his best tool then why not let him use it. Get him used to major league pitching. 

Just as importantly...

It might also give Stanton a glimpse of his future as a bench guy and, if he has any pride, (hard to say) it might soften him up when it comes to his no trade clause. Because he HAS to go. 

If they play Wells with the other four guys that would be five rookies. 

BTW - The Rookies was developed by Bill Blinn he of Brian's Song, Purple Rain, and the TV series Fame. 

I had the privilege of working with him once as well as watching a Super Bowl at his house. Big Bengals fan. He was a truly nice and extremely talented man.  

Too little, too late and too bad. The Yankees dominate Detroit, accomplishing nothing.

Today, the Yankees finish pummeling  Detroit. Tomorrow, they start on 2024.

By sweeping the hapless Tigers, they would climb one more meaningless game closer to .500, supporting the illusion of progress for an organization that has shat the bed since June. The Starr Insurance Death Barge will continue to shamelessly market its past - (the Roger Maris bobblehead) - and future (the promotion of Jasson Dominguez.) 

Whatever it takes to sell tickets.

The team now occupies the mediocre middle of the 2024 draft, a selection that could be further lowered if their spending continues to be out of whack. Entering September, they had one honest hope - tanking - and now, suddenly, when nothing matters, they are winning.

Yesterday, Giancarlo Stanton homered, as if it matters. In the last two weeks, he has lifted his average to .206, as if it matters. He's gotten hot, as if it matters. 

DJ LeMahieu is on a tear, as if it matters. He has boosted his batting average to .243, as if it matters. 

Gleyber Torres is 6-for-10 in Detroit, as if it matters. (He went 0-for-8 in Tampa, when it might have mattered.) He's now up to .273, as if it matters. 

I'm sorry, folks. I'm not good with this. Actually, I do like the Yankees. I've rooted for them all my life. I accept that they're trying.

But I'm sorry: You don't get to have a big September, when all that it affects are your numbers. 

LeMahieu and Stanton, in particular, are two of the biggest reasons why the Yankees sit three games below .500. If we're supposed to cheer them toward personal glories - at this point, that's all they can accomplish - count me out. If they heat up in September, it will merely generate stats that give the illusion of a decent season. 

Nope. Cancel my subscription. When it mattered, they failed. If they have a shred of honesty, they'll continue to flounder. Next March in Tampa, I don't want to hear how they had a red hot September, raising their averages to respectability, and how we should expect big seasons. Nope. I'm sorry. The Yankees are a dumpster fire in a train wreck, from top to bottom. And they are part of it. 

So, now they're bringing up the Martian, Jasson Dominguez. After only nine games at Triple A, they are literally bringing up the kid because he's hot - as they did for Jake Bauers, Franchy Cordero and Billy McKinney. 

What are we supposed to expect? If Dominguez hits, they'll spend the winter promoting, selling tickets off his image. If he flops, well, will he be next year's Anthony Volpe? A youngster who needed an extra two months at Triple A, but was rushed to the majors? Volpe has had a rough season, made tougher by the fact that he wasn't ready in April. Did a year of playing in NYC help, or hurt? We're still figuring that out. 

Is this the new Yankee master plan? Rush them up through the system, regardless of the potential consequence - and sell, sell, sell those tickets. 

Come on, Tigers. Can you win one fucking game? 

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

The Martian Has Landed


Hey, at least it should be entertaining.

Cutting Donaldson was overdue, cutting Bader was cruel

Congrats to Starr Insurance for winning two - (2!) - in a row, pulling within 10 games (loss column) of the final Wild Card berth. Only four wins to the magical goal of .500! A mark that the Yankees have regularly attained since 1992. 

I speak for the Yankiverse in whispering "Hooray, hooray, hoo-dafuk-ray." Two win - over Detroit, no less - as meaningless as if they happened in February. 

Damn. We can't even tank properly. 

Can anything worse happen to this rancid organization? 

Well, in a way, I suppose... yeah...

So, yesterday, around happy hour, the phrase "Brian Cashman" began trending on Twitter (whom Elon Musk, the Brian Cashman of tech, calls "X.") It came about because the Death Barge finally severed ties with two of Cashman's 5th grade science projects: Josh "Jackie" Donaldson and hometown hero Harrison Bader, the pride of Bronxville.  

Who here did not celebrate the end to Donaldson's age of darkness in NYC, a debacle to be remembered for bat flips on pop flies and runners left on base. Donaldson was the cog in one of Cashman's worst career trades - a list that is still expanding, as we speak. 

He's gone. Finally. No more booing. No more brooding. Looking back, it's a wonder that Donaldson survived the Tim Anderson dust-up, when he mockingly called an African-American player "Jackie." A lot of people have lost their jobs for less. But the Yankees thought Donaldson would eventually hit, so they pretended it was a gentle ribbing, and nothing was wrong. And the juju gods laughed.

Listen: There are times in baseball when - from the moment a player is acquired - everything is fukinay wrong. Remember Omar Moreno in 1983? "Omar the Out-Maker," according to Bill James? From the moment he donned pinstripes, all was lost. Or Jesse Barfield in 1989, for whom we traded Al Leiter. Or Lyle Overbay in 2013. Or Ichiro that same year. Or Vernon Wells that year. Actually, everybody on the team that year, even Robbie Cano, if you look back. 

That's Donaldson's time as a Yankee. A horror show, start to finish. In fact, I'm still thinking it cannot end. In The Babadook, the mom keeps throwing away the haunted book, but it shows up the next day. I fear seeing Donaldson playing 3B, as if nothing happened...

And then there is Harrison Bader.

To be honest, it was Bader that caused Cashman to trend yesterday. "Bader" was right behind him. No one knows what demon possessed Cashman two summers ago to trade for Bader, who was injured at the time, but the guy did everything the Yankees said he would. He played excellent defensive CF but didn't hit. Supposedly, that's what the Yankees wanted. Until they didn't. 

In recent weeks, Bader expressed hope that the Yankees would re-sign him over the winter, that he could stay with the organization he rooted for as a kid. Yeah, right. In the name of Bryce Harper, they ditched his ass. 

I suppose you could argue that the Yankees did right by cutting both players. They can sign with other teams and play meaningful baseball in the month of September. 

But the Yankees are run by suits who never pay for their blunders. The same guys who assured us that Bader would be a star now tell us that Estevan Florial cannot play at the MLB level. Maybe they're right. But damn, they sure have been wrong. 

Look, I don't want to make this about Florial. The poor guy has suffered enough. And - honestly, I hope Donaldson and Bader go to a contending team and play well. I hope they embarrass the Yankees. I hope they take revenge on this team. I hope the Yankees lose to Detroit and continue racking up losses all the way to the draft lottery. There is no reason to root for such a wretched organization. They are not the Yankees anymore. They are Starr Insurance.  

Four wins below .500. 

Juju gods, hear me: Make it rain!

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

I'd say "We Hardly Knew Ye" but we knew ye all too well....


No Joshin': Yankees release Jackie Donaldson...

Bonus Link: Josh Donaldson bat flips on non-home runs.  We won't miss this.

Clutch outing by Sevy raises Yanks to magical five games below .500

 Today, I know, I know...  it's not easy, it's not even fun... but let's look for sprigs of flowery hope in this cracked, burning asphalt, parking lot sinkhole of despair. 

1. Setback Sevy... he's back! And - spoiler alert - just in time to goose the cash register as an impending free agent!

Whoever signs him - (I gotta believe it won't be the star scouts from Starr Insurance) - he will demand a few more millions and a couple extra years - because folks will see those quality starts in September and think, "At last! Severino is ready to rumble!" 

AL Pitcher of the Month in September? Go for it! A chance to lower that pesky ERA to below 6.00! Yes! Let the Redsocks try to outbid Steve Cohen for him. I don't care. The Severino Era on the Yankees is coming to an end. Go ahead, Sevy, pitch for the contract. That's okay. I wish you well. We'll always have Paris.

2. If you're rooting for the Yankees to tank - and, really, who isn't? - don't be discouraged by last night's meaningless victory over Detroit. In the first inning, we sent the Tigers a message: Bring your tomatoes, because the Yankees can out-tank anybody.

In the first, we loaded the bases on two walks and an error, and then struck out - gasp - three times. I mean... wow. A master class.  

Sadly, we couldn't sustain it, and ended up beating a terrible team, perhaps a top five Tankathon disaster. But if we know anything about the '23 Yanks, it's that winning the first game of a series means nothing. This club could get two-hit by Reese Witherspoon, assuming her manager isn't invoking a pitch limit.

3. Hats off to the '23 Team Batting Crown leaders. Right now, here's the battle.

As you can see, it's too close to call. Don't sleep on IKF. The winner might even have to rise into the .270s. 

4. Yes, in 7th place, that's Willie Calhoun - the kewpie of spring, who took a long hard look at this team and decided to walk. (He's still a free agent.) 

In recent days, the Death Barge seems to have abandoned the pretense of plucking LH hitters from Triple A recycling bins. We haven't seen much of Jake Bauers, Billy McKinney, Franchy Cordero or Willie. Remember how, back in April, the Cashman Chatbot took bows for finding those lefty sluggers? Ah, the good old days. Now, when we talk about lefty bats, it's Ben Rortvedt and whatever. 

The worst Yankee teams in history offered more hitters from the left side of the plate. Amazing. 

5. And speaking of amazing, here's a shot from Above Average, taken last week at the IT IS HIGH meetup in the stadium. Enjoy. But don't get dizzy.

Monday, August 28, 2023

"There used to be a ballpark right here." (Or at least across the street.)

With their usual, impeccable timing, your New York Yankees have decided that now—right after the team's worst losing streak in over 40 years—is the moment to announce a 10 percent increase in seat prices for next season.

Why are we not surprised?

Apparently, it's not enough that the Yanks have gouged the City of New York for two new stadiums over the past 50 years. 

Both these parks received enormous subsidies—as, sadly, do all sports arenas in the city and pretty much everyhere else nowadays.

As this 2023 report from the city's Independent Budget Office makes clear, the Yankees pay NOTHING in property taxes on their spanking, sterile, 14-year-old stadium, despite an estimated fair market value of $2.6 billion.

This should mean $121 million a year for the city. Instead, the Yankees get away with paying PILOTS. No, not the woebegone, one-year Seattle expansion team that Jim Bouton immortalized in 1969, but "Payments in Lieu of Taxes." 

PILOTS are usually a shady proposition, designed mostly to evade paying real taxes. In the case of the Yankees, they are shadier than ever. Instead of paying that $121 million they owe, our favorite ballteam pays PILOTS of $84 million a year to itself, essentially—the money going to pay off the building costs for Yankee Stadium III.

In fairness (just not fairness to us taxpayers), this is par for the park in NYC. NO professional sports teams in the city are so jejune as to fork over tax money for the large, prime-location chunks of real estate they occupy. The Dolans haven't paid property taxes on Madison Square Garden since 1982. 

All in all, according to the estimable Neil deMause, our pro sports teams freeload to a total of $377 million in a year. This in a city that has just raised the mass transit fare again, and instituted congestion pricing on drivers.

It's amazing that this still goes on, particularly considering how all of these deadbeats have lost nearly all their old leverage. 

This isn't the 1970s anymore. New York is the richest city in the world, and nobody's building anybody a great new park out in the Meadowlands. If any of these teams were to be suicidal enough to take off for, say, Denver—where the Yankees threatened to move sometime in the '80s or '90s—New York could bring in a new team in about five minutes, and if anyone objected, the city could challenge pro sports' teetering anti-trust status.

Well, hell. Sports teams rip off the city where they play. Not exactly a news story, more along the lines of "dog bites man." Or, dog plotzes on sidewalk, man fails to clean it up.

What's most disheartening is how little we have got for our money.

Let's put aside for a moment the old-world craftsmanship, visible everywhere. By "old world," I mean the Pleistocene, when hominids banged things together with rocks—apparently the technology used to pound all those visible nails through the Stadium roof.

Then there's the fact that YS III seats 46,537 fannies. The O.G. Yankee Stadium—built and paid for entirely by Col. Ruppert, with no property tax exemptions expected or granted—could supposedly hold as many as 82,000, with standing room.

In other words, over the years, the Steinbrenner family has cut over 35,000 people—an entire Fenway Park's worth of fans—out of any chance to seeing the team play. And worse still, is what the ballpark experience has become for those who make it inside. 

As Doug K. outlined in his excellent article the other day, YS III was built, like so many other sports arenas these days, to be an entertainment node, not so much a ballpark. 

Beyond that, I found pretty much every other change made over the past 4 years, since I was there last, to be deleterious.

Just getting into the park is difficult. For me, it was due mostly to my technological dunderheadedness, but there was a long line headed into the office dealing with why our electronic tickets were not working. Even for those who know what they're doing, the line moves at a glacial pace. No more Yankees ticket takers ripping a thousand ducats a minute—and leaving you with a nice souvenir. No more paper tickets at all.

Inside, you can pay $10 for a 176-page "scorecard," stuffed with ads. (And featuring a big piece on that Yankee immortal, Isiah Kiner-Falafel.)

Upstairs, at least, your money's no good—just your credit or bank card. Even the cheap seats no longer accept our federal currency, and if you don't have a card, well, too bad. 

Want to buy a single beer, and drink it from a cup? Fugeddaboutit. You have to buy an insipid beer brand in a great big, 20-ounce can. Most of the better beer brands have been removed, but don't worry! There are now pop-up bars selling hard liquor, all over the place. Kinda makes a mockery of the Stadium warnings not to drive away drunk.

Couldn't find the old kosher hot dog stands—or, for that matter, the vendors. There's waiter-service in the 3,000-dollar seats, but not a vendor to be found in the upper deck. Gone is the great old custom of passing food and money back and forth down a row of fellow fans, so you don't miss a pitch.

The Yankees don't much care if you miss any of the action. They want you up, spending money, sharing all the data to be gleaned from your credit cards and bank accounts.  

Which, come to think of it, is probably a good business strategy. For there sure as hell won't be anything to see on the field for a long time.


"Looking at it, it’s a last-place team against a team that’s in contention. They’re just trying to ignite something over there. Whatever. Not worth our time at this moment. We’re focused on bigger things right now … We need each game. They’re not really in each game.”

The ultimate indignity, courtesy of Brandon Lowe, representing the hateful Rays. 

The benches cleared yesterday, but why would Tampa bother to throw punches? They had better things to do than brawl with a last-place team. 

Nobody fights a tomato can.   

The Yankee Tragic Number - the magic number turned upside-down; it stands for clinching a missed-postseason - now stands at 20. 

In the Tankathon, for whatever it's worth, the Death Barge remains tied for 12th with the miserable LA Angels, the team with a half-Ohtani. We should crack the Top 10, if not the top six. 

I mean... wow. What a collapse. It's almost Biblical. The Yankees didn't even make it to September. They were done by Aug. 15, the dog days. Back in March, this was a contender. It had the game's best slugger and top free agent pitcher. And it turned into the Spanish armada. 

A team whose greatest achievement was in not having a no-hitter thrown against it. (Thus far, anyway.)

Whose greatest moment came from a pitcher on the verge of alcohol rehab. 

Who for a whole month played a guy suffering from a concussion, and then we fired the batting coach because the guy wasn't hitting. 

Whose manager set a personal record for getting thrown out of games.

Whose DH was so slow - a loping jog - that he could not score from second on a long single.

Who couldn't even shed deadwood at the trade deadline. They just sat and watched.

I mean, wow. Over the years, I've seen wretched Yankee teams. The mid-1980s. The early 1990s. But at least some of those teams brought draft picks, one of which begot Derek Jeter. 

This is one of the worst Yankee meltdowns in my lifetime. And apparently, Hal won't even fire the architect... and the sportswriters and broadcast voices, vying for access and keeping their paychecks, will go along. 

This is what happens when a franchise owns the media that covers it, and everybody is getting rich by selling the bullshit. Wow. 

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Yes, we can't! The Yankee Tank is back on!

Wait. No. I mean... WE CAN! We can lose - and keep losing - and reach the 2024 draft day Sickly Six. 

The Death Barge has 13 tomato cans left on the schedule: three with KC, three with the Pitts and seven with the Tigers. If we only win when Gerrit Cole pitches, we could still lose 10. 

Impossible, you say? Setback Sevy is back, with Carlos Contusion right behind. DJ LeMahieu has reclaimed his stroke, and Anthony Rizzo can now do multiplication tables. This lineup will get hot and win two - hell, maybe three! - in a row... and ruin everything.

Well, I dunno about that. I see Jackie Donaldson running OF sprints, while Giancarlo Mendozaline is ready to be thrown out at first base by a RF. In terms of pitching, we have Cole... and then what the Beatles once considered to be "the walrus." We have nothing. Yesterday, we were nearly no-hit. Today, the Rays will score two runs in the first, and if we're lucky, MLB will unveil its new Mercy Rule. 

To get a supreme draft pick, we are only one godforsaken win behind Cleveland, San Diego and Washington. If we can lose the series to Detroit, we can fly past them and the Mets. Damn, we could even out-tank the perennial tanking Pittsburgh. I BELIEVE!

Yes, I hear you: As Bill Murray said in Meatballs, it just doesn't matter. IT JUST DOESN'T MATTER. IT JUST DOESN'T MATTER. The Yankees will spend September whispering to selected Gammonites of how much they plan to spend on Ohtani, and then, when the bidding actually starts, they'll finish runner-up. Still, it's fun to think of Hal spending his money, which - when counted -comes closer to infinity than zero. 

Lose today, and we could be in the Tanking Top Ten. Congrats, people, and have some tomato. 

Saturday, August 26, 2023

The Flash-in-the-Pan Generation.


So Shohei Ohtani pitches 1 complete game and blows out his arm. Well, I guess now he'll switch to one of the other positions he's mastered, right?

Hey, I kid, I kid. Ohtani really is a remarkable ballplayer, and I have never wished an injury on anyone, with the glaring exception of Jason Varitek.

I simply thought that calling him "the greatest ever" six years into a career as, primarily, a designated hitter was a tad premature. Just as I thought calling Ronald Acuna, Jr., "the greatest speed-power player ever" six years into his career was an offense to Willie Mays.

The Mets' broadcasters last night were opining that, had it not been for Aaron Judge's phenomenal season in 2022, Ohtani would now be honing in on his third-straight AL MVP. This is true—but the opposite might also be said. Had it not been for Aaron Judge missing two months with an injury this season, that MVP race might be a lot closer.

The Mets' guys went on to lament all the bad luck the Angels have had this year. They pointed out that three-time MVP Mike Trout has played in as many as 140 games exactly once since 2016.

Then there's Anthony Rendon, the power-hitting third baseman the Haloes signed away from the Washington Adjectives after the 2019 season. 

Rendon makes Giancarlo Stanton look like the Iron Horse. He has not played in more than 58 games since going west, and has hit a total of 22 home runs and batted all of .249 in that time—all while making himself persona non grata in L.A.

Much as we bitch and groan here, Rendon's contract—$245 million for 7 years—may prove to be the worst in baseball history.

The sleazy corporate entity known as MLB would like to convince you that pretty much every time you go to the ballpark you are seeing "the best of all time" in something or other.

But the fact is that all these great players—Judge, Ohtani, Trout, Rendon, Stanton, etc.—have immense trouble staying on the field for the entirety of the long season. Right now, what baseball is producing is the flash-in-the-pan generation, one marvelous ballplayer after another who is a physical wreck by the time they're 28.

Sorry, but if the game really wants to present us with the best that ever was, it needs to address this. "The Greatest" doesn't reside on the disabled list.



Neither a tanker nor contender, Yanks are caught in boredom limbo

Give the Redsocks credit. Yeah, they suck. Yeah, they hate their fans. Yeah, they even honor loathsome Curt Schilling. But they know how to tank.

They'll trade a fan-fave. They'll trade their MVP. Hell, they'll trade their mom for a 17-year-old Dominican with a decent haircut. Baseball is war, and they are Putin, and if you've got a barking gonad, consider your ticket punched to the Dodgers, (though you might want to avoid a private plane.) 

The Yankees, on the other hand, cannot seem to bring themselves to plan a future beyond tomorrow's lineup on Turner Movie Channel. That's how they find themselves treading water in the ocean, unsure of which direction to swim. 

Case in point: Last night's win over mighty Tampa, a team that not only has come to own us, but likes to torture its food. Sure, it's nice to beat the hateful Rays, to wipe the fratboy smirks off their fuzzy chins, to quiet that giant echo chamber/ping pong ball that they call a baseball park. But a win did nothing. 

It raises our odds of reaching the 2023 postseason - calculated by Fangraphs - to 0.40 percent, less than a half of a hiccup. On the YES postgame show, they barely even mentioned the wild card. They have a better chance of winning America's Got Talent. This season's outcome - tomato can - is settled science.  

The victory set us back in the Tankathon, where we are again tied with the lowly Angels, with a 0.90 percent - less than one percent - chance of reaching the 2024 draft lottery. 

We are going nowhere.

September is almost here, and the Starr Insurancers have no HR record to chase, no young stars to introduce, no great reason to think the team will improve in 2024. The last time the Yankees fell apart so vividly was 2016, when they at least unveiled the likes of Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Tyler Austin and Brigadoon Refsnyder. 

This year, we have Everson Pereira, whose meteoric rise through the system suggests a front office desperation. Also, last year's model - Oswaldo Cabrera - set back the gears of hope for at least five years. How could a player with such charisma turn out be so ineffective? 

So, this evening the Yankees will attempt the impossible: Two wins over a contender The last time they won a series, it was against KC, currently No. 2 in the Tankathon. We swept the Royals and announced to the world that the Yankees - champs of 2009! - were back. Then we sank without a bubble. 

Well, we still suck. And if we win tonight, we'll still have less than a one percent chance of playing on Oct. 6. Imagine, six weeks left to play, and the Yankees are on the outside of everything, an after-thought after your after-thoughts. Are we really supposed to get excited about chasing .500? Frankly, I'd rather be tankly. 

Friday, August 25, 2023

According to plan.

Perhaps what was most pathetic about yesterday’s loss to the Nationals—and by the way, what’s with “the Nationals”? Who names a team after an adjective?—is that it all went according to plan: Brian Cashman’s plan, that is.

Aaron Judge homered and walked, and had an assist and a nice catch in right field.

Gleyber Torres homered, had two other hits, and played a nifty second base.

Giancarlo Stanton homered, doubled, and had four hits in all.

The team had 11 hits, and scored 5 runs.

So what went wrong?

Well, fundamentals, first of all, as BTR-Triple 9 and Joe FOB pointed out—the part of the game so scornfully dismissed by analytics junkies.

The Yankees made three critical errors in the field (one of which was generously ruled a hit), and two mental mistakes on the bases, in the same inning.

The running errors came in the second, when Higgy, after a one-out double, was thrown out trying to go to third on a groundball to the shortstop. Mere seconds later, Oswald Peraza was picked off first. 

The fielding errors, two of them by Volpe and one by Hands-of-Clay Holmes, led directly to 4 of the 6 Washington runs. 

What’s more, as Joe FOB broke down, this team barely seems to be paying attention. As if Peraza hadn’t done enough on the day, he bizarrely decided to steal third in the ninth—while pinchrunner Cabrera stood stock still on first. 

Guys, is this a double steal or not? Who was supposed to go and who was not? And will we ever find out from the Kremlin-on-the-Hudson braintrust? Of course not.

But even before this, in the top of the ninth, Holmes had managed to load the bases with two outs. Aaron "Stretching Cat" Boone had trotted out to the mound to have a conference with his entire infield. No doubt reminding them how many were out, saying something about which base to go to, who does what.

All the assembled Yankees nodded grimly and trotted back to their positions. Then, Dominic Smith hit a weak topper toward third and Peraza froze in place, while Holmes rushed over to grab the ball—and fumbled it away. What proved to be the winning run trotted in from third. 

Beyond all these inexcusable mental flubs, the afternoon once again exposed just how bad the Yanks’ overall approach to the game is. 

This team takes a phenomenal number of called strikes. We were up too high to see just how tight the ump was calling things, but there were no protests from Yankees batters. They went away like mild little lambs. 

Twelve strikeouts in all for our boys—5 of them looking, and in some key moments. Perreira—in his first major-league game ever—struck out 3 times; less excusably, Harrison Bader struck out 4 times.  The team as a whole was the usual 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position. 

Throw in the baserunning mistakes and a double-play, and they handed the Nats a whole inning worth of extra outs. They allowed Patrick Corbin—a pitcher whose arm has been dead since the 2019 World Series—to compile a “quality start,” 3 earned runs in 6 innings.

Our own pitching was worse than it looked—but worst of all, we saw again that, somehow, the New York Yankees are out of starting pitchers in August. How is that possible?

Washington is not a good team—they’re also in last place—and they’re not even all that young. But they played young and athletic, at least compared to your New York Yankees, bunting and making alert, surehanded plays in the field. 

When Harrison Bader at last shook off his golden sombrero and hit a long drive to center with two out in the 9th, Nats centerfielder Alec Call ran it down without too much trouble (Call, a .202 hitter, also had a booming home run off Kahnle.) C.J. Abrams, their terrific young shortstop, had two hits, including a line drive home run, and looked good in the field. I’d say he’s ahead of our own young shortstop now, and probably will be miles ahead in the years to come.

These are the Yankees made in Brian Cashman’s image, placid, slow and stupid, and even when it all goes according to plan, it's not good enough.


What I learned

 I would like to say thanks to all the IIH bloggers who made it to the " stadium re-union" and Yankee festival.

My elementary school grammar teacher would give you all an "A" for the sentence structure of your message.   Even the detail of getting the comma right. 

It is also a strange, but positive irony, that the IIHIIFIIc logo was honored on. the big board. I mean, if Hal or Brian is aware of our content and focus, I doubt that they would want us in their circle of recognition. 

Please accept my apologies for being absent. I am on the west coast and, as a further complication, my wife and I were traveling to Vancouver to consume Chinese food. Not a bad " plan B," but nonetheless an absence. 

It is also clear to me, by gazing at the group photo ( and card section ), that I am the oldest of this tribe. By about a decade I would guess. Nonetheless, if this event is repeated ( which everyone will support ), I will try to make it next year. 

But I can no longer navigate the nosebleed sections of the stadium with confidence. So if the tickets happen to be " up there",  I'll remain in the bar on 161st street and cheer from there. 

I think of you all as friends.  More as people who have gone to war together. And who intend to keep the bullets flying. 

I need one more run at the title. We all do. 

Well done.

Field Trip!

Yesterday exceeded all expectations...

It was truly great to meet the people behind the screen names. It was a love fest. Who knew that writing on a blog could lead to a gaggle of new friends? Makes me wish I had pen pals or was on Facebook, or sent away for a mail order bride. 

It was that good.

The game exceeded all expectations too, checking off several boxes on my bingo card.

1) Judge homered. 

2) The Yankees lost. 

3) They ran into outs on the base paths.

4) They almost won but fell short in the ninth.

5) There was a golden sombrero. 

6) Stanton went 4/5 and no one noticed. Because we don't care when he's up.

7) The bullpen imploded.


Other notes...

1) I walked around the entire stadium and realized just how few people were there for the game.  To be fair, we weren't either. Yankee Stadium is more gathering place than ball park.  

2) It rained on us (slightly) despite being in a covered part of the stadium. For those of you who remember why the Yankees had to play at Shea this might be a bad sign.

3) There is a seven foot tall replica of a Randy Velarde baseball card at the entrance to the Yankee Museum. I do not know why.

4) This made me happy! Also sad, it was a different time in a different stadium. 

5) And last... Here is a bonus, exclusive, "behind the scenes" look at the iconic photo posted by El Duque.


The IT IS HIGH Nation speaks... will the world listen?

As it was meant to be, the Starr Insurance Yankees lost yesterday.

The big brains at Fangraphs now calculate the team's chances of winning the 2023 Wild Card at 0.2 percent, known scientifically as a "half-smidgen." 

The Tankathon site gives them an 0.9 percent chance of tanking their sorry way into the top 2024 lottery pick.

Doing some old school, IT IS HIGH  math, that leaves us with  - hmm, carry the naught, where's the calculator? - a 98.9 percent chance that absolutely nothing will change, that they will continue to suck air with aging free agents, straight-jacket contracts and a farm system that is electrified by the Jeep bullshit brand. Meanwhile, everybody else in baseball - (in other words, the Mets and Redsocks) will at least do something.

I mean, I speak for the Yankiverse in saying... yeesh. We cannot hit. We cannot hold a lead. We cannot beat a certified tomato can in our home lair. We are wasting great seasons by two great players, both of whom must be reconsidering their reasons to be Yankees, and we cannot even find a half-smidgen reason for hope. 

But but BUT... the Yankees do have one thing that nobody else has.

Starr Insurance. Us. 

On a normal day-after, I would be drinking  Draino to get the taste of Tommy "Tomato" Kahnle out of my mouth, or photoshopping Harrison Bader-Ginsberg for his sombrero. But today, I have no bile to expectorate. 

Why? Well, we made it to Yankee Stadium for the second annual whenever  meetup of the IT IS HIGH Supermodel Cavalry, and I hereby want to thank all of you - you know who you are - for making this ridiculous blog a safehouse for Yankee prophets, tellers of truth and debunkers of bunk.

I told my family about you people. Nobody believed me. (Nothing new. They never do.) Now, though, they've seen it. And they agree: 

This matters.

So, our team lost. The tank continues. But we did our jobs. We raised our letters. We sent our message, we left our mark, we did our deed. For reasons that would require the late Stephen Hawking to deduce, we remain the most unbreakable, diehard fans of a certain team that stole our souls in childhood, and that we will never grow out of. 

So here we are, staggering through another cold August, but our integrity is still intact. Hal will never sell. But we will never quit bugging him. I thank you all for joining me on this journey. I have it on good information that when the juju gods look at us, they turn their heads and cough. Someday, we will make it. We shall romp through that field of nipples and drink the nectar of overpriced beer in pinstriped cans... and we will do it in late October under snowy skies, ruining the experience for everyone else... but us. 

Until yesterday, I was running low on hope. Today, no matter what the odds say, I believe...

So, the Yankees thank you. And so do I.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Stand-up guy.


No doubt, that will be the take in some places, after Brian Cashman's Punxsutawney Phil-like emergence yesterday to face the media over what he himself called the Yankees' "disaster" of a season.

In fact, Cashman was, as usual, more of a stand-up comic than a leader, making sure to tell the assembled sporting press:

"I think we've got a pretty good track record here. We've had a real good run of success. But this, at the same time, is not an easy sport. Nothing is guaranteed. So I guess I would counter, I don't think there's anyone on this planet that felt that the New York Yankees weren't a playoff-contending team.  I wouldn't say anybody on our roster, anybody on an opposing roster, or anybody in this room in the media—I doubt there's anybody that predicted that we're not a playoff team."

Ah, Brian, you crack me up!

First, Mr. Cashman has obviously NOT been reading this blog, sad to say. 

But let's unpack this a little:

"A playoff-contending team"??? 

Since 6 teams—or 40 percent of the league—now make the playoffs, what exactly does this even mean? In fact, the Yankees have been a playoff-contending team this year...and so what? 

As the estimable John Jastrzemski was saying last night on SNY, being a "playoff contender" wasn't supposed to be what the Yankees are all about. They are supposed to be a World Series contender. 

But that, as we've been told, is all a crapshoot. 

I also I love how many people Cashie includes in his "J'accuse" statement here. "Anybody on this roster"? Right, it very much matters what Oswaldo Cabrera thought about the Yankees' chances this year. "Anybody on an opposing roster"? C'mon, fess up, Timmy Anderson! You thought the Yanks had a chance to make the playoffs.

Far from "standing up," all that Cashman was trying to do was spread the blame here. To say, "You're no smarter than me, you media types, what with your suggestions that we have a left fielder and a third baseman and everything. So there."

All in all, though, Cashman's comedy was a fairly predictable meal of buck-passing, garnished with false promises of future "evaluations."

What really has me worried was Ma Boone's statement:

"It's all-consuming. That said, you always try to have a level of perspective that I certainly do in my life. School's getting ready to start, a couple going off to college and trying to be as present as you can be there, too. So you do try and separate, and I think I'm decent at it."

"Try to remember the kind of September

When life was slow and oh so mellow...

Try to remember the kind of September

When you were a tender and callow fellow

Try to remember and if you remember 

Then follow, follow..."

Uh, Aaron? You okay, man?


With epic IT IS HIGH game today at stadium, Yanks gain on Seattle, Toronto and Houston in Wild Card


Holy crap! We're only nine games back in the loss column.

No lengthy post today. I gotta coffee up. We won last night. Judge hit three. Sevy pitched well. It was, um, the Warshington Senators? Hooray. 

Today, the IIHIIFIIc Nation will converge upon Yankee Stadium to either jumpstart the 2023 Wild Card race, or sow the seeds of the 2024 Tankathon.

Whatever happens, we'll have our Starr Insurance jersey patches, which means  we can't lose, and we can't win. Because that's how insurance  works.

It's a Tomato Can Rubbah Match. And there aint no Rubbah Match like a tomato can one. Carry on, soldiers. See you at the game!

UPDATE: Just read where Cashman is vowing "a lot of internal assessments." Wow. Somebody's gonna get his parking slot moved.