Tuesday, October 31, 2023

MLB All-Scaredy-Cat Haunted-House Team

Inspired by all you It Is Highers, I went out and recruited a shortstop to finish this team.

MLB All-Scaredy-Cat Haunted-House Team

1B   Boo Powell
2B   Spook Jacobs
SS   Pee Wee Shriek
3B   Joe Panik

LF   Chilli Davis
CF   Startle Marte
RF   Enos Slaughter

C    Dan Howley

LHP   Mac Scarce, Frights Peterson
RHP   Kendall Graveman, Urban Shocker

MGR   Dave Trembley

This one's for Bitty and Win

Years ago, I collected some early-1900s newspaper pages with full-page Sunday Little Nemo comic strips. They've been in a closet forever, but lately I'm thinking of getting some or all of them linen-backed, so I had to measure one to get an estimate.

When I pulled one out, I discovered it was in the same folder as this 1919 comic almost-full page and I just had to share. Especially with the loons who've adopted Krazy and Ignatz as their avatars ("loons" is a good thing, btw). I especially enjoy the headline at the bottom about an empty brain pan. I can relate.


Scooter called him "big Frank Howard." He was great.


From Baseball's Substack: The All-Time MLB All-Halloween Team

 World famous writer James Finn Garner - our own Alibi Ike - runs Baseball's Substack, a site devoted to new baseball poetry. I encourage everyone to read and support it. Here's a timely spattering...

MLB All-Halloween Team

1B   Candy LaChance
2B   Pumpkinsie Green
SS   Sandy Malomar
3B   Chris Spooker
LF   Mummy Ramirez
CF   Trik Speaker
RF   Vlampire Guerrero
C     Earl Battey
LHP   Randy Wolfman, Baby Ruth
RHP   Trevor BOOOOer, Black Catfish Hunter, Ricky Bones
MGR   Treat Speaker

Okay, we can't let this parlor game go without adding a few...

Owner: George Frankensteinbrenner
MGR: Billy Martian
MGR: Aaron BOO! 
P: Gerrit Ghoul 
P: Carlos Rodan
P: Frighty Ford 
OF: Goblin Yount
CF: Bobby Murder
OF: Johnny Demon 
OF: Tommy Phampire 
OF: Spooky Betts
RP: Bob Fiend 
C: Yeti Berra 
C: Thurman Manson

All right, who's got more? 

Monday, October 30, 2023

Why We Hate the Snakes.


As the World Series moves back to Phoenix for the first time since that fateful, awful night in 2001, we must revisit the reasons why every Yankees fan wants to see even a team from Texas mash the snakeheads into the dust.

Sure, the juju gods were out in force that night, setting up about as awful a loss as they could imagine (at least until they outdid themselves three years later). 

Their handiwork can be seen in so many freakish things that went wrong:

—The little desert storm that blew in and knocked down what everybody on the field thought FOR SURE was Shane Spencer's three-run homer in the 7th inning, a ball that would have put a nail in the D-backs. Apparently such thunderstorms are unknown in Arizona in October...but this was November 4th, thanks to the hiatus necessitated by the 9/11 attack.

—Said storm also left the field wet for the 9th inning. That's apparently what went wrong when the Great Rivera, usually an outstanding fielder, picked up Damian Miller's bunt and threw wild to second. Miller had rolled the bunt straight up the vestigial dirt path from the plate to home that had been installed as a little perk in the Arizona ballpark by...old friend, Buck Showalter (The juju gods grind slow, but they grind fine.).

Instead of getting a dry ball that Rivera could have turned into an instant DP, leaving the Snakes with two out and none on, he pick up a sphere encased in dribbly goo, and threw wild to Jeter. This left two on, none out—and disaster at the door...  

—Disaster in the form of Tony Womack, a singular flop with us, hitting a broken-back double two batters later.

The game was full of other, unforced errors by the Yankees themselves, of course:

—Paul O'Neill in the first inning, running on the emotion of his last game ever, and getting cut down trying to stretch a double into a triple.

—Scott Brosius, in the 9th, hanging onto the ball after getting the first out of the inning at third, instead of going for a sure-fire DP by throwing back to get Jay Bell at first.

—Joe Torre once again pushing Rivera to his limits and beyond at the end of a season, having him throw two innings when Ramiro Mendoza—who had allowed 1 baserunner of the 9 Diamondbacks he'd faced that Series—was fresh and ready to go for the 8th. (Which, again, he might have, if the Yanks had had a 5-1 or 6-1 lead...)

But then there are the Snakes themselves, starting with Luis Gonzalez, the man who had the game-winning "hit" in Game 7. Gonzalez was, obviously, a classic juicer. For the first 8 years of his career, he was a .266 hitter who never managed more than 15 homers in a season. 

Suddenly, in Arizona, he became something else again. At 31, all of a sudden, Luis Luis Luis became a power AND high-average hitter, a transformation that just doesn't occur at the age without the use of, shall we say, medicinal supplements. In 2001, he had 57 homers, 100 extra-base hits, 142 ribbies, a .325 BA, and a 1.117 OPS. 

Well, it's hard for the Yanks to complain too much about THAT, considering that by 2001 we had the pied piper of steroids on our team—and pitching a terrific Game 7. But still, it's hateable—particularly since, thanks to the usual hypocrisy, no one is ever allowed to mention Gonzalez's obvious cheating.

But the real reason to hate the Diamondbacks comes down to this guy, their founder and owner, Jerry Colangelo.

Sure, Colangelo had a hard-on for hating Mad Old George Steinbrenner. Perfectly understandable. Hey, who didn't most of the time, including many of us? 

But what he did—and what Bud "Handmaid to the Wealthy" Selig did—to make his Yankees-beating dreams come true, made Jose Altuve look like an altar boy.

Colangelo rushed Arizona—which had only entered the NL in 1998—to the top of the charts by signing Randy Johnson to a massive contract, and doing the same with Curt Schilling, after acquiring the latter from the Phillies for four non-entities. 

Exactly how was this operator from a relatively small market able to outbid everybody else in baseball for two of its best pitchers at the time? The answer, it was soon revealed, was that he had borrowed at least $20 million from MLB, and maybe more. (https://www.espn.com/mlb/news/2000/0815/685667.html

Just how did this figure? Why was Arizona favored over all other teams in the majors? And why didn't the owners of the other clubs raise bloody hell about this? What, the Mets couldn't have used Schilling and Johnson? The Phils suddenly didn't need a top starter? Seattle, which had been forced to give up The Big Unit for lack of cash?

Nope, no one said a word. It was all in the name of parity and expansion and what have you—just some more of MLB's sleazy, underhanded dealings—and as a result, the D'backs had their night in the desert...which they celebrated by immediately playing a mocking rendition of Sinatra's "New York, New York" over the loudspeakers.

You stay classy, Arizona. And drop dead.

After yesterday's Giants/Jets debacle, it's time to recognize The Curse of the Apple

For better or worse - (and lately, that means worse) - this is a Yankee blog, and I try to keep it laser-focused upon the cause at hand: The eternally dammed future of this wandering, soulless Death Barge.

Hence, I generally don't ruminate about the rise and fall of humanity - Elon Musk, Taylor Swift, the Kardashians, Putin, Hunter Biden, Mean Marge Greene, the Golden Bachelor, or that pear-shaped lady who sings about "the little pill with the great big story to tell." Instead, I ask who will next year be the 5th starter at Scranton. (Mitch Spence?) Trust me: It's a barren and lifeless task. 

Today, however, I must step outside my comfort zone. I must acknowledge - and bow down to - the utter degradation of the human spirit that comes with following all New York sports. 

To root for any NY sports teams is to be eternally lashed to a rock, while an eagle (Jalen Hurts?) relentlessly pecks at your liver and forces you to watch the end of civilization, because the channel-changer needs batteries. 

Yesterday, as a Giants fan, I suffered one  of the most excruciating losses of my rooting life. I mean, this one goes up there with Mazeroski, Altuve, Griffey Jr., the humpback liner, the 2004 Redsocks - some of the worst moments of watching I have endured. And it was New York, New York -the city's pro football teams, pecking at each other's liver, devouring themselves, bit by bit, alive and aware.  

Technically, the Giants lost to the Jets. I won't belabor the details. If you don't follow football, you're better staying that way. Basically, a million microscopic cuts - from coaches, players and juju gods -killed the Giants, who lost the lead in the last second of regulation, and then the game in overtime. 

But Jet fans should not celebrate too lustily. They won a four-hour, pitched battle of two tomato cans, decided because one team couldn't kick a routine field goal, and the other secured a pass interference penalty. The difference between the Jets and Giants: The  Jets aren't going anywhere this year, the Giants aren't going anywhere this decade. 

But I wonder: Will the the Knicks, Nets, Rangers, Islanders, Devils, Mets or Yankees  ever rise again? Or is it something in the water? We just watched our best chance, the NY Liberty - the power of the WNBA - fall because the greatest player of her generation, Brianna Stewart, shot 3-for-17 in the finale. The Liberty was supposed to be our failsafe. Et tu, Stewie? 

The Curse of The Apple.

I'm sorta amazed that this hasn't gotten more attention. It is bigger than the Bambino, the Billy Goat, the Sports Illustrated cover, and the Madden Football game. It's so insidious that it covers not just a franchise, but an entire city... in multiple sports. That's one big-ass curse.

Lemme put it this way: This Curse is so intense that even when two NY teams play, they both manage to lose. 

So, the question today? Who will be that fucking 5th starter at Scranton? I suppose it will be Mitch Spence, or somebody like him, though maybe Gil Drew Thorpe will emerge. Yeah, Gil Thorpe! That's a cool name. Maybe he'll rise! Can a Thorpe break The Curse of The Apple? Can he save a city? Dear God, who shall lead us from this  darkness?

Sunday, October 29, 2023


Not sure why, but this rattled me.

A few weeks ago, Jeet refused to wear Big Papi's cowboy hat. He said New Yorkers didn't do such things. Then, later, he posed with it, saying he'd been joking. Now... this?

Are we watching the Texasification of Derek Jeter? Like the British museums that house stolen Middle Eastern artifacts, are they buying icons of NYC and moving them to Dallas? What's next? Will the Vince Lombardi Rest Stop turn up in Dealey Plaza? 

And furthermore... 

1. What's really weird is the idea of Jeter interviewing somebody else. Throughout his career, he was the definition of a cool, illusive, bland, no-controversy interview.  Now, he's gotta yuck it up, like a Red Carpet greeter? The juju gods must be laughing.

2. What's this? A World Series where the teams bunt, steal bases and play defense? It's an outrage! A disgrace! What happened to Launch Angles and Exit Velos? Can't they hit a few more solo HRs? 

3. After last night's loss, the Gammonites should have a field day, praising Brian Cashman for trading that bum, Jordan Montgomery. Way to go, chief!

4. All this blather about a Juan Soto trade is nearing Peak Foliage Stupidity. Every day, we are transported back to 2020, creating packages that include Miguel Andujar and Clint Frazier. Hey, we should get a lot for Luke Voit!

5. George Bush? What a geezer. Bounced the throw. Now, here's something really scary for Halloween: Fifteen years out of his presidency, W is still younger than the two likely candidates in 2024. We are sooooo fucked.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson? Vaunted Yankee career postseason records are steadily vanishing

Used to be, the Yankees dominated every stat that involved October.

Now... well... here are MLB's all-time postseason HR listings 

The above list won't change this month. But over the next few Octobers, Mickey and Reggie - the greatest sluggers of a bygone era - will almost surely disappear.  

Last night, the Rangers' Adolis Garcia hit his 8th - all this month, of course. Congrats. That ties Garcia with - gulp - Joe DiMaggio. Yeah, Joe fucking DiMaggio. Over the next few Octobers, Garcia might pass Lou Gehrig, Yogi and maybe even The Babe. Babe fucking Ruth. And if he does, well, good for him. 

But the pillars of baseball history are sliding into the sea. By lengthening the postseason, and by changing the dynamics of the game, the lords of baseball have thrown overboard one of the sport's most endearing treasures - its statistical tether to the distant past. 

Well.. so be it, I guess. Read no further. Nobody wants to hear an old man complain about the new stuff. It boosts every trope about codgers, and some can assign even nastier aspects, such as the refusal to accept change. I'm just an old Yank fan, whining because his team sucked this year, forcing us to watch Texas play Arizona. 

So, here are some Yankees who miss the career postseason HR list...

Babe Ruth 15
Aaron Judge 13
Yogi Berra, 12 
Giancarlo Stanton 11
Lou Gehrig 10
Anthony Rizzo 9
Joe DiMaggio 8

Soon, the great Yankee glories of the past will simply be numbers in ether. We can call Reggie "Mr. October," but as the teams miss more postseasons, his legacy will be replaced by flashier nicknames. (Garica is "El Bombi.") Soon - maybe already? -  when fans talk about postseason HRs, the gold standard is those cheating Astro teams from the 2020s. 

So, the world turns, right? Congrats to Texas. Beat those assholes from Arizona, and I'll quit whining. 

Friday, October 27, 2023

Wise Words from Dusty Baker

Think he'd be willing to un-retire and, oh, say, manage in the Bronx?



A Wise Tweet


For now, the 2024 Yankee black hole of LF has been eclipsed by the one in CF

While we contemplate the scariness of any deal that would liberate Juan Soto from San Diego, let's pause a moment to ponder the former marquee, most glamourous position in American sports: Playing centerfield for the New York Yankees. Put me in coach... 

This was the hallowed grounds of Joe D, Mickey, Bobby and Bernie - plus a train of hopefuls, from Roger Repoz to Jerry Mumphrey, who came and went, and then retired to airport Ramadas, signing glossies forever as "a former Yankee CF." Wither goest Bubba Crosby?

This winter, the Death Barge has a CF problem, perhaps caused by its insatiable desire to ring some September hype from Jasson Dominguez, it's top CF prospect. We'll never know if The Martian might have stayed healthy, had he only remained in Scranton. But he threw out his elbow trying to impress the Yankee Stadium crowd - just as Ruben Rivera did 27 years earlier - showing off a rifle that now might forever be slightly half-cocked.

Dominguez is out until July, and - gulp - then what? It's not certain that he'll be ready to take over CF. He'll need a rehab in Scranton, and if he struggles there, well, his climb could be compromised, at least until he starts hitting.

In simple terms, the Yankees can't expect him to be their CF in 2024. 

So what can they do in CF? Some options.

1. Sign Clay Bellinger's kid. Arguably, Cody Bellinger was always destined for the Yankees. The problem? He'll cost a shit-ton, probably for 5 to 10 years, and his career stats look suspiciously like those of Giancarlo Stanton, once upon a time. He's coming off a big season (.307, 26 HRs) following a few clunkers. (In 2021, .210 with 19.) He'll turn 29 in July. The Yankees cannot afford another high-cost bust. Hal Steinbrenner has shown he'll only spend up to a certain amount to restore the Yankees. Is CF where that money should go?

2. Sign a stopgap CF. Kevin Kiermaier comes to mind. He's a free agent, and he always hits well against us, so at least we'd get him off the streets. Like Bellinger, he's coming off a big year, (.267, 8 HRs), following a mulligan (In 2021, .228 and 7 HR.) He won't sell tickets. Also, didn't we jettison Harrison Bader because he was - in essence - a Kiermaier? Finally, the guy might have a Gold Glove arm, but his legs will soon turn 34. Pass.

3. Estevan Florial. OMG, we're like those kids in The Blair Witch Project: We keep walking in the forest and coming back to this downed tree! In this case, the tree is Florial, and we can't escape him. He had an arguable breakout season at Scranton (.284, 23 HRs), but he can't break out of the Yankees, who give him no respect. (They think he strikes out too much, this from a team of whiffers.) He could make sense as a three-month slot-holder, if we're waiting for The Martian, but - let's face it: If he ever breaks out, it will be in Kansas City or Detroit. He's the one walking in circles. Sad.  

4. Scrap heap. Of course, this is our fate. Nobody combs a junk yard like Cooperstown Cashman. He'll find a Cameron Maybin or a Billy McKinney - somebody that costs the minimum - and the YES team will gush over Cashman's frugalness.  We went all of 2023 with a clown car in LF, and - frankly - it cost us the postseason. This is what happens when you bury a few players in gold, and they get hurt or just don't produce. You fill in the gaps with whatever you can find.

Playing CF for the fucking New York Yankees used to mean something incredible. 

Now, where art thou, brother Bubba?

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Hey, Yankee fans, great news! Brian Cashman is donning his trading shoes, and all will soon be fixed

According to MLB Rumors - baseball's TMZ - the Yanks and Padres have lately been seen together, flirting. They've been spotted in public, staring dreamily into each other's eyes, and it could be a lead-up to the dirty deed.

A mega-trade. 

Specifically, it would bring Juan Soto, one of baseball's greatest young hitters, to Gotham. It would also loot the Yankee farm system, already rated in the lower tier, at a time when youthful rosters are paramount. And it would be engineered by the GM whose deals have gutted the Yankees over the last three years. 

Wanna figure out how Texas evolved from a 5th place monstrosity to the world series? Well, you start with Brian Cashman's 2021 trade for Joey Gallo, a deal that went south from the gitgo. It was supposed to fill our hole in LF. Instead, it turned it into a crater, so wide and deep that the Yankees are still seeking to fill it, and it might require blowing up their system. 

All of which raises one essential question: 

Do the Yankees - by leaking rumors of double-secret probationary trade talks with San Diego - think they are raising hope among their fans?

Are we supposed to be excited when hearing that Cashman seeks to deal with a team that has multiple suitors? 

This isn't just about the Gallo deal. That was the first of many trade fiascos that turned us into this season's tomato can. The list of acquisitions includes Scott Effross, Harrison Bader, Andrew Benintendi, Frankie Montas and Lou Trivino - which then inspired the LF follies of Jake Bauers, Willie Calhoun, Billy McKinney, Oswaldo Cabrera and Franchie Cordero - not to mention a similar open wound at 3B.

Are we supposed to believe Cashman's trades will revive the Yankees? 

I don't mean to blame Cashman for everything that's gone wrong. He doesn't deserve to be Bud Lited, or Swift Boated or even Dixie Chicked. If we need a proper villain, it should be Half-Ass Hal, who manages to spend just enough to contend through Sept. 1, and then walk away to play the horses. What's wrong with the Yankees? The owner doesn't need to win. When push comes to shove, they're a hobby. 

I'm sorry, folks, but any notion that the Yankees are working on a massive trade for Soto - or, for that matter, anybody... it fills me with dread. 

If you look at the last three years, how can anyone feel differently?

Wednesday, October 25, 2023



At the conclusion of last night's snorefest, one of the MLB apologists in the booth solemnly congratulated the cartel on its "parity." Right. Well, he had the name almost right.

The announcers went on to kvell over how it was that Arizona had lost 110 games and Texas, 102 games, just two seasons ago, and bounced right back.


This is, as usual, baseball applying the wrong lessons from other professional sports to its own, pathetic self. Parity? The Snakes finished 16 games out of first in their division, and 20 behind the best team in the league, the Atlanta Braves. Texas finished "tied" for first in the AL West, but 11 games behind the best team in its league, the Orioles.

This isn't parity, this is the fat kid at the picnic who fell on his face in the potato race, getting a do-over.


Over the past 63 seasons, baseball has added 14 expansion teams, or nearly half of the total that exist. Of those 14, only 1—Houston—has, barely, a winning all-time record. 

Parity? All baseball did—to accommodate this sort of runaway ineptitude—was to make the Long Season, six months of daily games, meaningless. Belay that—MLB also wrecked its own playoffs.

I was looking forward to a tough NLCS between the dynamic Braves and the Bums, the best team in baseball, all told, over the past 5-6 years. No could do. Did you want to see this intriguing young Orioles team in the Series? You're out of luck.

Instead, you're getting the 4th best team in the AL vs. the 6th best team in the NL. Enjoy!

Think of what this might have meant in the past. Under today's rules, legends of the falls such as the 1955 Series might just as easily have been between...the Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs. 1978? Try maybe the Angels against the Padres.

Let's face it: they've taken the "Classic" out of "Fall Classic." 

And it's not just the World Series that has been so degraded. Pennant races—real pennant races—barely even exist. Speaking of 1978, want a race—and a one-game, veins-in-your-head-popping showdown at the end—like the one that year between the Yankees and the Sox? Well, you're not gonna get it. Texas and Houston finished tied for first this year, and instead of a one-game playoff for all the marbles...Houston was declared the winner, on the basis of having won the season series, or more first downs or something.

I know, I know: just how much meaning can we expect in a world where major soccer championships, with billions watching, are decided by the idiocy of penalty kicks?  

But baseball—the greatest game ever invented, our game—was supposed to be above all that. Wasn't it? Wasn't the whole point of all those games over all those days—besides getting to drink beer in the sun—about determining who the TRUE champions were?  

Just when did we start devaluing sustained excellence? The fact that teams can bounce back from 100-plus losses to the Series in just two years doesn't indicate "parity" in any sense of the word. It just means that MLB has figured out enough handicaps, booster seats, and gutter rails to take any real meaning out of a "championship." To make it all...a crapshoot.

Baseball has degraded itself to the point where it might as well be hockey, with the main purpose being that people in distant, ghastly outposts like Edmonton or Tampa never have to acknowledge that their team is really out of it. 

Instead of the World Series trophy, they should give everybody a participation medal. 

Houston is not all it's cracked up to be.


Well, down goes the Shining City in the Swamp.  RIP, Houston.

Hey, I kid, I kid.  I've never been there, and I can still remember how, back in 1986, the assembled populace gave your New York Mets quite a shellacking at some bar. So nothing against the city.

But the Astros...(And why AREN'T they "the Astronauts"?)

Anyway, the former Colt .45's went down to defeat with many eulogies being sung by the official MLB broadcast crew. Bologna, sez me.

First off, the Stros managed to lose a key, seven-game playoff series for the second time in six seasons, WITHOUT WINNING A SINGLE GAME AT HOME.

How the hell is that even possible? But it's true. The Astros also dropped the 2019 World Series, you'll recall, against the Washington Nationals, who weren't even playing the mysteriously vanished Joe Hardy.

The real Houston.

 Beyond that, though, let's examine the late, unlamented Astros "dynasty":

—2017-2019:  One ring, two pennants, three ALCS...all thanks to rampant, under-punished cheating.

—2020:  A Covid season loss in the ALCS. To Tampa Bay. On a neutral field.

—2021-2023:  Two more pennants, one ring. One more ALCS.

That's it. Take away the garbage cans and the hidden wires, and whattaya got? Two trips to the World Series and one Manfred Mann trophy. 


Yank fans must pinch their noses and root for Texas

Small victories, eh? As America faces the dismal likelihood of a repeat Presidential election, we have at least been spared a repeat World Series.

Crazy Philly and the evil Asstros have been scrubbed from our October zeitgeist, leaving the final games to simmering hot nights, no-name rosters and a few strategic ex-Yanks. 

Whomever triumphs, this we know: 2023 will be won by a tomato can from just two years ago, when Texas and Arizona both finished 5th in their divisions. While they rose, the Death Barge sat, cryogenically frozen, in its state of Also-Ran Mediocrity - aka, the new Yankee normal. 

I can't tell you who to root for - no, wait, yes, I can! - because, frankly, it's a no-brainer. 

Throw all unused juju toward the Rangers. Why, Texas? Actually, it's simple...

1. Jordan Montgomery, whose every mound and dugout appearance tweaks the Yankee front office in a way that, if not karmic and righteous, is at least embarrassing. 

This winter, in his likely pursuit of Juan Soto, Trade Wizard Brian Cashman might just deal away the next decade. Any reminder of his sad, sorry trade record over the last three years is a good thing. 

In a perfect world, Montgomery could return as a free agent this winter. But don't count on it. Cashman won't soil himself by reacquiring a living reminder of his failures. So, let's root for Monty, and even fellow ex-Yanks Nathan Eovaldi and the human shower stall, Aroldis Chapman, whose continuing meltdowns remain a source of delight to all abused fans of Gotham sports.

2. Texas has never really hurt us. Okay, yeah, they kicked our sweet asses, 4 games to 2, in the 2010 ALCS - back when, at the deadline, they acquired Cliff Lee, and we got "Fat Elvis" Lance Berkman (for Mark Melancon, no less; thank you, Mr. Cashman!) Ah, but who's counting? We used the Rangers as playoff pinatas during the Torre 1990s, and - really - at least they hate Houston. So there's that. You know... the enemy of my enemy...

3. Arizona. It remains a loathsome outpost in a hateful hellscape that, in 20 years, will be a few Golden Arches protruding from a pile of scorpion-infested sand. The place will soon run out of water, and I say, let them drink cake. 

I have not forgiven - or forgotten - the moments after the 2001 World Series, when a humpback liner fell into CF, and the Diamondbacks celebrated at home plate. The D-Backs p.a. system derisively played "New York, New York," and their fans mocked us in song. This, while firefighters were still pulling friends from the rubble of 9/11. What a classy bunch. And they say Yank fans are obnoxious? In our worst moments, we can't touch them. 

Nope, I will never root for Arizona, ever, unless it's for new, life-saving shipments of ivermectin and/or another hefty government grant to Catsup Curt Schilling - an entrepreneur and D-Back legend. Surely, both will flourish in this lush, desert playground. 

Nope, I'll root for Texas, thank you. And maybe a heat dome or two. In the meantime, how 'bout them Jersey Giants!

Tuesday, October 24, 2023


They got to him.

Under enormous global pressure - (death threats, hacker attacks?) - Derek Jeter yesterday succumbed to the Fox/Arod/Papi crime mob, and donned the tyrannical symbol of his modern Yankee oppressors, attempting to convince people that his previous resistance was merely "a skit." 

A skit.  

Was the Alamo a skit? Was Tiananmen Square a skit? Was the battle of Gettysburg, the Boston tea party, the Flip, the Dive, the slapping of Chris Rock, LT's breaking of Joe Theisman's thigh? Are we living in a skit? And if so, who is writing it? AI machines? Ben Affleck? John Kerry? Nomar Garciappara? 

So crumbles another Yankee fan hope - that The Captain would return - like Godot, or  JFK Jr. - to burn down the current establishment, restore the Pinstripes to glory,  and surgically disappear all those who would claim the epicenter of baseball has moved to Texas, where it's more accepted to carry an assault rifle than a wire cutter. 

The other day, when David Ortiz handed him a cowboy hat - black, of course, symbolizing pure evil - Jeter flatly refused, saying New Yorkers don't wear such offensive monstrosities. 

For a few moments, across this deeply troubled planet, there was hope.  

The event tracked with Papi's previous attempts to break Jeter. Back in June, he handed Jeter a "gift" to be opened on national TV. It turned out to be a Redsock jersey stitched with Jeter's number and name. Jeter quickly discarded it. 

Last night, at least the Astros got their comeuppance. The Fox announcers won't anymore be comparing Houston to the Yankees under Joe Torre. But in this barren millennium, the Astros have won two world series rings: Boston has four, San Francisco has three, and the Cardinals, Astros and Yankees each have two. 

We're still waiting in the pumpkin patch for someone to appear. Is anybody out there?

Monday, October 23, 2023

Ten Fun Facts about future Yankee superstar Yoshinobu Yamamoto

According to the Internet, the Death Barge is a frontrunner this winter for free agent Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto. 

Nobody loves a bidding war more than our Hal Steinbrenner, the only owner we own. And when it's merely money at stake, Dear Leader surely won't let this one get away. 

Thus, let's ponder the 2024 World Championship Yankee Rotation:

(Yes, Hal will work the home front, too.) 

So, who is our next Pinstriped superstar? 

Ten Fun Facts about Yoshinobu Yamamoto:

1. Since 2017, he is a three time Japanese Triple Crown winner, a two-time Pacific League MVP, and with two Eiji Sawamura Awards. (That's right, two Cy Sawamuras! For reference, Kai Igawa and Yu Darvish each won one, and Masahiro Tanaka took two.)

2. He'll turn 26 next August.

3. He is 5'10 inches, 177 pounds, (qualifying him as the long-awaited, mythical cryptid known as "The Yankee Pedro.") 

4. He throws right-handed. (Like Pedro did.)

5. His fastball is said to average 95 mph and top out at 99. (Like Pedro's.) 

6, His splitter is considered to be exceptional, an MLB out-pitch. (See above.) 

7. His career ERA is 1.82, and his won-loss record: 70-29. (Better than Pedro's.)

8. He averages 2 walks per game. (See above.)

9. He is the first Japanese pitcher ever to throw no-hitters in two consecutive seasons. 

10. His no-no in September coincided with a scouting visit from Brian "Cooperstown" Cashman, who for the last 20 years has chased the Great White Whale of pitchers. (Imagine what he was thinking...) 

11. Bonus point... He can keep number 43, currently worn by Jonathan Loaisiga. (Its current legacy is a mix of Raul Mondesi, Rudy May and Jim Ray Hart.) 

The Yankees haven't had an Asian star since Tanaka. The Benihana Steak House radio in-game read-throughs have been silent for too long. 

If Prince Hal really intends to resurrect this team, it must begin with the best pitcher available on the open market. Surely, he will step up to the plate. 

The whole world is watching... The whole world is watching... The whole world is watching...  

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Jeter on the cowboy hat: "New Yorkers don't wear these."

The other night, Papi handed them out, trying to make some dipshit point.

A-Rod put his on. Jeet refused. 

Damn. Why isn't he running the Yankees?

Seriously. He remains an icon of New York, respected by all, the last vestige of Yankee greatness, and even at 49, he remains one of the coolest people on the planet.

He has experience running an organization. He remains among the career leaders in postseason HRs (even though he was not known for power.) 

And he won't wear a silly hat, because he - correctly - understands the zeitgeist of NYC.

Bounce Brian Cashman to a windowless office with a fake putting green and click-clack desk doohickey. Let him design Starr Insurance arm patches and in-game radio ads for Geico and Little Debbie Snack Cakes. Put Jeter in charge of reviving the Yankees.

Instead of waiting for "the next Jeter," why not use the one we still have? 

Saturday, October 21, 2023

I AM Giving Up Being A fan

We all know what it has been like to be a Yankee fan.  But the last couple of decades have been costly to that endeavor.  And to our mental acuity.

We used to cheer the team all the way to the World Series.  Now, we cheer them to an easy loss in the annual "play-in" game, hoping to get a wild card slot in an actual series.  

This season,  I was cheering for 77 Yankee victories so I could win a years' supply of Corn Flakes. 

To survive this Yankee-less post season, I did the following:

1. Rooted against the pigsty, cheating Astros. 

2. Rooted for the Phillies.  They are a real team, considering the course of baseball history.  They have excellent pinstripe uniforms.  They are the home of Cheesesteaks. And good friend went to Temple.

It all started out well.  The Rangers won two quick games on the road.  The Phillies were up 2-1 yesterday, with a 4-2 lead in the 7th inning.  

Yesterday, the Rangers also had a 2 run lead late until Altuve hit a 3 run homer to put Houston ahead.  An event which I predicted before he was at bat, and as witnessed by other fanatics.  The little toad always kills us and all hope for a free America. 

What I am trying to say is it ( everyone I rooted for or against ) all fell apart.  The Phillies lost and are now mortally wounded.  And the Astros won't lose again.  They will win at home and Altuve will dance on second base and call Hal Steinbrenner a great owner. 

So what is the point?  When I root for anyone, their dream dies. And I get gobsmacked. 

So I am moving on to water polo, beach volley and skeet shooting. 

Fuck it.




Jet[s] I can almost remember their funny faces,

That time you told'em you were gonna be marrying' soon

And Jet[s], I thought the only lonely place was on the moon...

The only competition remaining for the Yankees this year is the one that El Duque, our Peerless Leader, invented. That is, the competition to see if they can once again haul in the Tabloids Crown, in the riveting race for small paper covers and back pages.

Shockingly, this is no guarantee, even if it is late October and the Yanks currently have a 26-page lead on their closest competitors, the Mets, 135.5-109.5. That lead seems safe, no matter how much wheeling and dealing the Flushing team does. This signing or that trade just doesn't seem likely to take up extended tabloid frontage or backage.

But...there is another contender out there, one still in an active season that might just be getting started...

Jet[s], was your father as bold as a sergeant-major?

Oh, how come he told you that you were hardly old enough yet?

And Jet, I thought the major was a lady suffragette!


Usually, the Jets would have to split the pro football pages with your New York Football Jints. But the Giants suddenly look SO hapless that it seems doubtful that anyone would want to read anything about them.

Usually, the Jets' season, too, would be done by now. And so it seemed when Aaron "Gasbag" Rodgers went down after only four downs this season. But somehow, the team seems to have revived, even flourished. 

Zach(k) Wilson at QB is not exactly good, but at least he is no longer actively losing games for the Jets. The defense seems to be everything it was supposed to be, and more. 

Could this be the Autumn of the Jets, the air filled with renditions of Paul McCartney's ebullient—if incomprehensible—lyrics to "Jet!"?

Let's do the math. The Jets, right now, are in third place in the Tabloid Covers Race, with 90. That's amazing enough right there. Since 2017, they have never managed more than 69.5 in a year (2018). That leaves them only 45.5 behind the dormant Yankees...with 71 days to go. With two tabloids, that makes 142 possible covers—not even counting the front pages.

It's hard to picture the Yankees winning more than a handful of covers—mostly of the speculative variety that we saw today. But the Yanks will not trade for Juan Soto. They won't trade for or sign anyone of any significance whatsoever. They won't do a damned thing. 

Hot-stove league speculation only drives so many covers. Chances are, 56 covers could make the Jets the champs. That's less than one a day. 

This dethroning would be a remarkable comedown for the Yankees, who have held the title since at least 2017. That year was also the high-water mark for the Bronx team, capturing 286.5 pages during their giddy, surprise run to within a game of the World Series. 

They haven't really come close to that total since, and will probably reach a new low in 2023. Even in the Covid year of 2020, they claimed 152 covers. This is indicative of the team's failing grasp on the public, and would be a matter of concern to the Yankees' front office—save for how resolutely they refuse to pay the least attention to us.

Jet[s], with the wind in your hair of a thousand places

Climb on my back and we'll go for a ride in the sky...

Well, whatever. The Jets threaten fair to oust our boys this season. And that should tell us something.


Why the Yankees might need a variation of FIGHT CLUB to defeat their greatest nemesis

Last night, I was hate-watching the Rangers/Astros game on Zoom with some friends, when a late-inning blast prompted a chorus of angry groans, everybody saying, "God, I hate that little bastard..."

Jose Altuve. 

Fucker did it again. Three-run HR. Basically won the game. 

God, I hate that little bastard... 

I know, I know... it's irrational. It's like being afraid of garden snakes: They can't hurt you, but you scream anyway. And let's admit it: That little runt - cheater that he is - is a great player. Future Hall of Fame. Can't deny it. 

In fact, last night's only positive: The meatball Yankees died last month, so that smirking little tsetse fly cannot hurt us again.

Still, it's what Altuve represents. 

He is the creepy, bearded pygmy who shops at GAP for Kids. 

He is the angry, treacherous imp with the sinister grin. 

He is the big-dick dwarf on the carnival midway, who eyes us with contempt. 

The modern Yankees are built with giants - Judge, Giancarlo, et al - who constantly fall to the tiniest of tots.

Before Altuve, (5'6"), there was Boston's Dustin Pedroia, (5'9"), who killed us for most of 14 years, batting .294 against us and winning two rings. Before him, Pedro Martinez (5'11") helped flip the Curse, along with the speed of Dave Roberts (5'10.") Before them, Kirby Puckett (5'8") made our lives miserable. And before him, Joe Morgan (5'7") powered the Big Red Machine. 

Of course, in the mid-1980s, we made Little Freddie Patek (5'5") - weep in the Royals' dugout, a sublime moment of vindictiveness. And going waaaay back, once upon a time, we had Phil Rizzuto (5'6") who won the MVP award, in part, with his legendary ability to "bunt." Hm. What a strange word. What does it mean? 

Over the last 50 years, we have lost the War of the Runts. And the Bunts. 

Which brings me to Caleb Durbin. 

Who, you ask, is Caleb Durbin? Wait... isn't he the guy, played by Brad Pitt, who explains the 1st and 2nd rules of Fight Club? (First rule: You do not talk about Fight Club. Second rule: YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB!) 

Nope. That's Tyler Durden, who also said, "This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time," words that Hal Steinbrenner ought to ponder.

Caleb Durbin is a 23-year-old Yankee 2B currently playing in the Arizona Instructional League, which is sorta the French Foreign Legion for prospects. Durbin is 5'6" tall (Fun fact: Taylor Swift is 5'10.") Last year, he hit .304 between High A and Double A - with the lowest strikeout rate in the entire Yankee system. Over 12 games with the Mesa whatevers, Durden - I MEAN DURBIN - is hitting .366 with 2 HRs and 6 SBs.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. El Duque is out of his mind. He's actually touting a guy in the Arizona dirt league, after 12 measly games. Yeah, you're right. It's one lonnnnnng fucking drive between the Sonoran Desert and Rivera Avenue. And let's not even suggest that one kid can erase 50 years of suffering at the hands of mean-spirited mini-folk. 

But he's our next, great, small hope. 

Therefore, I am hereby instituting the IT IS HIGH First Rule of Caleb Durbin: 

You do not talk about Caleb Durbin! 

I mean, look... we gotta have something. I can't take another October of that fucking Altuve. God, I hate that little bastard.

Friday, October 20, 2023



Born today in 1931, Spavinaw, OK.

The Yankees must soon decide on the future of Anthony Volpe and - really - do they have a choice?

Yesterday's NY Post claims the Yankee brain trust is banking on Anthony Volpe to hit "a lot better" than .209 next season. Aren't we all?

If 2023 - rapidly devolving into The Year From Hell - offered one redeeming point, it was be that Volpe survived the kind of season that, for less adorable tykes, could trigger a lifetime sentence to Scranton. His status as a former first-round pick and a local hero from Morristown, N.J., may have spared Volpe from a disheartening trip to Triple A. Others aren't so lucky. (See Florial, Estevan.)  

But but BUT... he survived! Yesterday, Volpe was named "finalist" for the AL Gold Glove at SS, and while it's a nice gesture, I do recall Clint Frazier being similarly honored a few years back, prompting a Yankiverse-wide WTF? For most of our lives, MLB didn't name Golden Glove "finalists." Suddenly, it's the Golden Globes? Seriously, was Volpe really the AL's best fielding SS? Humina, humina, humina... I dunno. 

Volpe also became a "20/20 man," which does not mean he'll hang with Hugh Downs and Barbara Walters (or that, at 22, he gets the reference.) He hit 21 HRs and stole 24 bases. Not Shohei. Not Canseco. But not bad. This year, 92 MLB players - practically one in four - bashed at least 20 HRs. In base-stealing, Volpe ranked 28th, just ahead of Thairo Estrada. (Ouch.) Also, after starting hot, he got thrown out a few times, seemed to lose his confidence, and stopped running. 

Again, a long, grueling season. 

But here's the reality of Year II: 

Come spring, a quiet, Double-Secret Probation Doomsday clock will start ticking on Volpe, along with Giancarlo Stanton and maybe Anthony Rizzo. All three will be expected to immediately show that 2023 was a fluke, a mirage, a season for the ashtray. If they're not hitting well by - say - May 30, the fan base, the media and the front office will get mighty antsy. 

Look, there is a chance that, this winter, Brian Cashman will tear this team apart. Volpe could go in a massive deal - Juan Soto, for example. But I wonder if Cashman is ready to roll such cataclysmic dice. His hands are tied in bloated contracts, no-trade clauses and The Two Hs: Hubris and Hype. The last thing he wants is to go down in Yankee history as having traded away the next star SS. He would never escape the Stygian shadow. 

The Yankees still have high hopes for Volpe, and frankly, so do all of us. He could have spent most of 2023 at Scranton, and he would have been spared some horrible weeks. Elon Musk says you improve through failure, not success, and Volpe has yet to blow up on a launch pad. 

If he can hit, say, .280, Volpe could become a generational Yankee star, up there on the marquee with Aaron and Gerrit. But he must show it next spring. If on June 1, he's hitting .200, yikes...

Thursday, October 19, 2023

The Yankees have few - if any - options in the Giancarlo Doom Conundrum.

Lately - as Yank fans recognize their team's ongoing collapse - one existential question has emerged: 

This winter, what will the Yankees do with slugger Giancarlo Stanton? Will they:  

a) Trade him for an ace pitcher.

b) Deal him for a few rising stars.

c) Move him for a package of top prospects. 

d) None of the above.

If you said (d), congrats: You qualify as a cynical, furious, bitter, bile-spitting purveyor of Yankee realism, a reader of Sartre's Nausea, who understands the karmic depravity of the Giancarlo Doom Conundrum. 

The correct answer: The Yankees will do absolutely nothing with Giancarlo, because their roachlike feelers are tied. 

They owe Stanton $98 million through 2027 on a contract with a no-trade clause, and last year, at 33, he hit .194 in 101 games - an output starkly similar to his previous season (.211 in 110.) For a fearsome slugger, he didn't even draw enough walks to reach an on base percentage over .275.

Of course, there are always his high "exit velo" numbers - (which don't include the Ks) - which prove that math should come with a warning label from the surgeon general. According to the internet, Stanton plans to "tweak" his swing this winter, have a glorious 2024 and hit happily ever after.

At best, he'll hit when healthy. At worst - and we've seen plenty of it - he'll be a mid-order sinkhole who can't even beat out slow rollers to shortstops perched on the outfield grass. Last year, he fanned 30 percent of the time and hit into 11 double plays - fourth on the team behind Gleyber (19, yikes!), DJ (14) and IKF (12).  

Nobody will take him, unless Hal adds - say - $70 million in "movie money." But that won't happen because the shell-shocked front office lives in fear that Stanton - once freed from this franchise's toxic orbit - might actually go somewhere and be reborn.

So, recapping the Yankee postseason of change, as best we know: 

Owner Hal Steinbrenner - stay.

GM Brian Cashman - keep. 

Manager Aaron Boone - keep.

DH Giancarlo Stanton - keep. 

Rest of the organization, nobody knows. 

And that, my friends, is the Giancarlo Doom Conundrum.   

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Does Hal Steinbrenner Even Watch The Yankees?

By Son of Godzilla, a.k.a. Paulie Watercooler 

(Son a.k.a. Paulie, Yankee fan and It Is High reader, submitted this through Twitter, in what will be remembered as the last constructive thing to happen there, ever.)

A year or two ago when I was really worried about where the team was headed, I ended up in an social media argument with a Yankees beat writer I thought was too soft on ownership (As we know, this has been most of them). This person said to me, "It sounds like you don't think Hal even watches all the games." And acted like that was so silly of me. I responded that, honestly, the results and decision making made me question his level of engagement. How could he be watching and make such obviously bad decisions? 

Anyway, now it seems like we have confirmation. In my frustration with where we're at, I was rage reading through some recent articles including Judge's comments at his locker. One line absolutely jumped out at me: “I think there’s some things that happened this year that opened people’s eyes,” he said. “Hopefully the right people saw it and we’ll get the right people in the room to discuss those things and figure it out.” 

How is it possible to read that as anything other than our captain, most important player, and the guy Hal supposedly did so much to bring back openly wondering whether the owner even pays attention on a day-to-day basis? Our Captain, a paragon of discretion and class, is openly questioning whether Hal is even tuning in. 

Let that sink in: As Hal supposedly prepares to make changes to the team, Aaron Judge is wondering if he even watches or cares. I am too.

On the Internet, it looks rather easy to trade for Juan Soto. It won't be

The internet - or at least ex-GM Jim Bowden, who now grinds grist for The Athletic - thinks the Death Barge can obtain Juan Soto by trading a package of Michael King, Jhonny Brito, Everson Pereira and Oswald Peraza. Yeah, right. And I'm the Easter Bunny. 

Soto, who'll turn 25 next Wednesday, is a generational star who bats LH, hits for power and average, draws the most walks in baseball, and seems to have played through his diva phase in San Diego. From here, he looks like the next Miguel Cabrera or Bryce Harper, and even on a one-year-rental - (he's a free agent in 2025) - the Paddies won't trade him without demanding at least one emerging star in return. 

That doesn't describe King, Brito, Pereira and Peraza - all functioning lug nuts. (King, sadly, due to his injury history.) To cut that deal, Cooperstown Cashman would throw in his mother's pacemaker. But the concept is a mirage. It's a joke. No,  worse - it's the modern, purest, highest, felony-grade form of crapola.  

It's clickbait. 

Yep, and here I go, swallowing whole. This is an offseason parlor game we play to torture ourselves, when the world has turned to shit. We tell ourselves that Juan Soto could be had without surrendering a pint of blood, when the actual price tag will be measured in kegs. In a heartbeat, Boston would beat that offer. In two, so would the Mets. If you think the Yankees can get Soto without giving up Anthony Volpe and/or The Martian, you've missed the last two years of Cashman's trade follies, which remain an ongoing disaster.

What's most hilarious about Bowden's blather - (and face it, he won: he got my click) - is the 1990s notion that the Yankees, or any of the tomato cans on his Soto Go-to shit list - can trade their way out of mediocrity. To be blunt, Cashman's trades have ruined this franchise. If he hibernated the last two years - (we'd have had to endure without Willie Calhoun, Franchy Cordero, Jake Bauers and Billy McKinney) - who knows? We might now be playing in the postseason.

And then there is Prince Hal. The only thing Hal Steinbrenner brings to the trade table is an enormous, unfathomable avalanche of money - more that he can spend in a dozen lifetimes. He is not savvied. He is not cagey. He is simply unbelievably, obscenely, ridiculously rich. Improving the Yankees will require him to dig deeper into his precious fanny pack and spend some of that Starr Insurance gold on foreign players - oh, those smug, ungrateful employees - rather than beachfront property. 

Sorry to be a Debby Downer here. But trading for Soto won't be painless. And it pisses me off when they make the Yankee situation look less dire. This is an institutional crisis, not fun time swapping Topps cards. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

"The Road Less Traveled," by Randy Frost

(Sent on tiny cat feet, from the hog butcher and esteemed commenter 13bit)


by Randy Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
But I know little about the game
And be one GM, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
Then traded for some broken arms;

I sold the farm, but just as fair,
And since I’m great at 4D chess,
I got some prospects, worse for wear;
And gave them to our training staff
Who never really know or care,

And then I sat back, thinking hard
The sky had started snowing fast.
The season was over, just for us!
Yet knowing how way leads to way,
I thought that I might win next year.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
I bought a has-been hitter, and put
together a rotten farm, but I sleep well
Hal don’t care, that makes all the difference.