Thursday, November 30, 2023


Sevy is now a Met: How do Yank fans NOT shudder with new expectations for his success?

Damn. It's not fair. IT'S... NOT... FAIR! 

I can handle the usual beatings and degradation from the juju gods, recognizing that their systematic torture is done in good sport, and constant suffering will make me a better fan. Yes, they kick us in the head. No problem. (The x-rays say no brain cancer, just a fractured skull, and I'll be back soon, riding that nuke with Slim Pickens.) 

Still, now and then, you see that freight train coming, full blast, 80 mph, and you can't move, and you simply must ask: Okay, juju gods, isn't enough, enough?

I say this because today, after 11 years of watching Luis Severino slog toward what we thought would be Yankee greatness, Sevy is now a Met. The Yankees would not outbid them on a one-year, prove-yourself, $13 million contract. 

Instead, they're expected to bestow a similar deal upon Frankie Montas, who has done nothing but ice his shoulder over 16 withering months as a Yankee. It's the Steinbrenner family tradition of valuing outsiders above the hired help. What's especially concerning is how quickly the Mets moved. They wanted Sevy, and they got him: A sweet, swift backhand to our frontal lobes.

Okay, at this point, I must dodge the tomatoes being chucked my way because - yes - I understand the frustration of watching Sevy all these years. He once looked like the second coming of Pedro Martinez, only to barely rate comparison with Tippy Martinez. For the last five seasons, he constantly disappointed us, either by tweaking things or failing in new and creative ways. 

Still, everyone here knows what's going to happen, am I right? Who wants to tell us? Class? Raise your hands. Okay, Dougie, in the back, with the cigarette, tell the class. 

"He's going to thrive, Mr. Duque. He's going to challenge for the Cy Young, the way Sonny Gray did this year. He's going to succeed, just like Justin Montgomery and Nathan Eovaldi. And when he pitches against us in the Subway Series, he'll throw a shutout. And in the locker room afterwards, he'll tell everybody how happy he is to be a Met, and how much he was abused by the fans-"

Okay, that's enough. Good job. Thank you, sit down. 

Look... we all knew Sevy was a goner. Frankly, I'm surprised the Redsocks didn't outbid the Mets. He's not even 30. He  could be the next Bartolo. He could pitch for years, decades, centuries...

Another chapter in this Yankee nightmare has turned a page, though it might not have ended. If Sevy succeeds, it will add power to the image of the Yankees as this era's most toxic organization in baseball. 

Believe it or not, I've chosen those words carefully. I believe this is the most important Yankee offseason in this millennium. With a bad signing or rotten trade, the Yankees could easily fall into a five-year quagmire, like the late 1980s, adding to the longest championship drought in their history. By the time the Yankees next win a world series, we could be dust, and their reign as baseball's premier franchise could be a punchline of the distant past. 

On the other side, if they acquire, say, two great players - (Masamoto, Bellinger, Soto, Snell?) - they can challenge Baltimore over the next few years. 

Whatever they do this winter, it will have long term consequences. 

And Sevy is now a Met. Damn. Why am I feeling so queasy? 

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

How the Steinbrenner Family Understands Baseball.


Lately, I have noticed in these spaces a lot of joking—I HOPE it's joking!—about finding a way to make sure that Giancarlo Stanton, how shall we say it? 'won't be around here no more.'

Stop it! Stop it right now, before we get assorted government agencies sniffing around our beloved website. 

Besides, it's not Giancarlo's fault that he accepted gazillions of dollars to work out until his body inevitably breaks...well, all right, it's partly his fault. But who among us would have turned that money down? And just look at how he rocks a flouncy, transparent white...I dunno what that is. Blouse?

Never mind! A much easier way to get rid of Giancarlo, as I have suggested numerous times, is just play him until he breaks. Ellsbury the guy, you know what I'm talkin' about?

But let's face it. That's never going to happen. It's never going to happen because that's not how the Steinbrenner family thinks about ballplayers. Never has been, never will be.

You do some reading back into the history of the shipping company that the Steinbrenners' inherited and ran into bankruptcy, and you learn how thoroughly unhappy everyone at the company was. George's father and grandfather were apparently slavedrivers, torturing all their employees. Any raise meant an exponential increase in hours and expectations. People HATED that company.

That's exactly how George and HAL think of ballplayers, too. George was apparently an erratic tyrant back in the Yankees' home office, while HAL seems to be beloved. But that doesn't matter.

When it comes to the guys on the field, the expectation is the same: "I gave them lots of money. Why aren't they performing?"

You saw that mentality reflected in the Brown-Noser-in-Chief's statements about how, in 2024, we have to get Giancarlo and DJ rebooted, or whatever he said, and back to playing as they once did. As always, the Greatest Office Politician Whatever Was, was echoing his chief's thoughts.

It never registers that guys like Stanton or LeMahieu, after years of injuries—after aging into the upper realms of ballplayer lifespans—will never, ever be what they were before. Not without huge helpings of special joy juice, and maybe not even then. 

They're done, finished. Get what you can for them, write off the money, and move on. 

But just like his father, HAL will never accept that. Getting worse with age? They're supposed to get BETTER with age! Giancarlo Stanton is supposed to be one more office worker, toiling away ever harder because of all the raises and promotions he's got, banging that office calculator until the big heart attack leaves him sprawled facedown over his desk one day.

See you in 2029!


No Ohtani? No problem! Let's celebrate the looming treaty between Hal and Steve

Last winter, Mets owner Steve Cohen talked up his wanton desire to sign Aaron Judge, the best free agent on baseball's open market. But when the bidding heated up, Cohen's free-spending Mets fell strategically short. 

Then, coincidentally, when Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander became available, Hal Steinbrenner and the Yankees achieved radio silence.

You can't predict baseball, Suzyn. But human nature? That's another thing. 

Once upon a time, before the furious ghost of Marvin Miller stalked the halls of Cooperstown, the Players Union would scream "Collusion!" over happenstances that carried the sulfurous aroma of a well-cooked deal. Remember shame? Dishonor? Ah, what concepts! Those were the days, back before politicians became oil cans, before radio became legalized payola, and before bratty billionaires became swaggering gods - back before the Yanks became walking sandwich boards for Starr Insurance.

Okay, enough carping. Today, let's celebrate that the Yankees and Mets should easily be able to cut an invisible and unprovable deal on the future of Shohei Ohtani. It's simple: The Yanks will flap their arms, wave some Benjamins, and carefully finish 2nd in bids for the Japanese slugger. Then, in their quest for Yoshinobo Yamamoto,  the Mets will pull a financial hammy. Each NY team gets a star. They never actually bid against each other. After that, it's all about divvying up the scraps - a Keirmaier here, a Severino there. Everybody happy! Isn't capitalism fun?

Besides, the Yankees cannot realistically sign Ohtani because:

1. They already have a full-time DH.

2. Their DH is signed through 2028.

3. Their DH has a no-trade clause.

4. They owe their DH $100 million.

Wait! Huh? No! Don't get me wrong here! I'm not suggesting - in the slightest way - that the Yankees and Mets would ever, ever collude. That would be unethical. If anyone somehow thinks I believe these pillars of American righteousness and thrift would ever, EVER, mar the pristine waters of Norman Rockwell capitalism, shame on you. GET OUT! NOW! YOUR IT-IS-HIGH HALL PASS IS HEREBY REVOKED! Such shenanigans simply will not happen. 

But if they somehow seem to happen, well, let's enjoy it. Go, Hal! Go, Steve! Hang in there, Marvin. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

They claim the Yankees might sign Frankie Montas to a one-year deal. If so, why not Sevy?

According to the Internet, the Yankees might soon sign RH starter Frankie Montas to a one-year, "show-me-the-money" deal, as Brian Cashman seeks to salvage something from his epic 2022 trade disaster.

And don't gemme wrong: Maybe it's a good idea. Frankie the Yankee will be 31, coming off arm surgery, with a lifetime ERA of 3.90. He returned late last year and threw 1.1 innings - scoreless, FWIW. Why not a one-year rental? What could go wrong? 

But but BUT... one year of Montas looks suspiciously like a deal the Yankees seem determined to jettison. I'm talking about Luis Severino -Montas' statistical astral twin - who might leave for an angry place, such as Toronto or Boston. Last year, Sevy threw 89 generally awful innings, an ERA of 6.65. The Yankiverse cried UNCLE, ending the Sevy rom-com that began as a prospect in 2012. 

Basically, we should expect Sevy to be replaced by Montas: 

As Pete Townsend might say, Meet the new loss, same as the old loss. 

Why sign Montas instead of Sevy? Some observations...

1. Sevy, at 30, is a year younger.

2. Part of Sevy's problem last year was an attempt to come back too soon from injury; he got rocked.

3. The Yankee way seems to be: Target the player, blame the player, jettison the player, and watch him thrive elsewhere. 

Wouldn't it be nice to break that mold?

I realize that keeping Sevy is not a popular argument. Last month, I made the case and nearly lost a few fingers. (Note: The death threats were turned over to the FBI, and arrests are expected.) I don't oppose signing Montas. I just wonder about letting Sevy go. The devil you know... ya know? 

Frankly, we've seen this movie before: We'll sign Montas, and he'll suck. Then we'll face Sevy at Fenway, or Houston, and scream WTF as he shuts us down.

I say, don't let him get away so easily. For the rest of his life, Sevy should lashed to Cashman's whale. If he's going to sign a short-term deal, it should be with the hell-bound Yankees. The Starr Insurance Death Barge must send a message to all the Hickses and Gallos, to the Baders and Sonny Grays, to everybody who skips merrily into the Yankee inferno: 

Nobody gets out alive. 

Monday, November 27, 2023

The Everything Bagel That Is Sports.

I've been a USC football fan since 1967. Not for any good reason. I didn't go to the school, don't have any family, friend, or emotional connection to it.

Truth be told, the USC-UCLA game that year was the first college game I ever watched on TV, and it happened to decide the national championship. It was won on an incredible run by an amazing back whose name I'm blanking on (cough, cough), and I was hooked.

So imagine my surprise when I tuned in to a USC game late in this disastrous Trojan season and learned that, starting next year, the school will be playing in the Big Ten. So, it seems, will half the teams in the country. "The Big Ten" is now "The Big 18," playing a schedule you can follow with this handy-dandy chart:

There aren't going to be any divisions, just a "playoff" between the two teams determined to be the best in the new, mega conference.  

Confused? Well, you shouldn't be. 

The "Big Conference" will have schedules determined by the "Flex Protect XVIII Model," which "features a combination of protected opponents and rotating opponents for universities. Teams "will play every other conference opponent at least twice—once home and once away—and will play rotating opponents no more than three times in a five-year period."

(I swear, I'm not making this up.)

Once upon a time, the major college sports conferences stayed pretty much the same for 50, 60, even 80 years, building up hallowed rivalries. No more. Some years ago now—all driven by television money—the biggest conferences started to rapidly expand, contract, and even explode and collapse, like fiery supernovas turning into dwarf stars. 

Who plays what where? Who knows? Good thing there's some AI like Flex Protect to keep it straight for us. 

This holiday weekend, I turned on a highlights show to see my New York Knicks in a uniform I did not recognize. Turns out, according to Wiki, that they have many different unis now. I truly could not even determine just how many. There is the "Association," the "Icon," the "Statement," the "Classic," and the "City," as in the loathsome, "City Connect" gear-grubbing, by which all pro teams now pretend to be "connecting" with their inner-city fans.

There is also a uniform for "Noche Latina events," and one for "St. Patrick's Day" that was also worn on Christmas Day, and a superhero, "Kryptonite versus Superman" uni, and HEY LADY!  

Your New York Yankees, of course, already disfigured their pinstripes with an ad patch this season. More, I'm sure, will follow—not to mention the special unis to "fight cancer" and "honor our armed services." Both noble goals that are besmirched by these tawdry efforts to sell more merchandise.

But that's just the thing. Sports isn't sports anymore. Like everything else in America, it's just one more platform to sell you something else.

It's the same motivation that brings you ridiculous, meaningless promotions like the NBA's "in-season tournament"—or postseason tournaments so expanded and extended that you end up with a sixth-place team battling for a World Series title.

It's everything, all the time, all at once. 

It's games broadcast over at least half-a-dozen different networks and streaming devices. It's the Yankees' own home channel being less and less about baseball and more and more about all the other things various sponsors want to sell you: golf lessons, cooking shows, workout gear, soccer and basketball.

It's regular seasons that now seem to last all year round. "Hey, a 13-game college football season! A 17-game pro season! What could possibly go wrong?"

Predictably, everything. Mostly with the human beings forced to participate in our endless expanding sports universe—at least, if they want their share of the take.

Is every quarterback in the NFL injured this year? Sure seems like it (and if not, give it a few more weeks). Is every baseball star now out for at least a month every season? And scheduled for major surgery in the postseason?

The players are the sacrificial lambs in all this, but they don't bleat much because they've got guaranteed contracts that pay them like the robber barons of yore. Or at least, they don't complain much now. We'll see how they are in a few years, with knees they can barely walk on, and brains that have been battered into an early senescence. 

Because human beings are expendable in all this, at every level. The players can't just be players, they have to be torqued up to musculatures and performance levels that could not have survived the old seasons, much less the super-extended, extra-value pak, bonus edition levels of our "play."

The fans are sacrificed as well, forced to constantly pay more and more for less and less. A few of us around here have noticed that baseball has become, well, boring in its present incarnation. So has basketball—all three-pointers and dunks, with the players spending much of the game seemingly warming up. 

So has football. I cheered mightily when that Patriots kicker missed a 35-yard field goal yesterday—cheered mostly because I wouldn't have to endure overtime in a game played that incompetently.

Same can be said for a lot of games these days. Big surprise, what with all the best players constantly injured.

But hey, suit the guys up again in the old blue-and-red-green-gold-russet-yellow-pink-cammo and send them out there to do battle against those no-goodniks from State-Tech-crosstown-up north-down south-due east-far west-round the horn and doesy-do. Our beloved stars (or benchwarmers) will battle long enough for us to (maybe) find them on our pay-per-view device of (not) our choice. 

That bagel? Make it everything, please. Nothing tastes like anything anymore anyway.


It's almost December, the Winter Meetings begin next week, and MLB is still waiting for someone to break the ice

Next Monday, the Winter Meetings - aka baseball's annual Gathering of the Juggalos - begin in Nashville. By then, maybe all of existence will have changed: The Iceland volcano, the wars, hurricanes, floods, The Singularity, Travis & Taylor... who knows? By next Monday, we could be paddling down Broadway in a file cabinet, spearing pelicans and pondering Alex Verdugo in LF. 

But but BUT... I'm guessing otherwise. 

I'm thinking that no GM out there wants to pull the first trigger, to start the three-legged race and set a price tag that everyone spends winter seeking to beat.

Which means another week of nothingness.

Hey, I got nothing against nothingness. Usually, nothingness beats everythingness, which doesn't always mean anythingness. The Death Barge could sign Cody Bellinger, Matt Chapman, the Japanese Babe Ruth and the Korean Ichiro - and still finish behind Boston next October. Whatever happens this week, the YES Men will cheer, the Gammonites will bloviate, and we'll plan our victory parade until mid-May, when this hapless team loses three straight to SUNY Purchase. 

That's what happened last year. Fess up, everybody: We drunkenly toasted the re-signing of Aaron Judge and addition of Carlos Rodon. We penciled in Oswaldo Cabrera for 30 HRs and saluted Hal and his wallet. He had bought the division, or at least a wild card. Remember how we predicted 90 wins? It was a great December, overall, maybe the best month of the year.

Nobody remembers who wins December.  

So here we are, waiting for... Whatever. It could happen this week. Could the Yankees open their checkbook first, and swaggeringly tell the world they are back? 

I doubt it. Get out your best clown suit. It's still November, but he Juggalos are circling. Soon, the happenings will start to happen.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Yanks being linked to all top free agents means one thing: They might be playing a runner-up strategy

According to the Internet, the Yankees have been "talking" talking with Shohei Ohtani. About what? is a valid question, because the Japanese Babe Ruth:

1. Would be their second stratospheric-priced DH.

2. Famously refuses to negotiate contracts in public.

3.  Will not pitch in 2024. 

4. Hates to be called the Japanese Babe Ruth.

5. Wants to reach a world series, (which, as we all know, the Death Barge hasn't done since Obama took office, Michael Jackson died, and Susan Boyle sang "I Dreamed a Dream.") 

So... WTF? Has NYC's virginal innocence coaxed within Ohtani a Dickensonian change of heart? (That's a joke, by the way.) Or could the Yankees be playing a "2nd Place" strategy in the upcoming free agent scrum?

That is, finish second in every bidding - always soooo close - leaving their Gammonitic minions to assure the fan base that Hal Steinbrenner did his absolute best at flinging hot checks into the fiery pit. They'd be outbid for Ohtani. First-runner-up on Yamamoto. A finalist for Bellinger. They'll take home a participation trophy - Kevin Kiermaier? - for their bread mold exhibit in the science fair.    

Fun Fact: I have no clue what Hal is thinking. 

Ancillary Fact: Neither does anybody else, perhaps including Hal. 

Whatever is happening - or not - our teen slumber party will soon be shattered by the cold reality of the winter's first big signing. From there, all Hell - or all Hal - will break loose.

Right now, though, if the Yanks have anything going for them, it's that they can sit out the Ohtani auction, because he truly doesn't fit their needs (which means nobody will take Giancarlo and his contract.) They can target free agents that actually make sense. (This ignores the ridiculous proposed deals for Juan Soto, which appear daily across the Yankiverse.) 

At some point, a pebble will loosen and tumble. The mountain will crack, and the volcano will blow. It might happen next month. It might happen next week. All we can do is wait. And maybe talk to Ohtani. 

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Don't give him any ideas.


So yesterday we got to hear John Harper, the elfin sportswriter and commentator, opine on SNY's SportsNite that the Yanks should think about picking up Joc Pederson, Tommy Pham, and Alex Reyes.

Hey, before I go any further, I should make it clear that this was not something the pixieish Harper volunteered. SNY asked if Harper had to name three, "Black Friday," BARGAIN pick-ups for the Mets and Yankees, who would he choose.

Stuck with those parameters—and I don't know about you, but I HATE it when my parameters get stuck, particularly going up a hill—Harper's picks seem quite reasonable. 

But "reasonable" is not what we need.

The problem here isn't the puckish Harper or SNY. It's that Brian Cashman probably has had something like this in mind all along, ever since the last pitch of the 2023 season. For all we know, he may have been watching this broadcast from the comfortable slumber of his leather couch and jumped up, spilling his turkey leftover sandwich everywhere.

"That was gonna be my big surprise!" he cried. "That's EXACTLY what we need!"

Lord help

All three of these guys are classic Cashman pick-ups. 

Pederson and Pham both play many different positions—and hit at none of them. Oh, they hit all right. Just all right. Sometimes. They've both been on many playoff teams and have had some good postseason series, which got them a lot of attention. 

Both are also in their thirties—Pham will be 36 next March—and both are slowly, inevitably declining, as players will. Pham has a reputation of being a hard-nosed hustler—mostly because he blasted the Mets' work habits last year—but it's also worth noting that he's been on 7 different teams in the last 8 seasons, indicating that just maybe he's the problem?

The third recommendation from the leprechaunish Harper, Alex Reyes, is from Elizabeth, NJ, which is nice. And Reyes has long been a classic Cashman dumpster dive:  a one-time, top prospect,

who has shown flashes of brilliance in his brief major-league career, but has been sidelined already, at 29, by TJ surgery and another, serious shoulder injury. Harper thinks he could be had for a mere bag-a-shells, as that great thespian, Ralph Kramden, would say, and might be back by August to contribute.


Hey, look, I get the thought experiment. And if the Yanks were otherwise all set, any one—or all three—of these guys might make three easy pieces to complete the championship puzzle.

But that's not the case—and what I worry about instead is that Brian the Brain looks upon a trifecta like this as just the ticket to take our minds off what promises to be yet another, epic off-season fail.

It's Black Friday weekend, and that means one thing: John Sterling and John Melencamp, teaming up to say what they saw


Let's face it: The Yankees won't do anything this weekend, which means they can't screw anything up - at least, this weekend. 

So, enjoy yourself! Ride a pony! Eat a bagel! Fall in love with love! Any day now, the cruel shoes will start to drop on 2024, and - yes, they'll surely bring ruin and despair. 

The Yankees are neck-deep in a roster-wide, bloated-payroll, decade-long mess, and whatever they do, it'll probably backfire. 

But but BUT... not this weekend. Not today. Not tomorrow. So, breathe. Don't think about Kevin Kiermaier starting in CF, or Luis Severino winning the Cy Young Award for Boston. Eat a turkey sandwich. 

Mom is schztupping Santa Claus. Get it on video, and your Christmas wishes will be fulfilled. 

Friday, November 24, 2023

It's Black Friday, which means one thing: John Sterling and Bruce Springsteen are welcoming a certain free agent to town

Mr. Yamamoto, with fans like these, why would you wanna go anywhere else?


Thursday, November 23, 2023

Yanks' long nightmare is over: They have a new bench coach!

For years, the Yankee bench has been a silent problem. Nobody wished to speak its name. The YES men and the Gammonites kept strangely quiet. But whenever a Yankee plopped his tender tush into place, you saw the grimace and knew something was horribly wrong. 

Splinters are part of baseball. If a butt wanders, it might as well be riding a porcupine. But new bench coach Brad Ausmus - announced yesterday - should bring stability, warmth, texture and a smooth-gliding comfort to the Yankee workbench. 

Welcome, Brad, and happy Thanksgiving to all us turkeys, everywhere.  

PS: Check out Alibi Ike's All-Thanksgiving Team, posted below, and add a few.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

MLB All-Thanksgiving Team!

1B Stuffy McInnis
2B  Damian Rolls
SS   Joe Bean
3B  Spud Johnson

OF  Lawrence Plenty
OF  Turkey Stearnes
OF  Cranbarry Bonds

C    Yam Yaryan

RHP  Paul Stuffel, Tom Butters
LHP  Bob Sprout, Beany Jacobson

Mgr.  Pie Traynor

Things to shout after you've had too much to drink at the Yanksgiving family feast

Everybody knows the true meaning of Thanksgiving: 

Owning the libs and mocking the MAGAs, in front of a terrified family over a 1,000- calorie snort. 

But tomorrow is Yanksgiving, our yearly chance to bloviate at helpless nieces and nephews about the owner, front office, players and media that covers this massive clown show of sports and culture.

As a big time blogger/truth-teller, I write each lecture in advance, keeping within my 30-minute window, punctuating with swigs of courage, though I do sometimes awaken to find myself alone and breathing through a plate of mashed potatoes. 

Here in advance, are tomorrow's major talking points, printed in CAPS to adequately portray the fury that shall erupt from my righteous breasts.





Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Yerry De Los Santos, Yankee for a minute?

Every now and then, in the bowel movement of a dreary month - like, well, now - the Death Barge briefly brings aboard a new and mysterious stranger, much like the episode of Gilligan's Island where a loopy, beefcake surfer rides a tsunami all the way to their tropical paradise, prompting a lustful competition between Ginger and Marianne, which eventually requires the castaways to band together and convince the interloper to surf back to civilization. (Note: He hits his head on a rock and suffers amnesia - shocker here - stranding the group for another season.)  

In this case, the wandering traveler signs a Yankee contract, fills a roster slot, gets replaced by a slightly warmer body and surfs off into the cold, cruel winter. And for the rest of his life, he can appear at Ramada Inn card conventions under a sign that says, "Former Yankee..."


That's how I see yesterday's signing of Yerry De Los Santos, a 25-year-old (turns 26 Dec. 12) bullpen lug nut, by way of Pittsburgh, whose 3.33 ERA last year (over 24 scattered innings) would have placed him between Ryan Webber (3.14) and Anthony Misiewictz (3.38) in the 2023 Yankee pig book.

De Los Santos throws a sinker, which the Yankee AI brain trust likes. He's a 6'2" righty from the Dominican Republic, with two minor league options, who won't become a free agent until 2029, when we're all dead anyway,  so - I mean - WHATEVER. He sorta fills the pre-Thanksgiving news gap, which is increasingly filled by things like pickleball, cornhole and pumpkin chucking. 

But there's a reason why I'm devoting an entire post to him today, and it's the effortless way his name rolls over your gin-bloated tongue.

Yerry De Los Santos. 

Lyrical, no? Up there with my all-time fave: Ramiro Mendoza. 

Let the record show that Yerry De Los Santos donned a Yankee cap in the cold final months of 2023. I mean no disrespect, but my bet is that he'll be gone by Dec. 31, replaced by a Moonlight Graham. Who knows, maybe a rogue wave will take him to another city, another team. As for us Yank fans? This is a tale of our castaways. We're here for a long, long time...

Monday, November 20, 2023

From the Desk of Lonn Trost.


Dear Chief,

Taking to heart what you're always telling us about showing some initiative, me an' Randy have come up with some really first rate, crackerjack, can't-miss promotional ideas for the off-season and 2024.

We warn you now: grab hold of your socks, 'cause otherwise they're gonna be blown off!

First, nothing is more popular than our heart-warming salute to veterans before each game, right? We was tryna think about what other patriotic themes we could explore, and what we came up with was...

—Civil War Re-enactments! Who doesn't love watching fat old guys dress up like half-starved, malaria-ridden soldiers from 160 years ago, parade around, and pretend to fight?? We propose signing up hundreds of re-enactors (don't worry, they come cheap) to "fight" a major Civil War battle before every home Sunday game this season. Bonus treat: the slogan we came up with. "We may be Yankees, but we also have a Rebel heart." Huh, huh?

—Vindication Week. The press is full of stories about how many Yankees were in the playoffs this season. Well, why not make lemons into lemonade, and turn that frown upside down? Obviously, this is really a vindication of your judgement, Chief, so let's accentuate the positive, and take a week to re-sign all those players who you knew had it in them, but were forced to get rid of prematurely because of those impatient fans?

We're talking one week in which we re-ink, say, Aaron Hicks, Sonny Gray, Aroldis "I'd Rather Be Lucky Than Good" Chapman, and, yes, Joey Gallo. Boy, will all those know-it-all fans be embarrassed! And...grateful.

—Yankees Debt Clock! Sure, we've all seen those National Debt Clocks, with their completely meaningless array of figures, purporting to show what the country as a whole—and each individual family—owes...somebody. 

Any-hoo, how about a "Yankees Debt Clock"? One that would show, say, how much our Beloved Leader would owe if he signed all the free agents those greedy fans want—and how much it would mean prices would have to increase, for each fan's trip to the ballpark? 

Bet you'd see some frugality converts then!

—Your Name on Our Uniforms! Look, Starr Insurance is just the tip of the iceberg. How much do you think we could raise by having fans bid to have their names—and, maybe, a picture of themselves or a loved one—on the back of our new billboards uniforms?

—Mascot! Time for the Yankees to catch up with the rest of professional sports.

The possibilities here are endless. Maybe a "Freddie and the Frying Pan" tribute mascot? Or how about "Cranky Yankee," to rib all those angry, malcontent fans we seem to have now (Bet they wouldn't even get it.) promote one of your favorite charitable causes, Chief, we could have "Homeless Yank." Sure, he mostly lies on the ground and drinks, but so what? Would you dance around on a dugout if you were homeless? Makes you think.

Randy insisted that I include his top choice as well:

Elfus, the heart-warming mascot inspired by a certain individual known to rappel down Stamford buildings about this time of year.

During the season, Elfus could clamber up and down the Stadium walls instead, bringing joy and laughter to all who see him. And speaking of our ballpark...

—Time for a new stadium! How about that extreme weather event this past summer, huh? No one can expect their beloved Yankees to play when the sky is full of fire, right? (In fact, possibly climate change is to blame for everything that went wrong this year. Not saying that anything did go wrong, oh, no!)

So...isn't it time to cover the already aging, 14-year-old Yankee Stadium III? And...while the city takes that on, where do the Yankees play? We propose a brand new stadium, to be built (by the taxpayers, of course)...across the street, where Yankee Stadium always used to be!

What's more, it should be state-of-the art! We'll need that to compete with Tampa Bay, and its new stadium, above! Covered, of course, with just 30,000-seat capacity.'s where we think outside the box! (Randy, get that damned box off us!) Our new park will be...FIRST ALL-LUXURY-BOX stadium, EVER!

Hey, are there really more than 30,000 New York fans who we want in—or who can afford—a new park like this one??? Make it all luxury boxes. Fans will become permanent "key holders," buying their boxes like condos (along entirely reasonable "maintenance fees). Everyone will LOVE it! And no more worries about pesky booing and chanting! Plus, we have in mind all kinds of in-house amenities. Maybe a 3-D IMAX theatre, a gentlemen's club ("The Gloves Are Off—And Everything Else!"), maybe a gym.

What will happen to YS III when it's finally renovated, I hear you ask?

Two words: PADEL BALL! And/or, INDOOR SOCCER! Or one word: pickleball! Once YS III is refurbished, it can become the brand-new, panel ball/pickleball/indoor soccer/gaming tournament venue Beloved Leader has always dreamed of—for all those who can no longer afford baseball!

Don't worry, Chief! We'll always be devoted to baseball, first and foremost. But these boffo new ideas are guaranteed to raise income and respect exponentially!

Happy Thanksgiving—and don't choke on any turducken! (That was Randy's joke.)


Where have you gone, Mr. Steinbrenner, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you...

Today, Yoshinobu Yamamoto becomes an MLB free agent, a prize to be auctioned off among the most odious billionaire egos on the planet.  

Not since 2018, when Manny Machado and Bryce Harper toured Gotham - looking for love in all the wrong places - has the Yankiverse been infused with so much hope and desperation over one potential signing.

At age 25, Yamamoto is, by far, the market's most intriguing pitcher. He will cost some lucky owner more than $200 million, plus the generous posting fee to his Japanese counterparts. 

What he won't cost is a first-round draft pick and bundle of prospects, neither of which the Yankees can afford to lose. At stake is money, which the Yankees have, and their owner's absolute will to win, which - well - remains a bit sketchy.

We will soon learn how badly Hal Steinbrenner wants to win in 2024.

For Yank fans, it is the central question this winter. 

Yamamoto may already be leaning 
our way. (Thanks AboveAverage)
The Yankees might trade for Juan Soto - the most active MLB rumor since Brian Cashman's anger management classes - but such a deal could drain our farm system for a decade. Also, by himself, Soto cannot bring a pennant. He'll need protection in the lineup, and the Yankees will need pitching, pitching, pitching... 

Add Yamamoto and Soto, and maybe the rest can can be finessed. (Cody Bellinger could help, but there might be better ways to spend the money.) 

Across town, Mets owner Steve Cohen has made his obsessions quite clear. He will spend whatever it takes. So have several owners, including the Dodgers, Astros, Redsocks, Cubs, Phillies and Blue Jays.  

Hal will have to outbid them. There is no NYC discount, no tradition of greatness, no  postseason guarantees, no chances of trading their way into a championship. It's up to Hal and his money. 

Joltin' Joe has left and gone away. Hey, hey, hey.  

Sunday, November 19, 2023

It's time for the Yankees to reclaim their role as THE YANKEES.

Somebody once said time is God's way of keeping everything from happening all at once. He was probably a Yankee fan, stuck in some dreary November, waiting for the shoes to drop... like us, like now, like right now.

Because here we are, sniffing the usual sites for the dank scent of raw speculation and whispered rumors. Nobody knows nuthin. Frankly, I can't write another dipshit paragraph about Brian Cashman, whose legacy in Cooperstown is now visiting the Farmers' Museum for selfies with the Cardiff Giant. The Gammonites used to talk him up for a future bronze plaque. They don't enshrine GMs who win once in a millennium.  

Any day now, the volcanos will blow. It will start with a middling free agent, a Lucas Giolito or a Marcus Stroman - and then, ka-boom, goodbye Iceland. After the first domino topples, time will halt. Contrary to God's plan, everything will happen - all at once. Strap in, everybody. Winter is coming.

In the face of this upcoming scrum, the Death Barge has one weird advantage: The Yankees doesn't need to chase Shohei Ohtani, the biggest free agent prize. Why bother? We won't get him. The Mets, Dodgers and somebody, God-knows-who, will be stuck in the doorway like Mo, Larry and Curly, while the Yankees look elsewhere. We already have a $400 million DH, and it sucks. Why add another? 

That said, it will soon be time for the most profitable franchise in American sports to exercise its greatest advantage: Money, cabbage, dough, klabba, zilpnab... 

That means signing Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the 25-year-old reincarnation of Masahiro Tanaka. 

Add Yamamoto to the rotation, and the Yankees are a contender - maybe not for the division title, but at least for the expanded playoffs.

Remember, when you sign an ace pitcher...

1. He doesn't replace your No. 2. He replaces your worst, your No. 5. In this case, it's Randy Vasquez. Huge leap.

2. He works maybe 200 innings, saving your bullpen. Every part of your pitching staff is positively affected.

3. He gives you a one-two punch - (with Gerrit Cole) - in the postseason, or any three-game series. 

4. You keep him from Boston and/or Toronto.

The Yankees need Yamamoto, the most intriguing free agent out there this winter. Soon, it will be time for the franchise to reclaim its name. All it takes is money that Hal will never even miss... and maybe a little humility. The time is almost here. 

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Listening to soccer.

Did you know that the NBA is in the midst of its very first, "In-Season Tournament" right now? Played for something that may or may not be known as, "the NBA Cup"?

You might have picked this up on the local news, because during official "tournament" games, they cover the court with stick-ons telling you so. ZOWIE! The excitement!

Why is the NBA doing something so silly and, well, boring, I hear you ask? Well, mostly because it's the sort of thing soccer does.

Association football, as they know it elsewhere, is always doing things like holding special cup tournaments and "champions league" competitions, all around the world, in what are essentially their year-round, never-ending seasons. The little men with big bank accounts who run professional sports in America look at soccer's success and are filled with envy.

How can we make our sports international favorites, and thus make even more money than the ungodly amounts we already do? they ask themselves, and their minions.

Thus we get NFL teams dragged over to Europe for league games, and the idiotic, career-ending "World Baseball Classic," and now the "NBA Cup." Baseball, which is so insecure it tries to imitate all other professional sports, also features endless rounds of playoffs, which is how we get the fourth-best team in the American League playing the sixth-best team in the National League, in what used to be the premier sporting event in North America.

(Even professional soccer in America tries to imitate soccer, plastering names such as "United" or "FC" or "Real" on its teams, in an affectation that has nothing to do with the organic ways in which those real teams abroad acquired those names.)

Is soccer really so popular? Allen Barra, one of our smartest writers on sports, makes the bold claim that, whenever a country has a possible alternative—U.S. football, basketball, hockey, field hockey, cricket, track and field, even baseball—soccer ranks a distant second, or less.  

Soccer's biggest, sustained appeal—and most of its money—comes from Europe, of course, where the sport continues to reign uncontested. But is this because they play lots of "in-season" tournaments and "cup games"?

I would say the real appeal of soccer can be seen in this picture, a still from a video you can easily find on YouTube, or anywhere else on the internet. It's the fans in Liverpool's "Kop Curve," collectively singing the Beatles' new hit, "She Loves You," in 1964. 

The Kop Curve was a section of stands in Liverpool's ancient Anfield stadium. The section was originally named "Spion Kop," in 1906, after a battle in the Boer War where the Brits lost a lot of men, and in this moment stands for all that we love most about sports.

The Kop stood for hallowed memories, tragic and happy, and for local pride—in this instance, for the group and the sound that was suddenly sweeping the music world. Soccer meant getting together with the lads once a week or so, to cheer and drink and sing, and reminisce—to build memories. The same way that baseball and basketball and football and all other beloved sports used to. 

There is a dark side to this as well, as there always is to when men get together to drink and shout—something tribal, and bigoted, and too often racist, that led to soccer thugs and riots. Thank God there has been less of that—and more women, and people from all groups—at American games. But then, that's the struggle we all face, in everything, isn't it? Saving the best from the past while discarding the worst?

The men who run our sports don't get that. Indeed, even English soccer has come to seem more anodyne in recent years—not least because more and more Americans have bought in? (Looking at you, John Henry.) 

I don't think the answer is inventing "in-season tournaments"—or coming up with silly reasons for selling new, "City Connect" gear, or everyone-in playoffs. I think it's keeping the games cheap enough and democratic enough for everyone to be able to afford them. For everyone to get together to sing and celebrate, and remember. 

Instead, sports here and everywhere seem to be moving in the opposite direction. Yes, bring in more nepo babies and oil sheikh money to make it all the pricier, and more exclusive. Keep holding up cities, even struggling cities, for more stadium money—and moving to pathetic replicas of real places, if you don't get it. Stick ads all over everyone's most beloved memories, and lie as you breathe when the suckers question any of it.

As far as I'm concerned, you can take your in-seasons tournaments or your Little World Series. I'd rather be in the Kop—or at Yankee Stadium—circa 1964.


Winter clearance: Yanks trade Jake, ditch Albert, dangle Higgy

It's weird - maybe sorta kinky? - when you develop emotional attachments to bit players that, in the grand scheme of Yankee infinity, don't matter. 

They pop up like internet ads to momentarily don that famed Starr Insurance patch. They never excite or demoralize. If they're lucky, we'll share one moment, maybe never to be forgotten. (Example: Slate Heathcott's HR v the Rays?) 

So it went yesterday with three minor Yank moves, including one they tabled, as the 40-man roster comes into view. On the Earthquake Scale, they were maybe a combined 2.1 - the impact of a fat lady next door falling out of bed. 

Let's study them, one by one.

They traded earnest Jake Bauers for two dirt-league OFs. On opening day for Scranton, Jake whacked two HRs, giving us hope that Cashman might have scrounged up something  usable from the MLB scrap yard. The Death Barge called him up on April 29, and he homered in his second game. Basically, it was all downhill from there. He hit two against the Dodgers in June, but finished at .202, a base hit above Mendoza. 

In the trade, we get two baby prospects, both buried so deeply in the Brewers system that the ice caps might have melted before we see either. Frankly, I'm surprised we got anybody. Good luck to Jake, who is 28, FWIW.

They jettisoned Albert Abreu, Lou Trivino and Anthony Misiewicz. Declined to tender contracts. Of the trio, "Double A" Abreu is most notable: He came in the trade for Brian McCann, back when we did business with the unscrupulous Astros. Double-A's fastball wowed the scouts, but barely registered a jeepers from MLB hitters. Honestly, of the three, it's the unspellable Misiewicz I'll most remember: He got leveled by a liner that bounced all the way into right field and stole my breath. For a moment, I thought I'd seen a guy die. Hope he's well. He's 29, FWIW.

We kept Kyle Higashioka. For now, anyway. The Yankees are protecting six catchers on their 40-man: Higgy, Jose Trevino, Biceps Ben Rortvedt, Austin Wells, Carlos Navaez, and Augustin Ramirez. Somebody's gotta go. If it's Higgy - lifelong friend to Gerrit Cole and the man who caught Mr. Perfect, Domingo German - we'll sigh at the turning of a page. Everybody loves Higgy. But he'll be 34. Damn. Can we keep six catchers? 

Friday, November 17, 2023

MLB to Oakland: Drop dead

Now and then - as part of my ongoing personal vendettas against all who have impugned me - I scientifically rank the world's Top Ten groups of assholes, according to rancidity, odiousness and pure evil. 

Today, they are:

1o. The Illuminati
9. Klu Klux Klan
8. Vladimir Putin and his pals
7. Redsock fans
6. Monsanto
5. Kardashians
4. N
BA Owners
3. NFL Owners
2. Druids
MLB Owners

Today, the lords of baseball - featuring our favorite nepo baby, Hal Steinbrenner - have toppled the Druids, my previous all-time secret nemeses, to rank No. 1 and qualify for their own special dung heap in Hell. 

The reason? They just turned their backs on Oakland, an honest American city that had tendered to them its soul for more than half a century. 

By approving the Oakland A's impending move to Las Vegas - a cringeworthy deal with Mephistopheles, which should curse the franchise forever (Update: Has it already started?)- the owners will barf-talk about attendance, a decaying ballpark, and the lure of a taxpayer-funded mega-stadium in the soon-to-be-uninhabitable desert. But like all supervillains, they possess a secret reason to their unbridled malevolence.

It is sports betting - their new cash cow, and an evil unto itself - which is not approved in the state of California.

It's the points-spread, the $100 nightly parlay, the means to addict an entire generation of sports gamblers. It's a way to fleece millions, bank billions, and to ride bareback atop a vast shit pile of corruption, because for those who were born into money, making more of it is the only way to validate their miserable and meaningless lives. 

And ya know what? I never trusted the goddamm Druids - with their robes, and Harry Potter wizard hats, and their creepy shit under the full moons - but the MLB owners have done themselves proud. I seriously doubt the Druids would have pulled out of Canterbury, or Essex, or wherever the fuck they are, and run to Vegas, as the MLB owners just did.

Sometimes, I even miss Howard Cosell, who surely would have had a lot to say about this. If he'd been on Thursday Night Football, he would have spent the entire game ranting about the shame of leaving Oakland. But there's nobody to do it now. Here's all I got:  

It's a dark, dark day for baseball. Enjoy your eternity in Hell, owners. 

Cashman continues to dig that hole

In trying to clear up the kerfuffle with Stanton's, and more importantly Stanton's and Yamamoto's agent, Cashman said the following in praise of Giancarlo... 

" He’s one of the few players you bring to New York that hasn’t backed down, that’s handled himself in a professional manner through thick and thin. "

So the first question from the press today will be, "So Brian, according to you most of the players you brought here backed down and failed to handle themselves in a professional manner. Care to name names?"

I'm starting to agree with Joe FOB who said that he might be trying to get fired. Unconsciously of course, but these are unforced errors. 

Can you dig it?  

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Not a good sign.

So congratulations to Gerrit "Flouncy" Cole, who certainly deserved the 2023, AL Cy Young Award, despite how often I have made fun of his flounciness.

He has done pretty much everything we could have expected from him in his four seasons in New York—and had Brainless Brian actually managed to sign him when he first drafted him, he probably would have brought home a couple rings, too.

Of course, the local press can't help itself in its wild, pendulum swings. Anthony McCarren, whose baseball acumen rivals that of Cashman's, was on SNY last night, speculating that, if Cole keeps going like he has for the last five years of his contract, he could become "the greatest Yankee starting pitcher ever."

Let's not get carried away. Whitey Ford won 236 games despite missing two years to military service, and NEVER had a season with an ERA higher than the league average—despite frequently being held back to pitch against the best teams in the AL. 

He also holds the record for lowest ERA for any pitcher whose entire career came after 1920 (i.e, the live ball era), and set the record for World Series wins and consecutive scoreless innings in the Series. Not "the postseason," mind you—the World Series.

Whitey was one of 5 previous, Yankee Cy Young winners, in 1961, his 25-win season. The others are Bullet Bob Turley (1958), Sparky Lyle (first AL reliever to win, 1977), Ron Guidry (1978), and Roger "the Roider" Clemens (2001).  

The Cy Young was only started in 1956, and was only give to ONE pitcher in all of baseball, NL and AL combined, for some inane reason, until 1967. That undoubtedly cost Whitey a second Cy Young in 1963, when he was 24-7, 2.74. 

Other Yanks who probably deserved the award were Guidry, again, in 1979 (when he probably sacrificed another 20-win season by volunteering to go to the pen after Goose was hurt in his infamous shower brawl); Tommy John (in either 1979 or 1980), and The Great One, Mariano Rivera, who lost out to Bartolo "Big Sexy" Clone in 2005.  

That year, Colon went 21-8 with a hard-hitting Angels team. He had a 3.48 ERA, only 8th in the AL, 2 complete games, and no shutouts. Rivera, by contrast, went 7-4, 1.38, with 43 saves, led the AL in games finished with 67, and surrendered only 2 home runs in 80 innings.  


Had a two-league Cy Young existed since the beginning of the AL, other Yank winners probably would have been:

—Happy Jack Chesbro (pictured above, for a modern record, 41 wins in 1904). 

—Carl Mays (27 wins and 7 saves in 1921, leading AL in both; second in ERA, 336 2/3 innings. Also didn't kill anyone that year.).

—Either Waite Hoyt (22-7, 2.63) or Wilcy Moore (19-7, league-leading 13 saves, 2.28) in 1927.

—Lefty Gomez, in 1934 and 1937 (won the "pitching triple crown" both seasons, and also led AL in shutouts).

—Spud Chandler in 1943 (20-4, 1.64; 5 shutouts, 20 complete games, 1 earned run allowed in 2 World Series, complete-game wins; AL MVP).

—Allie Reynolds (20-8, league-leading 2.63 ERA, 6 shutouts, 160 strikeouts; as well as 6 saves).

But the thing with all these guys?  They took the Yankees to the World Series, or won it. Or at least seriously contended.  

Not Gerrit Cole, sad to say—and not to say that it was his fault at all. The blame lies elsewhere.

It's official: The '23 Yankees squandered a truly great year by baseball's best pitcher

Congrats to Gerrit Cole, baseball's best pitcher in 2023 - by a mile. No, make it a light year. 

It's shuddering to realize how easily the '23 Yankees ingested - with barely a burp - such a great year by their ace, en route to finishing one game above .500. 

Without Cole, they would have suffered a Biblical, NY Giants-esque collapse - reaching the Tankathon Top Five, as one of professional sports' elite ongoing catastrophes. 

They would have fallen out of the wild card race by mid-July, throwing Jhony Brito and Randy Vasquez to the wolves, and leaning on their ace, Clarke Schmidt. God knows what would have happened to Domingo German, but the clubhouse TV would not have made it to Memorial Day. John and Suzyn would hardly have called games into September. The Martian would have been promoted - and injured - by August. Cashman would have started cussing in June. And who knows? Maybe they would have gone through three batting coaches! 

Yesterday, Cole won his first Cy Young - even though it wasn't his greatest season. (That came in 2019, at our expense.) Look at the numbers and weep. 

In fact, the numbers are skewed by his lack of support. Cole's win total of 15 should have been more than 20. 

Ten times, the Yankees scored three or fewer runs for him. 

Only twice all season did he leave a game before the fifth inning. 

Eleven times, he pitched seven or more - and three times, he still failed to get the win. 

Cole ate up 209 innings, by far most on the staff. Schmidt finished second, 50 innings less. 

Seriously, the Death Barge just endured one of its worst years in this sad millennium. Thank God we had Cole. 

But they better find him some help. If they go into 2024 with the basic same rotation as last season, look out, below!