Sunday, July 14, 2024

Bruised, beaten, bedraggled... and tied for first

After four months of hand-wringing, pearl-clutching, finger-pointing, head-shaking and nose-blowing, a win today - (game time: 11:35 a.m. - yikes!) - would send the Death Barge home this week atop the AL East.

Some observations on the first half:

1. No matter what happens today, the Yankees won't feel like a 1st place team. The recent six-week constipation squandered their best opening in history. A sweep of Baltimore could diminish the freefall. It cannot eliminate it. 

2. Several key players will either soar in the 2nd half or face career extinction. I'm talking about Alex Verdugo, DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres. By now, they should have about 150 RBIs, collectively. They have about 90. The YES team has run out of excuses and hopeful signs.  

3. Deep into year two, we still don't have a read on Anthony Volpe. Is he a future great Yankee, or a stopgap, good field/no hit SS?

4. The more the Yankees struggle, the more critical it is that they keep Juan Soto next winter. And the less likely it becomes.

5. For the first two months, the Yankees deluded themselves about the ease of finding pitchers from the waiver wire. It was a false reality. The last month proved it.

6. Aaron Judge is the greatest player on the planet. He must be protected in the field and the lineup. If Judge gets hurt, all is lost.

7. No matter what happens, the Yankees won't fire Aaron Boone. If such a chance existed, he'd be gone by now. (And frankly, I've come to view him sympathetically, as he graciously eats the sins of loss after loss, without blaming his players.)

8. Cross your fingers, and Austin Wells might be the catcher we've been waiting for.

9. Internet blather about Yankee trade deadline targets must consider that our farm system looks drained. With Ben Rice in the Bronx, there are rising stars at Scranton. 

10. After all is said and done, the Yankees will probably make the 2024 postseason. As Cooperstown Cashman says: From there, it's a crapshoot. Still... chasing another wild card? What a letdown. 

Saturday, July 13, 2024

Threadbare game thread


 Between the two teams, you could fashion a pretty decent lineup. Maybe we should just merge.

Another one bites the dust.

And another one's gone, 
and another one's gone,
and another one bites the dust...
     
-Queen-

Jose Trevino hurt himself sliding. 

Strained quad.

However long they say he'll be out, double it.

Carlos Navaez up from Bidentown. He's 25, a year older than Austin "Orson" Wells. Was hitting .269 with 9 HRs in 308 ABs.

Hope he has an arm. 

The O's seemed to have checked out ahead of the All-Star break. Then Clay Holmes beaned one

The All-Star break is a weird time. It used to be three days of NL comeuppance, as the likes of Willie Mays and Pete Rose ran through walls - (or catchers) - to win what the AL viewed as a lark. 

Now, it runs four days, with the vibe of an awards show, featuring constant banter, as the peacocking millionaires celebrate one great truth: Regardless of the logos on their caps, they all work for the same machine. 

For a month now, the Yankees have yearned for a four-day decampment. Nobody wanted to compete in the HR derby. (Which, by the way, should be called by John Sterling, with The Master unveiling homer-hollers for each batter. Come on, MLB, show a little spark.) Nobody wanted to pitch, as evidenced by their last few outings. 

The unlikeliest Yankee all-star? Easy. The frazzled closer, Clay Holmes, who has blown enough saves to be the difference between 1st and 3rd in the AL East. Holmes says he was surprised at the all-star nod. All due respect: so was everybody in the Yankiverse. 

And last night, Holmes might have pried open a box better left locked.

Last night, the O's seemed to have punched out on the season's first half, when Holmes drilled their left fielder, a guy with too many consonants to bother spelling. (Okay, Heston Kjerstad. There, are you happy? I looked it up.)

I doubt Holmes sought to drill Kjerstad. For one thing, he's have to figure how to spell the guy's name, in the "get well" card. Moreover, his last few outings have seen too many sudden spontaneous immolations to imagine Holmes purposely putting a runner on base. But that doesn't matter. There's bad juju between the teams, an eye for an eye, and tonight, some Yankee will have to pay. If it's someone whose name we can't spell - Jahmai Jones?- maybe tensions will cool. If it's Judge or Soto... thermonuclear war. 

Frankly, that's not what the Yankees need. What they need is a series. They can't keep losing within their division. Next Friday, they'll emerge from this cigarette break at home, against the hateful Rays, perhaps with Giancarlo Stanton (though the YES hype machine is pushing his return far too lustily: The guy can barely score from third on a single, and if he's rusty... golden sombreros.) 

Let's hope for the best. They plunk Jones, we win a series, and the teams hit the break tied in the loss column. The other side? It's not pretty. We lose the next two, get humiliated along with a broken knuckle, and enter the second half expecting to hate-watch the rest of the season. 

It's still too early to be assigning this much pressure to single games. But that's the Curse of the Yankees. It's a pressure cooker. Let's hope for them, next week, restful nights and domestic sex? 

Friday, July 12, 2024

Two Weeks.

 

Hope is on the way.

Just two weeks. Fourteen days. And we will have the chance to see dazzling young athletes who are willing to go all out, every time they compete, for Olympic gold.

All right, they're playing for real gold, by the bucket, and many of them are taking PEDs up the wazoo.

But still. There is not one Gleyber Torres among them. Not one Carlos Rodon. No Olympic DL with Giancarlo Stanton as permanent resident. No Brian Cashman to rationalize away predictable, obvious failure, and pretend it will all be good next year.

There is no next year. 

I used to feel sorry for these Olympic athletes, and I felt the whole spectacle vastly inferior to the likes of baseball, with its long season. Just a few minutes, even seconds, to make a name for themselves and it's all over—a stumble or an injury erasing a lifetime of work.

Now, I salute them. 

Now, I breathe a sigh of relief that their ranks won't include a .205 hitter putting on his home run jacket, as his teammates salaam to him up and down the dugout. Now I won't have to watch, night after night, the shoulder shrugs and the blank stares, the mumbled words about hope and good swings, as another season slinks off into the night.

This is it. No guaranteed contracts—yet. No excuses, afterwards—no one is going to stick around to hear them. 

I propose that, for the duration of the Olympics, we boycott the Yankees. We watch only the games from Paris, and give our mumbly, shruggy, ouchy, grouchy, barely conscious players (and their insufferable paymasters), the air.

You can't get up for the game? Then we can't either. We're going to Paris for the summer. See you when all the true athletes are done.











The Yankees look dead in the water, and they are straining lifetime loyalties

 At times lately, I stop punching the Aaron Boone kewpie pillow to remind myself that, despite all their problems, the Yankees still have...

1. The third best record in the AL.

2. Baseball's best slugging twosome.

3. Gerrit Cole.

4. Nice uniforms.

5. Suzyn Waldman.

6. 27 world championships, (15 before I was born.)

7. YES, the Newsmax of sports.

8. A home stadium steakhouse.

9. Daily bus service to Scranton.

10. Fans who see a hopeless situation but watch anyway.

I'm No. 10. Last night, after we left the bases loaded in the 8th, I killed the tube. They'd lost another to Tampa, a certified tomato can. I'd draw the line, maintain my dignity. I'd watch no more.

A few minutes later, I caved. I clicked it on, expecting Boone's postgame hostage video. Instead, there we were: Two outs, down by one, runners on first and third, Gleyber at bat. (He'd been having "good swings" lately, according to Newsmax YES.) 

First pitch, ball outside. Good eye. 

Second pitch, another ball outside. GOOD EYE!

Next pitch, another ball, low and away. A problem, though: Gleyber lunges for it. Fuck me. Instead of 3-0, it's 2-1. Heart sinking.

Next pitch: Outside. Ball four, if Gleyber hadn't chased. 

Next pitch: Inside corner. Three and two count. 

Next pitch: Down the middle. Gleyber swings.

Pop fly.

Of course, a pop fly. That's what Gleyber does. That's what the Yankees do. Pop flies. This one almost falls in. Almost. That's what Yankee pop flies do. The Tampa second baseman snags it - he's young and fast. Remember young and fast?  What a concept. 

Game over. Don't touch that dial. Jack Curry will be right back with the postga-CLICK. 

It's over. No Boonie shapeshift. Time for bed.

This season, that is. It needs to be put to bed. 

Like Joe Biden, the Yankees need to hear harsh realities from their advisers. This is not a team that can simply trade its way back into relevance. This is a looming disaster, one of worst Yankee seasons in recent history. They had the best record in a baseball, and now they have shat the bed against everybody in the AL East. 

Last winter, they drained their farm system to get here - which is nowhere. They are now seeing what happens when Aaron Judge slumps - (he can't hit .370 forever) - and the bullpen is showing itself to be exactly what it is, a mishmash of rag arms salvaged off the scrap heap.

This team just gives me a headache. Where is that Scranton bus station, anyway? 

Syracuse.com's Rail Riders-Mets gamer is a press release

I don't look at their sports section much--hardly ever, obviously--and this has probably been going on for years and everybody but me knows about it and I'm making myself look ridiculous, but--what the fuck?! 



Computer, enhance: 


Thursday, July 11, 2024

Game th... well, you know


 

Have the Yankees destroyed Anthony Volpe?

Apologies for the headline. What can I say? Clickbait. Don't know what got into me. Might as well link the guy to Taylor Swift or Billie Eilish. Do you know people do that? They namedrop Taylor, or Billie, or Sabrina, or Chappell, or Dua, et al - for the clicks. Poor Dua. Sad.

Nope, we're talking about Anthony Volpe, the meat-and-potatoes shortstop on the all-the-crab-legs-you-can-eat Yankees.  

And to answer our heading, no! The Yankees certainly have NOT destroyed their 23-year-old future icon... yet

He's hit a sour patch, that's all. Just ignore the last month - er, seven weeks - and Volpe's dearth of HRs, SBs, hits and walks. He still plays excellent defense. Considering the plights of Gleyber Torres, DJ LeMahieu, Oswaldo Cabrera and Who's On First, we can view Volpe as a flickering candle in an infield of blackness. 

Trouble is, that's not what the Yankees sold us.

Last year, in a disappointing rookie season, Volpe banged out 21 HRs, despite a BA of .209. In the minors, he'd been touted as one of MLB's premier hitting prospects, and he potentially would fill the Post-Jeter Abyss, which has haunted the Yankees since 2014. (Think: Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Gleyber, Tyler Wade, Troy Tulowitski, Didi Gregorius, Thairo Estrada, Your Name Here). Jeet retired 10 years ago, and nobody has come close. Volpe was supposed to be our best shot. More and more, that comparison looks unfair. 

Dear God, the quickest way to destroy a rookie is to compare him with an all-time great. (By the way, the Yankees crafted the perfect expectations trap for Jasson Dominguez, by suggesting he's the next Mickey Mantle and Mike Trout. Our new tradition: Killing youngsters via expectations.)  

Last winter, Volpe worked on leveling his swing, putting more balls into play. Through May, it worked. He batted .292 and was being mentioned in the rarified company of Gunner Henderson and Bobby Witt Jr. With Volpe leading off, the Yankees soared. On a few occasions, we at IIHIIFIIc might have even suggested that the Post-Jeter Abyss had been sated. 

Fuck dat. Lately, Volpe has withered into a batter without power and average - the worst of both worlds. He's been dropped from the leadoff spot, which should have been a cathartic place, ahead of Soto & Judge. Now, the YES spinners claim Volpe is free from the pressure of hitting leadoff - as if playing bat boy for the Yankees doesn't conjure ten times the pressures of KC.

Look... Volpe can turn around this season. He's got three months. The question is - and it's a dark one - whether he's trying to remake his swing, in the guts of a season. It's a lousy time to be starting anew. 

The Yankees haven't destroyed him... yet. Then again, Dua is still out there. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

The Adventure of the Confounding First Inning.

 

"Come, Watson, the game's afoot!" cried Sherlock Holmes, bounding up from his ottoman at the six-foot hookah he and Watson were sharing.

"Um, what's that now?" asked Watson, a little slower to break away from the marvelous hash and mescaline mix Holmes had concocted that morning.

"There's no time for dawdling! We must away to Tampa, to solve the deadly mystery lurking there!" Holmes replied, dragging the good doctor across the carpet by his boots.

"You are aware that Tampa is in Florida, aren't you Holmes? And that this is July?"

"All the more reason we must hurry, before the pennant has completely slipped through our fingers! We must warn the Yankees!"

"Warn them...of what?"

Holmes whipped a sheet of paper out of his trusty portfolio, and waved it before his friend's still dilated eyes.

"Do you see this, Watson? It's a key clue, one I heard on our YES subscription last night. At first I thought I might be hallucinating, due to those mushrooms we were conducting scientific experiments on last night. But this morning, I went on baseballreference to verify it—and it's true!"

"What is?"

"Why, it's all in the first inning!"

"Huh?"

"It's elementary, my dear Watson! Consider: the Yankees are a major-league worst 6-17 over their last 23 games."

"Yes?"

"During that time, the Yankees also led the major leagues by giving up 22 runs in the first inning of play! Now do you see?"


"By God, Holmes!" 

Watson's eyes bulged wide at last, and he bounded up from the floor—only to have his bad knee give out, and crash into the settee and knock over the tea service.

"Why, that must be the answer!" he continued, untangling himself from the Earl Grey. "Obviously, Yankees pitchers are tipping their offerings to the other teams!"

"Or—starting each game so predictably that other ball clubs know exactly what they are going to throw!"

"But-but, that's impossible!" Watson sputtered. "Why, the Yankees are run by trained professionals, with many years in the sport. Surely, they would have reached the same conclusion weeks ago!"

Holmes nodded grimly.

"That makes this case all the more insidious, Watson. No manager, no coaching stuff could remain this oblivious to what is going on. Obviously, they are all under the influence of some kind of awful mesmerism, or perhaps a mind-altering drug! All the more reason we must get there at once!"

"Yes, that must be why Cashman is in Tampa already," Watson agree, peeling a lemon slice off his moustache. "We must get there before he and Hal fall under its pernicious influence! Shall I book our flight?"

"No need, Watson! Let us just climb aboard this giant flying rabbit right here!"

"Of course, why didn't I think of that?"

"Hi-ho Silver, away!"












It's Official.....


 The Yankees, for the last month anyone can count, are the worst team in baseball.  The bottom of the barrel. 

Stuck at 55 wins, they may end the year with 65 wins. 

Rodon is the starting pitcher version of our former sweaty bullpen closer ( no name needed here ).

We have weaknesses everywhere, but mostly on offense, defense and with our pitching staff. Oops.  that's everyone.  The manager and coaches don't seem to be breathing much fresh air, either. 

Even when we get six innings of shut-out ball from a starter, it isn't enough.  

And we all know...as long as Hal is in love with Cashman and Boone, nothing will change in our lifetimes.

Bring on a diversion.

This season is over.

Five Ways To Fix The Yankees

It can be done. Just follow these simple steps...

1) Drop Brian Cashman on Nebraska Avenue



Engaging with Tampa Bay street walkers cost the Yankees Steve Swindal and gave us Hal to begin with. They owe us.




2) Trade Juan Soto

He looks like a broken man. The Yankees are no longer fun for him. I haven’t seen him really smile in weeks. He is depressed.

A couple of days ago, instead of being in the jocular conversation with Judge, Rizzo, and Volpe in the dugout he was talking to a coach, and not about his at bat. Just bored chatting and killing time. 

He will not be re-signing with us.

Let’s just admit we’re going nowhere this year and try to build for the future with some kind of haul.

I know. I know. It’s still Cashman making the trade but maybe we do the hooker thing first. We still have a couple of weeks.


3) Fire Boone and Hire?

The first part is easy. Hell, I’ll do it. Give him my cell number. Who replaces him though? 




Stump Merrill is dead. 





Buck Showalter

I’ve seen people suggest Buck Showalter. I’m good with this as it’s going to take at least two years to get the team back to contention and then they can fire him again because, like Moses, Buck don’t make it to the promised land. 

Plus, I would like to see him kick the ass of the various lollygaggers that currently inhabit the Yankee uniforms.

Joe Girardi

I know. I know. We wanted him fired last time but that was then, this is now. He’s already in the building. Familiar with the team and the front office, such as it is, and I would like to see him kick the ass of the various lollygaggers that currently inhabit the Yankee uniforms.

Shelly Duncan

I know very little about Shelly Duncan as a manager other than I would like to see him kick the ass of the various lollygaggers that currently inhabit the Yankee uniforms.

4) Trade Rodon



He doesn’t have it. He will never make it here.  Pay whatever it takes. No walking on eggshells. No worrying about his mental state. No dreading his starts. He’s Ed Whitson Redux. Just ship him out.

Which takes me to the most important one...





5) Stop Acquiring  Losers (See Above Ed Whitson Photo)

The Yankees has virtually no one on the team who knows how to win. Cole. Uh… could that possibly be it?  Time to find guys who know how to do that. 

Last year the Knicks turned around the franchise by adding the Nova guys. They were not the most talented players in the league. Mostly late first and second round picks but they know how to win. They were NCAA champions. They know how to do the little things.  The Yankees should try to trade for undervalued guys like that. 

No more A’s. No more White Sox. No more Angels or Pirates, or Marlins (Cough. Stanton. Cough.) or Cubs. Get me former Astros and Phillies, and even Braves.   

Here's an idea... What NCAA teams won the Men’s College World Series in the last five years? Start trading for those guys.

 


The most terrifying words in the Yankiverse: Cashman has joined the team in Tampa

(Tap tap.) Hey, Sir, can you hear me in there? Beep twice for yes. 

(Beep beep.) 

Okay, twice for yes, once for no.  Okay?

(Beep beep.)

Hey, um... you're looking great! The skin grafts are holding. I can make out a nose, I think that's a nose? Yeah, much improved. You're feeling good in there, am I right?

(Beep.)

Uh-huh, well, keep it up.

(Beep.) 

Uh-huh. Well... look, soon, this will be over.

(Beep beep.) 

No, not you. I'm talking about the race for the AL East.

(Beep beep.)

Soon, Baltimore will pull 5 to 10 games ahead of us. Then, around Aug. 1, they'll trade surplus prospects for whatever they need - probably pitching, pitching, pitching... right?

(Beep beep.) 

By then, Boston and/or Minnesota will have bypassed us in the wild card chase, with our old friends, Houston, the cheaters, closing the gap. 

(Beep beep.) 

By July 31, we will be looking for a closer, a hitter, bullpen arms - whatever we can squeeze from the farm. There's always hope, am I right?

(Beep.) 

Look, you gotta stay upbeat, right?

(Beep.) 

I hear Brian Cashman is in Tampa to address the troops. He knows what to do. 

(Beep.) 

When I think of Cashman, I imagine Richard Dreyfus in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, reshaping the Yankees like a big glob of mashed potato into Devil Tower, Wyoming. A dab here, a dollop there and VIOLA! a new team! Right?

(Beeeeeep.)

Hey, hold on. It is the 10th of July, and yeah, I guess we're dead in the water - bad choice of words. But when the Rays scores four in the first, like last night, you might as well turn off the game and go drinking. 

(Beeeeeeeeeep.)

Damn. Didn't mean to wind you up, but, you know, we've seen this tired crapola now for 15 years - same architects, same plan, same result. Nothing like when you owned the team. I mean, will anything ever change?

Hello? (Tap tap.) George, can you hear me? Sir, are you there? 

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

AN ABOVE AVERAGE HAIKU TUESDAY - ARE WE STILL BREATHING? - EDITION


 



With August 1 in sight, it's time to fear the looming Cashman makeover

April may,
But June ju-lies. 

  Bathroom graffiti, Elmira NY, 1972

When the Yankees went 21-7 in May, cradling baseball's best record in June, the 2024 postseason beckoned to us like a long-whispered revelation. 

Despite his failures over the last 15 years, Brian "Cooperstown" Cashman had finally delivered. We might fret over all the walk-year contracts, most notably for the new superstar, Juan Soto. But the Yankees looked destined for greatness, and surely a ride down the Canyon of Heroes would transform Soto into a Yankee for life. This team was for real, and poised for greatness.

It was nice, wasn't it? Swallowing the bullshit? 

We actually believed a bullpen full of castoffs could dominate the AL, and that a lineup of players approaching their twilights - Stanton, Verdugo, LeMahieu, Rizzo, Rodon, Stroman, et al - were suddenly five years younger and tweak-free. Our joyous delirium lasted into July 15, when the rug was yanked out by Boston, which ran wild on the bases in two humiliating losses. Ever since, the Yankees have been an elevator in freefall - a record of 4-13, including sweeps by the Mets and the lowly Reds. 

Next up: The dreaded Cashman Makeover. 

As has done - unsuccessfully, we should note - for the last 15 years, Cashman will empty the Yankee farm system for the annual tranche of faded veterans, as the GM seeks to salvage another lost season. 

In the final hours of July - barely three weeks from now - Cash will trade a bevy of young prospects in the low minors for some closer who was lights out in 2019, and several bullpen lug nuts already nearing their career highs in innings and games. In each case, the Gammonites of the NYC press will join the YES barkers in marveling over the harvest - practically a heist! - as the Yankees received name-brand stars, without giving up anything. 

The Yankee farm system - drained for 15 years like a vampiric blood bank - will once again be described as an unending, bubbling oasis of talent, so overflowing that the deals needed to be made. The infusion will boost the Yankees for at least two or three weeks into August, before the next wheels fall off the cart.

Yep. Strap yourselves in, folks. It's coming, the annual makeover. Come August 1, the Yankees will be buyers, not sellers, firmly committed to securing the final wild card slot on the expanded playoffs system - the new Yankee destiny: Stay in contention until October 1, then who cares? And next year, repeat the cycle.

Monday, July 8, 2024

Is There Anything More Boring...


 ...than watching the Yankees get six good innings from their starter ( zero runs allowed), and fail at every other level?

Failure to hit, run, field, throw and take pitches.

Failure to score.

Failure to thrive.

Every year, the Yankees take time to commemorate HOPE WEEK. This year, they should add DESPAIR WEEK.

Once a year, the Yankees take time out of their hectic, championship schedule to celebrate the success of those who strive to make life better. It's called Hope Week, and it's one of the most popular programs they run.

Unfortunately, in recent years, Hope Week has seemed to correspond with a teamwide collapse, as it folds its tent for another lost season. 

I propose that the Yankees, soon after Hope Week - hold Despair Week, where they visit deathbed patients and - in this case - the looming end of democracy. The message: The Yankees may be also-rans, but - hey - the whole world is crapping the bed, so let's enjoy the fiasco!

People... this is Despair Week.

The Yankees still have a seven days to stagger and fall into all-star break, a walking corpse with a convergence of whispers. (Clay Holmes, really?) They could lose two more series - in Tampa, resurrecting the Rays' wild card chances and in Baltimore, a brutal, finishing humiliation by a younger, stronger, better team.  

By then, Boston might have bypassed them in the AL East - a notion that seemed preposterous a month ago. In recent weeks, the Redsocks exposed three existential Yankee flaws: The inability to hold baserunners, the lack of a closer, and the total collapse if pitchers simply don't throw to Aaron Judge. 

Despair Week. 

Too negative, you say?

I'm just getting started.

The real shit will go down if/when Aaron Judge gets hurt. (I'm trying to apply reverse juju here: By saying it will happen, you try to ensure that it doesn't. But in this case, it will.) Three of his nine MLB seasons were corrupted by injuries: In each, he played less than 115 games. (He's now at 90.) Last year, he hit the wall in LA, literally. The effect on the Yankees was a snakebite in a crocodile pit. 

If/when Judge goes down, the replacement will be Jasson Dominguez, Spencer Jones  Trent Grisham. Need I say more?

Folks, this isn't a losing streak. This is a lost month, with the Yankees showing up as  the worst teams in baseball. 

Cue the deathbed visit. Wait... beneath that breathing apparatus... it's the Yankees!

Sunday, July 7, 2024

It Seems Like Forever....


 ....since I have witnessed a Yankee game like this.

Where a young player ( rookie) does the unthinkable. 

Where hope reigns. 

What a day. 

Ben Rice reaffirms what the Yankees should know: Without youth, they have nothing.

Hooray for Ben Rice! 

Cheers to a day that shall never be forgotten across the Yankiverse. 

The image of Rice being coaxed along the dugout, searching for the steps to his curtain call - it will be with us forever.


Now, what? 

Will Rice be a great Yankee? Dunno. (Kevin Maas has entered the chat.) Doesn't matter. Yesterday, he provided an incredible, season-saving boost. Next week, it might seem a thousand miles away. 

But today, I'd like to ponder something else Rice delivered:

The reminder that baseball is all about youth - a home-school lesson the Yankees seem incapable of grasping. 

Year after year, we dick around with oldsters - this year, it's DJ, Giancarlo, Rizzo, Rodon, Grisham, practically the entire bullpen - in stages of degradation, while other teams make way for youth. On the start of a series, you laugh at the opposing lineup, full of names you've never heard. Then they beat us.

Meanwhile, the Yankees continually spackle over their deficiencies with high-priced players in decline, and come October, the owner throws up his tiny hands when, once again, youth prevails, and the Bombers fall.  

It's been this way for 20 years, and the Yankees can't seem to get it.

Every August, we ship away youth for veterans who disappoint and then get shipped out themselves. IKF, Bader, Sevy  - yikes. If a Yankee doesn't pan out, he's gone. 

Today, Ben Rice is a Yankee icon.

A month from now, will the pressure cooker turn on him? 

I'd hate to see that happen. Rice gave us a magnificent moment. If they can just win tonight - take the series against Boston - they can roar into Tampa and maybe salvage hope through the all-star break. And all because Anthony Rizzo got hurt, and instead of trading Rice, the Yankees gave him a chance. What were the odds?

Will they give anybody else a chance? Of course not. (Oswald Peraza has entered the chat.)

Saturday, July 6, 2024

Rice is Nice

 So say the Lemon Pipers, Mike Douglas, Ann Miller, and Yankee fans everywhere!

Game thread, disaster thread, fuck up thread, total collapse thread, threadbare thread


 

Turn it off. Turn it off! TURN IT OFF! TURRRRN! ITTTT! OFFFFFFF!

It's hard to rank Yankee losses. 

I mean, they each sting with the savagery of a million cuts.

But which is worse - an old-fashioned, 15-1 woodshed spanking? Or a blown-save, extra inning bullpen collapse?

Add two Ignominy Points because last night's loss came against Boston. 

Two more because it happened at home.

Add one because we apparently lost a player to injury, (though the way Gleyber was playing, let's call it a wash.) 

Add a point for a player failing to hustle. Make it two, because that player was DJ LeMahieu, a team leader and, generally, great role model. Add one more because - damn - how toxic must an environment be if you're talking about DJ LeMahieu failing to hustle?

Add a point for the four-game losing streak.

Add one because the Redsocks are now a mere three games behind the Yankees in the - gulp - wild card race. Yeah, the fucking wild card. It's not even mid-July, and already, we're back to chasing a participation trophy in MLB's expanded playoffs system.  

I believe it adds up to the worst loss of 2024 - worse than the Baltimore butcheries, worse than the Mets sweep, worse than last week's blowout to the lowly, hateful Blew Jays.  

But don't be surprised if it isn't soon topped.

No lead is safe. Our closer cannot close. We're like those campers in The Blair Witch Project: We've hiked the forest for days, and we're back to Aroldis. 

We have squandered one of the best opening months in Yankee history. 

We have nobody at Scranton coming to save the day. 

No trade deadline deals will save his team. In fact, we might be better off selling players, though that won't happen. We will simply continue the same failed strategies that got us here - a failed organization and a toxic environment. 

We are a listless team playing for a manager who goes on TV, shakes his head and makes excuses. 

We just suffered the worst defeat of 2024 - one of the worst in modern Yankee history. 

George C. Scott had the right idea. Turn it off.

Friday, July 5, 2024

Game Thread: Yankees vs. Sox. Trent Grisham Edition.

No graphic. No pithy comment. If the Yankee players don't care enough to play hard why should I?

Three games behind Baltimore (loss column), only four ahead of Boston. And the Redsocks are coming, the Redsocks are coming...

 


1. Being swept by Cincinnati, over the 4th of July, is treason.

2. The last three weeks look less like a slump and more like Yankee reality.

3. This collapse will cost us in keeping Juan Soto.

4. Aaron Boone is gone. He just doesn't know it.

5. Anyone who Brian Cashman acquires in trades will flounder.

6. If DJ LeMahieu is traded, he will suddenly get hot.

7. If Gleyber Torres is traded, he will suddenly start running out grounders.

8. Tonight, Boston will run on every first pitch. 

9. No matter how disastrous this season turns out to be, Prince Hal & Cooperstown Cashman will stay.

10. Have a nice day, chumps. 

Thursday, July 4, 2024

It Just Seems As though....


 We are Nebraska playing a home and home series against Ohio State. A bit overmatched and one sided.  

Cincinnati has some talented players, but they have been an inconsistent team.  Every game against us, however, began with a TD bomb or a punt run back for a touchdown. 

And the Big Plays went on and on.  When Marcus looked up to take a breath today, he was watching his third home run leave the park.  And it was still not the end of the fifth inning. 

Let's not forget, Marcus has been surprisingly effective for the Yankees this season.  One of our best. 

Something is more wrong than " this game will bite you, and " we're going through a rough patch."

_ Joey Chestnut



Two games behind Baltimore, five ahead of Boston. Happy Fourth of July, chumps.

 


Eat a dog for the Yankees, who are 5-13 since June 13.

Tomato can.


Seriously. I have no words.

What else can be said?

Tomato can.


Wednesday, July 3, 2024

July 3rd Game Thread: Yankees vs. Reds

Montas returns with a 4.51 ERA 


I wonder who will catch him?

Actually his ERA isn't 4.51 it's 4.23 but that's pretty close.

Here's the thing, we traded a bunch of guys to the A's for Frankie Montas. Some of whom would come in handy right about now. 

To say it did not work out is an understatement. 

Not only was he hurt pretty much for the entire time but the Yankees paid him an extra 7.5 Million dollars to keep him for another year even though he was hurt, and they let him rehab on their dime. 

Then he goes and signs with the Reds. 

I know we were OK with him leaving but he's their starting pitcher tonight and he'd better really suck. 

We're getting there.

Should Yank fans dismiss the phony wild card race and simply follow the greatness of Aaron Judge?

Remember all that silly jubilation in April? The Houston sweep? The winning streak? The sense that this year was different - and the concerns about Aaron Judge?

I mean, who didn't fear the worst? The guy looked hapless, pathetic, lunging after balls in the dirt. Moreover, there'd been rumors of an injury in Tampa, a tweak or a pull. Was Judge hiding an ailment that could hinder him all season? 

As we soared into May - on the shoulders of great pitching - we marveled about the greatness of Juan Soto and the rise of Luis Gil, and we feared the worst for Judge. 

Idiots... 

Yeah, you. And me. Idiots. Admit it: We thought the confluence of players facing their contract years would spawn an offensive surge. Soto was a generational star, a transformative hitter who raised all others. Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton were having comeback seasons. Gleyber Torres and Alex Verdugo were coming around - "good swings," the YES midway barkers promised. Yeah, we ate that slop with a knife and fork. 

Idiots.  

Soon, maybe as early as this weekend, the Yankees will start feeling the breath of Boston, their fake arch-rival, in the expanded wild card race, the MLB Little League where any team over .500 can chase a postseason participation trophy. 

Tonight and tomorrow, we'll find out whether the floundering Yankees can win a home series against a genuine tomato can, the Reds of Cincinnati, who sit at five games below .500 in the International League NL Central. 

As fans, maybe, it's time to circle the wagons. Maybe it's time to celebrate Aaron Judge and cut bait on the rest of this failing, perennially sick organization. 

Check out the HR leader board. There's Judge, and there is everybody else. Once again, the Yankee Captain is competing not with other players, but with historical legends: Babe Ruth in 1927, Roger Maris in 1961, and Aaron Judge in 2022. 

If he stays healthy - and every Yank fan knows how quickly the Fates can change that outcome - Judge might be having - gulp, dare I say it - the greatest season in MLB history. 

Yeah, I said it. And let me now repeat it, because - yes, it's hyperbole - but Aaron Judge may be standing on the brink of the greatest season in MLB history. He might break his own all-time HR record, win the RBI title by 20, and even take the batting crown, as well. Nobody - not Ruth, not Ty Cobb, not Taylor Swift - has produced more big hits. If he wins the Triple Crown, he deserves foot massages from Travis Kelce. 

Soon, maybe it will be time for Soto to bat leadoff - (Anthony Volpe needs a rest) - with Judge batting second. (Last night, neither came to bat in the ninth, with the game on the line, as the struggling Volpe popped out to SS.) It would mean more at-bats for the twosome, who have been the only offense on this currently woeful team. 

Look, every team suffers through doldrums. Maybe this is just a cold spell. But anybody who watches this team closely knows that the last three weeks have exposed massive holes on this team, the depth of which will not be spackled over next month with a few phone calls by Cooperstown Cashman. 

What we have, though, is something that fans of every team covet. We have the great Aaron Judge. We might get a glimpse of the most prolific hitting season in the history of the game. If that's what we get in 2024, it's not nuthin.

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Game Thread: Yankees vs. Reds

Montas returns with a 4.51 ERA 


I wonder who will catch him?

Actually his ERA isn't 4.51 it's 4.23 but that's pretty close.

Here's the thing, we traded a bunch of guys to the A's for Frankie Montas. Some of whom would come in handy right about now. 

To say it did not work out is an understatement. 

Not only was he hurt pretty much for the entire time but the Yankees paid him an extra 7.5 Million dollars to keep him for another year even though he was hurt, and they let him rehab on their dime. 

Then he goes and signs with the Reds. 

I know we were OK with him leaving but he's their starting pitcher tonight and he'd better really suck. 

He's not pitching until Thursday. Sorry about that. :)

At the 2024 baseball season's traditional halfway point, a personal favor I'd like to ask on behalf of IT IS HIGH...

 We don't ask much of readers. 

There's no IT IS HIGH firewall, no membership fees, no ads for male enhancements, no credit card numbers stolen. 

We at "HIGH" - (as it's referred to around the water coolers of Sterling Tower) -take pride in imposing no restrictions on the steaming, fragrant flow of empirical Yankee news, our stock-in-trade.  

We believe that you - the bootless and unhorsed general public - come here to receive cheerful, upbeat messages regarding the greatest group of heroes on the planet, our New York Yankees. (Yes, feel free to applaud!) 

Nevertheless, today, I have a request.

This comes at the symbolic halfway mark of the 2024 season, which has our team of greats battling to contend in the AL East. It involves the hat which MLB has carefully designed and mass-produced to honor great Yankees, such as Aaron Judge, in the upcoming all-star game.

This is the hat.


My request is simple: 

If you ever see me wearing this thing, regardless of how drunken or confused I might appear to be... please, please, PLEASE put a bullet directly into my skull. 

If you do not have a gun, use a tire iron or golf club - whatever - but if I am ever caught walking the streets wearing this hellish head thing, I implore you to do the right thing to put me out of my misery. End this charade! 

I mean... look closely at this... thing. 

Dear God. 

That's all I can say. 

Dear God.

I have lived through many societal abominations: New Coke, Yahoo Serious, pizza-flavored potato chips, the War on Drugs, boy groups, the Fire Fest, Rupert Murdoch's marriage to Jerry Hall, etc. The list goes on.  But if something happens to me, if I am brain damaged or mentally ill... if I am seen walking around beneath this monstrosity, your job is clear. Shoot me.   

Dear God. 

Monday, July 1, 2024

Bobby Bonilla Day?

 

Happy Bobby Bonilla Day! Sort of...

Stop me if I've written this before. (Which I may have.)

But I have to point out that...it's not just Bobby Bonilla Day.

It's also Darryl Strawberry Day. It's also Bret Saberhagen Day. It's also Bernard Gilkey and Frank Cashen Day.

Let me explain.

You'll remember Bobby Bo. About the most disappointing and churlish free agent the New York Mets have ever signed, which is saying something. The man who once threatened a sportswriter, "I'll show you the Bronx!"

Incredibly, in true Cashmanic fashion, the Mets even brought Bobby Bo back after that wonderful soliloquy. This went even worse than his first stay, believe it or not, as Bonilla batted .160 in 60 games, and ended up playing cards in the clubhouse with Rickey Henderson while the Mets lost an agonizing, extra-inning playoff game to Atlanta

But I digress.

First off, let me just say that it's true: Bobby Bonilla is owed $1,193,248.20 every July 1 through 2035, for a total that far exceeds his original Mets contract. 

The payments started in 2011, and with an 8 percent interest rate, what they did was convert a $6 million-payment into (an eventual) $30 million. By 2018, 16 of the 25 players on the Mets' roster made less than Bobby Bo did every year. In 2019, the Mets' two best hitters—Jeff McNeil and record-breaking rookie, Pete Alonso—made less combined than Bonilla.

Bobby Bo attributed this stroke of good fortune entirely to his agent, a little-known insurance agent named Dennis Gilbert. Bonilla, in that inimitable way he had, called Gilbert, "a special man," and advised:

"Don't skimp on the agent."

Sure, it was the agent. The Mets' owners, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, nodded along darkly about how, yeah, they probably got took, grumbling something about "annuities."

What, a pair of successful NYC developers didn't understand annuities? They didn't have anyone in finance who did?

Wilpon and Katz, millionaire, Big Apple builders, got beat...by Dennis Gilbert?

It didn't make any sense.  And of course, when things don't make sense, usually, somebody is lying.

So it was here. 

As it turned out, the Mets were also deferring part of Darryl Strawberry's 1990 team option—and they still are. At 5.1 percent interest, they turned that $1.8 million into $1.64 million a year, from 2004 through 2033. 

Saberhagen (another lovely character on the 1990s Mets)? He's getting $250,000 a year through 2029. Gilkey was going to get $9 million a year—but Arizona took that money off the Mets' hands when they traded for him. Even Frank Cashen, their late general manager, was partly paid in deferred money.

Hell, there used to be a Bobby Bonilla Day II, with the Bronx's most charming tour guide getting $250,000 a year from 2004-2023, for a later deferment. (It was originally $500,000 a year, but the Metsies convinced Baltimore to split BBD II, as part of a deal.)

So what gives? Did the Mets really not understand how annuities work?

Turns out, the Mets were almost always ready and willing to defer contract money because they were getting more than that, guaranteed...from Uncle Bernie. 

Much as the Mets liked to later pretend that they were victims of Bernie Madoff...they weren't. And paying annuities at 5.1 or even 8 percent made sense—when they were guaranteed an annual return of 18 percent in Bernie money.

The Mets' big fear about the $300 million or so they made investing with Madoff, was that they'd have to pay it back. But they didn't—no more than $29 million in the end, and probably less. 

So happy BobbyBonillaDarrylStrawberryBretSaberhagenBernardGilkeyFredWilponSaulKatzBernieMadoff Day! I'm sure many more such days await us!













On an off-day, the Yankiverse can wonder what the hell is going on with Gleyber Torres?

Yankee hitting stats, last 7 games 
'Tis a strange mid-year for Gleyber David Torres.

I'd call it a roller coaster, but they have ups and downs. This has been more a carny Super Slide, where you ride a burlap bag through the bodily excretions of your zip code - a straight descent to the fried dough expulsions of the county fair midway.

This year, Gleyber has systematically checked the bingo cards for a desperate player in free-fall:

1. He has booted critical grounders.

2. He has made stupid baserunning moves.

3. He is hitting .226.

4. He was benched for two games after jogging out a grounder.

5. He even got screamed at by Marcus Stroman, from pitchers mound, on national TV. 

He accomplished all this with a dazed, Celine Dion expression - (too soon?) - as if this isn't really happening, it's just Netflix, and this isn't the most important year in his family's financial life. This is Gleyber's walk season, his looming free agency, and his greatest chance to cash-in next winter. He should be inspiring contact extension talks. Instead, the Death Barge seems delighted to show him the door. Lately, an emerging question is whether they'd trade him at the Aug. 1 deadline, punting on him, altogether. 

Gleyber suffers from Future Great Yankee Syndrome, an malady that strikes down healthy young studs on  their way to Monument Park, after they breathe the plague-ridden air inside the YES Network studios. Remember Alfonso Soriano? Robbie Cano? Melky Cabrera? Gary Sanchez? Clint Frazier? Or did you block them from memory? 

In 2019, his second season, already a perennial all-star, Gleyber belted 38 HRs and batted .278, despite being saddled with John Sterling's all-time worst Homer Holler: "And  like a good Gleyber, Torres is there!" Yikes. After his sophomore year, and a failed attempt to make him the next Jeter, at SS, Gleyber's production mysteriously began to drop. That continued... until around this time last year. 

Last June, one year ago, Gleyber batted .198 with almost no power. Then, in July, something  happened: he improved to .275. In August, he hit .327. In September, .290. He finished 2023 with 25 HRs, seemingly ready for his big haul in 2024.

Well, it sure hasn't happened... dare we say... yet?

Last week, Gleyber went 6 for 17 with a HR -which came shortly after his tongue-lashing by Stroman. (Frankly, he didn't deserve it. This happened after a high hopper that could not be converted into a double-play. But in the earlier game when Gleyber failed to run hard, he should have been ripped, openly.)  

Listen: I dunno what the hell has been going on with Gleyber. But we're about to see what he has left in the tank. Is he simply one of those players whose biological clock wakes up around July 1? He has the next month to prove his worth. Come September, if he's still hitting .226, Yankee Stadium will be a cruel place to make his fortune.