Tuesday, April 30, 2024


Yankee players are "giddy" over Luis Severino's 7 innings of no-hit ball; Yankee fans, not so much...

Kudos to Luis Severino for taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning yesterday. Seriously. Congrats in order.

Still, WTF? I mean, damn, humina-humina, I'm sorry, I'M REALLY SORRY... but we sank nine years into this guy, waiting and hoping for him to put it all together and win a Cy Young, and now, he's gonna be a star with the Mets?

Yankee players still stay in touch. They love the guy. 


The NY Ciphers add another shutout to a remarkable spring of zeros

Thirty games into the thicket, our swishing and swooshing '24 Yanks are on a pace to record 30 shutouts - that is, to be held scoreless 30 times - a feat that conjures memories of Matt Nokes, Alvaro Espinosa and some of the great engines of haplessness in Gotham history. 

Of course, they'll need up their game to beat the all-time record for  shutouts, 33 by the 1909 St. Louis Browns, a 7th place team led by Hobe Ferris and Lou Criger - yes, THE Lou Criger, and don't forget Ham Patterson!

If these Yankees do achieve scorelessness immortality, last night's nine-inning cipher spree will take a special place in goose egg lore. 

At one point, the rather moribund Giancarlo Stanton - baseball's slowest baserunner since Smokey Burgess? - could not reach 2nd base on a line drive single to right. The ball handcuffed Giancarlo, who assumed his signature toiletless squat halfway between 1st and 2nd, and then was unable to waddle forward quickly enough to save the inning. To call Giancarlo "slow" is like describing the Atlantic Ocean as "moist."

Of course, there were other zero heroes - Aaron Judge, chasing a 3-2 pitch out of the strike zone, with runners on 2nd and 3rd, comes gloriously to mind - but Stanton's inability to move, added to all the other inabilities, wins the IIHIIFIIc participation trophy.

Five shutouts. You can sense them coming, as the missed opportunities mount. In the 9th, Oswaldo Cabrera belted a long fly - a dramatic, game-tying HR? And you could imagine The Master shouting, "IT IS HIGH, IT IS FARRRR... IT ISSSS..." Nope. It was caught, a warning track out.

The Super Ciphers are in 2nd place, a few percentage points behind Baltimore. The next three games will likely dictate whether we chase the O's or start looking over our shoulder, starving off the surprising Redsocks. Its May, and we already have five shutouts. 

This team may have found its destiny. Or, at least, its Ham Patterson. 

Monday, April 29, 2024

It isn't a cookbook! It's a prophecy!!


So, in their last 9 games, your New York Yankees have been shutout twice, scored one measly run in a third game...and have now scored 6, 15, and 15 in Milwaukee.


Yankees unveil new formula for winning: Score more than 10

Maybe I'm watching too many Knicks games, but who feels safe anymore without at least a double-digit lead? This weekend, the Yankees seemed to rediscover the three-point play, er, run HR, that game-changer from the distant past, in Old Milwaukee. 

Ah, yes, the town, not the beer. True home of the Braves. The soulful oasis of cheese and testosterone, which hasn't hurt  me since Eddie Matthews and Warren Spahn, whom even I am too young to remember.  

Why can't we play more games in Milwaukee? Like, all remaining games against the Brewers? Can we move spring training there? Tampa hates us, and between the red tide and the book burnings, the air is practically unbreathable, The only reason we train in Tampa is Hal: He has his mansion, pool, rec room and hot tub there, and he doesn't want to move. Screw dat. There should be a rule about MLB teams holding spring training in the backyard of a division rival. The Yankees don't need Tampa nursing a perpetual stiffy about us. Certainly, the good people of Wisconsin could build a dome or two, to welcome us each winter? We've also got global warming working on our behalf. 

Before continuing, look - LOOK - at those wondrous numbers from yesterday: 14 base hits and six walks - braced against only 5 Ks and only one GIDP (Stanton, of course.) It was like Candyland, moving Lord Licorice to Cupcake Commons, along with the Duke of Swirl - taking our minds off the puppy-shooting headlines of today. 

Was the sudden output due to installing Peachfuzz Verdugo at cleanup? Either way, I'm all for anything that lessens Giancarlo's appearances in crunch time moments. Even when the Yankees roll, he wriggles. His average is leaking toward last year's sorry output, and I gotta believe that, somewhere within the Yank brain trust, Cooperstown Cashman is eyeing a replacement. Is Willie Calhoun out there?   

Not saying Stanton should be benched or Scrantonized, nothing yet. He deserves another month. But the question is simple:

The MLB Fastball: Can he still hit it? 

If so, he'll get hot and maybe bat .250 with 30 HRs. If he can't, why are we even reading this paragraph? Between now and July, when The Martian should be playing rehab games at Scranton, Giancarlo can determine his fate. But if he's still loitering, hitting below his weight, the drums will be beating. We don't need a guy who can't hit, can't field and can't run.  

Other thoughts:

1. There is a real possibility that the Yankees' back page tabloid dominance in NYC will end this year. The Knicks should grab at least 110 covers, many at the Yankees' expense. If the Jets or Giants win any games in 2025 - (a valid question) - they will poach more Yankee covers. 

For the first time since Hal took over the Death Barge, around 2008, his franchise could be an afterthought in Gotham. Considering the amount of money that's been spent, there would be absolutely no way to spin the outcome, other than pure mismanagement. 

2. Tonight, we enter the gauntlet: Four games in Baltimore, which once was - according to HossClarke's wonderful book - baseball's dirtiest team. Right now, the O's might be MLB's best, and they might even be improving. 

Tonight, we line up Clarke Schmidt, without whom we would be toast this season, then follow with Nasty Nestor, Blue Gil and Rodon. These four games will set the agenda through the first half of 2025 and maybe cement this team a reputation as "road warriors." It's up to you, New York, New York.

Sunday, April 28, 2024

28 Days later... an old fashioned, from-the-git-go, laugher

Finally, a chance to breathe.

A ninth inning where the lone drama was whether Jose Trevino's knuckler is his  true future. 

A game without angst, without anger, a chance to reflect upon and channel-hop to LeBron or hand-woven Home Shopping pillowcases. 

The type of game that long ago lured us to the Yankees - once an Evil Empire, now just evil.

You could say the Yankees wasted a great start by Carlos Rodon, or that Oswaldo's batting average keeps shrinking, and the bullpen still needs arms - but I'm gonna let go of the drama. 

We needed a laugher, a game without pain, and we got one.

Today, the rubber match in Milwaukee, then on to Baltimore, the first fist-fight of 2024.  Enjoy the Calgon Bath Oil moment...

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Breaking News: The Yankee bullpen is officially fried

 And in the end, the love you save is equal to the love you made... t'wasn't those planes that killed the beast, it was beauty that killed the beast... whatever... it was the Michael "Gulf of" Tonkin Incident that mercifully ended last night's ongoing torture party in Milwaukee. 

What can we say, beyond that when the game ended, no one feigned surprise. This was Destiny, 100-proof, a preordained outcome that followed every pitch, every pop fly. To bastardize a ditty from John Irving...

Whether you're early
Or whether you're late,
It's all the same to Fate.

Part was poor baserunning. Part was bad hitting. Part was the closing lineup of Joneses and Trammels, and six pitchers - an unsustainable drain on elbows and cuffs, which led to the Yankee debut of newly shaven Michael Harvey Tonkin, 34, the Doomsday horseman, signaling the outcome that lurked all night.  

Honestly, where do you start, beyond the instinctive certainty that the Yankees would lose, even with a lead in the 10th. Too many dark omens, too many blown ops, too many missing links to the team's near past, all manifested in the presence of Tonkin, a statistical doppelganger (according to Baseball Reference) to the following elbow belchers:

Blas Minor
Ryan Dull
Carter Capps
Oliver Drake
Bill Burwell

Okay, look... 

I don't mean to disparage Tonkin, who is feeding his family, and who actually might have thrown scoreless innings, if not for those pesky ghost runners. But his presence last night showcased the sorry state of the Yankee pitching staff - a group that is officially fried. We've moved past the Poteets and Burdis - long ago visited the moments when Scott Proctor would have burned his clothes at home plate - and we're now in the land of daily waiver wire pickups, scouring the landfills for usable parts. We have reached August Distress levels, and it's not even May 1. 

The Yankees remain in second place, percentage points behind Baltimore, with a 5-5 record over their last 10 games. Today, there is no way in Hell to predict who will be pitching the late innings, except that he probably wore a Railriders jersey this week. Mike Axisa says this could be the toughest road trip all season. And we're already out of pitchers.

April is coming to an end. My only friend, the end...

Friday, April 26, 2024

We have met the tomato can, and they is us.

 We are the Andy Warhol of ball teams:  90 percent hype, 10 percent weirdness.

Did the Yankees just suffer the worst, out-of-body loss of 2024?

For me, one of the scariest moments in cinema history comes in The Blair Witch Project, when the campers come to realize they've been hiking in a circle, hopelessly lost, facing an evil beyond their imagination. All they can do is scream into the haunted forest.   

Like Yank fans, last night... 

I believe I speak for the Yankiverse in saying that last night troweled out one of the truly, soul-crushing losses of 2024. Surely, some evil humdingers are still out there, lurking, salivating, waiting for us with thumbscrews and glossy photos of Stump Merrill. But there won't be many games that serve up such ignominy as we took in last night. It was a Master Class in reliving the last decade.

Two bases loaded GIDPs. 

Eleven runners stranded. 

Eleven whiffs. 

A squandered start and bullpen. 

A home loss to a team without a home. 

The second disheartening defeat - (on the heels of Monday's 2-0 butchery, when we fell in the 9th) - in a series the Yankees seemed to take for granted. 

The Yankees are now in second place, a few percentage points behind Baltimore, who they face next week. Sinatra's refrain - "ridin' high in April, shot down in May" - is playing. After an incredible start, we won't even be leading our division, heading into May.

Last night was magnificent for channel-changers and New York sports cynicism. In the NFL draft, the Giants used their 6th pick on a small (6') wide receiver, the kind of selection that - historically, for the franchise - goes nowhere. One positive: They didn't trade their first pick next year, as it will probably be first in the entire draft. 

Or you could watch the Knicks, battling and finally falling to Philly. The series will go to the end, the last possession, the final shot, the concluding ref's whistle and the last bounce - the will of the juju gods. Everything else is destiny. Generally, the Knicks are not good with destiny. 

And then there was our heroes, who last night delivered another central message: This team can still suck. In March, we bought into the notion that one great hitter could transform a lineup. In April, we realized that Stanton is still Stanton, Rizzo is Rizzo, etc., down the line. April has seemed like a lifetime. We greeted Juan, said goodbye to John. And after all is done, we're still lost in the forest. 

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Game Day, Draft Day, Game Three Knick Game, Thread

I'm exhausted already. Oh, and the Yankees loaded the bases in the first with no outs and failed to score.

Who's backing up on first? Only Abbott and Costello know, as the Yankees play a dangerous shell game

Attention Walmart Shoppers: It's time for some Cat-4, felony-grade juju. 

From now on, whenever Anthony Rizzo or Oswaldo Cabrera step to the plate, wherever you are, point your best juju shotglass or roachclip in the direction of the Montefiore Medical Center and chant, "LET HIM LIVE." Both are currently the last lines of defense to the immediate Yankee future. 

If either tweaks a gonad, or strains his cabbage patch, the Death Barge has no 1B or 3B replacement, without panning the streams of Moosic for somebody, anybody, which is always dangerous at the MLB level.

If Rizzo goes down, our 1B is Oswaldo, which means nobody to handle 3B or backup SS. Simplified, we'll play Whack-a-Mole with the Injury List. 

So, you ask, WTF? Wasn't Brian Cashman's greatest skill his ability to scan the recycling bins of MLB for used brake pads and rotator cuffs? Last year, around now, sensing a dearth of lefty bats, he brought in Franchie Cordero, Jake Bauers, Willie Calhoun and Billy McKinney - the Four Stopgaps of the Apocalypse - to survive the month of May. 

This year, if Rizzo or Oswaldo's bottoms bark, here's what might happen...

1. Journeyman Jahmai Jones, at 26, will learn an emergency position. Over his four-year MLB career, he's played 2B, OF and DH, with a BA of .170 and no HRs. (He missed the John Sterling HR Holler window.) This year, he's 0-for-1.  

2. Oswald Peraza? Nope. He's "hitting" at the Tampa complex, weeks away from a rehab assignment. What a cruel set of cards he's been dealt. It's hard to remember that, in 2022, up for a September cup of coffee, Peraza hit .306 and was nearly anointed as Yankee SS of the future. But but BUT... the guy'll soon turn 24. Twenty four. Too young to give up on. But, for now? No help.

3. DJ LeMahieu. You all know his foot is not healing well, and we've seen how diminished he is when swinging in pain. Eventually, he'll be back, but this ailment is now into its second year. DJ remains a solid clubhouse presence, a grand old franchise warrior, but something is wrong here. No immediate remedy. Another lost month? Or worse?

4. John Berti, a guy we traded a high ceiling prospect for, has been abducted by an abductor strain - (aren't I witty!) - until further notice. Haven't seen any updates. Lost in the memory hole?

5. Kevin Smith played 3B last night for Scranton. He's 8-for-40 at Triple A, that's a perfect .200. In a pinch, he'll probably get the call. But he's 5'11," not exactly what you want at 1B.

6. Caleb Durbin, the 5'6" mite of Moosic - (as Martin Mull would say, "He's last to know it's raining and first to know it's a flood") - went 2-for-4 last night for Scranton (playing LF.) He's hitting .280, but the average is dropping. (He started this season on fire.) Durbin can play everywhere, we are told, but my hunch is our Altuve won't play 1B.

7. Jose Rojas, a 31 year old journeyman, played 1B last night in Scranton. He also plays 3B. He's hitting .193 at Triple A, with 3 HRs. In his MLB career, over 225 at bats, he's hitting .188.

8. Jordan Groshans, 24, a former 1st round pick of Toronto's, was picked up this spring off the scrap heap. He plays 3B, a career .270 hitter in the minors with speed - 87 SBs.

9. Presumably, Lyle Overbay and Jason Nix are out there somewhere, waiting for the call. In the meantime, remain Juju-Vigilant. We need a security detail about Rizzo, who has just started hitting, and Oswaldo, who is - basically - our starting 3B and entire bench.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Is DJ a new Setback Sevy? and other existential questions, as the end of April looms

Last night, the Death Barge bested a tough, youthful, scrappy ballclub, so plucky that no less than three cities - Oakland, Sacramento and Las Vegas - currently claim them. (See, Stang? That's how you jinx an opponent.) They topped a marquee rollcall of Olympian sluggers - RUIZ! NODA! ROOKER! BROWN! NEVIN! GELOF! BUTLER! LANGIELLERS! ALLEN! YOURNAMEHERE! - by a score of 4-3, thanks to big hits from Giancarlo and Ratso Rizzo, both of whom lifted their BAs into the .230s. 

The Yanks lead the AL East by one half-game over the recovering tankaholics of Baltimore, which we'll face next week after a trip to beer garden Milwaukee.

Once again, our Dream Team 2020 struggled to score - winning via a nonstop firehose torrent of bullpen arms, which will likely turn to dust by June. To be or not to be... When will this lineup hit? That is the question...

Listen: Aside from Cleveland - a city that considers Cher a Hall of Fame rocker - nobody in the AL has a shutdown staff, and the Indians Commanders Guardians soon will drop their guard. We play two home games against Las Oaklamento. Losing either is not an option.

Other news bits...

Oswaldo game logs
1. DJ LeMahieu's celebrated rehab in the dirt leagues last night lasted all of 20 minutes, before his foot barked and he called it a night. He'll get more tests. This is horrible news. It's also normalcy in a Yankiverse that remembers Pavano and Severino. 

DJ hasn't been himself for two years now, and it's time to fear the worst: That he won't be back, or that he'll be compromised, and that Oswaldo Cabrera will soon hit a California mega-drought.

Lately, we've sipped longingly from the Oswaldo-has-figured-it-out punch bowl, but his batting average is falling to - well - where? He was among league leaders. Now... when will it level off?

We're already hoping he can platoon with DJ, but what if 3B becomes a wipeout? We could be back to a bottom third that recalls Lyle Overbay and Jason Nix.

We were told this was a different lineup, a transformed batting order. Exactly how much Yankee gaslighting occurred in March? 

2. Bernie Williams is prepping to play with the NY Philharmonic. Congrats are in order. Cynics will grumble that an ex-Yankee great surely gets preferential treatment, and yeah, there aren't many Core Four members on Spotify. But back when my sons were attending SUNY Purchase, a lonnng time ago, Bernie was taking classes there, honing his guitar skills. 

The lone Parents Weekend I attended, Bernie appeared in an open forum, prompting a crowd so large that the event had to be beamed onto the quad. The guy has put in the work. (As have my sons, BTW. Buy their album, dammit. The Guardian calls them "one of today's great American bands.")  

3. The reality here: If you were to tell me that Gerrit Cole wouldn't throw an inning, and that Aaron Judge would hit .183 through the first four weeks, I'd expect a lot worse than 16-8. 

We keep waiting for the floorboards to cave. I still believe Judge will heat up and lift this team for a month. It's too soon to drink the Draino and/or measure the bridges. But in the backs of our heads, we have to wonder if the Yankees are not telling us everything about Judge's foot. And that's cause for concern. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Everyone is saying that Stang is completely out of line

Thank you to all of you have reacted favorably to me exposing the horrendous decision made by the corrupt and Soros-backed IT IS HIGH loser, Stang, who nobody likes, in calling the Oakland A's "a tomato can" prior to Monday's pathetic Yankee loss, which we would otherwise have won, if not for the ridiculous mistake of his ignorant juju. Everybody knows that Stang is a whacked-out nut job who makes things up out of thin air, just like he did earlier this year when he predicted the Yankees would win 103 games. Nobody even reads his posts anymore, because they know his decisions are bad, and that he doesn't even know where he is most of the time, because he's brain dead, and IT IS HIGH has become a laughingstock because of posts like Stang's, and many people have said this. I have tried to use juju in the proper way to win ballgames, but it doesn't help when BAD JUJU STANG, who is a puppet of FOOD STAMPS HAL and ALL OF THE OTHERS take cheap shots at the one person here who is practicing juju rightly, ME! Okland is a great team, one of the best! GO YANKEES!


























Yes, shipoopi, there's trouble in River City.


For at least five minutes every season, Brian Cashman turns into Prof. Harold Hill, and manages to convince all of us that, somehow, his latest Yankees' confabulation is for real.

Sometimes, the illusion can last for months. In 2022, the Yanks actually seemed to be playing at levels not seen in almost 25 years in the Bronx. At least, that was, until Mr. Cashman outdid himself in blowing up  his own creation, with maybe the worse mid-season deals ever wreaked upon a team, a first-rate starter and a bundle of young arms packaged for a menage of obviously injured players.

This year, I admit that even I fell for it, for about those five minutes. 

Back when the Yanks were 12-3, and just one out away from sweeping the Guardians, I found myself pulled inexorably into Cashie Think:

They're THIS GOOD and Cole hasn't thrown a pitch...They're this good, and Judge has yet to get going, and Rizzo, and Torres, and maybe Stanton isn't done after all and at least Vertigo can play the field...They're this good and JUAN FREAKIN' SOTO!!!

Then, as always, reality rears its ugly head. That seedy barbell salesman shows up to give us the real scoop, this year in the form of the BJ's and Athletics.

Truth is, the hot start this year was just one more example of the hysteria that can be spread by Prof. Brian Cashman's Think Wish Method. With 1/7th of the season gone by now, the reality sets in that nobody just "needs to get going" on the Yankees. They've already gone.

Let's face it:

—Judge is injured and old.

—Rizzo is injured and old.

—Stanton is slim, trim, and irredeemably old.

—Vertigo is the same slag heap of mediocrity he was in Fenway.

—Gleyber is young, but getting old before his time. (Apologies to Joe Jackson.)

—Cole isn't coming back any time soon.

It's only a matter of weeks before the pathetically underarmed pitching staff starts to break down as well, probably beginning in the bullpen. 

There's no help on the way. No shipment of snazzy band uniforms is going to make us all believe that this team can play. Hell, MLB can barely provide any serviceable unis at all and in any case—and even if they did, Yanks would just slap another advertising patch on them. 

As the goose eggs pile up, it's time we admitted it: we got Trouble in (Bronx) River City, and that starts with T and that rhymes with C, and that stands for Cashman!

Oh, we got trouble, my friends...

The 10 worst elements of yesterday's pathetic loss

 1. We are now 2nd - (as in runners up, also-rans, silver medalists, participation trophy candidates, fillers - in the AL East. We couldn't even hold first through April 30, following our best start in decades. Next week, it's Baltimore, and they are for real. 

2. Another looming indignity: Boston could soon pass us. Weren't they supposed to be in a rebuilding year?

3. We lost to last year's consensus worst team in baseball.

4. We lost to last year's consensus worst team in baseball... at home.

5. We've been shutout in two of our last three games. In one, we couldn't even score in 10 innings, even with a ghost runner on 2nd. In the other, the pitcher was JP Sears, who we traded last year for Frankie Montas. In both, we squandered great starts by Nestor Cortes and Carlos Rodon.

6. After Juan Soto, the heart of the batting order is killing us. Aaron Judge looks lost. If he doesn't strikeout, he's a DP grounder. But nobody is stepping up.

7. Aaron Boone managed to get kicked out of a game without speaking. 

8. We're back to fuming over Juan Soto's future contract.

9. Anthony Volpe cannot hit leadoff. His average is plummeting, and nobody knows when it will level off.

10. Some of us have forgotten the fundamental tenets of juju. You don't call a team "tomato can" on the verge of playing them. Talking about you, Stang. Get your act together. 

Monday, April 22, 2024

Thank you, Stang, thank you SO MUCH for calling Oakland a "tomato can." Are you happy now?

So... ya live yer miserable, filthy life under the crapola delusion that maybe - just maybe - if you keep to your principles, if you strive in your teachings, if you forsake your own peace of mind and focus on troweling out knowledge to the next generation, that maybe - just maybe - the kids, the youngsters, will maybe absorb 00.001 percent of what ya said, ya know? 

Well, apparently, 30 years of teaching the FUNDAMENTAL RULES OF JUJU didn't amount to a hill of squat, as the Yankees today got shutout, shortly after Stang - our Stang - took it upon himself to label Oakland "a tomato can."

Happy now, Stang? Did you get the giggles out your system? Have you taken pride in ruining the Yankees' Passover?







Jeeze H...

One more tribute in the post-John era

I took a vacation from my computer this weekend and read a novel I highly recommend, In A Lonely Place, by Dorothy B. Hughes. (If you've seen the Humphrey Bogart movie, you still don't know the story; Hollywood changed it entirely.) And get this: it was printed on pieces of paper, not displayed on a screen! Best weekend I've had in a while. Anyway, I missed it when Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside submitted the following on Saturday, apparently hoping to get in on that day's John Sterling tributes. So, with apologies to Beauregard, and to John, here it is, from the Baltimore Sun of September 28, 1993.

When gab came to radio


AMONG the first to be lobbied by White House spin doctors last week after President Clinton released his health-care reform plan were radio talk show hosts. Hillary Rodham Clinton and assorted administration bigwigs briefed the radio gabmeisters and invited them to broadcast live from the White House lawn. (A few hosts saw the schmoozing for what it was and refused to attend.) It was a strong indication of how far “talk radio” has come as a force to be reckoned with.

And it’s a relatively new force, made possible by technology that allows hosts to speak live, even from points remote from their stations, with one, two or even more callers, while listeners hear all of the conversation. Two Baltimore stations (WBAL and WCBM) devote most of their schedules to talk radio, while most others gab with listeners at least part of the broadcast day.

The tradition in Baltimore goes back at least to 1948, when the first talk shows were broadcast from the Copa, a nightclub in the 100 block of West Baltimore Street. Baltimore disc jockey Jack Wells was the host. The show went out over WITH from 1 to 4 a.m. six nights a week. Seated at a table at the center of the club, Mr. Wells had a microphone in front of him and a telephone to his left.

“I’d say, ‘I’m at the Copa. Where are you? Please call me,’ ” Mr. Wells recalls.

It was, of course, one-way radio. “Listeners called me on the phone while I was in front of a live mike. I could hear the caller, but the listening audience could not. So it was up to me to make known to the listeners what the caller was saying.”

The show was famous for getting calls from the Baltimore that lived in the night: cab drivers, politicians, jockeys, number-runners, race track touts, nightclub bouncers, cops on lonely patrol and strippers from The Block.

“In most cases I would more or less repeat over the air what the caller said to me on the phone. But in some cases I couldn’t let on what was being said, some of the most shocking things. So I would often respond with something like, ‘That’s lovely. I’m so glad your aunt is getting better. Please call again and give her my best.’ “

The show was modeled after a similar one at the Copacabana in New York. “We stole the idea,” Mr. Wells says. “In those days it was thought of as a pure entertainment medium. That was all before talk radio became so angry and so politicized.”

Not much happened to talk radio in Baltimore until 1964. In that year John Sterling broadcast the first two-way conversations from WCBM. “He came along,” says John Grimes, operations manager of WBAL, “at a time when the phone company had just developed the technology of two-way radio. From there on out it was a question of any number of stations picking up the idea.”

The night of Wednesday, Feb. 26, 1969, was memorable. That evening appliance dealer Jack Luskin, listening to Gene Burns on WCBM, became so infuriated by what he believed to be biased and unfair comments about the Middle East that he rushed to the studio and barged in on the host. Mr. Luskin seized a microphone and put in his own two cents’ worth.

Glimpses couldn’t begin to list all the local hosts and their stations. Early hosts included Tony Donald (WTOW), Ron Weber (WFBR, now WJFK) and Joe Knight (WFBR). These days, too, Baltimoreans can listen to nationally known hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and Larry King. Their shows reach millions, and their books wind up on best-seller lists.

Some 25 years after the Copa closed, Mr. Wells says that when he gets a late-night call, “I’m scared to pick up the phone. I’m afraid it’s some girl from The Block calling me at the Copa to talk dirty.”

In other news, welcome to Yankee Stadium, Oakland A's!

Mad Magazine #84, January1964

The Yankee Bleacher Creatures are performing the wrong role call; it's time for an update

We began '24 expecting:

a) an overly hyped Paris Olympics
b) an overly hyped solar eclipse
c) an overly hyped cicada bloom
d) an overly hyped Trump trial
e) an overly hyped Taylor Swift album
e) an underly hyped Yank batting order.

After a decade of Yankee drought, this would be the Year of the Bat. With Juan Soto and Alex Verdugo, plus comebacks from our tribal elders, the Death Barge would score 6-to-10 runs per game and bludgeon its way to - well - better than last year. The problem, as usual: Pitching, pitching, pitching...

Well, for now, the key to the Yankees' glorious April is a list of names we barely noticed last January. 

Gil, Ferguson, Weaver, Burdi, Santana, Cousins, Poteet, Gonzalez, Marinaccio, Beeter...  

That's the Bleacher Creature rollcall that should thunder across the Bronx this afternoon against the Sacramento Oakland A's of Las Vegas. 

This season, the Yankees have given up only 79 runs, lowest in the AL East and 3rd best in baseball. They did this without Gerrit Cole, Jonathan Loaisiga, Tommy Kanhle and the free agent pariahs - Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery - who occupied our primal scream therapy sessions throughout March. 

Ah, Snell-Gomery... don gemme started. I still believe the Yanks will regret Hal's cheapo refusal to buttress the rotation, which is already sweating in the April dog days. If Cole cannot return, the hole might be too large to spackle. But right now, we have nine pitchers who have yet to give up more than one earned run - and no Aroldis, that is, a rapidly disintegrating ex-star who must be used because of the money he's being paid. Our bullpen is a bunch of inexpensive no-names who won't appear on prospect rankings, and who are perpetually one bad outing from finding a bus ticket in their locker vent. 

The problem, Suzyn: This is baseball, and we cannot predict how long this bullpen will last. If Carlos Rodon doesn't start pitching into the 6th and 7th, rather than the 3rd and 4th, cracks in the dike will inevitably widen. This weekend, our staff shut down Tampa, and if our Olympian batters had simply plated one stinking run on Saturday, we'd have sent hateful Tampa home with a Ryan McBroom up their Florida sink holes.

A few other reflections...

1. One of these days, Aaron Judge will start hitting. Seriously. Let's worry about the polar ice caps, the price of gas, and Taylor's latest album sales. Let's not fret over Judge. How can I speak such blaspheme? Easy. We've seen his slumps before. Many times. And the problem isn't his swing. It's his desire for pitches low and away. One of these days, he will stop flailing at them. He will hit. 

2. Good to see Verdugo get a big single. I was starting to worry that the reason Verdugo wasn't hitting was that he no longer can play against the Yankees.

3. FYI: Baltimore has four of the top six RBI leaders in the International League, and they're all legit prospects. I don't know where they'll fit in, but if the O's need anything - anything - come July/August, they have a huge stash of trade chips. 

In building baseball franchises, nothing succeeds like a 10-year tank-athon, and with Baltimore, that's what the Yankees are up against. 

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Managing by the numbers

Yesterday, after his fourth strike-out, the fans actually booed their lifetime yankee icon, Aaron Judge. 

Boone has to make a move, and the numbers tell us Trent Grisham is a better choice, right now, in  centerfield. 

True, Trent is on the downside of a career .218 average.  He has built this .218  batting record with broken bat singles and infield hits many of which, in fairness, could just as easily have been judged ( pardon the expression )  as "errors." Sometimes, even the empires and field judges want a kid to have some success. 

As a Yankee, Trent is still hitless.  Said another way, " he has no bating average. "  But he needs more reps, as they say. 

And, yet, he remains a better alternative than Judge:

-  He is faster and a better defender.  He probably catches that " Fosberry Flop" of a fly ball that Volpe, Judge and Torres misplayed yesterday ( luckily, to no harm ).  Two gold gloves cannot be sneezed at. 

- He only generates one out when he comes to bat.  Judge leads the league in GIDP stats. Imagine that, Judge is generating two outs for the opposition when he comes to bat with a man on. A rally killer on a team that has one guy who can hit. 

Okay, we all know this cannot hold. Judge will find his way.  But, for the moment, he is in need of an ice bath and a few days rest. 

Trent Grisham is what Cashman has given the Yankees as outfield depth this year.  Lucky for him, the numbers show that Trent is the better option. 

We are lucky that Brian is still in charge. 

It's up to Yank fans to seal the deal with Juan Soto, and other thoughts from Sterling Day

One surprise from John Sterling Day: the inclusion of Juan Soto's rather underdeveloped homer-holler in the scoreboard video tribute. 

In case you missed it - John almost did - Soto's call on March 31 went this way: "There is a Soto photo, a home run in the left field seats! He's Juan-derful, marvelous, and the Yankees have taken a 4-3 lead."

Not exactly an A-bomb from A-Rod. But generally, John's greatest homer calls evolved over time, and in its three-week window, Soto's never got a chance. That said, it was important for the Yankees to lump Soto in with Jeter, Judge, Jorgie and Bern, because - well - it's up to us, we inhabitants of the Yankiverse, to groom him.

That's right. We have one season to make Soto believe there is only one stage, one venue, one mindset in American baseball, and it's to be playing for the New York Yankees. (I say we must make him "believe" this, because I'm not sure if the rest of us do, anymore. )

Listen: The Yankees need Soto, more than he needs them. He is Miguel Cabrera. He is Bryce Harper. He is a future Hall of Famer, and if the Yankees let him walk next winter, because Food Stamps Hal wouldn't open his fanny pack, well, I have some bad news for you: Jasson Dominquez will not replace him.

One of the few negatives of watching Soto this month: Realizing the gap between a generational slugger and Dominguez, or at least the brief glimpse we had of him last September. That's not a knock on The Martian. But at age 21, Soto was breaking down fences, leading his team to the World Series. Dominguez might be good someday. But he's not on Soto's level. Hardly anybody is.

The Yankees have a great tradition - or at least they once had one. That's what will keep Soto. Friday night, the bleachers chanted his name, along with "M-V-P," an unforgettable moment for a young man who just escaped from San Diego. An unbreakable bond? Let's hope so - though we might reconsider booing Judge - because tradition and loyalty might be what it takes to keep him a Yankee.

Other thoughts from John's big day:

1. Not to nitpick, but I was surprised more ex-Yanks didn't submit video tributes. The Yankees played brief messages from Paul O'Neil, Bernie and Jeter. Where was Nick Swisher, Dave Cohen, Robbie Cano, et al? Good grief, anybody with a cell phone could have made one. With each player, the crowd reacted wildly. I sorta expected more.

2. John blew Suzyn's intro: When she shouted, "... and stepping up to the microphone, the legendary voice of the Yankees, John Sterling..." he did not say, "And I thank you, Suzyn..." And - excuse me if I missed something - did anybody anywhere do anything about "You can't predict baseball, Suzyn?"

3. The Yankees gave him cufflinks, a jersey and - huh? - a big screen TV? The thing would barely fit in most three-car garages, not exactly what you give an elder, who might be prone to downsizing. A whopper TV? Weird.

4. Throughout the interviews, you got the feeling John had someplace he'd rather be. He was gracious, of course, and he wore a smile along with his humility. And it was great to see him looking happy. But the takeaway here: Age 85 is a fukkin' bitch, and it's hard to be in the center of everything. He looked as if he couldn't wait to be home with his shoes off.

Let's hope he has many enjoyable years of retirement, on his terms, with "That's Entertainment" on VHS and his shoes off. And maybe watching Juan Soto play in pinstripes.

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Remembering Sterling: Reading the Great Books


Remembering Sterling: The cutting of the cheese


John Sterling had his bloopers, his botched calls, and his critics. But here are 10 things he never did

Today, the Yankiverse will converge upon the long-outdated, horse-and-buggy media known as radio for one last fling with a disappearing world. 

With joy and sadness, we will rejoice and grieve over John Sterling Day. While we mourn the looming loss of "the legendary voice of the New York Yankees," let's be grateful for a chance to say farewell. At age 86, the shadows are steadily creeping toward home plate. John would be first to agree: It's not always easy to find the right words.

Over the last 36 years, Sterling has said a lot of nutty things, some of which earned him detractors, particularly those who were predisposed to hate the Yankees. But in this cancel culture age, let us give credit for some of the things he never did. Here are 10. 

1. He never spoke of the Yankees using the first-person plural, as in: "We're behind, two to one."

2. He never expounded on his political views.

3. He never called in sick after a Yankees collapse.

4. He never referred to the Yankees as "the good guys."

5. He never condemned a player, always siding with athletes and remembering that they are people, not machinery.

6. He never shouted to a fly ball, "Get out, get out!" or "Go foul, go foul!"

7. He never made a lecherous comment about a young woman in the stands.

8. He never took it for granted that he would continue to have a job.

9. He never said things off-mic that he wouldn't have said during a broadcast.

10. He never gave up on the Yankees - or his critics.

Following the Yankees will never be the same. 

Friday, April 19, 2024

Remembering Sterling: Night of the Screamer


A Yankee Radio Thought

 Those of us who grew up going to games at the old yankee stadium grew accustomed to the sonorous and comforting voice of Bob Shepard on the PA system.

He welcomed us to Yankee stadium and announced all changes of importance during the games. His voice announced many of the most classic moments in Yankee history. 

YES understood the value and fan connectivity of that voice.  So they bought the rights to use Bob's voice for all eternity.   You even hear it in their advertisements for the YES. network itself ( ugh ). But any time I hear it, I am comforted.  I remain connected. 

So. why not do the same for some of John's great broadcasting calls? 

 "It is high,...it is far...it is out of here...." Or more to the point, His Yankees Win Warble. " The Yankees Win....Theeeeeeeee. Yankees. .....winnnnnn!"

Use The Win Warble  every time on radio, whenever the Yankees win, regardless of the Syracuse University trained journalistic sports marketing marvel who is calling  the play by play. 

It comes Yankee Radio's version of Bob Shepard.

It would honor John forever, and keep us feeling connected forever. 

And it would be so easy to accomplish. 

The Talking Bottle Opener in the Lake


Sure, El Duque, our Peerless Leader "accidentally" dropped his John Sterling, talking Yankees bottle opener into a suspiciously unnamed "lake."


If you believe that one, there's a bridge in Syracuse I'd like to sell. (I'm not being coy. I don't know which bridge. My knowledge of Syracuse bridges is nonexistent.)

But I digress.

You know, I know, the American people know that what Duque was REALLY doing with his John Sterling Talking Yankees Bottle Opener was setting the scene for choosing the next king of the broadcast booth.

Some day, some young man (or woman, Suzyn!) who dreams of nothing but being the next voice of the Yankees, will be walking along the banks of this ostensibly anonymous "lake," when he/she will hear a voice—a sort of crooning, yearning, siren's voice calling to him/her.

She/he/it will turn, startled, and look into the lake.  And there will spy the hand of a woman of other-worldly, ethereal beauty, holding up Duque's "lost" bottle opener.

And then our knight errant will understand the words the Lady of the Lake is singing:

"There's no predicting baseball...Arthur! Er, Suzyn!" And then burst into a Broadway-quality rendition of "C'est lui!"

And so the next king of the booth will be chosen.

The first Post-John Era homestand looms, and other observations

In the current buzz movie, Civil War, a scary Jesse Plemons confronts a bunch of journalists, driving across a bloodstained America, with a haunting question: 

What kind of American are you?

Obviously, he's rooting out Yank fans - uppity penthouse commies who want hospitals, schools and gastropubs; with their stench of Big Apple superiority and their Ozempic skintags. In fact, this is wrong. N
obody has ever needed a quick way to identify these NYC Holly Golightlys, because the world provided an easy litmus test. His name was John Sterling.

To sluice out Yank fans, all you needed was turn on John and Suzyn. Within seconds, the haters would turn into George C. Scott in the 1979 movie "Hardcore," screaming "TURN IT OFFFFF!" But to us, it was music. 

Well, folks, it's almost here - the day you never expected to see. 

John is going away, and he won't be coming back.  

Admit it: You figured the asteroid would hit, or the Grand Canyon would erupt - (choose your Doomsday) - before John called it quits. But here it is. Tomorrow - (game time 1:05 p.m.) -  the world says goodbye, and I might need a bath towel to watch. 

I'm finding it hard to listen to Yank games on the radio, even if they're still electrified by the Jeep brand. Nothing against Justin Shackil and Emmanuel Berbari. It's not what they are. It's what they are not. Meanwhile, Suzyn seems lost and abandoned. Everything is out of whack. Home runs without special calls. Wins without win-warbles. The juju gods must be watching C-Span. If life is just a simulation, The Matrix has been breached.  

So, we'll carry on, right? At some point, something memorable will happen, and we will bond with the new broadcast team, right? (This season has yet to bring an enduring moment, aside from John's announcement.) Meanwhile, we wait to hear from Suzyn. She's 77. How far will she go? We might find out tomorrow.  

Other tidbits.

1.  In April, the Yankiverse got a kick out of 5'6" Caleb Durbin, the Jose Altuve of Scranton. Lately, he's cooled off, his batting average dipping below .300. But Durbin and an outfielder named Brandon Lockridge continue to run wild at Triple A. They lead the IL in stolen bases. At some point, the Death Barge might need a fulltime base-stealer, a la Dave Roberts in 2004. (Ouch.) Could that be Durbin's path to NYC? 

2. Tonight, Clarke Schmidt faces the hateful Rays. (Why do so many teams hate us? Do they hate the Royals, the Pirates, the Brewers?) Schmidt has started three games, each time pitching into the 5th. He's given up 3 runs, then 2 runs, then 1 - shaving a run each time. In lieu of Gerrit Cole, he might just be our ace. (I'm jinxing him, but fukkit.)

3. I've been reading Hoss' book on NY baseball. Damn, it's a great piece of writing and research. Guy doesn't waste a paragraph. If you haven't grabbed it yet, you are missing out. For baseball fans, this book should be considered Cultural Jury Duty. 

4. You can always tell an off-day by the bullshit used to gather clicks. 

In this case, it's a pile of speculative news stories that suggest, come November, the Mets will sign Juan Soto and the Yankees will react by chasing Pete Alonzo. 

Dear God, save us from such crapola. It's like the NFL mock drafts in March, or political polls in January. People who traffic in it, Jesse Plemons should shoot them. What kind of Yankee fans are they?

Thursday, April 18, 2024

The greatest implement of refreshment and sustenance ever invented

Via Above Average 

(Truth: I once had one of these, and it fell into a lake.) 


Remembering Sterling: The Crooner and the Cake


Remembering Sterling: A-Rod scores a hug


DJ LeMahieu is entering rehab, soon to return; that sets up a wave of scenarios.

According to the Internet, DJ LeMahieu - aka, "He of the Barking Metatarsal" - will soon enter a rehab assignment at Double A Somerset, (which always sounds more pleasant than saying Bridgewater, N.J.)

For the last two years, LeMahieu has been a one-footed warrior, unable to regain his batting stroke of the Covid season, when he hit a league-leading .364. That's nearly 100 points higher than any year since. 

Last season was DJ's worst in 13 years. He hit .243 with banjo power, blighted by a toe that attracts fouls like camera lenses to a Kardashian. He'll turn 36 in July, and he'll be a Yankee through 38. From all accounts, he's like a player-coach, a solid citizen of Gotham who can play any infield slot. That flexibility has always been his greatest asset. 

This year, however, LeMahieu has been projected by the Yankee Dark A.I. as a fulltime 3B, replacing The Beastmaster, Whose Name Shalt Ne're Be Spake. But as his return nears, maybe the Yankees should still view DJ as a jack of all trades, rather than Brooks Robinson. 

The key here is Oswaldo Cabrera, the most pleasant surprise of 2024. Thus far. Oswaldo is hitting 98 points above last year's .211. Thus far. He's been the team's second best lefty bat. Thus far. It's too early to declare him our Cinderella, or even our Travolta, but he's 25 and smart enough to see that changes needed to happen after last year's disaster. Last night, Oswaldo made a great defensive play to keep the game within reach. He's done fine. Thus far.  

So, let's say LeMahieu returns from Bridgewater around May 1. What happens next? Some scenarios:

1. DJ takes over at 3B and Oswaldo disappears, transformed into Boone's 25th man. Right now, that's Kevin Smith and/or Jahmai Jones, neither of which see much playing time.

2. DJ platoons with Oswaldo at 3B, which means sitting out most games. (Note: If his foot hurts, extra rest might suit him.) 

3. He takes the bulk of games at 3B, freeing Oswaldo to platoon with Gleyber Torres, who has been crapping the bed. Thus far. 

4. DJ moves to 2B - (his best position, he's a former Gold Glove) -benching Gleyber until he screws his head on straightly. Oswaldo stays at 3B, where he's doing well. Thus far. 

5. DJ platoons with Anthony Rizzo at 1B, whose slow start (and uncharacteristically flighty defense) has prompted the beginnings of concern. Oswaldo and Gleyber stay put. 

Whatever happens, LeMahieu will bring flexibility - always a good thing. He can play anywhere, as can Oswaldo. Could it be a waste to have them share 3B? Also, by May 1, somebody will probably tweak a gonad, making these scenarios moot. Nobody can stay healthy. Thus far.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Remembering Sterling: Honey Bun


A call to action in a time of grief

Erik Kopp, a man unafraid to attach his name (or his brother's) to a cause, writes: 

As a long time daily readers of the blogspot, I'd like to share with you an email I received from my brother, Paul Kopp, earlier today: 

Here are some of the arguments I've read about why Sterling hasn't received the Ford Frick Award 

1. Not really known to the National Audience. This is crap. Boston's Joe Castiglione is getting the award this season. He basically has the same number of years in that Sterling does. Other "locals" that have gotten the award recently are KCs Denny Mathews (who is boring), the Rangers' Eric Nadel and Chicago's Pat Hughes. None of them, to my knowledge have ever done any national games. 

2. Too quirky. Has anyone ever heard of Harry Caray, Hawk Harrelson or Bob Prince? 

The Hall has given this award to Dick Enberg (a great broadcaster but hardly known for baseball), regional favorites (Oakland's Bill King, Seattle's Dave Niehaus).  It is a total sham that Sterling gets snubbed year after year. Next year a local or national broadcaster will get the award. Honor the man while he is still alive! His consecutive game streak in an era when teams have a dozen or more broadcasters is something to behold. 

Let's start a campaign to get John Sterling the Frick Award!