Sunday, June 30, 2024

Game thread if anyone cares

 Our season turning to horseshit, seen here at left in mid-foreground.

At the halfway mark, the Knicks have a commanding lead in the Tabloid Back Pages race


For the Yankees to win in 2024, 
they must make it through at least two levels of the postseason.

Hello, Mr. Gerrit? Can you hear us? We need somebody to save this team.

By late next week - after the fireworks, after the hurricane, during the ongoing collapse of civilization - the Death Barge could be glancing over its shoulder at Boston, which visits Gomorrah for a three-game series.

No matter what happens - no matter how deep this slide - the Yankees will make it to the all-star break in prime position to reach the postseason. 

Thank you, expanded playoff system. Once again, you'll save the Yankee month of September.  

And listen... I hate to sound like a pimpled 14-year-old, constantly losing my braces by calling today's game "the most important of the season," when there are 77 left to play, plenty of time for the Barge to correct its course or disappear completely in a First Testament sinkhole. What happens today cannot end our year. It just might make the season harder to stomach.

That's because we're facing the ghosts of Yankees past and future - Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Vlad Guerrero Jr. - who somehow turned into the Soto/Judge duo that propelled us for three months, and which now looks ever compromised, as Soto's hand continues to bruise. 

We've seen what happens when Juan Soto misses a game: The Yankee offense shuts down like Utica at sunset, we don't score runs, and don't get me started on the bullpen, except - wait - take this pop quiz:

Name the member of the current Yank bullpen: 

a) Phil Bickford
b) Cody Ferguson
c) Caleb Poteet
d) Tim Cousins 

The correct answer: "e - whatever, we're sooo fukkin screwed." 

Right now, when a Yankee starter fails to reach the 6th, we're fucked. There is no way our scrap heap bullpen will hold down the opposition, and that's not even considering our closer, who is either overstressed from too many innings, or rusty from lack of use.

Wait... did I mention Jose Trevino's throwing issues? Or Cash & Boonie's famous comedy routine, Who's on first? Doesn't matter: Gleyber and DJ and Verdugo and the cast of The Bear are getting "good swings," so... any day now... 

No. I won't call today's game a make or break. But if we lose three out of four to Toronto - worst team in the AL East, which had lost 8 of 10 before we pulled into town - we're officially sinking without a bubble. We have one hitter, one star, and he's dangerously running gap to gap in CF, diving for fly balls and coming way too close to the walls, which win in any collision. Mark these words, if the Yankees don't protect Judge, one of these days, the MRI  scanner will call for the Captain...

So, hello, Mr. Gerrit? Hate to be a nudge, because you should have 20 more starts in this season, and each will be big. But today, your team needs six solid innings in the way that Joe Biden needs a teleprompter. Somebody has to staunch the bleeding. Because late next week, Boston is coming. That shouldn't have mattered. Things have changed, eh?

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Game thread


Twilight of the Gods

 Martin Mull

"Midgets are the last people to know it's raining,
and the first to know it's a flood."

Orlando Cepeda 

"Right from the beginning, I fell in love with (San Francisco.) We played more day games then, so I usually had at least two nights a week free. On Thursdays, I would always go to the Copacabana to hear the Latin music. On Sundays, after games, I'd go to the Jazz Workshop for the jam sessions. At the Blackhawk, I'd hear Miles Davis, John Coltrane. … I just loved that town."

Did a screaming Marcus Stroman jolt Gleyber from his funk?

Last night, in the 5th- the new Impossible Dream for Yank starters - acclaimed children's author Marcus Stroman flirted with another blowout loss, when he loaded the bases to bring future Yankee Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to the plate. 

Vlad Jr. - the famed Yankee-in-Training - bounced one to SS Anthony Volpe, who waited on a high hop and, well, it wasn't exactly Tinkers to Evers to Chance. (More like Johnson to Nixon to Ford.)

Junior beat out the DP, prompting Stroman to throw a four-alarm, toad-licker, hissy fit, which seemed to be directed at current team whipping mule Gleyber Torres. The prosecution lasted about 30 seconds - a lifetime on YES - then Stroman walked another batter, got the Boonie hook, and was left to scream in the dugout like Al Pacino in "And Justice for All," which I promise is the final '70s image in this post. 

Two innings later, Gleyber homered, prompting YES/WNBA play-by-play announcer Ryan Ruocco - freed for the night from sucking Caitlin Clark's perfumed toes - to shout "GLEYBER TORRES, WELCOME BACK!" This launched the YES team's nightly "big-hit-that-could-snap-him-out-of-his- slump" jubilation protocol.  

Let's hope. Last night, after the mystery tongue-lashing, Gleyber delivered: 2 for 4 with 3 RBIs. So did DJ LeMahieu - 1 for 4 with his first extra base hit of 2024, which was greeted like Travis Kelsey keg-lifting Taylor - and Alex Verdugo's 2-for 5.  They weren't exactly Mazeroski: The Yanks scored 7 in the 9th, padding numbers in a 16-5 laugher.

Today, here's where everything stands. 

Second place. Silver medal. First runner-up. Wild Card. In Three's Company, we're Joyce Dewitt. (I lied about '70s references.)

Baltimore has won three straight, Boston has a canned tomato scent, Tampa will surely soon launch a sell-off, and - despite their hate-fueled win Thursday - the Blue Jays look ready to tank. 

A split won't work. The Yankees need to win a series. It feels like a lifetime, just to the all-star break. God knows what set off Stroman - fuel for his next literary effort? - but let's hope his tantrum becomes a meaningful date on the 2024 calendar, like the turning point it seemed to prompt last night. 

Friday, June 28, 2024

Game Thread: Yankees Vs. Blue Jays

Perhaps tonight will be different. Enjoy the game.

It Happened to the Titanic, as Well.

Few people were certain at the moment of impact.  But the terrible truth is, the minute the berg collided with the hull, it was over. Sure, it would take a little while for the boat to be overwhelmed, and full panic to set in. 

 But done is done.

Yesterday, with one of our " ace" pitchers ( and $ gazillionaires ) on the mound, the game was over within 15 pitches.  Not even time to put mustard on the hotdog. 

At the moment, we can maybe count on Nasty Nestor and Marcus Shoeleather to keep us in the game through 4 or five innings.  Even the great Cy Young winner from last year, can't assure that.  Ironic, that the tide turned against us the moment he returned.  

There is no justice. 

I expect Gil to be in re-hab soon.  And Rodon is more rodent than arm. 

Duque has aptly described the " bullpen......." where no one knows your name."

And we have an infield of AAA players and guys who no longer can play. 

Get in a lifeboat fast, or go down with the ship. 

Hal Steinbrenner does not understand the town where his family has done business for 50 years.


Gee willikers, boys and girls! After all that boring winning, now comes the very bestest part of the season, when your New York Yankees struggle desperately just to hang on to a wild-card slot! (Spoiler alert: they ain't gonna make it.)

I know that's what you always want. A close race, carefully played out within the bounds of MLB's parity rules. Right? How exciting!

Somehow, even after half-a-century, Hal Steinbrenner doesn't get it.

He still thinks his family is doing business in Cleveland, or maybe in Tampa: one more marginal, big-league city, where it's a BFD just to make the playoffs once in a while—never mind actually winning a division or a pennant.

New York isn't that town.

You've heard it said that rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for U.S. Steel? That was said by a Dodger fan. Or some Red Sox mutt. The response to that from any and every Yankees fan worth his salt was always, Yeah, whatzit to ya? Whattaya got your money on in the market?

This isn't Pittsburgh, or Cincinnati, or Jacksonville, or any of those other places where they hand out medals just for competing. Where merely being close once in a great while is good enough. 

This isn't Dallas, where last year the Texas Rangers had the fourth-best record in the AL, but managed to win their very first World Series in their 63 years of existence.

Uh-huh. Sixty-three years into their existence, the New York Yankees had already completed the greatest dynasty in North American sports history.  

Our reaction? When do we get the next one?

The glow of nostalgia sheds too rosy a light on our memory of Hal's dad, Mad Old George. We should remind ourselves that NO Steinbrenner has won so much as a single pennant...without a team whose core was built when George was banned from the room.

Left to his own devices, George Steinbrenner wanted to trade Mariano Rivera for Felix Fermin, and throw Ron Guidry into the Bucky Dent deal—just for starters. He came within a hairsbreadth of wrecking the franchise altogether—or selling it to the Dolans, not sure just what fate would've been worse.

But at least George wanted to win, bad as he was at doing so. At least he got New York, the full Barnum of it all. The pulsing desire here to see the brightest stars, and the biggest show on earth.

Nobody comes here to see if their beloved, hometown team can maybe struggle into the playoffs every now and then. 

We deliberately left those hometowns and those teams to come here, to the biggest, toughest, most grandiose and awe-inspiring burg of them all.

We're not here for second best. As the song that George started playing incessantly goes, we want to be "A-number one, top of the heap"—not, "Good enough for the top 40 percent!"

Hal, so afraid of offending his fellow owners, has carefully built a team that can periodically win, but can never win it all. Of course this is on purpose. Why the hell else would he keep Brian Cashman around for year after year of incompetence and failure?

No, Hal doesn't get us. He doesn't understand what we live for, what we consider sustained excellence. 

He doesn't get it. That has to be it. Unless...he doesn't care.


The great Yankee resurgence of 2024 didn't make it to July 1

Well, that certainly was fun,  while it lasted...

The great opening weekend. The sweep of Houston. The rise of Luis Gil. Anthony Volpe's hitting streak. Giancarlo's comeback. Juan Soto. The magnificent Aaron Judge... 

Yep, 2024 had its moments. Some nights, you even believed the megadrought had ended, and this was our year. Brian Cashman's trades had finally turned our way. This time, the Yankees were for real. 

Yep. And it almost outlasted the month of June.

Well, it's over, folks. Let the record show that, by the 28th of June, the legendary '24 Yankees were done ruling over the AL East and had begun peering over their shoulders at Boston in the wild card race. The last time they won a series, June 12, Miami was underwater, Hunter Biden was awaiting his fate, and the Celtics still faced a tussle from Dallas. 

Back then, a hundred years ago two weeks ago, Stanton was being touted as an all-star, Anthony Rizzo was starting to hit, and Gleyber Torres was showing signs of cogency. Remember? Way back when? Back when the world was young? When there was hope?  

Now? Well, what's remarkable about the '24 Yankees is their ability to be hopelessly out of games by the 4th inning. In this way, they pay homage to great Yankee disappointments of this millennium: Once they fall behind, the game is over. Each night, they recreate their bullpen from scratch, via busses from Scranton. Their infield is an overturned jigsaw puzzle. They have two hitters - Soto and Judge - in a sea of GIDPs. 

Technically, I suppose this still qualifies as a slump, rather than a collapse. They could still break out, win five straight, maybe flip Baltimore back into 2nd for a weekend. Trouble is, the O's were always this year's emerging team, and now that they're in first, it's hard not to see the Yankee operations shifting from rescue to recovery. 

What happens this weekend in Toronto could reveal how catastrophic this collapse will be. The Blue Jays are a tomato can. They spent the last month talking about a July sell-off. Even Vladimir Jr. could go. They were the perfect salve for the nicked-up Yankees, ripe for a sweep, and last night, they had us pinned to the mat by Inning No. 2.

Yeah, '24 was fun, while it lasted. Consider the rug pulled, the silverware stolen. This was an all-or-nothing season, and now, it sure looks like the latter.

I wonder... will any of us live long enough to see another Yankee championship? 

Thursday, June 27, 2024

The (Almost) Mid-Season Awards

Clearly the All-Star Break can’t get here fast enough. In an attempt to “speed the plow” here are my Mid-Season Awards...

The AYGHAB? No! Award

DJ LeMahieu AYG-HAB 0.0

The lowest AYG-HAB (Are You Glad He's At Bat) since the stat was first used in 1908 by my great grandfather in Hungary. It was then known as the AYG- BAT (Are You Going to Buy Already That?) And was used to assess the seriousness of a man looking at a barrel of herring.)

It's DJ and it's not even close. Some of you might think this is Gleyber's award but he actually gets on base. How else could he be thrown out by upwards of twenty feet?

It's DJ. Still no extra base hits for a starter who plays a corner position and it's damn near July! I like the guy. He can still field and I'm sure this is driving him crazy but. Zero. Point. Zero.

And unlike Belushi he will not end up as a senator unless it's an Ottawa Senator as a puck boy.

Hey, he has a French name.

"Cleanup" On Aisle Seven Award (Formerly the Danger Man Award)

Aaron Boone

Before analytics the clean-up hitter was the most feared hitter on the team, now, thanks to Boone's mismanagement, it goes to virtually anyone - even the new guy and lowest person on the totem pole. 

"Tell Jahmai Jones to grab a mop and wipe up all those broken mayonnaise jars before someone, probably Stanton, breaks his leg.

How bad has it become? A couple of nights ago Gleyber was batting clean-up.

The Ed Whitson Award

Gleyber Torres

I'm not sure when hating on a member of our team became a thing. Recent award winners include Gary Sanchez and Josh Donaldson.

This year's winner going away, and we wish he would, is Gleyber Torres. Part of it is WE KNOW he can be better. We've seen it. Part of it is WE KNOW he can't.

Gleyber has the lowest baseball IQ I've ever seen. I keep waiting for him to fail to throw to first because he thinks the ball is an apple and takes a bite out of it because he's hungry.

The MOCA Award

This one is for us…

Quick name five Yankee Middle Relievers. You can't? It’s OK, you don't have Alzheimer’s. Not even Boone can keep track of some of these guys' comings and goings. I think he calls them all "Relievy" now.

That's it. Hopefully the All Star Break shows up soon.

Slow motion disaster: The Yankees have nobody in the pipeline to replace Gleyber Torres

Gleyber's World
Last night, on the way to their latest disaster - (8 losses in 10 games) - the Yankees finally showed a smattering of spine.

They benched Gleyber Torres, this year's official Yankee pariah. 

A hallmark of modern Yankee teams is to field at least one vastly underachieving player, whose collapse defies age, physicality and logic. Last year, the candle of Yankee hopelessness was carefully manned by Josh Donaldson and Aaron Hicks. This year, it's Gleyber (though several others may be stepping up to help.) 

In benching Gleyber, Aaron Boone offered, as cover, yet another modern tradition: "tightness" in the hammy. The Yankees are a team of bailing twine, ratcheted to exhaustion and always ready to snap. 

So, what now? Who might save the Yankee infield, which currently amounts to Anthony Volpe and some reanimated corpses? Fuckiff I know. But rest assured: The SOS was not sent, the 9-1-1 call was not picked up, the cavalry is not coming... help is not on the way. 

My bet: After Gleyber spends a night or two in Boonie's penalty box, the Yankees will trot him back out there, gushing over his latest swings and praying that he finds himself. The other options conjure memories of Brian Roberts and Stephen Drew. The Yankees have floundered at 2B since 2014, when Robby Cano jogged off to Seattle. Gleyber was supposed to end our troubles and hold the position for several years. Now, he's a lame duck, almost certain to go elsewhere next winter, when his contract ends. 

Last night, they played Oswaldo Cabrera, 25, now into his third season of desperation. He went 1-for-3 with a walk, lifting his BA to .238. (He's a lifetime .228.) Fans love Oswaldo's smile, his glove, his hustle. It's just his bat that troubles us. I don't know if he even pinch hits anymore, so sad has he been from the right side. The Yankees love to tout their coaches. Well, where's the help for this guy? Has there ever been someone more in need of an overhaul? 

Then there is DJ LeMahieu, 35, who would have to move from 3B or 1B, leaving a bleak hole. This would replace Gleyber's disappointment with another disappointment. After 23 games, LeMahieu is hitting .178 and - worse - still seeks his first extra base hit of 2024. Right now, the Yankees have little choice but to keep running him out there. But where? And when does the experiment end? 

In April and May, Scranton fans were electrified by the play of tiny Caleb Durbin, a 5'6" Jose Altuve kewpie, who hit .299 and ran wild on the bases (28 SB, 2 CS.) Unfortunately, Durbin, 25, hasn't been seen since May 29, when he took a pitch off his right hand. Reports described him wearing a brace the size of a toaster. It looked bad. If Durbin, 25, returned tomorrow, he'd need about a month to reach playing shape.

Last winter, the Yankees obtained Jorbit Vivas, 23, in a roster dump from the Dodgers. At the time, he was touted as our future 2B. Vivias missed the opening weeks of the season and has been a - hmm, what's the word? umm... disappointment. Could you believe it? In 24 games, he's hitting .225 with 2 HRs. 

Wait, did I fail to mention Oswald Peraza, 24, the former future Yankee SS (of 2022), who floundered last spring and has never stopped? In 29 games at Scranton, he's hitting .180 with 1 HR. 

Wait... there is one player doing well: Jeter Downs, 25, the eternal prospect, a leftover from Boston's fabled trade of Mookie Betts. He's hitting .274 with 9 HRs and 14 stolen bases. He's a career .241 hitter in the minors. A late bloomer? Why not?

Down at Double A Somerset, there is Anthony Siegler, the 2018 first-round draft pick, then a catcher, seeking to salvage his career as an infielder. He's now 25. He's hitting .201.

So, trade for somebody? Find Gleyber a new therapist? Dunno. But the Yankees better do something. This season is slipping through their hands like a grounder to second. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Was this the week we lost Juan Soto?

 Last night, the "J & J Boys," Juan and the Judge, put on a show comparable to the M & M Boys of 1961.

The J & J Boys—"J" also standing for "joy," in that these seemed to be the only two Yankees present not openly wishing they were summering on the Hamptons—produced six of the Bombers' seven runs, with two homers, a double, and three walks between them.

It was "Mantlian." Or "Marisian"—whatever you prefer.

Except that the Yankees lost. The M & M Boys having had, as it were, a neat little supporting cast that included Yogi Berra, Elston Howard, Whitey Ford, Moose Skowron, Johnny Blanchard, Clete Boyers, Tony Kubek, Bobby Richardson, and Luis Arroyo, among others.

The J & J guys' support looks more like comic relief. Send in the clowns? Don't bother, they're here.

It's incredible how Judge and Soto keep pulling off games like this, even as one obviously unreliable teammate after another crumbles into dust. I half-expect the Yanks to openly announce that they are increasing the degree of difficulty:

"Ladies and gentlemen! This time, they will do it while juggling flaming chainsaws!"

Of course, there's an end to how long this can go long, and it's coming up quick. New York must've seemed like a summer wonderland to Soto at first, the way the team kept winning and the fans kept roaring along with him. 

No more. 

Now comes what has become our annual descent into hell, starting with what is likely another City Series loss to the New York Mets.  

(Did you know, incidentally, the last time our boys actually defeated the Queens team in a regular-season, subway series? It was 2017. Every series since has either been a tie or a Mets win.)

The next couple months promise to be a roiling cauldron of vitriol, as the fans—lured in big numbers by yet another deceptive leap out of the gate—pour invective on Cashman and Hal...along with every other Yankee but the Big Two.

It won't be pretty—and why should Juan want to sign up for endless years of it to come?

Pretty nuch no matter where he goes, Juan Soto—still just 25—is looking at a half-billion-dollar payday. Why would he not take his talents to a competent, well-run organization where he might once again play in (and win!) a World Series?

Maybe, as with Judge, we'll get lucky and he'll decide he just loves our top-ranked tap water and "Manhattan-henge" sunsets. 

Yet the truth is that this earlier-than-ever meltdown puts re-signing Soto in jeopardy—if HAL and The Office Boy were ever serious about it in the first place; a towering "IF." And losing a player of this magnitude and this exuberance will likely cast an unmovable fog over this franchise for many years to come.

But no worries. I'm sure The Martian will finally be ready to blast off next year. Right?

Look out, below? As the Yankees flounder, David Cone asks a troubling question

Last night, somewhere around the 7th inning - as white flags flapped across the Bronx, and the Mets seemingly stretched their lead to infinity - the YES prophet, David Cone, summoned the Yankee Condition with one existential question.

"When is the all-star break, anyway?"

Technically, the answer is July 12. But that's not what Cone was actually referencing. He was posing a more terrifying question: 

When will the Yankees - at least, briefly - pause this ongoing collapse, this annual nightmare, which threatens to define this franchise as much as the championship flags that once celebrated its history, and which now mock their numb-nuts owner and his floundering regime? 

Over the last two weeks, the Yankees - before the tired eyes of their fan base - have reverted into the meek and trembling Dr. Jekyll, back to the same, sad midsummer fiascos we've come to know over the last 15 years. Yes, they still lead the AL East, where Baltimore has guzzled too much from the snifter of overconfidence. And yes, there is time to pull out of this rapid descent. 

But we have seen this movie too many times. Here's how it checks off.

1. The Yankees roar off to a hot start. (Check.)

2. A few hitters conjure hope for big seasons. (Giancarlo, Rizzo... check.) 

3. At least one slumping regular become a pariah. (Last year, Donaldson. This year, Gleyber... check.) 

4. Our closer blows a few big games. (Check.)

5. After Aaron Judge, the batting order collapses. (Check.) 

6. The Yankees can't beat good teams. (Check.)

7. The bullpen crashes and becomes a daily shuttle to Scranton. (Check)

Here's what happens next... (Warning: The following contains images that some readers will find disturbing.)

8. Judge gets hurt. 

9. A starting pitcher needs surgery.

10. Brian Cashman trades the farm for stopgap veterans.

11. The Yankees win a wild card berth.

12. They fall in the playoffs.

13. They do the same shit next winter.

So... when is the all-star break? Here's the real answer:

It is hiding, far far away in an alt-Yankiverse, a trillion miles into space, where the Yankees make long term plans and actually stick to them, where they don't act as if other front offices are stupid, or sell the idea that failed players will magically revive in New York, and where they build actual teams rather than midway attractions. 

The all-star break - as a salve and tonic - does not exist. The Yankees cannot wait for July 12 - or worse, the trade deadline. They must regroup now. And their future is not in the MLB scrap heap. It's in their entire system. Unless the Yankees commit to home grown stars, rather than perpetually trading off their youth and pretending they've lost nothing, this bummer of a movie will never end. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Game Thread: Subway Series


One more word on Willie Mays.

The saddest thing about Willie Mays' career was that he was untimely ripped from the place where he was adored, New York City, and transplanted to San Francisco by the Giants' drunken lout of an owner, Horace Stoneham; there to play in a windy, freezing abomination of a ballpark.

Mays being Mays, he soon managed to adjust even to Candlestick Park. But it took years for the weird fans of San Francisco to embrace him.

"This is the damnedest city," wrote Frank Conniff of Hearst newspapers. "They cheer Khrushchev and boo Willie Mays."

Well, they didn't boom him for long. But the second saddest thing about Mays' time in the bigs was how little action he got to see in October.

There was the World Series in his rookie year, when the still-NY Giants lost to the Yanks in six (And when, eerily, it was Mays who hit the routine flyball that led to Mickey Mantle falling in the sprinkler hole and wrecking his knee.).  This was bookended with his poignant, 1973 World Series with the Mets, at the very end of his career, when the Metsies lost to Oakland in seven.

In between, there was his great triumph, The Catch in 1954, the one ring he took, a disappointing, seven-game loss to the Yanks in 1962, and a division championship in 1971 (followed by a three-game sweep by the Pirates).

That was it, all too short a stay on baseball's greatest stage—and games in which, much like Ted Williams, he never really got the chance to get going at the plate.

Year after year, Stoneham's sieve-headed front office managed to lose close races to teams such as the Dodgers and Cardinals—mostly by utterly failing to trade their seemingly inexhaustible supply of talented outfielders and first basemen for first-rate pitchers.

Bill White, Orlando Cepeda, Felipe and Matty Alou, and even Willie McCovey, eventually, were all dealt away for the likes of Toothpick Sam Jones, Ray Sadecki, Bob Shaw, Joe Gibbon, and Mike Caldwell. 

At one point, 1965-1969, the Giants finished second 5 years in a row—3 of those times by 3 games or fewer. 

Sound familiar?

Looking at that record, it seems to me that Aaron Judge must've been nuts to sign a big contract with Brian Cashman's personal plaything two years ago. Who knows? Maybe Judge and/or his wife just love New York. Or they love us, which seems hard to believe. Though New Yorkers would never cheer Putin.

But for whatever reason, he did. And it's hard now, in the wreckage of yet another misplayed season by his team's uncaring and indifferent management, to believe that Aaron Judge will ever see a World Series. 

Which is a helluva shame. At least Willie Mays—and the fans of New York—always had 1954.

Vlad Jr. says he might play for the Yankees, after all. He can &%$# himself.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. - the nepo baby who once vowed never to join the evil Yankees - now says he'd deign to accept a trade to Gomorrah and bark for Satan's dog team. 

"I'm a worker, I'm a professional, and I go out on the field to play," he said yesterday, when asked if he is nothing but a sleazy prostitute would ever don the loathsome pinstripes.

I believe I speak for the Yankiverse in hoping that Junior never suffers such indignity as to join the Bronx Babylons. 

Though it's tempting to see him in the order - and eating shit each night during the roll call - here are 10 reasons why the Yankees should pass on Vlad II at the Aug 1 trade deadline.

1. The price tag. Toronto would demand Jasson Dominguez and/or Spencer Jones, our best position prospects. Neither has been gangbusters lately. The Martian is out with a Giancarlo-style tweak, and Jones simply hasn't hit. But it would mean sending one, or both, in a package of youth (Ben Rice? Clarke Schmidt? Luis Gil?) that could gut the Yankees for a generation. 

2. Chasing Vlad would embody the kind of moonshot trade made by a desperate franchise, one seeking to make the postseason. As sluggish as the Yankees now look, they still should be a lock on making the expanded playoffs. From there, who knows?  

3. For the last three years, Guerrero's power numbers have declined. He hit 48 HRs in 2021, 32 in 2022, 26 last year, and this year he's on course for about 22. (He now has 10.) He's still a force. Just sayin'. 

4. He bats RH - again, not a deal-breaker - but when Stanton returns, Guerrero would push the Yankees toward a righty imbalance. (This could be a real problem if Verdugo doesn't start hitting.)

5. Vlad would effectively end the Yankee career of Anthony Rizzo, whose  smiling presence in the dugout is one of the few anchors of stability on this team. Somehow, through concussions and broken bones, Rizzo is always laughing, always showing up, always lowering stress levels. But with Guerrero at 1B, there would be no place for Rizzo, and everybody would know it.

6.  At 25, Vlad has one year left on a $19 million contract and will be eligible for arbitration next winter. He'll get a huge raise, maybe $30 million. Considering that Hal Steinbrenner is already poormouthing, we must wonder if Juan Soto would be gone. Frankly, I'd prefer Soto over Junior, any day.

7. The Yankees have more pressing needs than 1B. They need a solid bullpen arm - actually, a few. Depending on Jose Trevino's next few weeks, they might have to find a catcher. (Higgy, where art thou?) 

8. Wait, have I said it? Fuck Guerrero. You don't get to shit-talk about a team and a city, and then expect their fans to forget what you said. Guy belongs in Canada. Does Edmonton have a team? 

9. Let the Jays trade him to Milwaukee Kansas City Montreal.

10. Who needs Junior when we've got J.D. Davis!

Monday, June 24, 2024

Without any game tonight...


Now we’re good fans, 

Turn out every year.

Pay forty bucks, 

For a rat dog and beer.

And they’re a bad team,

’Cause they don’t really care,

They’re a bad team, 

That don’t even much try.


Now it’s a long day, 

Bakin’ in the bleachers.

It’s a long day, 

Watchin’ Gleyber flop and flail.

It’s a long day, 

Watchin’ ’em shut down. 

And we want to cheer, 

But we just sit and sigh.


’Cause they’re free,


(Chorus of Red Sox, Orioles, and Mets fans:


The Yanks are free-fallin’


Yes, they’re free-fallin’!’)


All the vampires, 

Movin’ up from Tampa.

There’s Hal and there’s Lonn, 

Then there’s Randy and Bri. 

All the vampires,

Tryna get what can.

First your money,

But your soul will do, too.


’Cause they’re free,


(Chorus of Red Sox, Orioles, and Mets fans:


The Yanks are free-fallin’


Yes, they’re free-fallin’!’)


I wanna glide down

Over the Concourse,

I wanna write their 

Names in the sky.

All the great ones

Who made this team special,

But they’re gone now,

And they won’t ever be back.


’Cause they’re free,


(Chorus of Red Sox, Orioles, and Mets fans:


The Yanks are free-fallin’


Yes, they’re free-fallin’!’)

Let's face it: the Mets are a better team.


Just to riff a little on what our Peerless Leader—and Hammer, in the comments—were saying:

The inter-city series is usually fraught with peril for the Yankees because the Metsies—the most truly cursed team in baseball—play it like their World Series. They go all out, guys who have wallowed in suckitude the entire season playing out of their heads. 

You go over to SNY, maybe half of the incredibly sucky, "Mets Classics" are the Flushing team beating our boys over the last ten years. They even have a "Classics" game that is a win from the Covid year, played before one of those eerie, silent, face-card "crowds." 

This year, though, if you look at it honestly, the Mets are better at 6 of 8 positions. Only Judge and Juan Soto—who is probably playing hurt, and now seems able to do little but draw walks—could crack the Metsies' lineup. After coming back from early-season slumps and injuries, they are better at catcher, first, second, shortstop (yes, Lindor is a better glove and more of a power hitter), third, and the remaining outfield spot.

Yes, we probably have better starting pitching—for now. And thanks to another, inexplicable Mets Folly, they just lost their closer, leveling another place where they had an advantage.

Much worse than all this, though, they also acquired an old nemesis to best us at DH. Yes, they have J.D. Martinez.

Some of you will remember when the Yankees decided they had a choice of acquiring Giancarlo Stanton or J.D. Martinez before the 2018 season. 

In the true Yankees way, I thought...why not get both? And indeed, if they had to get both, they would have almost certainly have won at least 4 more rings. But I digress.

If they had to get just one, Stanton seemed like the way to go. He had just hit those 59, garbage-time homers in Miami. He played much more outfield than Martinez did, and was two years younger.

Only our Dauntless Leader, Alphonso, stood up vehemently for Martinez over Stanton—and with what now seems like impeccable logic. 

Martinez, first of all, was a free agent, who could be got for a fraction of the years and money that Stanton's existing contract required. We would not have to give up second baseman Starlin Castro, a 27-year-old, good-fielding second baseman who had hit .300 in 2017. He could have been traded for a pitcher we needed, or who knows what prospects?

But no, Brian Cashman insisted on Stanton—in good part, it soon seemed, because he wanted to stick it to Derek Jeter, especially in a book Bob Klapisch was obligingly writing for him, telling us all what a genius Cashman was.

Well, the rest is history, of course. 

Martinez has drilled like a jackhammer everywhere he's gone, outhitting Stanton, out-homering him, out-everything him.

Cashie's mistake was evident even before Klapisch's book hit the stores, as J.D. hit 43 homers, batted .330, and led the league with 130 ribbies and 358 stolen bases in his first year at Fenway.

In their big, head-to-head confrontation that postseason, Martinez hit a homer and drove in 6 runs against us in the four-game ALDS, with a line of .357/.421/.571/.992. He drew 3 walks, and did not strike out once.

Stanton? Well, he did a little worse: .222/.222/.222/.444. No homers, no RBI, no walks; just 6 strikeouts. Including, most memorably, the last inning of the last game that year, when he flailed wildly at one Craig Kimbrel pitch after another outside the strike zone. 

Martinez led the Sox to a ring that year. Giancarlo has led us to nothing but the knackers' yard. Of course, there won't be another "showdown" because Stanton has just made his EIGHTH trip to the DL.  

But never forget—Brian Cashman is a genius! And he showed that Derek Jeter!

As Yankees head for a Subway Series, cracks are emerging in dangerous places

Not long ago, it didn't seem possible that the '24 Mets could rule NYC. 

They lost their first five games of the year, finished the month of May nine below .500, fueling late night comics and radio sports rant phonies. Basically, they sucked. 

Meanwhile, the Yankees roared off to a magical start, sweeping Houston and leading the AL East. By June 1, the disparity was so lopsided that Met fans were reduced to cheering for their owner's money: Next year, we'll buy Juan Soto, nyah, nyah, nyah...  

And yet... here we go, awaiting a two-game battle for Gomorrah with no clear favorite. Consider: 

* The Yankees have lost 7 of 10. Meanwhile, the Mets have gone 8-2. 

* Though Luis Severino won't pitch in the series, he might in the All Star game. He's 5-2 with the NL's 15th best ERA (3.29) and might just be the greatest Yankee fiasco of the modern era. For 10 years, we groomed him. Finally, we punted, saying the guy needed a new city. So, he goes across town and - yikes - thrives. The Severino story has one message: We blew it. And something is fundamentally wrong with the Yankees. 

* It's not the only thing. The Yankees have a huge, emerging flaw at catcher, where Jose Trevino's soft-throws threaten the team and his career. Recently, Boston and Baltimore ran wild against us. This weekend, we didn't see it from Atlanta - the second worst base-stealing team in baseball, with only 35. Tuesday night, expect Francisco Lindor, Sterling Marte and Harrison Bader to go crazy. For each, a walk will be a double, maybe a triple. Until Trevino conquers his throwing problem - which might be mental - both he and the Yankees face an existential crisis. On top of all their other needs, the Yankees might have to trade for a catcher. 

* Once a pitcher gets past Soto and Judge, the Yankee lineup is - well -awful. It's getting hard to stomach the YES team's continued assurances that DJ LeMahiue is returning to form, or that Oswaldo Cabrera shows signs of emerging. They hit pop flies and ground balls. The bottom of the Yankee lineup is a disaster.

* Once again, the Yankees are turning to Gerrit Cole to staunch a wound. This is frightening. Cole's return was supposed to supplement the rotation, not save it. Mark these words: The Yankees are putting way too much pressure on a pitcher - however great - who is returning from rehab. If Cole starts feeling soreness...  

* Yesterday, the Yankees yesterday traded a dirt league prospect for 31-year-old 1B J.D. Davis, who had been DFAed by Oakland, the second worst team in the AL. Last year, Davis hit 18 HRs for the Giants. He's a lifetime .259, bats RH. This year - with 4 HRs - he'd lost his job with the A's. 

What does all this mean? Well, it means that Cooperstown Cashman is staying up at night, trolling the scrap heaps. It's what he does best. But the next phase - the August trade deadline - is what Cashman historically has done worst. 

How the Yankees fare in the Subway will determine how hard, and how soon, Cashman starts making moves. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Sunday, June 23, 2024

If the Yankees continue to slide, they will break their fan base

Remember when Yank fans were odious, insufferable, obnoxious  fat cats? The worst in all of sports?

O! how we were loathed!

You'd walk into a room, and Redsock fans would start to mutter under their breath. Orioles fans would leave. Rays fans would drink heavily, and Jays fans - who cared? You didn't even notice them. Our team bought pennants. We won every year. The owner gobbled up free agents, then spat them out, if they floundered. Everybody hated the Yankees, because their star players secretly hoped to join them. To play in New York, to wear Pinstripes, was to appear on baseball's greatest stage. Our personal stage. We owned them, as Yankee fans.

Remember how it was?

I raise this because - well - maybe it's old age, but I'm having a hard time recalling those days. It's been 15 years the last Yankee appearance in a world series - 15 years since A-Rod, in his PED haze, led us through a postseason unscathed. At times, lately, I wonder... Did it really happen, or did I dream it?  

Over this long, ugly drought, the Yankees have squandered MVPs (A-Rod, Aaron Judge), a Cy Young (Gerrit Cole) and the entire careers of ascending "future stars" - (Brett Gardner, Greg Bird, Masahiro Tanaka...) with little to show. (Actually, if you consider the bar we once considered sacred - winning a ring - we have NOTHING to show.)

And this was supposed to be our year.

Since Week One, when we swept our longtime nemesis - the cheating Astros - 2024 was going to be different. We boasted MLB's greatest hitting tandem, with supporting hitters sprinkled through the lineup. We had stars facing their contractual walk years. It was a "go-for-broke" season. 

For 84 days, the Yankees have led the AL East, often with the best record in baseball.

Now, the engine is sputtering, and second place looms like a massive iceberg ahead. 

We were embarrassed in Boston, then humiliated at home by Baltimore. We have lost six of our last nine. Today, we face a rubber match against Atlanta and  then the cruelty of a two-game Subway Series, which traditionally ratchets up pressure on both teams. 

The Mets have won 8 out of 10, pulling themselves back into the postseason contention, and the chance of redemption. The Yankees have issues throughout their lineup, culminating in another wave of injuries, (Giancarlo Stanton, of course, is going for an MRI today; who doesn't expect him to miss the next two months?

Listen: I can't take this. 

I can't handle another Yankee collapse, another June swoon, another trade deadline that blows up our future. Failure has become the new Yankee normal. If the Yankees are going to fizzle - play .500 ball the rest of the way, loping toward a wild card, then exit in the first round - they are going to break me.

They are going to break us all.  

There is still a chance to escape these doldrums. But if The Collapse continues - if we fall to the Mets, if we lose NYC, if we cannot even beat Boston at home -  well -  a storm is brewing, people. It's going to blow like we haven't seen in our lifetimes. If they lose the city, the second half of 2024 might prove to be incredibly memorable... and not in a good way.