"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Filth in the Fifth


Brett Gardner batted with bases loaded and two outs in the fifth. He represented the tying run. The home plate ump rang him up on a pitch that split the border of Weehawken and Hoboken. Gardner unleashed the power of a thousand exploding suns, or at least a bunch of frustrated Yankee fans.  He got ejected and, yeah, it was worth it.

It’s hard to believe, but the Yankees actually had a legitimate shot to win this game before Gardner got tossed. They opened that inning with five straight base runners. But because Carlos Beltran could not score from second on a double over the head of Cespedes (he got a bad read, he’s old, he’s slow, the there were no outs, the ball was somewhat close to being caught, all true, but gotta score on a clear double from second base unless your hamsting rips apart) Martin Prado ran up the back of Brian McCann at second and was tagged out. They still ended up scoring two runs in the inning, but with the gift out on the bases and the bridge and tunnel whiff of Gardner, the Red Sox only needed to get one out on their own. 

That’s not to say the Yankees didn’t get walloped. They lost 9-4 as the youngsters from Boston clobbered homers off an off-model Shane Greene. I know this is heresy, but I like both Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts and am kind of excited to see what they become.

The loss was awful and the Yankees look less and less like a team that will play meaningful baseball in September. That’s OK. When they lost four of six in Detroit and Toronto, that was the official sign to stop thinking about October. Of course there’s no reason to write them off until they’re eliminated, but I no longer feel the need to check the standings or the scores of the more realistic contenders. If they play improbably great baseball for the rest of the month and get back into it, fabulous.


Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Categories:  1: Featured  Game Recap  Jon DeRosa  Yankees

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1 Sliced Bread   ~  Sep 3, 2014 8:36 am

It's meaningful baseball as long as Jeter's in the lineup.
That's what these next few weeks are for.
The rest is just sets, props, and extras.

2 rbj   ~  Sep 3, 2014 8:49 am

Yeah, I'm counting on getting to bed at a decent hour this October. Only thing I'm looking at is if the Yankees can have a winning record with a negative run differential. IIRC that would be two years in a row, which would make Brian Kenny's head explode.

3 Chyll Will   ~  Sep 3, 2014 10:41 am

[2] With that said, how long after the Official Retirement® do you think Kevin Long either shuffles over to a new responsibility within the organization or essentially walks the plank? Realistically he's not to blame for the Yankees' woes with the offense, but under his watch the contrast between the talented/prime hitters (Robbie, Gardner, now Ellsbury) and just about everyone else has been very stark. You have to blame the front office for the mediocre assemblage of roster talent from the start, but usually in these circumstances the hitting coach is the first to take the fall and I don't see Girardi falling on his own sword for Long (or Tony Peña for that matter).

For what it's worth, I think Girardi has done the most that anyone can with this roster even if a few losses can be pinpointed to some foolishness he did or didn't do (nobody's perfect), so canning him would be an unnecessary risk, but I also think some of his coaches have let him down. It's never an exact science, but there is wide room for improvement here and there given the results.

4 rbj   ~  Sep 3, 2014 11:29 am

[3] This is something I've wondered about for a long time. Take a classical musician, say the First Violin for the New York Symphony. That person has been well trained and knows his shit. Yet he probably still has a "teacher." What does that teacher tell him?

Similarly, all the baseball hitters have been coached since they were probably 10. About the only thing a major league coach can do is point out bad habits (quit swinging at sliders that are a foot out of the zone, Raphael Soriano, everyone knows that pitch is coming.)

I'm not sure how to quantify Kevin Long's contributions versus how much is just a lack of good hitters or guys past their prime.

And every manager is going to make some decisions that backfire. You've got your starting nine you pencil in most days with mixing in bench players. As long as there are no clubhouse controversies, I don't think a change of managers is going to make much difference.

The sad fact is, the Yankees sucked for a while and Steinbrenner got banned, and some good young players weren't traded away for over the hill veterans. But the "Core Four" era is winding down. Now a bad yearly roster is on the GM, but a bad farm system is on the whole organization. I get that the Yankees weren't going to draft Mike Trout or Bryce Harper -- that's the penalty for winning World Series. But being unable to bring up young talent, that's an organizational failure. Absent the kids selling the team, it's on Randy Levine's head. Cashman could go too, but then you have to accept that the Yankees are in a rebuilding mode.

Maybe we should just accept that the Yankees can be competitive over the next few years without winning the WS while they are developing good young talent.

5 Chyll Will   ~  Sep 3, 2014 12:02 pm

[4] True, but then you hope that they are able to develop good talent, and that's been a mixed bag at best. Maybe their constantly being in contention has been a wearing factor on their ability to select Grade A near/at major league talent in draft pools, but there's no surefire way to predict major league success. And the frustrating part all along is that the organization seems to be unfocused about what their priorities are; do you want to contend year after year at the highest level or do you want to rebuild and contend without having to overreach in the market year after year? That is to say that wanting to and trying to do both has proven unfruitful in the last few years.

Probably the worst thing they did for themselves was to build a new stadium when the one they had was still serviceable; now that they have so much overhead and debt obligations, winning one WS since it's opening while penny-pinching and subsequently falling out of contention appears not to be the price but an added burden. That is not THE factor, but one of many that is certainly different than the King George Approach, which I can't and won't endorse even in hindsight. Whatever the happy medium is between the two, the Yanks have not found it yet.

6 Jon DeRosa   ~  Sep 3, 2014 1:30 pm

[5] I can't speak to how the Stadium may or may not be impacting them, but what's clear is that the 2014 budget plan which basically had them opt out of any long or medium term talent acquisition from the Granderson trade to the winter of 2013-14 is the cause of the current shittiness. It could very well be that the Yankees decided to go for the budget loophole because of the Stadium debt, that I have no idea.

7 rbj   ~  Sep 3, 2014 1:58 pm

It's probably 20 years ago by now, but I read that it cost $1 million to develop a major league player. It was the total cost of the minor league system (players and coaches) as well as spring training and extended spring training plus medical costs. I can ony imagine that it has gone up since then. Giving out monster contracts means less for development. So I'm not upset over the Yankees not matching the Mariners offer. But we still have anchors at first and third, overpaid question marks.

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