"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
Category: Yankees

Lighten Up, Francis

magic hour bags

WBC, spring training…Yo, is it Opening Day yet?

Oh, and there’s also March Madness which brings us to Will Blythe’s 2010 Esquire piece on Coach K:

Hatred makes scholars of its practitioners, which is to say, all of us. We study the objects of our disdain like old dons in the British Library poring over ancient manuscripts. No less than lovers, good haters notice everything about their enemies. Every tendency, every inconsistency, every speck of newness. Hatred focuses the attention.

As a North Carolinian raised and educated in Chapel Hill, with a robust distaste for the privileges of class, I have hated Duke University basketball and all for which it stands for as long as I can remember. And my attention has been focused.

As a Yankee fan I have no idea what Will is talking about.

Picture by Bags


Reflection Bags

I like that Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez are dating because, well, of course they are dating. The only question is for how long.

If you’ve come here for the latest on the Yanks I can only point you to places like River Ave Blues where they actually know what’s going on.

Meanwhile, so off the topic, but I did a cool interview with the journalist Chip Brown this week over at Esquire Classic:

EC: You said David Maraniss was your first editor. What was it like working for him?

CB: I learned an awful lot from David. I can still hear him say something that, again, seems absurdly basic now but at the time was a revelation: Every paragraph must advance the story. Among many fine editors I’ve had, I rank him as one of the best. Another would be Will Blythe, who was the literary editor of Esquire when I was working for the magazine and encouraged me not to be afraid to throw in an occasional quote from E.M. Cioran, the great Romanian philosopher, whose wonderful screwball provocations include lines like “One always perishes by the self one assumes: to bear a name is to claim an exact mode of collapse.” And there is also Julie Grau who now has her own book imprint Spiegel & Grau. I remember Maraniss once said even if you are writing about someone who is corrupt, rotten to the core, you can’t take away their humanity. You have to kind of cradle them when you write about them. It doesn’t mean you pull a punch, but you can’t be self-righteous or snide or judgmental. That just makes you look worse.

EC: You want to let them hang themselves.

CB: If it’s a capital offense, maybe that’s right. But in a way there’s editorializing in that too — in letting the reader make the righteous judgment — only it doesn’t seem as objectionable. And it’s truer to life, not to say more decent, to make room in what you write for the frailties of your own character, or to allude to the degree that all of us are imperfect.

EC: Did Maraniss encourage you to work on having a strong point of view or moral position?

CB: Not in the sense of consciously taking up issues with a moral agenda, but yes, in the sense of having a moral sensibility. He told me to work on my coldness. He would say, “Don’t be uncharitable.” Actually that might have been advice for managing a bollixed love life, not journalism. But it carried over.

Picture by Bags

From the Outside Looking In

blue sky bags

What I know from these Yankees is less than somewhat. I did catch a few pitches of a spring training game the other day and saw Greg Bird hit a long home run. Now there is a guy I am eager to watch this season. He was so appealing in 2015, young, sure, and poised. I really liked his quiet confidence.

Who are you looking forward to watching this year?

Picture by Bags

Baseball Time

red door bags

In all the time I’ve hosted the Banter I have not been more distant from the game than I am now. But that doesn’t make it uninteresting to me. I am just busy with other stuff—like unearthing this bitchy 1967 Rex Reed profile of Warren Beatty while he was promoting Bonnie and Clyde. But I hear they are playing games already.

Sounds like fun. What do I need to know?

Picture by Bags

Bye Bye Balboni, Where Have Ya Been?

bags city grate

The Yanks have signed Steve Balboni, no Rob Deer, no Tom Brunansky, no Glenallen Hill, scratch all that—Chris Carter to a one-year deal so that he can wear the pinstripes, hit a few homers and strikeout more than somewhat.

Well, okay, then.

Picture by Bags

Caps for Sale


Chris Sale to Boston and the Sox just got tougher.

Picture by Bags

Let’s Make a Dope Deal


I used to work for a guy who said real Yankees unbutton the top button of their jersey cause that’s what the Mick did. Always think of that when I see Matt Holliday who often has the top few buttons of his jersey undone. As the Winter Meetings kick off news is the Yanks have signed the big fella. He’ll look good in pinstripes. Now, here is hoping the Yanks steer clear of Encarnacion.

Picture by Bags

Go Fish, Gin Rummy, Five Card Stud & Other Games The Yanks Apparently Aren’t Playing This Offseason

peanuts-5So far, there’s been relatively little of seriousness to discuss this off-season, which is par for the course these days around this portion of the year (unless you consider cashing in Brian McCann and his post-trade thoughts for a couple of futures worthy of going ballistic in the comments section). As I (meaning me) have suggested recently, it would be surprising if the Yanks made any tectonic-scale moves to bolster (replenish?) their starters in either the batting lineup or the pitching staff, but don’t be surprised if they swap out some guys for bullpen help or to shore up their bench. In fact, considering how well 2009 went regardless of our initial beliefs, anything’s still possible, so save that thought.

According to Mark Polishuk at MLB Trade Rumors (who apply their own accord on this to George A. King III), Yanks are in on our old pal Aroldis Chapman, though they are considerably wary of going five years with him. Similarly, but to a lesser extent, they are also interested in the hard-hitting Edwin Encarnacion, but are equally uninterested in a five-year deal with him. Both would represent considerably improvements in their area of expertise, though their need for Chapman outweighs their need for Encarnacion based on the presence of Gary Sanchez and (again) to a lesser extent the expectations placed on both Greg Bird and Aaron Judge. To this, we also add the possibility of the Yanks bringing back Carlos Beltran, though they might not get that chance either if they are trying to stay within their given budget parameters.

I would think that considerable attention should be paid to third base, where Chase Headley has been somewhat of a letdown and where the Yanks are considerably thin in their system having traded their former Trenton Thunder 3B Eric Jaigalo (their first pick overall in 2013 and by all accounts their closest-to-ready 3B prospect for the majors, even if he wasn’t really that close) and three others to bring in Chapman last off-season. Among their top ten prospects, none are slated to play third, which along with second has been a perennially overlooked issue with the Yanks of late. Maybe Cashman believes one of their infield prospects will take to the hot corner well enough to cover this seeming oversight, maybe he thinks Starlin Castro or Lil’ Ronnie Torreyes or a player to be discovered later will be good enough, or maybe he even thinks Headley can only go up from here. Perhaps, even, the Yanks can’t afford to go deep on any more starting infielders without trading for one that would ultimately upset the balance he’s creating with all of the prospects he’s stacking in the system at the moment (or because of, you know, the budget). Who really knows? As fans, all we can do is react and speculate, and I’m all out of Big League Chew

So here we are, waiting to see if Cashman can figure out a way to bring back the best closer currently playing in the majors (who you still might be a little wary of considering how he was used by manager Joe Torr–err, Maddon during the post-season) without breaking the bank or the system or future plans in the process, and also hope that while you know in the back of your mind there’s not much hope for contention in the coming year, they can at least make it interesting for far longer than they did this past season.

Ahem, take your time processing all that, it looks like it’s gonna be a long winter at any rate.

Let’s Go Mets


Yeah, I said it. For one, I’ve liked rooting for this Mets team. Two, I am sick and tired of the Giants. Fug ‘em.

So there it is. A rare occasion around these parts, when I’d really like to see Los Mets win.

Never mind Bumgarner:

Let’s Go Mets! Let’s Go Mets! Let’s Go Mets!

Drawing by Walt Simonson

Next Up


Yeah, so our boys don’t have a role in the postseason production but that’s not gonna keep us from watching.

I prefer the O’s to the Jays. Then again, a Toronto—Texas rematch does sound tasty.

Never mind the waving white towels:

Let’s Go Base-ball!

Picture by Bags

The Last Game of the Season


Tex says goodbye.

Never mind the hankies:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags

Whatcha Got Left?


Gray and rainy in the Bronx as the Yanks season comes to a close.

Only two more games guys.

Never mind the gloom:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags

The Final Weekend


And now, the end is near.

Never mind the playoffs:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags

The Last Gulp


David “Cookie Monster” Ortiz has been kicking Yankee ass almost as long as this blog has been alive. He’s an all-time great Yankee-killer and I will not miss him at all.

C.C.’s on the hill looking for some love from his offense.

Never mind the calendar:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Signifying Nothing (but a Smile)

Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees

A friend of mine who roots for the Sox loves to hate Mark Teixeira. So, this friend was happy last night because the Sox clinched the AL East when he Orioles beat the Blue Jays. But he got a little irritated I’m sure when Teixeira hit a grand slam home run in the 9th inning to give the Yankees the win. I’m sure the annoyance was momentary and then he went to sleep happy.

But for Teixeria, who has only 3 games left in his career, I’m sure it felt good. And we’ll take it where we can get it, right?

What’s funny is that the Yankees celebrated like all teams celebrate a “walk-off” win—as if they’d won the pennant. There is no building up to the big celebration these days, is there? Ha. I’m an old man.

[Photo Credit: EPA/Jason Szenes] 

Sunrise, Sunset


Cool and breezy.

Let’s Go Yank-ees!


imageLosing your engagement ring in front of how many thousands of  fans at a baseball game… Then finding it again hours later and proposing, only for her to say “Let me think about it; you’re kind of a loser…” Well, that last part didn’t happen as far as I know (though technically it would be true if she did say it), but does summarize the 2016 Yanks and the relationship with its fan base this season, no? At any rate, if the kids play again tonight, expect them to bring some Wu tonight, because BlowSux…

Can You Describe the Ruckus?


Between the Marlins tribute to Jose Fernandez and that other televised event (which need not be named), I missed most of the Yankee game last night, especially the ruckus. Well, nice to see the Yanks stage a 5-run rally in the 9th and then hang on—by the skin of their teeth—to win it and irritate the Jays.

Yes, Yes, Again


Jays look to sweep the Yanks.

Never mind the chatter:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!


Exit Light


The Yanks are getting pushed around by the Jays and while it’s not official yet, they are pretty much playing out the string at this point.

But that all seems minor—the losing, C.C.’s resilient but hard-luck season, whatever is going on with Joe Girardi—in light of the news that Jose Fernandez, star pitcher for the Miami Marlins, died last night in a boating accident. This is truly a horrible day in the annals of the sport.

We’ll watch the Yanks today, and root for them, but with muted emphasis. Our thoughts and prayers are with Fernandez’s family.

Picture by Bags 


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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver