"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
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Rays-B-Gone

Tampa Bay comes into town for three with the Yanks, then KC and then they hit the road or something.  Oy, who wouldda thought this team was  so deep?  Cashman obviously, but even he had to likely cross his fingers…

Dem M’s

The Mariners in town for 4 games.

Keep up the gritty, gutty goodness, fellas.

Never mind the band aids:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags.

Lust in the Dust

Yanks’ stirring understudies drop in on the D’Backs for a couple games as the unprecedented number of stars continue their run on the injury list…

Plan M vs A Collection Of Garbage Surrounding Mike Trout

Pretty much; the current iteration of the Yanks look to sweep against the current iteration of the Los Angeles of Southern California Somewhere In Orange County Angels of Ahhwhatever… Masahiro Tanaka goes up against Trevor Cahill or whomever, hopefully nobody gets hurt and the Yanks can go into Poopytown with their heads held high.

Couple Few

The Yanks and Sox play again tonight, the second of a weird, 2-game series.

Our old pal Nate Eovaldi is on the hill tonight as the Yankees’ M*A*S*H unit looks to hang tough.

Never mind the April chill:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags

Let’s Chill

The Scream by Edvard Munch, 1893

No, that was not a pun or self-reference (it’s too obvious for one… >;)  

It’s more of a declaration or a plea.  The Yanks have been very sucky, as in inconsistent. They won the season opener the way everyone envisioned they wudduh-cudduh-shudduh with a 7-2 easy win over the lowly Orioles, then proceeded to streak like a naked drunk at old Yankee Stadium across several games, losing two of three to both the same Orioles and the wow, there’s a worse team than them Tigers. At home, no less. In front of a whole lot of impatient NYers who already don’t like that the Yanks skipped out on two young All-Stars and a potential one to complement the suddenly rickety rotation.  So naturally, they go away to home-away-from-home Camden Yards and beat the crap out of the Orioles to return the favor and then some (they swept them there, so)… but they either left their bullpen prowess at the depot or the Orioles infected them with their Orioleness because now the bullpen sucks and is infecting the some of the rotation (Paxton) and fielders (Frazier, because Gary was already like that).

So here we are on an off-day in April standing at 5-7 with almost half the starters on the injured list and the accountant I mean manager having to make pep talk for the media because God knows basically every decision he’s made lately has been betrayed him faster than ketchup at a dive bar.  It’s all his fault, of course, because he was so eager to listen to whatever Cashman told him to do, which is why he got the job in the first place, right?

Yeah, um.  Let’s stop right there, because this is panicking for panicking’s sake.  Good for headlines, but not for watching baseball.  It’s been hard for me personally to follow sports in general because of the micromanaging that analytics has wrought and will continue on until someone manages to figure out how to merge the glory days with the innovations. No more bunts or steals because they aren’t productive; now three or five blasts over a shifted infield, that’s the ticket! Yeah, fun.  But whatever, it’s here and in all sports, so I’m rolling with it better than most; particularly the kids who don’t really care for all the standing around doing nothing. And the people who are mad at players who are upset that owners only want to pay several millions as opposed to several more; of course no one says anything about the owners themselves pocketing the millions upon millions they get from TV contracts and revenue sharing, but that’s another rant for another day…

The Yanks are built to last; so to speak as they obviously can’t stay healthy long enough to dominate as envisioned.  I mean, if they had Didi, Giancarlo, C.C., Dellin. Miggy, Luis, Hicks and hell, why not Troy and Jordan Montgomery and maybe even Ben Heller and– nah, not him. But if they had at least four of these guys back and in good playing shape, it probably wouldn’t be this bad, would it? Well, that’s one thing. The players can hit when left to their own devices, and they’re talented enough to overcome some of their own missteps. Plus it’s early… 12 games does not a season make.  Yet I see people freaking out as though the team just missed the playoffs. Let me remind you all that this is not the team the Yanks intended to start with, and as I had commented during Spring Training, if they falter they pretty much have a built-in excuse: injuries, resulting in playing time for fairly unseasoned youth (just like last season!) who basically have to hold the fort until the starters come back.

Of course it’s easier said than done, but it is what it is, and we see that this team can hit. I worry more about coaching and managing missteps than about the players being able to deliver, and honestly unless they are the reason the players are getting themselves hurt, then there’s really not much to get up in arms about. One could say that Boone, for example, is not really responsible for the decisions he makes because they probably aren’t even his to begin with. The Yankees aren’t all that big on autonomy these days, after all.  But they have a helluva lot of talent and youth to spare, regardless of how much of the farm they’ve pawned off in recent seasons.  There, another good thing to bear in mind is that the Yanks are not compelled to throw their prospects at other teams right out the gate for a quick pick-me-up.  When the previously wounded return to battle, there’s likely going to be a bump in win percentage.  And if they don’t, well by that time some of their bluer chips might be primed and ready to throw some support their way. As recent highlight-reliever-making-his-Yankee-debut Joe Harvey would say, it’s gonna get real and it’s gonna be pretty dope.

I wish I had something far more compelling to console you with, but we see the same thing year in and year out.  The team stumbles out of the gate and people get all Edvard Munch paintings on you. Please chill.  There are plenty of things to be up in arms about right now, but the Yanks being sub-500 after two weeks in April is definitely not one of them.

Wait until mid-May for that…

Have Bat, Will Travel

Yanks have been a little of this, little of that so far. Gary Sanchez looks like a bum on the bases two straight games then hits three home runs. Guys are hurt, young guys are stepping in—lots of new faces.

They are down in Houston for three games starting tonight, so let’s see what they’ve got against Verlander and the Fromage Factory. The first real test of the year if you don’t count all these damn injuries.

Should be fun.

Never mind the bumps and bruises:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags

What the—

After a successful opening day the Yanks got beat twice by the Orioles and ended the first series with a thud. That hollow sound reverberated even more when it was announced that the Big Guy, Mr. Stanton is headed to the injury list.

We having fun yet?

More tonight as the Bombers host the Tigers.

No better time than now, fellas:

Never mind the cobwebs:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags

Anything Going On Today?

Opening Day at the Stadium.

Now, that there is a beautiful sentence.

Never mind the glare—it is sunny out there:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Unanimous

A piece I photoshopped together back in 2013 for “Serious Consideration!“. I dare say this is a good moment to bring it back out for people to see…

This was, believe it or not, a seminal moment in baseball; a crossroads for everyone involved. From players to owners to fans and the media all, this was the time to decide if the way we honor the people we often consider heroes had merit in itself.

And to be totally frank, I think the answer saved more than just baseball from itself.

Could you imagine the outrage, the utter frustration and perhaps final resignation from the realization that there would always be that one person who, for reasons either predictable or inexplicable, decided to not vote for Mariano Rivera.  Anyone reading this, please tell me that you fully believed that the writers entrusted with the task of selecting the new entries to the Baseball Hall of Fame (which by name and by dynamic carries almost a mysticism of grandeur and worldly accomplishment) would actually act in accord with one another to vote for the undisputed greatest reliever of all time to enter this cadre of baseball greatness… unanimously??

Questions, plenty of them if you have the time, but not really.  I care not for the arguments this obviously opens; why NOT Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Mike Schmidt, Ken Griffey Jr, et al… why were they not given the honor of total agreement by the fickle and oblique judges of such honors? We know the answer, and by knowing that answer we were hostage to the possibility of what could easily be described by most as recklessness at the least.  The worst of human nature flashed curiously through some minds; what would be the excuse, the agenda, the agonizing self-aggrandizement that would crush its employer to earthly oblivion, ironically in a plane dominated by cyberspace?

I don’t care about that.  I only care right now that this one man, who was universally loved and/or respected by anyone within earshot of his name, with casual interest or platonic worship, had finally broken through to an entire subset who, whether on pain of personal loss or with genuine gumption, parted for Moses and held the gates wide open.

A couple of years ago, my girlfriend-now-wife were driving through New Rochelle, NY which is actually within walking distance of where I live, and we came to a light at an intersection. In front of us, a man ambled somewhat slowly across the street, looking down along his path as though he was organizing his thoughts about either something he had just done or was about to do. He wore a collared white shirt with one button undone at the top and pleated slacks. He was slightly balding from the back and his gait was a little stiff, as though he had been sitting in a pew for more time than he’d realized.  I stared blankly, as he crossed the street in front of us towards the gas station, wondering if this was one of those moments…

“Is that who I think it is?” I said slowly to Lyne, “who does that look like to you?” Lyne was and is a casual baseball fan; I’ve taken her to Yankee games when I was given tickets by friends or people I’ve worked for in the past, and though she was excited by the experiences, her interest remained largely casual beyond beyond certain players.  Certain players… “Who is that… I know him… wait, are you sure it’s him?” I pondered for a split second whether to honk my horn and hope that he knew why we were honking, jump out of the car and chase him to the gas station store and thank him profusely for his career or just leave the man alone to his thoughts and respect him as a fellow human being. I chose the latter. The light turned green and I kept driving, thinking about any and everything, and hoping that he was at least having a nice day.

You see, that’s the thing about Mariano Rivera. For all I know, he is one of the nicest people I’ve ever seen play pro baseball.  Sure, he’s an ordained minister with a church somewhere nearby, and he was revered by millions of fans and respected by millions more. And you better believe he confounded, frustrated and utterly infuriated opposing batters, teams and their fans in game situations that meant do or die for their varied aspirations.  But I never heard one person utter a cross word about him as a person, as a human being. Mo was the antithesis of the admonishment by Charles Barkley so many years ago.  His victories were ours, his pride in a job well done was our pride.  His glare was the glare of many. His focus was legion. The moments of shock, when the fabric of time in space was torn and he did the unthinkable: fail… that was felt and carried by many.  The way he shifted minds, moods and destinies with such fluidity and attentiveness; such a solid state of grace and accomplishment was lifeblood and fountainous youth for any Yankee fan.  “Exit light… enter night!” was clarion and carrier of emotions; the entitled and the marginalized, the wealthy and the poor, the casual and livid; all came to witness the ninth inning  as if it were an address by a world dignitary, an execution or a sermon from some high mount. I could not control myself when it introduced him for the last time as the closer of the New York Yankees.

Unreal, yet Real.  That’s the only way anyone can describe this moment in baseball history. It is only proper that it is connected with a player who fits that description.  Hyperbole?  Sure, why not; don’t we have rare moments that deserve some? I think we can all agree on that.

Dat Bullpen Tho

Yeah, this pretty much had to happen; Yanks sign native Noo Yawka Adam Ottavino to a 3yrs/$27mil.  Cool… so…

Tell us how you REALLY feel in regards to the report that the White Sox offered Manny Faces a 7yr/$175 mil contract; not to mention his agent essentially going apeshet over it. Did it happen? Was it gamesmanship or something nefarious? What does it say about the state of baseball today, particularly in regards to the hard and blatant disconnect that exists fans’ expectations and baseball’s actions? Show your math >;)

Mel

… and Thank You.

Where Have You Gone, David Robertson?

Man, you gotta hope ol’ David Robertson somehow finds his way back to the Bronx before he hangs ’em up. He’s been a terrific Yankee. But now he’s a Philadelphia Phillie and the Yanks just paid up to secure the services of Zach Britton, he of the hard, money-earnin’ sinker.

Course River Ave Blues has the lowdown.

There’s more to do, of course, but the days are starting to get longer and you can almost smell the first hints of the season to come.

Picture by Bags

 

Nats All, Folks.

Robbie Cano is a Met and Patrick Corbin has picked the Nats over the Yanks, Phils and every other team.

Hot Stove is heating up.

Comments welcome.

Picture by Bags

Waiting for Lefty No Moreski

So, the Yanks make a splash—giving up their numero Uno pitching prospect and a couple of others for James Paxton, the tantalizing, though physically fragile, left-hander. Like a guy named Paxton, that’s for sure.

Bitchin’.

Picture by Bags

You’ Still Here?

Well, there is life after the Yankee season after all and the true baseball junkies will likely be following their antics at this point, so here’s a thread to get your fix on. I hope that a few of us will come through with individual post-season observations about what the Yanks have done so far and intend to do for next season. I’ll be waiting after the “fun” is over, but in the meantime feel free to scoop or speculate while watching the cream rise to the top. One thing I notice already, the umps aren’t gonna make this easy...

If This is It

Goodness, what a beating. Funny how the game speeds up in October and it got ahead of Boone last night in the 4th, leaving Severino in too long, replacing him with Lance Lynn, oh, man, was got ugly to the tune of the worst playoff loss in team history, 16-1. Suck on that, Bronx Bummers.

Dag.

And so the Yanks turn their eyes to the Big Fella, ol’ C.C. to save their season tonight. C’mon guys, nobody likes watching a rival celebrate on your own turn. Find a way to get it done. At least don’t go down easy. Make ’em earn it.

Never mind the inevitable:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

 

What’ll it Be in Game Three?

The Yanks did what they needed to do in Boston and that’s swipe a game. They are back home tonight with their ace, Luis Severino on the hill. He’ll face former Yankee Nathan Eovaldi, who has looked good in his outings vs the Yanks this year. I have high expectations for Severino. Hope he can give them 6 solid innings and keep the team in the game. And I hope the worm turns and the Yanks can touch up Eovaldi—nothing personal, of course.

Porcello is the guy that makes me nervous so it’d be great if the Yanks find a way to win tonight.

Never mind the bromo:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags 

Let’s Try this Again

Think David Price will get his first career playoff win tonight? In Boston, they are holding their breath. And some Yankee fans might think he’ll roll over. But I expect he’ll be tough tonight and the Yanks will come back home down 0-2.

Hope I’m wrong—again:

Never mind the late night:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags

Bombers Away!

How did we end up here?

Well, if you ask Boone and the Bombers, it all went according to plan. I was wrong, I admit that right away; Yankees did get the home field for the wild card. After that, they punched their ticket emphatically and now are invading Boston to continue their quest for the expected: a trip to the Whirled Serious and a chance to make good on the promise they showed last year, not to mention to justify all the moves and deals they made to get there.

And maaaaaybe just a little revenge for 2004? Not that anyone on this roster would recall that series (nor should they try), but some of us would just love to get those games back, and this is the first time since then that the two teams have had a chance to hash it out again in the playoffs. And look who’s leading those teams to this fancy reunion: rookie manager Alex Cora and equally-rookie manager Aaron F***in’ Boone.  Of course, neither were part of that series, but both had contributed to their teams in important ways when they were playing for the teams they now manage.  And both won at least 100 games in their first year at the helm.  Trivial, but fun facts heading into this showdown, which promises to be Very Interesting Indeed.

Lots to take into this series in terms of expectations; Boston sprinted past the Yanks early on in the season and held tight or stayed close through the mid-season, then turning on the afterburners after the ASB and leaving the rest (especially the Yanks) to fight it out for second place. If nothing else, having two 100-game winners in the same division has begun and interesting discussion about what teams should actually qualify for the playoffs; had the Yanks won their hundred games, yet failed to reach the post season while a team with maybe fifteen less wins was automatically in because they won their division, there certainly would have been a lot of outrage among fans if it were not the Yankees (but definitely outrage if it were from MLB and their television partners).  But that’s for a later debate. For now, let’s revel in the chance for fireworks and Score Trucks and who knows what.  Both teams are coming in with chips on their shoulders, so it oughtta be “lit” as the young players would likely say.

As for me, I’m feeling the Yanks in five; now that Brother Judge is up to speed and has brought life back to the lineup and clubhouse in general, it’s up to the starters to get the job done. Scientific Happ leads off, followed by Major Tanaka and The One (Whom Most Doubted) , then C-Squared ready to shut the door on Boston’s aspirations if that were actually the case. This makes sense; I think that’s the right order. I could be wrong about what we’re about to encounter (and kinda hope I am, but in a good way). Fasten your seat belts, ladies and gents, the show’s about to begin! >;)

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