"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before

fortune cookie

Tight game, nice pitching, no hitting. Sound familiar? Get used to it, folks—wait, you say you’re already used to it? Well, then I’m out of tricks.

Yanks lose 3-2 in 11.

Le sigh.

[Photo Via: This Isn’t Happiness]

What Do We Have Here?

bags construction site

Yanks host the A’s. Maybe our pal Ken Arneson will pop through and let us know what’s what his squad this year. Maybe too the Yanks will start scoring some runs.

Never mind the cool breeze:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags

We Will Take It

fire escape bags

Looks like it’s gonna be this way, huh? Yanks are going to win some and lose some more and the bullpen will almost always be stingy.

Final Score: Yanks 4, M’s 3.

Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run homer early and then had a few forgettable at bats. After the game, Anthony McCarron of the Daily News asked Joe Girardi:

“Joe, when Alex hits the home run do you say, Slump Over or do you look at the other at bats in the game—he didn’t have much success after that—and say, like, It’s just a work in progress, a step forward, or—”

Joe Girardi: “You know what? I went and saw a shrink, um, and had him analyze what I should analyze and I went from there.”

Girardi’s jaw was as tight and you could see his teeth in the small smile he allowed himself. He shook his head and said, “That’s what I did.”

Easy now.

Picture by Bags

Out of Step (aka: Do Not Adjust Your Set)

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Yeah, so I forgot to get up a game thread in time yesterday but it didn’t make much difference—the Yanks can’t seem to score these days despite putting runners on base: they lost to the Mariners, 7-1 on Friday and 3-2 yesterday. Alex Rodriguez, in an early-season slump, looked especially weak yesterday, didn’t he? Carlos Beltran is the only guy really hitting but it hasn’t been enough.

Another lovely spring day today. Here’s hoping they can reverse their fortunes.

Never mind the nonsense:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags 

One Ringy-Dingy

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It was just an absolutely gorgeous spring day in New York. I hung out with my mom, down from Vermont and thrilled to see any king of green. We walked up Riverside Drive on the Upper West Side, where we lived 40 years ago, and she remarked how different the neighborhood is today—flower beds all over the place, community gardens. In the seventies there was a lot of garbage—parents had to scoop the doo doc out of the sandbox before we went in to play. Anyhow, she is a person who belongs in the garden, thrives outdoors, and it is still gray where she lives, so she was just so happy to be out and I was happy to be out with her.

Luis Severino goes against the Mariners at the Stadium tonight. Should be a fine weekend for ball. Be nice to see Robbie Cano.

Never mind the pollen:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

 

 

Do Not Adjust Your Set

Ron Galella Archive - File Photos

Last night’s game was not a re-run though it felt awfully similar to Wednesday’s game, didn’t it? Nathan Eovaldi didn’t pitch poorly, he just made one big, fat mistake, thank you for nothing, Mr. Donaldson (p.s. That Stroman kid is a handful, too). The final—Blue Jays 4, Yanks 2.

Meanwhile over at Esky Classic, I’ve got a little tribute to George Plimpton, as well as a Q&A with Mike Lupica. I remember Plimpton hawking Intellivision when we were kids, and of course I remember reading about Sidd Finch. In fact, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t recognize Plimpton though it wasn’t until later that I found out what he’d accomplished (The Paris Review, Paper Lion et al.). I just knew he was famous for being famous without knowing why. What about you? What do you remember about Plimpton?

 [Photo Credit: Ron Galella/WireImage/Getty Images]

In Through the Out Door

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Yeah, the game was close for a while there. Until it wasn’t. Michael Pineda pitched OK—Ivan Nova did not as the Jays rolled to a 7-2 win.

Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant is pretty funny and the Golden State Warriors are pretty good.

Picture by Bags

Game Plan

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Yanks beat the Jays, 3-2 and you can thank the pitching for this one. Betances got the big outs. Miller nailed it shut.

Smile.

Picture by Bags

Yeah, Those Guys Again

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I know this is extreme but it’s true—I actually rooted for the Red Sox over the Blue Jays last weekend because right now I dislike the Jays more.

Go figure that, huh?

Yanks get their first taste of the Toronto Bad Boys tonight.

Here’s hoping they hold their own, and then some.

Never mind the dingers:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Reeling in the Years

new york in the rain bags

Nice clobbering win for the Yanks yesterday. I was driving south down the West Side Highway in the rain when John Sterling tripped all over himself calling Alex Rodriguez’s long solo home run. It was hilariously cruddy. But you gotta love the results.

The weather is supposed to be horrible today—John and Suzyn were talking about it all afternoon. Let’s see if they get a game in tonight.

Meanwhile, the Yanks picked up Nick Swisher whose career was last seen headed due South and but fast. Let’s see if he can regain any of his old Mojo. [Insert Joke Here.]

 

First Gear

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I didn’t catch any of the game yesterday but knowing how cold it was and knowing that Jordan Zimmerman was making his Tiger debut, it wasn’t  surprising at all to learn that the Yanks lost 4-0. Got three cruddy hits. I mean, what more do you need to know about this one?

They’re at it again first thing this afternoon. And it’s our man, C.C. don’t you know? Rooting for him now more than ever before, despite his diminished ability.

Here’s rooting for good shit, you know?

Never mind the brrr:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

[Photo Credit: The Great Saul Leiter]

Cold Opener

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In Detroit. This afternoon. Brrr.

Before the game, check out this Q&A I did with Mike Sager over at Esquire Classic this week.

Beyond that, never mind the c-c-c-cold.

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Just Another Game By The IRT

Luigi

A few things we knew going into this last game with Houston:

  1. Carlos Correa is a helluva hitter. His homers have mad hops.
  2. When healthy, Mark Teixeira’s homers have mad hops, too.
  3. It’s kinda cold outside.

Knowing that, we had time to speculate a little further about the near future. Starlin Canostro (hat tip to GaryfromChevyChase), our newest budding star at second, is on a pretty good roll to start the season, considering that he’s playing off the position he started his career with.  Can he keep this up for a little while longer please? Will Nathan Eovaldi continue to evolve from where he left off with intriguing stuff that produced an occasional pearl before he was shut down last September? Can the rest of the lineup keep pace with the outburst they unleashed in last night’s prime time drama?

*(See answers below)

Eovaldi was, to say the least, kinda inconsistent. He zipped through the first inning on six pitches and he probably felt so bad about it that the next inning he struggled through the next inning on 38 pitches, spotting Houston three runs on a long double, followed by back-to-back jacks by Tyler White and Preston Tucker. I’m gonna have to assume that they are part of Houston’s revitalization plan from when they stunk for several years, carefully cultivated for the day when they and Correa and perhaps a few more could be unleashed and strike fear in the AL.  Maybe not, I dunno.  But it did show that Eovaldi still has some work to do coming back from his ouchies from last season; no time like the present. Yet, I’m also hoping that the Yankees are also establishing a trend of their own by fighting back when their down, kinda like how all those teams from the 90s into the early part of the millennium did.  They managed to get a run back on a sac fly by Headley, scoring Teixeira from third, followed next inning by a double by Ellsbury which scored Didi (who is continuing to hit and get on base).  The game was close again going into the fourth, but Eo gave up a two-run single to White.  This probably would have been a problem any other time, but this is Game Three at the start of the season and the Yanks seem to have a tiger in their tank; first McCann led off with a solo shot to right, then two outs later Castro smacked one deep over the left field wall for another run.  Ah, down by one, come back and watch why don’t cha…

At this point, Eo was cruising through the fifth inning, retiring the side on 12 pitches.  However, because of that second inning, his pitch count was in the red zone and his night was over; 94 pitches over five with 5 runs, 7 Ks and no walks.  Not bad, but not necessarily that good either; fairly inconsistent and staring at a loss for his efforts.  But the lineup bailed him out tonight, with A-Rod singling in Ellsbury to tie the score, and there it remained with five apiece through the top of the seventh.

Anybody get a good look at this guy Kirby Yates? The box scores says he acquitted himself rather well in the sixth, going through a tough part of the lineup and giving up only a single sandwiched in between a fly-out and two strikeouts.  If I could have seen him, I’d wonder what his body language was showing, because I guarantee the bullpen’s gonna need more results like that going forward.  Chasen Shreve started the seventh and also acquitted himself well,  keeping the score tied into the bottom half of the Seventh.

Hero Time.  Tonight’s guest: Mark Teixeira.

After Ellsbury grounded out, Gardner singled to right and Houston brought in last night’s reliever of note Ken Giles.  After getting A-Rod to chase two, he somehow managed to single to center. Tex was next hitting from the left side, and after watching a ball go by, he lashed out and poked one near the end of his bat the opposite way. Was it enough?

Tonight, in the beginning of a new season, with so many questions about himself, about the lineup, about starting pitching and even about the bullpen… tonight, it was.

Tonight, Betances came in and held down Houston like an Eight Inning Man™ should.  Tonight, giving up a couple of singles with his left hand while ignoring the pain in his right wasn’t a bad thing, because Andrew Miller used his left hand to strike out three to close the game and seal the win.  Tonight, the third of at least eighty (and hopefully more), here in a pearly open backyard palace in a usually snarled part of the boogie down, it is what it was. Just another game.

 

*Basically, yep.

Cruel to be Kind

cowboy walking bags

More cruel April weather today. Wet, windy, green but chilly.

Getting nicer now, but you never know.

Yanks look to take the first series of the year and we’ll be there, root-root-rootin’ them on.

Never mind the puddles:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags

Them 2016 Yankees, Episode 2: “Blaow! How You Like Me Now?”

Agent_MackWhat was that?

Some say it was a bird, some say it was a plan, but I say it was just pure madness at bat. Not the berserker kind, but the ice cold focus on obliterating your opponent for what he did to your brother kind of mad (though both kind of have the same messy results). Oh, it was just an ugly mess for those mopes on the mound in the bottom half of the first three innings. Tsk-tsk, shake your head, here kid put this bag on ugly. A crime happened here this evening and we have to figure out which Law & Order unit to call and pitch a script to…

Isn’t it nice when you’re on the winning side of that introduction?

Well, lets take a look at the evidence. Michael Pineda, who allegedly has that stuff they call stuff, kinda forgot to be good for a minute and Carlos Correa (okay, you should know you’re going to hear his name a lot for the entire year, never mind this series) to pulled a fast one on Big Pine into the left field stands for a solo jack. Okay, not so bad, it was one run, right? So he gives up a double right after that, who cares.  He finished the inning and the Yankees come to bat.

Now here’s where the story gets kinda interesting. Here’s an excerpt from a witness who happened to be on the scene and witnessed most of the criminal activity:

“So this guy named Collin McHugh was pitching for Houston, see, and he walks this guy they call Jake (played by Jacoby Ellsbury), then he turns around and walks this guy they call Gardy (Brett Gardner), and then he does it one more time with A-Rod (Who Else), so you got all these guys on base and who do you think comes up next? It’s that guy Tex (Mark Teixeira) over from the Lower East Side (1B), he singles to right and Jake ran home, but the bases are still loaded, so that guy McCann (Brian McCann) says, ‘ahh that’s not enough, watch this’ and he launches a double to right, Gardy and  A-Rod score and he’s sitting there at second looking like the cat that ate the canary. You’d think that be enough, but then after that other guy Carlos (Carlos Beltran) grounded out and oh, by the way, Tex came in with another run on that play, this guy named Heddy… Heddy? No, Headley! (Chase Headley) he puts a single up the middle, McCann scores and they knock the poor schlub out who was pitching, that McHugh guy? Pssh, you know what? It was a wrap for him.”

So what happened after that?

‘What happened? I’ll tell you what happened. They send in a new pitcher, this guy named Michael Feliz, and Headley steals second on him.  Then if that ain’t enough, the new guy, what’s his name, uh, Castro (Not that one. Not that one either. Yeah, that one, but I don’t think he’s related), you know what he did yesterday, right? Well he keeps going with a single to center and Headley goes home. Man. And then there was another hit, uh Didi, a couple of outs, a walk and another out and that was it for now.”

So it looks like there was some sort of offensive ruckus there; we should probably alert Inspectah Deck about this. No? Okay, let’s look over some more testimony.

“Word up, knawsayin’, you’d think the Yanks would be wilin’ out and (Shasta) but no, they ain’t do that, cuz them Astro Boyz is nasty. Knawmean?  You wanna know what happened? They went back and got they’ own (shucks) and jumped that (Betty Crocker) like a double dutch tournament. I’m sayin tho, single, double hit by pitch, then this dude Springer, he sprung’im all right, sprung him all the way to left center for a Grand-(mambo-combo)-Slam, yo.  Homeboy had pickles and onions on that (shoebox). Knawmean?”

So Pineda was the victim of retaliation.  Did he survive?

“Word, it was (French) up, but yo, he hung in there. It’s not like they took him out or nothin’, he just got hit up real bad.  I was like, dayum!, that was some cold (salsa), but my dude was still in there and they kept going ham* and (Snapple)…”

Hmm. Interesting. Let’s find out what happened next.

“Dude, I couldn’t believe what happened next. It was like, the next inning and Tex struck out and I was all like, dude! but then McCann walked and Beltran-dude singled and I was like ‘all right!’, but then Headley struck out and I was like ‘duuude’…, but then, but then… Castro was all like “BING!” and I was like “whoaaaaaah! Four-hundred and twenty-eight feet to left-center! Duuuuuuude!” It was a totally awesome shot, dude, you so had to be there.”

Was there more?

“Not really, but then I looked at the scoreboard and I was all like, ‘whoa, it’s only like the second inning? Duude!”

Just so.  It appears to just get uglier from there.  Not the kind of ugly that would stand side-by-side with a sick walrus and help it get a contract with Luis Vutton, but the kind of ugly that yo mama could change her name to Legoland with if ugly was made from colorful plastic small kids could potentially choke on. Well, maybe not quite so bad.  9-5 in the second would inspire impatience in some and hubris in most, which was almost the case before the bottom half of the second. But for some reason, this game was a clear assault on pitching prowess for the most part.  Tex would strike again in the very next inning with an equally impressive and equally damaging shot of his own to his favorite part of the stands (mid-upper deck in right), while the rebellious Carlos Correa would later outdistance them both in the top of the fifth with a humongous shot to center that was measured at 459 feet. Good thing there wasn’t anyone on that time, or at least good for the Yanks at least.  And not to be outdone, The Other Carlos hit a solo shot of his own the next inning, perhaps in retort (wonder what he looked like?)…

Was there anything else? You bet your sweet Aspercreme. According to reports, players identified as Aaron Hicks and Ronald Torreyes, playing the parts of Beltran and Headley respectively, hit a single and a triple also respectively, with Hicks and McCann both scoring on Torreyes’ hit, then having Castro drive him home with yet another hit. By this time, Ivan Nova, the once-and-future starting pitcher, was shutting down Houston’s game for the last four innings and then the carnage was over.  Blood everywhere.

EPILOGUE

So what does this mean? Is this what we can come to expect of this Yankee team; heartbreaking, headache-inducing hiccups in one game and then Rock’em-Sock’em Score Trucks the next? That would be interesting, and would certainly make an exciting recap  every night.  But the reality is, it’s too early to tell.  Houston is ostensibly a really good team, and if Carlos Correa has anything to say about it, they will certainly give the reigning champs a run for their money in the post-season. Bu that’s there and not here.  Today was like a noir crime mystery, or a good old fashioned butt-kicking, or something really gnarly.  You can’t explain a game like this, it just happens. That’s Chinatown for you, on to the next one.

PS: That relatively young second baseman guy Starlin Cano Castro? He did something cool: his seven RBIs in these first two games of his Yankee are the most by any player in franchise history.  Any. Including Todd Greene.  That’s how you make a good impression at your new job. Keep up the good work, kid!  Maybe Papa Sterling will think of a better home-run call for you the next time around… (or maybe not)

Oh, and Happy Nutheryearonearth to Yours Truly… >;)

Maybe Try Again

step

Hey ho…it’s still cold out there, man. But they’re playing ball again tonight anyway.

Cool.

I caught most of the first game and it wasn’t one to remember. But that’s okay. I thought Carlos Gomez had two hilarious reactions to third strikes where he just saw the pitch, took it looking, then turned on his heel with almost a little Groucho to it. The kid Correa is incredible. Amazing to be just 21 and already that good. Already there, you know? When he made a nice play to rob Alex Rodriguez of a hit I couldn’t help but smile remembering that it was only a few seconds ago that A Rod was that 21-year old kid. Last play of the game, with Brian McCann slipping and falling a few feet outside of the batter’s box just said it all.

Do-Over.

Ha. So, let’s see what they got for us tonightski.

Never mind the chill:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags

Methinks The Season Doth Commence (A Nuanced Perforomance)

Yanks Recap Game 1 2016The season has begun, and many of us have returned to bond over a new season of baseball (welcome back, everyone!) So, what do we have here? After an early rainout, our heroes finally took the field to host the “all that losing is finally paying off” Houston Astros, following a similar trajectory to the now-champion Royals and looking to usurp their mid-west rivals for the throne this year.  But first off, they have to take a detour through the Deegan, which may or may not be an easy task, depending on your proclivities. If anyone has something to say about what the Yanks will do this year, Masahiro Tanaka would be the first one to the podium.

Or so you’d think.

To be honest, there had to be a lot of tightness going into this game, wondering whether the Astros’ Dallas Keukel; reigning AL Cy Young award winner, would continue his dominance from last season or show some indications of a fluke.  Actually, he was mostly as good as he was last year, but he didn’t have his usual control and he didn’t face Starlin Castro last year, who starts his Renaissance Campaign with a two-run double in the second inning, thus ending a 29-inning scoreless streak against our heroes.  Tanaka, for his part, turned it up a notch from an uneven Spring with a moving two-seamer that held the Astros to one run through four innings on a Aaron Hicks misplay on a Jose Altuve hit that turned into a double and later a run on Carlos Correa’s fielder’s choice. However, that very same Carlos Correa would reach out and slap a misplaced slider in the fifth over the the right field wall for a solo homer that tied the game and suddenly made it tense. Not so much because you weren’t sure the Yanks could score any more off Keuchel (though they didn’t), but you had to wonder if Tanaka could hold it together after that with his bomb-under-the-shoulder, so to speak. He did pitch 5-2/3 innings without giving up more than that, and he did pitch well, which is what we expect of The Ace.

But later the roof collapsed, and not in a spectacular fire-fashion, but more of a threw-a-lit-gas-can-on-the-roof fashion.  The Official Eigth-Inning Man™ Dellin Betances walked Jose Altuve to start off the inning, which seemed innocent enough to some, he managed to induce Carlos Correa into hitting a slow roller up the first base line. Correa, running on the inside grass, passed in front of Betances who picked up the ball… and shot-putted it over Mark Teixeria’s head, allowing Altuve to run around the bases and score. Boy, was Joe Girardi mad… he came out and jawed with home plate umpire Dana DeMuth in what was likely an effort to get himself kicked out of the game, and when that didn’t happen he  decided to play under protest. Naturally at this point, Betances was probably pretty spooked and gave up a two-run single before exiting the game. It was pretty much over, even though Sir Didi smacked a 96-mile hour fastball from a pretty damn good reliever in Ken Giles for the Yanks’ first homer of the season. It just wasn’t enough, Didi, not nearly enough.  Yanks drop the opening game 5-3 and gave their followers a headache in the process.

After the game, Girardi discussed his issue with the call/non-call on Correa’s running out of the base path which led to the go-ahead run. The rules were explained by DeMuth and it had to be accepted; had Betances simply nailed Correa in the back, in essence, he would have been out by runner interference.  But Betances, probably being  the young nice guy that he is, didn’t think to do that and tried to loop it over Correa’s head and misjudged his Olympian strength (how likely that throw would have gotten him in time if he did make it right is also up for speculation) and created a fine news story for the local and national beat. I wouldn’t get on Betances too much (like some of the broadcasters did); if Girardi was outraged at the prospect of nailing someone with a fastball to get the out at first, then it was probably never mentioned to Betances that he had that option.  Other players who were asked about the play were not too sanguine about Joe’s opinion, but did not argue against him in that regard either, instead taking the high road along with Betances in agreeing that the play just had to be made.

See, stand-up guy, now you know so you can blow a hole through his midsection if you have to make the out and likely Girardi doth not protest to much, methinks..

 

 

Opening Day Redux

chrysler bags

Okay, let’s try this again. No rain today but it is damn cold out there. Good luck to the brave souls who will be at the Stadium. Or the guys trying to hit.

Ah, but never mind the elements:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags

No Goldbricking Today

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The home opener in the Bronx has been pushed back a day due to the lousy spring weather here in New York.

Welp, at least there are other games to satisfy our Jones.

Picture by Bags

Why Time Begins on Opening Day

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Four games today. Curious. But hell, this is a good problem.

Play ball, already.

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