"Can it really be happening? Are the Yankees really starting the game off this way? Is it too little too late?" This was Tony Sherry’s voicemail to me earlier tonight. Shockingly normal for him. Usually he throws in two or three words that don’t make any sense, or animal sounds, or changes words slightly just to amuse himself. I am in Colorado, so I was walking out of the office when I got it. It was a few hours old. It was close to 8pm here, which made it close to 10 in New York and Toronto. So they did it, I thought to myself. It was only a matter of time. It had to be, eventually. I was feeling pretty good about it. They had to win sometime. So I called Acc. He answered with a whisper and a deep breath. Not good. This was Acc’s standard "things are weird" answer. "Tell me good news, big boy," I said nervously. As I said it, I’m thinking, why do I care again? My team is a thousand games under .500 and about seven hundred and forty games out of the wildcard. None of the people on the team give a hoot about me, so what is it, exactly, that has me on the edge of my seat waiting for the bad news from the big boy? "Six – five," he says to me. "No way," I said, "Tony left me a message a while ago saying they were blowing people’s doors off…" "Okay," he said. "Have you heard from him since?" "So are we winning or losing? If you tell me we’re losing I’m going to reach through this phone." "We’re winning," he said. "But Farnsworth is in with one out and one on in the eighth." Which was as good as losing, of course. I couldn’t believe this. It was really getting mystical. Yesterday’s fiasco brought the record in one and two run games to 4-17. Is anyone really paying attention to that? We lost seventeen out of twenty-one games that were decided by one or two runs. What do you do? Do you laugh? Do you cry? Do you rip the computer monitor off the desk in something called the "executive lounge" at the Radisson? Not quite sure what the protocol is here… I stayed on the phone with Acc as I drove my rented Hyundai Sonata (if you ever want to feel bad about yourself in a car, drive a Hyundai Sonata) back to the hotel. As the Yankees squirmed out of the eighth, I told the big boy it was time for the Yankees to explode for about twenty runs, quite akin to what The Incredible Sal described in his comment yesterday. I didn’t realize it was going to be quite so ridiculous, but they did it nonetheless. Game over.
Is it that hard to win a baseball game? I have to say no. It’s not easy, but to have the kind of talent they have and to bungle five-in-a-row, seven-in-a-row, seven-out-of-nine; guys, it’s not that hard to win. A team with this kind of talent should be winning five in a row by accident. I don’t get it. Confidence, everyone trying to do too much, paralysis by continually s*cking… I guess all of these things are to blame. Or none of them. Who knows…
I said a while back that if you’re ten out by June 1st, you’re pretty much cooked. And I think if you look at it historically, that’s probably played out pretty accurately. So are the Yankees cooked? Maybe. Can they come back? Sure. They could. They did it in ’78 (Ras knows). Teams have come back from three down to win a seven game series. I’m talking about the Maple Leafs and the Islanders, of course. It could happen. It’s just not likely. Does that mean I stop rooting? Well, the jack*ss in the car listening to Acc on speaker giving a play-by-play probably speaks for itself. Does it mean the team does anything differently? Well, I should probably defer to Raoul or Joseph, as I don’t have a lot experience here, but here’s my take. "Playing for the Wild Card" is kind of a silly way to look at the season. I often talk about the mistake some fans make by watching baseball and rooting for your team as if you were playing in the game. Well, "playing for the wild card" would be an example of a team playing as if they were a fan watching the game. For the players, the message is the same every single day. Try to win. That’s it. They’re not going to walk into the clubhouse and read on the blackboard "Guys – We are now officially playing for the wild card. So try and win, unless it’s really really hard, in which case, just head back into the clubhouse and watch CSI." Maybe late in the season when there are pitchers/players to rest you think about that stuff. But for now, the message couldn’t be any simpler. Try to win. Every day. And then try again the next day.
Allie boy. Always getting himself in trouble. No idea what his deal is… Just hope that whatever it is, it comes with a lot of home runs….
So next up, the Red Sox. Yeah, this is a great idea….
Amazing how every time we think we’re clear of the funk and we’re going to start to make a run, we show up in clown suits again. One of these days we’ll get over the hump. Right?
So my apologies on the missed post last night. I thought I would have internet access in my hotel room. I didn’t. And I was too dumb to realize that there was a computer about 18 feet from my door until tonight. So here I am. I decided late last night to shoot a note to somebody to post a comment saying I was stuck without access. Somebody I knew would be reading every day. I figured on either Vino or Mikey Juice. I went with Mikey Juice, being that he reads it in the morning, whereas Vino reads it whenever. I think. Anyway, you see how well that worked out…
Day off tomorrow. Can’t hurt. Can it?
I hit the “off” button on the remote around twenty after nine. Things were getting ugly in Toronto, so I figured I would start on the BPS and follow the rest of the game on the gamecast. I walked downstairs from the loft towards the Blue Room to start tapping the keys. The missus didn’t bother asking the score as I walked past her in her living room. She knew from the look on my face, I guess. She was trying to catch up on the Sopranos on-demand, as the Sunday night Desperate Housewives conflict precludes her from staying timely. We’re usually eating at my in-laws’ on Sunday nights, and she’s upstairs with her mother watching Housewives while Big Joe and I are downstairs flipping back and forth between the ESPN Sunday Night game, the NBA playoffs, and Sopranos. But since it’s getting close to the end, the missus wants to be up to speed by the time it gets to the finale. So just as I get to the Blue Room, I hear my phone ringing from the dining room table. Big Joe. “Who’s this pitching against the Yankees tonight? Cy Young?” It was exactly what I was thinking. “Yeah. This is not good. It’s one thing when somebody decent pulls out a monster game against you. But this guy s*cks.”
Man. I was away for most of the weekend. Things unraveled pretty badly while I was gone, apparently. The only game I saw was Saturday. It made me want to pull my hair out. At least the pitching wasn’t that bad. Although the bats seem to have gone KC on us here for a while… So I remember in ’05 when we were suffering through the early season nightmares, I noticed that there was a distinct pattern that developed in their losses. Like this current streak, it wasn’t the pitching; it was the bats. Back then, it was a little different. They would throw up a few runs early. Two or three in the first couple of innings, but always wasting an opportunity for more, letting the opposing starter off the hook. Then the bats would just quietly, softly go to sleep while the other team slowly chipped away at the lead, finally taking the lead late in the game for good. And there’s been a little bit of that this year, definitely. But the basic formula is different. This year it’s not the early-late dichotomy. It’s the close games and the bad timing. When I first took a look at this phenomenon a couple of weeks ago, the Yankees had won just 4 out of 16 one or two run games. Since then they have dropped four more of them, bringing them to 4 wins out of 20 one or two run games. And the last game they won by either one or two runs was back on May 3. That will be a month ago this Sunday. It’s fascinating, more than anything else. Another nuance that I noted was the lack of clutch. That the Yankees have played a disproportionate number of games in which they have out-hit their opponent and still lost. They’re up to six games that they have lost while out-hitting their opponent. And finally their propensity to out-score their opponent and still lose the series. But these things are necessary to be one of the highest scoring teams in baseball with one of the worst records. They have to go hand-in-hand, by definition. The Yankees are not that bad. They’re just not good at winning at the moment.
If you put a gun to my head and made me give you a reason why this seemingly incongruous condition continues, I would probably point to the one thing you can look to that can affect a game from outside the lines, the one thing that doesn’t care who has more talent. Confidence. I watched the game tonight, and it reminded me of a game in Oakland at the tail-end of the 11-19 nightmare in early ’05. The game scared me because it was the first time in that streak in which I honestly felt that Oakland won simply because they willed it so. The Yankees had the lead, the game was theirs, and it just seemed like the Yankees had absolutely no confidence in themselves to finish it off. Oakland kept fighting, and the Yankees kicked the ball around the infield, handing Oakland the tie and then the game in extra innings. The last two games have seemed that way to me. Zero confidence. Big Joe nailed it. Dustin McGowan, he of the 2-7 lifetime record and 6.80 lifetime ERA, should not be schooling this team. They had no confidence at the plate. That paired with the fact that everybody was trying to do too much resulted in lots of guys swinging at balls over their heads and out of the zone, hitting weak pop-ups and grounders right at people. It was embarrassing. And Joe Torre, love him or hate him, is not doing a good job right now. He seems to be managing the game differently with the starters than with the relievers. He’s anxious to yank the starter at the first wisp of trouble, but he’ll leave a reliever in there way too long to puke the game up all over the field. It doesn’t make sense. Doesn’t mean I think they should clip him. As I said, I think the right move is to leave him in there and let him retire at the end of the year. And as I’ve also said, I think that deal has been signed since last year. Torre announces his retirement at the end of the year, getting a part-time gig in the booth, maybe. Girardi, as I’ve said, was probably promised the job, which is why he’s in the booth this year instead of in a major-league dugout. I do not think Donnie Baseball should be the guy. I love Donnie Baseball, but he’s not manager-timber. Girardi’s the guy. But after the Boss’s comments, I’m wondering if Girardi’s going to take Cashman’s seat upstairs and Donnie manages the club. Tough to say…
A few minutes ago the missus called me back into the living room to sit with her and have a few mini-donuts with my cup of tea (I don’t apologize for that). She had moved on from the Sopranos to the Miss Universe Pageant. Timely, I thought, as just last night at Grossman’s wedding, we were sitting near a girl who was a former Miss New York. And she was there by herself, which made her fair game for the boys. Vino, who already looked like he was in the gate with one of the bride’s former college roommates, was looking for Big Willie to lock it up with Miss New York as his wingman. And Miss New York was dancing by herself in the middle of the dance floor, looking right at Big Willie, begging him to step out and cut it up Bronx-style. But unfortunately for Vino, and even more unfortunately for himself, Big Willie was dancing with that other pageant-winner, Miss Vodka Tonic…. So just as I walked in, Miss USA was strolling down the catwalk (runway? stage?), in the parade right before they picked the top five. And she wipes. Feet clean out from under her and right on her tucchus. The missus gasped. I couldn’t believe my good fortune that I had come in just in time to see this. “Are you going to rewind it?” the missus shrieked with admonishment as I immediately lunged for the remote, even though she clearly secretly wanted to see it again. This is the problem with beauty pageants. They need instant replay for this stuff. “Let’s watch this again, Vanessa. Oh! Looks like she caught a sequin on her slingback. Devastating…” Good thing I had the DVR to do it myself. The missus was still concerned. “Can she not win now?” she demanded. “She absolutely can’t win,” I said. “You can’t wipe out on the stage. No way.” About ten replays later, I went back to the live telecast. The top five selection was underway. And there, at number four, up off the stage, was Miss USA. Just goes to show you I guess. At the Miss Universe Pageant and in the major leagues, Yanks may stumble and fall on their *ss, but never count them out until the end…
I’m in the Blue Room a little early tonight. By dragging the missus to the game last night, I made her miss Lost and the finale of American Idol. No worries. DVR to the rescue. Why just the other night, on the way home from the Stadium, I was calling Tony Sherry every vile, venomous, horrible thing I could think of for not having DVR. But last night it let us down. Big time. We got back from the game around eleven. The missus went to make me a cup of tea (I don’t apologize for that), and I went in to fast-forward American Idol to about 15 minutes left so the missus could watch with suspense to see who won. So we’re watching a lame former-Idol-tribute-to-Sgt Pepper segment, we get close to the end, and the missus says with concern, “There’s not enough time left. It’s going to cut us off.” The timer continued ominously…1:56, 1:57. It was clear. The show went over its scheduled time. And the DVR is somewhat draconian in that regard. If a show goes over, it cuts you off. It’s happened to me with Yankee games. For those the scheduled time is three hours. Please. If you don’t also record the post-game and the Centerstage episode that follows, you’re not getting yourself past the eighth inning. But when A.I. ran out before the end, the missus looked like me two nights ago after we got hosed again on the stolen base call. She was furious. She’s still furious. And now she’s even more p*ssed, because apparently the DVR erased something else she really wanted to watch in order to accommodate the Idol finale. Whoops. What am I going to do, make fun of her? Are you kidding me? I’m the guy ready to throw his TV off his balcony because somebody didn’t take a pitch with a 2-0 count… I’m not one to talk… But in any case, we’re getting the BPS together early tonight.
There’s some stuff circulating in the media, as I’m sure you guys have seen. The Giambino in with the commish, and the Yanks talking about voiding his contract. Michael Norton over at Some Ballyard makes some excellent points on his blog. MLB is a lot of talk about wanting to clean up the game, but when push comes to shove, their message is clear. Go ahead and be a juicehead. But open your mouth about it and we’re coming after you. Hence, after Giambi’s quasi-admission in the USA Today, there’s a mysterious “leak” that Giambi tested positive for greenies. Also not surprising that the Yankees are talking about voiding his contract. Not a coincidence, of course, that that subject only comes up when he’s mired in a miserable slump. And don’t kid yourself. If the Yankees were going to void his contract, they would do it with a full press conference talking about how it was to protect the integrity of the game and the team. But they would really only do it for one reason, and that’s because they thought he was done. The only scenario in which they void Giambi’s contract is if they arrange the deal for Helton. Everybody wins. Colorado can dump a huge salary, the Yankees can give them Farnsworth, Phelps (or a new contract-needing Giambi), and prospects, and the Yankees essentially swap one mega-contract for another. Not sure I like it, but that’s the way I could see it going down. But if they can’t arrange some sort of a deal, the Yanks will talk about how it’s important to stick by their guy, etc. Sometimes, it’s just business.
Appreciate the comments, gentlemen. Miwil, welcome aboard. We have a few members of the crew who are up in Mass. TS Mike, I hear you about Moose. It’s possible he’s due for a few hit or miss starts this season. Of course, I won’t say so, because Sean may hunt me down. Interesting note, Ras. I guess Theo has taken to doing his own scouting. And as a side note, it looks like you got your number 45 back. H810, I’m getting used to seeing that picture. But I’m not getting tired of it. Lucky, I’ll take any winning streak at this point. Three of four is about as good as we’ve been this year, so that’s going to have to pass for momentum. Joseph, I appreciate you coming around, dude. As these guys will tell you, I’ll take any comments I can get, good or bad. The more the merrier. You’re always welcome to post your opinions. So here’s what I’ll tell you. I have no issue with the Sox lineup. As a matter of fact, I’ve said in some of my posts this year that the lineup is a differentiator this year, as they aren’t so over-dependant on Manny and Big HGH as they have been in years past. Youkilis, although he’s probably the ugliest player in baseball, can play. He’ll be a nice player for them this year. Drew is going to give you ups and downs, but ultimately he’s never going to knock you over. According to today’s ESPN homepage, Jayson Stark’s new book highlights Andruw Jones, Barry Zito and J.D. Drew as three of the most overrated players in baseball history. And yes, Lowell is going to come back to Earth, and you’ll probably get a little bit more out of Crisp and Lugo. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. The offense will be solid regardless. And so will the bullpen. Okijima and Papelbon will give you what you need from them, and middle relievers are middle relievers. No issues there. So that brings us to the starters. And I think you missed my point here. And it’s also where your argument started to go off a cliff a bit, creating a statistician-magician version of the scene in Entourage when Ari put together a huge “brand” pitch production for Vince to stay, but missed the point entirely, causing him to walk out and go shack up (literally) with the hottest fake-agent ever. I don’t have an issue with the Sox staff. It’s fine. It’s good. Here’s my issue(s). First, people always love to point at reasons why things happen. You never hear people say that this team has a better record than that team because they just happened to have front-loaded their wins, and that they’re due to lose, so don’t get too excited. People always want to explain why. And they’ve done it with the Red Sox every year for the last – what, six, seven years in a row? The Sox jump out in front, have a four or five game lead (admittedly it was never 9 ½), and everyone tells you it’s because their pitching is superior, it’s because the Yankees made bad moves, they put too much emphasis on home runs, Peter Gammons tells you “but this Red Sox team is different,” Mike Lupica tells you that “This is the year the Yankees will finally show their true colors,” etc. And then the Sox tank, the Yanks win, and everyone forgets all that. It’s the same story every year. How many times have we heard that the superior Red Sox pitching staff is why they have such a huge lead? What I’m saying is that it just doesn’t hold up. Schilling, Beckett, Dice K, Wakefield, and Tavarez. Or throw in Lester, who was never really a big prospect for them, and who in his rookie year pitched to an ERA of 4.75. Either way. Schilling is a 40 year old pitcher who has crashed physically after the all-star break every year he has been on the Red Sox, including 2004, as he always reminds everyone. Wakefield is also a 40 year-old pitcher, who you call “effective.” What does that mean, exactly? As I’ve said many times, he’s a .500 pitcher, and he’s been a .500 pitcher his whole career. Since 1996, pitching for one of the best teams in baseball, he’s exactly 6 games over .500. That’s “effective?” I guess his agent probably thinks so… And Tavarez, well, do I need to do this? You say he’s “been pitching well of late.” Against my team? Yes. Against anyone else, no. And does any Red Sox fan really want to keep trying their luck throwing him against the Yankees? So Beckett. He’s good when he’s healthy? So is Pavano. He has never won. In seven seasons, he’s had one really good year, in ’05 with the Marlins. And even with everything in his favor last year, he inexplicably hemorrhaged down the stretch, as he consistently has every other year of his career. He was perfectly healthy. What can I tell you, dude. Until he shows the world otherwise, that’s his tag. And Dice K. Dude, this one I’ll respectfully step back and let take its course. But all I’ll say is that we’ve seen this before. He gets roughed up early, has a mini-run, people get excited, think he’s over the hump, and then he goes out and get thunder-smacked again, and people wonder why. But that wasn’t my point yesterday. My point yesterday was that the Japanese season is a lot shorter, and every Japanese pitcher before him has had problems with fatigue at the end of his rookie year. So two 40 year-olds, a guy who collapses every year after the break, a guy who has never pitched in a 162-game season, and Julian Tavarez. That’s how I say this starting staff isn’t built for the long haul and playoffs. Because they’re not. Watch. And by the way, I know you’re the statistician magician, but WHIP? Please, dude. How long did you take to look for a stat which favored Schilling over Pettitte… I know you’ve got better things to do. How about runs, earned runs, wins, etc? You know, the things that actually count….
Next up, the Yankees kryptonite. The Angels. I’ll be watching this with my hands over my face…
Happy Memorial Day everybody. I’ll see you guys Monday night/Tuesday….
Déjà vu got me last night. Not only was the stolen base-bad call-bloop hit to score him formula repeated last night, but I was in the exact same spot, coming back through the tunnel, back down into section 24 after hitting the boy’s room. Not good. But tonight, it was déjà vu all over again. And this time in a good way. Instead of the Yankees getting tagged in the first inning and the game being over before we were even in our seats, tonight it was the Yankees slapping the smirk off of Schilling’s face. And slapping, and slapping…
Big Joe called me as we were driving home. “Maybe this will teach you to go to games without the good-luck charm,” he said referring to his daughter, the missus. The guy had a point. When things get particularly weird, she’s the stopper. He does get nervous, although I contend unnecessarily so, because he knows I park way out towards the Grand Concourse, and I walk to the Stadium through the neighborhood. “You take my daughter this way?” he said to me one night a few years ago as we were walking to the game. It doesn’t make him feel any better when I tell him my friends don’t like it either, not because of the neighborhood but just because some of them [read: The Sherry Brothers] are too impatient to walk anywhere for more than five minutes.
I was also pleasantly surprised that Greggie Wilbs, my Wifflemania teammate on “The Pig,” had our other three seats tonight with his brothers. Came in handy when I came back to the seats from the clubhouse store and the missus told me that “Somebody balked.” “You’re kidding me,” I said, immediately suspecting a man who hates the Yankees almost as much as Big Willie, the umpiring crew chief for this series, Joe West. “Did it score the run or just move the runner over?” was my follow-up question. She looked at me for a second, thought it over, and then said, “What?” She then had no choice but to reluctantly point at Greggie Wilbs, who cleared things up.
So I know I’ve been through this before, but I’m going to do it one more time, since it’s fresh in our minds. I get that there are a multitude of fans out there who are desperate for this to be the year that the Yankees fall down. I understand that people like Mike Lupica are already trying to arrange parades both up Broadway and in Boston, just trying to will it so. So it doesn’t surprise me that so many people are so willing to take at face value the idea that this “dominating pitching staff” of the Boston Red Sox has them flying high with the best record in baseball. What have you really got? You’ve got Schilling, who at this point continually proves himself to be a shaky commodity at best. He hasn’t really pitched well, he’s been hit extremely hard, and the Yankees in particular have beat him up badly this year. And frankly, I can’t remember a period of time that he’s been on the Red Sox that we haven’t consistently kicked his *ss. You’ve got Beckett, who has never been able to consistently win, even when he was on a World Series winner and even now on one of the marquee teams in the game. You’ve got Dice-K, who has been pounded both times he’s faced the Yankees, and who most agree should have been dominating his first time through the league, if he had any chance of being dominating. Then you have Wakefield and Tavares, which I’ll let speak for itself. Guys, this is not a great pitching staff. By any stretch. And with two 40-year-olds, a guy notorious for second-half swoons, a guy who hasn’t pitched the equivalent of a major-league season in his life, and a career reliever, this is not at all a staff built for the long haul, or to win in October. We can all wait and see, guys, but I can tell you this staff is going to prove problematic for the Red Sox. And I have a prize for the first national-media type to get it.
This poor Red Sox ****** was sitting a few seats over from me tonight. He was at the game with what looked like a bunch of guys he worked with, all of whom were Yankee fans except this goon and one other dude. So, ninth inning. Enter Sandman blaring. The crowd going bananas. This sad loser is cheering. Because I could hear him muttering throughout the game, I knew he was a Red Sox fan, even though he was wearing no gear. So I got what he was doing. He was trying to cheer, as if to say, “I’m psyched Rivera is coming in, we do well against him.” But no one else was getting it, especially the dudes he was with, which only made him try to explain more frantically what he was trying to do. But with Metallica blasting through the speakers and the crowd noise, still no one could hear his silly, over-exaggerated explanation. So it culminated with a Yankee fan in the group, the guy at whom he was directing most of his ineffective explanation, putting his hand up to high-five the Red Sox guy, completely thinking he was just cheering for Mo like everyone else. Awesome. Good lesson though. Don’t go with the complicated cheer/insult on the road. You’re just going to look like a sad loser. And you’re probably just going to provoke someone else in the stands to scream, “Sit down,*******,” “You’re next,” “You can sit too,” and “Good night, Red Sox,” at your team as Mo strikes them all out to end the game, but obnoxiously loud and purposely right in your ear. That guy was me, by the way.
Kudos to Dougie tonight. I’ve been crushing him right along, and I still don’t think he makes it through the all-star break. But he works hard, seems like a real nice guy and when he has a night like tonight, when he comes up a triple short of the cycle, he deserves to be praised. Well done, Dougie.
So we win the series. That’s what I’m talking about. When you think about it, I can’t believe this team is only three games under .500. We’ve already suffered through a seven-in-a-row streak and a seven-of-nine streak, without ever winning more than three games in a row. And that was only once. But yet we’re one short streak away from .500. And help is on the way. I’m telling you, boys. This is going to get interesting.
“I’ll tell you what the question really is. Why is Manny wearing my pants….,” Mikey Juice said to me tonight in section 24, still wearing his sunglasses in the eighth inning (which I applaud, by the way). Baggy Manny’s pants may actually have fit Mikey Juice. Or Acc. Would’ve been close, anyway. Speaking of Mikey Juice, he and I had a secret pow-wow tonight, away from the earshot of Tony, Sean, and Acc. The situation is getting a little funky. I am 1-4 on the year and Mikey Juice is 0-5. To make matters worse, the one game Mikey Juice would have won he got shut out at the door because of the ticket snafu. The Yankees are 11-10 this year at home. They are 10-5 in games in which Mikey Juice or I have not attended. I’m going tomorrow night (Wednesday) with the missus, and if things don’t go well Mikey Juice and I may take the step of banning ourselves from games until further notice. The team comes first. We’ll know soon enough.
If it gives anyone any encouragement, I do have an amazing story to tell everyone about my own futility at Yankee games. It’s entirely true, which I can confirm with multiple sources. In 1996, the Yankees won the World Series. Some of you may have heard rumors to that effect. I forget the exact number, but I think they lost a total of something like 34 games at home that year, and another four in the postseason. That’s a total of 38 losses at home. I went to 20 games that year, including the postseason. My record on the year? How about 1-19. No exaggeration whatsoever. Including the only two games they lost in the first two rounds of the playoffs. The Yanks’ playoff record was 11-4. Mine was 0-2. Incredible? Here’s the kicker. The only game I saw them win that year was the front-end of a doubleheader in which they lost the back end. Talk about amazing odds. And not in a good way. But they did win that year, so I look at it as a positive, actually. That pretty much goes for everything about a year in which they win a championship. That’s really the only time when the season played out that way. Generally the Yankees have been good, and my record has been good right along with them. Just that one crazy year….
So about tonight’s game. We were all sick about the stolen base call in the seventh. What violent memories came flooding back. I texted Petey Goods to see if the call was right. He didn’t see it (??). Acc came back from the clubhouse store saying he saw it on the replay and it showed he was out. He also said Suzyn Waldman was berating Joe West for making the call. Joe West. Good Lord. Our old friend. What did the Yankees ever do to him, I wonder. In any case, three runs followed what would have been the third out, and boy, did that change the game at the end of the day. Admittedly, I didn’t see the play or any of the replays, so I am only going on Acc’s anecdotal evidence. The two mlb.com beat writers, Bryan Hoch and Ian Browne, didn’t even mention it one way or the other (real courageous, guys), and the AP simply said that “several Yankees were unhappy with the call from umpire Joe West.” Okay Associated Press. There’s a groundbreaking thing called instant (and not-so-instant) replay. I can probably guess that the Yankees were unhappy with it. But how about telling me if the call was right? So I guess I’ll have to rely on you guys. But either way, what a huge call.
The Red Sox were unhappy with A-Rod going in with an elbow to Dustin Pedroia. Looks like they have a case. He definitely went in with an elbow. So let’s make this generalization. The Red Sox don’t like Allie, and Allie doesn’t like them. Then maybe we can go from there. I hadn’t seen this before, but I read today where a few years ago Jason Varitek, when asked if the Red Sox were throwing at Allie “famously” (according to this article, anyway) said, “We don’t throw at .260 hitters.” This to me was a perfect encapsulation of why Varitek will always fall short in his inevitable career comparison with Jorge Posada. His stats won’t ever quite measure up to Posada’s, and his rings will never measure up to Posada’s. But perhaps most importantly, his class will never measure up. Posada doesn’t say j*ckass stuff like that. Varitek needs to take a step back and look at how history will judge his statements. If the quote is so famous, as this article professed, then in 20 years when somebody reads it they’re going to question how it makes any sense, as Allie is a multiple-time MVP with a .300 career average who will most likely challenge for the all-time HR crown. What the reader will probably say, is, “So Jason, you wouldn’t throw at…..you.”
Don’t know what else to say. Even Vino and his boys coming down to join us in section 24 tonight in the eighth didn’t get us over the top. Couldn’t get the big hit or the big break. We got to Okijima, we got to Papelbon. Both threw 25-plus pitches in a single inning. So we have a shot at winning the series tomorrow. How long will Dougie last on this team? Not through the all-star break. That much seems certain. The missus will be with me in section 24 tomorrow (Wednesday). She is generally acknowledged to be a Yankee good luck charm, so we’ll see if she can counteract my bad mojo. Besides, we still owe Schilling that “L” from the first matchup of the season…
“I’m going to say it out loud, I don’t care who knows it and I don’t care who hears it,” I declared to the missus when I walked in the door tonight. “I’m feeling good about the game tonight, and we’re going to win. It’s time.” “Oh good,” said the missus with an attempt at enthusiasm, only mildly interested. She was trying to get her lemon orzo together, and her real reaction was probably to be slightly relieved that it didn’t appear that I was going to be a ranting maniac just yet. She knew it would come eventually, of course. But every minute it was delayed was good news for her. I did my best to get home a little early, and I made it in by about 7:35. I figured the game was in the bottom of the first, maybe top of the second, the way these two teams play. Regardless, I was talking big already. I had been talking big all day. The missus was ready to put the chicken scarpariella on the table, so I had to ask myself the standard question. Do I check the score before we sit down to eat, or do I wait it out. Not an easy choice. The reality is that if I check the score and it’s bad news, I have to accept the fact that I have pretty much ruined dinner for both me and the missus, who will have to sit there and watch me mope through the chicken, orzo, and salad. Not even the Newman’s Own Caesar dressing, the one where Paul himself is dressed up like Caesar on the bottle, would cheer me up in that situation. This is why I usually wait it out and take my chances when the dishes are clear. I don’t like to eat with the TV on, because then I might as well be sitting at the dinner table with Michael Kay, Paul O’Neill and Flash Flaherty. Usually the only time I venture to check the score before dinner is if the Yankees are on a six or seven game winning streak and we’re playing with house money. But tonight I was confident. Tonight was going to be good news. So I checked. Two-nothing good guys. Allie. Boom.
So what exactly am I supposed to be afraid of again? I’m looking at this Red Sox lineup. Looking right at it on the box score. What exactly is the supernova that so separates them from the rest of the human world again? The way the media talks about the Red Sox you’d think it would take the Super Globetrotters team to beat them, the one on the old cartoon that would come out and get drubbed in the first half by the requisite team of monsters in the inevitable basketball game to decide whatever conflict was afoot, only to appear as the Super Globetrotters in the second half and walk away with the victory that saves the day. I never quite understood why they didn’t just pull out all the stops in the first half. Why didn’t Meadowlark pull the slingshot out of his afro in the first quarter? Why create the unnecessary drama? But back to the matter at hand. Coco, Lugo, J.D. Drew, Alex Cora? What a powerhouse. Lowell is having a nice year, but he’s a career .274 hitter. And last year when, like this year, he started out on fire and everyone crowed that he was finally in a ballpark suited to him, he pulled his usual second half collapse, with single digit home runs and an RBI total to match. So what about this lineup am I supposed to respect as the second coming? And here’s a hint. Don’t say that they have a .700 winning percentage. Why? Because it’s May. If they can still say that by October, come talk me, as I assure you I’ll be all ears.
So it must be the vaunted pitching staff, right? Well, the Yankees are starting three pitchers in this series that will be favored against all three of their opposing pitchers. But how is that possible? That’s three-fifths of the rotation. How is it possible that the Yankees will be starting the better pitcher in every game? Good question. And anyone who doesn’t think Pettitte outclasses Schilling, six years his senior, go check the numbers over the last five years. The message is the same that it has been all year. The Red Sox will face their demons soon enough. They’re not that good. And nobody gets a free pass.
The Yankees finally got a break tonight, which was highlighted very well on the YES telecast. Youkilis looked at ball four with the bases juiced in the second that would have cut the lead to 2-1 and brought up Big HGH. Ed Rapuano, who had an awful game tonight behind the plate, called it strike two. Why? I don’t have any statistical data on this, but as I have speculated on BPS before, I have always suspected that umpires are more likely to give the pitcher the strike call if it will mean a run will walk in otherwise. Particularly in a big spot in the game, bases juiced, game on the line, etc. Same with the inverse, if a strike will mean the third out but a ball will keep the at-bat alive. I think the umpires have this natural tendency to not want to affect the game directly. In other words, if they call the strike, they give the pitcher and hitter another chance to put the ball in play, and course the game directly, rather than have their call all over the highlights as the decisive play in the game. Like I said, it’s all speculation, but I’d love to know if anyone had any data on it. Bottom line? It’s wrong. If it’s a ball, call it a ball. If it’s a strike, call it a strike. You can’t start playing games like that. Because then you accomplish exactly what you didn’t want. You affect the game directly. And incorrectly.
But just in case you got to feeling bad for the poor Red Sox and the bad call that went against them, there was one play tonight that had me so furious that I was ringing Acc’s phone at 11:00, probably waking up his kids. Two years ago I wrote a bitter post after the Yankees were eliminated in game 5 by the Angels in Anaheim (these were the days before “L.A.”). One of my points was that Joe West had called out Robinson Cano for running “out of the baseline” to first on squibber in front of the mound. The pitcher never got his footing right and threw the ball away, and Cano was safe, loading the bases, he himself representing the tying run on first with two outs in the eighth inning. But no. Joe West, who was, coincidentally, also in the game tonight calling balls from the third base line, decides he’s going to call Cano out of the baseline. The replays clearly showed that Cano was running with both feet on the chalk down the line. MLB, after the series, mumbled that technically the rule is that the runner is supposed to run in between the lines, but acknowledged that both feet on the chalk could be construed as in, and that it was a judgment call by the umpire. Thanks, Joe West. So having watched my season end this way two years ago, you can imagine my blind fury when Doug Mirabelli was, after hitting a squibber in front of the mound with two outs and a man on first in the eighth, running with both feet about a yard deep on the grass, let alone on the chalk or even the dirt. Both feet on the grass. It was a text-book cheat, and it worked to perfection. Bruney threw wide in an effort not to hit him, and Dougie couldn’t stretch far enough to get it. Safe. Perfect. But where was Ed Rapuano? That was the most egregious out-of-the-baseline you’ll ever see. And not only that, it was accentuated by the fact that everything that followed pointed right to that conclusion. The wide throw, etc. What was Rapuano doing? What should have been the third out created a first and second, with the ensuing walk loading the bases, bringing the tying run to the plate. At that point I was ready to puke all over my loft.
It just goes to show, and I may be the only guy that thinks this way, that Dougie did the wrong thing. Baseball etiquette, as I often say, dictates that you ignore certain truths inherent to the game. Like the one that says you are not supposed to step outside the convention that the game is always won and lost on the field, and the assumption that the umpire will not directly affect the outcome of any given game. Dougie, in that situation, needed to ignore the convention and start howling and pointing as soon as he saw Mirabelli running with both feet on the grass. You have to let the umpire know before the play is over that you are going to raise holy h*ll if he doesn’t make the right call on the base runner there, and if you force the ump to take a second look while you’re going nuts, he’s not going to want to be called out in the national media a la Gerry Davis. He’s going to focus on the call. If you just make a futile attempt at a play you’re never going to make, as Dougie did, you don’t force the ump to address the base runner. If you step out of the line with your hands in the air, pointing at the base runner in the line, the ump will realize quickly that he will have a fight on his hands if he doesn’t make the call, and more importantly, that this is the stuff multiple replays and media debates are made of . And that this will draw unwanted attention to him. This forces him to address it. Otherwise, it’s Newton’s first law. An umpire at rest, not forced to react to a play, will stay at rest and let the play continue without his necessary intervention.
Tomorrow night. Section 24. Me, Acc, Tony Sherry, Sean, and Mikey Juice. Sean’s boy Moose on the mound. Allie’s not done. And neither are the Yanks.
“Talk about being snakebit…”
– Jon Miller talking about the Yankees during tonight’s ESPN Sunday Night Baseball telecast
Miller was marveling at the bad luck that saw the Yankees hit two doubles in a row tonight in the top of the third and not score a run. “And with one of their fastest runners, Derek Jeter, on second base!” he said incredulously. Yup. Welcome to our world, Jon. This is the April/May edition of the 2007 New York Yankees. The play, of course, was one in which Jeter had to hold up to see if Carlos Beltran would make the sliding catch. And Beltran was there. Although it would have been a tough play, Beltran would probably tell you that he should have made it. So Jeter was hustling back to second prematurely, with the Ferocious Lion bearing down on him, looking for a double.
I was straddling the door between the screen room and the downstairs living room at my in-laws’ house in Staten Island at the time. Big Joe (father-in-law/ Met fan) had flipped the TV inside to the Sopranos, and the TV outside in the screen room to the game. This would let us run out and see what was happening in the game if we heard anything weird going on. He couldn’t risk not seeing the Sopranos, because everyone would be talking about it tomorrow at work, and if he didn’t see it everything would be wrecked. And besides, the Sopranos in Staten Island is like church on Sundays. You’re just not supposed to miss it. But I was checking the progress of the second and third with one out situation, because things just had to break at some point. They just had to. Well, I slinked back into the living room a minute later, shaking my head. Big Joe knew. He’s not a ball-breaker. He’ll root for the Yankees when they’re not playing the Mets, and even now as they play the Mets, he knows they’ve been going through tough times. Plus, the Mets are on top of the world. They’re playing with house money tonight. What does he care if they lose?
Before the game, we both agreed the Yankees were going to win tonight. Regardless of whether or not the rookie, Tyler Clippard, was pitching. It was just time. And it was.
I had planned to write a real gloater paragraph. And I still will, sort of. The BPS is way off the mark often enough that when we get it right we like to put it up in lights. Last post, I said that the Yanks were in just such a quirky funk that they would probably outscore the Mets in the series and finish out the third series in a row in which they score more runs than the other team and yet still lose the series. And just as I was thinking about how I was going to word it, Damion Easley hits a two-out, two-strike, garbage time bomb in the bottom of the ninth, which pulled the Mets dead-even in runs scored for the series. But still….even. Which made me shake my head at the headlines in the papers and on the national sports shows. “Mets lick Yankees again.” “Red hot Mets club bungling Yanks.” What can you do… To the victor go the spoils, I guess. But sometimes I wonder if these guys are even watching the games. For what it’s worth (very little), the Yankees out-hit and out-homered the Mets in the series as well. And not just out-hit them; they out-hit them in each and every game. And still lost two of three. But I don’t know about all this “club” and “lick” stuff…. And of course, the BPS did mention a little something about Allie getting ready to crank some bombs. Just because it was time. And it was. And he’s got a few more in him against Boston. Just because it’s time.
A couple of notes on the games. Billy Wagner on Saturday, throwing home on a come-backer with first and third and one out in the ninth, up by four runs. Now, I don’t pretend to know what it’s like to be a professional baseball player, but that was such an egregious bonehead play that it got me to thinking. He knows better than that. It’s so unconscionably obvious that you throw to first and get the out there. The run means absolutely nothing. Less than nothing. So obvious that I don’t buy that he just flaked out in the heat of the moment and whipped the ball home without thinking. If you don’t get the out there (and he didn’t), you bring the tying run to the plate (which he did). A little leaguer knows better than that. So why? I wonder if he had his .050 ERA in mind. It’s the only explanation I can think of. He didn’t want that run charged to him and his ERA, so he put his team and the game in jeopardy by trying a very low-percentage play at the plate to save his ERA. I’m just speculating, but I think that’s what he did. If he’s a big enough jack*ss not to change his theme music when he came to the town where it’s already been copyrighted by consensus, he’s dumb enough to put himself before his team.
Another note. I rolled my eyes every time Jon Miller, Joe Morgan, the NY media, and everyone else kept crowing about David Wright’s “three” home runs. Please. The only reason that the guy who Paul LoDuca has nicknamed “Dig me” Wright and of whom Tom Glavine has said, “He loves himself a little bit,” hit “three” home runs is, I guess, MLB has a weird rule whereby you can’t give an error on a ball that ends up over the wall, regardless of whether or not it was in the pocket of somebody’s glove and pops out and over. If that thing was a foot in front of the wall and the same exact thing happened, it’s E-8, no questions asked. But because it ended up going over it’s a home run. Fine. Like the ball about 15 years or so ago that hit Canseco in the head and went over was a home run (although that was the quintessential all-time sports blooper, and maybe the very definition of the word "error"). Fine. If that’s what you want to call it. I say E-8.
So another series where we out-hit, out-score, out-everything the other team and we still lose the series. You want to get mad and ignore the stats? Fine. You want to get frustrated and think that any analysis of why is an “excuse?” Fine. You want to throw in the towel and stop watching? Fine. No one is stopping anybody. But the facts are the facts, and the law of averages isn’t going away. The Yanks are going to start winning. Not for any other reason other than that it’s just time. They have suffered through more than their share of bad breaks, and they’re going to start to show their abundance of talent. You don’t want to watch and find out, no one’s making you. Remember, it’s all relative. The ’05 Yankees were a game under .500 at the all-star break and still won the division. Things just look bleaker this year because Boston started out so hot. But that only means they’re due to hit a skid. They’ve won five of six against the Yanks this year, but they’re not five-of-six better than the Yanks. So we’re going to start to win. I’m not asking anybody to take my word for it. It’s just time. Watch….
“You don’t want to know what’s happening on TV right now,” said Tony Sherry. Like I didn’t know. “Dude, I just got off the phone with Acc. The pain was seeping through the phone line.” “Look on the bright side, dude. At least it’s not 11-19. I talked to Juice. He’s in,” he continued, moving right past what Mikey Juice likes to refer to as the situation. “Who’s the fourth for golf on Saturday?” “I don’t know, dude. I’m still trying to get my head around this….” I didn’t have the heart to tell him that at this point in the ’05 season, those 11-19 Yankees had climbed to 20-19, four games better than these Yankees. I wasn’t worried about golf. I was more worried about the madness. The madness….
I could dig up the numbers to prove it, but I just don’t have the resolve at the moment. For what’s it worth, I’ll throw it out there. Do you know how rare it is to lose a series in which you outscore the other team? Rare. You’re just going to have to trust me. They just did it for the second time in a row, following the Seattle series. And two series’ before that we split with Seattle in a series in which we outscored them by an average of two runs a game. Want more? The Yankees have won just 4 out of the 17 games they have played this year decided by one or two runs. That’s a mind-boggling .235 winning percentage. The first thing people generally do when presented with a stat like that is search for reasons why. They are going to say it’s the bullpen (the starters have given up an equal number of game-winning runs this year), they’ll say it’s the starters (see previous parenthetical). They might say it’s the injuries, but I’m not sure that really explains why the one and two-run games. Maybe it does, if the talent is just such that the loss of a few key guys to injuries drops the talent down just a notch to where you lose those games. I’m just stabbing at things here. You know what I think? This may the craziest thing I’ve ever said, but I think it’s just dumb luck. The Yankees, although wallowing just below .500, are clearly at least a .500 team. And I’m of the opinion that if you’re a .500 team, you should be winning 50% of the one and two run games, same as all the others. To have lost all of those close games while beating teams’ brains in the vast majority of their wins tells me two things. First, it tells me that the law of averages owes us some wins in some close games this year. Big time. The second thing it tells me is that we can hit. It’s not like we’re just inept with the bats. We can hit and we do hit. We score more runs than anybody. They just have been coming at all the wrong times. Now I’ll admit, piling on runs is easier than finding the one run you need. But still. You look at this lineup and this should not be happening.
All that said, the thing that gives me confidence that this will turn around is that it always does. Baseball is a funny, streaky game. You get on runs when you just know things will turn around in the course of a game. I’m following the Red Sox gamecast on mlb.com as I type, and when I started the Tigers were winning 2-1. I looked at it and my first reaction was that there was a better chance of Cliff Claven winning Dancing with the Stars than the Red Sox losing this game. So what happens? Two huge two-out hits from a career .246 hitter and a career .259 hitter. They are now winning 4-2. The Red Sox are not that good. They are riding a magnificent wave right now. It can’t and won’t continue all year. The good news for them is that it doesn’t have to. If they build a big enough cushion now, they’re playing for playoff positioning. The Mets have been playing like that the last two years as well. They are just super-confident, all the time. Interesting that in the last week, the Mets and Red Sox have both come back from 5 runs down in the ninth inning to win. More good news. Those are our next two opponents. So we’ve got that going for us……which is nice….
You want some actual good news? I’ve got some. This Tuesday will mark exactly one month in which Allie Boy has hit exactly one home run. Uno. That only means one thing, if you follow him and every other home run hitter that ever lived. He’s due. Look for him to start smashing some bombs. Allie isn’t going a full month’s time with just one bomb. I predict a few against the Mets. Because their pitching is weak. Just weak enough for us to outscore them in the series and yet still lose two of three, I suppose.
Beth, I don’t care if Bernabe looks like Roy Munson in Kingpin. I’ll still take his bat up there in any spot…. Subway time. C’mon, Pettitte….
This is the game you need to win. This one. I am sitting in the blue room in my apartment. The back-end of the day-night doubleheader is in the top of the 7th. The Yankees are winning 2-1. And this is the game. They have not won this game all year. They have pulled off a couple of miracles, yes. But not the game where they just don’t play well. They don’t hit, they’re not clutch, and they limp through. But still win. Somehow. You need to capitalize on what you’re doing well. And the Yankees are getting a strong pitching performance from Wang. Ride it. Ride it and win this d*mn game. [Melky on second, two outs. Posada up.] This is the game, all season thus far, when the other team does just enough to win and we do just enough to lose. And the ways we lose these games are maddening. Two out hits, bloops, seeing-eye ground balls, bad calls by Gerry Davis, you name it. [Jorge flied out. Two dead. We need this d*mn run.]
This afternoon’s game was more of the same. We were tied, went down, climbed back, and promptly puked it back up. It would be nice if Sean’s boy Moose didn’t have to pitch like every run was going to mean the end of the world. [Base hit for Bobby Abreu. Nice. 3-1 good guys.] I’ve said this many times, but I’ll say it again. I can deal with this bad run. There are going to be times in the season when you go into a hitting funk. It happens. You hope you can steal a few games in that span with a few sick pitching performances. [Jeter triple - 4-1. This is more like it. Seriously. Giambi flied out. What is he, oh-for-a thousand?] The Yankees should have won the game at home against Seattle with a good pitching performance. Gerry Davis puked that one up. But that’s how it goes. Again, the real anomaly was losing seven games in a row when you’re scoring six runs a game. That never happens. That was as crazy-rare as I’ve seen a streak. Reason being that it is much harder to score runs than to not score runs. So many things have to happen for a team to score runs, especially multiple runs. A simple statement, I know, but the point is, if you score six runs a game for seven games, the odds are so slim that you lose all seven games that’s its almost inconceivable. The Yankees have already lost four games in which they outhit the other team. That was the streak that will stick out, and if they don’t win the division, that will be why. This non-hitting streak was bound to happen sooner or later. [Farnsworth is in the game. Somewhere in the back of the garage covered in dust, I think the playbook has him doing the eighth innings for us. He got two outs with a walk thrown in, and now he’s trying his hardest to walk Konerko. There it is. Great. Now the tying run is at the plate. The bottom line is that the Yankees are going to win this game. They have lost this game so many times and in so many ways that the odds are stacked so high against the White Sox right now that they couldn’t possibly realize. Mackowiak is putting a tough at-bat on Farnsworth. Not a good sign. Except for when he’s throwing the lion-tamer on dudes trying to charge the mound, Farnsworth’s not exactly a pillar of mental toughness out there. Full count. He’s definitely going to walk the bases loaded. Part of me doesn’t want to blame him, because Mackowiak is hanging so tough, but then I remember he walked the other two dudes, and I’m disgusted with him again. Out. How do you like that? He got tough. Good for him. Now keep it going.]
So it looks like a split. This only works for us if they win tomorrow. That’s a must. Another day game means another day of distraction at work. My Red Sox-meet-reality prediction is also continuing. A rainout tonight means two tomorrow, and as Michael Kay (and everyone else in the world – not sure why I’m giving him juice) says – double-headers split 80% of the time. [Melky and Jorge just hit bombs, this game couldn’t be more over, and I couldn’t be more psyched. And now everybody is smacking the ball all over Comiskey/Cellular One. This might be a good time for some dudes to bust out of slumps. Melky’s got a hit; Cano, Abreu, and Giambi have hits. Dougie fouled one off. So it’s been a good night for all of those guys…The Ferocious Lion just crushed Andrew Sisco’s life with a base-hit with the bases juiced. Hey, at least he had a chart-topper with that Thong Song….]
Happymeds. Dude. I owe you a debt of gratitude, my friend. At 1:43pm Eastern Daylight time you logged on, signed in, and posted a one-line, fourteen word comment. And it was, and it remains, the only one on the board. Good looking out, dude. Ouch….
Mo in. Game over. Note to Brian Cashman: Here’s how this will work. You call Bernabe Williams, and while you’re doing that, I will go out and buy him a first baseman’s glove. I’ll buy him a few. Whatever. Then tell Donnie to meet him at the bag at 7am to start the next phase. Make it happen.
I’ll admit up front; I don’t know the whole story. After I watched the Entourage from two weeks ago that I missed on the DVR, I flipped back to YES and noticed the scroll on the bottom of the screen. “The Yankees game has been delayed until 10pm Eastern.” I couldn’t help but think back to sitting with Tony Sherry at the Neptune Diner in Astoria (voted best diner in Queens, five years running), waiting to go back to Yankee Stadium for game 2 of the ALDS last year. We had showed up just in time to hear the game was delayed, and we decided to wait it out at the Neptune Diner, just over the Triborough Bridge. The game was delayed until 10pm, they said. How is that possible, we thought? How are you going to start this game at 10pm? This is a playoff game. They always take longer. You’re talking about this game not being over until 1:30 in the morning. It made no sense. Of course it made no sense. Did the Yankees, or MLB, or the network, or whoever it was ever have any intention of playing that game? Who knows? But it sure doesn’t seem like it. I got the same vibe when I saw that scroll tonight. Are they really going to play this game? Doesn’t seem like it. I was so confident, in fact, that I watched the Sopranos episode from last weekend that I missed because I was out to dinner with my mother, sister, and in-laws in Sheepshead Bay (Il Fornaio – I had the Scallopini). And no sooner than Tony did the hooker in Vegas did I flip back and see the game had been postponed. I said it last year and I’ll say it here. This is a bad look for MLB. Disingenuous, underhanded, and greedy. Its one thing to wait out a rain delay that doesn’t look promising after a game has already started, just to reap the benefits of concession sales all the while. I don’t think anyone’s wild about that either, but at least you can always fall back on the excuse that the game had already started. It’s entirely another thing to know full well you’re not going to play a game and throw out a false start time just so everyone lines your pockets with hot dog and pretzel revenue. That’s bogus.
Another lesson today in the self-policing of the BPS. As the crew has commented, it’s not a friendly place for people trying to come in and do drive-byes. They are dealt with swiftly by the keyboard warriors, usually led by the swashbuckling Happymeds. Poor Mannino, who was breaking my rocks about Dougie Fresh, felt the wrath of TS-Mike and Jason from the Heartland. I’ve known Mannino for ten years, so she calls me out when she thinks I’m off-base. Even when she’s calling me a spoiled brat. But she’s a huge Yankee fan, and apparently likes Dougie. And as I commented to her today, I would be ecstatic if Dougie was average. But this is a guy who has batted under .246 for three of the last four years. But she was more offended that I said he s*cked. Now obviously, he doesn’t s*ck. He’s a major league baseball player. Which makes him a magnificent baseball player, in the grand scheme of things. I just don’t care to have him on my team, if it’s all the same to everyone. For all of the reasons I’ve laid out heretofore.
So in yesterday’s post I marked 5/15 (today) as the start of reality for the Red Sox. And today they lost. The Yankees started their downward spiral after a miraculous comeback against Chris Ray and the Orioles, if you’ll remember. They just had a stretch in which they went 19-6. Nobody can keep that pace up. Besides. I’m looking at their team. They’re good. They’re not 19-6 good.
You know what’s interesting? A lot of Met fans (Grossman, Big Joe) get outwardly upset when you say that the talent in the National League these days is somewhere between Double-A and the AAGPBL. They acknowledge it, but they don’t want to hear it. Like you’re insulting them or something. Why is that? No disrespect to the Mets. They’re one of the few legit teams in the NL. But the rest of the league is an embarrassment. But it’s just a passing phase. It happens in pro sports (think AFC from 1983-1997). Why the defensiveness? I don’t get that at all.
Not great news on the rainout. Doubleheaders, as Michael Kay accurately points out, almost always end up in a split. So here’s hoping we bust out and sweep. Seannie, give your boy Moose the ball….