CC Stunk! No other way around it. #SubwaySeries at Yankee Stadium

  The sight of CC Sabathia on the mound is not quite the same prospect as it once was. There was a time when he pitched some hot stuff. Simply put he was a machine. Dependable as much as a person can be in sport, you knew he was the kind of guy who could win games for you.

But not anymore. He is  seemingly a spent force, and now his presence on the mound fills me with a feeling of unease. “Will he win this?” That is what I usually think, and before I finish the question the answer is there in my mind. It manifests itself as a cold feeling that this game could end up going down the crapper quicker than you can say Tommy John. 

I know  that no guy sets out to pitch that poorly and get creamed so badly as CC did today. But it still has to be noted that he has not won a single game yet this season and even when he was pitching his best game so far (in Detroit) it still ended with a loss. 

Yes the hitters failed us big time today, just as the defence was as bad in places as it was brilliant in the outfield, but that was down to the runs and hits CC gave up. It put pressure on the defence as surely as early defensive errors put pressure on pitchers during the opening week. 

Maybe CC will turn it around. Who knows at this point? Hey I think he is not longer the starting ace that he was in previous seasons but is more of a short relief guy now. Someone to mop up an innings after the team has put up a good lead and the starter needs to come out. In short a “no pressure, can’t lose kind of scenario.” Anything beyond that I think is too far for him to pull off.  In short, I’m quickly finding myself of the opinion that he won’t turn it around.

So now we are level in the series and tomorrow’s game is a must win for Yankee Pride. We play them again in September when both teams could be in the hunt for the post season. Those games will be a big deal beyond measure if that is the case, but for now we have a series that we must win. The NY media have made it so we cannot be confused about how big this series is. If we win, then for the majority of the summer we will be Kings of New York. If we lose then we will be chumps. Until we figure out that Sabathia isn’t what he was (a starting pitcher) any more, then I fear we will go into his games with the dread and doubt and stink of failure hanging over heads. I like the guy but the time is now upon us to decide. He must be moved to the bullpen and replaced with someone who can do the job better. Otherwise what happened tonight will happen again and again. If we are to be a team in contention come the next Subway Series we cannot let that happen. It’s just that simple.

Subway! Yes Way!

Baseball is great isn’t it? Look at how bad the Yanks were to start off the season. The Mets were flying high, a New York Post cover depicted Mets stars rolling along on a subway train with the headline that the Mets were going to invade Yankee Stadium.  

 But you know, one of the great things about baseball is the way anything can happen. Even a bad team in April/ May can change things up and become a better prospect down the line than a team who jump out the gates and romp off to a great start. Just look at the Brewers of last year who were unbeaten to begin with, but faded to a third place finish in their division. Not good.

The Mets got off to a great start. As a Yankees fan I refuse to look down on their success. It is good for them and generally I like to see anything from New York well, just not better than the Yanks. In general I’d rather focus on the Yankees performances and wish they win. But the media have latched onto the idea that this years Subway Series was going to be a battle for the hearts of the city. They are making a big deal of it, mostly because they want to sell papers, and mostly because there are doubtless a lot of Mets fans who want to see the Yankees taken down a peg or two.

It didn’t happen. The Yanks went to town on the Mets. It was great, well worth sitting up until 2:30+ AM UK time to witness such a win. Especially in a Subway Series, they are one of my favourites. This year especially has been hyped. So that win was awesome. I hope we beat them today and maybe even sweep the series. But for now all I got to say is “Subway Series Rock.” Gooooooooo Yankees! 

  

Yankees improvements in the field have sparked a major improvement 

To begin the season, the Yankees’ defence was lauded as being one of the finest in the league. Yet we were puzzled to see the mistakes they were making. 

Just why were they making so many errors? Nobody seemed to know why or how or what. All we knew was that it was fast becoming a serious concern, just as was the pitching of our leading starters. Pineda stood out supreme in the early games as he was hitting the zone with great command and pace, and plenty of guile.

Stephen Drew was one person I felt annoyed with. He tried too hard and made bonehead plays that gave up hits and runs. The hitters struggled to makes up for this and in the end we lost those games.

But just as he was the centre of my ire for those mistakes, now he surely deserves the plaudets for the plays he has made. Just what we had wanted to happen has happened. The infield has caught up with our outfield and started to dazzle. 

Inspired the pitchers are going to work knowing the team is behind them and has their backs when in the field. Pressure off they are pitching better and giving us a chance to stay in the game, and now the hitters have started to get their grove on too.  The rejuvenation of the team has given us fans a feel good factor. This team is on the march it seems. There is hope and expectation that maybe this is the year we bag 28!  I for one think we can. Especially if we play like we have done in Detroit (last night’s thumping in particular) and our pitchers keep healthy and pitch more like they have begun too and less like they did in Spring and the opening  week. 

Yes expectations are high, they should be for every team. But when we see the possibilities starting to play out we cannot help but be excited. Now that the long goodbye to Derek Jeter is over (which last season was) when each game is not another step closer to an ending, this season feels more like a pleasure to watch and one of hope not sadness. With such a big win like last night and things starting to click Yankees games are starting to feel like they did during 27 exciting seasons in the past. Let’s go Yankees.

Franchise Four: Who would you pick?

The MLB are asking for us to pick our four best players in the history of the Yankees franchise history. If your bothered you can vote on all teams. I decided to do that on a number of teams. Mostly they are easy choices. For example the Dodgers, you have to pick Robinson. The Giants one of the guys has to be Willie Mays. Mays was by all reckonings one of the finest players to ever step on the diamond. 
For the cheek of it I also picked among others, Joe Jackson from the 1919 White Sox. He has the third best career average in the history of the game, and was accused of throwing the World Series of 1919. However while he himself admited to taking money to throw the game there was no way on earth that he threw the games so good was his performance during that season. Kene-Saw Mountin Landis made an example of him, perhaps trying to show that he had supreme power over the players, perhaps to try and make sure that this would never happen again. Whatever it was that caused it, the sport was robbed of a great player who could have been greater. I think he deserves to be mentioned, recognised for what he was. Now enough of the White Sox.

Who would I pick for the Yankees. That is the main thing about this post. Here are the choices, and then I will tell you who I picked and why.

Yogi Berra
Joe Dimaggio
Whitey Ford
Lou Gherig
Derek Jeter
Mickey Mantle
Mariano Rivera
Babe Ruth
And a write in vote.

Now obviously they are all great players and really to try and pick four out of that list, or to even suggest another name makes this a difficult exercise. But I shall tell you who I picked and why. You can tell me what you think.

Babe Ruth. He is easily one of the biggest names to ever play for the Yankees. He turned the Yankees from being a struggling team who barely got attention from New York baseball fans. Let’s face it, Babe Ruth was the cornerstone of all Yankee success. He is the one that we have to thank for what has become a standard of excellence in the pin stripes of NYC.

Lou Gherig. Sure, emotion takes over. Here we have a Yankee Captain who was a great hitter. Perhaps even better than Ruth. He was the first person to hit four homers in one game. He played the most consecutive games to make a record that was not broken until 1995. A record that would have been higher had it not been for his sickness which took his manly power before it finally took his life. This is purely emotional, but tinged also with the knowledge that Gherig came to be something more than a tragic figure. But one of the finest Yankees, the backbone of the team at a time when they were still becoming the team we have come to know and love.

Thurman Munson. This is my write in choice. There is a very important reason why I picked Munson. Not just because he was the first Yankee captain since Gherig. That was  not the main thing behind my choosing him. He was one of the key players to lead the Yankees back to the World Series and to win the AL Pennant. After years of failure, he was the dogged, and hard nosed leader who by his example showed the other Yankees what it mean to play with pride. To be honest I am shocked that he was not on the list, because of the crucial role that he played in rebuilding the team after they had been so poor for so long in the mid 60s- to late 70s. Munson has to be in my franchise four.

Derek Jeter: Following on with the theme of building or rebuilding I think that Derek Jeter is a must to be included in the Franchise Four. Once again his leadership on the field and off the field helped to turn the Yankees around from being a joke of a team in the 80s and 90s, to being one of the finest Yankees dynasties in the team history. Sure there were other players that made a vital contribution to the team at this time. Bernie Williams  being one of the first players from this dynasty to play for the team. But Jeter stands out for all of my generation as the Yankee player of era. Like Ruth, and Munson before him he led the team at a time of rejuvenation. Like Gherig he went about playing his game, scoring hit after hit and doing so with a sense of dignity and class that it would be an example to all how to play the game. He also like Gherig and Munson came to be the ideal Yankee captain, and though others have had the role of captain, none led the team with the same force and leadership as they have done.

Now of course Mantle, Berra, DiMaggio and others like that were worthy names to be included they all played on the team when the Yankees were a championship winners. They didn’t have to lead or play for a team that had spent a prolonged period of time as a weak team. They didn’t have to turn the team around from being a losing team to becoming a championship team as Ruth, Munson and Jeter did. So while it was hard to leave them out of the list, I felt that it would have been worse not to ackowledge the roles that the other four played in making the Yankees what we love about them.

What Happened to Our Great Defence?

Are you hearing this? Seeing this? Getting this? The great hopes for our defence this spring seems to have gone down the drain in a wash of self loathing and rage. The Yankees have fallen off the starting blocks rather than bolted off them. The defence flopped so far and this match going on even now as we speak is an example of that. Pitching is overall underwhelming. The defence especially Chase Headley has been awful, his mistake to extend the 8th with a wayward throw to A-Rod when it was 3 out led to the 3 runs which took the game beyond the Yankees who have been worse with the bat than they have with all other aspects of the game. What is going on?
I can only speak in frustration. I am frustrated because they can’t even get on bases let alone score runs. They can’t get strikes without giving up runs, make plays in the field without looking like a high school team, or steal bases without getting thrown out. They are a shambles. What is Cashman going to do about it? He has failed miserably and has got to go.
Still at least Young got us some runs. Probably too little too late from the Bombers but No. 24 continues to impress me. At least we got something to smile about today.

In Reply to “An Open Letter to Yankees Fans.”

Dear Jen,
Thanks for such well written letter. I appreciate that perhaps as you wrote that letter, there may have been a sense of trepidation as to what will be said to you via the myriad of online portals through which mindless fools can and do invade ones home with abuse and pointless threats. I certainly hope that those who have read you letter have taken in the sense that it is meant and not gone stupidly into attack mode.
Mostly I wanted to rush out and say that as a kid growing up in Ireland my two first experiences of baseball was in the mid 80s when I saw first of all the music video to the Dire Straits song Walk of Life which featured what would be classed as funny WebGems now.
The next baseball contact was seeing the Mets win, which for some reason was shown on Irish TV.  I supported the Yankees because I wanted to move to NYC when I was older but didn’t want to support a team that was World Champions. I hate bandwagoneering. Still in my infant foolishness I though the Yankees were a team that never won and supported them. By the time I had learned about their history I was hooked. Because they were the kind of team that would win brilliantly, but lose in just as good a fashion. They are the kind of team that give you a glimpse of perfection in one breath, and then misery in the next.
The rings are nice, but I have always seen the glory of each season as a short lived thing. Resting on ones laurels is too common a thing in sports and the Yankees are such a team that has not ever done that so why the fans would is beyond me. The truth is that your eloquent description of what it is to be a sports fan, the highs and lows, the joys, the misery, and the almost opiate effect that takes hold of the mind during the opening day build up, and those last weeks when ones team is stil in the hunt for the post season, they are why I love the sport, and the Yankees too.
The Yankees are a link with those days of my childhood when I imagined moving to America, when I watch and listen to the Yankees they help me forget the hassle that all to often makes life a little too hard to take. But they also link me to my childhood in a way that no other sport does. Where most of the kids dreamt of playing soccer for Man United, Liverpool and Arsenal, I dreamt of baseball. It is a passion that few around me share even to this day living in England. It is a passion which I came upon by myself without family or anything.
I wanted to say this because not all Yankees fans think of the rings as why they are better than others. To me they are nice memories and interesting history. But I am in with this team like all relationships in my life. For better or worse, whether I agree or not. I admired you chutzpah in writing that letter. Moxy is a character trait I admire a lot. I just wanted to show that in the event that you got a lot of abuse that not all Yankee fans are going to rant about what you said. It was a lovely letter, and very well put. I wish your Birds all the best in the season. Sure I’d rather they didn’t beat the Yankees and all, but if it is to be anyone else to win the AL and AL East, then I hope it is the Orioles. Thank you again for sharing that. It was very beautifully put.

Why Cheer for A-Rod? (Thoughts on Game One of 2015)

The Yanks start was not a great one we had hoped for. They are five down and don’t seem at all likely to hit, never mind score. McCann’s hit in the 4th was the only hit of the game so far. But Tanaka’s pitching isn’t what I want to talk about.Yes it was good to begin with, lost the plot in the 3rd and then went good again before being pulled from the game and the bullpen took the mound.
Nor do I want to talk about the lack of hitting from the Bombers. This is something that I have addressed before many times and it looks likely that I will be talking about it again and again in the coming months. So I will leave this one for the moment. Another thing that I will leave for now is the poor defencive performance of Chase Headley who was not quite up to the standards that we had hoped the defence would live up to. Some of his performance or lack of it should and will be talked about again if it happens again, though I don’t think that it will happen again.
The thing that I want to talk about A-Rod’s reception in his first proper meaningful game back as an MLB player. It is funny but as I wrote this article A-Rod had hit his first single in the Big Leagues since his suspension in the bottom of the 5th. The thing that was outstanding, and confusing to some is the way that he was greeted by the fans.
Sure there were the boos that mingled in with the cheers when he was first announced before the match started. But the welcome he got in his first at bat was remarkable. Though some will be puzzled as to why Yankee fans are so quick to cheer for him the way that they did, I think I have an incling as to why this was the case. It is not necessarily the case that they have forgiven him or that they do not care one bit about what he had done in the past. Most fans know that he is a selfish and vain man. Or so he seems to them. He has behaved in such a way to ruin the legacy that he has built up because even though he draws close to the 3000 hit mark, there is enough doubt about this mark because of his use of PEDs which will make any celebration seem hollow to other fans. Just as other fans will rag on us for cheering him the way we did. But the truth is that we are not cheering for him because we don’t care that he cheated. Because we do. Anyone who cares about the game and the team too. We forgive him for being a cheat however because he has made all the right noises. We cheer for him because we want him to do well, and most important of all, because he is in our gang. All may not be forgotten. But it is  #forg1v3n. When he goes out to play for our team, he is fighting for us, he is in our gang. When you mess with one Yankee then you mess with them all.