Spring Break: 2017

There are many signs that the Yankees have turned the corner as far as their offensive malaise goes. For one thing, they are showing a lot more power at the plate over the past three seasons. They are hitting well and are converting the men on bases into runs batted in. I really like the arrival of Holiday. He really has shown what makes him a good hitter and gets the bat on the ball well and while he is not a power hitter in the home run sense of a power hitter. But boy has he brought some pop to the lineup that was missing. I also like the arrival of Chris Carter too.

So too has Greg Bird and Sanchez. The pitchers have also been great so far, really offering something for the fans to feel good about. The feel good factor that rejuvenated the Yankees season after “the kids” were brought up to the Bronx has continued to lift the spirits of the team and the fans. Sure the spring games are never really anything to go by but from the point of view as to what the players are doing independent of the wins, there is definitely something for us fans to get excited about this season. That is something that the Yankees have not really given their fans of late. Come what may, whether it is a rebuilding season or not, it sure looks like it will be fun to watch the Yankees this season. I have to take it all back, Brian Cashman has certainly shown us, critics, of his just how little we knew and how much he knew. I take it all back Brian.

Trade Rumours Persist Despite Yanks Finding Form

The persistence of trade rumours despite the way that the Yanks have turned their form around, is really starting to bum me out. I mean, one cannot but help feel that the Yankees would not have traded Chapman had they not heard how they should do it from the various media outlets around New York. It made sense that if they were going to trade someone from the team then a guy like Chapman who was an expiring contract, and very desirable from a baseball point of view was the right choice. I thought that getting rid of Miller was a stupid move. I am glad they decided not to do something so daft as that. The guy is team player and is a great relief pitcher too.

The next player that was tradeable was, of course, Beltran who has had a phenomenal year with the bat and is an expiring contract also. The problem with trading him rests in the fact that he is the only player to be really giving us an offence, besides Didi who has been the Yankee MVP of the season in my books. I have an idea about the way that Beltran has turned the season around. I am suspicious of the way he was at one point one of our most underwhelming bats for the first two years of his contract with the Yankees and how his best season happens to be the one before he goes into free agency. There is something about his turnaround that seems to have the ring of window dressing. Obviously, if he went into free agency on the back of his last years’ work he would most likely not get a contract never mind the idea of being able to demand a high price for one. So I cannot help but feel that he has been underperforming the last two years and is only giving his best now that it is in his best interests. But despite my reservations about his commitments to the team, I feel that he should not be traded. Otherwise, who would be hitting for us?

The other name that seems to stand out as a trade prospect is Ivan Nova who has been a Yankee since being picked up as a rookie free agent back in 2004. He has been a hot and cold kind of pitcher and might not get the same kind of returns as the Chapman trade got for us. But we might get something for his arm from a struggling team who needs a pitcher. So trading him might just be a good move.

However, I don’t like the trade talks. If it is a necessary part of the Yankees 2016 season, then so be it. Chapman was a smart move. But I wish that we were so good that trading him was not even an option. Maybe he will come back to the Bronx next year. I can’t wait for the trade deadline to come. Maybe then we can get on with the job of trying to make a challenge for the playoffs without the gloom of trade expectations hanging over us. I love the team we have for the most part. When A-Rod Teixera and Beltran go, we will have more money around and places for some of the homegrown younger guys to have a shot. But for now I love this team and even if we fail to get to the playoffs, finishing with a winning record for the 27th season in a row would be something to brag about, given how bad we were to start with. Go Yanks.

Astros Must Not Give The Knockout Punch This Time

Can we really be talking about how the Yanks are at the point where they face a knockout punch? I mean really? In July? But that is where we are. Heading to Texas to face the Astros who broke Yankee hearts last season. Can they do the same thing again this year?

They are not as good as they were last year. They are definitely a lot less of menace as now they were last season but you should not be complacent. As Joe says time and time again that if you play badly against any major league players they will defeat you. That has happened against such teams as the Rockies who are a lot better than they are made out to be. If you go to their ballpark and act like you have already won then you deserve to lose. That is what happened to the Yanks against Colorado. They should not think that because the Astros are not as dominant as they were last year, that they will win these games. I don’t think the players are doing that.

It has to hurt them that we are already at a must win series before July is even over. But that is what happens when you have played so badly that you lose the way the Yanks have. They can turn it around for sure. But will they? Already there is talk that Chapman will go to the Cubs for two prospects, with the hints that he will be back next season. But I am sad to think that he will be on another team and I hope that he is going to be back next season. It is a pity that they team is in such a state that they are having to get rid of guys instead of bringing someone in to help the team win. I hope they can turn it around. But I also hope that we don’t see Chapman coming into a game in the World Series this autumn. These are the kind of decisions that can bite you in the ass.

Commissioner Manfred Has Got To Stop This Assault On Baseball

Robert Manfred has taken it upon himself to try and change the game of baseball under some misguided belief that it is no longer relevant for the world we live in. That is a bad premise on which to continue his tenure as the man responsible for the future of the game.

But his misguided attempts to speed up the game is not so good at all. The decision to stop hitters stepping out of the hitter’s box has not done anything to speed up the game. Nor has his idea of putting a time limit on coaches going to the mound. The game time has actually gone up since he took over the role. So these innovations have not done their job. The preoccupation with the speed of the game has a touch of some pedantic need to try and tinker with something to put his stamp on it rather than actually improve it.

So too has the hard line taken against coaches and players arguing when an umpire blatantly gets a call wrong and calls strike or ball erroneously. To punish the players and managers for getting annoyed when an umpire makes a bad call which can make or break a guy’s career or a team’s season, seems a little punitive and ignores the fact that the league should be making a point of trying to improve the calls made in the game by the umpire. A way of scoring the performance of the umpires which sees an umpire being sent down to the minor leagues means that they too will be less inclined to lose attention and make calls that are just awful. The technology is there to show if a ball is inside our outside the strike zone so why these calls cannot be reviewed is beyond me. They wouldn’t even take as much time to review as when a guy is called out/ safe at one of the bases.

But the most worrying problem for me is the talk that Commissioner Manfred is now talking about the idea of shortening the game from 9 innings to 7. That has to be the most pointless and needlessly destructive idea from this man’s brain. The game of baseball has been 9 innings since back in the 1800s when it was first codified. If the American public can spend hours at a football game that has 60 minutes of play stretched in 3+ hours, with lots of time wasted standing around watching the coaches talking to the players then why can they not handle a game of baseball that lasts 9 innings of pretty much continuous play? Who is bothered by the length of the game anyway? Anyone I talk to about it says the same thing. The length of play is just right. The game is as it was 150 years ago. It was and is perfection in itself and has no need of needless tinkering. So too is the ideas of limiting what can be done with relievers. This is robbing the strategy from the game, and the high pressure ending to the game, the combat of the game. Interference for interference’s sake.

If Manfred wants to make a mark on the game, then ending the links with gambling would be a good one. I mean, how can you condemn Pete Rose for his links with gambling when you advertise gambling companies? Improve the umpiring. That’s a good start. Then let Pete Rose back in, and while you are at it, vindicate Joe Jackson. The evidence shows that he did not do anything to throw the games. He was acquitted by the law courts and yet some big shot hanging judge-cum-commissioner decided to make a name for himself by banning the games finest hitter.

If he wants to get kids involved with the game and build an international audience, then that it a noble idea and one I applaud heartily. This will not be done by short changing the fans with shorter games. He will do that by making the game fun and promoting it as a great thing to watch and play. He needs to do more to reach out to international audiences. Making them feel like they are valued as a fanbase. I love the game despite feeling that my being an overseas fan means I am not counted worthy. To me, this game is perfection. It has everything a person could want in a sport. There are things that can make it better. But messing around with the length of the season and the games is not the way forward. Hopefully, Rob Manfred will start acting like a fan of the game, and not someone who hates it, and stop messing around with it. If something isn’t broke then don’t try to fix it. That was the attitude of the other commissioners who only made changes when they had to. The speed of the game is a thing that only he seems bothered with. This might be his big crusade. But there is a problem with running off half cocked on crusades like this, just read Don Quixote. Commissioner Manfred is baseball’s Don Quixote chasing after windmills.

To me, this game is perfection. It has everything a person could want in a sport. There are things that can make it better. But messing around with the length of the season and the games is not the way forward. Hopefully, Rob Manfred will start acting like a fan of the game, and not someone who hates it, and stop messing around with it. If something isn’t broke then don’t try to fix it. That was the attitude of the other commissioners who only made changes when they had to. The speed of the game is a thing that only he seems bothered with. This might be his big crusade. But there is a problem with running off half cocked on crusades like this, just read Don Quixote. Commissioner Manfred is baseball’s Don Quixote chasing after windmills. He is starting to look like a comic figure. He is throwing out the baby with the bath water. We must let him know what we think of this idea. Hopefully, he will listen to the fans. We are, after all, the ones who make the game a viable business. Let’s not let him ruin this game for us. It is our game. It is that simple.

ARod’s Playing Time Is Behind His Decision to Play First Base

“…. start A-Rod at least one every three games for crying out loud, to ensure he gets two starts a week. If that doesn’t work, then A-Rod and the rest of his contract should be jettisoned.”

via End Yankees’ silly A-Rod project: DH him or be done with him — New York Post

I have to say I agree with this article in the NY Post. A-Rod is not fit to play at first base. He is struggling with the bat but to put him at first would be a joke. It is one of those experiments that Girardi has been forced to make due to the myopic decisions that Cashman continues to make as a GM. In the past three years, the only decisions he has made that have been productive have been the signing of Castro and Gregorious. Beltran was a bust for the first two years of his contract and has only come good now. Ellsbury has been too injured to make an impact, but he has contributed with some good hits, some great plays at centre and above all with his base running. Seeing him steal home has been the highlight of this season.

Joe needs to choose whether he will play A-Rod as a DH or whether he will not play him at all. The idea of trying to squeeze him just because he is a big contract player is the kind of stupid thinking that has this team in trouble. It is as if they are saying “sure! It doesn’t matter if the guy is not producing anything to merit his place on the team. He is being an awful lot so we will play him anyway.”

That kind of thing isn’t happening in Boston, and look where that is getting them. They are great to watch because they are putting out guys on the field who want to play and are doing a good job at it too. They didn’t field a guy just because he was being paid a lot of money. They put out the guys who were doing the job well. Why the Yankees don’t go with that kind of logic is beyond me. But not using Refsnyder because they want to play A-Rod who has suddenly decided to play first so as to get some more playing time is just foolish. We need to play our best guys, big contracts or not. A-Rod is our DH. He should be that or nothing. The Post’s Ken Davidoff hit the nail on the head with this article.  Stop trying to put A-Rod at first just to play him. Either he is the DH or he is nothing. They need to be smarter than they have been these last three years.

When the Yankees had a Dandy


Dandy… the Yankees failed mascot experiment from 1979-1981


This guy was a short-lived experiment in fan interaction. A strange and unlikely event in the history of the New York Yankees. Take a look at his face. Because you might not know who he is.

He was the official mascot of the Bronx Bombers in the late 1970s who was done in by a chicken, a hex, the death of the Yankees captain, and the Boss. This is his story.

In 1979 George Steinbrenner decided that the Yankees needed a mascot. The Phillie Phanatic was a massive success with the Philidelphia fanbase and The Boss never one to miss a trick decided that the Yankees would have one too.

He commissioned the same people who had designed the Phanatic, but then things got heated when Steinbrenner argued that they had used the wrong shade of blue for the mascot. However, in the end, George decided to sign a lease of $30,000 for three years.

The way seemed clear for the Yankees new mascot to enter the limelight. But then in July of 1979, the Yankees were playing the Mariners in Seatle. The San Diego Chicken mascot was at the ballpark ahead of the All-Star Game and decided to have some fun at the expense of the Yankees pitcher Ron Guidry. He made a hex motion at the pitcher and was chased away by left fielder Lou Piniella who threw his glove at the mascot. Afterwards, Steinbrenner denounced mascots as having “no place in baseball.”

Dandy in action 


Despite this, Dandy made his debut later in July. But then two days later in August, he was put on hiatus when the Yankee captain Thurman Munson was killed when he crashed his jet plane. There was a striking similarity between Munson and Dandy it was thought.

Dandy was sent to the upper decks of Yankee stadium where he was consigned for the rest of his existence. He was hardly seen outside the stadium too, but famously he did make an appearance at an event at Madison Square Garden where he opened for Bill Crosby. But this event is more well known for the fact that Dandy was nearly torn to shreds by a group of boisterous and drunken bankers.

Rick Ford, the actor who performed the role of Dandy abducted the suit and held it for ransom after a dispute with the team, and returned the suit once the dispute was resolved. It led to the end of Ford’s time as the mascot. Dandy continued to wander around the upper decks of The Stadium for two more years until his lease ran out. At which point the company who made him decided not to offer the Yankees a renewal on the costume feeling that the Yankees never really gave him a chance, nor did they do enough to use him as a marketing tool.  It was rumoured that he was last seen being attacked by a gang of fans.

The suit was destroyed years later when the designers were clearing space in their workshop. Poor Dandy was never really given the chance to become a Yankee icon. He could have, had the owners been more committed to the idea of having him that they turned out, or had Piniella not gotten angered by the Chicken’s antics that faithful day before Dandy’s debut. Nor indeed had he not looked so much like the tragic Munson. One can only wonder what might have been. But that is the thing about sports. Sometimes things don’t go to plan. Still, we can only shake our heads and wonder, at the time when the Yankees once had a 7-foot tall pear-shaped bird mascot called Dandy.

The Talk Of Trading Andrew Miller Bug’s Me, But Other Moves Make Sense.

There is a lot of talk about what kind of team the Yanks will be when the trade deadline draws closer. There are many who will say that we are going to be a selling team and not a buyer when it comes to the crunch. We have lost too many games to be relevant. The top three teams in of the AL East are in the hunt and have gotten too far ahead of us to be caught up and it is a battle between us and Tampa of who is the worst of the division. We are not in the Wild Card chase, we are rubbish, we are useless, the Mets own NYC. Blah blah blah.

That is annoying me because the season is still there for us. Anything can change. Cashman has a chance to show that he can still pull off the great roster move, as he did when he got David Justice to the team. Justice was a key player in winning the World Series in 2000. Since those great days when he seemed to have a Midas touch, most of his moves have been poor, or in more honest terms, they have been awful. So bad that you could not believe that a guy with his long service in baseball would make them.

Now, of course, the Yanks need to go out there. Make some trades and bring in guys who will do something to change the flop that the 2016 Yanks are shaping up to be. He needs to use some of the big guys that we have to entice guys to give away someone who will hit for us. That or we need to find some pitchers because our pitching lineup is a joke. The starters have been so unreliable this year that often we have gone into games with pressure on the hitters who already had a deficit to try and chase down, which no doubt has only served to choke the runs up because you cannot play well and hit well if you already have the pressure to score on your shoulders ramped up because now you are not just trying to score to get a lead but you have to score to try and make up runs from a pitcher like Pineda who has been so poor that his projections for this year are beyond rubbish.

The main force behind the trade talks for the Yankees is the idea that the Yankees will be getting shut off one or more of their vaunted late bullpen. How that makes sense really is beyond me, as that is the only thing that has given Yanks fans any sense of pride this year, and in the stretch will be the only thing that will likely get the Yanks in the chase for a Wild Card game. I understand that there is some logic behind it. For one thing getting rid of someone like Chapman who is a prime example of a shut down closer makes sense. He is likely to not sign with the Yankees when next season comes around and will go someplace that he wants to with no benefit to the Yanks. I’d love it if he didn’t and he went on to become a great Yankee player. But nobody knows what he will do next season and if he was to bail on us, then it makes sense to send him somewhere else now when we can get a prospect for him. After all, his suspension is no longer a problem and he has pitched lights out for the Yankees making him the kind of guy that a number of teams would want now. Cleveland for example, are one such team that could look for him.

It is possible that he will go there and the Yanks will get two pitching prospects. Or some other minor league level players. Chapman’s free agency will be a major factor in just what calibre players will be traded.

The other trade rumour is Andrew Miller and here is where I draw the line. Andrew Miller is a great player. He is selfless and committed to the team. He is a great player and one my favourite guys in the team. I love the attitude he brings to the clubhouse. He will do whatever he is told, to make this team a success. To get rid of a guy like that for any trade is nonsense in my books, but to get rid of someone who has that mindset and the skill level that Miller has is just ridiculous. Cashman would be out of his tiny mind to get rid of Andrew, especially for someone like Kyle Schwarber as has been suggested. That is crazy. Another outfield hitter, who is injured, hasn’t great numbers. That’s what we want, more dead-weight at the cost of one of our most consistently good players! No thanks. I will stick with Miller and use some of our guys in the minors in the outfield. We have plenty of guys there for that job. Miller should not be traded. Doing that would be stupid. He will help us more in the future on the roster than traded away.

Beltran is a good trade. Yes, he is hitting well, but if he is traded away to a team that needs a hot hitter now, like Cleveland, we will do well there. I like him. But I think a trade with him involved will be good for this team in the years to come. It is a long-term trade that makes sense.  Anthony Castrovince made little sense in suggesting the Miller trade, but a move that sends Beltran and Chapman to Cleveland for some prospects that are nearly ready will be perhaps the best move that Cashman can make. We need the long term strategy here. Doing that will be a long term move. Sending Miller away for some other hitter that has some good webgems along the way but is not putting up numbers and has shaky defence is not a long term move. It isn’t even short term. It is stupid. I wish the Yanks would put the Miller trade talks to bed.