Happy Mother’s Day! And now… Clint Frazier’s Mother’s Day Cat Cleats

I was already rooting for this guy to be one of the big slugging outfielders on my team, but now I might have to make him my new favorite Yankee.

Meet crazy cat man Clint Frazier! And a happy mother’s day to you all.

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And Now Judge

FIRE. THE. TRAINING. STAFF. NOW!!!!!

Left oblique injury. From SWINGING THE BAT AT THE PLATE.

Gee, good thing he doesn’t have to do that every game, huh?

He’s off to an MRI, and then to the injured list, along with practically the rest of the starting lineup.

And just to reassure us that this crap will continue, the Yankee announcers kept pushing their PR BS on how the Yankee Organization and the Steinbrenners would most CERTAINLY make sure the training regimens were state-of-the-art top-of-the-line bla bla bla so on and so forth.

Yeah, guys. It’s just bad luck. Bad luck over and over and over again with every player in the roster. Injuries resulting not from collisions or running into the wall, or getting beaned on a bone, but from SWINGING THE BAT, RUNNING INTO BASES or PITCHING BASEBALLS.

YOU STUPID BRAIN-DEAD PR FLACK SUCKUP MORONS.

Oh, and Aaron Boone still sucks as manager and also ought to be fired. The Red Sox being worse doesn’t excuse him either.

Ah yes, the Steinbrenners and the vaunted Yankee organization… they’d NEVER spend their enormous amounts of money on garbage would they? That certainly never happened with any of several dozen free agents over the years, huh?

Here’s a story: My dad had a longtime friend who made decent dough, and spent a lot of it on a spiffy new Jaguar luxury car. I certainly never got to see this car and I’m not sure my dad ever did either, since it was ALWAYS in the shop for repairs.

You know what you do when you have money and get stuck with a car like that, despite it’s impressive brand?

YOU BUY A DIFFERENT GOD DAMNED CAR.

FIRE. THE. TRAINING. STAFF. NOW!!!!!!



The New York Yankees Need Fixing Fast

And the doctor is in.

The Yankees, projected by many & hoped by me to win the AL East and beyond this year, have begun the 2019 season in a seemingly permanent state of suck.

They’ve been lucky (so far) that the Red Sox have followed suit, although today’s first 2019 match-up between the two makes me think that the Yankees will do their damndest to help the Sox out of their slump and send them off to the races after Tampa Bay. The Yankees’ problems boil down to two major categories: (1) Injuries and (2) Lackluster play.

Let’s start with (1) – since the end of spring break, the Yankees have lost to injuries: their #1 starting pitcher and Cy Young candidate Severino, #1 set-up reliever Bettances, starting center fielder Hicks, starting right fielder/DH MVP Stanton, the ENTIRE INFIELD of Sanchez, Tulowitzki, Gregorius, Andujar and now Bird. We fans get BS reports of 10 day injured list when the problems are clearly months long if not season ending.

Or in the case of Greg Bird’s torn left plantar fascia, possibly career ending. I recently wrote about the plantar fasciitis in my right foot. I just inflamed mine and I can barely walk on it late in the day. Bird tore that ligament in his left?? I’m sorry, but I think the poor guy might be done, and he was one of the players that often had me screaming at the TV for category (2) above.

Andujar rips a labrum in his shoulder sliding into 3rd? Most likely surgery and a season ender. A calf strain takes out Sanchez, a biceps strain takes out Stanton, lat strains have messed up Severino….

So AT WHAT POINT DO YOU FIRE THE TRAINER AND THE TRAINING STAFF?

Continue reading “The New York Yankees Need Fixing Fast”

Every Year The Yankees Do This To Me

Injuries, injuries everywhere. What kind of training regimen are these guys on that makes ’em so fragile? The season is only a few games old, and it seems like half the starting lineup is already on the IL or facing end-of-season surgery.

In Spring Training, Luis Severino and Aaron Hicks went down and I’m guessing from all the cryptic garbage we hear on their condition, won’t be back until late May at the earliest. Dellin Bettances out until mid-April. Didi Gregorius gone for most likely the entire season.

And now, Giancarlo Stanton out for a week with a biceps injury, and FAR worse, Miguel Andujar, last year’s shoulda-been rookie of the year, gets a torn up right shoulder that might require season ending surgery.

Last year it was Aaron Judge out for six weeks. Jordan Montgomery out for Tommy John surgery (hopefully back this summer).

These guys seem like they’re made of paper maché and glass. What gives? After a weekend of watching college kids take body-slam spills to the hardwood floor and get right back up again in the NCAAs (except for that poor kid on Auburn who ripped his ACL), why are baseball players so damn delicate?

Yeah, I know… maybe the call-ups from AAA like Frazier and Wade and German can become another Andujar-esque surprise, but I’m not holding my breath. They got a relatively easy schedule to start the season – only a 2 game Red Sox series and a series with the Astros loom large alongside teams like Baltimore, Detroit, Kansas City, the Angels and San Francisco… but how many holes can be filled at once?

Though somehow, watching Sonny Gray have a classic Sonny Gray Yankee-like start for the Reds the other day (walks in runs, over 80 pitches by the middle of the 3rd and gets pulled) gave me some hope that the roster this year’ll be better. Sanchez looks like he’s hitting again. Greg “Mr. March” Bird doesn’t look too pathetic, at least not yet. New additions James Paxton and Adam Ottovino are both pitching well. Sabathia returns soon from his suspension. And the Red Sox are off to a bad start.

But they gotta stay healthy. This is getting ridiculous.

BTW, I found the photo above on this smartass’ dormant Yankee-hating blog, which I must admit made me laugh scrolling through it. It’s funny the intense emotions something as silly as sports bring out of people.

Life Begins On Opening Day, 2019 Version

Baseball is back tomorrow, with the Yankees opening up with the Orioles at home.

All the predictions I’ve seen for this season essentially have last season’s winners repeating, except for a few people picking the Phillies due to all of their impressive off-season acquisitions.

Gotta say… I mostly concur, especially in the AL, where the Yankees, Astros and defending champ Red Sox are easily the top teams in the league. I doubt the Sox can win as many games as they did last year, but I can still see them and the Yankees at 100+ wins and fighting over division versus wild card with a 90+ win Rays team breathing down their necks. The Astros ought to win the west without a total collapse, in which case the A’s might surprise. The Indians are a safe bet for the central. Neither the Twins or White Sox can really mount a real challenge.

In the NL? A lot of people picking the Dodgers, but I dunno… they might have a real fight for the west on their hands with the Rockies. The central is a tossup between the Brewers and Cubs, the Cards are always in it and the Reds added enough to make themselves into the spoiler. I’d probably go with the Cubs if I had to. The NL east is a good race too – I wouldn’t count the Nats out even with losing Harper, the Phillies should definitely make a run for it, but I think I’d take Atlanta to repeat in the end.

And in the post-season? Well, who the hell knows, with all the playoff tiers and 1 game wild cards and who’ll be injured and what not. Whatever the hot team in September coming into it turns out to be will mostly likely come out on top.

The Yankees? Certainly could be – they got a killer hitting line-up if everyone stays healthy and the stars align. I just hope it won’t be home runs or nothing, though…. doesn’t anyone play contact ball anymore?? Stupid analytics, shifts and bullshit…. math is the enemy of this sport. The pitching is good enough, bullpen strong… but already some health issues with Severino and Bettances. And Paxton has had issues in the past. On the plus side, there’s no more expecting that certain loss on Sonny Gray day.

We’ll see. My hopes are up for this Yankee team, but they got probably the best Red Sox team in history (and that’s sayin’ somethin’) to overcome.

Truly Reliving My Childhood

Ah, Topps baseball cards… how much money and time did I spend buying wax packs of you back in the day? Chewing that cement-like gum sometimes, throwing it out more often… and sorting through the seemingly endless variety of benchwarmers to cull the great players, hall of famers and stars that I’d want to make sure I had in my collection?

Nowadays, a pack of Topps cards ain’t 10 cards for a dime, that’s for damn sure. And if I as a mature adult (cough) decided to buy this year’s set, I’d probably just buy some factory set on amazon or ebay and then enjoy parusing through it.

But then I’d miss all the fun of wax-pack-discovery…. what I experienced as a kid ripping open pack after pack and seeing the random assortment of cards inside. Maybe there was a Reggie Jackson or a Frank Robinson… more likely there were multiple Fred Lashers and Jim Gosgers.

Nothing against you personally, Fred & Jim, but I lost count of how many hard-earned-for-a-7-year-old dimes went across the counter in pursuit of that Ernie Banks.

AND THEN I MISTAKENLY TRADED IT AWAY…. oh GOD, that’s a sad story for another time.

Anyway, today I was in the local Target checking out some housewares as a diversion from the other grocery store in the same strip-mall, and found myself browing through the packs of sports cards.

They were to the left of the numerous packs of non-sports cards for all sorts of crap I’d sort-of heard of, like Pokémon type stuff, and other stuff I had no clue about.

They had hockey cards and baseball cards. (Surprisingly, no basketball cards). Topps puts out what they call a “Heritage” set every year, where they produce cards of today’s players with yesterday’s clearly better, memory-poking and altogether wonderful card designs. This year’s heritage set are styled like the 1970 Topps set, with the gray framing and cursive handwriting.

Not one of my favorite old designs, I must admit… (I’m especially partial to the look of the 1967 and 1973 sets, if you must know) but I prefer it to the new modern themes.

So I started looking through the various cello-wrapped cards out there hanging on those racks…. and found myself doing EXACTLY what I used to do as a kid – I carefully examined each back to see if I could identify the top and bottom card in the stack by looking through the wrapper.

We used to cheat & peel back the wax paper, returning reject packs to the counter & grabbing any pack that revealed a Nolan Ryan, Hank Aaron, Tom Seaver or whoever. Today I found myself, a supposedly responsible adult, standing in Target holding cello-wrapped jumbo packs of Topps Heritage cards up to the light & pressing down on them to see enough of that cursive writing to find out if Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar or any other Yankee I’d feel like a happy 7 year old getting in a pack were on the top or bottom of the damn thing.

The only thing missing was some annoying clerk coming over with a “Hey, this ain’t a library, kid” or some other such witticism to completely bring back my childhood.

I woulda shelled out the five bucks if they were. I came up empty, noticing more than one pack with Chris “I get paid even if I suck” Davis and Nick “Who?” Pivetta in more than one pack on the top, CONFIRMING MY LONG STANDING CONSPIRATORIAL BELIEF ABOUT TOPPS that they print WAY more cards for players who SUCK versus the players who don’t.

Funny… I don’t think any of today’s baseball cards featuring big stars will attain the value of the cards of olden days stars. The players’ stats might all be competitive… Hell, Mike Trout puts up numbers that evoke Mickey Mantle with healthy knees, but I know that Trout’s cards will never be as valuable as any Mantle card. I’ll hunt for & buy old cards here and there, every so often… I’d only buy today’s cards for collection filler…. and that’s why I’d much rather they’d still be 10 in a pack for a dime, to be honest. An inflation calculator tells me that 10 cents back in 1970 is pretty much equivalent to a dollar now, and I think a dollar now would feel a lot less to me than ten cents did when I was a kid…. but there’s no friggin way I’m spending five bucks for only a chance at players I’d like to have with only Chris Davis as the guarantee.

The child in the image of the man, after all….

(Winter) Baseball Is Back!

Baseball exhibitions started up this weekend, and I actually spent time watching most of the first two Yankee games, mostly to see which veterans looked like they were getting in shape for the upcoming season, and seeing what minor league/rookie prospects the Yanks might have in the offing. I mean, who knew about Miguel Andujar at this point last year amirite?

And look at the Spring Training Schedule, where only the final 4 games are technically played during Spring. It’s really Winter baseball down there in Florida, but at least it makes me look forward to the Spring.

The first two games gave me little to go on in terms of Yankee prospects this year. Except for making “Mr. March!” jokes at Greg Bird’s expense, I guess. Some of the AAA players trying to make the team look like good prospects, tho. If we assume the PED screening is working honestly, I wonder if there are the beginning signs of a correlation between a shrinking number of boys going out for football and a growing number of really huge dudes showing up in baseball. I think we’ll see ’em soon, in any case.

If you recognize the pic above, you’re as big a baseball geek as me. And since I didn’t feel like digging out my old Strat-O-Matic board game from 1972 that I’ve got shelved up in the board game collection, I began reading online to see if there were a modern day MacOS equivalent baseball simulator, where you can play manager to current & historic teams.

Strat-O-Matic only makes a Windows version of their games, something that surprised me. You’d think they’d be more competitive.

But YE GODS did I find one that I can recommend to my fellow baseball nerds. Out Of The Park baseball will not only replay last year’s MLB stats but also comes with a historic database going back over a hundred years. It includes minor leagues, world baseball, and historic negro league teams, too. I’ve been playing with the demo and figured out how to match different teams in the same year, but not across time yet…. I played a 1932 match between the Yankees of that year (Gehrig, Ruth, Ruffing, Gomez, etc) against the Pittsburgh Crawfords (Satchell Paige, Josh Gibson, Oscar Charleston, et al), basically two of the all-time greatest teams… and it played out pretty well. But pitting the ’32 Crawfords against the ’98 Yankees or the ’32 Yankees against last year’s Red Sox…well, I haven’t figured out how to do that yet.

Out of The Park is FAR more elaborate than Strat-O-Matic, both a boon and a hinderance, though. OOTP runs a league for the entire season, has you as manager & general manager promote/demote players, deal with injuries, keeps track of relievers’ stresses, allows you to trade players, sign other executives…. it got overwhelming at times when all I wanted to do was match up a couple of historic teams and see how the stats would play out with my managerial strategery on one side. With Strat-O-Matic, you’d grab 2 card sets of teams and go. OOTP doesn’t provide any intuitive shortcuts, although maybe I still haven’t found them and I’m only playing the demo version so far, anyway.

So far, it’s played a lot of accurate games. Bucky Dent hit a winning walk-off homerun for the ’77 Yankees to defeat the ’77 Brewers. And I put Aroldis Chapman in to close & save a one run lead over the 2018 Red Sox, and he promptly walked the bases full and gave up a hit to lose the game. Now THAT’S realism!

I’ll play around with managing other teams, or seeing if I can just play one-shot games without loading all the general manager stuff. I can come up with endless combos and matchups I’d love to see, whether it’s 1968 Bob Gibson pitching to 1921 Babe Ruth or seeing if I can make Nolan Ryan bean Ty Cobb a few times. This thing certainly looks like baseball nerd nirvana.

I’ll play with the demo some more, and I’ll spring for the full version at some point, although I know how much of an awesome timewasting thing it will wind up being. But I can’t help myself! I NEED BASEBALL REHAB.


This Seems A Tad Expensive

Click on image to enlarge

Really? 2.7 million for a 1978 Craig Reynolds card?

I mean, he was a decent player and all, but I don’t think his 1978 card is up there with a 1909 Honus Wagner, y’know?

Maybe I misread the listing. Maybe the card comes shipped in a fleet of Lamborghinis. Or, perhaps it’s for the ACTUAL Craig Reynolds, now a Baptist pastor in Houston. How much do retired shortstops/pastors in Houston go for these days, anyway?

I was curious enough to email the seller:

Hi

This turned up in my suggestions and caught my attention. The price seems slightly high. So I’m curious.

I really want this price not to be a typo. I’d like to think people have made you ridiculous offers for this card thinking it’s some sort of rare error or the like. If so, more power to you.

My other theory is that you ARE Craig Reynolds. If so, you were a pretty good SS for the Astros.

In any case, I’d love to hear the story behind this listing if you want to answer, thanks in advance! If not, I’ll enjoy the mystery.

I’ll update this post if I get an answer.

Maybe more wacky suggestions will turn up in my ebay feed since I bought a few old cards the other day. Who knows?

In the meantime, make those best offers. Craig’s not getting any younger.

Baseball Card Of The Day: 1952 Duke Snider

How ’bout a story?

When I was a kid collecting baseball cards, before the friggin’ boomers destroyed the hobby by bidding up the prices of various cards beyond belief by the 1980s, it was often possible to search out & find classic old cards of great stars and legends at affordable prices, or amazingly cheap prices.

One day at an antique show my mom got interested in at the ol’ Midland Mall in Rhode Island, turned out one guy had a small box of several dozen absolute MINT condition 1952 Topps baseball cards.

4 for a dollar.

Yeah, I know – where’s Biff Tannen to come back in a Delorean and tell 1972 me that I should buy the entire box? It’s the first real Topps set, amazingly in demand, where mint condition cards are extremely rare and pricey. The Mickey Mantle rookie in set sells for multiple thousands of dollars.

Believe me, I combed the box for Yankees. The only one was Hank Bauer, but it, along with more stellar names – Bob Feller, Gil Hodges and Duke Snider rounded out my dollar’s worth.

These were immediate status symbols amongst the neighborhood friends who collected and traded cards with me. They were older, I’d gotten lots of cards from them from before my time, mostly commons but some star players in there, here and there, depending on what I’d traded away for ’em.

I got repeatedly badgered by one guy for one of the 1952s… haggling went back and forth, and in what seemed like a good deal in 1972, I traded the Duke Snider for a ’64 Koufax, Drysdale, and Tony Kubek, to get a Yankee in there.

I like having the Drysdale and Koufax cards…. to this day, they’re the only cards of either of those guys in my collection, I think… but over the years, parting with that mint Duke Snider has always haunted me. And I did NOT want to pay anywhere from the $300 -$2000 I’d seen the near mint to mints go for to get it back in that condition.

BUT – we have a happy ending to this tale. Recently on ebay, I found one in decent enough condition, not mint, but an undergraded good to very good one – no creases or marks or pinholes, only some corner wear visible on the front and not quite-perfect centering. And it fit right into the “I think I’ll buy myself a birthday present a month early” category at fifty bucks.

I spent nearly as much on sushi the other night, I figured. (All you can eat, too!)

Should I fixate on my memory of leaving the Warren Spahn and Richie Ashburn cards behind to take the Bauer back in ’72 and spring for those on ebay? Well, maybe next birthday. By then, maybe I can skip enough sushi to save up, who knows?

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