Friday, May 29, 2015

50 Cent's worst first pitch ever and other clips I never get tired of

It was a year ago this week. Rapper 50 Cent threw out the first pitch at the May 27, 2014 Mets game. And Fitty, aka Curtis Jackson, was just a bit outside -- make that a lot outside! As Mets broadcaster Gary Cohen said, his first pitch "was not great." But it is great as far as one thing -- it always puts a smile on my face!

And you know what? I wonder if 50 deliberately threw this worst first pitch ever so people would talk about him and remember his then-upcoming concert at Citi Field? If he had just done a mediocre first pitch, it would have been forgotten. But with this incredibly bad first pitch, he became a legend!

Anyhow, I can never get enough of seeing that pitch. And it got me to thinking about what are my go-to clips that I watch to make me laugh, or just to put a smile on my face. Here are my all-time faves:

Did you know that Aaron Paul, aka Jesse from "Breaking Bad," was once a contestant on "The Price Is Right"? No joke! Watch him come on down and make it out of Contestant Row. "You're the man, Bob," Paul screams, "You're my idol!" I also like when he screams at the end, "I get to spin the wheel, right?"

You know, "Breaking Bad" fans wonder what happened to Jesse after he drove off. I would like to think he was on his way to Burbank to be on "The Price Is Right"!

There are a lot of "Peanuts" references in this blog -- I say "good grief" all the time, and both Jon and I reference about the cartoon classics a lot. This clip has the gang dancing to "Hey Ya." It is awesome!

My dream is to do a video to act out the dance scene to this music with real-life people. I got dibs on being the curly-haired girl in the back left!

You know, Pete Campbell, my favorite character on "Mad Men," had a lot of great comic moments on the show. "Not great, Bob" is a classic. But the clip I love best of him is when he and wife Trudy do the Charleston. It is sweet and charming and funny. Would love to do this in a party in real life!

The last clip is definitely not safe for work, due to language. For me, it is also not safe for work because I laugh so hard at it, and cannot stop. It features clips from the Barney kids' TV show with the characters singing and dancing to...N.W.A.'s "Straight Outta Compton"!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Subway squabbling: Readers argue about the Mets in our comments section!

I am glad I went ahead and put some Mets talk in the blog yesterday. Because it actually got some action going in our comments section. First up is reader RussSharpe, who claims that Mets fans are the real baseball fans of New York. He writes.

"I'm a native New Yorker, I've been a Mets fan since 1963 and I've never been a Yankees supporter! There are National Leaguers and American Leaguers, I'm a National Leaguer so I'm a Mets Fan. New York's Baseball history includes 2 great National League teams that both moved to California in the space of a year. One of those teams (Brooklyn Dodgers) broke the color barrier in MLB the other (New York Giants) wasn't far behind with players Willie Mays and Montie Irvin. The American League Yankees on the other hand lagged behind in that area. The Mets are the New York reincarnation of those 2 National League teams, hense the Dodger blue and the Giants' orange logo. That said I really believe that REAL baseball fans in New York are Mets fans because they are not front runners, they just know the game. Mets fans are fans of baseball, Yankee fans not so much."

Longtime Squawker reader Uncle Mike hates the Mets more than any other Yankee fan I have ever seen! So needless to say, he has a lot to say about this. He starts with the following:

"I'm not surprised more runners are Met fans. It explains why the marathon is held after the baseball postseason, so the Yankees won't be able to distract from the event."

Oh, snap! Then he continues:

"I will never understand why Met fans have this fixation on the National League. Yes, the NL integrated first. It also established the color line in the first place. It established most of the bad things in baseball: The reserve clause, artificial turf, domes, concrete ashtrays that were islands in a sea of parking instead of ballparks, hideous Seventies uniforms, and, of course, interleague play, which never would have happened if the Mets weren't desperate for three extra sellouts."

Then Mike calls New York a front-runners town:

"There is nothing special about the NL. Add up all NL Pennants won by NY teams, and you get 33 - 7 less than the Yankees. New York is NOT a National League town. It is a front-runners' town, and this the Yankees will rule it for many years to come, because the Mets can't see their next Pennant with binoculars."

Finally, he rants about the Mets' colors:

"And the Knicks wore blue & orange 16 years before the Mets, because those are the City's colors, inherited from the Dutch. It has no more to do with the Dodgers and Giants than the Yankees' Pinstripes were designed to make Babe Ruth look slimmer. (Pinstripes didn't do that for David Wells, CC Sabathia, or, now on another New York team, Bartolo Colon.)"

Mike has his own blog -- click here to see it!

What do our readers think? Use our comments section to speak your mind!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Is John Sterling's home run call for Slade Heathcott his worst ever?

John Sterling coming up with
his home run calls?
One of the things about writing this blog is that I don't ever really know what will strike a chord (or a nerve!) with people, and what will be greeted with nothing but crickets. With a few exceptions, that is!

For some reason, anything I write on Michael Kay or John Sterling will generally get a huge number of page views. One of our top 10 all-time most read articles is this piece I wrote in 2012 about Sterling's lame Ichiro home run call. which was “Ichiro, the Yankees’ rising sun, says sayonara." Oy. And my piece on Michael Kay and Jodi Applegate's wedding, which was my second-most-read article ever, still gets page views each month!

Anyhow, I always say that I picture John Sterling sitting in a smoking jacket late at night, a la Cookie Monster on Monsterpiece Theatre, a glass of cognac on the side, pen and paper in hand, coming up with potential home run calls.

But I don't know what the heck he was thinking with his Slade Heathcott home run call. Apparently, Sterling either called it a "heath-shot by Heathcott" or a "heat-shot by Heathcott." Either one is lame.

C'mon, man! There are so many better possibilities! I used my Facebook page to crowd-source some better suggestions, some of which involve the name Slade, which is also the name of a heavy metal band:

He "Slade" that one; now run, run away!

Slade feels the noise!

A heat wave from Heathcott!

A death stroke by Slade!

A hot shot from Heathcott!

Heath "Cott" all of that one!

And I'm sure our readers will have suggestions of their own. Please use the comments section to give me your ideas!

On the A-mazing A-Rod success story this year, and why he reminds me of a Smiths lyric

I'm going to be on my friend Mike Lindsley's radio show this afternoon at 4:30 p.m. today. Mike is a Syracuse sports radio host, and his show "In the Cell With Mike L." is on Syracuse's radio 1260 AM (you can also listen live online by clicking here.)

Anyhow, I will be squawking in my (not so dulcet) tones about the state of the Yankees, And if I am asked what the biggest story out of Yankeeland this year, obviously, since I joke that I have a PhD in Arodology, I am going to say that the transformation of Alex Rodriguez from pariah to fan favorite is the biggest one.

Even though I did predict that he would have a good season, and said that there would be "a real 'sticking it to the man' edge to rooting for Rodriguez this year," I am still impressed and surprised by 1) How well he is hitting -- he could end up with over 35 homers and over 90 RBI for the year, and 2) How beloved a figure he has become. It used to be me and some other diehard
Morrissey, lead singer
of the Smiths
A-Rod supporters (and Bald Vinny) at the beginning of this spring rooting for him. Now he is the Yankees' biggest star!

Yesterday, Alex hit a three-run homer to win the game, and he also is now the AL leader in career RBIs. He has also received more All-Star game votes than any other Yankee besides Jacoby Ellsbury. And he is clearly the fan favorite when it comes to Yankee Stadium cheers.

Alex told the media yesterday that the layoff from baseball helped his body heal. But I really also think it helped his mind heal, too. In a way, there is something liberating about hitting rock bottom, the way Rodriguez did. He has no more secrets, nothing to be afraid of. We all know the worst of him.

This Smiths lyric (the Smiths are my second-favorite band of all time, by the way!) from "How Soon Is Now" reminds me an awful lot of what A-Rod's mindset has been in the past:

You shut your mouth
How can you say
I go about things the wrong way
I am human and I need to be loved
just like everybody else does

Now he is getting the love he always wanted. And now he is only 19 hits away from 3000. It will be delicious to see the Yankees squirm over yet another A-Rod milestone!

Shocker! There is actually some Mets talk today on Subway Squawkers!

Since Squawker Jon is very busy with a real-life work project, there hasn’t been much Mets Squawking in this blog lately. Heck, we’ve had more “Mad Men” talk lately than Mets talk! (Speaking of which, click here to hear a drunken Don Draper sing “Meet the Mets.” If I were in charge of the Yankees big-screen entertainment, I would have that clip played at the next Subway Series in Yankee Stadium! )

Anyhow, I wanted to talk about something one of the officers in my running club wrote a while back, because it relates to the reason for this blog: Mets fans vs. Yankees fans! Josh is a fellow blogger and a cool person, even if he is a Mets fan. And he has a theory about New York baseball fandom as it relates to runners.  His theory is that most New York runners will choose the Mets over the Yankees. He bases this on the fact that “while the Yankees have an illustrious history of being the winningest team in baseball, the Mets don’t.” So he writes the following:
Now if you consider the average runner as he is compared to all the other runners on a bell curve which includes the slowest and fastest runners in a race, he is most likely a middle-of-the-pack runner if not slower.  He or she is very unlikely to win anything at the end of a race except maybe a chance to break their own personal record.  This experience of continually “losing” races and trying to overcome a physical challenge naturally builds an underdog mentality in many runners.  The NY Mets have often been associated as the underdog team, so many runners can relate to them more than the Yankees.
Josh's theory also relates to the idea that hope springs eternal each year, both for runners and for Mets fans.
“Since many runners are middle-of-the-pack runners or slower, every new year represents a chance for them to do better and to break pr’s; in their point-of-view, to win.  This high level of personal optimism as runners gets transferred to a renewed optimism each year in a team that they can relate to with all their failed seasons that makes them feel that they are due for a long-awaited win.

Long story short, Josh did some analytics here, surveying New York runners, and then surveying a control group. While the majority in both groups preferred the Yankees to the Mets, the runners did actually have a pretty healthy margin of Mets fans – 41% -- to the control group of non-runners, which only had 12.5% percent Mets fans. You can read the entire piece here.

This blog post confirms for me that everything is a matter of perspective. You see, the people in my running club seem to be very fast to me. Heck, Josh was a pacer for the Brooklyn Half-Marathon for those people running the race in two hours, and has run half-marathons on his own even faster than that. While I have improved a lot as a runner over the last year or so, I am still in the back of the pack. And the only way I am ever going to run a half-marathon in even two hours any time soon is if I take a cab from the starting line to Mile 5 or so in the race!

So if *these* runners have an “underdog mentality” and root for the Mets, what does that make me? A Toledo Mud Hens fan?  Or perhaps the club below is really the team that matches up to my current running skills.

Perspective is everything, and I have to keep on reminding myself when it comes to running to be the best I can be, and not focus on how I compare with others. However, in baseball, how you do against others is what is important. But even then, perspectives are different. My Houston Astros fan friends seem to be absolutely stunned that their team is still in first place, with the best record in the American League. 

And the Mets still have a better record than the Yankees this year, but you wouldn’t know it from the trash talk (or lack thereof) usually emanating from Flushing when the Mets are doing well. 

As for Yankeeland, the Bronx Bombers may have just swept Kansas City, and may be back in first place, but many Yankee fans, including myself, are still anxious about this season. With good reason! 

And here is my perspective. I want the Mets to make the postseason, and I of course want the Yankees to make the postseason. My own perspective is focused on this blog, and both teams being successful will be good for the Squawkers! Yes, I am a solipsist here. So sue me.

My night at the "America's Got Talent" pajama party premiere at the Ritz-Carlton, and the talent I have that should get me on the show!

Me outside the Ritz-Carlton
So I got to attend the Season X premiere of  NBC's "America's Got Talent" tonight. Talk about living the dream! This was a pajama party in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel at Central Park South, and it was a lot of fun. And I am not kidding about the PJ party stuff -- this was held in a swanky hotel suite, and they gave us all bathrobes and slippers emblazoned with the "America's Got Talent" logo.

Anyhow, this has absolutely nothing to do with baseball, so I giving you fair warning to bail if you are not interested. But if you are interested in "America's Got Talent" and/or my life, keep on reading! There is also a gratuitous shot of me in bed!

Here is how my evening went:

The Ritz-Carlton is just as beautiful as I expected it to be. And the
staff is very friendly, too. I went up to the event, and the NBC
Me in the Ritz-Carlton lobby
staff was just as friendly. They gave me a white robe and slippers to wear (and keep!), in keeping in with the pajama party theme of the night. The robe was cool, and the slippers were even
better! Newsflash -- I hate wearing dress shoes, whether they are heels or flats. I would prefer to go through life in sneakers, or (even better), slippers! So that was awesome!

They had a terrific spread of food -- shrimp (my all-time favorite food), lots of fancy cheeses (another passion), prosciutto (another fave), lots of dips and hummus, and sushi-grade tuna. Waiters walked around with egg rolls, sliders, and pizza. Oh, and there was a dessert setup, too, with ice cream with your choice of fancy toppings. As good as everything looked, I really tried to pace
myself. I just got to fit into the skirt for the first time ever; I didn't want to get out of being able to fit into it!

Some of the show's contestants.
Oh, and they had an open bar, too. with wine, champagne, and mixed drinks. I enjoyed some champagne and white wine. (I have learned my lesson to never drink red wine at such a party, after somebody accidentally bumped into me at a gathering a few months ago and got the red wine I was holding all over my outfit!)

NBC also had a slew of ways to get into the spirit, with ways to have GIFs and selfies made of yourself. Will post them as soon as I get them! I also tweeted and Facebooked throughout the night, with NBC's hashtags.

There were also plenty of TVs to watch the program on, as well
as Howie Mandel, Nick Cannon, and Mel B from the show working the room. In addition, some of the contestants, including the real-looking boy band Triple Threat and the hypnotist dude, were in the suite. I talked to the hypnotist for a while -- he was the guy who got noted germophobe Howie Mandel to shake hands! The hypnotist, whose name is Chris Jones (he was the guy who looked like Drake!) has tattooed on his arm that he is going to win the Chicago Marathon and finish it in a record time! I thought that was pretty cool, but don't expect any ink from me with any such race promise!

A gratuitous shot of me in bed!
As for the rest of the suite, I also checked out the swank bathroom at the Ritz. It had a luxurious shower stall, a fancy tub, and a restroom facility with a phone and some crazy buttons on the commode to do all sorts of wacky things that I didn't even understand! I didn't want to have an "I Love Lucy" type catastrophe ensue, so I didn't try them out, though.

As for the "America's Got Talent" premiere, I have to say that I really enjoyed the show. It had a great mix of silly and excellent entertainment. The judges have great chemistry, and the pacing of the show was good as well. It will be on my summer list of things I will be watching every week. Even though Howard Stern is on the show, it really is relatively wholesome, family entertainment!

Some of the contestants are silly, but most are pretty talented! I admire people who can do things I can't. My voice is horrible, my dancing is no great shakes, and I cannot hypnotize people or be a ventriloquist. There was one thing that got to me, though -- the woman who said she was professional cuddler. Good grief. If that is a skill, then what about my Squawking? Give me a good subject to write about, a laptop, and 45 minutes, and I can write a blog post better than anybody else out there.

Me looking extremely pleased with
myself at the end of the night.
And yes, I am willing to have a contest on this!

So listen, "America's Got Talent" producers. I want to be on the show! I know that watching me fulminate while I type may not make the most riveting TV, but I still contend that my skill is much harder to achieve than professional cuddling!

To my fellow bloggers out there, especially the baseball ones, let's do a contest on this!

Anyhow, all in all, it was a fabulous evening. Check out "America's Got Talent" on NBC this summer!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

My thoughts on the Bernie Williams ceremony -- and yes, I think his number should have been retired

Pete Campbell's Chip N' Dip!
I Squawked Sunday night about New York Post columnist Phil Mushnick's (incorrect) ire over Bernie Williams Night being held the Sunday before Memorial Day. But I didn't write about the ceremony itself. There was good reason for that.

That is because I was at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens on Sunday, checking out the excellent "Mad Men" exhibit (a must-see for fans of the show!), and then waiting around for my turn on a customized flight simulator called "Birdly." This thing was awesome -- you got the sense that you were flying over New York City, and you used your arms to flap and swoop up and down, left and right, and over the city. It was a huge adrenaline rush!

What Birdly looks like
The fact I was not embarrassed to be sprawled out on this thing -- and that I could fit on it -- tells me that I have made big progress on my weight loss goals!

Anyhow, I am glad I stayed around to try out Birdly, but it meant that I did not get home to Staten Island in time to watch the Bernie Williams Night pre-game ceremony. However, I was home in time to see that entire debacle of a game, though. Oh, joy!

So I didn't get to watch the actual ceremony until this morning. This tribute to Williams, one of my favorite Yankees, was long overdue. And so is this writeup!

Here are my thoughts on Bernie Williams Night, as I watched it:
  • Before the ceremony, that strange DirecTV ad with Hannah Davis and the horse runs. Given that she is Derek Jeter's paramour, did he get approval on who voiced the horse? Also, this ad isn't half as good as the Rob Lowe ones. Free Rob Lowe!
  • Glad to see Gene Michael here. He (and Buck Showalter) don't get enough credit for the dynasty. If you may remember, when Bernie was a rookie, Williams was shy, wore big glasses, and was teased mercilessly by Mel Hall and called "Bambi." It was Michael who saw this, and got rid of the bad apple that was Hall. Now Williams is in Monument Park, and Hall is in the pokey. Fitting.
  • David Cone is introduced. Why doesn't he get love when it comes to the late 90s stuff? Tino Martinez gets a plaque, but not Coney? C'mon now. David pitched a perfect game!
  • Speaking of which, Tino gets introduced as a "fellow member of Monument Park." That just seems wrong to me. Sorry.
  • Paul O'Neill comes out. I wonder if he loses his temper at home, do the light fixtures get destroyed! Come to think of it, I wish he kept that temper in the broadcast booth and gave players -- and Michael Kay -- more grief!
  • Joe Torre is introduced. I know I am in the minority on this, but I feel like he didn't do enough penance over the way he trashed the Yankees both on his way out the door, and in his book. All he seemed to say was, in effect, "blame Tom Verducci" for him biting the hand that fed him for 12 years. Good grief.
  • I notice that nobody, with the exception of Joe Torre, is wearing a tie. Just sport coats, dress shirts, and slacks. Did they plan this beforehand? Is Joe the only one wearing a tie because he was the manager?
  • Oh, wait. Scratch that theory. Mariano Rivera is wearing a tie, too.
  • Derek Jeter is here! He is introduced last, as "El Capitan." One of my brothers has a theory that the Yanks have made a deal with Jeter to retire that captaincy (remember, Brian Cashman said this spring that he didn't think anybody after Derek should be given the role) in exchange for Jeter showing up at these things. Hmmmm.  
  • There is a video tribute featuring Williams' career highlights, as well as clips of people talking about him. Brian Cashman says something about how when "we signed him." Um, Bri, you were still in high school when the Yankees signed Williams. The only superstar you signed as a homegrown player was Robinson Cano, who you then let walk out the door. Not that I'm bitter or anything!
  • It was great fun to see those clips of Williams in the playoffs in the late 90s. People have forgotten how good he was in the postseason -- 128 hits, 22 homers, and 80 RBIs! Glad to see him getting the recognition he deserves.
  • I notice in the video tribute that current Yankees like Mark Teixeira, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Carlos Beltran, none of whom played on the Yanks at the same time, are interviewed. Yet Alex Rodriguez, the only current Yankee who was actually a teammate with Williams, is snubbed. Bad form on the part of the Yankees. Stop being petty, guys!
  • Now Bernie is getting gifts. Hal Steinbrenner comes out with a milestone ring. I still contend that Hal looks like a combination of his father and Tucker Carlson!
  • I think it is pretty cool how Williams has this second career as a jazz musician after his first one. And he is very good at the second one, too. 
  • Williams is giving his speech. It is a very gracious one, where he thanks his family, teammates, management, etc. He also says that the Yankees wanted to do this ceremony for nine years, and he was the one putting it off.
  • I am not sure when Williams and his wife Waleska divorced, but she is not at the ceremony, although their kids are there. Nor is she ever mentioned or thanked during Bernie's speech. My friend Jerome said that it stuck in his craw that Williams never thanked his former wife and the mother of his children. I have to agree. 
  • Overall, it was a very good ceremony, and a well-deserved one. You can watch the whole thing for yourself by clicking this link.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Shocker: The New York Post's Phil Mushnick sounds like a crank about Bernie Williams Night

I think that New York Post columnist Phil Mushnick frequently makes good points, and can be a much-needed force for good in the New York sports media. This recent column is not one of those times.

Mushnick is irate that Bernie Wiliams Night was being held tonight. the sports columnist writes:
So the Yankees had to choose the Sunday before Memorial Day, a holiday when tributes are traditionally, logically and respectfully devoted to our war dead, to honor Bernie Williams.
Wait a second here. Memorial Day itself is one day -- May 25 (traditional day for it was May 30, but it was moved to the last Monday in May in 1968.) Memorial Day weekend is considered the first weekend of summer. The day before is not the same thing. Not to mention that the Yankees will be commemorating Memorial Day on -- wait for it -- their Memorial Day game! Crazy, huh?

I don't understand Mushnick's point here. What about people who have a birthday the day before Memorial Day? Are they supposed to sit around in sackcloth and ashes?

Mushnick bashes the Yankees, MLB and ESPN for Bernie Williams Night and says: didn’t matter to any of the above parties that Williams didn’t serve in the U.S. military, let alone risk his life in combat. And Williams, too, might have known that this Sunday afternoon or night on Memorial Day weekend was not the time to honor him, thus, flattered as he is, the above parties, given that it’s only May, should choose another date.
Oh, please. It is not enough to think of the war dead on Memorial Day, but the day before (and the day before that, I presume) have to be solely dedicated to them, too? C'mon now. Mushnick needs to get off his high horse here.

Look, I am not being disrespectful to fallen veterans here. As some of you know, my late father was a World War II veteran who is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. And my brother had been in the military for 35 years. He is a lieutenant colonel in the Army reserve serving in Kosovo right now. (He also served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.) And you know what he was doing today in his free time? Talking about the Yankees with me and others on Facebook. The horror!

Some well-meaning people get mad about others celebrating Memorial Day weekend. My philosophy on it is this: these soldiers and sailors died to ensure that we have the freedom to enjoy life. That includes having cookouts, picnics, and, yes, watching baseball games.

So if you want to do something to honor those who died defending our country, go to your local Memorial Day parade tomorrow. Visit a local cemetery. Say a prayer. Do some other tribute, if you'd like. (I am running in the Staten Island Advance 4-Mile Memorial Day Race myself, which is dedicated to these fallen heroes.) Go to see the Yankees (or Mets) on Memorial Day and watch the commemorative events.

But don't listen to Phil Mushnick. There was absolutely nothing wrong with honoring Bernie Williams Sunday night.

What was Brian (Fredo) Cashman's worst Yankee move this year? It's not what you think

"I'm smart and I want respect!" -- Brian (Fredo) Cashman
Grrrrr. I am irate at the state of the Yankees these days. A little bit more than a quarter of the 2015 Yankees' season is over, and the team is not in a good way. Yes, the Yanks are only 1.5 games out of first place in the American League East, But they have lost five in a row, and nine of their last 10 games, They are only a game over .500. And unless they get a grip -- and soon -- their season will be falling apart pretty quickly.

As I noted yesterday, even the YES Network's Jack Curry was suggesting changes to shake up the Yanks. Unfortunately, other than calling up Jacob Lindgren, Brian (Fredo) Cashman seems content to wait out these underachieving players. Joe Girardi, too. 

Why else would you see a player like Stephen Drew, whose .177 batting average puts him as 173th of 175 qualifying hitters in the majors, batting sixth, as he did on Saturday? Why else would Esmil Rogers still have a job?  And why in the world was Didi Gregorius the best choice to replace Derek Jeter? Cashman had many years to find and groom Jeter's successor, and this is the best he could come up with? A weak-hitting player who makes so many mental mistakes? Who missed the cut over this guy?

Cashman needs to channel "The Gambler," the classic Kenny Rogers song with the lines about how you've got to know when to hold them and when to fold them. But instead of acknowledging the obvious, not even easy things like giving Drew the old heave-ho, Fredo is staying with the status quo, clapping his hands and believing in fairies. Again.

The New York Post's Joel Sherman asked Cashman yesterday if changes were afoot:
As for the players viewed most on the firing line — Didi Gregorius, Stephen Drew and Esmil Rogers — Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told The Post no changes were planned. All are staying. At least for now. “We have to play better,” Cashman said. “We have to clean up our act.”
The only reason the Yankees aren't further down in the standings is because they are in such a weak division. And the problems with this team aren't just the players above.

Aside from the other usual suspects, like the perennially underachieving Carlos Beltran, can we talk about how overrated Chase Headley is? Wasn't the hot corner supposed to be a power-hitting position? It no longer is in Yankeeland.

Headley's splits this year are .235/.289/.379 (.668 OPS), with nine errors at third. His .688 OPS is 18th out of 22nd among qualifying third basemen this year. This is the guy to replace Alex Rodriguez at third? This is the star who earned a four-year, $52M deal from the Yanks after a very mediocre summer in the Bronx?

Here are the stats for just one of the many third basemen who are doing better than Headley this year. In addition to playing third, Player Y has also played first and second base this season. He has a .273/.326/.383 (.709 OPS) slash line this year, outdoing Headley here, even though Player Y plays in a pitcher's park. Player X also had comparable numbers to Chase last year:

Player Y in 2014: .260/.336/.369 (.705 OPS) with 10 HRs and 48 RBI
Headley in 2014:  .243/.328/.372 (.700 OPS) with 13 HRs and 49 RBI

Oh, and Player Y is only costing his team $516,400 this year, while the Yanks are paying $13M for Headley.

Want to know who Player Y is? It is Yangervis Solarte, the former Yankee traded for Headley. The Yanks got a player who is four years older, more expensive, and not as good as the person they traded him for. Talk about the Yankee way -- or make that the Brian (Fredo) Cashman way. Good grief.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Have the Yankees hit rock bottom? Or could it get even worse?

I jinxed CC Sabathia. Let me explain.

So I was out and about Saturday morning and early afternoon, doing a three-mile fun run at Clove Lakes Park, going to the farmers' market, buying groceries at Trader Joe's, doing other errands, and chatting with different people I know in the small town that is Staten Island.

Lots of people I saw today complimented me after seeing the Staten Island Advance article about me in print. But you know who hasn't seen the article as printed in the paper? Yours truly! I was in Texas when the piece ran. Heck, I don't even know what placement I got in the paper! Hmmm, would that be gauche to ask? (Sorry, folks, but as a former newspaper girl, I want to know where I ranked in the paper!)

Anyhow, enough about me. Let me explain how this relates to Sabathia. I finally got home at the beginning of the third inning, when the Yankees were scoreless. And just when I put the game on while I put away my groceries, everything completely fell apart, with CC Sabathia having one of the worst starts of his career, and his worst ever game as a Yankee. ESPN says that Sabathia "is now 0-6 with a 9.42 ERA in his last six Yankee Stadium starts, dating to the beginning of the 2014 season." Yikes! Considering I literally put on the game just before Sabathia's meltdown, I felt partially responsible. Sorry, CC!

Sabathia giving up six runs to the Texas Rangers was bad enough. The Yankees bullpen gave up four more runs in the third, and another five in the game, for a 15-4 loss This, after Michael Pineda gave up seven runs in the third the night before in Friday's 10-9 loss. Good grief.

Longtime Squawkers reader Uncle Mike pointed out something interesting. Position player Garrett Jones, who pitched the ninth for the Yanks, wears #33. So did Nick Swisher, who once pitched for the Yankees in a mop-up game -- and struck out Gabe Kapler! ESPN noted that Jones was in good spirits after the game, the way Swisher was in that 2009 game. Remember what a snit fit Jorge Posada had after Swisher was smiling and laughing to reporters, whining that there was nothing to be happy about? Good grief.

Anyhow, there isn't much for the Yankees to be happy about these days. As notes, the Yankees have lost nine of their last 10 games, and their starting pitchers are "1-8 with a 6.61 ERA (37 earned runs in 50 1/3 innings)."  This looks like rock bottom to me. Unless it gets even worse, that is.

"We got embarrassed," Brett Gardner said after the game. "I feel bad for our fans," he said. "We've obviously looked pretty bad the last week or so." No kidding.

Prospect Jacob Lindgren is getting called up for tomorrow. It makes you wonder: can the Yankees end the Stephen Drew Experience for good and call up Rob Refsnyder? Even Jack Curry suggested on the YES broadcast today that the Yanks might want to bring up Refsnyder, and compared it to 2005, when the Yanks called up Robinson Cano. Hopefully, something will happen soon.

Anyhow, something's gotta give. Otherwise, it's going to be a long year.