Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Rotten In The Apple

Sure, there's all kinds of real bad news taking place all over the world, from cyclones in Myanmar and earthquakes in China to the continuing never-ending atrocities in Africa and the Middle East, but for sheer awful recent disasters I choose to parochially focus on the just-past, disastrous Subway Series, with the New York Yankees dropping two games against hated crosstown rivals The Mets. By sheer luck I missed the entire series, shortened as it was.

Friday's game was slated to run on free TV for one of the few times this season, so naturally it poured all day, making the rain-out cancellation a foregone conclusion by gametime. Then I missed Saturday's game, having driven way upstate with some friends, whose new house contained not a single working TV. Not that the ballgame would've been on anyway, I'm just trying to paint the word picture for you.

And then Sunday, the game was an ESPN deal, start time of 8:00, and by the time I got a score on the radio it was 4-0 Mets, right after the Carlos Delgado home run that was and then wasn't, so I returned to the Office marathon on NBC, never to return to what was ultimately a horrid 11-2 loss to the Mets.

The Yanks picked right up swi
nging & missing versus the Mets, fresh off their feeble 26-132 effort in 4 games against the much-improved Tampa Bay Rays, a team obviously being held back by the Devil in their name all those years.

It's shaping up as the kind of season where you just hope the whole slate of games gets rained out, because guess what -- this team is not coming back this year, not this time. I know that technically last year they had a worse record before righting the ship and catching fire, almost winning the division after spotting Boston a huge lead most of the season. But that was last season. This is now. You tell me where the pitching is gonna come from. Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes? That much-heralded duo has as many wins combined as do Ted Kennedy and Howard Hughes. And that would be none, as in zip, nada, zero.

Other teams got better, the Yankees just got older and fatter.

According to ESPN Radio, Mike Piazza just announced his retirement. Wouldn't it be a nice slap in the face to Mets fans if he goes into the Hall of Fame wearing a blue Dodgers cap instead of a blue Mets hat? Just asking...

Alas, Mets lost Game 1 of their twi-night doubleheader to Atlanta today, falling to the mighty Tom Glavine 6-1. Guess all that Mets Momentum lasted about 12 hours. How great is that.

I do think Yankees, 20-24 entering tonight's game, go on a mini-tear right about now, what with Alex Rodriguez returning, as well as just the whole law of averages saying they can't get any worse. But it still won't be enough to climb back into the division race. No, the hated Red Sox are gonna run away with this thing. Just one man's considerably informed opinion. But then you knew that...otherwise why would you be here?

But whatever run the Yankees are destined to go on, the start of that run will have to wait until tomorrow, because get this: the Yankees are already down 9-fucking-zip to the Orioles, top of the 2nd inning! That's scary. Recently resurrected Mike Mussina gave up 7 runs, although only one of them was earned. They still count, and by golly the tabloids are gonna have a field day tomorrow if this blowout remains in force. Mussina has been replaced by Ross Ohlendorf, if that makes you feel any better.

This is also not the night for the Yankees to improve on their sorry 0-22 mark in games when they trail after 7 innings. Doesn't say much when a team literally never comes back in late innings.

Just had dinner. Now it's 10-0 Orioles after a Kevin Millar long ball off Ohlendorf. Could use the forfeit rule just about now. But that's not the worst news. Between bites of my roast chicken, I hear the Birds' pitcher has plucked Derek Jeter in the left wrist with a fastball, and he has to leave the game with what very well may be a serious injury. So it's A-Rod cometh, the Captain goeth...that's the kind of year it's been, and that's the kind of year it's likely gonna remain. If you're a true Yankee hater, now is the time to tune in the radio broadcast on WCBS, where John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman are no doubt taking it very personally indeed.

I mean, drowning in last place, it's not like the Yankees can afford to tread water with Boston in the division. David Ortiz has really started to come on. After his embarrassing start, he's hitting .250 and now has 10 HRs. Kevin Youkilis is leading the AL in hitting, they also have a guy called Manny Ramirez who can hit a bit, and there are very few easy outs in the lineup on a given night. As a team the Sox are hitting close to .300 according to my Sunday paper, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them on the other side of that lofty mark in a week or two.

How's their pitching holding up, you ask. Well, last night Jon Lester tossed a no-hitter, an amazing accomplishment given where his career seemed headed when he was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, even if it comes against the Kansas City Royals. But even after getting no-hit last night, the Royals at .259 are outhitting the Yankees at .255! You won't find a more telling stat, but if you do I'd like to know about it.

By the way, Jon Lester is only 24, and he joins Dice-K (7-0, 2.15 ERA) and Josh Beckett and Wakefield to give the Sox plenty of starting pitching. The bullpen is just as solid, with the supremely annoying but admittedly talented Jonathan Papelbon closing games. You show me any holes on this Boston team and I'll be less pessimistic than I am, but nowhere near optimistic enough to think the Yankees can take advantage of that weakness should it present itself. The Red Sox simply have all the mojo right now, while the Yanks are the cursed, snake-bitten team. The worm has indeed turned, and it's nothing but rotten in the Apple.

So with more than a quarter of the baseball season already gone, as much as it pains me to admit this, the Yankees season looks like a goner. Hey, maybe Brian Cashman can sign Roger Clemens for another $18 million, or slap some pinstripes on the other steroid clown, Barry Bonds.

Because instead of using this year and next to get younger and hungrier, we foolishly signed A-Rod, Posada and Rivera to those monster contracts, and for all the bloated payroll this team has no bench, no backups, no chemistry, and very little chance of doing anything this year if their performance so far is any indication. All that's left to make the baseball season is hopefully watching another late Mets collapse, even though it's ex-Yank Willie Randolph who will get all the blame. It's a price I'm willing to pay, especially if it means Mets fans share a little in the suffering Yankees fans are all too familiar with already.

No comments: