Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Boone Logan: Meatball Sub (Suffering from Felixheredia)

Imagine. It's October 27, 2011. Game 7 of the World Series is being played at Citizens Bank Park. It's the bottom of the 7th inning, and the New York Yankees lead the Philadelphia Phillies, 5-4. There's one out. The Yankees are 8 outs away from their 28th World Championship.

But CC Sabathia, who has already won Games 1 and 4, is pitching on short rest again, and he's exhausted. He loads the bases. The next 2 batters are Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, both lefties, both powerful sluggers.

Manager Joe Girardi takes CC out, and has to bring in a reliever. But, at this point in the game, who?

In 1927, Miller Huggins would not have hestitated to bring in Wilcy Moore.

In 1939, Joe McCarthy would not have hestitated to bring in Johnny Murphy.

In 1949, Casey Stengel would not have hestitated to bring in Joe Page.

In 1952, Stengel would not have hestitated to bring in Bob Kuzava.

In 1956, Stengel would not have hestitated to bring in Bob Grim.

In 1961, Ralph Houk would not have hestitated to bring in Luis Arroyo.

In 1977, Billy Martin would not have hestitated to bring in Sparky Lyle.

In 1978, Bob Lemon would not have hestitated to bring in Goose Gossage.

And, on the other side, in 1950, Eddie Sawyer would not have hesitated to bring in Jim Konstanty; while in 1980, Dallas Green would not have hesitated to bring in Tug McGraw.

Times are different now. There's no way Girardi would bring in Mariano Rivera. For the 8th, maybe, but not the 9th. And for the 7th? No, he wouldn't bring in David Robertson, in spite of Robertson having had the best season any Yankee "middle reliever" has ever had, except for Rivera in 1996 when he was the bridge to John Wetteland.

No, Girardi would do it by the book. And he would bring in the lefty to face the lefty. And, since Damaso Marte is still hurt, the lefty is Boone Logan.

The hope is that Logan will get Utley to ground into a double play. Or that he'll strike him out. Or pop him up. Anything other than a hit or a fly ball that would score the tying run from 3rd base. And then get Howard for the final out of the inning.

Instead, Logan throws one pitch. A meatball right over the plate. And Utley sends it over the Walt Whitman Bridge. Phillies 8, Yankees 5.

In the top of the 9th, the Yanks make it 8-7 and load the bases against Brad Lidge, but Alex Rodriguez -- okay, for Squawker Lisa's sake, I'll make it somebody else, maybe somebody she doesn't like, say, in his last big-league at-bat, Jorge Posada -- comes up, and, as the late, great Phils broadcaster Harry Kalas would say, "Swing and a miss! Struck him out! The Philadelphia Phillies are World Champions of baseball!"

Then Hal Steinbrenner hears the question, "Who's your daddy?" And he answers, by firing Girardi, and general manager Brian Cashman. The new GM is Jim Hendry (who, in real life, has just been fired as Chicago Cubs GM), and he releases Logan, not that he needed orders from Hal and his brother Hank.

The new manager is Don Mattingly, and the Curse of Donnie Baseball returns to New York: No team with Don Mattingly in uniform has ever won a Pennant, and none ever will.

This, plus the Tampa Bay Rays continuing to cut payroll on their way toward moving to Charlotte for the 2015 season (they may need a season or two in an expanded version of the current Triple-A ballpark before a proper facility can open), Peter Angelos living to be 100 and thus keeping the Baltimore Orioles in stink mode, and the Canadian economy preventing the Toronto Blue Jays from contending, means that the Boston Red Sox dominate the American League East in the 2010s, while the Yankees get the occasional wild card but end up losing every postseason series they get into, until Hal finally realizes, "You know what, the fans hate me anyway, so I might as well become the owner who fires Don Mattingly as Yankee manager."

And he does, and the Yankees win the 2020 World Series under manager... Jorge Posada. And general manager... Derek Jeter, newly elected to the Hall of Fame. Alex Rodriguez, not yet eligible for the Hall, throws out the ceremonial first ball before Game 6, and bounces it, but the fans only laugh instead of boo. After all, A-Rod DID help the Yankees win one World Series.

Boone Logan, by this point, is a college pitching coach, wondering where it all went wrong.

And, of course, the Mets still haven't won another Pennant. Mark Zuckerberg, who bought the team from Jeff Wilpon in 2016, can't understand why the team doesn't win.

So there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but that end is a long way off.

*

Flash back to last night, August 23, 2011. Bartolo Colon doesn't have it again, and it may be time to start worrying about him. Or, once we get to the postseason, he becomes "the next odd man out," as we go from a 5-man to a 4-man rotation. Girardi brings in Boone Logan to face a lefty batter. He throws one pitch, a meatball, and it gets turned into a 2-run double, turning a 3-0 deficit into Oakland Athletics 5, New York Yankees 0.

And that's the game, in one pitch. Homers by Nick Swisher and Jorge Posada, and a bases-loaded walk with 1 out in the 9th, make the score 6-5 in Oakland's favor. But Mark Teixeira pops up, and Robinson Cano can only hit one to the warning track.

WP: Brandon McCarthy (7-6). SV -- even though he didn't pitch well in the 9th -- Andrew Bailey (17). LP: Colon (8-8).

*

Remember Felix Heredia? (Not to be confused with Gil Heredia, also not a good reliever.) A not-so-good relief pitcher for the Cubs in the early 2000s, the Yankees claimed him off waivers in late 2003, and he blew a few games for the Yankees in 2004. I said then that his name sounded like a skin condition. "The Heartbreak of Psoriasis" had nothing on The Hearbreak of Felixheredia. Somebody on a message board I was on then (under the name of Xsvfan -- "Excessive Fan") noted that not only was Heredia throwing meatballs, but he was a meatball. (That's an old, decidedly TV-acceptable insult for an undesirable person.) So, noting that he was a reliever rather than a starter, I started calling him the Meatball Sub.

The Yankees released Heredia after the 2004 season -- ironically, in that ALCS collapse against The Scum, he was fine, pitching to 4 batters and only allowing 1 of them to reach base, and he didn't score -- and he pitched in only 3 more major league games. All for the 2005 Mets. He was done at 30. Even being a lefty specialist -- or a Lefty One Out GuY, or LOOGY -- didn't save the Dominican.

Boone Logan has an acute case of felixheredia. He has followed in the footsteps of Bob Shirley, Greg Cadaret, Tim Stoddard, Brian Boehringer, Tanyon Sturze (a.k.a. Sturtze So Bad), Scott Proctor, and Kerosene Kyle Farnsworth as a Meatball Sub.

The classic definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result."

Logan is now directly responsible for 6 Yankee losses this season: April 5 vs. Minnesota, May 7 at Texas, May 27 at Seattle, July 19 in Tampa Bay, July 23 vs. this same Oakland team, and last night. True, he was also responsible for a win in Boston.

But think about this: The Yankees are now tied for first with Boston, a game ahead in the loss column. If Logan had only blown HALF as many games as he has, we'd be 3 games up, 4 in the loss column, with 36 games to play.

Boone Logan has proven that he does not belong on the New York Yankees. He must go.

Before he reveals himself to be a Meatball Sub in a game considerably more important than last night's.

Game 2 of this home series against the A's is tonight at 7. CC goes against Trevor Cahill, who's 9-12, including getting rocked by the Yankees for 10 runs in 2 innings on July 22. I'd be fine with half of that tonight (5 runs in the first 2 innings), as long as CC pitches like he did from April through July.

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