Monday, June 23, 2014

Yankees Disgrace Their Legends

Well. Say what you want about how England crashed out of the World Cup. They didn't do it after introducing, on the pitch, Bobby Charlton, Geoff Hurst, Gordon Banks, Kevin Keegan, Trevor Brooking, Bryan Robson, Tony Adams, Paul Gascoigne, Sol Campbell and David Beckham, hanging Joe Hart out to dry.

Nor did the U.S. team, choking away a lead against Portugal with seconds to go yesterday, choking like a steroid-less Red Sox team, do so in front of Walter Bahr, Ricky Davis, John Harkes, Tony Meola, Cobi Jones and Landon Donovan -- although Alexi Lalas was a pundit there for ESPN.

What the Yankees did yesterday, embarrassing Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson, Goose Gossage, Joe Torre, Tino Martinez, Paul O'Neill, David Cone, and Old-Timers' Day newcomers Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon, and hanging Masahiro Tanaka out to dry, was disgraceful. That it followed what happened the day before makes it worse.

*

First, the Saturday game. Before the game against the Baltimore Orioles, the Yankees made Tino the first player honored with a Monument Park Plaque at the new Yankee Stadium.

"I’m totally overwhelmed," he said. "All I wanted to do when I got here is play hard and help my team win games. It was an incredible ride in my life. I never dreamed of being in Monument Park. When I got the phone call, I couldn’t believe it."

It is kind of odd that they chose Tino first among the 1996-2003 dynasty. After all, they've already retired Mariano Rivera's Number 42, but haven't given him his Plaque, even though his career statistics and achievements are now final; and Tino's Number 24 hasn't been retired. (Maybe it would have been, for Robinson Cano, had he stayed. Not now.) Wade Boggs and Jimmy Key (neither was on hand yesterday) left in 1996, Cone in 2000, O'Neill in 2001, David Wells (who was there) for the last time in 2003, Bernie Williams (not on hand) in 2006, Torre in 2007, Jorge Posada (not on hand) in 2010, Rivera and Andy Pettitte (both on hand on Saturday but, oddly, neither was yesterday) last year, and of course Derek Jeter is retiring at the end of this season (so they can't cast his Plaque until after his stats & achievements are finalized).

In Torre's case, they may have been waiting until they could inscribe the words "Hall of Fame" on his Plaque. No other Yankee from that era has yet been inducted except Boggs. Tim Raines should have been in a few years ago. (He last played for the Yankees in 1999, and wasn't there yesterday.)

Here's the text of Tino's Plaque:

CONSTANTINO
"TINO" MARTINEZ

NEW YORK YANKEES
1996-2001, 2005

 KNOWN FOR HIS POWERFUL BAT AND
SUPERLATIVE DEFENSE AT FIRST BASE,
MARTINEZ WAS A FAN FAVORITE ON FOUR
YANKEE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TEAMS.
HIT TWO OF THE MOST MEMORABLE HOME
RUNS IN YANKEES POSTSEASON HISTORY...
A GRAND SLAM IN GAME 1 OF THE 1998 WORLD
SERIES AND A GAME-TYING NINTH INNING
HOMER IN GAME 4 OF THE 2001 FALL CLASSIC.
AMASSED 192 HOME RUNS AND 739 RBI
IN SEVEN SEASONS WITH THE CLUB.

DEDICATED BY THE
NEW YORK YANKEES
JUNE 21, 2014

*

Vidal Nuno started, so we knew this was going to be a difficult day, even if they managed to score enough runs to offset him.

They didn't. He allowed 5 runs, 4 of them earned, in 6 1/3 innings. Off Bud Norris and 3 relievers, they just just 1 run on 7 hits. Yankee RISPfail again.

Orioles 6, Yankees 1. WP: Norris (7-5). No save. LP: Nuno (1-4). Time to demote.

*

Then yesterday was Old-Timers' Day. The Yankee Legends were introduced, including Monument Parkers Yogi, Whitey, Reggie, Guidry and Tino, and MP'ers-to-be Torre, O'Neill and Gossage. Also introduced were Yankee Widows Arlene Howard, Kay Murcer, Diana Munson, Helen Hunter, Jill Martin, and, for the first time since her husband Jerry died earlier this year, Maggie Coleman.

Monument Parker Don Mattingly, of course, is the manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers and couldn't be there. However, opposing Oriole manager Buck Showalter was introduced, and got a nice hand, even before he came out, waving and wearing a jacket over his Oriole uniform.

Gossage got his Plaque, although his Number 54 was not retired. He joins Tino, Lefty Gomez (11), Red Ruffing (15) and Allie Reynolds (22) as Monument Parkers who have not gotten their numbers retired (at least, not for them -- 15 is retired for Thurman Munson).

"This is the greatest day I've ever had," the Goose told the sellout crowd of 47,493. "I played for 9 different teams, and putting on the Pinstripes was like the closest thing to an out-of-body experience I've ever had."

His Plaque reads:

RICHARD MICHAEL GOSSAGE
"GOOSE"
 
NEW YORK YANKEES
1978-1983, 1989
 
ONE OF THE MOST INTIMIDATING PITCHERS
EVER TO DON PINSTRIPES, GOSSAGE HAD AN
EXPLOSIVE FASTBALL AND FEARLESS
DEMEANOR, FREQUENTLY PITCHING MULTIPLE
INNINGS PER APPEARANCE. IN SEVEN SEASONS
WITH THE YANKEES, COMPILED A 42-28 RECORD
WITH 151 SAVES AND A 2.14 ERA. WAS A FOUR-
TIME ALL-STAR WITH THE CLUB AND
1978 A.L. RELIEF MAN OF THE YEAR.
 
INDUCTED INTO THE
BASEBALL HALL OF FAME IN 2008.
 
DEDICATED BY THE
NEW YORK YANKEES
JUNE 22, 2014.

Oddly, Goose's Plaque doesn't mention that he pitched on the 1978 World Champions or the 1981 American League Pennant winners. (Or his 1984 National League Pennant with the San Diego Padres, although his achievements with other teams aren't really relevant here.) Nor does it mention that he was the first pitcher since Divisional play began in 1969 to have gotten the final out of a Division clincher (in the Playoff with the Red Sox), a Pennant clincher (against the Kansas City Royals), and a World Series clincher (against the Dodgers).  (Speaking of the 1978 Playoff, Bucky Dent was there, and got a big hand.)

*

Unfortunately, there was a regular game after the Old-Timers' Game. Masahiro Tanaka pitched pretty well for 6 innings, but was trailing 1-0 at that point. He allowed 2 runs in the 7th, and that made it 3-0. And then Adam Warren melted down in the 8th.

The Yankees could do nothing against Oriole starter Chris Tillman (who pitched the first 7 innings) and reliever T.J. McFarland. Just 4 hits, 4 walks, no runs. Doubles by Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury, and a pair of singles by Ichiro Suzuki. That was it.

Orioles 8, Yankees 0. WP: Tillman (6-4). LP: Tanaka (11-2).

If you had told me 3 months ago that Tanaka would win 11 of his first 13 decisions, I would gladly have taken it.

If you had told me that the Yankees were going to embarrass him, the Old-Timers, and their fans with a pathetic display, I would have been furious. Well, they did that, and I am furious.

*

Those Yankee batters need to get down on their knees and thank God that George Steinbrenner is dead. Or else half of them would be in Scranton or at a smaller club by now.

We are now 12 weeks into a 26-week baseball season -- nearly half-over -- and this is how the AL East looks:

Toronto Blue Jays 42-35
NEW YORK YANKEES 39-35, 1.5 games back (even in the loss column)
Baltimore Orioles 39-35, 1.5 back (even)
Boston Red Sox 35-41, 6 back (6 back)
Tampa Bay Rays 31-46, 11 back (11 back)

So, in spite of those back-to-back disgraceful displays in front of their legends, the Yankees are still even with the 1st-place Jays in the loss column.

Still, 4 games over .500 on June 23 is not good. Better must come.

Especially since the Yankees are starting a 3-game roadtrip in Toronto against those pesky Blue Jays, and then come home to face... The Scum.

The projected pitching matchups for this series are as follows, with all 3 Toronto games officially having a 7:07 PM start time:

Tonight: Chase Whitley vs. Marcus Strohman.

Tomorrow: David Phelps vs. Mark Buehrle. Yeah, that's a Yankee loss.

Wednesday: Hiroki Kuroda vs. Drew Hutchison.

Game on. Let's get some runs, and some good pitching. Come on you Bombers!

2 comments:

Paul said...

Interesting that they say Gossage played 7 seasons for the Yankees. Counting 1989 as a "season" is a bit of a stretch since he only appeared in 11 games for them that year. (He played in 31 games for the Giants in 1989)

Paul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.