Monday, August 31, 2015

How Long It's Been: Stephen Drew Finished a Game Batting Over .200


The Yankees' acquisition of 2nd baseman Stephen Drew, and their refusal to keep rookie Rob Refsnyder up at the major league level, has been lambasted as evidence of Brian Cashman's inadequacy as Yankee general manager.

When Drew hits the ball, he usually hits it out. But he hardly ever hits it. He's like a lefthanded version of Dave Kingman, minus the distance: Can't field, and can't hit, but when he does hit, it's a home run.

He had a good game last night, and finally raised his batting average above "the Mendoza Line" of .200, finishing at .201.

The last time he finished a game with an average of .200 or better was June 19, 2014. That's 437 days. How long has that been?

*

That night, Drew was playing for the Boston Red Sox against the Oakland Athletics, at the Oakland Coliseum (or whatever corporate name it had at the time). The A's won, 4-2. Drew went 0-for-3, dropping his average to an even .200.

That same night, the Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-4 at Yankee Stadium II. Derek Jeter played for the Yankees in that game. So did Ichiro Suzuki, Brian Roberts, Kelly Johnson, Yangervis Solarte, David Phelps, Shawn Kelly and Matt Thornton. None is with the Yankees any longer.

Drew is, having been traded to the Yankees on July 31, 2014, for the aforementioned Kelly Johnson.

The defending World Champions were the Boston Red Sox * in baseball, the Seattle Seahawks in football, the San Antonio Spurs in basketball and the Los Angeles Kings in hockey (the latter 2 having just been won). The World Cup was underway in Brazil, about to be won by Germany. Manchester City was champion of England's Premier League, and Arsenal had just won the FA Cup.

The New York Jets, New York Knicks and New Jersey Devils have all since changed their head coaches and their general managers. The New York Islanders have moved to a new arena.

Caitlin Jenner was still Bruce Jenner, and was still a Kardashian. The Duggar family was still regarded as good Christians. Bill Cosby was still considered a good person. Obamacare was still under serious threat. Gay marriage was legal in about 1/3 of the country, no more. Flying the Confederate flag on government property was not considered an unpardonable sin.

Howard Baker, Bobby Womack, Paul Mazursky, Alfredo Di Stefano, Tommy Ramone, Nadine Gordimer, Johnny Winter, Robin Williams, Lauren Bacall, Richard Attenborough, Joan Rivers, Ian Paisley, Polly Bergen, Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalir, Jan Hooks, Oscar de la Renta, Edward Gough Whitlam, Jack Bruce, Thomas Menino, Glen A. Larson, Mike Nichols, Viktor Tikhonov, Jean Beliveau, Joe Cocker, Luise Rainer, Mario Cuomo, Edward Brooke, Rod Taylor, Anita Ekberg, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Udo Lattek, Louis Jourdan, Lesley Gore, Leonard Nimoy, Anthony Mason, Dave Mackay, Lee Kuan Yew, Gunter Grass, Percy Sledge, Ben E. King, B.B. King (no relation), Anne Meara, John Forbes Nash, Christopher Lee, Ornette Coleman, Kirk Kerkorian, Dick Van Patten, Omar Sharif, Alex Rocco, Theodore Bikel, E.L. Doctorow, Lynn Anderson, Roddy Piper, Cilla Black, Yvonne Craig, Wes Craven, Oliver Sacks and my father were all still alive. Now, none of them is.

The TV shows The Last Ship, Tyrant, Girl Meets World, You're the Worst, The Mysteries of Laura, Forever, Gotham, NCIS: New Orleans, Black-ish, How to Get Away With Murder, The Flash, Jane the Virgin, Mike Tyson Mysteries, Marvel's Agent Carter, Empire, Secrets and Lies, CSI: Cyber, American Crime, The Royals, Lip Sync Battle, Daredevil, Humans, I Am Cait and Fear the Walking Dead have all premiered since then.

Drop Dead Diva, Californication, Gang Related, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, True Blood, Chelsea Lately, the next-generation version of Dallas, Boardwalk Empire, Sons of Anarchy, The Newsroom, White Collar, the Colbert Report, 106 & Park, The Mentalist, Two and a Half Men, The Queen Latifah Show, Cougar Town, Justified, Revenge, Mad Men, 19 Kids and Counting, Hot in Cleveland, Phineas and Ferb, Nurse Jackie, Degrassi: The Next Generation, The Daily Show with John Stewart, Key & Peele and Hannibal have aired their series finales.

The much-hyped Selfie, State of Affairs and Constantine have done both. CBS' The Late Show was handed from David Letterman to Stephen Colbert, and its The Late Late Show was handed from Craig Ferguson to James Corden.

The very day in question, King Juan Carlos I of Spain abdicated, in favor of his son, King Felipe VI. ISIS began its offensive in Iraq. There had just been a revolution in Thailand. "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea was the Number 1 song in America.

Ruby Dee, who played Rachel Robinson in The Jackie Robinson Story; Eli Wallach, who voiced several men in Ken Burns' Baseball miniseries; Don Zimmer, Bob Welch, and Tony Gwynn Sr. had all died. No one yet knows the names of the great people who were born in June 2014, but Mario Goetze scored an extra-time goal to win the World Cup, and the stars of Mike Trout, Yasiel Puig, Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner continued to rise.

June 19, 2014. The Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-4 at Yankee Stadium II. The Red Sox lost to the Oakland Athletics 4-2 at the Oakland Coliseum. Stephen Drew finished the game with a batting average of .200. He would not finish with an average of .200 or better again until last night.

Can he keep his average above the Mendoza Line? Stay tuned.

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