erik lundegaard

Yankees Suck posts

Sunday October 11, 2020

No-Name Rays Topple Big-Name Yanks

Read the body language: Chapman: Uh oh; Brosseau: Oh, yeah.

And here endeth the lesson. And the Yankees' season.

And the Tampa Bay Rays have joined the pantheon! 

I don't have cable, because Comcast, and I don't subscribe to MLB TV because it's not user-friendly and doesn't allow you to watch your home team. So in normal years I usually go to my local bar, Quarter Lounge, and watch postseason games there. It's a fun crowd. Well, this isn't a normal year, and if Covid hadn't ended the Quarter Lounge then redevelopment already would have. It was scheduled to go under the wrecking ball in August. Not sure when I was last at the QL. February? I left not knowing I would never be back.

Long way of saying I “watched” the do-or-die Game 5 of the ALDS between the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees via ESPN.com's play-by-play gamecast. I expected to watch just a little of it, but I was editing copy, and it was a good background image, and oddly riveting. The Yankees' $324 million pitcher, Gerrit Cole, aquired in the off-season, started on three-days rest for the first time in his career and seemed to be flubbing it. In the first innning he scattered two walks and a HBP to load the basess but got out of the jam. Still I was looking at his pitch count—something like 26 pitches that inning—and was hoping for a quick exit. But he settled down. Bottom of the second, he struck out the side. Bottom third, 2 Ks and a popout. You went back to the first and realized nobody had hit the ball out of the infield yet. That wouldn't happen until the bottom of the fourth, which would've been another 1-2-3 inning save an E-6. So he still had the no-hitter going. 

Meanwhile, in the top of the fourth, Aaron Judge sliced a leadoff homer to right. 1-0, Yanks. 

The Rays answered in the bottom of the fifth: Austin Meadows hit one to right, Judge had a bead on it, leaped, and crashed his head into padding that was overhanging the wall. Home run! I'm no Yankees fan, by any means, but the overhang thing seems way stupid. Guys have been leaping and bringing back homeruns forever, and it's a great highlight, and this impedes that. It's dangerous. I hope the Judge is OK.

But that made it 1-1. Rays kept using pitchers for two, two-plus innings. Their no-name squad. Someone really needs to do a “Moneyball” on the Rays org. Year after year, with no money and barely a fan base, they compete and thrive. Would love to see how they do it. (Here's the beginning of an answer from Eno Harris at The Athletic.)

In the sixth, Yankees got two on but didn't score. In the sixth, Rays chased Cole and got two on and didn't score. Just one baserunner in the seventh (Mike Zunino, E-5) for both teams. Top of the eighth, Judge walked but didn't move. And that set up the bottom of the eighth.

With one out, while Mike Brosseau battled Aroldis Chapman, I thought, idly, hopefully, “Hey, a run here and the Yanks will be three outs from the end of their season. Wouldn't that be great?” Brosseau wasn't even a starter. He's 26, this is his second year in the Majors, and he's had fewer than 250 plate appearances career. I guess he's brought in to face lefties. He's got exactly as many plate appearances against lefties as righties (120 for each) but his OPS against lefties is higher by 200 points. He's got 11 career homers—eight against lefities.

Chapman is a lefty. 

If Brosseau was known for anything it was a Chapman incident last month. The Yankees had been losing to the Rays all year, but they had a 5-3 lead with two outs in the ninth on Sept. 1 when Chapman threw a 101-mph at Brosseau's head. Yes, at his head. It was a punk move, and when Brosseau struck out to end the game, apparently the Yanks engaged in some trash talking—another punk move—and benches cleared. It wasn't the beginning of the bad blood but it was a nasty part of it.

So that was the background; that was the history. Friday, Chapman got him 0-2 quickly, then Brosseau worked it to a 3-2 count, and kept battling. Here's the full at-bat, the 10-pitch at-bat. Chapman was battling, too. Only one of the balls was obviously a ball. The others were just off the plate. A worse umpire might've called them strikes. But Brosseau worked it and worked it and worked it. And on the 10th pitch he went deep. As longtime Yankee left-fielder Brett Gardner positioned himself to grab it if it bounced off the wall, it landed and rattled around about two rows deep in the empty Covid-era seats. If I'd been at the QL, I would've been going crazy. I would've been high-fiving guys. Instead, I just walked into the living room, where Patricia was watching one of her shows, and said, with a stupid smile on my face, “The Rays are ahead.” 

But still the ninth. The middle of that lineup. Giancarlo Stanton, who's had, what, six homers this postseason, led off, and reliever Diego Castillo started out 2-0. Yikes. Then three straight strikes. All looking. Shades of Carlos Beltran. Next up, Luke Voit, who led the Majors in homers this year. K inserted, as a famous, departed announcer once said. That left Yanks 3B Gio Ursella, who'd had a good season and a bad postseason. And he didn't throw away his shot. First pitch, he rifled it toward left field—but 3B Joey Wendle leaned to his right and speared it. And the celebrations began. These kids deserve more. They deserve crowds. Maybe next year.

Biut now we can add the Rays to the pantheon of teams that have knocked out the mighty New York Yankees and helped us all sleep a little better. Since 2001:

  • D-Backs, Angels, Marlins, Red Sox, Angels (2)
  • Tigers, Indians, n/a, 27, Rangers
  • Tigers (2), Tigers (3), n/a, n/a, Astros
  • n/a, Astros (2), Red Sox (2), Astros (3), Rays

Welcome to the party, pals. Carey, start spreading the news. 

Posted at 10:11 AM on Sunday October 11, 2020 in category Yankees Suck   |   Permalink  

Sunday May 26, 2019

My Man

Posted at 09:36 PM on Sunday May 26, 2019 in category Yankees Suck   |   Permalink  

Wednesday October 10, 2018

Cry Me a River, Tyler Kepner

There may be no greater sense of schadenfreude than following the social-media paroxysms of Yankee fans rending their garments and pointing their fingers after their team has been blissfully eliminated from yet another baseball season. As happened last night in the Bronx, 4-3 to the Boston Red Sox. 

No one points fingers like Yankee fans. The title was meant to be theirs, and now it's not, and someone has to take the blame. The main scapegoat this year is 2003 ALCS hero and first-time manager Aaron Boone, who waited obscenely long, like until the 4th inning, to pull starting pitchers; and then, particularly in Game 3—the 16-1 debaccle—didn't go to his top-notch relievers. Also getting the brunt: first-timer Giancarlo Stanton, who hit .222 (with a .444 OPS) over the four Boston games.

But of course there are others. Here's an eloquent Yankee fan on the subject:

Angry Yankees fan

100 wins, third-best record in baseball, ALDS: What else could describe that but disgrace? It's shit. Fans deserve an apology.

The mainstream press in New York doesn't exactly try to tamp down these emotions, either. 

"Yanks' season ends in shame"

Shame? Wow. I‘ll remember that in April. I’ll channel Batman ‘66: “Come back, Shame.”

Over at the Times, Tyler Kepner’s think piece seems more circumspect (“Against the Red Sox, the Yankees Simply Don't Measure Up”), but don't kid yourself. Here's the end of Tyler's second paragraph:

“That makes nine seasons in a row without a championship.”

That sentence just drips with a sense of entitlement. He's not even talking about a pennant—something two teams (Nats, M‘s) have never even seen. He’s talking championships. He's talking rings. Because to the Yankee mentality, that's all there is.

As a reminder—to me if not Tyler—here's the championship/title drought for every MLB team, and where the Yankees place on it:

Team Last Title Years
Indians 1948 70
Senators/Rangers *  1961 57
Padres *  1969 49
Pilots/Brewers * 1969 49
Expos/Nationals **  1969 49
Mariners ** 1977 41
Pirates 1979 39
Browns/Orioles 1983 35
Tigers 1984 34
Mets 1986 32
Dodgers 1988 30
Athletics 1989 29
Reds 1990 28
Senators/Twins 1991 27
Blue Jays 1993 25
Rockies * 1993 25
Braves 1995 23
Rays * 1998 20
D-backs 2001 17
Angels 2002 16
Marlins 2003 15
White Sox 2005 13
Phillies 2008 10
Yankees 2009 9
Cardinals 2011 7
Red Sox 2013 5
Giants 2014 4
Royals 2015 3
Cubs 2016 2
Astros 2017 1

* Have never won World Series championship
** Have never been to World Series

So 23 of the 30 MLB teams are in worse shape. And they don't have those oft-mentioned 27 rings and 40 pennants to keep them warm.

But that's why, of course, nine championship-less seasons seem an eternity for the Yankee fan. Indeed, since 1923, when the Yankees won their first World Series championship after buying Babe Ruth and most of the best of the Boston Red Sox, they‘ve only had two title-less stretches longer than this: 17 seasons (between 1978 and 1996) and 14 seasons (between 1962 and 1977). The fourth longest, eight seasons, also took place in this century: between 2000 and 2009. Now this one has surpassed that.

So as Yankee-hating goes, this has actually been a pretty good time. Start spreadin’ the news. 

Posted at 04:57 AM on Wednesday October 10, 2018 in category Yankees Suck   |   Permalink  

Wednesday October 10, 2018

Sad Yankees Fan of the Day

In case you‘re like some of my friends and don’t think this is of national import, the tweet below comes from the national correspondent of the Washington Post

Reading the schadenfreude on Twitter after the Yankees were eliminated by the Boston Red Sox last night, I have to admit: I didn't know there was so much of me in the world. 

Sad Yankees fan, 2018

Posted at 04:23 AM on Wednesday October 10, 2018 in category Yankees Suck   |   Permalink  

Tuesday October 09, 2018

2018 Yankees Done

Was it better or worse that the Yankees got that 9th inning? Did it make it more painful for Yankee fans (“So close!”) or less (“At least we put a scare in the bastards!”)? And what the hell is up with Craig Kimbrel? He's lights out against most everyone else but with the Yankees he's got the yips. Here's his regular season numbers against other AL East teams:

TEAM G IP H BB K ERA BAA
TOR 12 11 4 3 16 1.64 .108
TB 9 9.1 6 4 15 0.00 .188
BAL 8 7.1 5 7 12 9.82 .192
NYY 6 5.2 5 2 12 4.76 .227

Actually that Baltimore line is even nuttier, isn't it? A lot of it to do with this Sept. 26 game. And his overall line, while good, isn't near his standard. Last year, his K-BB ratio was 126-14. This year? 96-31. 

Tonight, he came in with a 4-1 lead and went: Walk, single, strikeout. Walk, HBP, sac fly (to the warning track). Now it's 4-3, 2 outs, men on 1st and 2nd, and Gleber Torres at the plate. He hits a slow nubber to third. Helluva play by both Nunez to field it and Pearce to scoop it and stay on the bag. Baseball is a game of inches. And in those inches went the Yankees' season.

Good riddance.  

Here's the legion of honor this century:

  • 2000: Oakland A'sSeattle MarinersNew York Mets
  • 2001: Oakland A'sSeattle MarinersArizona Diamondbacks
  • 2002: Los Angeles Angels
  • 2003: Minnesota TwinsBoston Red SoxFlorida Marlins
  • 2004: Minnesota Twins, Boston Red Sox
  • 2005: Los Angeles Angels
  • 2006: Detroit Tigers
  • 2007: Cleveland Indians
  • 2008: n/a
  • 2009: Minnesota TwinsLos Angeles Angels of AnaheimPhiladelphia Phillies
  • 2010: Minnesota TwinsTexas Rangers
  • 2011: Detroit Tigers
  • 2012: Baltimore OriolesDetroit Tigers
  • 2013: n/a
  • 2014: n/a
  • 2015: Houston Astros
  • 2016: n/a
  • 2017: Minnesota TwinsCleveland IndiansHouston Astros
  • 2018: Oakland A's, Boston Red Sox

The top postseason Yankee killers this century have been: Detroit (3-0), Astros (2-0), Angels (2-1) and Red Sox (2-1). The schleppers? Twins (0-5), A's (0-3), Mariners (0-2).

But enough. The important thing is they‘re gone. Start spreadin’ the news.

Posted at 04:20 PM on Tuesday October 09, 2018 in category Yankees Suck   |   Permalink  

Thursday September 20, 2018

The Phrase that Unites the Country: ‘Yankees Suck’

A great moment of national unity occurred over the weekend. I‘ll let Boston Globe sportswriter Pete Abraham explain:

Truly. You can see it here.

A reader recently asked me about my “team with the longest postseason drought” post from a few years back, and wondered about extra data on the subject. I sent him what I had, but it meant going through it again, and looking at all of those numbers again. It ain’t pretty:

  • Of the 113 World Series in MLB history the Yankees have won 27. That's 23.9%. The second-most titles belongs to the St. Louis Cardinals, who have 11, or 9.27%. It's not even close. It's not even half.
  • The Yanks average a World Series championship ever 4.19 years. They average a pennant every 2.83 years. More than one in three World Series involves the Yankees. On the bottom end of the scale, the Phillies and Indians average a World Series championship every 56.5 years. 
  • It used to be worse. During the Yankees heyday, from 1921 to 1964, they won 20 World Series titles and 29 pennants. That's 66% (29/44) of the AL pennants available during those years. The second-most pennants during this time? The Tigers with 4. Then it went: Athletics and Senators: 3; Indians: 2; and White Sox, Red Sox and Browns/Orioles with one each. No wonder Joe Hardy was willing to sell his soul to the devil. 
  • If you‘re curious who’s got the most pennants and titles since the Yankees heyday, here's your answer: the Yankees. Since 1965, they‘ve won 11 pennants and 7 titles. Second is the Cardinals with 9 and 4. Yanks aren’t dominating as much, but they still dominate. 
  • OK. So what about flat-out postseason appearances throughout MLB history? Who has the most there? Well, the Cards finish third with 28. Dodgers have 31. Yankees? 53. 

I was in Minneapolis over the weekend visiting family, and when I landed late Thursday night and was waiting for a taxi, I noticed the administrator behind the plastic-glass was wearing an all-black Twins cap. “Why all-black?” I asked. He said the company only allowed black caps, so he got an all-black Twins one. I nodded. “Tough year this year,” I said. He nodded. Then I added, “But thanks for beating the Yankees twice this week.” He smiled a bit, shook his head, said: “I hate the Yankees, man.” 

All together now...

Posted at 01:17 AM on Thursday September 20, 2018 in category Yankees Suck   |   Permalink  

Friday August 31, 2018

Goodrum is Redrum for Yanks

Yankees Suck

Tie game. 

Sometimes there's justice. For a day. 

At New Yankee Stadium yesterday, that $1 billion boondoggle that swept aside great baseball history, the New York Yankees took a 7-5 lead into the 9th inning against the lowly Detroit Tigers, and had their $5.1 million set-up man, Dellin Betances, on the mound, because their $15 million closer, Aroldis Chapman, was on the DL. With one out, Betances gave up a 2-run homer to Victor Martinez—a line shot that just cleared the wall in right. The next batter was shortstop Niko Goodrum, 26, and earning $500k, which is a lot for you and me, but which is only about twice the Major League minimum, and of course 1/10 what Betances is making. Is that a spur for these guys? “Hey, you‘re not 10 times better than me!” Either way, Goodrum clobbered it to right, too, a long, towering shot that snaked just inside the right-field foul pole for the 8-7 Tigers lead. 

Now the Tigers turned to their closer, one-time Yankee Shane Greene, earning $1.9 million. And he set them down in order: Gardner, who’s making $11 mil, Hicks at $2.8, and then the big bat, their key off-season acquisition, Giancarlo Stanton, all $25 million of him, who flied out to center. Game, set, match. And the Yankee faithful shuffled out in defeat. 

Glorious. 

The Yankees fell to 8.5 games behind the front-running Boston Red Sox in the American League East, but that's a bit deceiving. It makes it look like they‘re having a so-so year. They actually have the second-best record in the AL. Wait, scratch that. They have the second-best record in the Majors. That’s right. Despite all the injuries they‘ve had, despite the sense of gloom in the Bronx, they’re basically the second-best team in baseball. And then they picked up former NL MVP Andrew McCutchen. And October's around the corner, where anything can happen. 

But we'll always have yesterday.

Yankees suck

Posted at 04:14 AM on Friday August 31, 2018 in category Yankees Suck   |   Permalink  

Thursday August 16, 2018

Yankees FOKKed

In the Trump era, you grab joy where you can, and this isn't a bad one for me today. It wasn't just that the Yankees lost, 3-1, it‘s how they lost:

That’s a thing of beauty. Yanks down by 2, get the bases loaded with nobody out ... and then can't get the ball in play: foul out, strike out, strike out. Better, the pitcher who did this to them is Adam Kolarek, who's 29, in only his second MLB season, came in with a 6.00 ERA, and somehow managed to nab the save. His first. In his career. Helluva way to start out, kid.  

The win also gave the Rays their first series victory at Yankee Stadium since 2014, and, at 8-7, they‘re now one of two AL teams that have a winning record against the Baby Bombers. BoSox are 8-5.

If it almost feels over for the Yanks, it’s not. Yes, they‘re an astonishing 10.5 games back of Boston in the AL East, but they still have the second-best record in baseball. How nuts is that? It means that unless the A’s and Mariners can both steamroll past NYY for the two wildcard spots, and they're 3 and 5.5 games back respectively, Yanks are in the postseason again, where almost anything can happen.

But in the meantime: FO, K, K. Mm-wah.

Posted at 08:53 AM on Thursday August 16, 2018 in category Yankees Suck   |   Permalink  

Sunday July 15, 2018

Kindred Spirit

“I confess it: There is some resentment. But it never degenerates into emulousness or envy. No one elsewhere wants to root for a team like the Yankees. The notion is appalling. Could any franchise be more devoid of romance? What has it ever represented but the brute power of money? One can admire the St. Louis Cardinals' magnificent history, or cherish fond memories of the great Baltimore Orioles, Cincinnati Reds or Oakland A's teams of the past. But no morally sane soul could delight in that graceless enormity in the Bronx, or its supremacy over smaller markets. It is an intrinsically depraved pleasure, like a taste for bearbaiting. And certainly none of us wants to be anything like Yankees fans — especially after seeing them at close quarters. ...

”Not that the horror is easy to recall clearly. The trauma is too violent. Memory cringes, whines, tries to slink away. One recollects only a kaleidoscopic flux of gruesomely fragmentary impressions, too outlandish to be perfectly accurate, too vivid to be entirely false: nightmarish revenants from the dim haunts of the collective unconscious ... monstrous, abortive shapes emerging from the abysmal murk of evolutionary history ... things pre-hominid, even pre-mammalian ... forms never quite resolving into discrete organisms, spilling over and into one another, making it uncertain where one ends and another begins. ... It really is awful.“

— David Bentley Hart, ”The New York Yankees Are a Moral Abomination," in The New York Times

Posted at 10:41 AM on Sunday July 15, 2018 in category Yankees Suck   |   Permalink  

Saturday July 07, 2018

Severino Chases Record*

This was a headline a few days ago on ESPN.com:

Yanks new strikeout king

It took me a second to realize that Yankees pitcher Luis Severino wasn't chasing the single-season strikeout record (Nolan Ryan, 383, 1973), but the Yankees' single-season strikeout record (Ron Guidry, 248, 1978), which, in 1978, didn't even lead the Majors (J.R. Richard's 303), nor his league (Nolan Ryan's 260). In fact, the all-time Yankees mark simply tied 39-year-old Phil Niekro for third place that year. That's what's being trumpeted. That's the great glory Severino is pursuing. 

This is a headline how? A player is on pace to break a mediocre team record. Baseball Reference lists Guidry's mark as the 186th most strikeouts a pitcher has had in a season. If you remove 19th-century records, as you should, it's still tied for 127th. That's it. That's the mark Severino might break. 

Hell, this season, Severino is ninth in the Majors in strikeouts. Ninth.

Headlines like these are yet another reason people hate the Yankees. No other team gets this treatment. 

Posted at 04:14 AM on Saturday July 07, 2018 in category Yankees Suck   |   Permalink  

Sunday June 03, 2018

Yankee Doodle

Got this from an anonymous reader the other day: 

i stg if you say anything about the yankees again i will hit you with the quadruple roundhouse spinning back fist to the femur, yankees are love, yankees are life. sir dont make me swing

Took me a moment to realize “stg” meant “swear to god.” Initially I thought he was just so filled with rage he couldn't type straight.  

The funny part? It was from an 8-year-old post. This one. Dude, I've said much worse since. Please consult my Yankees Suck posts. Some good stuff in there. 

Posted at 04:33 AM on Sunday June 03, 2018 in category Yankees Suck   |   Permalink  

Friday May 25, 2018

The Only Derek Jeter T-Shirt I'd Wear

Jordan Shusterman, a writer over at Cut4.com, has a piece from earlier this month called “Let's appreciate how long Ichiro has been playing professional baseball.” It's mostly timeline, and not bad, although my version would include different historic markers. But I like this one: Shohei Otani was born two years after Ichiro began playing professional baseball with the Orix BlueWave. How about that?

But that's not the best historic marker. This one is.

Derek Jeter retires

It's the combo of words and images. Jeter seems to be celebrating with us that he's leaving. It's like, Thank god! 

In reality, Jeter was celebrating because his last at-bat at Yankee Stadium yielded a game-winning single. It was a meaningless game—the Yanks missed the post-season by a big margin that year—so why such excitement? Because it helped secure his legacy and legend. It was another “Derek Jeter moment.” It was all about him. 

But if you put the above on a T-shirt, I'd wear it. It's the only Derek Jeter T-shirt I'd be caught dead in.

Posted at 05:38 AM on Friday May 25, 2018 in category Yankees Suck   |   Permalink  
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