• Closing Time

    Posted by on June 6th, 2014 · Comments (49)

    Do me a favor…

    …if you’re the last one here, please remember to turn out the lights and lock the door on your way out. And, thanks!

    Comments on Closing Time

    1. redbug
      June 7th, 2014 | 9:21 am


      Are you not writing any more?

    2. Evan3457
      June 7th, 2014 | 11:29 am

      Sorry to hear that, Steve.

      Good luck to you, whatever you decide to do with the rest of your life.

      And thanks to you, too.

    3. KPOcala
      June 8th, 2014 | 4:31 pm

      Steve, thanks for the years of wit, wisdom, and fire. And keeping this a blog for “gentlemen”. For, and to all you guys who read this, thanks for the memories, the arguments, and the gnashing of teeth ๐Ÿ˜‰

      God Bless you all. We’ll see each other in the blogosphere, good health and luck to all ๐Ÿ™‚

    4. June 9th, 2014 | 1:23 am

      Steve, you can’t leave us now we need you to lead the way. The only way this can get turned around is hard hitting commentary not whatever feel good tag line some Pr firm comes up with. You saw this coming four years ago when a team growing old kept adding age to solve their problems. With the leadership in place at this point we could be staring at new tradition, a team known as the Bronx Mets.

    5. KPOcala
      June 9th, 2014 | 2:07 am

      Morales and Drew, the straws that broke the camel’s back…… The Yankees should have signed BOTH of them, to even have a chance. Don’t know who to “blame”, but it sucked.

    6. Greg H.
      June 11th, 2014 | 3:21 pm

      Thanks Steve! Thanks to all of you. Enjoyed the site for many years.

    7. jerryran
      June 12th, 2014 | 1:01 pm

      he’ll be back – this is just another of his attention tantrums

    8. #15
      June 12th, 2014 | 3:38 pm

      Been on the road… I will keep looping back, hoping to see Steve actually perform that dance himself. Michael Jackson ain’t got nothin on Groucho.

      Oh, and if anyone cares….. Tanaka is the bomb. We needed an ace and we got one. Now, if we can just learn to hit before the 4th of July….

    9. #15
      June 19th, 2014 | 7:02 am

      And another thing….

      We aren’t a great team; actually, we aren’t even a very good team. But, we are 2.5 games out of first place with three games in hand. Pull off a sweep tonight and we are right in it. I can’t help but project that McCann, Beltran, Soriano and Ellsbury will likely produce at levels above their YTD performance (okay, and maybe Ichi at less that YTD levels). Everyone else is probably going to give us about what they’ve been giving us. Gardy has emerged as a more consistent player. Tanaka aside, the hodgepodge of starters have been “adequate” in so much that if we’d have hit a lick so far this year we’d have maybe 4-6 more wins by now. A mid-season arm via trade would be nice. Betances is impressive, D-Rob has 17 saves in 19 chances (not bad for his first year as a closer), though I think he can/must pitch better/more efficiently. Bottom line… it’s not all gloom and doom. The Rays seem to be cooked. The Jays have their own injury problems. B’more has been as inconsistent as us, and the Botox even more so. Championship team? No. Too much would have to fall our way. Reasonable chance for the playoffs? Sure.

    10. redbug
      June 19th, 2014 | 5:51 pm

      @ #15: Reasonable chance for the playoffs? Sure.

      Agreed #15. I find myself back to enjoying watching again.

      If CC can come back to replace Nuno and be decent, they’d have their mid-season replacement.

      I miss this site. I’m glad to hear from you #15

    11. Greg H.
      June 20th, 2014 | 11:49 am

      @ #15:
      @ redbug:
      Great effing sweep. Super impressed with Phelps and Whitley. I’m hoping that they are more than just the Small & Chacon of 2014, and I think they are. Bats slowly waking up, maybe? If they continue to hit, it will be an interesting race.

      CC’s chomping at the bit. He’s had a lot time to think it over. He’s got to give the team some innings. He has to be better than Nuno, and he needs to be the veteran support. We haven’t had an ace like Tanaka since Guidry. This is fun to watch – keep it up.

    12. Scout
      June 20th, 2014 | 12:57 pm

      If this is the end, Steve, you’ve had a great run and we’ve had some fun exchanges. Thanks to you and all of the other regulars!

    13. Evan3457
      June 20th, 2014 | 11:40 pm

      Another nice win tonight as Beltran and McCann continue to slowly shake off their early season batting comas.

    14. KPOcala
      June 20th, 2014 | 11:52 pm

      Amazing how a run of good pitching, base-running, and a few hits can take the torpor out of the team, and some fans! Almost as much fun is watching a WS “probable” fall to pieces in Tampa, and reading about Papi crying over “bad scoring”. God, but he’s a baby (never understood his “following”). And that “#3 starter”, seems like a nice pic for Cashman ๐Ÿ˜‰ He’s a blast to watch, that Tanaka! To Steve, I’d love to see you keep it going, if not, you’ve been a great host, and there have been a lotta of great fans on this blog, I thank you all!

    15. Raf
      June 21st, 2014 | 11:33 am

      Thanks Steve, thanks guys, it has been a pretty good run.

    16. #15
      June 30th, 2014 | 4:15 pm

      Acckkkkhhkkk!! The whole aura of the season YTD took a gut punch last night. With B’more and the Jays both losing, and the Botox reeling, a win would have put momentum clearly on our side.

      Once again, not moving Pap-smears feet once in a while hurt us. Put some freaking dirt on the back of that guys uniform and see if he’s as comfortable hanging over the dish.

      I guess, overall, including the log road trip/West Coast run and the home stand so far we did okay (~ .500 ball) over a tough stretch in the schedule. Now we have to win the Rays series and then go to work on Minni and Cleveland and we’ll be set up nicely going into the break. I’ll be on suicide watch if we lose another game to Phil Hughes.

    17. redbug
      July 1st, 2014 | 6:36 pm

      @ #15: Iโ€™ll be on suicide watch if we lose another game to Phil Hughes.

      LOL #15. I hear you. And, why the Yanks don’t move Ortiz off the plate is a mystery to me too. This goes back years.

      Steve, I miss this site. I wish you’d come back!

      PS…Steve, you worried Jeter would be hitting .190. While I’m sure he’s not content w/ .275, I bet he’ll have a better second better have. Maybe end around .285, .290. I hope so anyway.

    18. #15
      July 2nd, 2014 | 9:14 pm

      So much for taking the series from the Rays. Sluggish mediocrity.

    19. July 3rd, 2014 | 8:04 am

      Just checked in today out of curiosity.

      First, thanks to all for the kind words. And, secondly, and more importantly, I hope that everyone has a safe and happy 4th of July weekend!

      The Yankees? They are 41-42 and it’s amazing that they are not 37-46. Then again, last year, it’s amazing that they managed to win 85 games considering the roster and how they performed as individuals.

      And, folks, it’s not going to get any better next year. The best thing that the Yankees have going for them now is that the Mets totally suck. Otherwise, they would be getting more heat for their failures.

    20. ken
      July 3rd, 2014 | 9:03 pm

      Just took a look at WW while I watch what looks like another feeble effort against Cy Young, er, Phil Hughes. (4th inning now) So sad to see this end. Thanks Steve and best wishes to you.

    21. #15
      July 4th, 2014 | 7:30 am

      Well…. the return of Ole Longball Hughes will keep me from taking my own life for a while.

    22. redbug
      July 4th, 2014 | 1:47 pm

      Steve, it’s good to see you. I assume you can tell you’re missed.

      #15…I’m so glad Hughes returned to his old self.

    23. LMJ229
      July 7th, 2014 | 9:53 am

      I don’t get the criticism I’ve been reading on the Brandon McCarthy deal and the Soriano DFA. McCarthy might not be much better that Nuno but at least he will eat more innings and not totally kill our bullpen every fifth day. And Soriano was just awful. He wasn’t hitting at all and he is a defensive liability. I support both moves.

    24. #15
      July 7th, 2014 | 10:12 am

      @ LMJ229:

      Generally agree with you. Sori could have gotten hot, but it would have been painful watching him try to work in enough playing time to find himself. The main problem I have is these changes are unlikely to “move the needle” in terms of the overall quality of the team. Fiddling around the edges is my take.

    25. Evan3457
      July 8th, 2014 | 4:25 am

      #15 wrote:

      @ LMJ229:
      Generally agree with you. Sori could have gotten hot, but it would have been painful watching him try to work in enough playing time to find himself. The main problem I have is these changes are unlikely to โ€œmove the needleโ€ in terms of the overall quality of the team. Fiddling around the edges is my take.

      Incremental edges can add up to something bigger than the whole.

    26. Greg H.
      July 8th, 2014 | 9:57 am

      I like it better already. I’d much rather watch the rookie call-ups try to make a splash than poor ol’ Soriano. As much as I like him, he’s toast. Good to see guys from the farm get their chances.

    27. redbug
      July 9th, 2014 | 6:31 pm

      The Yankees had Betances close the other night. I hope they’re not considering trading David Robertson.

    28. #15
      July 9th, 2014 | 6:51 pm

      Uh oh. The season, hanging by strained fingertips already, just took a karate chop to the solar plexus. Tanaka to the MRI tube. I saw him flex his elbow between pitches last night, but his velocity was good both before and after, and it seemed to me he was just leaving balls up in the zone, both last night and in the past couple of outings. Thought he was getting a big tired. Looks to be worse.

      When will Derek Jeter make his first start on the mound?

    29. #15
      July 21st, 2014 | 4:20 pm

      Making my annual trip to NYC and have games lined up next weekend.

      A good series against the Rangers while B’More is getting banged around on the W. Coast….. and the Toronto series next weekend could be pretty interesting.

      Hope springs eternal. I seriously doubted meaningful games in July-August time just a few weeks ago. A little sign of team spark in the past few days.

    30. redbug
      July 22nd, 2014 | 5:32 pm

      #15, Have a great time in NY and let’s hope the Yanks play well while you’re in town.

      Last night was a bummer. They have to win against teams like the Rangers.

    31. #15
      August 1st, 2014 | 4:52 pm

      Seems like the Yankees didn’t think enough of their season prospects to bother making any moves of substance. Prado isn’t a bad pick-up. I so wanted to like Roberts, but he just didn’t have enough left in the offense or defense tanks. Drew for Johnson?? Whatever. I guess between Headley and Drew we now have a better back-up option at first base than McCann (comically rough weekend watching him kick it around).

      The Botox flushed their pitching staff and threw in the towel. The Ortiz/Cespedes duo will present problems for us next year, but I think the biggest challenge posed by the Botox next year is that will be they will be competing with us for pitching for 2015.

      Detroit and Oakland are the class of the AL. By a lot. LAAAAAA seem to be good unless they are playing the O’s. The Bloodsox and Rays ought to be less formidable the rest of the way, but that helps the BJ’s as well as us. Seattle has a lot of games left with the Angels and A’s, so they have a tough road. Shame on KC and the Jays for not trying to get better.

    32. KPOcala
      August 1st, 2014 | 7:47 pm

      When you have geniuses around baseball, how come the Cubs, Rays, and the Red Sox suck, since theirs are the brightest? Another thing, go back, if you keep them, at your baseball books, especially the ones who specialize in minor leaguers over 5-10 time frames, and look at how many actually pan out. And also, notice how many pitchers (and I’m Not anti-stats) never play up to their “peripherals”, for years. I think after 35 plus years of sabermetrics, it’s still not as predictive as it’s acolytes want to believe. Ask Bill James……. Go Yankees, miss your wit and analysis, Steve! How about “waswatchinglite”, if you don’t want the grind, or bring in like-minded fans? Or at least run for President ๐Ÿ™‚

    33. August 2nd, 2014 | 8:10 am

      Well, here’s two posts for you:

      35 years ago today, Thurman Munson passed away. I don’t have the greatest memory. But, I will always remember that afternoon of August 2, 1979. I had just finished delivering my Staten Island Advance paper route. I was in my bedroom โ€“ resting on my bed. I was listening to Paco on WKTU on the stereo. They interrupted with the news flash. I jumped off my bed and ran downstairs to the living room. My dad was watching Channel 7 โ€“ and they broke in with the story too. It may have been the first time in my life that I experienced a moment that seemed surreal.

      The Yankees have 55 wins after 108 games this season. The last time the Yankees had less than 56 wins after 108 games into a 162-game schedule season was 1992. That was Derek Jeter’s first year in the Yankees organization. And, this is his last one. Talk about full circle…

    34. August 2nd, 2014 | 2:03 pm

      Another post:

      In their last 36 games, the Yankees are 16-20. In their last 54 games, they are 26-28. And, in their last 83 games, they are 40-43. Am I missing the point that Yankees fans are supposed to be excited about?

    35. August 2nd, 2014 | 2:50 pm

      Great to see you posting again Steve. Your last post on July 3rd hit the nail on the head, “And, folks, itโ€™s not going to get any better next year”. Unlike Boston that wisely assessed their situation and made changes looking to the future, the Yankees go all in attempting to delude their fans into believiing the talent at the major league level can be competitive in some postseason scenario. The organization has little in the way of major league ready talent in the minors, and a major league roster full of players at or past their prime.

    36. August 2nd, 2014 | 7:00 pm

      @ Joseph Maloney:
      Amen brother.

    37. Scout
      August 3rd, 2014 | 11:09 am

      Not only is the team mediocre, but most days it is incredibly boring to watch. Almost makes me long for the now-bygone days of PEDs.

    38. redbug
      August 3rd, 2014 | 3:15 pm

      Time to open up again, Steve.

    39. KPOcala
      August 4th, 2014 | 11:15 pm

      “IF” Tanaka and Pineda come back, ‘like they were’, for a month. “IF” the Teixeira doesn’t come down with Ebola (seriously though, his health worries me), and the bullpen doesn’t meltdown………. Does anyone see this team making and “doing damage” in the playoffs? BTW, I don’t believe that the team is as in bad a shape for the future as some. Rob Refsnyder may very well be the “real thing” at second, and if so (assuming that Drew and Headley are resigned), the Yankees would/could have a pretty damned good ballclub “up the middle”. They are one power outfield bat, and returning health to the rotation to being “dangerous”. Jeter, and all that he’s done, looks as though he stared at the Medusa. Gardner (may he never lose a step)and Ellsbury cover the outfield like a glove. Unfortunately, Cashman waited too long in having four holes in the line-up, and the rotation injuries have been insane. FWIW, I wonder if all these pitching injuries haven’t been a result of trying to get “all” pitchers to pitch “downhill”, i.e., too much screwing with natural arm slots in the pursuit of “perfection”. Maybe that’s one reason we see so many high nineties coming out of the bullpen, and a few starters who quickly burnout…. Connective tissue can’t be “taught”. Steve, come back! ๐Ÿ™‚

    40. #15
      August 5th, 2014 | 5:38 am

      @ KPOcala:
      We aren’t really built for a playoff run at this stage. That story starts and ends with the rotation. There are too many other teams with true 1’s and 2’s. In a one game playoff? Sure we can win a game, especially if the other team’s starters have to compete down the stretch and don’t have the luxury of setting up their ace against us. I doubt we get both Pineda and Tanaka back to full strength before it’s too late. One of ’em? Maybe; neither of ’em? Probable. Phelps is a month out with rest and rehab. Keep an eye on Kuroda tonight. Looks like the tank is running dry a bit.

      Jeter isn’t our problem. A good point to retire gracefully? Sure.

      Drew has looked better than he did in Boston YTD. Headley is adding some skills and versatility and anything that keeps McCann off 1st base gets a thumbs up from me.

      We are one game out of the wildcard, which is pretty miraculous given the injuries and holes in our offense and defense. Fingers crossed the bullpen doesn’t wilt and props to Joe G.

      On Tex…. Not sure what to think other than he might be getting old and getting old fast. Acceptable run production and power and still a huge plus with the glove, but the range of tweaks and odd ailments don’t speak well for this year or he future.

    41. KPOcala
      August 5th, 2014 | 3:30 pm

      @ #15:You pretty much nailed it. I’ll still hold hope for a “resurgent” ’15, IF they keep the “younger” guys, and IF the pitchers come back from injury. A hell of a lotta of “IFs”, I know….. Still, I don’t believe that we’re entering the ’80’s. As far as duplicating the ’90’s, ask the Red Sox how easily “dynasties” can boil away….

    42. August 5th, 2014 | 5:28 pm

      Stopped by to share:

      I just finished reading this one. If it were a movie, they would say that it’s a thrill ride full of twists, turns, and surprises. Given that it’s a true story, it’s even better. I highly recommend this one to any baseball fan who wants know all the inside dope (no pun intended) on the whole PED thing.


    43. #15
      August 11th, 2014 | 10:27 am

      They’re boring me.

      I’m thinking they should pass on BP and stretching before games and hand out 25 mats to let ’em take an afternoon nap on the outfield grass. They are, collectively, asleep at the dish.

    44. redbug
      August 11th, 2014 | 10:49 am

      @ #15:

      They did great vs the Tigers, yet lost the series to the Rangers and Indians. Frustrating to watch.

    45. KPOcala
      September 13th, 2014 | 8:13 pm

      Funny, our ONE preseason certainty (or solace), was that Cano would miss out on enjoying the playoffs. Funny now? Not so much. I have to say that watching the Yanks the last two years has been brutal. I also think that their “grit” has to be commended. But it’s amazing that the term would be high praise for that payroll. Well, fans in the early sixties figured that the run would go forever as well. Here’s to the next Dynasty..

    46. redbug
      September 14th, 2014 | 11:58 am

      @ KPOcala:

      lol…I’ve thought about the Cano presumption. But, in the mid to long term, the Yanks made the right decision.

      While they’ve bored me at times, I have enjoyed watching this team overall. The second string starters have done better than the first string would’ve. The BP has been great. Robertson did not wilter under Mo’s legacy. Ellsbury is better than I thought. McCann will be better.

      I don’t see next year or the year after as much better than this year. No more Jeter will be my biggest adjustment.

    47. Greg H.
      September 24th, 2014 | 10:53 am

      I’m enthusiastic about next year because of the pitching. Biggest hope is that the offense gets a whole ton better, and that Cashman’s contract is not renewed so that Steve reopens WW.

    48. #15
      September 24th, 2014 | 12:40 pm

      Well, like many of you, I’m glad it’s effectively over. It was very painful to watch the offense sputter and limp and spit and fail so often. Just brutal for a fan.

      Here’s what I learned, in no particular order:

      1) K-Long must go the day the season ends. His fault, not his fault, no matter… They need to change things up and reset the teams heads regarding the approach at the plate and hitting. No room for discussion.

      2) We’ve got a damn fine manager in Joe G. He managed to keep an aged, injured, declining team in the hunt over two seasons and masterfully dealt with the pitchers he had to work with.

      3) The back of our bullpen is solid, solid, solid. As good as anyone’s and maybe better. Delin may jump over D-Rob at some point. His stuff is dominant.

      4) Tex is past done as a reliable force at the plate. For a while his run production was good despite a poor BA, but no one on the opposition really fears his stick. Simply put, he can be pitched to. Unlike this year, the Yankees must go into next season with a serviceable back-up 1st baseman on the roster.

      5) McCann needs to rebuild himself as a hitter. The shift absolutely killed him and he must adjust. He needs to burn his 1st baseman’s glove and scatter the ashes. “Never again!” He throws better, blocks the plate better and calls games better than I expected. Runs as bad as Giambi and Posada… Okay, maybe not as bad as Posada.

      6) Cervi is better than I thought and a more than adequate back-up.

      7) Jeter made the right call. Last year would have been too early and next year would have been too late. Played hard and stayed healthy all the way through… as we’d come to expect. Farewell Cap and thanks for everything. While the current squeeze is no slouch, please reconsider Minka before making any final decisions.

      8) Headley ain’t much anymore and neither is Drew. Good attitudes, good teammates… sure. Gloves decent on both of ’em. Just not enough hitting. Clean ’em out and move on.

      9) Beltran has been taking Pavano pills. Get his surgery and figure out if he can still play or cut him ala Soriano by mid-season. Huge disappointment in terms of production and OPS. Yanks need to find a potential everyday 3B for a variety of reasons… Not the least of which is that Beltran will need to DH a fair amount.

      10) I hope Ichi hangs around as a 5th outfielder on a low cost, incentive-laden contract. Played hard. I admit this is more than a bit sentimental on my part. Guy has given us more than we should have reasonably asked for at his age. I think he’d have been better with less playing time. The everyday grind wore him down. If he moves on…. farewell little ninja.

      11) Gardner has matured into a fine player. Still need to get him to run more and run earlier in the count. His fire is bright.

      12) Jacoby is a very well rounded player, but I think we got less out of him by moving him out of the lead-off spot. Having him hit third, admittedly out of desperation, made him less effective. Fine outfielder.

      13) Kuroda is the unluckiest pitcher in the majors. Still effective but probably done.

      14) Here come the howls… Pineda is a freaking stud and the Montero trade is a clear win for the Yankees. There was some weirdness to be sure, but in the vast majority of starts, he was nearly unhittable. He needs a body language coach. A little Clemens/Randy Johnson in his demeanor would make him scary. Montero will be flipping burgers… and then eating them.

      15) If Tanaka is healthy, he’s a true ace. Sadly, I’m guessing the decision to not have TJ surgery simply delayed the inevitable. Hope he doesn’t snap it during a playoff drive at some point.

      16) The up and down career of Ivan Nova will need to start over.

      17) The late season acquisitions, pitching aside, didn’t pan out.

      18) I’d like to see the Yankees field a SS and 2B in their 20’s.

      19) Phil Hughes is the ghost of Christmas past, leading the Twinkies in wins and ERA. Like a nightmare after eating bad Mexican food. Hurts on the way in… hurts on the way out.

      20) As infuriating as the Yankees offensive failures were to watch, just a handful of key hits over the course of the season might have swung a few games and had them knocking at the door of the playoffs. Not saying they were anywhere near a championship caliber team. But they were effectively mediocre, which is much better than they deserved given their bats.

      21) A-Rod finally got good advice and disappeared for the season. I’m still hoping for a buy out deal.

      22) I miss WW chatter…. all the time.

    49. redbug
      September 25th, 2014 | 4:10 pm

      Good to read your post, #15!

      Apparently the Yanks intend to bring Cashman back, but along w/ Kevin Long, I wish they wouldn’t.

      I hope they re-sign Robertson. I’m not quite sold on Betances yet, esp as a closer.

      I think McCann will do fine next year and the next few. He had a ton of pitchers to learn this year.

      I agree. I hope Ichiro is back. He did a heck of a job. Also agree about Pineda. As Jeter said the other night…his stuff is filthy.

      Phil Hughes totally ticked me off this year.

      From your lips to god’s ear, I hope they buy Arod out, too.

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