Watching the Yankees everyday is a lot like eating Burger King's infamous meat'normous breakfast sandwich (pictured on right). Sure, before you dive in, what sits before you is a beautiful and spectacular monument to the wonders of joyful gluttony. But by the fourth inning, as the offense stalls and the starting pitching tires, you begin to fatigue. That sandwich, once alluring, with its three full slices of crispy bacon, two slices of smokey ham, sluggers, ace pitchers, and a sizzling sausage patty between two omelet eggs, two slices of American cheese and a toasted specialty bun, has begun to feel gross and look gratuitous.
Despite their copious "talent", the Yankees have gone on yet another mediocrity binge. As the Yankee blog WasWatching.com pointed out yesterday, the Yankees have gone 13-12 in their last 25 games, including losing two of three to the historically awful Washington Nationals.
At a time like this, we can sit and stare at the Yankees incredibly disappointing team stats for the last month. We can talk about their unreliable starting pitching and their base-running errors. We can even talk about Joe Girardi's in-game decision making. But what I find best soothes my soul when there's little good to say about the Yankees, is to hand out fake awards. So, without further adieu....
Speculatee of the Month: Tie - Joba Chamberlain, Chien-Ming Wang, Yankee Stadium
You're covering the Yankees and it's a slow day. Quick, what do you do? Easy: "Joba could recover his fastball if...." Or, "Wang needs to set up regular meetings with Dr. Leo Marvin..." Or, "the barometric pressure inside the new Stadium is irregular on days when President Obama...."
Most Thankful For: Mark Teixera
Tex's numbers for the last thirty days - 20 runs (tied-2nd on team), 11 doubles (first), 9 home runs (first), 25 rbis (first), .424 on-base percentage (first), .709 slugging (first by a mile), .340 (second). Also, Texeira has not committed a single error in the last month. He has also saved other people's errors (note Jeter and Cano have combined for just one during this span).
Second Most Thankful For: At least they're not these guys
Last weekend's Subway Series was a battle of ne'er-do-wells. In game one, neither team wanted to win, but the Mets proved more adept at handing even the least deserving of opponents a victory.
Most secretly productive: Brett Gardner
The man can score runs. In fact, he has eleven runs and eight steals, while getting just 48 at-bats in the last month. Much of that production, however, is due to his frequent pinch-running.
Most likely to make me cry: Hideki Matsui
Godzilla's decline has been precipitous. While Hideki has not lost his power (in the last month he's hit six round-trippers), he has lost all semblance of speed. Any time Matsui makes contact and the ball fails to leave the park, he has to run. Watching this once solid outfielder struggle with each step he takes down the first-base line is tough enough. But when he's chugging from first to third, it's like watching the first five minutes of "Up." Just try and choke back the waterworks.
Most disturbing facial hair: Brian Bruney
Anyone who watched last fall's Vice-Presidential Debate knows Scranton is a hard-scrabble town, so perhaps Bruney was just trying to fit in when he grew that 1980s face-mop while rehabbing. I've been looking for a good picture of it, if anyone finds one, let me know.
NOTE: Make sure to check back every Wednesday for Pinstripe Politics, your source for that gray area where the Yankees and society converge. Also, check in with the BNN on Fridays for The Yankees, Unobstructed, our weekly Yankee opinion column.
For more of Graham Kates' sports writing, check out his True/Slant blog "Coaches in the Crosshairs" (www.trueslant.com/grahamkates).
Friday, June 19, 2009