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After a long offseason where the Yankees did approximately nothing, pitchers and catchers are finally reporting to camp this week. Or maybe it’s just pitchers reporting, as the case may be, since as far as I can tell, the Yankees may just be wheeling out one of those neon yellow plastic men in school zones to complete the batteries.

New catcher needs to change his hat.

I was at Dorrian’s last night and talking to bartender Mehlman about how this season isn’t exactly inspiring the normal degree of WOOHOO-ness as baseball season for Yankee fans typically does.

I mean, yeah, of course, I’m going to land on the same prediction I have every year, which is that the Yankees are going to win the World Series.
But this may be the first year in recent years where such a contention isn’t like saying “I bet it snows this winter!” so much as it’s like saying, “I bet my cat becomes an integral element of the new Cirque du Soleil production!”
Oh wait, I forgot. We have Super Mario and Chris Stewart returning. Super Mario may not be the best nickname for him anymore, though. It made sense in 2009 when Cervelli was like little star-induced invincible Mario.

Now he’s more like this Super Mario, I think.
And there’s Chris Stewart, who I like(d). I did until he basically told us 2 days before pitchers and him/Cervelli report to camp, “I’m gonna do the best I can and all, but like don’t expect much hitting wise. Seriously. Like, I’m not gonna hit at all pretty much.”

I’m not kidding. I know I like to splish-splash in the hyperbole pool so often that I usually end up looking like a giant prune by the end of the blog post. But compare the above to what he actually said, which is this:

“I can still win ballgames without getting a base hit…I’m not going to say it doesn’t really matter what I do at the plate. I’m still trying to be the best hitter I can be. But if I’m doing the job behind the plate, then I know my goal behind the plate is being taken care of. Everything else is extra.”
Yep, that’s how it works, Chris! I’d love to have him in the office. “Um, boss? I see NOTHING in my job description about having to stay past 5. I mean, I’ll see what I can do. But that’s extra.”
Oh, yeah. Then there’s Arod. I just talked today to my Mariano Rivera (in the grand scheme of Fantasy Friend teams), who is such an awesome friend that he reads my blog despite having close to zero interest in baseball or the Yankees. “Hey, how come I didn’t see anything about Arod on there? I was SURE you were going to have to resurface to comment on that.”
Now I feel stupid.
But he is right. I just have to tread lightly because someone else I know (cough..Laur…cough) may have significantly dissenting opinion on the matter.

Earlier today with Laur:

“What do you think about this whole Arod thing?”

“Oh, God. Now what'd he do?”

“No one at work has been giving you shit about it?”

“Whatever he did, Arod’s right and everyone else is wrong.”

“He thinks there’s a whole conspiracy theory thing against him.”

“Well, then there is, and the feds should be looking into it.”

So, there’s that. Arod, you make it very difficult for normal people to defend you. I can roll my eyes at the whole steroid thing because, good grief, we get it. You did steroids. We know. So did the rest of the world. You weren’t on steroids in 2009, though, which is all that matters to me, since that was the only time you really mattered to the Yankees, contribution-wise.

But the conspiracy theory? I’m picturing Arod in some kind of a “Beautiful Mind”-esque room, with all these post-its and line-up cards and box scores taped on the wall—interspersed with random pictures of Madonna and Kate Hudson and a slew of unidentified jacked blonde women that he finds in Unidentified Jacked Blonde Women AOL chat rooms--with him frantically drawing lines between them.
Arod's bedroom.
(Of course, all the while his life coach is rubbing his back saying stuff like, “Good. See, you didn't even need a ruler for that line!”)

Yeah, so how much does it suck to be a Yankee decision-maker right now?

(STOP. I’m already hearing, “YEAH, POOR GUYS RAKING IN SO MUCH MONEY BLAH BLAH ETC. Just..stop.)

I mean, look at what they’re up against:

Arod’s rocking back and forth in a fetal position like, “IdontwannaIdontwanna. Make the voices stop!”
Jeter’s like, “OK FINE I GAINED A FEW POUNDS. I’M ALSO DEREK F@#$%ING JETER. I also have no ankle. Go away.”
Mo, being Mo, is like, “Ok, I’m here! Put me to work! I like everyone and everything. Just tell me who I'm throwing to! Can't wait to get back to playing. Oh. We don't do catchers anymore. I see." (If that were my Dad, he'd blame "the kids downloading stuff all the time" which his go-to scapegoat for all problems that fall in the passage of time/technological advances buckets.)
Then there’s Joba and Youkilis getting into fist fights over the last chocolate milk in the milk cart.
There’s a catcher who is excited about catching as long as he doesn’t have to bat. (Yeah, cuz, you know, slugging catchers these days are so last season. Or so every-team-not-the-Yankees, anyway.)
A designated hitter who seems like he’s 73 years old for some reason, but is actually a young 36. (I still have a bad taste in my mouth from when Pronk hit a walk-off to beat the Yanks in the midge-game.) The Indians, btw, have found suitable replacement for Pronk in the form of Jason Giambi. Who stills play baseball.
(Hilariously, the Rockies were like, “Umm why don’t you just be our hitting coach, mmkay? How about that?” And Giambi said, “Nah, I’m good!” Kind of like in My Cousin Vinny when Vinny’s all, “Maybe it’s time for a thicker pair of glasses,” and 84-year Mrs. Riley says, “No, no. I think they ok.”)
I have to assume this is why the Yankees worked the offseason market about as effectively as a malfunctioning Hungry Hungry Hippo, whilst all the other hippos were like MINEMINEMINE.
They’ve been keeping a low profile because look at the ridiculousness of the team right now. They’re basically like covering up cat poop with kitty litter so they don’t have to look at it anymore.
I also think the season is off to a completely insane start already, despite the tame nature of the offseason, since the Yankees have—I swear to God—been described as “cheap.”

It’s hard to corroborate the whole “buy their team” nonsense if they’re going to be described as “cost-cutting.”

(Yes..geez..their cost-cutting payroll is still large etc etc, but back off haters! You non-New Yorkers get to live in HOUSES with yards and rooms and space for like nothing. So you get a cheaper baseball team. Call it even.)

However, apparently Hal isn’t crazy about this new persona, and would like to perpetuate the Unfair-Advantage-Due-to-Payroll whining for as long as possible:
"There was nothing cheap about Kuroda's contract or Pettitte's contract! I mean, I don't know. Sometimes I have to scratch my head.''  (You’re not the only one, Hal.)

Where does that leave us, in the final moments of the offseason, as we anxiously await Tuesday’s Pitchers and SuperMario/Stewart Day?

I’m not pessimistic nor optimistic. (Weird. I don't spend a lot of time in this purgatory of baseball emotions.)

Honestly, though, let's call a spade a spade here. It’s the freaking Yankees, for God’s sake. OBVIOUSLY, they are going to be in the playoffs. Their pitching and bullpen are great. (Oh my God, who is this team? I’m so confused.)
It’ll be another weird season. Last year was weird in a going to a friend of a friend of a friend’s cocktail party where you know no one, and there’s only 6 people there, all of which only speak Papiamento.
This season is going to be weird in a Kelly and Dylan are together in real life kind of way: “Huh? How did that happen? That’s so…amazing!”
And for you non-oldschool90210 enthusiasts, it’ll be weird like this.

Cheers! See you on Tuesday!  


Omnia fore bysso baseball est tergum in animabus nostris iterum.


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