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Win. Win.
It's not the A's version of Moneyball. They're not trying to get baserunners. They're getting Yankee Baserunners, which are people who run around the bases after they hit the ball and it goes over the fence.

You know what else is different about these games, aside from the fact it looks like a 2006 fantasy autodraft? The Yankees' wins and losses aren't portrayed as microcosms of bigger issues.

If anyone on the team puts up a donut for the day with the Decoy Yankees, it's a little blip in the boxscore, less jarring than an 8th grader's i's dotted with circles.

But if anyone on the Standard Yankees put up a donut for the day--hell, if anyone put up a 1-4, with 2Ks for the day--it gets parlayed into 3-part tv-movie about the Degradation of Talent, Morals, and the Yankees' Legacy.

Every Yankee win is a function of "buying their team" or "relying too much on the long ball" or "they suck." Every Yankee loss is a harbinger of their declining empire of greatness and the price they pay for not cultivating younger farm. Every time the Yankees don't make a play, it's the first symptom of their brittle aging bones.

Now? It's a win. Or it's a loss. There aren't theories or subtext or allegories. There are just very strange box scores, and there is a blithe excitement every time I check to see who the clean-up batter du Jour is. You know that one of these days we're going to see Gardner there. It's happening.

I really don't know how anyone (professionally) writing about these games can do it with a straight face. Or at least with some kind of paranthetical Editor's Note. It's like writing "Posada's suicide squeeze in the 11th was his 5th steal in as many chances." That's it. No comment? No anything?

No one is THAT objective that he can write about the fact Vernon Wells is the leading homerun guy in the AL. Or that the Yankees' longball tradition is being carried out by Lyle Overbay, Wells, and Travis Hafner.

Or that the Yankees are playing some strange iteration of what has been called "small ball," yet produces line scores like these:

The Yankees won 9-4, with 13 hits, while batting 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position. (Friday)

The Yankees won 5-3, with 11 hits, while batting 3 for 12 with runners in scoring position. (Saturday)

What the hell is small ball anyway. It's not hitting homeruns, yeah? It's getting base hits and bringing runners in with singles etc? How is that small? Everything about that is bigger. The number of hits. The number of runners. The duration of the game (usually). The overall team BA. Usually the number of opposing pitchers seen. The pitch count.

Everything is abbreviated in "long ball." The only thing long about it (pause) is the distance the ball goes.

So our long-small-medium sized game of ball is driven by the off-season pick-ups that threw most Yankee fans into a tailspin. Which makes me feel less stupid about flapping my arms and protesting their utility and overall relevance in the world.

Yeah, I will freely admit that at each of these acquisitions, I roared and exchanged, "I KNOW! Are they kidding me??" head shakes with all the other Yankee fans in the office, who--like most sports fans--spent the offseason using Hallway Hot Stove shorthand.*

*One to two word phrases or names said in passing, that substitute for long discussions that require coworkers to stop walking, come to full stop, engage in dialogue of indeterminate length. For example:

"YOUK." Doesn't skip beat in walk to Xerox.
"UGH." Continues walk to get purple pens.

This replaces an involved discourse on what both coworkers thought about the Youkilis acquisition.

Time is money.

And during my own HHSS moments, I had the same grunt response for the each of the "PRONK." "Wells." "Overbay?!" walk-bys.

But apparently, it's true. "Senior citizens, though slow and dangerous behind the wheel, can still serve a purpose."

34, 35, 36. Those are their ages. I turned 32 end of March and I was in bar bathroom, my sister being all "AHH! It's her birthday!", and all the other girls crammed in the bathroom were shrieking, "AHH! We love birthdays! Happy birthday!! How old are you??"


Brief hesitation. Then:

"Well, you go, girl! Seriously, I hope I'm still raging when I'm that old. God bless ya. Seriously, good for you for still going out at that age and just being like cool with it."

Soo..I guess I sort of do the same thing with baseball players, maybe. If you don't get a rookie whose voice is still in the throes of plummeting down a few octaves, then you're a moron of a manager. If you pick up someone who's been playing ball a few years and doing it pretty well, you may as well be playing Russian roulette.

You have the same chances of a 35-year old pick-up panning out on the favorable side, as you do asking a drunk person at the bar to watch your beer while you go to the bathroom.

I'm getting such an enormous kick out all of this. Not the winning, although it's true my tv would be getting all the kicks if they were losing, but the whole "Replacements" movie element of it all.

For some reason I've been hesitant to make that comparison, probably because I don't like it when motley crues of sports team beat well-oiled machine teams, in the movies or in real life. It just promotes irreverance and undervalues organization and cohesion.

Or maybe it's because nothing good can come out of an analogy that calls for weaving Keanu Reeves into the mix.

Whatever, too late now. No one is going to come out and say that they don't want Jeter/Tex/Grandy healthy and back to playing like they're capable of etc. (Ok, and if Arod wasn't Arod, everyone would want the great hitter and fielder that won us the 2009 WS. I don't want Arod back because he makes everyone angry, and because he's like a walking rheumatism.)

So while I'm not going to start hoping the DL starts doubling as a hospice, I like the Decoys. And I hope a movie is made out of them, with Gene Hackman as Girardi. And I want the janitor from Rudy to play some Yankee Stadium worker who pops in scenes once in a while, to have some kind of inspirational relationship with Cervelli or Sneach. He can even use the same lines as he did in Rudy.

Senescit justis modis essendi anni miris. Et ego intentio esse miris diu.


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