This four-game streak is false hope. If history repeats itself, two steps ahead will be followed by three steps back. That's not a winning formula. Maybe this posturing to stand pat is just a ploy. "We believe we can get there with this team, so we're not selling...unless we get blown away." If they're right, by July 30th, teams will be ready to blow them away. The Chicago Cubs, for example, are one top notch closer from running away with it. And who is the top closer? Why it's Aroldis Chapman, of course. Unless it's Andrew Miller. "Uh, Mr. Cashman, here's the deed to the farm." Could happen.
So for the next 10 days, the rumor mill will be the most interesting stories around.
Best line of the week
While watching Oriole third baseman Ryan Flaherty hit, the Yankee broadcast crew asked their partner John "Flash" Flaherty if Ryan was any relation. Flash, a perennial bench warmer in his playing days replied, "No, no relation. The only relation is that he's batting ninth."
You can't. It's our last hope.
Joe Torre recently issued a directive telling managers NOT to argue balls and strikes, as it slows down the game and impacts the integrity of the sport. Instant replay has all but eliminated arguments on plays in the field, so what's left? Instant replay has shown us that umpires are right over 90% of the time. However, unofficial replay by the networks show us that ball and strike calls are missed far more often. It's illegal to argue those calls, but players and managers have consistently chirped away from the dugout when an umpire has consistently made calls that disagree with their take on the pitches. Usually, both sides will complain which tells you that maybe the umpire is wrong. The problem arises when the umpire develops "rabbit ears," and feels he has to throw someone out, which is the worst solution. Has Torre been away from the game that long that he forgot this?
Girardi has been turned loose
The Yanks have to go on a huge winning streak if they are to have any chance. If they can't, Joe Girardi's job may be in jeopardy. He's actually changed the line up, going against what players have been used to, regardless of the toes he may be stepping on. Switching Gardner & Ellsbury, benching A-Rod, trusting the other pieces of the bullpen, and letting pitchers go beyond that magical 100 pitch count. I guess he figured it can't hurt anymore. As my dad used to say, "If you're gonna lose the hand, you might as well deal the cards."
Let's fix the game...even the parts that don't need it.
The Talk show, Mike & Mike in the Morning, recently conducted an informal poll asking fans to call in suggestions on how to improve baseball. Some suggestions were pretty good, such as two actual double headers (two games, one ticket) for each team per season. Or release managers from the idea that everybody on an all-star team HAS to play.
Some ideas are not so great. Shorten games to seven innings. Okay, for the second game of a double header, but that's all. Or add a concession item to each ticket such as a hot dog as part of the purchase price. Ever eaten a ball park hot dog? Will teams be able to resist increasing the ticket price to cover the cost? You can't expect the Yankees to absorb the cost of the hot dog, even in $1250 seats.
The rest of the dream team
The catcher chosen was Johnny Bench. Hard to argue that one, but the 2nd man was Josh Gibson. Probably a great player, but he never played in a major league game so it's hard to evaluate his abilities. Yogi Berra is probably a better pick.
The right handed pitcher was Walter Johnson with Pedro Martinez as #2. Two good choices.
The lefty chosen was Sandy Koufax. Those of us who saw him pitch know this was correct. #2 was Randy Johnson. You could do worse, but other lefties would fit, too.
** Even though the Mets have a better record by two games, the Yankees are closer to first place in their respective divisions than the Mets. George Steinbrenner would be so proud.
** All five teams in the NL West are sporting losing streaks, led by the Giants 5 in a row.
** Despite the fact that they are 41/2 games out of first, the Dodgers lead all of baseball in attendance, averaging over 44,700 fans per game. Tampa Bay has the lowest, drawing a meager 16,600 per game.
** Who would have thunk it? A-Rod will DH and hit seventh today while Didi Gregorius will hit sixth.
** The Korean All Star game featured a Bunting contest as part of the festivities. MLB players said, "Bunt? What's a bunt?"
***THEY SAID IT***
"According to a new study, up to 10 elbows a day world-wide are thrown out taking selfies. Only 10? Gordie Howe would throw more elbows in practice." -- RJ Currie
" Omaha, Neb., has landed the U.S. Olympic curling trials in 2017. Officials say the event could pump as much as another $327 into the local economy.” -- Jim Barach
"He told me you have to play hard all the time,” minor leaguer and future Twin Miguel Sano in 2013 told the Hartford Courant. Who is “he”? Robinson Cano, apparently the same Robinson Cano who for nine seasons with the Yankees we watched jog to first base." -- Phil Mushnick
" The Big 12 is thinking of expanding in football, from 10 teams to 12. Arithmetic, what a concept." -- Janice Hough
"Last week, in Spain, matador Victor Barrio was gored to death by a bull. What a barbaric sport! Now to the latest cage-fighting highlights." -- Phil Mushnick
"Omaha is hosting the Olympic Curling trials. Apparently that's an athletic event." -- Brad Dickson