BOONE MUST GO

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“BULL” ALLEN

WPCNR VIEW FROM THE UPPER DECK. By “Bull” Allen. August 21, 2022:

It is too late.

The confidence has been shattered.

The team goes through the motions.

The New York Yankee collapse is in free fall.

For the second straight season Aaron Boone has continued to refuse to learn from his mistakes of last year.

I’m sitting in the old Yankee Stadium WPIX BOOTH, looking out on the Field of Champions in the late night. The sound of beer cups being popped by fans taking last looks at the Field of Champions, the echoing green of greatness, where the ghosts of Ruth, Gehrig, Joe D., The Mick, Hank Bauer, Bobby Richardson, The Moose, Yogi, Elston, Enos Slaughter, Whitey, The Bulldog, Mel Stottlemyre, Raschi, Lopat, Maris,  Lazzeri, Crosetti, Meusel, Dickey cavorted and play in memory. I’m smoking a White Owl Wallop, and sipping a Ballantine slow. Remembering and seeing my old team fade into infamy and laughter and ridicule.

In my day, no teams ridiculed the Yankees. When you came to “The Stadium” in New York every player, every fan knew it was Yankee Stadium. They gave you the standard by which you were measured against.

No more.

For the second straight season the General Manager Brian Cashman has banked on unproven high priced talent that specialize in hitting homeruns with the bases empty.

Why are the bases empty? They strike out a lot swinging for the fences and rarely get on in front of the home run hitters with the .240 batting averages.

You could say that this is not the manager’s fault. He’s not responsible for hitters failing to hit.

Well no, but they are 4 and 15 since the All-Star Break. They cannot score runs.

Where did that .700 ball team as John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman my savvy successors in the Yankee booth point out every inning of every broadcast. I must say despite every sentence they say being sponsored, their slow involved pace reminiscent of a couple married a long time, eases the pain and the dispair of this unfolding debacle that has stunned the baseball world’s eyes on them.

The Yankee Collapse is the big story in sports. The ultimate argument for the balance of baseball.

I remember 1965 when the Yankees collapsed and finished last.  Johnny Keane had taken over managing and he took over an old group of champions from 1964. The bottom dropped out and Keane had a very short tenure as Yankee manager. But they were still good, just aging up, slightly past their prime.

The Yankees are a team based on analytics. But baseball is execution in all phases of the game. It is situational. You have to be able to put the ball in play at key times, not strike out. You have to move the runners. Make pitches to spots. Avert walks. defense intelligently. So many things. When the home run is glamorized like the long pass in football (at the expense of the short pass) is stressed, the same thing has happened. The Yankees wanted power throughout the lineup they had that then, a funny thing has happened. They were scouted heavy. The strikeout of the free swinger, with high gas and junk and God knows what new mystery pitches are getting out. The weakness of the hitters are being exploited and every team who plays them knows it.

But the collapse of 1965 was not proportionate to this one. I can never remember when the Yankees lost this many games this badly.

The collapse all but assures the Yankees will not resign Aaron Judge. Judge is trying to carry the team, but he has to think if he has any desire to remain with the Bronx Bombers, how is the team going  to change next year. Management always has to prove they are right.

The Yankees are about to play the Upstart Mets. Slowly becoming the darlings of the sycophantic sports press what there is of it. I mean I am tired of articles about golf, soccer, misbehaving quarterbacks

The Mets are beating everyone in sight in the National League East. But they too are feeling the long season: a 10 game lead over the Bravos?We got this.

Well that 10-game lead is now 3 games. Atlanta has won 9 of the last 10. They know the Mets at 5-5 are struggling they can smell first place.

 The Mets rent-a-pitching staff takes a leaf right out of the Yankee playbook. And De Grom has already indicated he’s going to free agent. The Mets will try for Judge, if Judge wants to stay in New York. The Mets should sweep the Yankees badly, but the Yankees could surprise. It’s baseball. If they do surprise and take 2 of 3, they could turn things around. But taking the Met Series is not going to change things.

The weakness of an unbalanced offensive lineup will remain and continue to put an undue burden on starters to go longer into games, work harder. Cole has had a mixed season. Every starter has had mixed seasons.

Since Manager Boone has followed the Sparky Anderson of  pitching staff by bullpen which Anderson used in the 1970s, (when he had the best lineup in the National League, but only won 4 times, 1970, 1973, 1975 and 1976 time, Boone has showed that without adequate reliable starters, the bullpen no matter how “durable” gets overworked. Their arms get tired and they become inconsistent. Boone has a knack for putting the wrong pitchers in at the wrong times. The Yankees have lost many games with poor bullpenning in the final frames against bad teams. The losses to the Orioles in the beginning month. The inconsistency of Chapman kept despite the fact they knew he was inconsistent. 

The hitters carried them to 70 wins by the All Star Break. They now have 73.  3 and 15 since the Break. Yankee fans filling the stadium have been very supportive. The Yankees have very loyal fans.

The Yankee 14 game lead  over Toronto is 7 games. It’s 8 games over Tampa Bay.  Even Baltimore at 10-1/2 and Boston at 13 games could overtake them.

What New York needed was  two strong pitchers. But the pitcher acquired from Oakland  pitching staff has not delivered as expected. This often happens when you pick up players expected to fill a hole, when they are used to playing in games that do not matter, well they have to adjust to the pressure of every team hating you because you are the Yankees. It is tough to step up to that pressure. The kid will. Baseball is pressure.

But the inconsistency of the lineup, the Molotov cocktail throwers in the bullpen will continue to throw gasoline cocktals on rallies and ignite them, not snuff them. Bedraggled, overused and used in unfamiliar spots, consistently failing to hold leads or coughing up the run that puts a game out of reach as Abreu did yesterday with a 408 foot home run into Monument Park (the old monuments) is a good example of that. It turned a 2-run lead (surmountable with a Sterling “Bloop and a Blast,” ) into a 3-run lead. This happens a lot now. It was particularly visible in the 9-7 “Slog” in the Bronx a week ago on a 100 degree humid day a 4 and a half hour 9 inning game. The bullpen just could not plug the gap the way they used to.

Now, there is no precedent in 119 years of Yankee baseball, for this kind of Yankee collapse.

If the Yankees continue this pace, and drop out of the lead and the playoffs, the 2022 Yankees will become a part of baseball lore, stuff of dread.

Lore the Yankee franchise has never had a part of ever. The lore of a catastrophic loss (with the exceptions of the hideous loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1960 after having a 3 run lead in the 8th, AND the Yankee loss to the Florida Marlins in 2003 in the 9th), has never been a stigma attached to the franchise on the playing field.

The Yankee collapse-in-progress is similar to that the “Phillie Fade-out” of 1964.

I was reminded of this by Suzyn Waldman the best prepared  color commentatorette on the air yesterday in the 8th inning when she recalled the 1964 Phil Linz harmonica playing that provoked Yogi Berra’s tirade that sparked a 30-7 finish that won the pennant. Suzyn, thank you for that. And I salute your unfaltering analysis of the Yankee debacle in progress. Listening to Suzyn and John is pleasant, lazy like baseball, punctuated by flares of excitement and drama. They never upcut each other and unlike the babble of most baseball announcing teams, they are always interesting and audible, not having pileups of comments on top of each other.

If the collapse goes into freefall, the Yankees and Aaron Boone will be recalled by sportscasters of the future saying on EBN (The Eternal Baseball Network):

“This,  Harry Kalas, is so much like the 1964 Phillies collapse of  1964, when the Phillies had a 6 game lead with 10 games to play and lost all 10 games, Philadelphia has never forgotten it.”

“Absolutely, Vin. I will never forget it. I saw it, we were a great club:  Tony Taylor, Johnny Callison, Dick Allen, Wes Covington, Tony Gonzalez, Clay Dalrymple, Coolie Rojas, Bobby Wine Ruben Amaro. Pitchers in the starting rotation that could pitch: Jim Bunning (19-8), Chris Short (17-9) Art Mahaffey(12-9) Ray Culp (8-7), and great reliefers  Jack Baldschun ( 6-9, 21 saves) and  Ed Roebuck  5-3 (12 Saves).”

I can hear them saying that in the decades in the future.

The 2022 Yankees will be remembered as a team that disindegrated from .700 ball the first half to .200 ball the second half. The 2022 season will be remembered in New York as the Yankee Collapse year.

The team that wins the World Series will be overshadowed by this flawed team.

The hitting has not been able to be corrected. The manager rarely plays for one run (moving the runners, by bunt, hitting to the right side, stealing, hit and run), and batting his best hitters Kiner-Felafa and Trevino who get on base at the bottom of the lineup.

I’ve having three Ballentines tonight if Toronto beats them again today

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