The Funk Phenomenon

         The beep came, as expected.  It had been yet another banner travel day in America.  I spent most of the day in Boston, and I was supposed to be on the 3:30 shuttle back to LaGuardia, which would have got me in at around 4:30.  Yet here it was, 9:15, and we had just touched down.  Don’t ask…  So this beep was going to be my voicemail telling me my car number.  But it wasn’t.  It was a text from Petey Goods, saying “They s*ck.  Wifflemania is more exciting.”  ‘No way’, I thought, exasperated.  I checked the score.  It was 0-0 in the fifth.  Believe it or not, I wasn’t worried.  I really thought they would win.  Just like last night, I was convinced they were going to win that game.  I’m not sure why.  I know, better than anyone, I think, how futile they are in close games.  And by the time I got back to Brooklyn, and got the next text from Petey Goods that said, “They should all be shot,” I was truly surprised. 

        So what exactly is it that made me think they were going to pull out a game that was close late?  I have no idea.  Maybe it’s just force of habit.  The Yankees are a better team than the Orioles.  That can’t be disputed; I don’t care what happened yesterday or today.  And generally, in a close game, you like the better team to pull it off.  So maybe that’s it.  Of course, the later you go in a tie game, the home team has more of an advantage, but that will only go so far if you have the less talented team.  And I guess I figured the runs were due to come.  Well, aren’t they?  As I stressed the other day, they are second in runs scored (at least they were two nights ago, and I’m too miserable to look up whether they still are).  So they’re going to get their runs somewhere.  They just are.  And generally I think I have a pretty good feel for the Yankees ability and inability to score runs.  They just don’t go that long without scoring runs.  Their absolute max in their worst funks over the last few years has been around 15 or 16 innings.  And then they usually pound out of it.  And the O’s are truly terrible.  So I guess I just figured the O’s were on very borrowed time.  I guess…

         So just because it’s fun, let’s examine.  The Yankees have scored five runs in their last 35 innings.  And they scored 5 runs in 27 innings in Colorado.  That’s 10 runs in what amounts to the equivalent of about 7 games.  And then they had that one 12-inning stretch in San Fran when they scored 10 runs.  They can rip off five runs in an inning without batting an eye.  But somehow, then, they can’t.  And they’ve had losing snaps of 7-in-a-row, 5-of-7, and 7-of-8.  But they had a winning streak of 9 games, the second-longest of the Torre era.  The Orioles couldn’t put together a 9-game winning streak.  Neither could most of the teams in baseball.  But the Yankees have that ability.  They are fifth in the league in run differential, right up among all of these division leaders and playoff teams.  Yet they are three games under .500.  They are a team of drastic contrasts, a polarized dichotomy.  It truly doesn’t make any sense.  If anything sticks out, it’s the close games, which, as you guys may have noticed, I’ve become obsessed with.  I don’t know if there is a reason for it; in fact I probably don’t think there is one, even though I know people love to assign reasons to everything.  I rather think it’s just a startling, random, confluence of events.            

         I didn’t see any of the game tonight, so I really have no idea how things went down.  Anything further than “not good,” anyway.  But whatever it was, I’ve seen it all before.

         So indulge me here.  I know they didn’t lose this game by one or two runs, but I’m going to illustrate my favorite stat for you guys one more time anyway, just to see if I can get any of you guys as excited (and not in a good way) about it as I am.  Let’s say George Steinbrenner ran over one of the gypsies from the Stephen King movie Thinner.  And the curse they put on him was that, for the first three months of the season, the Yankees wouldn’t get credit for a win unless they won by three runs or more.  But because gypsies just like to mess with you, they said he could have a pass on six games.  They were allowed six wins if they won by less than three, but just six.  Once they hit six, they would have to win by three or more to get credit for the win.  Until the all-star break.  And, as you guys all know because of the anticlimactic way I’ve presented it, their record would be the exact same as it is right now.  Where’s Joe Mantagna when you need him…. So try that little nugget out on your friends…  That is, if your friends are dorks who are obsessed with the Yankees/baseball.  You know….like us…..some of us….

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12 comments

  1. luckyleftie300@aol.com

    I think the reason the one run and two run losses are so startling is that like you said the Yanks are good enough to win. I hope when they get it going it isn’t too late and they aren’t playing for nothing late in the season, in a upset but hopeful mood, go Yanks.

  2. gjp7231@yahoo.com

    I’m dangerously close to calling time-of-death on this season. Its not as simple as going out and getting 1 or 2 position players or a bullpen lefty or even injuries anymore. Its just a collective half-hearted effort. Would someone in the Yankee dugout please take a bat to the water cooler, overturn the post-game buffet, exchange haymakers with a teammate or sleep with Jeter’s girlfriend…something…anything…just to let me know that someone on this team cares????

  3. Reid

    haha, that’s great – if Steinbrenner ran over a gypsy. Which reminds me, I was talking with my dad the other day and we were trying to figure out what, exactly, happened to the big man. Wasn’t he kicked out of the game for some period of time back in the 90’s for driving the team into the ground? I’m sure you can help me out with that.

    By the way, we’ve moved, and we’re essentially all settled in. Have to make some color changes on the new site and stuff but I think the post formatting is already better. And no censorship. Any suggestions would be appreciated, of course.

    -Reid

    http://ballhouse.blogspot.com

  4. h8nbos10@hotmail.com

    “Would someone in the Yankee dugout please take a bat to the water cooler, overturn the post-game buffet, exchange haymakers with a teammate or sleep with Jeter’s girlfriend…something…anything”

    I’ve actually been thinking this, too. I’d like to see a little Bronx Zoo starting up this summer. A-rod and Jeter jawing, a couple good bench-clearers, Mussina not giving Torre the ball… something. Just enough to dent Torre’s Madame Tussaud Waxworks version of the Yankees so that we can finally be rid of him next year.

    (NOW he lets Rivera pitch?)

  5. happymediums@msn.com

    If Big Stein were to run over a gypsy I bet you we would see a graphic stating the payroll differential between he and the unfortuate gypsy.

    Thinner? Dude, where does your mind wander on any given day? That reference would have Dennis Miller asking around what in the world you meant. I get it though. I guess that makes you and I uber-nerds.

    Reid, the big man was suspended by MLB in the late 80’s early 90’s for associating with known gamblers in an attempt to dig up some dirt on Dave Winfield. I’m a lifelong Yankee fan and I will be the first to admit that the Boss is a bonafide loon.

  6. miwil36@ny-yankees.net

    I didn’t see the Game either I was in Mansfield at “Rush”- I did see that Mo got his work in (like Geoff said) shutout game he’s pitching. Game on the line why bother puting him in? Is Joe begging to be fired? I don’t want to micro manage the guy, but I find myself more and more asking WHY Joe WHY.

  7. skysurfer172@gmail.com

    Let’s dig up Billy Martin and re-bury him in a pet cemetery and 24 hours later, get him a cab to the Bronx so he can get the Zoo going again ala Reggie Jackson and Catfish Hunter.

    Who’s with me?

    Oh, and sorry I’m not participating much in the comments this season – new company is keeping me crazy busy – BUT I still read it every day!

  8. happymediums@msn.com

    “The Funk Phenomenon” sounds like a band I would love to see. All they need is Bootsy Collins and I am set

  9. time2gojoe@gmail.com

    Of all of the disappointments of this season, and we all know there are tons.. the biggest will be losing Alex Rodriquez when this season is over. If we could have played to our potential, with the way he is swinging the bat this year, well…. I just hate to see him go, but you can’t even blame him for leaving. For all the abuse he has taken, he is one of the few bright spots this season, and is carrying this team.

  10. wrrasmussen@comcast.net

    The ONLY way this team has a chance is to light a fire under the players. Joe’s too damned nice. Nice guys finish last, they say. He needs to go, and we need, oh boy do we EVER need a guy like crazy Billy Martin. And yes, let’s see Allie mix it up with Jeter. ANYTHING !!!!! PLEASE.
    This team is starting to be a joke. And ya know what, maybe Donnie Baseball and Guidry need to go, too. Hey, they were great players, but coaches ????? Thank God the TV cameras are pointed to the field, **** if they were pointed at the bench, I’d fall asleep all the time (just like “Clueless” Joe) ….remember that headline?

    Joe, get out now, while you still can remember the glory years you had…you’re the wrong guy for this team. And, IMO, anybody that doesn’t see that has rose-colored glasses on, ala Ralph Houk (anybody remember him ??)

    It’s not early any more guys. Heads should roll….

    Ras #45

  11. wrrasmussen@comcast.net

    Taken from another Yankee blog…

    Let’s get a life a have a few laughs….

    Ultimate Banter

    Thursday, June 28, 2007

    Fixing The Yankees!

    “I don’t create controversies. They’re there long before I open my mouth. I just bring them to your attention.” ~ Charles Barkley ~

    Yankee fans, are you frustrated? Do you want to scream as you watch our BLOWPEN walk the entire MLB player roster? Are you baffled by the stagnant Bomber bats as they whiff more than they wow? Do you want to trade the entire clubhouse for a player to be named later, fire the manager, or punch the broadcasting team? Well, if you’re like most Yanks fans, chances are the answer to those questions will be a resounding YES!

    While the rest of the league is laughing at us out of pure hatred and a tinge of jealousy for our previous success…we sit night after night praying for our $200 million dollar men to step up, turn the corner, burn the jets and go full steam ahead. But instead, all we’ve been treated to is total of 2 weeks worth of digestible play.

    Critics will call us pushy, demanding and spoiled. But that Yankee bandwagon was awfully full in the late 90’s when the Bronx Bombers were kicking ***. Now, people are jumping off left and right and I say…hold your horses.

    Before you write off the most successful franchise in the history of professional sports, let’s show the world what Yankee fans are truly made of! After all, New York City, and the entire tri-state area is a goldmine of activity, creativity and relativity. We need to flex our muscles and let our voices be heard…if these players don’t want to step up and make it happen, perhaps us fans can light the spark and inspire some change.

    Please join, me, Tiffany L. Berryman, former Ultimate Roadtripper and scorned reality princess… for a BURN THE ******** Bonfire Extravaganza! Unlike these last few games, this will surely be a night that you’ll never forget! Share in some good old-fashioned fun, food and fantastic baseball memories as we bridge the gap to mediocrity.

    Attendees are encouraged to bring one jersey (either home or away) of their once favorite Yankee player to toss in the fire at midnight. We’ve all made impulse puchases at one time or another…Perhaps you were once high on Andy Phillips or Josh Phelps and wanted to buy their authentic apparel, ‘before they really blew up’… Perhaps Mr. Cabrera was your boy last season and you now have a plethora of “GOT MELKY” t-shirts cluttering up your closet. Maybe you once believed that Robinson Cano wanted to hustle, that Kyle Farnsworth’s tough-guy routine would translate into strikeouts, or that Bobby Abreu would dive for a ball. Whatever your pain…as the team dips below .500…there’s no room for silly pride now! Get rid of the dead weight dragging down your ability to be a good fan, clear your karma and come on down!

    VIP guests will be give special cardboard player cutouts to also set aflame. Players include but are not limited to Bernie Williams (for punking out), Bobby Abreu, Kyle Farnsworth, Brian ‘Base-on-Balls’ Bruney and The Dr. of Defeat himself, Mr. Scott Proctor. (I know I’ve been hard on Scotty these last few days but it’s only because I really expected better from him. But that’s no secret.)

    To take this proactive professional fan thing one step further, I will also be hosting the first annual “YANKEE PANKY CARNIVAL” later this month to raise the funds needed to support A-ROD’s contract extension …I know that most have already written Mr. Rodriguez off and have him playing next season for everyone from the Angels to the Cubs but I say we’ve got to do something-anything to keep the big bat here! Otherwise, on top of looking for starting pitching, reliable bullpen help and a first baseman…we’ll need a third baseman too! And who wants to deal with that mess?

    So join me for a night of Yankee Panky (the G-rated kind)….Come see Kyle Farnsworth as the guy who throws the big knives and Scott Proctor as the guy who gets the knives thrown at him, Brian Bruney as the bearded lady, and marvel at Jason Giambi…the world’s most sweaty (Ugh, I mean strongest) man. There’s something for everyone at the Yankee Panky Carnival! Participate in the official A-ROD Beauty pageant…where the only contestant is Mr. Rodriguez himself. Visit the special Derek Jeter Kissing Booth which is sure to be a huge draw for the fans, female and male alike!

    The biggest event of the night will be the “MAKE JOE TORRE MAD” contest… where participants desperately try anything they can to get a reaction out of the stoic stone-faced manager.

    Volunteer to work the Jorge Posada’s “Wife Is Hot” Information Booth, the Johnny Damon Tequilla Shot Stop, or the Wil Nieves “How Did He Get Here” VIP Lounge.

    Forget Fan Fest, forget stammering around at batting practice, trying to get autographs, forget making inspirational signs on poster board hoping to get on TV. The BURN THE ******** BONFIRE Extravaganza and first annual Yankee Panky Carnival are only ways for true Yankee fans to make their voices heard! So put down the DVD collection from the 1998 World Series, stop whining and sign-up today!

    (It’s official…I have lost my ever-loving mind! Losing *****…)

    Posted by Tiffany L. Berryman at 1:54 PM 0 comments

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