We all know the Arizona law will not be held up when it reaches the Supreme Court. (Unless some Republican President gets the chance to load up the Supreme Court with more horrible lunatics like Scalia.)
So this is small-town d-bags pandering to small-mind voters in an…
“When you are hurting, there will always be people who find a way to make it about themselves. If you break your wrist, they’ll complain about a sprained ankle. If you are sad, they’re sadder. If you’re asking for help, they’ll demand more attention. Here is a fact: I was in a hospital and sobbing into my palms when a woman approached me and asked why I was making so much noise and I managed to stutter that my best friend shot himself in the head and now he was 100% certified dead and she made this little grunt and had the nerve to tell me, “Well now you made me sad.” When you get angry, there are going to be people who ask you to shut up and sit down, and they’re not going to do it nicely. Theirs are the faces that turn bright red before you have a chance to finish your sentence. They won’t ask you to explain yourself. They’ll be mad that you’re mad and that will be their whole reason alone. Here is a fact: I was in an alleyway a few weeks ago, stroking my friend’s back as she vomited fourteen tequila shots. “I hate men,” she wheezed as her sides heaved, “I hate all of them.” I braided her hair so it wouldn’t get caught in the mess. I didn’t correct her and reply that she does in fact love her father and her little brother too, that there are strangers she has yet to meet that will be better for her than any of her shitty ex-boyfriends, that half of our group of friends identifies as male - I could hear each of her bruises in those words and I didn’t ask her to soften the blow when she was trying to buff them out of her skin. She doesn’t hate all men. She never did. She had the misfortune to be overheard by a drunk guy in an ill-fitting suit, a boy trying to look like a man and leering down my dress as he stormed towards us. “Fuck you, lady,” he said, “Fuck you. Not all men are evil, you know.” “Thanks,” I told him dryly, pulling on her hand, trying to get her inside again, “See you.” He followed us. Wouldn’t stop shouting. How dare she get mad. How dare she was hurting. “It’s hard for me too!” he yowled after us. “With fuckers like you, how’s a guy supposed to live?” Here’s a fact: my father is Cuban and my genes repeat his. Once one of my teachers looked at my heritage and said, “Your skin doesn’t look dirty enough to be a Mexican.” When my cheeks grew pink and my tongue dried up, someone else in the classroom stood up. “You can’t say that,” he said, “That’s fucking racist. We could report you for that.” Our teacher turned vicious. “You wanna fail this class? Go ahead. Report me. I was joking. It’s my word against yours. I hate kids like you. You think you’ve got all the power - you don’t. I do.” Later that kid and I became close friends and we skipped class to do anything else and the two of us were lying on our backs staring up at the sky and as we talked about that moment, he sighed, “I hate white people.” His girlfriend is white and so is his mom. I reached out until my fingers were resting in the warmth of his palm. He spoke up each time our teacher said something shitty. He failed the class. I stayed silent. I got the A but I wish that I didn’t. Here is a fact: I think gender is a social construct and people that want to tell others what defines it just haven’t done their homework. I personally happen to have the luck of the draw and am the same gender as my sex, which basically just means society leaves me alone about this one particular thing. Until I met Alex, who said he hated cis people. My throat closed up. I’m not good at confrontation. I avoided him because I didn’t want to bother him. One day I was going on a walk and I found him behind our school, bleeding out of the side of his mouth. The only thing I really know is how to patch people up. He winced when the antibacterial cream went across his new wounds. “I hate cis people,” he said weakly. I looked at him and pushed his hair back from his head. “I understand why you do.” Here is a fact: anger is a secondary emotion. Anger is how people stop themselves from hurting. Anger is how people stop themselves by empathizing. It is easy for the drunken man to be mad at my friend. If he says “Hey, fuck you, lady,” he doesn’t have to worry about what’s so wrong about men. It’s easy for my teacher to fail the kids who speak up. If we’re just smart-ass students, it’s not his fault we fuck up. It’s easy for me to hate Alex for labeling me as dangerous when I’ve never hurt someone a day in my life. But I’m safe in my skin and his life is at risk just by going to the bathroom. I understand why he says things like that. I finally do. There’s a difference between the spread of hatred and the frustration of people who are hurting. The thing is, when you are broken, there will always be someone who says “I’m worse, stop talking.” There will always be people who are mad you’re trying to steal the attention. There will always be people who get mad at the same time as you do - they hate being challenged. It changes the rules. I say I hate all Mondays but my sister was born on one and she’s the greatest joy I have ever known. I say I hate brown but it’s really just the word and how it turns your mouth down - the colour is my hair and my eyes and my favorite sweater. I say I hate pineapple but I still try it again every Easter, just to see if it stings less this year. It’s okay to be sad when you hear someone generalize a group you’re in. But instead of assuming they’re evil and filled with hatred, maybe ask them why they think that way - who knows, you might just end up with a new and kind friend.”
By telling the oppressed that their anger is unjustified, you allow the oppression to continue. I know it’s hard to stay calm. I know it’s scary. But you’re coming from the safe place and they aren’t. Just please … Try to be more understanding. /// r.i.d (via inkskinned)
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Light must oppose Dark. The creation of an enemy army was pretty much required. Besides, it was fun!
We talked about the Black Knight in the last installment. The other villain characters were assembled from various Castle and Pirate sets as the heroes were.
The fellow in the black helmet and bearing the hatchet was my version of the Sheriff of Nottingham. The hatless fellow on the right would be Prince John. As the morality here was painted with a broad brush, eyepatch signified evil.
This structure served as a de facto command center. It was haunted, to add a dash of extra fun.
No army can lay siege without artillery. Here’s the heavy catapult.
It was backed up by a pair of light catapults.
I never found the Siege Tower, but it would have nicely rounded out this army, even though the figures that came with it would have ended up fighting against it.
The Black Knight’s Castle was on my wish list as well, but it also proved elusive.
But I certainly can’t complain. The Dark Army proved to be a formidable threat.
This was the point for me. The possibilities now were nearly endless.
A great castle, filled with noble knights, faced with a horde of vicious warriors.
Archers, cavalry, infantry, siege weapons, vehicles, spies, and the castle itself.
The heavy cavalry preparing to charge.
The archers survey the scene from on high.
The Dark Army flanks on the right…
…and the left!
One of King Richard’s wagons observes the scene.
The second wagon watches the left flank.
Inside, the White Knight assembles the cavalry.
King Richard plans his strategy with Prince Hal and Princess Diana.
Outside, Prince John and The Sheriff meet with their old nemesis, Robin Hood.
That’s a lot of play options, don’t you think?
And this is simply the most straightforward scenario.
Either army could occupy the castle. Robin and his men might need to raid all that treasure. King Richard might have to re-take his stronghold from the Dark Army. And so on.
Not even taking into account what other sets could bring to the equation.
Here’s what a couple figures from an entirely different set can add. Implausible, yes.
When he’s old enough, my son will enjoy this, if he wants it.
Because in the end, my parents showed me how much I meant to them with this gift. They showed me that imagination was important, and encouraged creativity.
I was from a small town where a young man collecting toys was frowned upon. Mom and Dad let me know that this was okay. Be who you are, as long as you aren’t hurting anyone.
For the horseback riders, I switched out pieces to give the knights themed colors.
Then I backed them up with some heavy cavalry.
I swapped out pieces and kit-bashed a little to create the White Knight.
This guy would only report to King Richard and his children.
I created these characters as well. I based King Richard loosely on Richard the Lionheart. It fit the theme. His children’s names were Hal and Diana.
They were created from spare Knight, Pirates, and even Space sets for their facial expressions and other details.
I also picked up smaller sets to accessorize, like the Prisoner Transport.
Note that the mini-figs have been moved around and switched out. I long ago lost track of which knights came with which set.
Another wagon, this one transporting treasure.
These were smaller sets, including one figure with his treasure cart.
Naturally that’s a lot of gold to be walking around with. Thus, armed escorts.
The early nineties saw releases of Castle mini-figure sets. I bought several. They included the figures I would turn into Robin Hood and The Merry Men.
These characters were sold by Lego as Forest People. I switched out heads from the Pirates sets to make them resemble Robin and his band.
Robin allied with Richard the Lionheart, so it made sense his band stuck by the castle. I added forestry in front of the castle to signify this.
There was no need to pit either camp against each other, especially with unsavory types like The Wolfpack around.
Clear villains, the Wolfpack only had a few sets. Their smuggler wagon could lift up, revealing stolen treasure.
This set was originally intended as simple peasants, preceding the Forest People or Wolfpack. That was no fun, so I made them spies, in league with the craven Wolfpack.
The peasants riding the wagon came in mini-figure expansion packs with blank smiley faces. I switched them out to Pirate faces. Lego released the first Wolfpack sets shortly after that, with the same faces I was using.
But certainly, a couple of wagons with a handful of jerks wouldn’t present that big of a problem to the combined forces of King Richard and Robin Hood.
But oh my, that’s an imposing figure in the foreground. With a black sword?
Here is the Dread Dark Lord, the Black Knight. The Wolfpack is reporting to him!
Like his counterpart, the White Knight, Dark Lord was kit bashed from other sets. Pirate flags for his lance, and a black Spaceman provided the body to get the gloves for an all-over dark look.
His second flies the colors of an entirely new army. Foreboding.
Athletes and sports fans alike are famous for being superstitious, and baseball is no different. Perhaps you have a little ritual before a game or a playoff series. If you don’t then you know someone who does.
We look for signs. For good luck. Something to give us hope. We’ve taken the liberty of examining portents and omens for you in order to determine how likely the Yankees are of securing Ring 28. We have found a few.
The hashtag Yankee fans need to get trending this season is #2814. For the 28th Championship in 2014. 28 in ‘14. Get it? #2814
The first sign is something many others have thought of; the last time the Yankees missed the playoffs in 2008, they roared back to win it all in 2009. They picked up a few big name free agents in that off season to help them win the trophy. Sounds familiar. Check.
Derek Jeter has been feeling better than he has been in a while. Chances are very good that the Captain is nearing the end of his career. But before he broke his ankle in the 2012 ALCS, he was playing as the young man that led the Yankees to the top in the nineties.
While it’s a stretch to think he could repeat that this season, Jeter is never a player you should count out. If anyone is capable of rallying this team to win it all, it’s him. We’ve seen him do this again and again. The Captain’s will to win is indomitable. It’s certainly probable that the team will rally around Jeter.
Will. Willpower. Okay, here’s where we stretch, but superstition is not based on reason. Sometimes even the most tangentially related things become good luck charms. Rally monkey anyone?
Regular readers remember our piece not long ago playing with the concept of the Yankees as superheroes. Derek Jeter was assigned Green Lantern, as both derive their imaginative plays from their willpower. Green Lantern acquires his power through a ring. Derek Jeter proves his power by acquiring a ring. The parallels are obvious.
Now I won’t bother hiding my nerd card here. Regular readers know I love comic books and video-games as well as baseball. My personal favorite when it comes to superheroes is Green Lantern, just like my personal favorite from the Yankees is Derek Jeter. I have read about them both for years.
That’s how I know Green Lantern is a Yankee fan. We saw him attend a game at Yankee Stadium in Green Lantern: Rebirth #1. But it was during the story Infinite Crisis, he proved his loyalty. With universes colliding; all on the brink of destruction; multiple versions of our planet whirling about a ship carrying the Justice League to a make-or-break gambit to stave off certain death; there was Green Lantern, thinking about Opening Day.
There are many Green Lanterns of course. To be one, all you have to do is be honest and brave. Face your fears and overcome them, and the ring is yours. The galaxies are divided into sectors to be guarded by Green Lanterns. The sector of the universe that contains Earth?
It’s sector #2814.
So I call upon the baseball gods to heed these signs. This article will be released on Saturday, February 8th, 2014. That’s 2/8/14. I wear my Green Lantern ring today, in Sector #2814. I will use the hashtag #2814 however I can. I will combine all these powers to bring luck to the Yankees, however I can. I beseech you to join me.
After all, as the commercial goes, it’s only weird if it doesn’t work.
We conservatives are sick of our messaging constantly being distorted by the “liberal” media. So we are going to lay out our platform for you to see why we are True Americans. This should finally end any and all dissension against us.
There are far too many regulations restricting Big Business. We need to remove these, and let businesses run free, because that’s capitalism and what America’s all about. Free market! Yeah!
So what if a company poisons the water of over 300, 000 people in West Virginia? So what if a fertilizer plant explodes in Texas? Oh sure, neither facility had been inspected in years, but that’s what freedom is about!
Regulations are bad because they are costly and time consuming. Lives are a lot cheaper to waste than dollars. Besides, you can’t send corporations to jail, because corporations are not people.
Oh, wait, corporations are in fact people, just not in cases where they can be held liable for criminal negligence. Sorry about that, but them’s the breaks. We get to do what we want without regulations and walk away from anything we mess up. As long as we’re making money, that’s what matters.
Big Business makes America great. Why without these “job creators” this nation would suffer a depressed economy. Just think how bad things would be if big box chains like WalMart didn’t shut down all the small businesses around them. Oh, we’re all about competition, just don’t compete against us or we’ll destroy you. Yay! Free Market!
Living wage? Ha ha ha! We don’t need one of those! It’s easy to get a job, and if employers could pay you even less, they should! And then they wouldn’t need to send all their manufacturing overseas where people die in factory collapses while working for pennies! That can be you instead! All about competition, you know! America! Love it or leave it!
That’s why the Affordable Health Care Act (henceforth referred to as “Obamacare” to remind everyone that the black guy did it) must be stopped! Competition! Free Market! Nobody ever gets screwed over there!
The Health Insurance Industry and HMOs have always had the best interests of the public at heart. It’s not as if they abandon people when they are needed the most! Or refuse coverage to the sick and injured! We need to go back to the way things were before, when the only people who were covered were the right ones, the ones with all the money.
We can’t let the government provide health care for illegal immigrants! This has nothing to do with Obamacare, but we are going to keep screaming about it anyway! No government involvement in any health care at all!
Unless you want an abortion, then we are going to be all up in your grill. Even if you don’t want an abortion, but just access to the many and varied aspects of women’s reproductive health care, we will just call you “child murderer” and publically shame you.
We know when life begins because God tells us! Scientific theories? Those are just theories. You are going to have to provide way more evidence than that. Don’t question my Faith! You don’t need evidence for that!
We have Freedom of Religion! That means we get to make policies based on our beliefs, and if you don’t believe what we do, then you can just get out of this country for trying to oppress us with your beliefs!
The GOP is the Party of God. We live according to His principles. No, not heal the sick, feed the poor, or pray in private, but Free Market! Screw over the other guy before he screws over you! That’s the way to get along! That’s what America was built on! You don’t like it? Leave!
That and guns! Guns guns guns! The Second Amendment is unassailable! Never mind the “Well Regulated Militia” part, we will hit upon “Shall Not Be Infringed” over and over and over! Why use the whole Amendment when just part of it will do? Pick and choose, just like we do from the Bible! It’s our God Given Right!
No background checks! No registry! We should be able to own bazookas if we want to! Without the good guy with a gun there would be shootings every day! Criminals don’t follow laws, so we will work with the Gun Lobbies to undermine whatever regulations there are so we can say laws don’t work!
Too bad about all those dead kids, though. If they were unborn, maybe we could help. In the meantime, let’s make them work for their school lunch if they’re poor. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps kids! Go get a job at WalMart. The line might not be so long for that today.
Oh, you need help eating? You can’t find a job? Too bad! You fail! It’s not the job of government to look after people! Help yourselves! Say goodbye to SNAP. Veteran’s benefits? Why would they need those? We love the veterans! We say it all the time! So we don’t have to actually help them. It’s not like we talked them into fighting for us or anything.
Real Americans stand on their own and need no help from anyone. Wait, our de-regulated Texas fertilizer plant just exploded? Obama, give us financial aid now! OMG it’s snowing! Why haven’t the roads been cleared? Hurricane Sandy hit New York? Yeah that’s too bad for them. That’s a Liberal cesspool of criminals and druggies. America would be better off without them.
Drugs are bad, m’kay? If you’re a drug addict then you are a bad person with serious moral failings and you need to go to prison. Unless you’re a conservative talk show host or a Republican Congressman. Then you have an illness and everyone has to pray for your recovery.
Don’t talk trash about us or our policies. We will demand you be fired like Martin Bashir! We will blacklist you faster than the Dixie Chicks! How dare you utter hatred in this country! Can’t you stand views other than your own? You don’t like this country, you can leave it!
We are sick of you Liberal communists. We can say that we hate the gays and illegal immigrants and women are helpless to their own sluttiness because Free Speech allows us to! How dare you impugn our First Amendment Rights! You don’t deserve to be part of this country! You should leave!
What it comes down to is this; We Are Right. We are right. Let’s call this W.A.R. for short. When you think about conservatives, just think W.A.R. Conservatives are all about W.A.R. Foreign policy? W.A.R. Women? W.A.R. Immigration? W.A.R. Guns? W.A.R. Going to disagree with us? W.A.R.
To sum up conservatives and all their policies are all about W.A.R. And if you don’t like that, you can leave the country.
With the Yankees’ signing of coveted pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, memes erupted all over the web. Tanaka was everywhere. Let’s track the phenomenon.
Our friend BigRalf BxnyYankees was responsible for the most prevalent photo manipulation meme. It was used in many initial reports of Tanaka’s signing:
Regular readers will remember BigRalf’s skills from our superhero piece. Certainly, he has now carved a name for himself in Yankees’ meme history. That was made evident by how quickly his picture was copied and used in others’ works.
Sergio A Holfmanns did a fun variation:
So did our friend Stripes (not his real name):
And Pinstripe Alley expounded upon it:
BigRalf’s wasn’t the only good photoshop. This very site did a nice one of its own:
Then there was the baseball card, unknown artist at this time:
Even this writer took a shot:
To sum up, the signing of Masahiro Tanaka by New York got the entire online community excited. Furthermore, it put the baseball world on notice. The general feeling was that Yankee fans are confident again.
New York is home to superheroes. The Avengers, Spider-Man, and the Fantastic Four all live in NYC. Gotham City and Metropolis are both based on the Big Apple. New York is synonymous with both superheroes and the Yankees. So what if we combined them?
It’s a far more natural combination than one would expect. Comic books and baseball cards are old friends. They may come from two different worlds but so do chocolate and peanut butter. That mixture has turned out pretty well. This positively exudes “fun.” Baseball is a game after all, and if you can’t have fun with baseball, what’s the point?
"What If," by the way, was a Marvel Comics title that played with possibilities. The series would take existing stories and tweak one element to see how differently it would have turned out. For example, what if Wolverine from the X-Men joined S.H.I.E.L.D. Stuff like that. "What If" needed to be in this title.
The following images were created by BigRalf BxnyYankees. BigRalf is a Major League Yankee fan and artist extraordinaire. This article would not be possible without him.
Thank you BigRalf! Without your talent and dedication, this article wouldn’t nearly be so satisfying to work on, and now to look at. You. Are. Awesome.
1) Alfonso Soriano/Iron Man
Iron Man is a technical genius who built a nigh-indestructible suit of armor. That suit allows him to keep fighting no matter what hits him. He commands it’s powerful weapons and uses his affable and easy going personality to keep his fellow heroes on his side.
Alfonso Soriano is also a technical genius at the plate. He has a great history of timely hits, and continues to find ways to play at the Major League level no matter what position he plays. Fonzie is also a tonic in the dressing room, using his own affable personality to help keep his team-mates loose and effective.
You can’t spell S-O-R-I-A-N-O without I-R-O-N, after all.
Although slight in stature, Spider-Man is faster and far stronger than he looks. Tremendously agile, Spidey keeps NYC safe from evil-doers. His keen and inventive mind creates wonders like his famous web shooters among other gadgets.
Spidey’s most endearing characteristic is how he forever comes off as an underdog while using his powers, dedication, and drive to persevere again and again. All of this under the scrutiny of the newspaper the Daily Bugle, who constantly portrays him as a bad guy, and even a threat to New York. Yet Spidey fights on. He won’t quit until he’s dead.
Ichiro isn’t a big guy. But he gets it done. He is still faster than most, can still hit a ball, and his baseball sense is still keen. He still has a cannon from the outfield. A ball thrown from Ichiro comes in fast enough to look like Spidey’s webbing.
People are constantly counting Ichiro out. They say he’s too old. That he didn’t really make 3000 hits. That he should be traded. He lives under the media microscope too. There is no quit in him either. He doesn’t let negative press affect him.
When was the last time you heard a report about Ichiro complaining about his life? Asking everyone to leave him alone? You didn’t. He bears the burden of responsibility like a hero.
3) CC Sabathia/The Punisher
The Punisher is the ultimate seeker of vengeance. The murder of his family motivated this highly trained veteran weapons specialist to search out and destroy the criminal and the callous. No character in all of the superhero genre intimidates like The Punisher can. He can erase you at any time.
CC Sabathia will be looking for payback this year. Certainly, he doesn’t display an overly vengeful personality, but he is famously motivated by his family, community, and career. He is now an elite veteran, and his pitches are his weapons.
Many people talked trash about CC last year. He has been working out hard in the off-season, and will be straining at the leash to prove them wrong. It’s hard to imagine any other pitcher capable of intimidating batters as CC could.
Sabathia will be on a mission to erase as many hitters as he can and punish his critics.
4) Brian McCann/Captain America
Steve Rogers always wanted to wear an American uniform. Born small, Rogers tried again and again to join the Army. But it wasn’t until he underwent the Super-Soldier treatment that he could. He was then given his iconic shield and armored suit.
Rogers went on to be Captain America, leading his fellow heroes against the forces of evil. Cap was the glue needed to keep the powerful, yet eclectic mix of characters in The Avengers focused on their goals. Together, they were all able to defend against any threat, and avenge any wrong.
As he said during his introductory press conference, Brian McCann has wanted to be a Yankee for some time, calling joining the team “one of the best days of my life.” Iconic suit to represent America? One cannot do better than a Yankees uniform. The name is synonymous with “America.” Uncle Sam’s top hat is a team logo. Never mind the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Yankees are really America’s Team.
Now, McCann is charged with managing his pitching staff. Separately talented, each Starter is highly individual, making for a disparate group. Brian will need to form a cohesive unit of heroes from what is right now a big question mark. And there is nobody better suited to the job.
5) David Robertson/Mister Miracle
Perhaps the least familiar of the superheroes listed, Mister Miracle is unique among all of them. Sporting a flashy costume even by comic book standards, Miracle is a born showman. His gimmick? He is a super escape artist.
His adventures were a surreal mix of science fiction soap opera fused with a circus sideshow. Miracle was invariably trapped in a life-threatening situation that he’d need to get out of in order to save the day.
He was so good at it that he earned membership to the fabled Justice League, and more than once was the difference in avoiding galactic cataclysm. Oh and just for fun, Mr. Miracle is the heir to an all-powerful cosmic entity.
David Robertson’s nickname? Houdini. You probably know where this is going. D-Rob has a knack for getting out of jams. While racking up the Holds and Ws, D-Rob heads up his High Socks For Hope charity. This organization has, amongst other good deeds, aided relief efforts in Oklahoma when it was devastated by tornadoes.
Robertson cemented his spot with the fabled Yankees by staving off cataclysmic innings. D-Rob is also heir to an all-powerful entity, Mariano Rivera.
6) Mark Teixeira/Thor
The legendary Viking God of Thunder himself. Thor was known for his great strength and ability to control the weather around him. Armed with his mighty hammer Mjolnir, Thor is a legendary warrior, who has had many adventures in ancient and modern lands, winning battles entirely by himself.
His strength and abilities led to overconfidence, and Thor’s father Odin decided to strip him of his power and send him to live on Earth as an ordinary mortal man. This taught Thor humility, compassion, and a new appreciation for his own power. Because of this, Thor became a greater hero than he already was.
Mark Teixeira is also known for his great strength. He holds the MLB record for the most games with homers hit from both sides of the plate, with 13. That will certainly control the atmosphere of the game around him, if not the weather. Armed with three Silver Slugger awards, Tex has waged campaigns through Texas and Atlanta, winning games entirely by himself.
The Baseball Gods seemed to see fit to sit Tex for a while. He missed the vast majority of last season with a wrist injury. Forced to sit and watch with the rest of us mortals, Tex is looking forward to once again become the irresistible force he is known for being.
One side note; it is frequently intimated in the comics and now the movies that Thor highly respects Captain America. It was even alluded that he fought alongside Cap in a previous life. Tex played with our Cap, Brian McCann, in Atlanta for many years before they reunited in the Bronx.
See how perfectly that works?
7) Jacoby Ellsbury/Daredevil
Fast, smart, highly trained, and possessing a “radar sense,” allowing him to sense and track objects, people, and the environment around him without looking, this is a highly effective hero. Daredevil, for those who don’t know, is blind. He patrols Hell’s Kitchen to keep it safe.
This hero has had a turbulent and troubled past. He has fallen in love with a red-clad assassin, Elektra, who has helped bring him both triumph and pain. As a result, DD has gotten mixed up with all kinds of unsavory sorts. More than once, DD has found himself fighting alongside some real jerks as he learned the tricks of his trade.
Jacoby Ellsbury isn’t blind of course, but he is fast, highly trained, and a skilled outfielder when it comes to tracking down fly balls. He sure appears to have a “radar sense” from time to time. He uses it to patrol the outfield and keep it safe.
Ellsbury comes from Boston, home to plenty of red-clad assassins, and he has soared with them and suffered tremendous injuries. Unsavory sorts, indeed. But the days of unshaven team-mates who look as if they don’t shower are behind him. Ellsbury now uses his powers for good, tempered in the fires of the enemy.
If Yankees fans can be blind to their Boston prejudices, Jacoby will reward them with his heroics.
8) Hiroki Kuroda/Hawkeye
Hawkeye has multiple origins. He was a sideshow superstar. He was a criminal, and then he reformed. He was a government agent whose skill and talents were so amazing he began using a bow simply to challenge himself. He has even disguised himself as a ninja, taking the name “Ronin,” Japanese for “Masterless Samurai.”
What is constant about Hawkeye is that he gets his moniker for his deadly aim. Despite his various back stories, what got him membership to The Avengers was his ability. Period.
Hiroki Kuroda has had a well traveled career, lending itself to as many defining moments as Hawkeye’s origins. He won the Olympic Bronze Medal with Team Japan in 2004. He pitched for Nippon Professional Baseball for 10 years, winning both the 2005 Best Nine Award, and the 2006 NPB ERA Champion.
Kuroda would continue on to the MLB. He signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers before coming to the Bronx. Kuroda’s deadly aim has also remained consistent, and he sports a 3.5 Strikeout-to-Walk ratio.
His aim is true, and has served him well enough to bring him to Yankee Stadium to be a Super-Hiro!
9) Brett Gardner/The Flash
The Fastest Man Alive. The Flash wins battles with his blazing speed. He can hit you before you even realize it, and be a mile away when you get up. Many heroes have taken up the mantle of The Flash. There has been a Flash fighting the good fight since before World War II, and by all accounts there will be one continuing the battle into the future.
It’s easy to see the correlation. Brett Gardner is a speedster. He hits and he runs. He makes spectacular, dare I say “Flashy” catches. He even looks like the most famous Flash, Barry Allen.
Brett may not have been the first speedy batter on the Yankees, and realistically, he won’t be the last. But what Gardner brings is indispensable. Speed kills. Fast and Furious. Hit and Run. Fundamentals.
This particular write up wrapped up in a Flash!
10) Derek Jeter/Green Lantern
Never mind that garbage pile of a movie, as superheroes go it’s tough to top Green Lantern. A Green Lantern is chosen by the Guardians of the Universe for their bravery and honesty. In other words, if you are a good person, you can be a Green Lantern.
Green Lantern’s ring brings your imagination to life. Widely considered the most powerful weapon in the universe, the Power Ring is fueled by the wearer’s will. The stronger the hero’s willpower, the more powerful the Green Lantern.
Derek Jeter is no stranger to wearing rings. He has quite a few. He won them with imaginative plays; the face first dive into the stands; the first base line interception of an outfield throw and flip to home to save the game. His indomitable will to win was put on display again and again.
His bravery is unquestioned. The face first dive proved that. When was the last time Derek Jeter was involved in a scandal? Ever? No. He is the consummate Yankee, comporting himself with the easy grace and dignity befitting the Pinstripes. Nobody else could wear a Green Lantern ring.
One last thing; the sector of the universe Earth’s Green Lantern is assigned to protect is designated as Sector 2814. As in Ring 28 in ‘14? That is a good way to look at it.
There you have it. A pantheon of heroes operating out of a fantastic headquarters in New York City, facing down garishly clad opponents every day. Superheroes and baseball have more in common than you think.
And ultimately, none of this matters as long as we have one Yankee superhero show up on a regular basis. One that any Bronx Bomber could channel. Who would that be? Who else!
It's About Heart, Not Hometown: Bleeding Yankee Bluenoser
Two snowmobiles pulled into the gas station as we came out of the coffee shop. Nobody batted an eye as their riders took turns filling the tanks while cars waited patiently behind them. Well, almost nobody. The woman from New York City raised her eyebrows quizzically.
We were in Nova Scotia, my wife and I. We had brought our son to my childhood stomping grounds in the Annapolis Valley for his first Christmas. I had brought us to the local Tim Horton’s coffee shop to experience a bit of Canadiana. The ski-doos were the cherry on top of an ubiquitous sundae of the nation’s rural culture.
"You’re from Nova Scotia? How can YOU be a Yankee fan? You ain’t no real fan. You don’t know nothin’!"
One wouldn’t expect to find New York Yankee fans in such a locale as this. Especially during the winter. When it comes to sports, when you say “Canada” you are answered with “hockey.” As you should be. Especially in Nova Scotia, where Windsor is widely acknowledged as it’s birthplace.
Hockey is King. Television coverage lives and breathes the sport. The World Junior Hockey Championships take center stage over the holidays. All talk mainly revolves around Team Canada. Hats and jerseys for the squad are everywhere.
Add to this the World Under-17 Championships, taking place right in Nova Scotia; the Spengler Cup in Europe; the NHL Heritage Classic outdoor game, which would set an attendance record for the sport; and a much hyped Original Six matchup between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the New York Rangers on the most holy of Canadian programs, Hockey Night in Canada, and baseball almost never gets a mention.
"You don’t know nothin’ about baseball. All you know is hockey, right?"
And yet baseball isn’t that hard to find. Canada has a quietly proud pedigree on the diamond. Jackie Robinson played in Montreal before coming to Brooklyn. Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run in Toronto. Ferguson Jenkins. Larry Walker. Justin Morneau. Russell Martin. Joey Votto.
Baseball Nova Scotia is active year round and gives many kids the opportunity to play the game competitively all over North America. It has yet to produce the same caliber superstars as the province has done for hockey, but the passion for baseball is very real. Nova Scotia is small but it’s heart is very big.
Baseball is on television in Canada every day. The Blue Jays get national coverage, as did the Montreal Expos at one time. Even now, with the frenzy for hockey at it’s thickest, sports stations play classic MLB games in the afternoon. Like the 1977 Yankees World Series. Even after all these years, Reggie Jackson gives you chills. Leave it to Mr. October to casually take center stage during a hockey mad week in a hockey mad country.
"Get a load of this guy! Yeah you might look the part, kid, but you ain’t a real fan. You’re just dressed the part."
The fields where my father and I often had catches are covered with snow. Instead he pulls my son through them in a new sled. Biting cold Nova Scotian winters prevents baseball from gaining greater prevalence. But baseball is a game about heart. If you have the heart, it doesn’t matter what season it is. It doesn’t matter where you come from.
I inherited my love of baseball, and my love for the Yankees. Too old to play hockey well now, I can still catch and throw. And every now and again I can still see the ball just right, and make it go far away. That satisfying smack. That feeling. You know the one, it says that you don’t have to run. There is nothing else like it. Your heart leaps and then glows.
Baseball fans are all over Canada. They have been here for generations, and Nova Scotia is no different. The province is just far enough away, just secluded enough, to have no real MLB home team. The argument could be made for the Blue Jays, and their ball caps do dot the population here and there, but they aren’t all you see. The Montreal Expos are still popular. The Pittsburgh Pirates are here, the old pillboxes popping up from time to time. And the Yankees have a presence too.
The last time I saw my grandfather before leaving for New York City he asked me to send him a Yankee hat from the Stadium. He played ball as a young man. The game was in his blood too. In his heart.
I have cheered for the Yankees all of my life. Because it was common in Nova Scotia for everyone to have their own favorite team, it was natural that everyone got along well regardless of who their team was. Good natured teasing, but nothing nasty. Favorite teams normally were affiliated to your family, not your hometown. You wore your heart on your sleeve when you flew your colors.
"You gotta be kidding me! I’m surprised your hat ain’t pink!"
During that first trip to the Stadium, I told the wrong guy where I was from. He razzed me relentlessly. According to him, I was a poser. Not authentic. You know his type, every fan-base has guys like him. The louts. The boors. The bullies. Guys like this are who Yankee haters trot out to illustrate that Bombers fans are jerks. You expect treatment like that in Fenway, not at The Stadium.
Of the two of us, he was not the one who waited patiently for twenty years to make their long pilgrimage to the House that Ruth Built. He was mocking a fellow fan, a completely new concept to me. What kind of family was he from? He did not represent the Yankees to me. You need class, at the very least, to wear these Pinstripes right. You need heart.
Heart is not determined by geography. Location is unimportant next to passion. Those from New York are not all necessarily Yankee fans, so therefore Yankee fans do not all necessarily come from New York. How else do you explain Mets fans?
If you ride another Yankee fan simply because they don’t come from New York, then you are the one who is not authentic. If a heart beats Yankee Blue, then that heart can be from anywhere. If that fan has waited all their life for this game, and has travelled from far away, then they have just as much, if not more heart, than you. Mocking them for not being from your neighborhood is… well… Heartless.
Since that day, there have been extra efforts put into making out of town fans feel welcome. The guy with the Yankee hat who can barely speak English gets a smile and a handshake. Anyone in Yankees gear with a map and a lost look about them gets helped out. You don’t know their story, but they have come to New York to be part of the family. They should be treated with respect.
And if they’re from Boston wearing Yankees jerseys? Buy them beer.
Nova Scotia made it’s bones on the sea. Fishing. Shipping. And back in the day, maritime racing. The most famous ship in all of Canada, let alone Nova Scotia, was the schooner named “The Bluenose.” It’s picture is on the dime. It won so many championships, it made Nova Scotia the King of it’s day. Even now, Nova Scotians are known as “Bluenosers.” They are famous for traveling far and wide, and for their hospitality.
So I take this opportunity to reach out to our extended Yankees family members, wherever you are. You are all welcome in New York City. Someday, perhaps, you will attend a game with a Bleeding Yankee Bluenoser.
Trade winds have picked up more power than the Polar Vortex in New York these days. Homer Bailey is the latest nom du jour. The interwebz are ablaze with Bailey buzz.
"We’re not trading (Homer Bailey.) We’re trying to sign him."
That was Reds GM Walt Jocketty regarding this whole situation. But that was last month. Specifically, it was last December 11th. But much has changed in a very short amount of time.
Since then, the Yankees have turned down Cincinnati’s Brandon Phillips offer. Adding to the mix, Bailey is up for arbitration on January 14th, and the Reds are notorious for avoiding talks of this kind with players. Now, Cincinnati is considering moving salary to re-sign Bronson Arroyo. Bailey could be on the move.
The 27 year old Bailey would be far more desirable a starter than Bronson Arroyo, still languishing in the Free Agent Pool. For starters, the potential for development is much greater in Bailey. He is nine years younger than the 36 year old Arroyo, and an experienced young arm to go with Ivan Nova would fill a great need in the Yankees’ rotation.
Money-wise, Arroyo would be looking for something in the range of 2 years for $20-25 million. Bailey would be cheaper of course, and as he’s eligible for Free Agency in 2015, a good year from him would seem to be in the cards.
When it comes to their stats, Arroyo and Bailey are almost even. Bronson had an ERA of 3.79 last season, and went 14-12. Homer is comparable, with a better ERA of 3.49, his career best, and going 11-12.
Homer Bailey would appear to be the better deal from these angles. He’s younger, cheaper, due for a good year, and comparable in ability to Bronson Arroyo. Not to mention he has thrown two MLB no-hitters, one on July 2nd of last year, against the San Francisco Giants.
What this will probably cost the Bronx to get Bailey is Brett Gardner. His name was included in the failed Phillips deal, and the Reds still covet him. While this writer would prefer to hold on to Brett, the addition of Bailey would be a boon for the Yankees’ rotation. And it’s not like New York can’t spare any outfielders, after all.
For the most part, these trade rumors are just, well, rumors. But there might be some meat to this one. This site will keep an eye on things, so keep an eye on us. BYB readers are the most well informed Yankee fans for a reason.
Can Kuroda be New York’s “Hiro” again? He was one of baseball’s best pitchers for the first three-quarters of the season last year, and sported an excellent ERA of 2.33 in mid-August. This site lauded his abilities loudly. Naturally, Hiroki ran into a wall directly thereafter, losing 7 of his next 8 starts with a horrible ERA of 6.56.
What happened? Should Yankee Blue Bloods be concerned about signing him again for $16 million? Is he a bust waiting to blow up in the Front Office’s face?
Short answer? No. The Bronx was wise to bring Kuroda back. He remains a fine pitcher who seems to have simply run into a ton of bad luck during the final quarter of the season last year.
We know this by how badly his BABIP blew up over his final 8 starts. For those unfamiliar with sabermetrics, BABIP means Batting Average on Balls In Play. This stat is very useful on determining how lucky or unlucky a pitcher is. We used it before when analyzing the performance of Matt Moore last year, for example.
Anyway, during the earlier part of Kuroda’s campaign, he posted a BABIP of .282. Over his last 8 starts it ballooned to .405. That is a substantial increase of 123 points!
What this means is Hiroki fell victim to more missed plays behind him on defense; more hard hits on mistake pitches; more grounders with eyes, etc etc etc. In short, all the good luck he’d had during his successful days of the season turned rotten.
Now this is not to say that Kuroda counts solely on luck as a pitcher. His velocity did not decrease at all during the entirety of the season. His fastball remained in the 91-93 mph range, even seeing an uptick in velocity in his final starts. Therefore his velocity is not an issue.
There also seems to be no basis for concern regarding his age. Yes, Kuroda is 38, but the Yankees have enjoyed plenty of success from older pitchers in the past. Please refer to Mike Mussina, David Wells, and some guy by the name of Andy Pettitte.
Surfing the web for opinions from baseball pundits, the general consensus is Kuroda may has well have been named “Hiroki Hard Luck” for the back portion of last season. That shouldn’t surprise anyone as that very much describes the entire team. Bats went cold, bullpens imploded, and the Yankees ran into teams steamrolling into the playoffs.
It’s tough to feel good about yourself when you score 25 runs over three games and STILL get beaten by the Red Sox. But remember, those runs would have beaten anyone else. Easily. It’s unfair to lay blame at Kuroda’s cleats when he carried the team on his back for as long as he did. He wasn’t the only one slumping, after all.
Considering all these factors, the Bronx was smart to hang on to Hiroki. It seems very likely Kuroda will return to consistently winning ways. CC Sabathia is widely expected to rebound, Ivan Nova has found his way, and Michael Pineda appears ready to take the mound at last.
It’s a good bet that Kuroda will once again be a “Hiro” in New York. And this year, he won’t be alone.
52 Reasons the Sabathias are Awesome: BYB at the MLB FanCave
Rain had mixed with snow in New York City. The streets were a cold slushy mess. Tough to get into the Holiday Spirit when your shoes have been turned to sloppy buckets of ice water due to the puddles in the street. Bah, humbug.
But once inside the MLB FanCave for CC Sabathia’s PitCCh In Foundation event, the mood lightened immediately. Brightly lit, cheerful Christmas music lilting, and friendly greetings from Kathy Jacobson.
"So nice you could make it!" Ms Jacobson exclaimed. Oh hey, no problem. Come to the FanCave and meet the Yankees’ Ace and his lovely wife Amber? Not a problem, really. Thank you! The grey cloud of grumpiness that had formed over my head dissipated.
There was CC himself, front and center. No hiding in the back for him. He was clearly happy to be there and glad to talk about his cause:
"It means a lot, just because I was one of those kids that didn’t have a whole lot, and it feels good to give back to the community. It means a lot to me. It means family. We have a lot of family out in California, and I just like being around lots of family."
Nice to hear CC talk about family. That’s kind of the theme here at BYB. Sabathia looks great by the way. He has been hitting the gym every day. This writer is not a small guy, but CC is bigger. If he weren’t so gracious and personable, he would be intimidating.
He was so gracious in fact, he allowed me to get a selfie with him while ignoring the fact I was so nervous it took me a couple fumbling tries to get the camera set up. Oh yeah, I’m a real pro.
The PitCCh In Foundation is all about giving back to the community. Their specific mission is to enrich the lives of inner city youth. It was founded by both Amber and CC, and they take a hands on personal approach in the organization’s events and activities. That would be evident tonight, as many of the children knew CC and Amber and were delighted to see them again.
This particular event was a party hosting 52 children from the Madison Square Boys & Girls Columbus Clubhouse. The number of children was to reflect the number CC wears. But in this writer’s opinion, there would seem to have been more than 52 kids hosted. At any rate, the Foundation does a lot of great work, so give them a look HERE.
Once the children arrived, the fun began in earnest. Gifts were given out, including T-Shirts from CCandy, Amber’s own label, caps and socks from Brand Jordan, shirts and Yankee hats from 4UCaps and FLY ID, and brand new 8” Samsung tablets! Then entertainment, games, and food. They even had Neiman Marcus cookies and Magnolia cupcakes!
The Sabathias mixed with the crowd all evening long. CC’s booming laugh could be heard throughout the venue. He shook hands with fans, sat and munched snacks with the children, generally having a great time. He acted like he was hanging out with family.
His wife Amber was no less gracious, giving interviews, making sure kids had their gifts, and smiling all the while. It was wonderful. They really are all about family, and knew children from previous events. This was their third year in a row giving presents to kids, after all.
Besides all the great food for everyone, there was lots of entertainment, song, and dance. They even had a dancing robot that lit up and fired dry ice onto the audience. I am not kidding. It was pretty awesome. Children and adults alike got big kick out of that. CC laughed harder than anyone.
Here’s the Sabathias with the light up dancing robot guy. Because it’s freakin’ awesome, that’s why.
The Sabathias’ charitable ways were apparent all through the room. I chatted with a young fellow named David, an aspiring broadcast journalist. CC met him in a retail store and when he found out what he was studying, he got David invited to the event. That’s a very very cool thing to do for a kid just starting out.
Eventually, it was time to go. CC and Amber stayed until the very end, making sure whoever wanted a picture got one, and smiling and speaking with everyone. The class, dignity, and generosity displayed that night made me proud that this man was a Yankee. Funny that Sabathia would pose with The Grinch, as he is the complete opposite of that character.
I said my “goodbyes” and “thank yous,” packed up my stuff and stepped into the cool night air. New York was a magical Christmas wonderland once more. My heart was bursting with pride, gratitude, and joy. No more “Bah, humbug” here.
I have never been happier to be a Yankee fan. And a member of the big Yankee family that counts all of us as members.
"You’re the best there is, kid. The worthy opponent." ~ Kevin Costner as Billy Chapel in "For Love of the Game"
Not enough noise has been made about the loss of Roy Halladay from baseball. He truly was one of the game’s great players. He demonstrated artistic ability, determination and dedication, and class and dignity beyond compare.
He should have been a Yankee.
It didn’t take him long to establish he would be great. On his very second career start in 1998, he almost had a no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers. It was broken up with two outs left in the final frame.
In 2000, he got shelled. It’s no secret that year, Roy held the dubious distinction of a 10.64 ERA. That is still the worst in MLB history for someone with at least 50 innings pitched. He was optioned to the minor leagues in Dunedin. That would have been the end of an ordinary man’s career.
Roy Halladay is not an ordinary man. He tucked into his work, made adjustments to his delivery, and fought his way back to the majors. In 2002, he went 19-7 with a 2.93 ERA. in 2003 he went 22-7 with a 3.25 ERA.
All of this was terrible news for me. I arrived in Toronto in 2002. I saw a lot of the Blue Jays, and quite a bit of Roy Halladay. As previously documented, I never attended a game Doc started that he lost. When I was there for my New York Yankees, that was bad news.
When you come up against an opponent like Halladay, it is impossible not to respect him. You see the standards he holds himself to. You see what he gives back to his community. The man is a bastion of integrity. He is honest, classy, and true.
He should have been a Yankee.
He has struggled with injuries of late. He wasn’t supposed to return last season after his shoulder surgery, but did so anyway. It wasn’t the same. Doc didn’t like what he was seeing from his arm over the last few months and decided to retire. Toronto signed him to a one day contract so that he may retire as a Blue Jay.
Roy “Doc” Halladay has a perfect game to his credit. He threw a no-hitter in the playoffs. He never quite had a team around him good enough to get him that World Series ring.
In the movie “For Love of the Game,” the main character looks after an opponent as he leaves the ballfield saying “I’ll miss you most of all, Scarecrow.” That sums up how I felt watching Roy bow out.
Worthy opponents are rare. They deserve a tip of the hat when they hang them up. At the very very least.
"This is Derek Jeter’s team. I’m excited to meet the guys and fall in line. Today’s one of the best days of my life."
Brian McCann was visibly effervescent during his introductory press conference. There was no hiding his excitement at being a Yankee. Indeed, he stated how excited he was several times.
"This organization has a history of tremendous catchers. This is one step of many we need to take this winter."
Brian Cashman had his sights set on McCann early. One tidbit that came out was how Cashman came after the catcher right after the end of the season. He presented the former Brave’s wife with a bouquet of roses and Yankee onesies for their baby, with 34 emblazoned proudly.
"I’m a big believer in run prevention, and catchers are a big part of that."
Joe Girardi introduced McCann, and presented him with his Pinstripes, joking that the onesie had already given away that Brian would wear 34. “Every number was pretty much taken,” explained McCann later, “I wore it for a friend of mine. If it worked for him, maybe it’ll work for me.”
The Manager expounded upon the importance of catchers, Girardi went on to exhort upon the production and leadership he expected McCann to provide, and joked about how he was partial to catchers regardless.
Brian McCann himself was very genuine and very humble. As Cashman and Girardi did before him, McCann talked about the Yankee tradition of great catchers. He clearly was honored to be mentioned alongside Jorge Posada, Yogi Berra, and Thurman Munson.
He went on to say how pleased he was to be re-united with Mark Teixeira, and how he looked forward to working with CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova.
"I’d be lying to you if I said I haven’t thought about that," McCann said when asked about the Short Porch in Right. His eyes gleamed as he admitted dreaming about the homers he could land there. Very encouraging.
Randy Levine, interviewed after the press conference, said “Brian McCann is one of the best signings we could have asked for.” He went on to expound how he believed he would have a monster year, and be a team leader.
The press conference was short and sweet. No real surprises. Brian McCann displayed a humble but energetic personality that would be a good fit for Pinstripes.
And there seems to be no doubt, if anyone can do a good job behind the plate, McCann can!
Andy Pettitte, it cannot be argued, was invaluable to the Yankees. He was the Bronx’s Bullpen Backbone. He brought a steadying presence to New York’s pitching corps, along with his ability and legendary status.
This season, his veteran presence will be missing. CC Sabathia can be that guy down the road, but he needs to focus on regaining his Ace status in the rotation. The more CC focuses on himself, the better. Ivan Nova? Perhaps in a few seasons. While Nova has established his worthiness as a Yankee starter, is he ready to be the leader New York needs now?
There is one man available who can bring what the Yankees will miss from Andy Pettitte. That man is Roy Halladay. There is nobody in the Free Agent Pool even close to “Doc” when it comes to experience, dedication, and yes, ability. He would immediately have the entire organization’s respect. Brian McCann would love to work with him. Think of what Doc can impart to Ivan Nova and David Phelps. To everyone on the team.
Roy is a good man. He would quickly establish himself as being a Yankee, not just someone who plays for the Yankees. New York would embrace him fiercely.
Yes, Doc had a bad season last year. He is getting older, and has suffered from injuries. But so did Andy Pettitte. And there can be no question how valuable Andy was. Halladay can be the key for New York’s pitching. And, he would be relatively cheap. The Yankees should take advantage.
Roy would be amenable to coming to the Bronx. Recent moves by the Office, acquiring Jacoby Ellsbury, Kelly Johnson, and McCann, have shown they are serious about winning. Doc does not have a World Series Ring. The Yankees could get him one and, conversely, he can help New York do the same.
This site has mentioned bringing Halladay aboard before, in Arms Race Nearly Run, and in Pitching Fits. It needs to be mentioned again and again. What Doc Halladay can bring to the Yankees is calm command. Amazing ability. Unparalleled leadership.
On a personal note, I have seen Roy Halladay pitch on many occasions. During my ten years in Toronto, he never lost a game I attended. Which means I saw him beat the Yankees often. He was the finest pitcher I witnessed in all that time. I know he’s still got it.
New York City needs to call The Doctor. He will cure what ails us.