New York Yankees

Mandel’s Musings: Matt Carpenter May be the Joe Hardy of This Generation (look up Joe Hardy, young’ns)

by Scott Mandel

Matt Carpenter, the long-time Cardinals star, was out of baseball at age 36. He had lost his swing. He couldn’t hit anymore. It was time to pack up his stuff and go home.

A month before he became a multiposition sensation for the best team in baseball, the New York Yankees, Carpenter planned his retirement tour. He had told himself before the season began that if after a month with the Texas Rangers’ Triple A affiliate, the Round Rock Express, he had not been promoted to the major leagues, he would go home and spend time with his wife, Mackenzie, and their two young children.

Six weeks in, Carpenter realized no call-up was imminent.

On May 19, he requested his release from Round Rock, and he drove home to Fort Worth, where he parked himself on his couch. His agent emailed about half the league, letting them know his client was available, but Carpenter had made peace with an unceremonious end to an 11-year career in which he made three All-Star teams, won a Silver Slugger at second base and four times received MVP votes.

Two months later Carpenter sits in the Yankees’ dugout and cocks his head. “The thing that’s so confusing to me,” he says, “is that nobody responded [except] the best team in baseball.”

That’s not quite right: A few teams, including Atlanta and the Red Sox, reached out but could only offer spots in Triple A, and Carpenter had already decided he “wasn’t just gonna put my family on the back burner to play minor league baseball,” he says. Still, New York was the only team that was prepared to add him to the major league roster immediately.

Carpenter was ready to hang it up rather than continue to play in the minor leagues

Tonight, by some sheer miracle, Matt Carpenter, now of the New York Yankees is playing in his 30th game as a Yankee. Tonight, he has so far hit two home runs against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium in front of a packed house. Carpenter’s 12th and 13th homers in these 30 games just set a franchise record. No other Yankee player, and that includes Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, and Mickey Mantle, in history had ever hit that many home runs in their first 30 games.

Welcome back to baseball, Matt Carpenter. Maybe Joe Hardy from Damn Yankees really does exist. Hardy made a deal with the devil granting him one last wish. Maybe Joe Hardy, I mean Matt Carpenter wished to become a Yankee. And, to become the biggest star in New York, hell, in baseball, for one last half season of the thrill of his lifetime, before old Matt Carpenter goes back home.

Yankees Early Season Roster Filled with Hope And Prayers for Health. Otherwise…..

By Scott Mandel

I like the 28-man 2022 Yankees roster:

The pitching staff is stuffed with arms, now counting at 16 pitchers, five starters, 11 relievers. That means, only three bench players/pinch hitters (including the backup catcher)

Let’s break it down.

Starters:

RHP Gerrit Cole; RHP Luis Severino; LHP Jordan Montgomery; RHP Jameson Taillon and LHP Nestor Cortes

Bullpen:

RHP Miguel Castro; LHP Aroldis Chapman; RHP Chad Green; RHP Clay Holmes; RHP Jonathan Loaisiga; LHP Lucas Luetge; RHP Michael King; RHP Ron Marinaccio; LHP Wandy Peralta; JP Sears and Clarke Schmidt.

Note: Schmidt and Michael King and Luis Gil will step in as starters in case of injury. All talented kids with upper 90s velocity.

Yankees' Luis Severino pitches four scoreless innings
Luis Severino has missed most of past three seasons

Infield:

1B Anthony Rizzo; 2B Gleyber Torres; SS Isiah Kiner-Falefa; 3B Josh Donaldson; INF DJ LeMahieu and Marwin Gonzalez.

Note: Need for a backup shortstop is still there, with Gleyber, below average shortstop defensively, the current option to move over from second base.

Outfield:

RF Aaron Judge; CF Aaron Hicks; LF Joey Gallo and OF/DH Giancarlo Stanton.

Note: Lots of strikeouts, home runs, and injury histories in this outfield. Big IFS but if they stay healthy, lots of run production

Catchers:

Kyle Higashioka and Jose Trevino.

Note: DEE-FENSE!!

Plus, the Yankees just re-acquired Greg Bird, once a star-to-be before injuries took over. He’ll start at Scranton. I suspect his lefty power bat will be an important part of this major league season for the Pinstripes. He’s a good kid, someone Aaron Judge once described as the best hitter in the Yankee organization.

Jim Bouton, Star Pitcher of Yankees in Early 1960s, Dies at 80

by Scott Mandel

Saddened to learn of the passing of one of my favorites, Jim “Bulldog” Bouton, an excellent right-handed pitcher for the Yankees in the 60s. Bulldog, who came over the top on all of his pitches, always lost his cap on the follow-through after firing fastballs. He won 21 games in ’63 and 18 more the next season. 

Jim pitched a memorable game three in the 1963 World Series for the Yanks in ’63 in a duel against Don Drysdale of the Dodgers. Drysdale pitched a three-hit shutout in a 1-0 victory, Bouton giving up just four hits for the Yankees. The only run scored in the first inning on a walk, wild pitch and single by Tommy Davis that bounced off the pitching mound.

Bouton won both his starts in the 1964 World Series. He beat the St. Louis Cardinals 2-1 with a complete-game six-hitter on Oct. 10 on a walk-off home run by Mickey Mantle, then won again on Oct. 14 at Busch Stadium, 8-3, backed by another Mantle homer and a Joe Pepitone grand slam.

Jim was a big-game pitcher but he will always be more famous for writing the best baseball book ever, Ball Four, which changed the sport and how it was covered, off the field, when he secretly chronicled his 1969 season with the Seattle Pilots. The notion of what goes on in the clubhouse shall remain in the clubhouse was blown to bits by Bouton’s hilarious recollections of his Yankee years. Mickey Mantle, in particular, didn’t forgive Bulldog for many years for sharing Mickey’s late night escapades with the world. The Yankees never invited him back for Old-Timer’s Days. They should have. 

Jim Bouton

Rest in peace, Bulldog. Jim was 80 years old. Thanks for making a kid’s earliest years as a baseball fan exciting.