Real winter was far preferable to the discontented winter of now. Between ski trips and football, I would talk hot stove and pennants, full of hope and optimism like the time when I was in high school and thought that Model U.N. would actually help me meet women. In February, my fondest expressions of my optimism was "when do pitchers and catchers report?" along with "bring on the season so we can talk about something real", all the while having forgotten that reality has a way of kicking you in the biscuits.
In what has been a difficult season for the Yankees and their fans, the last two weeks have been times that truly try one's soul. The team is in a tight spot, wedged with their fans deep down a well. It watches Toronto beat the tar out of it and puts the lotion in the basket or it gets the hose. Any illusions that the Yankees in their current form were ever capable of making the playoffs let alone win the division are vanishing like Vicodin from my friend's medicine cabinet, which he really should keep locked if he had any sense of responsibility. However, rather than wallow in despair, self-pity, and the renumeration from team luminaries of our daily self-affirmations such as "We've been scuffling for a while now and we need to get wins", "We're going to battle", and "I believe in the talent on this ballclub", it is time to come up with real solutions to the problems facing the team to lift us out of this depression.
Problem: The Yankees are in last place.
Solution: This one was so surprisingly easy, I can not believe it has not yet been done. George Steinbrenner buys the D-Rays, Cubs and Brewers. The Yankees and Tampa Bay move to the NL Central, while the Cubs and Brewers move to the AL East. This won't cost much more than the money saved after ARod walks (or runs) away next season; the Cubs, perennial losers of the most likeable caliber, are up for sale as the Tribune company wants out of the mess they've made there, and how much can the SatanFish and BeerMakers be worth in cash money? Okay, throw in a season's worth of Giambucks. Bang! Just like that, the Yankees are in second place, tied with the 'Stros and D-Rays and a mere half-game behind the Pirates in a hotly-contested race for NL Central supremacy. Besides, if it still doesn't work out with the Yanks, you now have three other bunches of losers to root for.
Solution, alternate: Swap the entire roster with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Let's see those Buffalo Bisons cling to their precious two-game lead while facing the likes of major-league (I've been told) pitching and hitting. The Yanks are already in last, and if you judge performance by record as opposed to Pythagorean touchy-feely intellectualizing, they are the worst team in the AL East. That's the best part about absolutes such as "last" and "worst"; it is, by definition, impossible to get "laster" or "worster", so revel in the completeness. Also, imagine the confusion and trepidation as Yankee opponents face, for the first time, the talents of heretofore unknown but obviously successful young bucks (SWB is a .551 team, after all) such as Chris Britton, Chase Wright, T. J. Beam, Colter Bean, and Sean Henn.
Problem: I have realized that Joe Torre appears to be at a loss with the offense. I had this epiphany last night following the latest travesty in Toronto, when I deciphered Torre's cryptic statement, "I'm at a loss with the offense."
Solution: Change the team motto. "Pride, Power, and Pinstripes" is obviously putting way too much pressure on the players. From now on, just call it "Pinstripes." There's the added benefit that now when watching the Yankee offense, fans will already know that it will be similar to watching closed-circuit coverage of an insurance convention. No false expectations built up, like what happens when you are flipping channels on cable and come across a movie you know has a steamy nude scene only to realize right before the really good part that it's on TNT.
Problem: Everyone agrees somewhere someone should get fired, and keep them coming, because it would make us feel good in the same way as when the handsome, rich guy at work gets his car impounded. Noone can agree on who should fire whom and where or when they should axe 'em, and don't try to pay us off by booting the gym coach again.
Randy Levine with Randy Jackson
Brian Cashman with Donald Trump
Joe Torre with Simon Cowell
Ron Guidry with Paula Abdul
Somebody's giving up runs like coffee at an AA meeting? Paula runs out to the mound and tells him how much she appreciates his spirit and his effort. But what if he continues to suck? Cowell doesn't even leave the bench. He just leans forward and announces over the P.A., "Who told you that you could be a pitcher? Why have you wasted the last eight years of your life? You should throw clay for a living, because a cheap flower pot sitting on a table would be tougher to hit than your fastball." In the seventh inning stretch, fans would text message to YES Network on who gets cut, and Mr. Trump would deliver the final blow after the game over the strains of Frank Sinatra. There's an added benefit that certain of our counterpart Sox fans who enjoy the schadenfreude of the Yankees' plight can now ingest that delicious pleasure while meeting the obligations of their required household television viewing.
Thanks for taking the time to consider real solutions to real problems. Regardless of what happens, I'll still be watching and walking that road to recovery, offering up the kingdom for that white horse to make it an easier ride. But there's yet another problem: It will take more than one.