Folks, we are officially in The Bad Times. I was depressed when the league postponed Opening Day, of course, but it’s feeling a bit worse thing week. Even though it was for an obviously good, science-supported public health reason, it is still very unfortunate that the Yankees are not taking the field this Thursday in Baltimore. Alas, there is nothing we can do but wait for Opening Day, whenever it comes.
I will say that there is some irony in all of this. The Yanks finally signed Gerrit Cole after a decade of trying to bring him home…so it makes sense that baseball is indefinitely cancelled now. What else did we expect? In better news, though, Giancarlo Stanton would “probably” be ready to play in Spring Training games if those were still a thing right now, so it’s nice to hear that he’s progressing.
Anyway, I’m sure you’re dying for baseball every bit as much as I am, so I decided to put together a quick survival guide. It isn’t the same as real baseball, but it’ll do.
Stream Old Yankee Games
Live baseball may be a relic of the Before Times, but our good old friends at Major League Baseball decided to help us out a bit. You can stream any game – regular season and postseason – from the 2018 or 2019 seasons for free over at MLB.tv now. That’s pretty cool! Check out the full archives here. Here are, in my estimation at least, the three best Yankee games to rewatch from the last two seasons:
- Ken Giles Punches Himself (5/1/18): Remember when the Yanks and Astros were knotted up at zero in the 9th in Houston and then Gary Sánchez hit a 3-run blast to center? Ken Giles punched himself! I remember it too. (MLB.tv link)
- Severino Shuts out the Astros in Houston (5/2/18): The Astros sure weren’t stealing signs on this one, when Luis Severino was absolutely dominant and shut out the ‘Stros. This is probably Severino’s finest hour and it’s fun to relive this one again. (MLB.tv link)
- Gleyber Torres Arrives in the Bronx (5/6/18): Remember when the Yankees couldn’t lose back in 2018? That perfectly coincided with the call-up of Gleyber Torres and it also featured one of the most memorable games in the last few years. Down 4-0 to Cleveland entering the bottom of the 8th, the Yanks rallied for 7 runs and won it on a heroic walk-off blast from everyone’s favorite son. (MLB.tv link)
- The Yankees Demolish David Price (7/1/18): Which one is this, you’re probably asking? There are so many examples! That is true of many games! It’s true, but this one is especially memorable. The Yanks pounded Price in the first two innings of this Sunday Night game in a complete rout of Boston. It was very good. (MLB.tv link)
- Tanaka Blanks the Rays (6/17/19): Masahiro Tanaka is good for a few absolute gems a year. This was last year’s version when he threw a complete game shutout against Tampa. Glorious, glorious Masahiro. (MLB.tv link)
- The Aaron Hicks Game in Minnesota (7/23/19): Come on, we all remember this one. A classic Yankee game if there ever was one, and who cares that it is approximately 900 hours long? You have nothing else do to. (MLB.tv link)
There is also a selection of older games available on YouTube, including:
- The 2017 Wild Card Game: Come on. This one needs no introduction. (YouTube link)
- Game 4 of the 2017 ALCS against Houston: Neither does this one, but Gary’s double in the gap still sends chills down my spine. (YouTube link)
- Derek’s Last Game in the Stadium: I still can’t believe he did this. (YouTube link)
- RAUUUUUUUUL: The 2012 playoffs ended up being horrible, but this one was as memorable as it gets. (YouTube link)
- Jeter’s 3,000th: A 5-5 day and a huge blast of David Price for number 3,000? That’ll do. (YouTube link)
I prefer live ball, but this will work. There’s no excuse if you’re missing the Yanks and holed up in quarantine, really.
Read a Good Yankees Book
Once you’ve watched all those, check out a good Yankee book. There are plenty of them! These are five of my favorites:
- The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America’s Childhood, by Jane Leavy: This is a masterclass in the baseball biography genre and is worth everyone’s time. Mickey Mantle is one of the most fascinating characters in baseball history, and Leavy is up to the task in telling his tale, to the surprise of nobody (her biography of Sandy Koufax is as good as they come). Be sure to check this one out. (Link)
- Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life by Richard Ben Cramer: This one shattered many of the myths DiMaggio, who was as PR-sensitive as anyone could be, had created about himself. Cramer, an investigative journalist, writes with a ring of authority and the result is a great book about a Yankee legend. This one has a special place in my heart as my DiMaggio loving grandfather gifted it to me when I was young. (Link)
- Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning: 1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City by Jonathan Mahler: This one, a story centered around the 1977 Yankees, is a snapshot of one of the most turbulent eras in New York’s history. Mahler, an excellent journalist in his own right who penned a piece on the importance of the subway that I come back to time and again, wrote a really memorable book here. Anyone interested in the Yankees and New York City’s history should check this one out. (Link)
- Pinstripe Empire: The New York Yankees from Before the Babe to After the Boss by Marty Appel: A thorough overview of Yankees history worth anyone’s time. It covers everything from on-the-field drama to the construction of Yankee Stadium in the early 1920s. A must read. (Link)
There are many more, of course, but these are the Yankee books that are always top of my mind. Please recommend some that I may have missed! I always have time for more Yankee-related reading.
Play Good Baseball Video Games
Lucky for us, a few good baseball video games just came out. I’ve been playing an embarrassing amount of both.
- MLB: The Show 20: Easily the best traditional baseball video game out there, available exclusively to PlayStation 4 players. Derek and I are both playing a ton of this one. I’ve created a player who is now in his rookie season with the Yanks as a starting pitcher, Derek has won the World Series in the game’s March to October mode, and both of us have Yankee franchise modes going on. If you have a PlayStation and don’t have this game right now, I don’t know what to tell you. (PlayStation Store)
- Out of the Park Baseball 21: The ultimate simulator for a baseball fan. I’m working my way through this one – and I’ll eventually review it for our site along with a simulation of the 2020 season – but I’ll say this: it is, as always, magisterial. There is nothing you can’t do in this one. Check it out for sure and watch the hours melt away. (OOTP Store)
Listen to a Good Yankees Podcast
We have a podcast now! Check it out wherever you get your podcasts. We’re doing it every week even in the Bad Times because everyone deserves at least one hour of distraction, right? More info here.
Anyway, that’s a brief survival guide for the Yankee-lover amid Week 2 of the Bad Times. Please let me know if I’ve left anything off because, like you, I am dying for good Yankees content.