New York Yankees Fans Should Trust Brian Cashman Right Now

Brian Cashman GM
Wikipedia Commons

There is no doubt that until Gerrit Cole inks his name to a contract he will be connected to the New York Yankees. There is also no doubt that the Yankees will look everywhere to upgrade their rotation and starting lineup in hopes that these will be the final adjustments to put them over the hump and get them back into the World Series. For the first time since the 1910s the Yankees didn’t make an appearance in the Fall Classic in the 2010s and that has to be weighing on the front office and ownership regardless of the brave faces they put forward.

Cole would be a no-brainer addition to the Yankees, the team that drafted him out of high school in 2008 only to watch him go off to UCLA and become a first overall pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He will most likely command a record-breaking contract and if recent history is any indication the Yankees might not venture into that territory. That will surely anger some Yankees fans who are tired of almost and waiting for next season. But it might make the most sense.

General manager Brian Cashman has a history of making moves under the cloak of darkness. Last season the Yankees were linked with Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, and Patrick Corbin. Instead, Cashman walked away with James Paxton, Adam Ottavino, and D.J. LeMahieu. The year prior nobody could have envisioned reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton joining the Yankees for what amounted to spare parts. Cashman has let the media speculate away without telegraphing his moves publicly. It has worked to his advantage so far as prices aren’t driven up through the roof. Why would he deviate now?

The Yankees will certainly entertain Cole and will probably make him an offer. They might do the same with Stephen Strasburg. However, the Yankees might not come away with either one. The Yankees set a price on a player and refuse to budge. Gone are the days of bidding against themselves as they did with Alex Rodriguez. Gone are the days of panicked moves that resulted in Jacoby Ellsbury being given $20 million per year.

Cashman will shoot his shot with Cole and probably Strasburg and if nothing moves on that front he will easily pivot towards a Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner, or a trade for a starter like Jon Gray, Corey Kluber, or Robbie Ray. He also might feel perfectly comfortable going into 2020 with a rotation of Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Domingo German, Jordan Montgomery, and J.A. Happ with prospects like Jonathan Loaisiga, Michael King, Deivi Garcia, Chance Adams, and Clarke Schmidt knocking on the door. The trade deadline might be kinder to Cashman this time around.

No matter what, the New York Yankees are World Series contenders as currently constructed. Health will obviously play a major role as they can’t go through another year where 31 players hit the injured list. The Yankees had set the MLB record for most players on the injured list by August 30th last season and there is no way that can happen again.

Can the Yankees use Gerrit Cole? What team in baseball couldn’t? Are they good enough to win without him? Certainly. Odds right now are Cashman will add to this roster and try again to get that World Series ring. The good news is that the Yankees’ core is still young and mathematically it is almost impossible to repeat the bad luck they had with injuries last year. Now it’s time for Yankees fans to relax and let Cashman do his job and trust he knows what he is doing.

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Narragansett Fresh Catch Review

Fresh Catch

The Narragansett Brewing Company was founded in 1888. In 1890 they produced their first beer and in 1891 they were officially incorporated and had produced 28,000 barrels of beer. By 1914 they were the largest brewery in New England. These days they continue to produce their variety of beers, one of which is Fresh Catch which is up for review today.

Fresh Catch is, according to their website, “a supremely refreshing blonde ale that’s dry hopped with citra for a crisp grapefruit finish.” It is meant to be paired with seafood, as evidenced by the lobster on the can. This looks and sounds as New England as you can get.

The pour is a slightly hazy, yet vibrant yellow. There is a soapy, white head that rose to about two fingers as its height. A fair amount of carbonation is seen reinforcing the surface. The aroma is not overpowering but offers hints of grapefruit and citrus as well as bread.

The flavor profile follows the nose with hints of citrus and grapefruit evident but not overpowering. The bread finish is noted but a slight hop flavor lingers after the first sip. Again, nothing is overpowering in the flavor profile. The mouthfeel is light and crisp and finishes dry. The flavor profile was consistent throughout the session and the lacing on the glass was solid and consistent as well. You don’t have to be a fan of hops to enjoy this as the hops don’t overpower but rather play nicely with the rest of the profile.

Overall, this beer is a pretty good beer. It isn’t heavy so you can have a couple while enjoying a clam bake or steamer pot on a nice summer’s eve. Or you could pair it with some fish and chips or bowl of chowder on a brisk winter’s day. Clocking in at 4.2 percent ABV this beer won’t sneak up on you either. Drinking this does make me want to dive into a huge lobster with melted butter.

Einstök Icelandic Doppelbock Review

Einstok Doppelbock

Einstök is the number one craft beer in Iceland and is slowly emerging all over the United States. Up for review today is their Doppelbock, a limited edition brew for the holiday season. Their site describes the beer as “malted barley and chocolate tones define the traditional style, while the robust aroma and long, mellow finish make this the perfect companion for holiday adventures.”

Icelandic Doppelbock pours a dark, chocolatey brown with a firm, tan head that rose to just about two fingers at its height. The aroma of chocolate, caramel, barley, and something else I can’t quite put my finger on. Very little carbonation can be seen due to the darkness of the beer. This is a dark, rich looking beer.

The first sip definitely follows the nose with notes of barley, chocolate, caramel and malt. There is also a hint of butterscotch, which might be the aroma I couldn’t quite pinpoint. It is absolutely delightful. There is a slight alcohol taste mixed in, almost like a smooth whiskey on the backend that really gives this beer a nice profile. The amount of carbonation is on the lighter side, a perfect complement to the beer. There is a slight vanilla, oak finish like you would get from a whiskey barrel which is very pleasant.

The mouthfeel is almost syrupy on the tongue but smooth at the same time. It finishes smooth. The flavor profile stayed consistent throughout the session which only invited you to take yet another sip. There was some lacing on the glass to mark your progress but it wasn’t going to remind you of your grandmother’s table with the lace.

At 6.7 percent ABV this beer will warm you during the cold winter months and give you a nice rosy glow in the cheeks. It really would be a pleasant sipping beer any time of the year. I could see myself drinking this around a fall campfire or by the fireplace during the holiday season. I could even drink this on a warm summer night, a perfect nightcap to a good day being outdoors.

Overall this is a really good brew. Einstök has produced some really tasty beers and this one is no different. The one problem I have with it is it is a limited holiday release. If you are a fan of this type of beer, like myself, then you will be happy. It is a rich, smooth offering that lives up to the Doppelbock standard. This is a fun beer and another home run by Einstök.

Blue Point Pinstripe Pils Review

Pinstripe Pils

Blue Point Brewing, a Long Island brewery, has introduced a beer for Yankees fans called Pinstripe Pils. As you might have gathered from the name it is a pilsner and is sold in select stores in the New York metro area as well as Yankee Stadium and sometimes at their minor league affiliates in Trenton and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

The beer pours a nice yellow straw color with a white, soapy head that stood around one finger tall at its height. The nose offers notes of grass, lemon, and malt though nothing is overpowering. The nose is kind of subdued. The carbonation looks to be moderate with some nice bubbles rushing to reinforce the head.

The first sip follows the nose to a degree. There are slight hints of lemon and malt which lead the flavor train here. There are also hints of cracker or bread towards the back. It is very smooth, crisp, and refreshing. No one flavor dominates, though if I had to pick one it would be subtle malt. The head didn’t last long but there was some attractive lacing left on the glass. The mouthfeel is light but not far from the medium side. It finishes smooth and refreshing with just enough of a dryness to make you desire another sip. The carbonation is just right for this beer and makes it an enjoyable experience.

As the beer drank the flavor profile stayed consistent and nothing surprised you. The slight lemon zest you do notice is refreshing and perfect for a day out at the ballpark.

Overall, this beer is not exceptional but it is exactly what you would look for while spending a day or night at the ballpark, a light, refreshing brew that doesn’t fill you up. You could easily make this a session beer and at 5 percent ABV it won’t bite you back. Nothing will wow you about this brew but you also will be far from disappointed.

6 Things About Card Collecting That Makes Us Want To Drink

Beer and cards 3

If you collect sports trading cards there are few things that can make sorting your collection more enjoyable than pairing the task with a good beer or two. However, as anyone who collects knows there are a few stories out there in the hobby that just make us want to drink. Here are six things that would make any collector want to hit the bottle.

Exclusive Licenses

Most of us who grew up collecting trading cards probably started during the junk wax era, when there were seemingly dozens of trading card manufacturers for every sport. Those days might be over forever, for better or worse, with the advent of exclusive licenses that these companies have reached with various professional sports leagues. Upper Deck, once revolutionary in bringing about positive changes to protect the collector such as holograms on the backs of cards to deter fraudulent cards from being made, is now out of the baseball card business and instead has become the main producer or hockey cards. Topps still owns the baseball card world as they are the only company allowed to print cards featuring players and team logos. Donruss and a couple of other companies can print cards but can’t use team names. These are great moves for the card companies but they are not fun for the collector. Competition is basically gone and with that so is the capitalist ideal of competitive pricing. Cards are really not the cheap, fun hobby we grew up with. Sure, there are affordable products out there, mostly aimed at kids but this hobby is getting expensive. Would competition really hurt? Would Topps really lose business if, for example, Donruss could print cards with logos but Topps could also produce football cards? Having choices as a consumer is always a good thing and competition drives innovation. Hopefully, we will see the end to exclusive agreements one day soon.

Overvaluing Collections

Everyone seemed to collect cards in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I mean everybody. Those who went through what is now termed the “Junk Wax Era” watched as our hopeful retirement investments of Gregg Jefferies, Kevin Maas, Brien Taylor, Ben McDonald, and Todd Van Poppel burst like a North Korean rocket test. Many of us now take advantage of the overproduction of cards from that era to gobble up cheap collections or fresh boxes to break for nostalgia or to chase the few rookies who are worth more than one dollar. It is a cheap way to chase the hits without breaking the bank. However, we have all seen those folks out there who think their collection from that era is going to help them buy a home or a car these days. They list their collections on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Let Go, and a dozen other sites for astronomical prices. Usually the rubber bands they used to keep their cards organized are still attached. There are so many of them out there that one could make a drinking game out of finding them. We won’t though because here at The Sporting Brews we care about your liver.

Bad Trades/Sales

We have all made them at one time or another. We traded that Hall of Famer’s rookie card for the hot new prospect only to watch that prospect fizzle out. I remember trading a Patrick Ewing rookie card for an assortment of junk that included a Martin Brodeur rookie and Jose Cruz, Jr. rookie. The Marty is worth about a dollar these days. Everything else was literally cardboard with a picture on it. For those that like to flip on eBay I am sure you regret selling that 2011 Mike Trout rookie for $75 nowadays. We’ve all done it one way or another. It still makes us want a drink though.

Book Value

When sports cards really exploded during the Junk Wax Era there was no such thing as the internet. Collectors and sellers depended upon publications like Beckett and Tuff Stuff to gauge the value of a card or collection. Those days are gone. Nobody pays book value anymore. Prices on certain cards can fluctuate by the minute in this hobby thanks to eBay and sites like COMC. While those price guides might not be accurate, they are a month old, they can be useful to a degree and the articles are the main reason anyone picks up those publications anymore. Still, there is always that one dealer that hasn’t left the ‘80s and he still swears by book value. To make it even more frustrating they are probably the one with the card you really want so you have to hope they will haggle or else leave the card.

Terrible Shipping

It is bad enough the United States Post Office seems to raise shipping rates every ten minutes. It is even worse when an online seller charges those rates, or higher, and then ships your card in a plain white envelope in just a top loader (if they remember to put the card in one) with enough scotch tape to make wrapping Christmas presents look like tape rationing parties. If you have bought a card online this has probably happened to you. I don’t mind plain white envelopes as I have luckily never had bad things happen to the contents yet. However, I have seen plenty of horror stories on Twitter and elsewhere to know it’s a gamble. If you’re going to ship via plain white envelope at least mention that in the description and don’t charge like you shipped it overnight first class with tracking and insurance and an armed guard. How often do we see a card we really want for a buck or two only to turn it down because the shipping is more than the card? It can be a frustrating experience.

Pack Searchers

With local card shops, once a neighborhood fixture during the Junk Wax Era, now a rare thing collectors have turned to big box stores like Walmart and Target for their card fix. Buying retail has its hazards, however. Pack searchers seem to descend on every store and rifle through packs searching for the “hit.” Thanks to the different thickness of the “hit” as compared to a regular card and the willful disregard the retail stores have towards the card section it is fairly easy for a pack searcher to set up shop and go through everything. Then there are those that buy the product, go home, and switch out the cards for junk and return it. I’ve had one experience where someone replaced the packs in a blaster with loose cards, redid the shrink wrap, and returned it. Luckily the store I bought from accepted my return, and didn’t put it back on the shelf. These pack searchers are the lowest form of life, searching packs of cards for a hit that is probably worth as much as the pack costs. What’s worse is some of these trilobites will bend packs and ruin cards they have no intention of buying and thereby ruining someone else’s day. Rumor has it that at least some stores are starting to take this seriously. Target being the leader among them. If that is the case well then cheers to them!

Blue Point Shore Thing Review

Blue Point Shore Thing

When it comes to New York, at least southern New York, there aren’t many breweries that stand out. However, Blue Point Brewing, a Long Island beer company, has to factor in to any conversation when it comes to New York brews, regardless of its origins.

We have reviewed Blue Point before but today we tackle Shore Thing, a lager they advertise as “Anytime, Anywhere.”

Upon pouring Shore Thing you will notice a nice cleat, golden pour. It almost seems like you are pouring one more famous beers like Budweiser or Miller. The aromatics, however, tell you that this won’t be your average beer. There are notes of salt, bread, and yeast. The underlying aroma of salt reminds you of the beach and a salty sea air, pretty much spot on with what you would expect from a southern Long Island brew that features a light house on its label.

The pour featured a head of just above two fingers with aromatic notes of salt and bread. There wasn’t a lot to the nose but salt and bread dominated.

The first sip followed the nose in a pleasant way. There was a nice note of saltiness that mixed with bread and yeast to give this beer a satisfying flavor. The beer almost resembled a soft pretzel that one would get on the streets of New York City or one the boardwalk on the Jersey Shore or Long Island shore.  The beer laced like a fragile wedding gown, lightly decorating the glass as you progressed but not stealing the show from the overall production.

This is a beer that is pretty drinkable, like your typical Budweiser or Miller or Coors but with a little more character and flavor. The hints of salt and bread do remind one of a soft pretzel bought at any number of shore eateries but also offers a hint of originality. There is a nice flavor profile that would suit almost any beer drinker so long as you don’t mind a little salty bread. This is a beer I would order again but maybe wait until summer to do so, even if offered year round. Blue Point says “anytime, anywhere” but this lager is definitely a summer beer when you can truly enjoy being outside and really participate in all its flavors. It really would go well with just about any seafood.

Flying Fish Brewing Farmhouse Golden Ale Review

Flying Fish Farmhouse

Flying Fish Brewing Company was founded in 1995 by Gene Muller who sold his beer on the internet, making him one of the first internet entrepreneurs. In 1996 he moved operations to Cherry Hill, N.J. Today, Flying Fish is located in Somerdale, N.J. and is one of the largest, if not the largest, microbrewery in the state. You can check out the reviews of some of their other offerings by clicking here. Up for review today is their Farmhouse Golden Ale.

Farmhouse Golden Ale pours a pale, yellow gold with a white, foamy head that stood just over a finger tall. The aroma hints at a Belgian ale but with a distinct American flavor. There are notes of cracker and malt, some bread notes also prevail. The overall aroma is faint, however.

The first sip teases Belgian ale but drifts back to more of a standard brew. By standard I mean something you would expect from a macro brewery like Miller or Budweiser. That isn’t a bad thing. Some people prefer those beers. There is an exotic tease at first with a little spice noted before finishing with a slightly bready finish. The beer had a moderate amount of carbonation and is light in the mouth. The finish is kind of smooth and crisp at the same time. It also teases a hint of fruit from the hops at the end. The glass laced fairly well which was surprising since the head disappeared rather quickly.

Overall, this is a decent beer. It isn’t one of their best as far as complexity goes but it is highly drinkable. Let’s be honest, it takes a lot for a beer to not be drinkable. Seriously, this is a good beer but it might not be for everyone. Choosing a microbrew is tough and expectations are high. The flavor profile on Farmhouse Golden Ale lacks a lot of complexity and that might turn some people off. However, it is still a decent beer that you could easily make a session beer, especially since it clocks in at only 4.6% ABV.

Kentucky Vanilla Barrel Cream Ale Review

Kentucky Vanilla

Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company was founded by Pearse Lyons, founder of Alltech, an animal nutrition company, in 1999. The company makes a variety of beers, one of which we reviewed here, as well as bourbon. Naturally, they use bourbon barrels in their beer creations. Up for review today is their Kentucky Vanilla Barrel Cream Ale. The company states that age their take on a cream ale, which is brewed with hints of flaked corn and bourbon vanilla beans, and age it in decanted bourbon barrels for at least two months.

The beer pours a light amber with a thick, foamy, white head that stood about one-and-a-half fingers tall at its height. Some carbonation can be seen reinforcing the head. The aroma hints of sweet vanilla but is not overpowering. It does perk up the taste buds but isn’t overly sweet. There is some oak present as well but it is very subdued and you almost have to bury your nose in the glass to get the oak aroma.

The first sip follows the nose. The notes of vanilla are followed by malt which plays heavier than expected. There are notes of oak and the earthy-sweet flavor of corn. The beer is medium-bodied with moderate carbonation. It is smooth in the mouth and finishes on the dry side. With vanilla in the title of the beer you almost brace yourself for an overly sweet beer but this isn’t the case at all. The notes of vanilla are just right, enough to perk the taste buds, but not enough to overwhelm the other flavors presented.

Overall, this is a pretty good brew. It might not be a session beer, though at 5.5% you could get away with making it one. The flavor is a nice change of pace and a little sophisticated but not enough to come off as snobbish. This is a nice change of pace that can be for bourbon lovers looking for a beer or for beer lovers looking for something slightly more complex on the palate.

Cape May Brewing Devil’s Reach Review

 

Cape May Brewing Company is a relatively new face in the brewing industry. They were founded in 2011 in Cape May, New Jersey and are still a very local beer, only being found in the New Jersey and Philadelphia area. They currently offer over 10 beers and seem to be branching out and growing every year. Up for review today is Devil’s Reach, a Belgian-Style Ale.

The can informs the drinker that this is “easy drinking with fruity esters.” The beer pours a cloudy, hazy pale gold with a thin but creamy white head. The fruity esters definitely can be found on the nose but the aroma of wheat, bread, malt, and cracker also come through. The nose is definitely what you would expect out of a Belgian-style ale with notes of fruit. There also isn’t much carbonation seen but if you get closer you can see the tiny bubbles racing to the top.

The first sip is very good. There are notes of apple, pear, and orange but none dominates. The slightly spicy or peppery note of the phenols compliments very well. There are pleasant notes of malt and bread, as you would expect with a Belgian-style ale. It is medium-bodied and finishes dry but is very smooth with just the right amount of carbonation.

Overall, this beer is exactly as advertised on the can. It definitely is a Belgian-style ale. There are definitely fruity esters noted. It is also easy drinking. However, the name, Devil’s Reach, is also appropriate. It clocks in at a healthy 8.6% ABV and packs a significant punch. It is also really easy to drink, especially if you are a fan of Belgian-style ales. This could sneak up on you when you least expect it so caution is needed. This is a very good beer and worth giving a try, especially if you enjoy Belgian-style ale.

Flying Fish Hopfish IPA Review

Flying Fish Hopfish

We have featured Flying Fish Brewing Company a few times here on The Sporting Brews. You can check out previous reviews on their other offerings by clicking here. Up for review today is their Hopfish IPA.

Hopfish pours a slightly hazy amber with a thick, foamy, slightly off-white head that rose to just over one finger at its peak. There was some carbonation visible but not a lot. The aroma was subtle but clean and slightly malty. I expected more hops on the nose honestly but malt, some sweet caramel, and biscuit predominated.

The first sip followed the nose. Notes of malt, some slight sweet caramel, and bread/biscuit dominated. There was some slight hop bitterness on the backend. The beer felt light in the mouth, though close to medium-bodied. The finish was slightly dry but very smooth with just a perfect touch of hop bitterness.

As the session progressed there was some nice lacing on the glass, enough to make any bride jealous. The flavor profile held true throughout as well. In fact, I might even say it got better. The malt forward flavor and hop finish definitely had me going back for more sips.

Overall, this is an interesting beer. You read IPA and Hopfish and you almost expect to be overwhelmed by hops. That is not the case. This leans more toward the Brown Ale side with its malt and biscuit/bread flavors forward. The hop finish is subtle but welcomed. At 6.2% ABV this beer with some meat to it but not overwhelming by any means. This is a good solid beer that fans of Brown Ales might love and fans of IPAs might find a little on the weak side. Still worth a try.