Meet the new boss, redux: I say yes, I say no

December 16th, 2007 → 12:54 pm @

“This is not a bluff; it’s just reality.”
— Hank Steinbrenner, December 2, 2007, when asked about his “firm deadline” of midnight, December 3, for the Yankees and Twins to complete a deal for Johan Santana.

“No. It’s over. When it’s over, it’s over.”

— Hank Steinbrenner, December 4, 2007, when asked if the Yankees were willing to continue negotiations if the Twins became willing to accept the Yankees final offer.

“We’re still thinking about it. We haven’t ruled it out completely. We’re still considering it. I haven’t closed the door completely on Santana.”
— Hank Steinbrenner, December 14, 2007

Post Categories: George Steinbrenner & Hank Steinbrenner & Johan Santana & Oblique References to Beatles Lyrics

Meet the new Boss; same as the old Boss

October 29th, 2007 → 3:17 pm @

If you haven’t heard yet, you will soon: Joe Girardi has been named the new manager of the Yankees. That’s all sorts of interesting; for one, I’m curious to see how a guy who occasionally acted like a drill commander while with the Marlins is going to do with the Yankees.

Actually, I’m not that curious – for the next while, I’m just going to revel in the Sox’s total domination. That’s what the rest of the baseball world should be doing too…except that Hank “Mini Me” Steinbrenner is determined to prove that he can be just as much as an egocentric prick as his dad. Seemingly thrown into a frenzied panic when the country’s attention was focused on New York’s rivals—their better, classier, and better run rivals, it’s worth pointing out—Steinbrenner is proving he’s genetically incapable of being gracious and letting a team besides his own dominate the headlines for a couple of days.

Not that this is necessarily bad news. In the last month, Hank has, among other things, ripped into Joe Torre to the tune of, “Where was Joe’s career in ’95 when my dad hired him?” At least we know life in Yankeeland isn’t going to boring just because ol’ George is sailing off into the twilight…

Post Categories: George Steinbrenner & Hank Steinbrenner & Joe Torre & Yankees

The Bronx is Burning, 2.0

August 2nd, 2007 → 6:27 pm @

The new Conde Nast business magazine, Portfolio, launched in the spring. If you happened to be living in the NYC media world, you could be excused for thinking it was as big a story as Rupert’s purchase of the Journal. (I have some friends who work there, so I decided I’d wait until I saw some more issues before I decided what I thought of the whole project. I’ll leave it at that…)The new issue has at least one article with some fascinating dirt for baseball fans: this piece on George Steinbrenner, in which Steinbrenner’s son is quoted as saying one way to improve the team is to “get rid of my father.” (And that’s not the worst of it…at one point, Steinbrenner answers a whole series of questions by saying, “Great to see ya, Tommy.”)

It’s definitely worth checking out…especially when compared with this Fortune magazine story about the Yankees, Steinbrenner, and the YES Network. To be fair, the Portfolio story is a major investigative piece that, judging from the magazine’s publication schedule, probably took a year to put out; the Fortune story is a much smaller project. But man does it seem lame in comparison: “Off the field, an even weightier drama is playing out. George Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ demanding, combustible, and usually larger-than-life principal owner, has been strangely silent. This silence is feeding rumors of the Boss’s failing health.” Stop the presses!

Post Categories: George Steinbrenner & Portfolio

Let’s all join together and pray for Steinbrenner to start exerting his will…and quick

December 26th, 2006 → 7:10 pm @

Yup: three full days without a post. I’m pretty sure that’s a record. For that, I’m sorry. I know people need to get a break from their families. (Believe me, I know.) And there’s been precious little baseball news out there to serve as a distraction. (No matter how you try to spin it — the impact on the Zito sweepstakes, the NLCS MVP leaving the Cards, whatever — Jeff Suppan signing with the Brewers does not count as news.)

There is, however, one development that shook me out of my holiday stupor, and, I’m sorry to say, it was a distressing one: the confirmation that the Yankees and the Diamondbacks are discussing a deal that would send Randy Johnson back to Arizona. New York’s signing of Johnson was exactly the sort of boneheaded, reactionary move that has defined the Yankees of the modern era (read: since 2000). The Johnson acquisition came about immediately after Schilling had helped lift the Sox to their Series win, a fact which reputedly caused the Boss tell his minions he wanted a “warrior” of his own. He got one — an over-the-hill, overpaid warrior with a crappy attitude and a bad back — when he could have had someone like, say, Carlos Beltran…and that would have made the Yankees frightening.

Those days appear to be over. Suddenly, the Yankees are shedding payroll like they’re the Marlins, and Brian Cashman looks determined to pick up young prospects and jettison the senior citizens collecting outrageous paychecks.

This doesn’t mean the Red Sox and the Yankees will have anywhere near equal payrolls, but it does seem to indicate that Steinbrenner (and his Tampa-based suckups) are no longer making baseball-related decisions. If that’s true, it’s bad news for Boston (and everyone else). A senior member of the team’s baseball ops staff told me last year that the only reason the Sox had a fighting chance against a team with $80 million more in payroll was because New York made such stupefyingly idiotic moves. If that’s not going to be the case anymore, it means the Yankees and the Sox are going to be operating more and more on the same plane…not because, as some would have you believe, the Red Sox have become the Evil Empire II but because the Yankees are starting to act (and yes, it hurts to say this) intelligently.

Gulp. Two thousand and seven, here we come…

Post Categories: 2006 Hot Stove Season & Brian Cashman & George Steinbrenner & Randy Johnson & Yankees

Remember, this is Peter Gammons talking

October 13th, 2006 → 7:09 am @

“What did anyone expect to see when the Yankees were losing Saturday night? With the Yankees, and a growing extent the Red Sox, childish joy is not a part of the equation.”

— Peter Gammons, “Torre is not part of Yanks’ problem,” Insider column, October 11, 2006. (You’ll need an ESPN Insider account to read the whole piece, which was posted yesterday.)

It’s not that surprising that the image of Jim Leyland kissing a fan through a screen — an image of childish joy if there ever was one — is one of the most enduring images of the Tigers’ annihilation of the Yankees in the ALDS.

This’ll likely be the last post of the day: I’m about to head out to take a train to Boston and will be in a (non baseball-related conference) the rest of the day. So I’ll leave you with one last thought: it’s a good thing George Steinbrenner vetoed his baseball operations staff and decided to spend his money on an aging and gimpy Randy Johnson instead of a fleet-footed and still very elite Carlos Beltran in the ’04 offseason…althought right now, I’m sure the Cardinals disagree.

Post Categories: 2006 Playoffs & Carlos Beltran & George Steinbrenner & Peter Gammons