December 9, 2000
Many people believe a person makes his own luck. My megalomaniac, Mr. Steinbrenner, the owner of the New York Yankee baseball club from nineteen seventy-three to the present, believes that if you spend enough money you make your own luck. Steinbrenners willingness to spend money for players in many ways has change the mold of baseball owners. The owners that stay in the background and let others run their organization, are becoming "hands on everything" type of owners now because of the success that Steinbrenner has had. He is one of the richest persons in the game today because of the deals he made for himself with CableVision and other companies trying to use the Yankees logo. He was already rich from his shipping companies but the deals he made while owner of the Yankees allowed him to keep his private money. The extra money allowed him to pay the highest prices for his player, making the players the riches players in the game. This took away other teams interest for the same players because of the money he is willing to spend. His team, the New York Yankees, has won two championships, nineteen seventy-seven and nineteen seventy-eight. The team has also won two pennants in the seventies, and has won four championships in five years, nineteen ninety-six through the year two thousand. The Yankees were already considered one of the best teams in baseball before Steinbrenner bought the team already winning twenty-five championships since nineteen twenty-three. In the twentieth century the Yankees are considered one of the best baseball teams ever to play the game making Steinbrenner one of the smartest owners today.
It hasnt always been like this. In the seventies and eighties the Yankees were considered a joke to the other baseball teams and fans. Even though the team was winning they were having problems that were magnified because of Steinbrenners delusional infantile feelings of personal omnipotence. This combined with unlimited wealth, authority, and influence made him an enemy of fans and therefore a media favorite. His tantrums, firing and hiring practices are public knowledge because of his relationship with the media; making Steinbrenner look more like a mobster that a baseball owner. His teams are the most controversial in baseball because Steinbrenner did not always say the right thing when he was upset, making him sound ignorant and racist. These comments were always said around groups of supposed friends/employees and media. The media couldnt wait to hear what he would say next. They took to following the team around town and out of town when they would play other teams away from the Yankee stadium. In this way the media helped enable his passive aggressive behavior. He would say things he knew would end up in the paper about who ever he was trying to demoralize at the time. Sometimes his comments would backfire and his anger would then be placed on the reporter banding that reporter from the stadium. His moral and social behavior became more reckless dependent upon the company he kept. He was regularly seen with known mob types, movie stars, and fashion models.
If a man is judged by winning than Steinbrenner is the king of the mountain, but if a man is judged on his moral values than Steinbrenner is the king of another type of mountain. Is Mr. Steinbrenner the genius of the game, the new mold of owners that he claims to be or is he a publicity seeking, egotistical, crude, racist, socialite bigot with money and influence who has been lucky and should not be allowed to own the New York Yankees?
George Steinbrenner was born in 1930, in Rocky River, Ohio, and educated at Williams College. His athletic prowess at Culver Military Academy and track record at Williams College gave early evidence of his interest in sports. After a stint with the United States Air Force, Steinbrenner joined the family business, a subsidiary of American Shipbuilding, of which he was subsequently named president. Why would someone with no background in baseball want to own a baseball team in a town he did not grow up in? Sport owners usually have some type of connection with the team they are buying either they grew up as a fan or they have something to do with the state they are living in. Prior to the purchase of the Yankees, Steinbrenner spent a lot of time vacationing in Florida. He liked Florida so much he decided to live there. Florida is well known for rich retired gentlemen and young inspiring women. It is also the home of the Yankees spring training facility. It was not enough for Steinbrenner to be rich, there are a lot of rich people in Florida; he needed to be famous as well. He wanted to fit into the Florida life style and wanted to be bigger than the biggest big shot. The best way to get attention is to spend a large sum of money on something that is recognized throughout the country. By investing ten million dollars to buy the Yankees, Steinbrenner went from someone nobody knew to instant recognition world wide, but more importantly instant recognition in New York and Florida. With recognition came a wider social circle for Steinbrenner. Influence and power led to movie stars, politicians, recording stars, and models being regularly seen with him.
The team had not won in ten years when Steinbrenner bought the team. One of the first things he did was to acquire stars of the time like Catfish Hunter, Goose Gossage, and Reggie Jackson. This was the beginning of a trend that has continued throughout his ownership. Whenever Steinbrenner laid out cash he received a huge return. No owner attacked the origin of free agency so viciously, and few spent their money more wisely than Steinbrenner. This only encouraged him to be more involved with the day to day running of the team. This led to disagreements with the people he hired to do the job of running the team, which led most times, to the person resigning from the job they wanted all their life. Managers came and went. Bob Lemon was gone after fourteen games in his second stint as manager in nineteen eighty-two. Bucky Dent finished after forty-nine games in nineteen ninety. Yogi Berra lasted sixteen games into the season in nineteen eighty-five. Berra did not step foot into Yankee stadium until Steinbrenner apologized this year. As for Billy Martin he was an excellent choice the first time he hired him and a mistake the last four times. Managers were not the only ones feeling the squeeze from Steinbrenner. Steinbrenner criticized the players and general managers in the newspaper regularly. In a season Steinbrenner, on an average, fired thirty employees a season in the seventies and eighties. On the day he bought the team, Steinbrenner said: "We plan absentee ownership, as far as running the Yankees is concerned. Were not going to pretend were something we arent. Ill stick to building ships." When he was reminded of his comment Steinbrenner replied: "I shouldve never said that, to get where I wanted to go, I wasnt going to stay hands off." If Steinbrenner were any more hands on, hed be charged with harassment. Steinbrenner needed to show everyone that he was not going to be pushed around which resulted in a lot of resentment from his staff. Underneath the tough guy image was a sensitive man who took criticism badly. Most times, his over sensitivity would lead to him responding to situations in ways that left him with no choice but to attack the person he feels is doing the damage.
Is Steinbrenner a racist? From comments and quotes printed regularly in the newspaper, his hiring practices, and his way of spreading unfounded facts, I would say he is a racist. For a long time baseball owners in general did not let other ethnic races play, coach, manage, or own a baseball franchise. Even after integration of ballplayers, from other countries started to play for other teams, the Yankees were the last team to follow suit. When Steinbrenner took over the Yankees, Steinbrenner kept the tradition of hiring white Americans to high profile positions alive. It was because of the pressure from antiracist groups that Steinbrenner finally agreed to go against policy hiring and hired the first black general manager to run the team in seventy-three years. Steinbrenner had no problem hiring non-whites to play baseball for him but to have a non-white run the team was an important breakthrough for non-whites throughout the league. Bob Watson was responsible for the team winning in the mid nineties but got no recognition from the boss. Instead Watson would be called to Steinbrenners home in Florida, from his home in Houston Texas, on Thanksgiving, to air him out about the clubs inability to retain a sub type player during the off season. Steinbrenner yelled at Watson and others because the player left the team and signed with another. Unlike other general managers that worked for the boss, Watson was put on a short leash when it came to decision regarding the Yankee organization. It wasnt long until Steinbrenner started making decisions about the team and leaving Watson out of the loop. Finally in nineteen ninety-six Watson resigned his four hundred thousand dollar a year job as general manager for a hundred thousand dollar scouting job with another team and did not get any credit from Steinbrenner for the ninety-six championship team he helped put together.
In December, nineteen eighty, Steinbrenner signed Dave Winfield, another African American, to a ten year contract. This time it was a ballplayer that caused the boss blood pressure to rise. Steinbrenner thought he was a genius for signing Winfield to a long-term contract that was not heard of in the sport of baseball at the time. Against all advice the boss had to have him and signed him. Winfield knowing the boss reputation for hiring and firing people was not going to go to New York without some guarantees for his time. He felt that he would be able to stand the boss as long as the boss paid through the nose. Winfield outsmarted the boss in negotiations. Steinbrenner held a grudge because he vastly underestimated the value of Winfields contract, which constantly escalated because of a cost-of-living clause. The deal, which barred the Yankees from trading Winfield without his permission, is said to have ultimately cost Steinbrenner twenty three million dollars a year added to the base salary. Steinbrenner went through the extremes to try to diminish Winfields reputation and get Winfield to resign, even being so petty as to keep Winfields photo off the cover of programs and yearbooks. Steinbrenner felt betrayed by Winfield and refused to put money into Winfeilds foundation. He felt he gave all this money to a player who was reportedly laughing behind Steinbrenners back because of the contract he signed. Steinbrenner had to strike back at Winfield. Steinbrenner had to prove his power to punish and lodged allegations against Winfield and the foundation with investigative authorities. Steinbrenner really stepped in it when he suggested that Winfield owed money gambling on the sport, which is an automatic suspension from the game for life. This led to an investigation on Steinbrenner himself for possibly violating baseball rules through conduct not in the best interest of the sport. Steinbrenner admitted he had paid forty thousand dollars to a known gangster, named Howard Spira, in exchange for damaging information about Winfield. This led to Steinbrenner being suspended from operations of his team for three years. For some reason Steinbrenner would have a problem with anyone who was of color and felt he had to keep these people in their place. His comments regarding Reggie Jackson and their public animosity for each other were constantly reported in the media. Is Steinbrenner a racist? The things these men had in common were their skin color, the love for the game, and the courage to tell the boss what to do with his money, after they got a big piece of it. Stienbrenner reminds me a lot of Archie Bunker from the show "All in the family", he means well but his mouth keeps getting in the way.
The phrase, "egotistical jackass" never had a more deserving recipient. In his usual, tongue in cheek style of quoting for the media, Steinbrenner hinted, that his second baseman, Chuck Knoblauchs injury isnt as serious as the second baseman thinks. He also criticized his struggling relievers telling them to "Put up or shut up, we are not going to go far with these guys," Steinbrenner stated. These are some of the same players that won him championships in the nineties. Not surprisingly, the players werent happy to hear it. In case you think that public criticism is simply Steinbrenners motivational technique, Id like to disagree. I am pretty sure that he is just an angry guy getting things off his chest, regardless of the effects or consequences.
In the week of April four, nineteen ninety-nine, Steinbrenners comments about his pitcher, Hideki Irabu an Asian, when Irabu was late covering first base during an exhibition game became personal when Steinbrenner exploded calling the pitcher "a fat toad" among other comments about the pitchers weight. The following year Irabu was traded from the team.
In the week of December six, nineteen ninety-eight, Steinbrenner was quoted speculating about why the Montreal Expos baseball team was having financial problems: "Maybe they just care about hockey." This comment came from a man who every year complains about the lack of support he is getting for a new stadium. New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani publicly urged fans to attend more games but only sixteen thousand showed up for the game in the same week. Steinbrenners explanation of this was, "Its hard to come to any conclusion other than the fact that we have an outmoded stadium in a location that people dont want to go to see a game." The Yankees won the championship in the same year with over three million fans showing up for the season.
In the same month of the same year the commissioners office announced that they would begin disciplining the Yankees for repeated violations of baseballs rules. Steinbrenner threw baseballs public relations staff out of the Yankees offices, saying he needed the space for an accountant. The Baseball Writers Association of America even sent a letter of complaint about the teams conduct to Paul Beeston, baseballs chief operating officer. The team has been routinely ignoring directives from both the league and the commissioners office. This is just another example of how important Steinbrenner believes he is to the sport. He has to show his importance to feel right with himself. His Napoleon complex has him as sole ruler of the rules in baseball.
The best example of Steinbrenners ego is when he would not let a ten-year-old girl sing at Yankee Stadium. Jamie Lynn Bence, of Merton Wisconsin, has sung at twenty-nine of the thirty stadium in American. Yankee stadium remains the lone holdout. Jamie has applied about fifty times with no luck. If she is good enough to sing at the other stadiums, why not let her sing at Yankee stadium. Yankees spokeswoman Deborah Tymon said that the team is reviewing the girls request, but that they are very selective when it comes to choosing singers. "We have very strict requirements," she said.
As Steinbrenner continues to win and become more powerful he has tightened his hold on the team and the league. It is to the point that he has no respect for the rules governing the league and is not impress with the commissioners. It is not about what is good personal relation for the league but what is good personal relation for the boss. Letting a little girl sing may not seem like a big thing to most but to the boss it would mean replacing some other singer who has a higher profile than the little girl from Wisconsin. When his staff starts to say negative things in the media about his behavior he fires the staff and replaces them with loyal friends. In nineteen ninety-six he replaced fifty-six employees in one season with acquaintances. When asked about this he explained that the staff needed to get on the same page.
Steinbrenners ego is so big that he went from owner, to general manager, to coach, to scout, to personal relation person, and finally to parking attendant. Moments before a television interview a fan told Steinbrenner about a trouble spot in the traffic flow of the parking lot. Steinbrenner was on the case within a nanosecond or two, sending security man Gary Kane to inspect the troublesome area. Not happy with the report Steinbrenner was seen directing traffic in the parking lot. One could only imagine who this fan really was. His passive aggressive behavior must stem from the fact that he feels inadequate to confront someone in an intelligent non-threatening manner. Maybe it is because of his up-bringing, maybe he wasnt hugged enough as a kid and deep down he stills want his mother, but is scared his father will castrate him.
Mr. Steinbrenner is holding on to a lot of anger and the root cause of this anger is that with all the power he has, imaginative or real, he never played the game. Steinbrenner is holding on to a secret dream of being a baseball player. A player controls what goes on in the field, they are confident that they control their destiny. They have egos that are huge. They are the best of the best. This produces a swagger in their walk and mannerisms. They are a part of a fraternity that many wish they were a part of. Steinbrenner is no different in wanting to have a part of the swagger. The problem is Steinbrenner has not been through the wars of trying to become part of the elite. Steinbrenner is not invited into the fraternity. This must eat at him every day. To be omnipotent in all things except being a baseball player must anger him to no end. That is why he is always kissing up to the hall of fame players giving them second, third, and fourth chances at being a part of the Yankees. Billy Martin, hall of fame, fired and hired five times, Yogi Berra, hall of fame, fired and hired twice, claimed he would never walk into Yankee Stadium again, got major but kissed by the boss under the table, which enabled Yogi to return to the Stadium with his pride intact. Steinbrenner is constantly seen on the field and in the locker room talking with the future hall of fame candidates. Though Steinbrenner had no background in major league sports he could not walk into a place like Yankee Stadium with its history and ghost of past players like Babe Ruth, Joe Dimagio, and Mickey Mantel and not get a child down his spine. Like it or not the boss is part of the Yankees folklore. In another passive aggressive ploy to galvanize his status as omnipotence of the universe he has decided that he needs a new stadium.
For the past twenty-five years Steinbrenner has complained about the condition at Yankee Stadium. On several occasions he has threaten to move the Yankees out of the Bronx if he did not get his new stadium. The teams stadium lease with the city ends in the year two thousand and two. Mayor Giuliani, often a guest in the owners box at the stadium wants to hand over hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to the boss to help build a new stadium. Estimates put the price at over one billion for a dual-use stadium and eight million for a baseball only venue. The price tag would likely balloon with the costs of acquiring the site and building new direct highway ramps. The Mayors proposal would give more tax breaks to the rich who would be the only people able to afford the ticket price. Once again the middle and lower classes would eventually have to foot the bill for a long time. Would giving Steinbrenner a new stadium help the city at all or would it just be a way to make the rich richer?
This past April a five hundred pound beam fell from underneath the left field tier boxes at a then empty stadium. The joints crash started up Steinbrenners cry for a new stadium that for years have been slightly ignored. Steinbrenner stated, "Weve got to be sure it doesnt happen again. If that means a new stadium, well have to see." The boss than went to New Jersey officials about a new baseball stadium near Giants Stadium in East Rutherford. Once again using deceiving passive tactics to sway the fans to his idea for a new home for his team.
The Mayor, not one to be out quoted, stated, "If someone was sitting there at the time that beam came down, that person would now be dead, it does indicate the stadium is old," while at a press conference at the stadium. In earlier comments, Giuliani couldnt hide his feelings for a new stadium for the Yankees: "I think Steinbrenners right that they are entitled to a new stadium, and I believe the Mets are intitled to a new stadium." This was just two weeks after the five hundred pound joint crash landed, and the Mets announced a proposal for their own new stadium to be built near Shea Stadium, their present home in Flushing, Queens. The proposed Mets stadium, with retractable roof and field, would cost five hundred million dollars. The Mets would like the public to cover seventy-five percent of the stadiums costs.
That same April Giuliani outlined a proposal to raise six hundred million dollars to help build a new stadium for both the Yankees and Mets. The money would be taken from the citys commercial rent tax and placed into a public corporation called the New York City Sports Facilities Corporation. Eleven thousand large corporations below Ninety-six Street in Manhattan pay the commercial rent tax. They pay annual rents of over one hundred thousand dollars. The tax is expected to make six hundred million in revenues through the year two thousand and two. The tax would thereafter be phased out.
The Mayor doesnt want more debt to incur for the city. Usually cities borrow the money for infrastructure project or renovations from the rich. By taxing the rich instead of borrowing from them the Mayor hopes not to go further in debt. The Mayor would issue bonds that can be repaid later with interest. According to New Yorks Independent Budget Office, a debt margin exceeding ten percent is considered financially risky for a city. By the year two thousand and two the debt percentage for the city will be at eleven percent. The Mayor also has a second way of financing the stadiums. Money would be given to the Facilities Corporation only as its collected from the commercial rent tax.
The problem with the Mayors plans is that once that money is used to build the stadium it can not be reuse to restore things like the citys school system, renovating subways, and keeping hospitals open. Pay as you go may not require new taxes but when the money is not collected it can still incur debts. Why is the commercial rent tax being phased out anyway? This would give the already rich another tax break. It is the same corporations that are already buying up the skyboxes at the stadium and cutting in working peoples salaries and benefits. Most of these corporations receive tax breaks from the Mayor already. In the mean time Steinbrenner could care less about who pays for the stadium, as long as the money is not coming out of his pocket. I am sure Steinbrenner is already enjoying tax break but none like what the new Mayor is giving out. In nineteen ninety-four Viacom, Inc. received a fifteen million-dollar tax deal for its new Forty fourth Street headquarters. Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette, a subsidiary of Equitable Companies, took in twenty-nine million in tax breaks after threatening, like the Yankees, to move its company from New York. Bear Stearns, the global investment bank, received a seventy-five million break after promising not to move out of New York for the next fifty years. Why wouldnt Steinbrenner want a piece of the tax break pie? Arent the Yankees more important than banks, and high profile law firms, or budget cuts for social services? Steinbrenner feels he is entitled to a new stadium. It doesnt matter that the Yankees are one of the richest sports franchises in the world. The funny part of this is if the corporations are getting such great tax breaks why would they, including Steinbrenner, want to leave the city? They dont want to leave. Where would they go anyway and get a better deal? There are very few places Steinbrenner could go because of the monopoly the Major League Baseball Association have on the sport.
Steinbrenner might want to leave but the geographic location of the Yankees, its fiscal arrangements with the city, and the extraordinary success of the team over the decades have contributed to making the Yankees the richest team in baseball. According to Financial World, the team was worth an estimated two hundred forty-one million in nineteen ninety-seven. With the deals with cable, Adidas, and the New Jersey Nets and Devils the price is over five hundred million. Cablevision, which broadcasts many of the Yankee games and already owns the Rangers and the Knicks, is currently making a pitch to buy the Yankees for six hundred fifty million dollars.
According to Mark Rosentraub, author of Major League Losers: The Real Costs of Sports and Whos Paying for It, the Yankees take in twenty eight million dollars more than any other team in nineteen ninety-six, the last year team earnings data are available. According to Rosentraub, even without any taxpayer money whatsoever, the Yankees organization could build a new stadium that costs as much as five hundred million dollars and still make a profits between seven point four million and thirty-one million a year. This is contrary to Steinbrenners contention that crime in the Bronx is keeping fans away from Yankee Stadium. New York City Police Department statistics prove that the biggest crime occurring in the immediate stadium area is ticket scalping, which accounted for fifty percent of the summons issued last year. The Mayors proposal, a new West Side stadium would be even more of a no risk proposition for the Yankees. Rosentraub says if the Yankees took up three million of the costs for a one billion dollar stadium, as they have indicated they are willing to do, they could take out a three million dollar loan at eight percent interest over thirty years to cover their share. The Yanks would then end up coughing up twenty-six point seven million a year to pay back the loan, less than half of the sixty million in expected additional profit from the new stadium.
Meanwhile, numerous proposals by the city and state to renovate the stadium and the neighborhood have been dismissed. In nineteen eighty-seven, then Mayor Edward Koch and the Yankees had a memo of understanding to extend the lease, which expires in the year two thousand and two, for thirty years in return for parking and luxury boxes, a Metro North station and more parkland. The city and the team sparred over details and the agreement dissolved. In February, nineteen ninety-four, the city proposed a two hundred million dollar plan to add ninety-two luxury boxes, a three thousand car garage and a lease extension. Steinbrenner turned the proposals down. Koch final proposal, that was also rejected by Steinbrenner, was for five to six million dollars stadium improvement plan that boasted seventy to ninety luxury suites, construction of a copy of the original nineteen twenty-three façade, a new concourse for concessions, new exits and entrances off the Major Degan Expressway into new garages with thirty-five thousand parking spaces. A new bridge across the Harlem River as well. Even Steinbrenners ass isnt big enough for the entire ass kissing that been going on to please the boss. The more his butt is kiss the more he likes it.
The public in general does not support such plans, despite the popularity of professional sports. A national poll conducted by Media Research and Communications recently found that eighty percent of Americans oppose the use of their tax dollars for sports stadiums and arenas. The American people know the economic justification for government financed sports facilities has always been based more on spin than on substance. These superstructures always wind up hurting the working people. The officials hire a consulting firm to produce studies predicting substantial economic benefits from a new stadium or arena. These studies rely on the Keynesian notion of an "economic multiplier"; this is the justification for every government "stimulus project" in the past half century. The calculation works by taking the dollars "invested" in building a facility, adds an estimate of money to be spent by spectators at each event, and multiplies the results by an additional number to arrive at an estimate of increased economic activity. Guess work, a dirty little secret of the economics profession, makes it doubtful that any real multiplier effect can occur at all because of something called the "substitution effect. The substitution effect holds that leisure dollars that fairly limited amount of income that a family will devote to entertainment will be spent one way or another. If there is no ballpark for a family to go to, then it will spend those dollars on some other activity, like going to a movie or a concert. At a new stadium additional club seats could be added, and at a higher price. As at new stadiums in Cleveland, Baltimore, and Arlington, Texas, ticket prices at a new Yankee Stadium would increase. New York City residents would therefore be subsidizing a stadium only the affluent and corporate promotions department could afford. Already Yankee Stadium increasingly services affluent and suburban fans, Which ESPN Sport Zone characterizes as a national trend. A report issued this September by the Independent Budget Office included results of a fan survey conducted at Yankee and Shea stadiums. At Yankee Stadium, only thirty-three percent of fans came from the five boroughs. A zip code analysis of survey respondents showed city Yankee fans averaged forty-eight thousand nine hundred and fifty-five dollars in household incomes, while those from elsewhere, the great majority, earned sixty-three thousand six hundred sixty-two dollar a year. Shea attendees displayed similar characteristics.
In all, the city would not suffer as much as Steinbrenner believes if he was to moves the team today. There is more money generated from the arts on a yearly bases for the city than is generated by the Yankees. Besides the Yankees are not going anywhere. Such a move will have its own consequences. The moment the Yankees announces the move, out of New York, Steinbrenner would be sued for the name and the pinstripes. Steinbrenner would have to call the Yankees something else. The city would still have the New York Yankees and everything that goes with the name. The stadium would still be in the Bronx just under new management. The proposals that Steinbrenner turned down would be accepted and rebuilding of the old stadium would begin. The one let down would be that the city would take over making the stadium Mayor Gulianlis new playground. On the other hand the city would be able to reap the rewards. We could go totally commercial, selling the naming rights to Verizon or some other company, but keep all the revenues. The city would have the television rights and stadium revenues. The problem for the Yankees is the New York markets uniqueness. Even as the Yankees share New York with the Mets, the market comprises nineteen point eight million people in the city and the surrounding suburbs, by far greater than any city in the country. The Yankees took in sixty-nine million in television and radio revenues, first in the Major Leagues. No other market in the country can come close to the money Steinbrenner makes here in New York. The Yankees need New York.
Would the New York Yankees still have been successful if Steinbrenner was not the owner? I believe the Yankees would not have been as successful if there was a different owner. No one in baseball attacked free agency like the boss. If there was a player out there he wanted money was no object. His style of hiring to when now has made him and the team a winner. He has giving the New York fans more winning season than any team in baseball. His crude behavior made not be acceptable but is understood in New York. You dont mess with the boss. No other owner at the time had the balls to make the moves he did. His not having a background in baseball helped him in that he did not follow the traditionalist. When owners were dreading a strike Steinbrenner embraced it knowing it meant he could now spend whatever he want for a player. Traditionalist who once believed that Steinbrenner was ruining the sports are now trying to imitate his moves. Steinbrenner showed that it is not how much you spend but whom you spend it on. Steinbrenner brought the game out of the dark ages by showing that in order to win in the new baseball market he had to take risk and wear many hats. Some times though risks smacked him in the face but most times he was right on target. CBS could do nothing with the Yankees because they were scared to spend money. The boss realize in order to make money he had to spend money, take risks, even if everyone is against him. That is why he took over every phase of the operation of running the team. He is a shark in a city of sharks and he has come out on top. No the Yankees would not have been as successful if Steinbrenner did not run the team. Who else would think to tell his ticket office to refrain from promoting Yankee ticket sales as it had done in the past so no one would know how many people actually attended the game in a season?
Should Steinbrenner be in charge of the Yankees? That is another issue all together? To this I say yes again. He should never be allowed to speak in public, and he should have a chaperone so his morals wont be tempted, but yes he should be in charge. He is the owner of the best baseball team money has ever bought. Children look up to him like he was a player. They dont want to play with him they want to play for him. There are several million reasons why they want to play with him too. Grown men line up to work for him and find being fired by him a badge of honor. He has mellowed in his old age to the point where he is finally growing up. He now listens to his staff when they have a suggestion but retains finale decisions on everything. Love him or hate him he is a winner. As the city is doing better so is the neighborhood the stadium is build around doing better as well. The people that live there might not be able to afford a ticket to the game, especially around playoff time, and only six percent of the people living in the Bronx actually go to the game, but that does not mean that most of the people living in the Bronx are not Yankee fans. During the playoff I could not go by a bodega that was not cheering the Yankees, on. Should he be in charge of the Yankee? Yes he should be.
If Steinbrenner is considered a character then the people he hired to play and coach for him, from nineteen seventy-seven through nineteen eighty-nine, could be his reflection. In seventy-seven, Reggie Jackson joins the team and immediately stirs up trouble by saying, "Im the straw that stirs the drink" in a spring training interview. Billy Martin, the coach at the time, clash in the Fenway Park dugout, leading Elston Howard, a pitcher, to comment after breaking up the dugout fight " I aint never seen nothing like this kind of shit day after day". Martin is almost fired and Jackson hits three homers in the final game of the World Series. Martin is fired after the Worlds Series for the first time.
In nineteen eighty-two former Olympic hurdler Harrison Dillard conducts running drills in spring training, prompting jokes that Steinbrenner has turned the Yankees into the "Bronx Burners." Three managers, five pitching coaches, three hitting instructors, and forty-seven different players pass through the Yankees clubhouse. Steinbrenner issues a statement ordering Doyle Alexander to undergo a physical, adding that he feared for the safety of the players behind the pitcher. Goose Gossage launches into a clubhouse tirade at Steinbrenner in which he calls the boss "the fat man".
In eighty-three Steinbrenner is fined fifty thousand and suspended one week for criticizing umpires. In an international incident, Dave Winfield is arrested in Toronto for accidentally killing a sea gull with a thrown ball. Martin is suspended twice for run ins with umpires and comes to the brink of being fired after allowing himself to be distracted by his girl friend in the middle of a game when she started passing notes to Martin from her seat with her toes. This led Public Relation director Ken Nigro to say, "After a year like this, I have to check into a rehab center".
In eighty-five Yogi Berra, who Steinbrenner had promised would manage all season, win or lose, is fired after sixteen games. Berra promised never to step into Yankee Stadium again. Martin is rehired for the third time and gets involved in fights at the Cross Keys Inn bar in Baltimore on successive nights. The latter night being a knockdown, drag out affair with pitcher Ed Whitson that spills out into the parking lot and picks up again on the third floor of the hotel. Martin "I didnt say your wife had a potbelly, I said this woman here had a fat ass". Martin self-destructs, making numerous questionable managerial moves during a late season eight game losing streaks.
Is Steinbrenner just lucky? He comes into a game with no background in sports. A shipping company owner whose business is failing and in three years wins a championship with a coach who is a violent drunk, players who self proclaim themselves as saviors, and blood thirsty fans. He buys franchises for ten million dollars and now it is worth over five hundred million dollars. He spends large sums of money on players, who if they were to get hurt, would have made him look stupid. He is caught dealing with a known gambler trying to buy information on one of his players that he is trying to get rid of, and only ends up being suspended for three years. Do I think Steinbrenner is lucky? Hell yes I do.
Steinbrenner started out buying a baseball team and ended owning a dynasty. He has assured himself a place in history by owning the best team ever to play the game of baseball. His fearless spending and knowledge of just the right mix of free agent, and new player to produce wins is the new model of wining that other teams are trying to copy if they are to compete. He is a winner and has a right to walk with a swagger. His teams have produce memories that legend are made of and have made baseball fun to watch again. As there are many people that hate him there are as many people that love him for giving them a chance to win a World Championship. He has had to fight for any recognition that just maybe he knows what he is doing. The man has a six sense for business deals and is not afraid to go against the league rules to make a deal for himself and his team. It is a good thing that he has taken to working more behind the scene than in the newspaper because as much good he has done for baseball he has also gave baseball occasional black eyes. His handling of Winfield and paying for information to blackmail Winfield off of the team show that one person should not have too much power without some type of check and balance to keep him honest. Nobody is perfect but when you own a organization as famous as the Yankees you have to know everything said while be put under a microscope and dissected whether you may want it done or not. You will find good things but it is the bad things everyone is going to remember. In Steinbrenner case it will be his spending and his mouth that everyone will remember. His way of coining a phrase is evident that he needs help in control his mouth and because of the deals he made he will never run out of money. Should Steinbrenner be in charge with all his obvious social problems that are more suited for a mobster? If you replace the words fired for rubbed out you would have the same results dead. His use of the media as his hit man has made some of the reporters famous by their attachment to the team. A lot of people owe Steinbrenner their thanks. The players that he has made so rich that they never need to work again. The city that has had a good quality team for so long that they have become spoiled. The Major League for single handedly bringing back a sport that was dying and the celebrities for having somewhere else to be seen than at a basketball game, should be thanking him as well. Winning can forgive a lot of personal problems. When Steinbrenners team is winning they cover his behavior in glory but when his team is losing they cover him with something else.
The city would be able to survive without Steinbrenner but would we really want to? He is a fixture in this city like Time Square, before they took all the hookers, and sex peep shows away, and like Time Square after they took the hookers and sex peep shows away. He is still there they just clean him up a little bit and renovated him. That is why he is no longer seen yet, like hookers you know he is still there.
Throughout history men have seek out new frontiers and for the boss baseball was his. He is a throw back to the days when men were men, chewing tobacco and spitting that disgusting black stuff all over the place was a way of life. You said what you felt not worrying about whose feeling got hurt. Thank God that time is over and whether you like the boss or hate him, like me you have to respect what he has done. Steinbrenner is the king of two mountains, one that smells of wine and championships and the other that just smells.
Madden, Bill. "Damn Yankees". A no-holds-barred account of life with "Boss"
Rosentraub, Mark S. "Major League Losers". The real cost of sports and whos paying for It. New York, NY: Basic Books, 1997.
Neff, Craig. "Scorecard: The Steinbrenner Probe." Sports Illustrated, July 27, 1990: 17.
Lieber, Jill and Neff, Craig. "A Man On The Spot. Leaked testimony limned a dubious
Picture of the Yankee boss George Steinbrenner." Sports Illustrated, July 30, 1990:
Heyman, Jon. "General George; Relentless Control Freak Has Hands In Everything."
Newsday, Feb. 20, 1996: A50.
Chadwick, Alex (host) and Deford, Frank (commentator). "Sports Fans Get Trampled
By Greedy Owners." Morning Edition, Jul. 27, 1994: 660AM (radio).
Siegel, Robert (host). "All Things Considered." Washington DC, Fatsis Friday,
Oct. 16, 1998: Talk Show.
Kindred, Dave. "Bringing Down The House. George Steinbrenner happy to abandon
Yankee Stadium." The Sporting News, April 27, 1998: vol. 222, pp79.
Keating, Raymond J.. "Pitching Socialism: Government-financed stadium invariably
Enrich owners at public expense." National Review, April 22, 1996: vol. 48, pp38.
Willen, Liz. "Mayor Pushes a West Side Yankee Home." Newsday, April 6, 1996: A05.
Polner, Rob. "Yankee Bait $380M plan would modernize Stadium, fix up neighborhood." Newsday, Dec. 14, 1994: A05.
Zipay, Steve. "A Slugfest? New Yankee Stadium Could Be Grand Slam or Strikeout
For NYC." Newsday, Aug. 19, 1996:A08.
Rosentraub, Mark. "Why Baseball Needs New York to Just Say No." The Nation,
Aug. 10, 1998: vol. 267, pp 20-24, 26.
Gralla, Joan. "Giuliani wins budget war on sports, not schools." Reuters Business
Report, Jun. 4, 1999.
Schaap, Dick. "Steinbrenner". Autobiography. New York, N.Y: Basic Books, 1999
Jackson, Kenneth T. "Encyclopedia of New York". A compendium of 4,300 entries about the city and history. New York, N.Y.: Columbia University publishes.
Smith, Kurt. Personnel Interview pending. "Robenstein Associates". Handles Public Relation for Steinbrener.
Haffin, Louis F. "Borough of the Bronx". A record of unparalleled progress and
Ferrer, Fernando President of The Borough of The Bronx, 1997 State Of The Borough Report; "Decade Of Revival: The Bronx Journey". Bronx, New York: March 1997.
New York Public Interest Research Group. Personnel Interview Pending. 9 Murray Street, New York, NY. firstname.lastname@example.org
Municipal Reference and Research Center. Department of Records and Information Services. 31 Chambers Street-Room 112: New York, NY. http://www.columbia.edu/cu/libraries/indexes/factsearch.html
Division of Criminal Justice Services. Criminal Justice Indicators Bronx County: 1995-1999.
John Jay College Of Criminal Justice. Lloyd Sealy Library. Criminal Justice Statistics: A Reference Guide. New York, NY. 1993
The New York Insider: Daily Survival in New York: How Safe is New York City? New York, NY: 1995-2000. Danvic Publications, Inc.
Onofrio, Chistine and Felton, Nadine. Hollow In The Middle. "The Rise and fall of New York Citys Middle Class: Dec 1997
Smith, Kurt. Personnel Interview, Oct. 5, 2000. Sister T. Collins. 35 years living and working in the Bronx.
New York State Library-New York State Education Department. Records and Resources in the New York State Archives. U.S. Census Date 1970-1980. http://www.archives.nysed.gov/holding.htm
Bronx Historical Society Journal. Preview article from Bronx Historical Society Journal: http//www.Bronx.com/3-26-98history.htm.
Manoussoff Associates. "Bronx Borough Improvement Study". 1998.
Bronx Borough Of Trade. Bronx Historical Society. "The Bronx, New York City, The Fastest Growing Borough". Publication 1976.
New York Office of Management and Budget. District Resource Statement, Fiscal and Service Reports. The Bronx. 1990-1995.
Hellmoth, Obata, and Kassabaum. "Stadium Study". Times. Kansas City Mo.: Reported April 5, 1996.
John Jay College Of Criminal Justice, Lloyd Sealy Library. "1964 Voting Right Act".
League of Women Voters of the City of New York Education Fund. "They Represent You". 1997
Greenberg, David. "Yankee, stay home (New York Yankee). The New Republic: Oct. 30, 1995: Vol. 213,pp14(2)
Np. "Ferrer Refutes Steinbrenner With NYPD Crime Statistics". New York Voice Inc./Harlem USA, April 17, 1996: pp1
McCool, Grant. "New York Council Votes for Referendum On Yankees". Reuters. Electric Library Personal Edition. June 24, 1998.
Np. "Ferrer Proposes Plan To Meet Steinbrenner Challenge". AP Online. Electric Library Personal Edition. July 10, 1998.
Steinbrenner, George. Online Encyclopedia 2000. Oct. 6, 2000.
The Boss, George Steinbrenner
Hello, my name is George Steinbrenner and I own the New York Yankees. Im here today to tell you, the people of New York, what I want if I am to keep the Yankees in the Bronx. I want a new ballpark, but that is not all, I also want the guaranty that the new park will have at least three million fans a season.
The ballpark has to be big enough to add new lavish boxes for fans that can afford it. I want more seats and a Yankee shopping center connected to it. You people are always trying to help someone, why not buy extra seats every season and give them to the people who cannot afford them. This way my stadium will always be full. I am going to need some tax breaks and only I have a say in what is going on in my park. We could even call the mall something catchy like "The Boss" mall. You do this for me and we will get along just fine.
Know let me tell you what is going to happen if you dont give me what I want. I will pack up my boys and move away. By-by, so long, see ya. Do you know what that means? It means an already bad area will get worst. The crime rate, which is why no one wants to come to my park, will go higher. Mothers will cry, men will lose jobs, the money the Bronx enjoyed so much will be gone, sons wont know what it is like to have a icon to look at and the daughters will, well at least your daughters will be safe. Hey that means no more maternity suits.
The worst thing is that you would be going against me. That means now not only do you not have a baseball team you made an enemy. Every chance I get I will try to screw you. I will talk about how cheap you are to the newspapers and how I tried my best to what I could to stay, but in the end they didnt want me. Do you know there are other states who would love to kiss my ass, shit, they are puckering up all the down to Florida to get a hook in to my wallet. I got news for you, before you get your hand in my pocket; you better check your pocket book first to see if I left anything for you.
Look, the mayor tried, the Bronx counsel tried, the commissioner of baseball tried, and Im here to tell you, stop trying to fuck with me about this. Everyone knows I get what I want, why should getting a new stadium be any different? Im a winner who knows how to stack the chips in my favor. Ive brought grown men to tears, hall of famer, superstars, Asians; they all turn to wimps in my present. What make you think you will be any different.
I got more connections than version, more power than the president; Im stronger than steel and got ball of brass, what make you think I give a damn where I make my money. Make no mistake, if I cant get it the way I want then Ill go for all I can get. That is the American way and you wont find anyone more American than me. Every king needs his kingdom and it does not matter what country, borough, or state I take over.
In closing I would like to say that, you know me, I win, I always get my way, and if I dont get my way, then stay out of get in my way. It is time to either use the pot or get off it. Get off it because it is my pot, my team, and my way. Just do what I say and everything will work out find, dont do what I say and end up back where you started, in the ghetto, jobless, remembering the "BOSS"