Kid Steinbrenner already sounds like his old man
Posted: Tuesday October 30, 2007 3:06PM; Updated: Tuesday November 6, 2007 1:45PM
"I'm fed up with his attitude. He ought to realize that his lack of hitting lately has killed us."
Hank Steinbrenner talking about the going-going Alex Rodriguez, right?
Try vintage George, June 1985.
The target of his blustery wrath: Don Mattingly, who had dared carp about off-day workouts.
But you gotta hand it to Hank. Since the curtain started coming down on the Joe Torre/A-Rod era, he's found himself in the spotlight and is already well on his way to succeeding his storied pop in the blunt public pronouncement department. Along with that trademark steely Steinbrenner gaze and eagerness to seek out the nearest microphone, Hank has got his dad's verbal dart deal down pat.
Consider his question to Tyler Kepner of The New York Times concerning Mr. Rodriguez leaving the team:
"Does he want to go into the Hall of Fame as a Yankee or a Toledo Mud Hen?"
That's classic Boss, by George: "Anybody seen Reggie Jackson? I need a Mr. October and all I've got is a Mr. May -- Dave Winfield."
And how about Hank's take on Torre's so-called greatness: "Where was Joe's career in '95 when my dad hired him?"
Sounds like dad's take on departed GM Gabe Paul in October 1977, after the Yankees had won their second successive pennant and first World Series since 1962: "You think he made all those moves with this team himself? A brilliant baseball man, yes, but he was getting old. Look, let him have his image if he wants it. I won't say anything bad about Gabe."
Hank clearly shares his dad's pride and "our way or the highway" attitude:
"If you don't want to be a Yankee and paid what you're being paid, we don't want you, that's the bottom line. If you don't understand the magnitude of being a Yankee and understand what that means, and being the highest-paid player in baseball, I think it's pretty obvious."
George (Oct. '77): "I have nothing against long hair, but wearing a Yankee uniform represents tradition. After all, I'm paying the bills and issuing the paychecks around here and I feel a certain way about Yankee tradition."
The goal remains the same:
Hank: "The point is, the objective of the Yankees since the '20s has been to win a championship every year, just like the objective of Lombardi with the Packers or Belichick with the Patriots. Our goal is to win it every single year, even though we know, obviously, you can't win it every single year. But nothing less than a championship is considered really acceptable."
George ('77): "My employees know I'm tough on them, and I am. I demand more of them than they think they're capable of. I don't know of any other way to lead. I'm not here to run a country club."
And the expectation of excellent play for excellent pay:
Hank: "I don't understand Alex's point of view. But being paid what he would have been paid, you would think at the same time there would be pride in being a Yankee. I mean, come on. Every ex-Yankee I've ever talked to says the same thing: 'Are you kidding me? Everybody wants to be a Yankee.' And it's not the cheap Yankees, either. It's the Yankees who will pay whatever we have to pay. But when he opts out, that is telling us he doesn't want to be a Yankee. If we're going to make you rich and we're going to give you the privilege of being a Yankee, you've got to show us you want to be here."
George ('85): "If they're not happy, let them get jobs as cabdrivers, firemen or policemen in New York City. Then they'll see what it's like to work for a living."