Steinbrenner is like an aluminum-siding salesman. If his lips are moving, he's lying. He says the Bronx is dangerous. (Not on game days it's not. You can't throw a bucket of M&M's in any direction and not hit six cops and a police horse. A few bases get stolen, tops.) He says people are afraid to go there. (Well, that's true, except for the more than three million that went this year.) He says there's no place to park, access roads are lousy, and the stadium is falling down. (For $535 million the Bronx's Safe at Home plan would fix all that, plus give him all the luxury boxes he can sit his lardass in.)
George won't listen. He either wants to move the Yankees to New Jersey or have the city build him a $1 billion complex on the west side of Manhattan. "I would think he would need to make a decision in the next four or five months," says New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who doesn't much care whether the Yankees play in the Bronx or at 34th and 10th—just that Curious George doesn't move the team to the other side of the Hudson River.
But how do you move history? How do you move the spot where rightfielder Paul O'Neill stands and thinks, Babe Ruth stood here? How do you move the giddy, wild mix of race and class and life a Yankees game attracts now? How do you move somebody like 85-year-old ticket-taker George Kasoff, who started working at the stadium 50 years ago? "He [ Steinbrenner] hardly even nods at me," says Kasoff. "Yet he's taking something away that I love."
As the Yankees, with their 2-0 Series lead, were packing up for the flight to San Diego on Sunday night, coach Willie Randolph, who played more games at second base than any other Yankee, was stewing about the Stadium. "I understand business and prosperity and luxury boxes," Randolph said, "but some things are sacred. Some things you don't mess with. I mean, there are ghosts bouncing around this place."
May they all have George's home phone number.