Hal Steinbrenner: “We’re Running a Business Here”

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I listened to Mike Francesca’s interview with Hal today, and was struck by how much more self-assured the Yankees’ big cheese sounded. He wasn’t full of his father’s bluster by any means, but he was no longer the reluctant boss. When Francesca brought up Jeter and Mo and whether signing them was a foregone conclusion, Hal made the expected noises about how much he wanted to bring them back, how they should always remain Yankees, blah blah. But he also said – twice – “but we’re running a business here.”
My heart kind of dropped when he used those words. I’m not naive enough to think there’s no budget and I realize that Jeter and Mo, while icons, aren’t young. But I got the feeling that Hal isn’t planning to write any blank checks or offer long-term contracts. In fact, I started to panic. What if the Yankees can’t come to terms with their two legends? Is that humanly possible?
Putting Mo aside for now (we need a closer and there’s no one better), I came up with five value-added ways to keep Jeter around when he can’t play shortstop or swing a bat. I pulled these from a blog post I wrote in February ’09 and they’re still options as far as I’m concerned.
1) Jeter is given an ownership stake in the team, becomes a Steinbrenner Son along with Hal and Hank, and changes his first name to Harvey.

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2) He becomes “The Yankee Emeritus,” walking onto the field at the end of every game, just prior to Sinatra singing, and making a “Thank-you-for-being-such-great-fans” speech”, like the one he delivered at the finale of the old Stadium. 
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3) He relinquishes his endorsements of cars and cologne and instead pitches products geared for his own demographic.

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polident_.jpg4) He becomes chairman of the Yankees Assisted Living Facility, a luxurious compound for active seniors near Steinbrenner Field in Tampa

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5) He purchases all the food for the Yankees restaurants.

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I realize these ideas sound cruel and heartless, but remember: Hal is running a business here.

21 Comments

Running a business can be cold and cruel sometimes. Hal has a good head on his shoulders. I kinda miss Hank though. He would have been fun to have around.
mike
http://thebrooklyntrolleyblogger.blogspot.com/
http://thebrooklyntrolleyblogger.mlblogs.com/

I don’t miss Hank, Mike. Unlike George he was all bluster and no baseball sense – at least none that I could tell. But he did stir the pot and made things interesting. So wait. Maybe I do miss him. LOL.

Well you should have made fun of Harvey Jeter before this season too! He had a great year in ’09… (and you forgot the Depends…)

Pretty cool how Hal has taken over as the front man for the Yankees’ brass. He is the head honcho, no doubt about it. He’s obviously a co-chairperson, but his bro Hank is just a fool trying to be his father. All talk and no smarts just doesn’t equal up to George.

When they both started to come onto the Yankee scene it was evident someone was going to have to shut Hank up for the sake of all us Yankee fans. Thankfully there was talk that the other young Steinbrenner was the brains and knew the money side of baseball. I prayed he wouldn’t be just an efficient accountant who was missing a baseball heart. But he’s turned out to be pretty damn smart about it all. He could have nixed the idea of signing Teixeira, but was open to the notion after Cashman pleaded his case. He’s got a few smart moves so far…

And then now he’s really starting to sound like his father! His elocution and diction, not necessarily being loudmouthed. Like you said Jane, he sounds more self-assured. He knows he’s the one in charge. If he truly cares about putting the best team on the field each year, listens to the right people, and really understands what it is to bear the weight of the entire Yankee Universe on his shoulders, he might just be as revered (or vilified?) as his father one day. Or almost anyway. Those were large shoulders and some big, loud shoes to fill.

http://yankeecase.mlblogs.com/

He may be running a business here, but I’m sure Hal has enough sense to sign back Jeter and Mo. I can’t picture either of them in any other uniform, and this is a view from the outside. (Though I am sure there are plenty of teams who would like to try and see either one in their uniform if Hal is so silly ;) ). Your list is really funny but I think #2 is true even while Jeter is still playing great baseball – he really is Mr. Yankees for this decade and more.
http://blithescribe.mlblogs.com/

Hey! He’s not so old, despite the home he’s building in St. Pete (no income tax in FL). And he’s not even married yet! heheheh
I figure another 5 years on the field, then infinite years as bench coach & manager.

Enjoying your blog. I quoted you on 10/19 over at Baseball for Girls. Keep on keepin’ on! Renée

hello jane and other jane bloggers. i felt so wounded after the yankees lost that i disappeared for a while. then i got sick and being heartsick and sick left me mostly on the couch reading and then i had too much work to do so i do so i disappeared. i felt like it shouldn’t hurt so much and i should be ok but i wasn’t and i had no support either. last night, after another day of overworking, i finally felt well and read all of the blogs that i had only glanced at and all of the comments. and guess what i had great dreams last night. i dreamt that i had gone to sleep assuming the yankees had lost because we were losing and woke up to find out we won the world series. i couldn’t believe it. the next dream was more of the same. we won the series and i was trying to rearrange my life to watch the mlb replays of the series that i had missed.
i still can’t believe that with the rabid media we don’t know what happened to dave eiland. i still think if we had gotten to game 7, we would have beaten cliff lee. i kept saying he’s not going to be good his next game–it just turns out i was right but wrong team. congrats to the giants–at least they are likeable and we got to watch rags oversee great pitching.
barbara

Love your ideas for Jeter! Or maybe he can become “Derek Sez” and be in the seats with a pan and a spoon.

The LoHud had a report on the Hank Aaron award that I found interesting. Here is part of it:
Last night, Major League Baseball announced its Hank Aaron Award winners. The award is meant for “the most outstanding offensive performer” in each league, which sounds a lot like the Most Valuable Player award. The MVP obviously takes other things into account, but offensive numbers are usually the first thing cited when defending a choice or campaigning for a favorite.

Who won in 2009?

Derek Jeter

Melissa

Ouch! Ensure? Do people really drink that? I think Yankeeland can rest on Jeter. Not bringing him back forever would be a TERRIBLE business decision.
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/
http://mtrredstatebluestate.com

I like Hal much better than Hank. And I feel like his comments were meant more for the agents representing DJ and Mo than they were about the legendary players themselves. And we have to sign Andy this year as well. At the same time, the reason most of the winning teams in 2010 did so well was because of their young players – so The Yankees have to be smart and balance the team well. Not much more to say on the topic…only time will tell.

YankeeCase, when I first heard Hank firing shots the year he “took over,” I feared for us. He was entertaining but a poor substitute for his father and I thought the franchise was in trouble. But then Hal stepped in and was clearly the more thoughtful of the two. I just didn’t think he had any interest in running a baseball team and he probably didn’t at first. But he seems to have grown into the job, has a nice new wife, seems happy in the job. All that said, I was surprised by the rather tough stance he took in the interview yesterday. A negotiating ploy, perhaps, but a little scary.

Jeter IS Mr. Yankee, blithescribe. (Didn’t realize or remember that you had a blog here! Will go check it out.) He means so much to the franchise and, by the same token, the franchise means a lot to him. If he went and played for, say, the Chicago White Sox, would he get all those endorsements? No. So it’s beneficial for both sides to come to terms and soon.

Actually, Renee, the house Jeter is building is in Tampa (on Star Island) but close enough. It’s insanely big and he’ll need to fill it up with lots and lots of kids! Five years on the field for him? That’s a long time. I’m going with three. Then I’d love to see him move into the Mattingly role and be a bench coach, then manager. I wonder if that’s in his mind for down the road. You quoted me on Baseball for Girls? I must go see! Hope I didn’t say anything stupid.

Oh, Barbara. I’ve been worried about you and hoping you were okay. I figured the loss took you down for awhile. Sorry you were sick on top of it. I remember after 07 and the loss in the first round to Cleveland. I kept dreaming that the result was different and would wake up so sad. But I’m glad you’re back and happy for the Giants. If somebody had to win besides us, it might as well have been them.

Melissa, I thought of Derek Sez for Jeter but I decided he needed more “executive” positions. LOL. Besides, no one can replace Freddy. Yes, the Hank Aaron award recognizes offense, which is why I didn’t get worried when Bautista won it this year. I still think Cano will be our MVP. Sure hope so!

Yes, people really do drink Ensure, Jeff. The PLAYERS drink it, as well as Pediasure (sp?). It’s a quick protein shake that’s better for them than Gatorade, which is pure sugar. Doesn’t taste bad either.

I think you’re right, Diane, and Hal’s comments were designed to get the attention of the agents. That said, I also think he meant them. I don’t think the negotiations will go as smoothly as we would like them too. He practically said as much when he indicated that the fans might not be happy with the pace of them. Yes, time will tell.

Wouldn’t Jeter look good in black with a gray beard, Paul?

A sticky and delicate time indeed, Dave. I’ve heard the moving-Jeter-to-third-and-DHing-A-Rod idea too. I’ve also read that people think Cano should move to shortstop and Jeter should go to the outfield. On and on. Jorge will become a backup catcher until he retires and hopefully Jesus Montero will be ready to take over full time when that happens. Or somebody else not named Cervelli. Yes, Renteria was in very good company!

It’s time for a little cooking everyone. Be sure to tune into Martha Stewart on Tuesday November 9th. Curtis Granderson will be cooking mac & cheese, cornbread, and some other stuff.

Melissa

Five fascinating ideas, as always, She-Fan…
This is the sticky and delicate time for too many of the Core Four. I’ve read/heard some ideas being batted around for Jeet, like moving him to 3B so A-Rod can be a full-time DH, and making room for…Ramiro Pena…at SS? At least I think it was Pena…I’m not so good at remembering the names of scrub-a-dubs & prospects…unless they do something FANTASTIC, like Greg Golson’s throw to third to nail Crawford for the final out in that Rays game…!!
As for Hor-Hay…well, we don’t wanna go there…you know how my ear gets worn out by Jersey Bob, who can’t wait for ANYONE to replace him as the everyday catcher…he swears that Texas couldn’t hit the Giants, but wore out all of our pitchers, because they couldn’t figure out S.F.’s pitch sequencing, while Posada is some kind of open book…of course, that means you have to tar Cervelli with the same brush, and maybe so…I dunno, lady, I just report this stuff…
When the season ends in a crummy way, I look for little bits of history to console me. Did you note that when “Mr. Nov-Edgar” got his second WS-winning hit Monday nite, he joined an ultra-elite group of players to ever do that — i.e. have two WS-winning hits. You may have heard of the three other guys: Ruth, Gehrig, and Berra…!!!

Jane – It’s a new blog actually. Thanks for checking it out! I’ve had a LiveJournal blog for about 5 years and this season I turned it into a half Angels/half just general life blog. But LiveJournal is really a dying community now and the baseball community within the larger community pretty much died out two years ago, so I decided to move the baseball rambles over here and see if I could get a consistent, twice a week or so Angels/baseball blog going.

Yoweee, Melissa. Just wrote down November 9th in my calendar! I guess “the other Jane Heller,” who takes Martha to the games and introduces her to the players, must have set Grandy’s appearance in motion. Can’t wait to see him in the kitchen, so thanks for the heads up.

I’m not familiar with the LiveJournal community, blithescribe. (I’m so sheltered. LOL.) But I’m glad you’re writing about the Angels and baseball. You have a knack for it for sure.

According to Subway Squawkers last May:

Martha told Curtis she was giving him a pair of “very comfortable” drawstring pajama bottoms, in a navy blue style with white pinstripes, that she made.

That seems a little creepy to me.

Melissa

It seems creepy to me too, Melissa. Pajama bottoms? Aren’t there plenty of other things she could make for him? Like a sweater? Hat and gloves? Grilled salmon?

Bad news you’ll miss Curtis on Martha, Lynn. Good news is you’ll be seeing some future Yankee stars! That’s pretty cool. Besides, they’ll probably have a clip from Curtis’ appearance on the YES web site.

Curtis on Martha? Oh rats, that’s the day we drive to Phoenix for 3 Arizona Fall League games. Hope to see Austin Romine, Brandon Laird and all those pitchers.
Lynne

Hello Jane, been a while since I contacted you on your blog. Well we both fell short this year at championship glory, though your Yankees came a lot closer than my Dodgers did. On the other hand you weren’t faced with the outrage of your most despised enemy garnering a World Series crown. As Duke Snider once said concerning the enmity he felt toward the Giants, both in New York and Frisco, “I even grew to hate Halloween. I just couldn’t stomach the black and orange colors.”

Since this entry of yours concerns front office machinations, I thought it would be the appropriate vehicle to share some sad news and a few good baseball stories that I think you might appreciate. The sad news is that Clyde King has passed away. Clyde had served as a special advisor to George Steinbrenner for a number of years. However before entering that part of his baseball life, King was a pretty darn good relief pitcher for the old Brooklyn Dodgers.

In 1951 or 1952 there was an occasion when manager Charlie Dressen had to bring in King quickly and Clyde had not had adequate time to get loose. As King was walking in from the bullpen, Dressen mentioned this to team captain and star shortstop Pee Wee Reese, who took the following tack to buy King some extra get loose time.

After King had taken a few warm up tosses, Reese pretended that he had something in his eye. Third baseman Billy Cox came over to assist and called for the trainer to help. As the delay continued Reese snuck a look in the direction of the mound to see if Clyde appeared ready yet. To his amazement and chagrin there was King only a few feet away, inquiring about the state of Pee Wee’s eye problem.

Years later Reese told the story to his successor at short Maury Wills, who mentioned that he had put together a nightclub act playing the banjo and telling baseball stories, and that he wished he had a story as humorous as that one. Reese suggested to Wills that he just co-opt Pee Wee’s tale and make it his own. So that offseason in his bookings Wills related the story with the manger becoming Walter Alston, the shortstop Maury and the relief pitcher Bob Miller.

And of course Maury’s between seasons entertaining and banjo strumming were what got him traded away from the Dodgers. During the 1966 offseason the Dodgers were invited to tour Japan. Wills was upset about giving up his vacation time and about not being paid extra for the trip, so after a few days he complained of an injured right knee that he claimed required immediate treatment in the U. S., and left the team. However he instead stopped off in Hawaii and was spotted a few days later playing his banjo in a Honolulu nightclub.

Word got back to Walter O’Malley, who was livid about the situation, and about 3 weeks later on December 1, 1966 it was announced that the Dodgers had traded Maury Wills to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Gene Michael and Bob Bailey. The Dodgers quickly soured on the Stick and sold him to the Yankees after only one season. Eventually Michael like King would also join the Yankees front office.

Mike

Hey, Mike. Sorry you had to watch your hated Giants win it all this year. I understand how you feel. But once your owners figure out who will run the Dodgers, they’ll have a better shot at a ring next year. Yes, it was sad news about Clyde King. The Yankees sent out a nice tribute to him. Thanks for the great story about King and Pee Wee Reese. Very funny! And I love how Maury Wills ended up using it as his own for his nightclub act! Baseball is full of wonderful tales and legends, isn’t it?

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