New York Yankees: Are Reports of Steinbrenner Family Selling Team Soon True?

Doug Rush@Doug_RushSenior Analyst IMay 24, 2012

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 20:  Members of the Steinbrenner family pose for photographers following a ceremony dedicating a monument to the late Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner before the Yankees baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 20, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  Seen are (L-R) Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal, Jessica Steinbrenner, George's widow Joan Steinbrenner, Hal Steinbrenner and Hank Steinbrenner. (Photo by Kathy Willens-Pool/Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images

UPDATE (9:13 a.m.): After the news of the possibility of the Steinbrenner family selling the team in the future, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner issued a statement stating that the rumors are not true.

"I just read the Daily News story. It is complete fiction. Me and my family have no intention to sell the Yankees & expect it to be in the family for years to come."

You have to wonder if Hal is genuine in not wanting to sell, or if he's looking to create a diversion of any future financial plans.

If the Steinbrenner's are in fact, not selling, the New York Daily News has some explaining to do.


Talk about waking up to news that could shake the foundation of baseball.

According to Michael O'Keefe and Bill Madden of the New York Daily News, the New York Yankees could be put up for sale soon by the Steinbrenner family.

This news comes after the Los Angeles Dodgers were sold to a group led by former NBA legend Magic Johnson for $2.175 billion last month.

Considering how high the Yankees stock is right now, as one of the most prestigious sports franchises in the entire world, it would make sense if the family did decide to sell.

The Yankees have been owned by the Steinbrenner family since 1973, when George Steinbrenner bought the team from CBS for only $8.8 million.

Since then, the Yankees have been to 11 World Series and won seven of them under the Steinbrenner empire to reestablish themselves as the class of the baseball world.

When George's health started to get worse several years ago, his two sons, Hank and Hal, started to take over the reins of the team as their father spent most of his time back home in Tampa, Florida.

George passed away after suffering from a heart attack back on July 13, 2010 at the age of 80.

After Hank engineered Alex Rodriguez's 10-year, $250 million contract extension, Hal fully took over the reins as the primary owner of the team while Hank left the scene.

According to the New York Daily News report, Steinbrenner isn't an avid fan of the game like his father was.

Another factor fueling the speculation is the fact that Hal Steinbrenner doesn’t seem to share his father’s passion for baseball ... Hal Steinbrenner rarely attends games, and according to those who know him, abhors doling out the huge money long-term contracts such as the Rodriguez deal.

Hal has always considered himself to be a "finance geek" and has been trying desperately to cut the team's payroll to the $189 million mark to avoid getting hit with the luxury tax, even if it meant the Yankees had to miss the playoffs as a result of cutting cost on the field.

NEW YORK - JULY 18:  Hal Steinbrenner, son of late owner George Steinbrenner, looks on as the New York Yankees play the Tampa Bay Rays on July 18, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees defeated the Rays 9-5.  (Photo by
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

While I agree the Yankees shouldn't be carelessly giving out a ton of money to players, if Hal Steinbrenner only sees baseball as a game of economics and nothing else, then him selling the team is the best decision.

If he doesn't share his father's passion for the game and for the Yankees, then it's time to step aside for an owner who will put their heart and soul into the most historic franchise in all of sports.

According to the source of the news of the potential sale, Steinbrenner not only doesn't think too highly of the sport, but also the other owners as well.

“Hal’s a smart businessman,” the source said. “And I’m just not sure that he considers baseball to be a smart business. I think he looks at some of these other owners, throwing $200 million at players and thinks they’re idiots—idiots that unfortunately can affect the way he does business. You have to understand, it was in Hal’s formative years in the ’80s when he saw George at his worst in terms of throwing more and more good money at bad players like Pascual Perez, Dave LaPoint, Steve Kemp, Ed Whitson and Andy Hawkins.”

If the Steinbrenners do in fact sell the team, you could see potential buyers such as David Einhorn (who recently attempted to buy the New York Mets), Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban (who tried to buy the Dodgers), or even former Yankees manager Joe Torre (who had a group led by Rick Caruso, a Southern California real-estate developer, to buy the Dodgers but eventually dropped out of the bidding).

Some think the Yankees could go for as high as $3 billion, maybe even more.

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 04:  New York Yankees Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner of the New York Yankees celebrates with the trophy after their 7-3 win against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game Six of the 2009 MLB World Series at Yankee Stadium on Nove
Nick Laham/Getty Images

The one thing that really stood out and shocked me from the story this morning was that the source was cited as saying that Hal not only hates the players, but hates the media as well.

If that is the case, then there's no reason for him not to sell. He should get out of the game while the team's value is so high.

George Steinbrenner helped reestablish the Yankee empire and made it into a billion-dollar enterprise. He was the driving force in getting the new Yankee Stadium built, and he also was the driving force in the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network (YES) that launched in 2002 and not only exclusively plays the Yankees home and away games, but also the NBA's Brooklyn Nets games as well.

To go on top of that, George was one of the few owners who started handing out big-time, million-dollar contracts to players, a trend that has carried over for the last 40 years and really changed the landscape of the sport. Many rich players past and present have George Steinbrenner to thank for their fortunes.

And now, after what their father did for the Yankees and for the sport, it looks as if the Steinbrenner family want to get out of baseball and end their legacy in the sport.

It should be really interesting to see where this goes in the future.

And what will it mean to the future of the New York Yankees franchise?

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.


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