Hank Steinbrenner Makes New York Yankees Interesting Again

Sean Crowe@CroweKnowsSenior Writer IMarch 15, 2008

I know I’ve said this on Bleacher Report before, but it bears repeating: 

I love Hank Steinbrenner.

Hank Steinbrenner is the best thing to happen to baseball since the designated hitter (purists be damned!).

Since he took over for the late George Steinbrenner (he is dead, right?), it’s been entertaining Hank quote after entertaining Hank quote.

Ask Hank about Boston fans booing poor, cheating, drug user Andy Pettitte (or any of the many, many Yankee HGH and steroid users) and he responds with this beauty:

"I don't think they would want to be hollering too loud at Andy up in Fenway. They had plenty of players doing this stuff, too. It's just that those players weren't mentioned in the Mitchell Report."

An MLB owner implying that the Mitchell Report was incomplete and the drug problem in baseball is even worse than believed?  Especially with the defending champions? 

Fantastic! High-five, Bud Selig!

And when his team has a few ill-advised dustups with the Tampa Bay Rays during some meaningless Spring Training games?   You can count on Hank to stoke the flames a little bit with comments like this:

"I don't want these teams in general to forget who subsidizes a lot of them...I would prefer if teams want to target the Yankees that they at least start giving some of that revenue sharing and luxury tax money back."

Think you can get away with questioning his ridiculous treatment of the great Joe Torre? 

Absolutely not!

"Where was Joe's career in '95 when my dad hired him? My dad was crucified for hiring him ... Let's not forget what my dad did in giving him that opportunity—and the great team he was handed."

His response after being told about the existence of a “Red Sox Nation” is classic Steinbrenner:

"Red Sox Nation?  What a bunch of [expletive] that is.  That was a creation of the Red Sox and ESPN, which is filled with Red Sox fans.  Go anywhere in America and you won't see Red Sox hats and jackets, you'll see Yankee hats and jackets. This is a Yankee country. We're going to put the Yankees back on top and restore the universe to order."

The Red Sox closer dares suggest that Hank should keep his mouth shut and “stick to pencil pushing”?  Hank’s ready for that one too.

"Being insulted by Papelbon is like being attacked by a mouse."

The best thing about Hank Steinbrenner: Yankee fans are secretly as terrified of Hank as non-Yankee fans are entertained by him.  

They all know he will eventually go crazy, fire either the manager or the general manager, and make some completely insane signing or trade. 

Or he'll do something completely ridiculous like claiming victory in the Alex Rodriguez negotiations...then paying him almost $100,000,000 more than any other player..even though nobody else was bidding for his services.

Great job, Hank! 

He’s already compared Joe Girardi to a sober Billy Martin.  Don’t be surprised if the Yankees morph back into the Bronx is Burning Yankees, complete with an insane Steinbrenner and a crazy manager who has issues with authority. 

I mean, if Girardi couldn’t get along with Jeffrey Loria down in Florida, how in the heck is he going to get along with Hank Steinbrenner? 

To steal a term from Hank, Loria’s a mouse compared to the younger Steinbrenner.

Didn't Girardi's issues in Florida start with his getting annoyed that Loria questioned his in-game strategy and yelled at umpires during games?  

What happens when Hank questions his decision not to pull a pitcher?  What happens the first time the Yanks go through a losing streak and Steinbrenner shows up in the clubhouse looking for answers?

The situation is as combustible as any I’ve ever seen.  All Yankee fans know this, whether they choose to admit it publicly or not.

They all know they’re nothing more than a six- or seven-game deficit to the Red Sox away from trading everyone in their farm system for an overpriced, heartless mercenary like Randy Johnson or Alex Rodriguez—who will inevitably fail them when it matters most.  

They all know that their great 90s dynasty was built mostly without the interference of the Steinbrenner family—and that until the Steinbrenner family backs off, they'll never get to that level again. 

As a Red Sox fan, this delights me to no end.  As a baseball fan, this is tremendous.

Major League Baseball is at its most healthy when the New York Yankees are an extremely talented, drama-riddled playoff loser.  

If they weren’t in the race, it wouldn’t be as interesting. 

When they win it all, like in the 90s, people get bored.

With the money they have, this team will always be in contention. With the owner they have and the city they're in, there will definitely be some kind of drama. And with that mix of hired mercenaries and unproven pitching, they're almost guaranteed to be a playoff loser.

Which should make Hank even more insane. 

Which in turn would only make us love him more.

Look, since George Steinbrenner went catatonic back in 2004, things just haven’t been the same.  The rivalry has been one-sided, the Yankees have struggled without having their livelihoods threatened, and it’s been generally boring in New York.   

I mean, if George were in his prime, the entire Yankee team would have been fired off the Brooklyn Bridge after the way last season ended.

Losing to the Cleveland Indians in the playoffs? It’s un-American, and more importantly, un-Yankee-ian.  George never would have stood for it.   Hank won’t stand for it when it happens this season.

And I can’t wait to see what happens next.

I’m SeanMC.


SeanMC is a Senior Writer at Bleacher Report. His archive can be found here. You can find everything he writes, including articles for other publications, here.


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