I hope not.
Say what you want about the late George and his next of kin, but they always do their darnedest to put a winning product on the field. However, according to a report in the Daily News, the family may not be running the show for much longer.
The “story” quotes a few anonymous high-level baseball sources who say that, on the heels of the Dodgers fetching over $2 billion, the Yankees brass is open to putting the team on the market.
One anonymous, omniscient source:
There has been chatter all around the banking and financial industries in the city for a couple of weeks now.
This is pretty vague, and may have even been taken out of context. What has there been chatter about? I’m not too concerned about this quote. Next.
Another anonymous, omniscient sonuvabitch:
It would definitely be the right time for the family to sell. The value of the team couldn’t be higher, but at the same time, it’s an older team in a division with younger teams getting better at the same time a lot of the Yankees’ core veterans are starting to go into decline.
The first sentence tells us nothing. “It would definitely be the right time for the family to sell”? So? It’s the right time for me to take a shower, shave, get a job, quit futzing around on the internet all day and stop being a peckerhead, but does that mean it’s going to happen? Where’s the story here? Just because it’s the right time to do something doesn’t mean it’s inevitable. Just throwing that out there.
Furthermore — and maybe I’m just an idiot [very strong possibility] and don’t understand this — doesn’t the second sentence of that quote negate the first part? If the team is getting older and veterans are starting to decline while division rivals are getting better, wouldn’t that hurt the team’s value?
A third omniscient bastard agreed that it is “a terrific time for the Steinbrenner family to sell the team”:
Hal’s [Steinbrenner, obviously] a smart businessman, 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 80’s 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.
The Yanks are in fourth place and haven’t played up to expectations this season, but are still second in all of ball in total home attendance (narrowly behind the Phillies). These aforementioned younger teams within the division who are getting better still pale in comparison to the Yankees with regards to home attendance. The Orioles are 11 games over .500 and in first place but have drawn barely half the number of fans to Camden Yards (22nd in home attendance in MLB this season) that the Yanks have to YS, and CY is about the same size as YS (48,876 to 50,291, respectively). The Rays have been perennial contenders for the past few years and currently sit a game back in the division but still couldn’t sell out a telephone booth (they rank 24th in home attendance in 2012).
If drawing the hell out of fans while playing sub-par ball isn’t a smart business, please tell me what is; that’s not even getting into what said fans pay for tickets, concessions, jerseys, etc. at each game. Look, George bought the Yanks in 1973 for $8.8 million and the team is now said to be worth close to $3 billion, how can you possibly think baseball is a foolish business after reading that?
As the old saying goes, it takes money to make money. If Hal, while he may have the coolest hair in the world, doesn’t want to spend $200 million on payroll to practically print money, then he wouldn’t know a smart business if it crawled up his leg and tickled his taint.
The article says that another factor fueling speculation of a sale is that Hal doesn’t share his old man’s passion for baseball and his brother Hank has virtually disappeared after green-lighting A-Rod’s albatross of a contract after the 2007 season.
Hal doesn’t need to love baseball to run the team. In fact, you could make the argument that his dislike of the game makes him a better owner. If he doesn’t watch the team every night then he probably doesn’t make rash decisions on a blown game in June (like another Steinbrenner we know), and he most likely isn’t as much of a hands-on owner (again, like another Stenbrenner we know) and gives control to his baseball people like Cashman.
As for Hank, I think the team told him to be neither seen nor heard after the A-Rod debacle. This is just me speculating, but after doling out A-Rod’s contract I have to believe either George or someone within the family told him to keep his yapper shut to the press, leave the baseball work to the people who know what they’re doing and just collect his checks. Plus, Hank looks like the kind of guy who enjoys bullying people behind closed doors. I don’t think he’d give up that power for a quick payday (again just speculation, not basing that on anything factual).
Randy Levine vehemently denied the rumors:
I can say to you there is absolutely, positively nothing to this. The Steinbrenners are not selling the team.
As did Hal:
I just read the Daily News story. It is complete fiction. Me and my family have no intention to sell the Yankees and expect it to be in the family for years to come.
Cashman also tried to drive the point home:
It’s highly unlikely the family would consider selling. Every impression I have gotten from Hal leads me to believe they plan to be involved in this for generations to come and pass it on to their children.
These three quotes should be taken with the same grain of salt that the anonymous quotes were. If the Steinies were considering selling the team then this is a basic negotiating tactic. I’m glad they came out and denied it, but I’ve been shucked before and I no longer believe everything I read.
My thoughts on this Daily News article: I think news leaked of a potential sale because someone within the team (my guess is Hank) saw that the Dodgers went for $2 billion, got curious about the Yanks’ net worth, tried to have the team appraised (I don’t think that’s the correct word but you get my point) and the Daily News got wind and ran with it. I can’t blame them, that’s how newspapers operate, but in my opinion this is much ado about nothing. Total speculation.
My thoughts on the Yanks being sold: I don’t think the Steinbrenner’s will be selling the team any time soon. If I were a gambling man, I’d wager that the family keeps control until 2020 and then looks to sell. However, if the Yanks win another World Series before then all bets are off. Sorry to go all Peter King on you, but that’s what I think.
Regardless of the team’s intent to sell, poor George (may God rest his soul) is probably spinning in his grave over this. Although I think he had a hunch his kids might try something like this, so, as he lived, he went out with an ace up his sleeve.