Sunday, December 31, 2017

My 2018 IBWAA Hall of Fame Vote

As We Say Goodbye to 2017 I Do So w/ a Bittersweet Temperament

Good afternoon, good morning or good evening depending on where you are reading this, and when. Either you're reading this in 2017 or you are one of the first to be reading it in 2018, either way I thank you for your continued support of not only myself personally but the blog as well. I am not going to lie, and I am not going to turn this into one of those cliche "eff 2017" posts either so don't worry, 2017 was a tough year. It had its ups, and when I say ups I mean the most awesome of ups, but it also had its downs just like any year.

2017 was a hard year for me but I don't want that to be mistaken as me looking for a pity party or as me complaining. To be 100% honest I would not change a thing in 2017 because I fear the butterfly effect and changing one thing could potentially take me away from the healthy and fulfilling life that I will be sharing with you all and have shared with you here in 2017.

As you may or may not have seen in my George Steinbrenner and the Ghosts of Yankees Past Part IV post I shared that last year I went through a separation. While many tell me I'm sorry I can only say that I am not. Sometimes two people are good people but just bad for each other and that was just definitely the case. I am much more secure in myself now and I am much more happier now that I have met, fallen in love with and moved in with my sweet, sweet and absolutely beautiful Kari. She was the first person I spoke to when 2017 struck at midnight, albeit on the phone only in a message as she FELL ASLEEP ON ME AND SLEPT RIGHT THROUGH IT. I'm not bitter, do I sound bitter? LOL, I'm really not but I felt like some comedic relief was needed here. I digress.

Throughout the year I had "life" thrown at me at every turn. I went through like four or five cars this year which was a constant struggle and a constant stress on me but that has finally calmed down and settled down, hopefully. Work sucks, work has gotten worse than it has ever been and work seemingly cares less and less as the work just piles on. "Do it or you know where the door is" kind of mentality, but you know what? I'm thankful I have a job, I am thankful my bills are paid and I am thankful that I have the means and ability to continue to speak to you all on a daily, or as often as possible kind of basis.

So yeah, in my personal life 2017 some would say "sucked." I am not one of those people though. Life happens. It was hard but Kari was there by my side, my kids are healthy and we have grown closer than we ever did, which is weird considering that I went from seeing them 365 days a year and 24 hours a day to just two weeks out of the month. I don't take the things for granted that I used to and I am so very appreciative and grateful for the things I have, and the things that Kari and I continue to build together. She saved me ladies and gentleman, she is my genuine hero.

The Yankees did well in 2017 as well which only helped getting just one win away from the World Series. While that was disappointing to some I just saw it as a learning experience and an experience that left room to grow. I loved it and I look forward to the 2018 calendar year and season.

I love you all and I thank you for your continued support, fandom, viewership, friendship and love. I appreciate each and every one of you individually and as a whole. Remember, if you think your 2017 sucked... you may be surprised if you sit down and think of all the blessings you had this year and add them up in one column while you put the "shit" in the other column. I know I was and that is why I have this newfound optimistic look out for 2018. Close the door on 2017, but make sure you at least learned something from it.

And I want to give a very special shout out to everyone on this blog, the writers and the readers. I can't do it alone. Without you this blog is just me whining and crying and suggesting crap all day long and that would get old reading just one man's opinion.

And of course a very special shout out to anyone I have given my heart to along the way. Kari Ann Burch (soon enough), Evan Burch, Hayden Burch, Jacob Taunton and Brianna Taunton. I love you all with all my heart and soul and you are the reason for me being the man that I am today. Stay well, stay safe and we will talk again in 2018 because rest assured, I still have a lot of fight left in me and I still have a whole lot more to say. Stay tuned and be well.

Daniel Burch

Saturday, December 30, 2017

And Now We Wait...

Credit:  Kevin Hagen, for The Wall Street Journal
The Dawn of a New Year…

The expiration date for 2017 is rapidly approaching. Soon, we’ll flip the calendar to 2018 and await the arrival of the latest Bronx Bombers in Yankee Stadium.  

As expected, the end of the year has been very quiet for the Yankees after their acquisition of slugger Giancarlo Stanton earlier this month. Gerrit Cole is still in Pittsburgh and Yu Darvish remains on his free agent tour.

In the words of both Yankees GM Brian Cashman and President Randy Levine, there is still work to be done. At this point, we’ll see what January brings. Honestly, I am tired of the Gerrit Cole rumors and wish the Yankees would end the speculation by saying there will be no deal. Same for the Darvish rumors. The Yankees are not going to sign him. I feel badly for guys like Clint Frazier who continue to twist in the wind wondering what the new year will bring for them and where they should report for Spring Training…Tampa, Florida or about 45 miles south via I-275 to Bradenton or some unknown destination.

With no deal in place for free agent slugger J.D. Martinez, the Boston Red Sox are starting to show up in rumors for a possible trade with the Baltimore Orioles to acquire Manny Machado. While you’d think the same intra-division challenge would face the Red Sox as it does the Yankees, Orioles GM Dan Duquette is a former Red Sox general manager and he used to work with current Red Sox President Dave Dombrowski years ago in the Montreal Expos organization. I’d really hate to see Machado go to Boston. Of course, the rumors could be Red Sox-originated to apply pressure on Martinez who appears to have limited options in the stagnant free agent market.  

One year after signing the most lucrative contract in history for a MLB reliever, Aroldis Chapman’s annual salary has been eclipsed by former Chicago Cubs closer Wade Davis. While the contract signed by Davis with the Colorado Rockies is only for three years, the average annual salary is $17.33 million whereas Chapman only makes a paltry $17.2 million. Chapman still holds the mark for most total contract compensation but it’s crazy how much relievers have been getting this off-season. The Rockies are using the Yankees formula of building a super bullpen (they previously signed Cleveland Indians reliever Bryan Shaw and re-signed their own Jake McGee to join holdovers Adam Ottovino, Chris Rusin and Mike Dunn). If unsuccessful, they should be able to trade relievers for a stable of quality prospects. 

For the San Diego Padres, what’s old is new again. After re-acquiring their former third baseman, Chase Headley, they’ve re-signed two former starting pitchers, Tyson Ross and Chris Young. Maybe free agents Andrew Cashner, Alexi Amarista, and Cameron Maybin should check in with Padres GM A.J. Preller.

Congratulations to Yankees GM Brian Cashman for being named as Baseball America’s 2017 MLB Executive of the Year!

Credit:  Reinhold Matay, NY Post
I felt bad for Yankees manager Aaron Boone yesterday. His beloved USC Trojans lost the Cotton Bowl to the Ohio State Buckeyes, 24-7, in Dallas, Texas. As an Iowa Hawkeyes fan, I have no love for the Buckeyes so I was disappointed to see Boonie’s team lose.  Hopefully, 2018 will be much more victorious for Boone’s “favorite” teams.

Jon Heyman of Fan Rag Sports Network reported yesterday that Giancarlo Stanton’s decision to join the Yankees will cost him an additional $29 million in taxes on the balance due for his contract if he decides to live in one of the five boroughs of New York. That’s a huge financial commitment on Stanton’s part to join the young and hungry Yankees. He can lessen his tax burden by living in New Jersey, but c’mon, if you are 28 and single, you gotta live in the City!

I am not a New Year’s Resolution kind of guy so I’ll leave it to others. Pete Caldera, staff writer for, has offered his 2018 New Year’s resolutions for the Yankees. It is worth checking out.  I think he nailed it.  

Not that I want to promote other sites, but Bronx Pinstripes ran a great story on Justus Sheffield and his path to Pinstripes yesterday that’s worth the time to read. I was already excited about Sheffield’s potential and this only fires me up more. I love Cody Carroll’s quote that Sheffield is “like a closer that starts”. Some guys have great stuff and some guys are just winners. Sheffield is a combination of both.  Excellent work by BP's Dom Muccilo.

I don’t know about you, but I am very anxious to see Tampa's Steinbrenner Field humming. Baseball can’t get back soon enough. Happy New Year to Everyone! It’s going to be a fantastic year for the Yankees and their fans…

Go Yankees! 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Is Total Domination by the Yankees Asking Too Much?...

The Yankees, most likely, have made their final moves for 2017… 

Granted, we only have a couple of days left but it’s been all quiet in the Yankees Universe.  Rumors continue to swirl and the Yankees are always linked to, seemingly, everybody.  

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported today that the Yankees continue to eye free agent pitcher Yu Darvish. Regardless of the cost, that one makes no sense to me. The money it would take to sign Darvish would erode the remaining dollars under the luxury tax threshold of $197 million. There’s no way that Darvish will settle for $5-$10 million in annual compensation at this point in his career when he should command more. The pitcher needs to rebuild value after his disastrous World Series performances for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but at the end of the day, teams look at his body of work and not a couple of ill-fated starts with accusations that he was tipping his pitches.  

Credit:  Associated Press
Yesterday, TGP’s Bryan Van Dusen made the argument that the Yankees should stand pat with their starting pitching staff. To a degree, I concur but ultimately GM Brian Cashman is on record saying the Yankees want to acquire another starting pitcher. There are questions about every starter in the Yankees rotation and Cash obviously has more information and insight into each pitcher that we are not privy to. So, from my perspective, while I may believe another starter is not necessary, the powers-that-be feel otherwise so our opinion is irrelevant.  

I don’t really want to give up Clint Frazier, Chance Adams, and/or Miguel Andujar in a trade for Pittsburgh’s Gerrit Cole. I am a little frustrated that Frazier’s current predicament is a direct result of an outfield glut hurt by the presence of Jacoby Ellsbury and his massive contract. In a perfect world, I’d trade away both Ellsbury and Brett Gardner to make way for the younger guys. I want to see room made for Frazier but equally I’d like to see Billy McKinney and Jake Cave get opportunities. McKinney can hit and he showed last year why he was once a top draft pick.  

I am a fan of Chance Adams but the presence of Justus Sheffield and Albert Abreu give me comfort the Yankees have other young viable starters on the immediate horizon.  

I recognize that not every Yankees prospect has a future in Pinstripes. There is great value in prospects as trading chips for contending teams. I am prepared for a trade for a proven Major League starting pitcher. I may not like it, but it is the cost of doing business for a team that is prepared to win NOW. I am not sure who will be the fifth starter for the Boston Red Sox at the start of the upcoming season since Edwin Rodriguez is recovering from knee surgery (Steven Wright perhaps?) but the Red Sox still have arguably the best staff in the division with a front four featuring Chris Sale, David Price, Drew Pomeranz, and Rick Porcello. The Toronto Blue Jays are probably not too far behind with Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, J.A. Happ, Marco Estrada and Joe Biagini. Admittedly, both of those teams have injury concerns. With the Red Sox, it is David Price who has struggled both mentally and physically in Boston. For Toronto, it is Aaron Sanchez who missed most of last year with right middle finger issues. Sanchez is the latest example of a young starter who threw a career high in innings pitched the preceding year, only to follow up with an injury plagued season. I am not saying that Luis Severino is going to get hurt but he did pitch a career high with innings pitched last year including the play-offs. Many experts have forecasted some regression in his 2018 performance. If either Boston or Toronto are able to overcome their injury concerns, they will be very formidable. If the Red Sox add a power bat like J.D. Martinez, they’ll be tough to beat. So, if Brian Cashman feels that we need to add starting pitching, I am not going to argue with him.

For what it is worth, Bob Klapisch is currently reporting that the Yankees are “nowhere” on a possible deal for Gerrit Cole and have never been close in talks with the Pittsburgh Pirates. As Klapisch tweeted today: “NYY rotation is set for now”.

My biggest concern heading into 2018 is second and third base. I am 'all in' for making Gleyber Torres the starting second baseman or going with Tyler Wade/Ronald Torreyes to start until Torres is ready. Third base troubles me the most. I am not convinced that Miguel Andujar is ready (offensively, yes, but I feel that his defensive skills are lacking). I prefer Torreyes as the utility player and not in a dedicated starting position so he is not really who I want at third base day in and day out.  

I’d love to see the return of Todd Frazier but I am not optimistic at all. Everyone talks about the Yankees signing Manny Machado after the 2018 season as a free agent, but I really feel that if the Chicago Cubs or St Louis Cardinals make the investment to acquire Machado this off-season (which could very well happen), they’ll make very strong efforts to sign Machado to a new deal. It is easy to say the Yankees should just sign Frazier or Mike Moustakas to a one-year deal, but in reality, the market will dictate otherwise. The Yankees need a hedge for 2019 if Machado (or someone like Josh Donaldson) is not an option. I’d be a proponent for a two-year deal for Frazier. I really like what he brings to the team with his play and attitude. It is infectious. He may not hit for average, but he’ll give you some bombs and will play a great third base. Plus, he’ll keep the clubhouse loose in the pressurized New York environment.  Trade him next year if the team is successful in signing Machado. But regardless of my preferences, I’d like to see the Yankees get experienced help at third base to ease the transition we’ll face at second. Poor Didi Gregorius if he has to play with rookies on both sides.  

Credit:  Seth Wenig, AP
All indications are that 2017 will end quietly for the New York Yankees. We’ll soon see what 2018 has in store for everybody’s favorite team.  Exciting times in the Bronx.

Go Yankees!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Some Quick Thoughts...

As the Yankees are currently constructed I don't think they need to do anything else in order to enter the 2018 season as World Series championship contenders.

The starting rotation consists of five good pitchers...

1. Luis Severino finished third in the American League Cy Young voting last year, showing that he's at worst a good starter, and at best he's one of the top hurlers in the league.
2. Masahiro Tanaka is coming off his worst season, however he still won 13 games and actually had a sub-4.00 ERA since the beginning of August.
3. Sonny Gray bounced back from an injury-riddled 2016 to have a very good 2017 season (now if only we can give him some run support...geesh!).
4. Jordan Montgomery finished 6th in AL Rookie of the Year voting, and despite only winning nine games I only see two or three in which the Yankees didn't have a chance to win the game when he was removed.
5. CC Sabathia's career has been rejuvenated since the middle of the 2015 season, when he finally learned that he's no longer a power pitcher and transitioned into a smarter pitcher.

And the starting position players look great as well...

Catcher - Gary Sanchez
First Base - Greg Bird
Second Base - ???
Shortstop - Didi Gregorius
Third Base - ???
Left Field - Aaron Judge*
Center Field - Aaron Hicks
Right Field - Brett Gardner
Designated Hitter - Giancarlo Stanton*
* - I believe Judge and Stanton will share regular DH duties, and every once in a while start at the same time in the corner OF positions.

Now, yes, the Yankees need to figure out what to do at second and third base. However, they don't have to go outside the organization in order to fill those spots.

Second base can be handled by Ronald Torreyes until Gleyber Torres, inevitably, takes over there (my guess is Gleyber is called up by June).

And after debuting in the Majors last season, albeit briefly, Miguel Andujar could very well be the team's starting third baseman on Opening Day.

So for those of you out there that are the least bit upset that Brian Cashman hasn't pulled off a trade for somebody like Gerrit Cole or Michael Fulmer, you can relax. Nothing needs to be done, so making a move that isn't an obvious win for the Yankees here is unnecessary. And face it... it's still early in the offseason, and there are a ton of free agent options available.

I don't mean to ignore what I've said about trading Clint Frazier, because I still believe Frazier is expendable to New York. But I don't want Cashman to make a deal involving Clint unless it's a clear win for the Yankees.

For a while I've felt that the Yankees should bring in somebody like Todd Frazier to start at third base, as well as backup first base. However, Tyler Austin can help should Greg Bird get hurt or simply need a day off here and there.

The big issue I see in signing somebody like Todd Frazier is the length of the deal. The Yankees would be better off only signing a guy for one year, but it'll be hard to get somebody good on just a one year deal. But keep in mind that if they got a "so-so" third baseman, and he didn't work out, the Yankees could just start Andujar there instead.

At that point Miguel would get more MLB experience, thus making him a hotter commodity as trade bait in the offseason, because at that point I see the Yankees going hard after Manny Machado.

By the way... pass on Bryce Harper. As great as he is, I see no point in having another huge contract on the books. Giancarlo may not opt-out, and Machado would be better suited for the Yankees due to what they need.

Besides, if the Yankees are going to add another big contract to the books next offseason, I'd like it to be for a starter such as Clayton Kershaw (should he actually leave the Dodgers), Dallas Keuchel, or Patrick Corbin.

*takes a deep breath*

I'm not used to just throwing a bunch of quick thoughts out there. However, I'm sure it's a nice break for you readers who are used to me being a bit long-winded.

Let's Get Back to Baseball at Yankee Stadium...

The Holiday Season Slowdown…

As the final days of 2017 burn away, there’s not much happening in the Yankees Universe…at the moment. Granted, this has been one of the quieter off-seasons for all MLB teams with so many unsigned free agents. I know, we already got our shiny new toy (Giancarlo Stanton) but there is still work to be done.

Credit:  Stan Grossfield, Boston Globe
The Yankees finally announced the one-year, $10 million deal for CC Sabathia this week. Realistically, I am expecting some regression from Sabathia at this point (it would be hard to replicate last year’s statistics considering he turns 38 in late July), but he means so much to the clubhouse. I always thought Mike Mussina finishing his career with a 20-win season was the best way to go (short of winning a World Series championship). I doubt Sabathia’s knee will allow him the former but he certainly has a shot at the latter. The value of veteran leadership is understated. I don’t think Matt Holliday gets enough credit for his “behind-the-scenes” work with Aaron Judge last season. With new coaches on board, Sabathia brings a wealth of consistency and mentorship that would otherwise be missing. I am not trying to sell the other team veterans short, but Sabathia has been such a leader in the clubhouse and a guy that the team loves. I am glad to see him back in Pinstripes.

Speaking of Mussina, I think it is a travesty that he currently trails Roger Clemens in the Hall of Fame voting. According to MLB Network, with 27.9% of the votes completed, Clemens currently has 71.6% (75% is needed for induction into the Hall of Fame). Mussina trails Clemens by nearly a percentage point (70.7%).  Granted, Clemens has the better stats but he also cheated. Moose played the game cleanly and spent his entire career in the highly charged AL East. I feel that Moose deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame ahead of Clemens. It’s inevitable that Clemens and other Steroid-users like Barry Bonds will eventually make the Hall but I’d prefer that it takes a few more years.

Brendan Kuty of is reporting that a reunion between the Yankees and third baseman Todd Frazier is unlikely. With the Sabathia signing, the projected Yankees payroll currently stands at $178 million. Frazier made $12 million in 2017. The Yankees still desire to add a cost-controlled pitcher and need room for trading deadline additions and roster call-ups.  This is where the pain of Jacoby Ellsbury’s contract really hurts. I remain hopeful that the Yankees can move Ellsbury. One writer recently suggested that the Yankees pay all but $15 million still owed to Ellsbury (which equates to nearly $53.5 million including $5 million buyout in 2022). The writer (I do not recall who) correctly stated that Ellsbury, still a good player, should be worth at least $5 million per year for another team. He doesn’t steal as many bases as he used to and he’s always an injury risk whenever he takes the field, but if healthy, he can help a team. Of course it has to be a team that he’d waive his no-trade clause for. I keep watching the San Francisco Giants and hoping their efforts to acquire Cincinnati’s Billy Hamilton fail. An additional $5 million for payroll would certainly help the Yankees achieve their objective of adding another pitcher while bringing in quality veteran talent at third. I remain hopeful the Yankees can find a way to bring Frazier back but the optimism has faded.

While the Yankees are the early favorites to sign 2018 free agent-to-be Manny Machado, there is no certainty that he will sign with the team. As such, I think a two-year offer for Frazier makes sense if the Yankees can find the payroll room to stay under the luxury tax threshold of $197 million. If the Yankees do sign Machado next year, Frazier is still a valuable roster component, especially if he can play more first base during the upcoming season. If the Chicago Cubs or St Louis Cardinals make a trade with the Baltimore Orioles for Machado, there’s a good chance one of those teams could entice Machado to sign a long-term deal. The cost to acquire Machado, even with just one year left on his contract, will be high so any team parting with the level of talent necessary to acquire the premium player will make every attempt to lock up Machado. Pulling the trigger on such a deal would indicate some willingness or optimism on the receiving team’s part that they could sign Machado. There is no guarantee that Miguel Andujar will be successful at the Major League level or defensively-speaking, that he is even ready. With youth at second base (should Gleyber Torres win the job as expected), I feel that it is too risky to have MLB inexperience at third base too for a team with heightened expectations.

More Cash for Cash…

By now, we all know that GM Brian Cashman has received a 5-year extension worth approximately $25 million. Even the most fervent Cashman critics have acknowledged the good job that Cash has done to rebuild the Yankees farm system. If I owned the team, I would re-structure the front office to model the Chicago Cubs arrangement with Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. Under that structure, Cashman would become President, Baseball Operations.  Randy Levine’s title (President) would be realigned to show his status on the business side of Operations. Actually, he wouldn’t have a job if I owned the team, but I guess that’s another matter. With Cashman’s promotion, I would appoint Tim Naehring as Executive Vice President, General Manager. Naehring would get the job since he is currently viewed as Cashman’s right-hand man although an argument could certainly be made for either Jean Afterman or Damon Oppenheimer.  

I hate seeing good people like Billy Eppler and Gary Denbo leave the organization for “better” opportunities and feel that there are ways to reward current Cashman underlings.  

2017 Pinstripe Bowl Champions…

Congratulations to the Iowa Hawkeyes for their 27-20 victory over Boston College in the 2017 Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium yesterday. I have been a lifelong fan of the University of Iowa (perhaps even longer than I’ve been a Yankees fan which dates back to my childhood). It was weird seeing a football field placed in the middle of Yankee Stadium, but for my Hawkeyes, it was their first bowl win since 2010. The Hawkeyes finished 8-5 this year, however, it did include a victory over Ohio State which was the highlight of the season for me.  

I can’t really think of a better way to end the year than for one of my favorite teams to win within the confines of the home of my favorite MLB team. Beating Boston was a bonus. Nice job, Hawkeyes!

Credit:  Bryon Houlgrave, The Register
Now that the Hawkeyes have won their bowl game on hallowed grounds, it is time to bring back the baseball diamond to Yankee Stadium. 
I can’t believe the calendar page is getting ready to turn to 2018 but the new year brings great hope and optimism for Yankees fans.  I am ready for training camp. We’re only about a month and a half away before pitchers and catchers report. Tampa will soon be rocking with excitement! Now  batting, Number 27 (sorry, this never gets old)...

Credit:  CBS2
Go Yankees! 

Monday, December 25, 2017

Meet a Prospect Special Edition: George Steinbrenner

The Boss was born on July 4, 1930 and passed to hang with the baseball Gods on July 13, 2010. George bought the New York Yankees organization in 1973 and held the ownership for 37 years until his death and subsequent transfer of ownership to his sons Hank and Hal. George would see the Yankees win seven World Series championships and 11 American League pennants in his tenure as the Yankees owner, the longest tenure in club history. George was not always the "hands on" owner, fiery figure head, and one to meddle in every day operations, drive up players prices, and investigate free agents before signing them. George was not always the one to hire, fire, and re-hire managers at an alarming rate. Let's meet George Steinbrenner before he was known as "The Boss."

George was born in Bay Village, Ohio as the only son of Rita Haley Steinbrenner and Henry George Steinbrenner II. His mother was an Irish immigrant who had her name changed from O'Haley to Haley and his father was of German descent who eventually made his name in the freight shipping business. George III was named after his paternal grandfather, George Michael Steinbrenner II, and had two younger sisters growing up, Susan and Judy. George spent his college years at the Culver Military Academy starting in 1944 and graduated in 1948 only to go back to college to get his B.A. from Williams College in Massachusetts in 1952. George was quite the social butterfly and athlete in school with highlights such as being a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, being a very successful hurdler on the varsity track and field team, played piano in the band, played halfback on the football team his senior year, and served as the field editor for The Williams Record. After college George immediately joined the United States Air Force and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. George would have an honorable discharge in 1954 and would go back to school to complete his masters degree in physical education at Ohio State University.


While at Ohio State George would be the coaches assistant in the year the Ohio State Buckeyes would go undefeated and win the Rose Bowl and National Championship in 1954.George would meet his soon to be wife, Elizabeth Joan Zieg, in Columbus, Ohio in 1956 and would marry and have two sons, Hank and Hal Steinbrenner. They also had two daughters Jessica Steinbrenner and Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal. In 1957 Steinbrenner would join the Kinsman Marine Transit Company, a company his great grandfather Henry purchased in 1901, and would be rebuilt and revitalized before George would purchase the company a few years later from his family. George would later buy the American Shipbuilding Company and see annual revenue sales soar over $100,000,000. Steinbrenner did not initially use that new found wealth to get into baseball though because his first sports team investment was the Cleveland Pipers of the American Basketball League against the advice of his father. The Pipers would hire the first African American coach in professional basketball in John McClendon and would see an ABL Championship in the 1961-1962 season before the ABL folded in 1962. Steinbrenner paid his debts and took his talents to Broadway briefly in a 1967 play named The Ninety Day Mistress, the 1974 Tony Award nominated Seesaw, and the 1988 Legs Diamond play.

In 1971 George Steinbrenner attempted to buy the Cleveland Indians and failed but would buy the New York Yankees from CBS, with help from investors, in January of 1973. The original sale of the organization was $10,000,000 but the deal included two parking garages that CBS bought back after the deal was final for $1,200,000 making the final total for George and company coming in at $8,800,000. George wasted no time causing controversy and hiring and firing personnel as he went through 20 managers in his first 23 seasons including hiring and firing Billy Martin five times and went through 11 general managers in 30 seasons. George did win two World Series in 1977 and 1978 behind Billy Martin and Reggie Jackson though while the Bronx was Burning. George also ruled with an iron fist creating the policy that all Yankees players, managers, and male executives were forbidden to have any facial hair other than a mustache and Yankees players hair was not allowed to touch the collar of the shirt, which is still the Yankees policy today. George and his policy is the reason that Goose Gossage grew, and still has to this day, the extreme mustache that he has now after George forced Gossage to shave the beard that he was growing in 1983. Don Mattingly was even benched in 1991 after refusing to cut his mullet hair cut that did not fall within Yankees policy which causes a media backlash. Mattingly would not learn from the incident though as he would be back in the Yankees facial hair spotlight as he started to grow a goatee in 1995 and saw Mattingly trim it to just a mustache.

George also caused a ton of talk after handing out Dave Winfield a 10 year contract worth $23,000,000 making him the highest paid player in the game at the time. George bashed Winfield in the 1985 season after a poor September performance calling Winfield "Mr. May" and saying that the Yankees needed a "Mr. September or Mr. November, not a Mr. May." This criticism would cause players like Ken Griffey Jr. to publicly state that he would never play for the New York Yankees because of George Steinbrenner. On July, 30 1990 George was officially banned from the game permanently as far as day to day operations go by MLB commissioner Fay Vincent for paying a gambler to "dig up dirt" on Winfield. Winfield was suing the Yankees because they did not contribute $300,000 to his foundation which was a stipulation of his 10 year contract. These were just some of the reasons that Winfield went into the Hall of Fame as a San Diego Padre and no a member of the New York Yankees. With George out of the game how would baseball, and specifically the Yankees, respond you ask? Keep reading...

George was reinstated back into baseball in time for the 1993 season and it was just in time for the 1994 MLB strike and the beginning of a Yankees dynasty. George was willing to leave the day to day operations to Gene Michael these days and even got behind a Yankees farm system and letting players like Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Jorge Posada to develop rather than be traded for veteran players. George saw this new found patience pay off as the Yankees were in the AL East chase all the way until September before losing the title to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Yankees were also leading the AL East before the 1994 strike wiped all the hard work away, the season, and for the second time ever the World Series. Obviously anyone reading this knows the rest as we saw the Yankees make the playoffs for the first time since 1981 when they were the first Wild Card winner in the 1995 season and saw the Yankees win World Series titles in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2009. The Yankees made the playoffs ever year from 1995 - 2009 except for the 2008 season, Joe Girardi's first season, and saw World Series losses in the 2001 and 2003 Fall Classics.

George would officially retire from being the Yankees principal owner and would transfer the day to day operations to his sons, Hank and Hal, in 2006. From 2006 until his eventual death in 2010 George spent most of his time at his home in Tampa, Florida while rarely showing his face at the stadium or giving interviews and sound bites. George did make a special appearance at the 78th Annual MLB All Star Game which was held in Yankees Stadium in it's final season in 2008 in the Bronx. George was wearing dark sunglasses and walked slowly onto the field with the help of many people helping him walk. George would get one last ring in 2009 and was presented with the ring in person by Derek Jeter and manager Joe Girardi on April 13, 2010 in his stadium suite leaving, according to reports, Steinbrenner almost speechless. Steinbrenner, if anyone, deserved this private ceremony as he built the Yankees brand to the first sports team to have a net worth over $1,000,000,000 plus having a $1,200,000,000 television network aptly named the Yankees Entertainment and Sports network, or the YES Network.

George died on July 13, 2010, the same day as the 81st annual All Star Game, at Saint Joseph's Hospital in Tampa due to a heart attack. His death came just nine days after his 80th birthday and just two days after long time Yankees announcer Bob Shepard passed away. The Yankees would wear a patch honoring Steinbrenner and Shepard from July 14th until the end of the 2010 season to commemorate these two Yankees legends. The Steinbrenner family also added a monument in Monument Park to honor their late family member in September of 2010 to honor George. George was buried at Trinity Memorial Gardens in Trinity, Florida. The Boss, Manager George, George Steinbrenner, whatever you call him or known him as you know he will never be forgotten, replaced, or emulated. May George rest in peace now.
We want to take this time to honor and thank George Steinbrenner for everything he did as the owner of the Yankees. If it were not for Steinbrenner the Yankees would not be who they are today, both in class and in championships, and we would not be the site that we are today. The Yankees would not be the financial super power they are today, would not be as respected league wide as they are today, and may have went by the wayside in the 70's and 80's if it were not for the boss. Thank you George and I hope you are reading this from up in Heaven, we love you!

Merry Christmas from The Greedy Pinstripes

Merry Christmas from everyone here at The Greedy Pinstripes! It's been a heck of a year, at least for me, and truth be told I'm surprised I made it this far. The blog has done well, my baby boy turned four years old and my oldest boy started second grade at his school. A lot has changed in my routine and a lot has changed in my life but I truly think its all been for the better. We made it though, and that's all that matters.

As we wake up this morning we see that Santa has been good to us this year, probably better than we deserve. We are truly blessed and we appreciate everything in our lives and everything we get from this blog. We have some of the best commentators, Twitter followers, readers, followers and fans. I've said it a million times but I only say it because I mean it. We are NOTHING without you guys and girls. Thank you, I truly mean that.

Merry Christmas everyone! If you don't celebrate Christmas then Happy Holidays! No matter what you believe or what you celebrate we still appreciate your support and wish you nothing but the best this year and next.

This Day In New York Yankees History 12/25: Merry Christmas Everyone!

On this day in history long,long ago George Steinbrenner had one too many beers with that elf on the shelf, put on the ugliest Christmas sweater he could find, bought a slay and went around the world spreading Christmas cheer. He was later named Santa Claus for the Yankees haters because they cannot put aside their differences even on Christmas but that's okay, we continue to pray for the Yankees haters. Long story short this morning you can tell your kids that Santa brought them all their presents but we all know that it was George Steinbrenner who started it all.

Merry Christmas all! And if you don't celebrate Christmas then Happy Holidays. And if you don't celebrate anything I hope that you have a great day anyway and enjoy the paid day off for not believing.... in Santa that is.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

George Steinbrenner and the Ghost of Yankees Past: Part IV A New Trilogy?

When we last spoke on last Christmas eve we were ready to close the book on a trilogy that was George Steinbrenner and the Ghost of Yankees Past. Why? Well everything these days usually is broken down into a trilogy until Star Wars and George Lucas flipped the script and just created new trilogy after new trilogy. Now while I am no George Lucas by any means I do feel the need to keep this going because I feel like The Boss would have a lot to say to us on this fateful Christmas Eve day so without further ado I present you with George Steinbrenner and the Ghost of Yankees Past: Part IV A New Trilogy? Maybe...


Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring... not even a mouse. Well, that's not entirely true. Daniel Burch, one of the owners of the Yankees blog The Greedy Pinstripes, was stirring like he always is. Daniel never sleeps, he never rests and he is always looking for new ideas and new content to bring to his writers. When we last spoke with Daniel he was a bit stressed out, and admittedly it was a self-driven stress, so the first stop on George's trip would once again be in his house. George went to the same house he had stopped at the last three Christmas Eve's and to his surprise there was no Daniel Burch. There was nobody. George was confused until he got into the mind of Mr. Burch and found out the truth. 

Not many people know this but Daniel went through a separation last year, maybe that had a lot to do with the stress he was putting on himself and had a lot to do with him disappearing from the blog for six months or so without explanation. George didn't know, many of Daniel's friends didn't know and that was all by design. Daniel is a quiet guy who doesn't like to burden others with his issues or his problems. Daniel likes to keep things inside a lot and this was just another incident and just another day for him. Daniel's life suffered, the blog suffered and his children suffered but the 2017 calendar year and the 2017 MLB season, thanks to the New York Yankees, put him right back in the saddle again.

As George flies into Daniel's new house with his new girlfriend, Kari... the very lovely Kari, he sees Daniel where he always is on Christmas Eve, on his computer either tracking Santa on NORAD or typing up posts for his blog. Daniel has grown used to the frequent visits from George and isn't even startled when the Ghost of Yankees Past appears and asks him what is new. "Obviously you know what is new or you wouldn't be standing here. How did you find me?" Daniel says. George responds that he got inside his mind and that he was pleased to finally see Mr. Burch with a true happiness in his soul. Daniel responds in jest:

" Yes, George. I am happy. Finally happy. Finally not letting the stress of the blog, the Christmas season and the stress of never feeling good enough get me down. I am happy. I met Kari on December 26, 2016 and my life hasn't been the same since. We may not have always gone the most traditional route or necessarily the easy route as some would say but the ends justify the means, and that's all that matters. Also I loved watching the Yankees this season, one win away from the World Series! The best part of the season was doing it the Yankees way, Brian Cashman's way. The emergence of so much youth, the breakout season from Aaron Judge, the continued strong play from Didi Gregorius, the comeback from CC Sabathia, it really just was a great season. I was disappointed when the Yankees went down in Game 7 of the American League Championship season but I wasn't upset, I was truly proud. I bet you were proud too." 

Without a word, and just a smile, George floats away into the mist satisfied with his answer as he made his trip to his next destination. 

The House that Cashman built may be the name of Yankee Stadium III before it is all said and done but for now The Ghost of Yankees Past visited the real and actual house of Cashman on this Christmas Eve 2017. Cashman was, as usual, on the phone texting and trying to nail down a big right-handed starter from the Pittsburgh Pirates even as his family played in the next room anxiously awaiting Santa Clause. George swooped in and, like Mr. Burch, Cashman was not shocked when he saw the Boss on his now yearly swoop down into his office. Cashman put the phone down, because The Boss demands 100% of your attention, and gave The Boss a nod as he walked towards his refrigerator which housed many alcoholic drinks. 

"I know what you're going to say George" Cashman said with a bit of a snarky tone " and I am not going to give in to the Pirates GM. I don't want to trade Jordan Montgomery and I shouldn't have to trade five years of team control from a guy who is more AL East tested and less home run and injury prone than the guy I am acquiring. I'm not giving up Gleyber Torres either, and I don't want to give up Clint Frazier if I don't have to. I know everyone is blowing up on Twitter and I know everyone, just a couple weeks after praising me and wanting to put me in the Hall of Fame for acquiring Giancarlo Stanton, are now ready to have my head on a stake once again. This is New York, I'm used to it. I'm not budging, no. Don't give me that look!" Cashman yelled and the Boss just continued to look down on the Yankees General Manager, not saying a word. The Boss knew that people have a tendency of having conversations with themselves in his presence and he usually tended to let them make their own beds in these situations. Was George intimidating? Maybe in his younger days, but no so much anymore. At least not to Cash who continued to defend himself. 

"We built this team from within and it was my decision not to bring back Joe Girardi. He was terrible with his usage of the bullpen and his tendency to lean towards veterans over the youngsters I have brought in and helped develop, even if his binder turned iPad told him not to. I wanted a YES man and I got a YES man, period. I want someone who is going to play Clint Frazier and Aaron Hicks over Jacoby Ellsbury because the stats and the eye test say that he should, not because the contract dictates it. I want Aaron Judge in right field and DH 81 games a season and I want Giancarlo Stanton playing there the other 81 games. I want the young guys competing for roster spots and I want the best 25 guys on the field while getting under the luxury tax threshold for the 2018 season. The Evil Empire will return and it will be on MY terms. You gave me the power and I'm using it, successfully I may add." Cashman pours a drink and waits on the usual response from George, but the Boss just stands there in a fit of bewilderment.

George finally speaks. "I can't say I can relate to the whole austerity nonsense, to be honest, but I like what you're doing with the team. It is what I should have done after the 2003 World Series failure and 2004 ALCS failure and I refused to. I wanted to win now and I should have trusted you. You have done well, Brian, and keep up the good work. Although I will say that Gerrit Cole did grow up a Yankees fan, you did draft him once and damn would he look good in pinstripes!!" Cashman closes the door abruptly as George backs out of it and gets back to work as the Ghost of Yankees Past continues on to his next stop on his trip. 

The next stop on the George Steinbrenner express train was the house of newly named manager Aaron Boone. George had never visited the house of Boone, he was too busy watching the Yankees in the 2003 World Series after Boone hit a walk-off home run against the Boston Red Sox to send the team to the World Series to face off with the Florida Marlins and he was too disgusted to visit him after the Yankees lost to Josh Beckett and company in six games that season. By the time George stopped fuming Boone had torn up his knee playing a pickup basketball game, something that was not allowed due to his contract with New York, and just like that the Yankees were in the market for a third baseman and Boone was gone from the Bronx. Boone never got to really face the Boss and George never got to speak to the Yankees ALCS hero... until now. 

George swoops into Aaron's house and Aaron, which a startle, grabs at his chest at the sight of the former Yankees owner. "What the..." Aaron says in astonishment at the sight of the Ghost of Yankees Past before finally calming down enough to stammer "...George?" The Boss nods in agreement and acknowledgement as Boone sits down and tries to catch his breath. In that voice that only Aaron Boone has the new Yankees manager utters "To what do I owe the please of this visit" but George never answers. Aaron knows what he wants, and George waits until he has one of those conversations with himself like people tend to do with Mr. Steinbrenner. 

"Listen, George. I know what you're thinking" Boone says with a bit of hesitation " and I want you to know that I won't let you down. The Ghosts of Yankees Stadium finally began showing back up last season because the Ghosts thought the team were worthy of it. I get it" and George, shocked, nodded in agreement. George never thought of it that way but it was true, the Ghosts of Yankee Stadium had been MIA for years, especially since the retirement of Derek Jeter, but they did seem to make a bit of a reluctant return to the Bronx here in 2017. Boone continues "I won't let you down. I know I don't have the experience that others had, but neither did Joe Torre. Like Mr. Torre I am walking into the beginning of something special and possibly the beginning of another dynasty. Didi is Jetes, The Kraken is Jorgie, Gardner is Bernie, Monty is Pettitte, Giancarlo is O'Neill, etc. etc. etc. I am just the lucky ass that gets to manage this kind of talent. What I lack in experience I more than make up for in knowledge, understanding and a willingness to listen to my coaching staff and Mr. Cashman. Boss... I won't let you down." 

George, seemingly satisfied with what he has heard from the new Yankees manager, gives Boone a thumbs down. The thumbs down catches Boone by surprise until he realizes and remembers that a thumbs down in the Yankees universe is a good thing. George, before flying off into the distance for his final stop, says to Boone with that smirk that only George Steinbrenner could have "Now I know how you charmed the pants off Cash and got the job." George winks and flies off into the moonlight for his final stop.

For the final stop on his trip the Ghost of Yankees past would visit the home of the one and only Derek Jeter. Jeter and Steinbrenner shared many years together with the Yankees, George as the Boss and Jeter as the Captain of the team, and for one night only they would reunite and rekindle their relationship they seemingly shared. Jeter, now one of the owners of the Miami Marlins and one of the men responsible for the acquisition by the Bronx Bombers of outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, was seen sitting by a fire playing with his daughter while his lovely wife, Hannah, slept while their family waited for Santa. George, with a smile, swooped down to Jeter and gave Jeter that look he gave him after every time the Yankees shortstop helped bring home a World Series Championship home to the club. 

Jeter gave that million dollar smile and responded by saying "Oh hey Boss, what's up?" George, still smiling, responded in jest by saying "You weren't happy with being Mr. October or even Mr. November, you had to be Mr. December too huh?" They both shared a laugh, a handshake and a hug as the Boss swooped away into the sky for the final time this year. Santa was due any minute and the Boss's time was up, until next year anyway. As George flew away and the Ghost of Yankees Past made his way back to the pearly gates of heaven you could hear him saying "Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. Except for Neal Huntington, to hell with that guy. He should be fired." 

Merry Christmas everyone from everyone here at The Greedy Pinstripes. I hope you enjoyed the little piece of me that I shared with you tonight and I hope that the holiday season treats everyone as well as it has treated me. I hope Santa brings everyone what they want and I hope the new year brings you everything that you need, including a World Series Championship. Until next year, signing off....