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....

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