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....

George Steinbrenner and the Ghost of Yankees Past Part III

Every good trilogy needs a good ending. Well, I take that back. Back to the Future didn’t have a great ending and if you want to count the Karate Kid movies when they had a female Karate Kid as a trilogy then that didn’t have a good ending either. Hopefully this will have a great ending though as I conclude my trilogy to my series entitled “George Steinbrenner and the Ghost of Yankees Past.” Merry Christmas everyone and enjoy the story.

When we last checked in with Hal Steinbrenner he was left on Christmas morning with his head hanging in shame. The empire and the organization that his father had built was crumbling. The Yankees had missed the postseason again after an embarrassing show the season before that resulted in the team limping into the postseason only to get shutdown in the AL Wild Card Game and in years past heads would be preparing themselves to roll. Not this year, not this regime. Not the Hal regime. In the Hal regime money has become the main focus of the team and its owners and winning has taken a step back from it all. When it comes to Christmas time though the Yankees and their fans want a shiny new toy each and every year. Has Hal learned anything from the past two seasons and should Yankees fans around the world expect something big to wake up to tomorrow morning? Keep reading.

Set the scene once again. Hal Steinbrenner sitting in his huge office that we have all grown accustomed to seeing this time of year. Hal, sitting at his desk, is nodding off as he shuffles through miscellaneous paperwork and reads through various emails when an all too familiar face appears behind him, George Steinbrenner. George Steinbrenner, the Ghost of Yankees past. Hal looks over at his father with a look that suggests he halfway expected to see his father show up at any time and he barely even acknowledges that there is a ghost standing beside his desk that is about three times the size that it should be. Hal looks over at his father with a sarcastic grin and asks “What did I do this time?” Without saying a word the two are off on another adventure that should last through the night and into the wee hours of the morning. Hopefully this time Hal and George can beat Santa Claus home.

The first stop on the magic adventure is back to the Burch house and to the home of the owner of The Greedy Pinstripes, Daniel Burch. The duo didn’t have to go too far back in time for this one, earlier in the same week Daniel was sitting at his desk frustrated, stressed out and trying to hammer out an apology letter to his readers, subscribers, friends and family about his lack of a presence on the site lately. Daniel had grown frustrated with the whole ordeal and with life and even typing out something from his heart had become troublesome. This was weird for Daniel as he has been able to pump out content left and right for the better part of four or five seasons now. You know what though? That’s not because of anything the Yankees, and specifically Hal Steinbrenner, had done for once. As Hal watches Daniel struggle through the article there is a flash the two flash back to the 2016 season where a much happier, less frustrated, Daniel is sitting in the same spot still violently typing away at 70-some words a minute. Instead of that discouraged look on his face the blog owner has a smile. Why? The Yankees have recently traded away Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller for top prospects while Dillon Tate and others were being fitted for uniforms after Carlos Beltran had also been traded. Gary Sanchez was getting the bulk of the playing time behind the dish for the Yankees and the youth movement was in full effect. The Yankees were out of the playoff race by the time the calendar changed to September but Daniel knew brighter, and much better days, were to come.

George smiled at the sight and that scared Hal. Hal wondered in his head, but wouldn’t dare say it out loud, why his father was happy that the Yankees were going through a youth movement, trading away veteran pieces and about to miss the playoffs again. He didn’t dare ask and before he even could anyway his father had swept him away to the second house on their tour. The house of the Yankees GM Brian Cashman.

It’s the Hot Stove season and despite Cashman declaring that the Yankees “heavy lifting” was over after acquiring Aroldis Chapman and Matt Holliday the Yankees GM was still working the phones and fielding calls, even on Christmas Eve. It’s unclear what GM that Cashman was speaking to or what player or players could potentially be traded in the deal but the discussion ends abruptly when Cashman is overheard saying “no deal” before quickly hanging up the phone. Hal didn’t catch the entire discussion but he did specifically hear the names Luis Severino, Clint Frazier and Jorge Mateo uttered. George looks at his son and tries to fill him in with his eyes, as George has still yet to say a word on the evening, but before he can the flash reappears and the two go back in time once again to sometime in the mid-2000’s. Cashman and George are sitting in an office having a heated discussion over control. Cashman wants more power and wants at least the power of the other 29 general managers around Major League Baseball while George wants it done “his way.” Phrases like “he’s just a prospect” and “trade ‘em all!!” are uttered before Cashman storms out of the room angrily. Again, back in the same office as before, Cashman is back on the phone with another GM but the mood is much lighter this time. Cashman is seemingly in the positon of need and not in the positon of power in this deal and simply asks the unnamed GM to “name his price.” Cashman agrees and hangs up after a “thank you, and great doing business with you” and the deal is announced. The Yankees have acquired another superstar for prospects, the farm system is barren and Cashman is once again unhappy.

George still doesn’t speak as they flash back into the present, Cashman still sitting in his office looking at his computer. He’s likely reading The Greedy Pinstripes blog for ideas but neither George nor Hal can see his screen, just his concentrating face. This time George says, again with his eyes, that maybe this was not the best way to handle that situation. George knows that he handled the situation poorly and by the time he had tried to rectify it he was too late in his life for the scars to heal and the feelings to be mended. George’s biggest regret, presumably, was leaving the world with people still disgusted by the mention of his name. George wanted to be loved by all and wanted nothing more to win, and sometimes the two don’t go hand-in-hand. George knows that now and by the look on Brian Cashman’s face he may know that now as well. Cashman wanted to keep two of his top five prospects plus Luis Severino and he did despite the fact that this deal would make the team an immediate contender for a postseason spot in 2016. It’s Cashman’s world now though and the tyrant is long gone. Austerity, youth and the future now control the lay of the land in the Bronx.

Hal is still confused as to what his father is trying to show him but before he could even think of asking the two are swept away to the third and final stop on their journey for the evening. As the two fly into the house of Ken Hans the world as they know it begins to erupt. One minute they are in Ken’s house, the next they are in patrick (always with a little “p”) Walsh’s house, then Ken Reed’s house, then Daryl “he who have no last name’s” house, then Jeff Levin’s house, then Kip Raymo’s house and the so on and so forth. The duo spent just a few minutes in each house getting just a glimpse what they were doing in each before being shifted away with another bright flash. Some were happy with the direction of the team, some were still angry with the direction of the team or they felt like what the team had done was inadequate and one in particular just wanted to see one last World Series title before the good lord took him home. Screams of “This is a $3.4 billion franchise” and “Yay we got Chapman” and “Dammit I’m too old for this” ring out as the flashes increase in speed and brightness until everything goes white….

George finally speaks.

“Son, do you know why I brought you to these specific places and showed you these specific lives and stories?” Before Hal could answer George, in a way only George knows how, continued to speak as if the question was rhetorical. “I took you to Daniel Burch’s house because the young man is frustrated now but he is happy overall in what you’ve done. You’ve committed to a youth movement, even on the fly, after years of begging from him and I think he has a voice that many Yankees fans can relate to. Despite not seeing a youth movement in my entire time as the Yankees owner I have to say that losing for a season or two will be a flash of someone’s memory if and when the team creates another dynasty. Well done on that front.”

George continues.

“I was never the best human being but my heart was always in the right place and I think, well more so I hope, people knew that and accepted that in my final days. When I demanded things of my managers, my general managers, my employees, my players, my family and friends it was always out of a good place in my heart. Good plan, bad execution is what I always used to say and unfortunately it was a motto that I could live by. I treated people like crap, son. People didn’t adore me like I thought they did, not until after I calmed down and after I was gone. They were scared of me. They hated me. You have a long way to go to win over the fans, the toughest fans in the world to win over, but you’ve done well with Cashman I think. I can tell.”

And George concludes.

"Hal, I couldn't be more proud of you. I take that back, I could be more proud of you. You've done a lot of good things for this team, the fans and the organization in your short time calling the shots but there are also a lot of things you still haven't quite grasped yet. Ticket prices are too high. You've run the families out of the stadium and most of the Bleacher Creatures including Bald Vinny Milano. You can't print tickets at home anymore and it's no longer fun or feasible to take the family out to the ballpark a couple times a week just to watch the Yankees play no matter who the opponent was. No matter what we're still the New York Yankees, dammit. We are a $3.4 billion franchise, no scratch that. We are a $3.4 billion EMPIRE. Start acting like it Hal!!!!"

As soon as George finishes his sentence he's gone. Another flash. Hal is back in his office and it's one minute before midnight. As the clock strikes 12 it is officially Christmas Day 2016. Hal decides to finish off a glass of wine and head to bed but not before he sends out a text message to Brian Cashman, his GM. It reads "Merry Christmas Brian, best wishes from your friend Hal. Also, and no this is not the egg nog talking, we need to talk on Monday. It's time to start acting like the Yankees again. Hope you're well. - Hal."

The scene fades out from Hal as he enters his bed for a slumber and fades into a close up on George Steinbrenner and the Ghost of Yankees past....

"I'm George Steinbrenner after all, you didn't think this was going to be ALL good... did you?"

Merry Christmas everyone! And if you don't celebrate happy holidays or happy Saturday for you as well! Hope everyone has a great day, stay safe out there. Much love.

Daniel Burch

George Steinbrenner and the Ghost of Yankees Past Part II

Those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. That is a quote probably made famous by someone else but one that I use quite often in my day-to-day life. My name is Daniel Burch and if you remember from last Christmas Eve you will remember that I was visited by George Steinbrenner and the ghost of Yankees past. The Boss visited many people that night and many of those people learned the lesson that was brought to them that cold winter night, but some did not. This is the story of those who did not and George’s last ditch effort to save them… before it’s too late.

Once again we set the scene. Same office building, same fire roaring and same rich man bearing the Steinbrenner name that just doesn’t get it. Hal Steinbrenner, sipping on his wine, looks up from his Excel spreadsheet to see the ghost of his father standing in his room. Hal, with that same obnoxious smile and coy look about him, sighs and says to his father “what now?” George is not amused by his son’s tone nor his attitude and responds with an extremely tongue in cheek “Merry Christmas to you too son.” Hal is not amused, he almost seems aggravated at the sight of his father, and looks away to continue working. That’s when he feels his feet leave the ground and before he knows it he is flying out the window, his father by his side, and they are once again traveling to check on those affected by Hal’s poor decisions since taking over the team.

“Hal,” George says to his son while flying to their first destination, “it doesn’t matter what your payroll is you’re still cheap. Stop telling the fans that you aren’t because they know. They are the smartest fan base in the entire world. They know that the Mark Teixeira contract and the CC Sabathia contract and the Alex Rodriguez contract and many of the contracts still hampering the team were given out while I was still in charge, not you. You preached frugality for two seasons in a row only to take a shot at trying to be me. You failed. Three years for a 37-year old Carlos Beltran? Seven years for Jacoby Ellsbury? Do you know what you’re doing to MY team?” The good news for Hal is he didn’t have to wait long as they arrived at their first stop, Mr. Ken Hans’s house.

Ken Hans lives in New Jersey, something that apparently rubs a few people the wrong way, and the Steinbrenner’s are coming at a bad time for Hans. He is in the middle of a fierce online debate which can be heard for miles. Hans is not only typing like a mad man but he is quoting himself out loud as he posts. “The water pistol” this and the “water pistol” that and something about Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, its full blown hysteria at the Hans household. The subject, the New York Yankees and the lack of ability to do much by Brian Cashman. Hans is not a fan of Cashman, he refers to him as the elf, and wants to see the team return back to its glory days. The days when a Steinbrenner got what a Steinbrenner wanted and when the team was expected to win the World Series, not content with a Wild Card berth and a huge blown lead in the division after July 31st. Hans wants the days of simply waiting out a contract to be gone and the days of eating and/or trading a contract to come back to the Bronx. So does George. “See what you’ve caused here, and this is just one of many frustrated households of frustrated Yankees fans” says George. “This is a season ticket holder, well now probably a former season ticket holder, and one of the many that made you who you are today. Without the fans, and without those fans being happy and excited, we are nothing Hal. Especially in New York. Last year we visited disappointed fans, discouraged fans. This year we’re fearing angry fans. Next Christmas Eve do you want to have fans to visit at all?” Hal looks down with shame as the Steinbrenner’s fly off to the next household and to visit the next Yankees fan.

The next stop on this adventure takes the Steinbrenner’s young and old to the house of their GM Brian Cashman. Hal Steinbrenner looked confused and knew where the conversation was going. Hal had just talked to Cashman a few hours ago and Cashman was obviously ruffled when he got off the phone with the new Yankees owner. Cashman had asked for the money for David Price and was laughed at, but not as hard as he was laughed at when he asked to sign Zack Greinke. Cashman was hung up on when he asked to move Brett Gardner in order to sign Jason Heyward and he was simply waved away when he pointed out the fact that Justin Upton was a Top 5 left fielder in the game while Gardner was lucky to be a Top 10 LF in the league. Cashman was given full power by George Steinbrenner before he passed and has only seen that power be taken away once again by Steinbrenner Jr. George and Hal did not talk, they merely listened and let is all sink in. Cashman was on the phone with someone and he was visibly upset. "My hands are tied though. I ask to trade (Andrew) Miller and Gardner to make some room financially and I get shot down. I ask to sign a starting pitcher or piece that we need and I got laughed at. Literally laughed at. I love this team and I would never quit on this team, I am a New Yorker through and through, but my passion is gone." George simply looks over at Hal with disappointment in his eyes as Cashman continues. "I even had to trade Justin Wilson just to make room for Starlin Castro on the roster fiscally. This is a $3.5 billion operation making nearly $600 million in revenue in a year where attendance and YES Network ratings are down across the board. I wish we would start acting like it again." George doesn't have to say a word and Hal is not having fun anymore. As they leave Cashman's study they hear him turn down an offer to go to a rival team for more money because he believes in this team and believes in loyalty. Hal Steinbrenner begins to cry as they head to yet another stop on their tour.

The final stop on the tour takes the Steinbrenner’s to Hell’s Kitchen to visit a man simply known as Mr. Reed. Mr. Reed is a lifelong veteran and fan of the New York Yankees who, despite his ferocity and angry typing at a whopping five words per minute, knows he’s not as young as he used to be. Reed is a knowledgeable man, although he does struggle with names from time to time, and a good man that just wants to see one more Yankees World Series before he goes on to meet his lord and maker. Mr. Reed, above all, is a patient man. Remember Mr. Reed lived through the later 70’s and 1980’s editions of the New York Yankees and almost snickers when fans complain about going two straight postseasons without a berth or six straight seasons without a World Series. Mr. Reed knows the struggle and the wait in between World Series victories and has learned to cherish them like they all should be cherished. Mr. Reed, much like George, knows that it was the meddling and the controversy that drove much of the mediocrity that followed the post-Bronx is Burning Yankees and The Boss see’s many of those same trends showing their ugly face again. “Hal, I’ve said it many times. Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. Take it from me, I ran this team into the ground once and it was only my ban from the game that allowed the team to turn the farm system around which turned the team, the organization and the city of the Bronx around. It was only then that the dynasty years came to fruition.” George then quickly points out that the ownership driven deals of Rafael Soriano, Ichiro Suzuki, Carlos Beltran and others have not worked out for the team, the organization or the fans. Another common theme among the Steinbrenner family and another common theme for Hal specifically, he lowers his head and shame as his father takes him home for yet another Christmas morning.

The Steinbrenner’s barely beat the sun rise home on Christmas Day and Hal is wearing the shame on his face from the previous night. Hal never thought he was meddling and he never truly thought he was being cheap. As far as Hal was concerned the signings of Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran had worked out for the team and the team was World Series caliber. As far as Hal was concerned there was no problem with a $3.5 billion franchise wanting to lower payroll and not sign free agents because of a 50% tax levied on each dollar of the contract over the luxury tax threshold. As far as Hal is concerned this team is set to compete for a World Series Championship in 2016. Has Hal learned his lesson and will the Yankees defy the odds in 2016? I guess you’ll have to wait until next Christmas Eve to find out.

Merry Christmas Yankees family. I hope Santa brings you everything you need and most of what you want tonight. I appreciate each and every one of you reading this and I hope you enjoyed the second edition of my novel “George Steinbrenner and the Ghost of Yankees Past.”

George Steinbrenner and the Ghost of Yankees Past

This article was written on December 24th, 2014 and to this day is still one of my favorite and one of the most read articles on the site. I love it and I am extremely proud of it, so much so that I wrote a part two for it and I may or may not be already working on a part four for Christmas 2017, and for that reason I wanted to share it with you again this year. Without further ado here is the post I have been gabbing out for a few lines now, enjoy.
Set the scene, picture Hal Steinbrenner sitting at his desk in his multi-billion dollar home with any bill less than a $50 burning in the fireplace for no apparent reason. It’s Christmas Eve and he’s making his list and he’s checking it twice to make sure he didn’t miss anybody. Chris Young, check. Andrew Miller, check. Didi Gregorius, check. Nathan Eovaldi, check. Chris Capuano, check. Chase Headley, check. Garrett Jones, check. Beside that list was another list, a more general and generic list, which Mr. Steinbrenner moved to satisfied with his findings on the first list. Find a shortstop to replace the great Derek Jeter, check. Find a closer to replace David Robertson, check. Improve the pitching, check. Emulate the Kansas City Royals bullpen from 2014 with a three headed monster, check. Keep Alex Rodriguez off the field at all costs, check. Bring back Brian Cashman, check. Fire Kevin Long, check. Fire Mick Kelleher, check. Replace both Long and Kelleher, he’ll have to get back to that. Steinbrenner, satisfied with his offseason even though it’s Christmas Eve and two of the top 10 free agents are still on the board, Hal decides to go to bed in his 8,000,000,000 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets when he hears something knocking at the door, a ghost.

“Son, it’s me. What in the world are you doing?” says the ghost of George Steinbrenner. Hal, shocked, replies that he was going to bed for tomorrow was Christmas Day and he had hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of presents to open in the morning and wanted to get an early start. This angered the ghost of Yankees past and he snatched Hal out of the bed and ushered him into the kitchen where he poured him a very ironically and strategically placed glass of Kool-Aide. Hal, thinking it was some of his 1996 wine he had ordered from Italy just three days prior, took a big swallow only to realize his mistake, spit out the wine and ask his father “What in the world are you feeding me?” The ghost of Yankees past, which that grin that he was so known for especially around the months of July and November – January, replied “I am simply giving you what you are feeding the greatest fans in the world, the Yankees fans. Now come with me while I show you the error of your ways.”

In a flash George and Hal Steinbrenner sat in the living room of a die hard Yankees fan who owned a blog called The Greedy Pinstripes. Daniel Burch could not see or hear the Steinbrenner’s but they could hear him and watched as he ferociously typed away on a piece about how the Yankees should “get greedy” and “sign Scherzer” and “trade for Tulo” and something along the lines of “World Series caliber team.” That’s when Hal began to shudder as he knew where this conversation was going. He looked up at his father and caught a glimpse of a father looking down at his son in a way that showed not anger, but disappointment. The same disappointment that Daniel had on his face when he waved his hands in a dismissive fashion, closed his Google Chrome and did not click save changes on his post.

Without saying a word, because the ghost of Yankees past knew a word did not need to be muttered, he flashed in an instant to another Yankees fans house, that of Mr. Michael Brogna. Michael was frantically checking Twitter every so often wondering who and what would happen next like he had been for the last number of weeks with little results. Again the look of disappointment on a true fan sporting the interlocking N and Y and once again the utter look of disappointment on the ghost of Yankees past’s face. Hal could hardly look his father in the eyes now and simply replied with a “We spent over $500 million last season and it got us 85 wins.” This angered the ghost of Yankees past and for the first time since they left the Steinbrenner Mansion the eldest Steinbrenner broke his silence and spoke. “We can’t live in the past, we’re always looking towards the future. Nobody cares what you did last season unless it brought us all the ultimate goal of a World Series championship. Can’t you see what you’re doing and how it is affecting the bottom line you care about so much? Look at the attendance the last two seasons as well as the ratings on the YES Network, you know that network I broke my back to build for you to sell less than five years after my death, after putting out such a mediocre team on the field. They sucked and you should be fired. In this market you have to spend money to make money. How much money is this team going to make with declining attendance and no 3,000 hit chase, no farewell tour of a member of the Core Four and no player’s jersey that we can’t keep on the shelves before Spring Training? Don’t answer that as I have one more stop to make tonight if we’re quick enough, so let’s move.”

The third and final stop on the journey went to the home of a Mr. Alex Emmanuel Rodriguez. Rodriguez was on the phone and the Steinbrenner’s only caught the tail end of the conversation. Rodriguez, speaking to an undisclosed person on the other end, was overheard saying “and the best part is I am still going to get $61 million over the next three years and everything they have done pretty much assures me that I don’t have to do anything for it. It’s free money. All I have to do is play once a week, hit my six home runs to tie Willie Mays, collect my extra $6 million bonus and go home to Miami for the winter. They think they are hurting my feelings not guaranteeing me a contract and not giving me any playing time like it’s going to hurt my ego but I’m over it. Two steroid allegations, a steroid suspension and millions of dollars in lost wages will really mature a guy and make him see the bigger picture. I’m not going to simply retire and declare myself physically unable to play I am going to sit on the bench and collect my money like any other person would. Call me Albert Belle, call me Bobby Bonilla, call me Centaur, call me whatever you like as long as the check doesn’t bounce.” And with that the look of disappointment from the ghost of Yankees past went from disappointment to anger. With a flash the two were back in the Steinbrenner kitchen with that same glass of orange Kool-Aide sitting on the counter.

This time the ghost of Yankees past did not have to say anything, it was Hal that did all the talking. “I understand what you’re trying to show me sir and I get it. You gave complete control to Brian Cashman and I, my brother and Randy Levine took that from him. We signed Alex to that monster deal and big against ourselves much like we did with Rafael Soriano. I refused to write checks to Yoenis Cespedes, Yasiel Puig and another notable international free agents because of the fear that a Jose Contreras contract put in my heart some 15-20 years ago. I’m the one essentially letting Robinson Cano walk and I’m the one trading the Shane Greene’s of the world while I give Kelly Johnson and Brian Roberts one year “reclamation” deals. It’s on me sir and I intend to fix it. I no longer will live in your shadow and I will no longer live in the rearview mirror of the Los Angeles Dodger’s accountants. Dad, get me the phone!”

The ghost of Yankees past handed his son the iPhone 6 Plus and he proceeded to call agent Scott Boras. Within minutes a blank contract and check were faxed to Max Scherzer while a list of available players and prospects were being drawn up and prepared to send to the Colorado Rockies. With his final action the younger Steinbrenner called Mr. Brogna, Mr. Rodriguez and Mr. Burch and each phone call had an entirely different tone to it. An apology to Mr. Brogna came after an olive branch containing season tickets for life in A Rod’s luxury suite. That suite was easily handed to Michael because the next call was to Rodriguez and he was told to take his $61 million dollars and go, anywhere but here, and don’t come back. The final call to Mr. Burch was a more somber call and conversation which ended in Hal asking Mr. Burch to be his Peter Brand. Mr. Burch, embarrassed, asked Hal “who is Peter Brand?” with a laugh Hal simply responded “you know, Jonah Hill from Moneyball.” Burch, with a sheepish laugh and with an intended fist pump” screamed “YES!!!” into the phone.

The deals were done, the Yankees were better, the fans were happy, Hal’s conscience was clear and his understand hit a new level while the ghost of Yankees past simply disappeared into the infinite abyss. Hal never knew what happened to the ghost of Yankees past, whether he had been real or an eerily vivid dream, but Hal understood what needed to be done and he did it. Hal did not sell the team and the screams for him to sell the team almost immediately stopped. The Yankees went on to win their 28th, 29th and 30th World Series championships before the turn of the century and once again a dynasty was in place just like the way it should be. All thanks to an old rich guy with bad hair and a huge checkbook, a pissed off ghost and one Yankees fans undying love for the team. The faith and love for the team returned and the fans returned to the Bronx in flocks all to live happily ever after.

Well except for the ghost of Yankees past, he was still dead. The End. Merry Christmas everyone.

'Twas the Day Before Christmas...

Coming Soon:  Salinas & Cabello, playing at a stadium near you… 

The more I read about the two international prospects signed by the Yankees, OF Raimfer Salinas and C Antonio Cabello, the more excited I get. These are the guys that will be viewed as the new Baby Bombers when Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez and others will be the “thirty-something” players on the roster.

Antonio Cabello (l) and Raimfer Salinas (r)


Salinas will turn 17 next week. He’s 6’0” and 175 lbs, and was born in San Felix, Bolivar, Venuzuela. Salinas bats and throws right-handed.  

Scouting Report: “For now, Salinas might be best known for his bat, but the rest of his tools are not far behind. In fact, there’s a belief the young outfielder has the potential to be a legitimate five-tool player and an impact player in the near future. For starters, scouts like Salinas’ body frame and its potential. He’s also a sound defender and his plus arm is already an asset. Salinas is already a decent runner, whether it’s on the basepaths or roaming the outfield, and there’s a belief he will get faster. At the plate, Salinas has shown an advanced approach and good bat speed. He’s been able to hit to all fields while also showing some home run power. Salinas’ overall tools package could land him in the middle of the lineup one day as a possible run producer. Scouts like his makeup and his overall confidence in his abilities.”

Salinas is ranked sixth on’s list of Top International Prospects.


Cabello turned 17 last month. He’s 5’10” and 160 lbs, and was born in Puerto Ordaz, Bolivar, Venezuela. Cabello bats and throws right-handed like Salinas.

Scouting Report: “Cabello could be the most athletic prospect on the international market this year. The teenager is known primarily as a catcher, but Cabello could also play second base and center field. He has a strong body and has been clocked at 6.45 seconds in the 60-yard dash. Cabello also hits in games and his makeup is considered off the charts. He has built a reputation as a tough and hard-nosed competitor who hates to lose. Fellow Venezuelan catcher prospect Daniel Flores* might be a better defender, but Cabello has also earned praise as a good receiver with solid catching and throwing abilities. Cabello has been praised for his ability to block balls and a quick release that gives him a chance to throw out even the best of potential basestealers. Cabello is still working on fine-tuning his overall offensive game, and like most prospects his age, he is working on his approach against secondary and offspeed pitches.”

*Sadly, Daniel Flores, signed by the Boston Red Sox, died in November due to complications from treatment for cancer. Flores was the highest rated 2017 international catching prospect.

Cabello is ranked eighth on’s list of Top International Prospects.

These were great signings by the Yankees. It will be a few years before they potentially start making noise for advancement to the Bronx but as the saying goes, ‘the future is so bright, I’ve got to wear shades’…

Moose Call…

Randy Miller of NJ Advance Media for posted a good story this morning reporting the early results of 2018 Hall of Fame Voting. Presently, 101 votes out of an estimated 416 votes have been made (24.3%). The results show that it is very likely that Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, and Vlad the Great, Vladimir Guerrero, are blazing their path to Cooperstown. These three have 95% or better of the votes cast so far. 

I do not dispute any of the above three. They are all Hall-worthy and I am glad to see the odds are on their side for next year. The votes that really bother me come down to former Yankees pitchers Roger Clemens and Mike Mussina.  

Mike Mussina, who strongly deserves a place in the Hall of Fame in my opinion, has received 72 of 101 votes (71.3%). This is Mussina’s fifth time on the ballot. 75% is needed for induction. Roger Clemens, suspected of PED use, has the same number of votes as Mussina. That’s so wrong. I don’t care what numbers Clemens put up, he cheated.  Mussina played the game right and was good from beginning to end of his career. Moose was 270-153 in 537 games played, with 3.68 ERA. He struck out 2,813 batters in 3,562 2/3 innings pitched with 1.192 WHIP. Unlike Clemens, Moose does not need to make any apologies for his career. I am hopeful that the remaining voters provide Moose with the necessary 75%.  

Credit:  Joy R Absalon, US Presswire
Clemens can rot in Texas.

That right hand is going to get sore…

Phil Nevin appeared on the MLB Network on Friday. The new Yankees third base coach is looking forward to training camp. “We’ve got a good group of guys. We’re energetic, really excited about getting going. The conversations we’ve all had as a group, we’re all excited about it. We’re all going to work well together. I think that’ll feed down into the players and create excitement amongst them as well.”  

For Yankees fans, Nevin is best remembered as the first pick of the 1992 MLB Draft by the Houston Astros. The year the Astros bypassed a young shortstop out of Kalamazoo, Michigan by the name of Derek Jeter. He had an unremarkable overall career, with a few very good seasons with the San Diego Padres. Nevin accumulated 208 home runs. In the 2018 season as the third base coach, he’ll slap the hands of Yankee players on home run trots more than 208 times.  

Credit:  Zimbio
I was kind of surprised that Yankees manager Aaron Boone didn’t name someone like Nevin as his bench coach, opting for the inexperienced Josh Bard. The San Francisco Giants apparently were ready to name Nevin as their bench coach had current bench coach Hensley Meulens gotten the Yankees managerial job. Nevin served as a Triple A manager from 2014 to 2016. During the MLB Network interview, he talked about how much he likes working third base and his perception that it is the closest thing to being on the field as a player.  

Welcome to Pinstripes, Phil!

Now batting, Number 27…

Looking ahead to the 2018 schedule, there are a few dates that stand out. The Miami Marlins come to Yankee Stadium for two games in April (Monday, April 16th and Tuesday, April 17th). The Yankees will also visit Marlins Park on Tuesday, August 21st and Wednesday, August 22nd. It will be interesting to see how the Marlins fans react to the introduction of Giancarlo Stanton. Given the current adverse feelings toward Marlins ownership, I suspect that Stanton will get a rousing ovation.  

Credit:  SunSentinel
The Yankees also visit Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA for three games with the Phillies beginning Monday, June 25th. The game will feature a reunion with former Yankees bench coach Rob Thomson, now the bench coach for new Phillies manager Gabe Kapler. It will be odd to see Thomson wearing Philly red.  

The toughest stretch of the schedule appears to be very early. From Monday, April 23rd through Thursday, May 10th, the Yankees play 17 games against the Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Houston Astros, Cleveland Indians, and Boston Red Sox. None of those games will be easy. The Yankees also have series against the Washington Nationals, Texas Rangers, Angels and Astros later in May. We will find out very quickly how strong the 2018 Yankees will be.  

A Heller of a Good Time…

Here’s a shout out to Yankees reliever Ben Heller for his recent humanitarian trip to Guatemala with Forever Changed International. It was exciting to watch Heller’s daily tweets  (@BenHeller21) about helping the poverty-stricken youth of Guatemala. His last tweet from the trip read: “Thanks for following our trip and for all the support! I never expected to fall in love with these kids as much as I did - it was definitely a life changing experience. If you are interested in supporting them more, or going on a trip yourself -

Thanks for making a difference in the lives of so many, Ben!  

To all of the Yankees family, here is our wish for a very Merry Christmas and a most joyous Holiday Season! 

Go Yankees!