I’ve been worried, this past year, about the Steinbrenner brothers taking control from George and running the team themselves. When Hank and Hal became co-chairmen of the Yankees, with George remaining “Chairman” (in all likelihood, I would say Chairman Emeritus), their responsibilities were divided up as follows: Hank would be the Head of Baseball Operations and Hal would take care of the business-side of the Yankee Universe.
Ok, sounds like a fair distribution.
Then, something terrible happened. Hank opened hs mouth. He made negative comments about Saint Joe Torre (“where was [his] career when my father hired him?”), he promised that if A-Rod opted out of his contract last season, then A-Rod wouldn’t return, he mouthed off about Joba Chamberlain belonging in the rotation, and he thinks that teams like the Rays shouldn’t forget who subsidizes them.
Much to my delight, however, Hank didn’t go to games. He wasn’t at opening day, he wasn’t at the All-Star game (with his ailing father), and he wasn’t at the last game at Yankee Stadium. Even I went to more Yankee games this season than Hank Steinbrenner (14 to about 3). He just became a circus act that never put his money where his mouth is.
Even more to my delight, Hal did go to games. He didn’t say much, but he was there on his father’s golf cart at the All-Star game and he presented Derek Jeter with his award for becoming the all-time hits leader at Yankee Stadium when he was there for the ceremony closing the Cathedral. Hal also has the power of the purse on his side and while Hank was drooling over Johan Santana, Hal sided with Brian Cashman and didn’t trade Phil Hughes to spend $100 million on Santana. He sided with Cashman and that is probably the sole reason why Cashman came back this off-season.
Today, MLB owners approved the change in control of the Yankees from George Steinbrenner to his youngest son, Hal. With this subtle move, it seemingly ensures that Hank doesn’t ever take full control of the Yankees, which would be perfectly fine with me. I don’t have a clue about how much Hal knows about baseball, but given his father’s love of the Yankees, I trust Hal will be a good steward for the world’s most famous franchise and, personally, I feel better that despite all titles, MLB recognizes Hal as the owner of the Yankees.