Open Mouth, Insert Foot

So first Hank Steinbrenner says:

"I don’t think they would want to be hollering too loud at Andy up in Fenway," Steinbrenner told The Post. "They had plenty of players doing this stuff, too. It’s just that those players weren’t mentioned in the Mitchell Report."

Then his brother, Hal, says:

"No, I will never concede," Hal says. "They’ve got a lot of talent, and [have] done very well the past few years, but let me put it this way: I don’t think [they] wanted to play us in the ALCS. So I will concede nothing. I think we’re better than [them]."

David Ortiz won’t need to worry about any motivational speeches this season. The Steinbrenners are taking care of that all by themselves.

24 comments… add one
  • Henry would call this the “Yecebo effect”–the Yanks owners are simply affirming their ability to beat other teams. It’s better than Noceboing their chances before the season starts.

    Nick-YF February 20, 2008, 12:51 pm
  • Mr. Hankee and HAL 2000 open their traps again, and the usual hilarity ensues.
    But isn’t “open mouth, insert foot” baiting, Paul?

    Hudson February 20, 2008, 12:58 pm
  • Maybe I’m wrong. I’ve never played the game. But, I can’t see how having media-seeking, quote-driven owner helps a baseball team. I would think it would only distract the team, while giving ammunition/motivation to their opponents.
    Anyway, I didn’t feel baited, Paul. Kind of amazing. I know it’s these guys first year on the job, but there are 29 other owners in baseball NOT saying this kind of stuff.

    yankees76 February 20, 2008, 1:02 pm
  • I don’t see the big deal? The Boss was the same way…we’re used to it. I’m sure the players take it with a grain of salt.

    krueg February 20, 2008, 1:11 pm
  • Oh, I certainly don’t think it’s a big deal, in fact, I welcome it, Big Stein was a constant source of amusement and I’m glad that torch got passed.

    LocklandSF February 20, 2008, 1:24 pm
  • I’ve never rooted for a team with a dignified owner at the helm.
    At times, it’s been a lot of fun. Other times: just annoying. Not something I’ve fretted over.

    Nick-YF February 20, 2008, 1:26 pm
  • I for one like a little flamethrowing bzck and forth between ownerships, if it’s done with the right tone. I think it helps energize a fan base. I saw the 2003 Lucchino-Steinbrenner war of words in that light. Calling someone the “Evil Empire” is pretty harmless, pretty silly, but pretty well captured the feeling of a lot of Red Sox fans at the time. Hal’s line is probably similar to that, in that both are born out of sour grapes — Lucchino mad at losing Contreras, Hal angry at having to be second to the Red Sox for the first time in his life — and both are harmless.
    The steroid comment, though, is out of bounds, I think. We all know there were/are likely users on every team, so there’s no need to say it, and unless he’s willing to say which current members of the Sox he thinks are juicing, it’s just more of the inflammatory rubbish that seems to be Hank’s bread and butter.

    Paul SF February 20, 2008, 1:39 pm
  • Los Dos Steinbrenneros sound like every whiny Yankee fan on sports radio. Waah, waah, waaah, our players got busted and none of the Red Sox did- heretofore it’s a conspiracy.
    I agree with PaulSF, making overtures that the Sox players were/are juicing is out of bounds. I’m positive there were/are Sox players juicing but that doesn’t excuse the guy from saying it.
    Let’s just hope the Red Sox make them further look like they suffer from foot-in-mouth disease.

    no sleep til brooklyn SF February 20, 2008, 1:51 pm
  • The reason owners talk is to get media play. It’s free advertising. That’s why owners have been making these kinds of statements for 125 years. It’s not new.
    And while Hank’s comment might be impolitic, but hardly “foot in mouth” stupid, and Hal’s comments are entirely benign; the suggestion that they’re driven by “sour grapes” is a pretty subjective reading. Seems to me he just thinks he has the best team, and why shouldn’t he?
    The whole “bulletin board motivation” trope is pretty ridiculous, in any case, and especially in mid February. (Seriously?!?) I find it hard to believe that (a) anyone on the Sox actually gives a crap about what the Yankee owners are saying, and (b) that even if they do, it makes one iota of difference on the field.

    YF February 20, 2008, 2:29 pm
  • Are the Stein Bros. baiting? Are they lobbing a few grenades to see what floats to the top? Are they having fun with a devil-may-care approach?
    I don’t know. I was a reporter long enough to know that it’s easy to use a quote out of context.
    I also know this: Belichick is criticized for not saying enough, and Schilling is criticized for saying too much. Those in the middle are criticized for being bland. Which is it?
    Whatever happened to just letting people be themselves? Schill likes to talk, fine. BB doesn’t like to talk, fine.
    Hank and Hal like to talk? Fine. Let them talk and then we can laugh at them. There’s no need to take the comments personally. YF’s bulletin board comment is well made.

    I'mBillMcNeal February 20, 2008, 2:44 pm
  • “Maybe I’m wrong. I’ve never played the game. But, I can’t see how having media-seeking, quote-driven owner helps a baseball team.”
    Help, no. Hurt, no. They are the owners of this team, not the manager, GM or players. What they say simply does not matter except to Sox fans and the media. Baseball is played between the lines, not on bulletin boards or in offices.
    “I would think it would only distract the team, while giving ammunition/motivation to their opponents.”
    The Yankees and Red Sox have hated each other for almost 100 years. Nothing any Steinbrenner says, positive or negative, is going to help or harm this relationship. As for motivation, ML teams, especially these two don’t need motivation. This nonsense only really riles up the fans and usually defender of all, Curt Schilling.
    No disrespect to Paul of course but I am so tired of hearing about Hank, Hal and George. Their actions have zero to do with what will happen of the course of the season. They are glorified fans, that’s all they really are.

    John - YF February 20, 2008, 2:50 pm
  • Between the surreal Isiah and Dolan show with the Knicks and the Brothers Steinbrenner with the Yankees, New York sports will never be dull.

    SoxFan February 20, 2008, 3:02 pm
  • See, I laughed. Maybe I’ve just been immunized against this crap from years of being a YF, but it’s what the ownership does that gives me conniptions, not what they say.
    Look, can’t we all just get over ourselves and admit that the rivalry only enhances our enjoyment of baseball? I get tired of the sanctimony from Boston — part of the NYY brand is that our owners are rich jerks. Seems more like dogwhistle blogging than news.

    Adrian-YF February 20, 2008, 4:39 pm
  • My bulletin board comment was in the mode of, “Don’t worry about needing motivation later in the season; the Steinbrenners will be sure to provide some.” Obviously comments in February will have little effect on games in August.
    Trust me, if the inocuous Garko champagne comment and attendant newspaper commentary can be used as bulletin-board material last October, then I imagine ridiculous statements by the owners of your chief rival can, as wwll.

    Paul SF February 20, 2008, 4:42 pm
  • It wasn’t Garko.
    After Game 4, as Paps said on Letterman, Papi told the team, “If you play for the Red Sox, you a bad mothe*******.”
    Now, if I’ve bedazzled Papi telling me that, I’m fired up to win.

    I'mBillMcNeal February 20, 2008, 8:31 pm
  • Wasn’t it after Game 3…?

    Devine February 20, 2008, 8:34 pm
  • Adrian, I was at first a bit chapped with your use of the word “sanctimony” to describe some of us RS fans. But I think you’re right. A lot of us do need to get over ourselves. It’s more fun to laugh at oafishness than get offended.
    Consider the sources. We EXPECTED George (and now Hal and Hank) to say goofy things, but we always expected class from Cash and Torre.
    On our side, we should consider ourselves fortunate that Msrs. Henry, Werner, Lucchino (largely but not exclusively), Epstein and Francona generally keep it thoughtful, insightful and complimentary, if not bland.
    And really, nothing a Steinbrenner has said will ever equal the Lee Elia rant.

    I'mBillMcNeal February 20, 2008, 8:42 pm
  • I thought it was Game 4, when they were down 3-1. But you could be right.

    I'mBillMcNeal February 20, 2008, 8:43 pm
  • Wow, YF, your standards move around quite a bit. Why is it ok for Hank to throw around vague charges, but not for some of my co-bloggers or our commenters? This guy is a f*cking OWNER of a ballclub, not a two-bit blogger like myself. You excuse him for what reason?
    HIs comment wasn’t just stupid, it was also completely undignified. As the leader of such a storied ballclub that prides itself on class and dignity he does a horrible job as a representative of those ideals. That you are so willing to dismiss them as simple PR shows you to be an incredible cynic. I find it appalling that you leap to his defense so easily in this case. If John Henry had said anything like this (or says anything like this) he will be the target of tremendous ire and scorn on my part. This kind of statement has no place in the mouth of a club owner.
    As for Hal’s comment, it’s plain old stupid. The Sox didn’t want to play the Yankees? Right. Maybe he meant “Sox fans weren’t too keen on facing the Yankees”. Had he said that, he’d maybe have a case. But I don’t think professional athletes, particularly those who finished a season with the best record in the league, are all that intimidated by any other team.
    I just wonder how long Hank and Hal have been masquerading as “Jerome from the Bronx” without anyone knowing they are regular sportsradio callers.

    SF February 20, 2008, 10:45 pm
  • As the leader of such a storied ballclub that prides itself on class and dignity he does a horrible job as a representative of those ideals.
    Are you serious? Do you remember Dave Winfield, the 1981 WS, the illegal Nixon donations and so on and so forth? Look, the Yankees aren’t a storied franchise because they pride themselves on their “class.” The Yankees take pride in winning, especially in winning the World Series.
    I’m sorry, but that argument is a total straw man. Look, Steinbrenner, in addition to being a world class douchebag also chose to enforce a certain amount of professionalism on his players. Being professional and being classy are two very different things. And speaking as a man who has watched Manny do his superman arms a few too many times, I really don’t think we should be pointing fingers.
    The point about fans/athletes is a valid one, and I think if you asked Hal about it he’d probably clarify that he was talking about the fans. I don’t think he meant imply that a group of athletes whose sole purpose in life is to compete would somehow not want to compete against their arch-rivals. There are plenty of on the record statements from players on both teams to the effect that the rivalry really helps them play their best baseball.
    However, I certainly know that I’ve been guilty of casting aspersions on the Red Sox franchise because of the awful experiences I’ve had with Red Sox fans (and my bone deep loathing of Manny Ramirez) and I think that if you’re honest, SF, you’ll admit to having done the same.

    Adrian-YF February 20, 2008, 11:35 pm
  • Fair points, Adrian. I think there is a difference between a player caught up in the emotion of a game and an owner issuing missives to the press. I expect more from the owner, frankly, to give measured responses that illustrate a better understanding of things, particularly with something as sensitive as the Mitchell Report. There is no good reason to excuse it or accept it just because the family has a history of saying and doing stupid things. It’s worthy of criticism.
    The Steinbrenners clearly have some filtering issues, no doubt inherited genetically. But the point is that there is nothing wrong with calling this for what it is, and there is no reason to excuse it just because George Senior was once a “douchebag”, as you say. Just because Dad did it isn’t justification, though it may explain things.
    And I don’t understand the last comment, completely. I am not sure what the relevance is to my own comment about the Steinbrenner kidz or their comments. I don’t think their (yes, stupid) comments come from bad experiences with Red Sox fans or the Red Sox franchise, but from rather something/somewhere else. I know tons of Yankee fans who are far more mature and thoughtful (they mostly post at this site!), and in my opinion these comments have very little to do with H/H’s experiences with their rival.

    SF February 21, 2008, 5:39 am
  • Papi’s comment came after Game 3/before Game 4. The Sox lost the next game.
    I believe it was Garko who told an Akron newspaper, “The champagne tastes better at home.” That quote, and the columnist’s subsequent rant about how the Red Sox would fold up to the Indians at Fenway, wound up on the Sox’ clubhouse bulletin board. The Fox broadcasters talked about it during Game 6, I believe. The quote’s fairly innocuous, but I remember the column was pretty ridiculous.

    Paul SF February 21, 2008, 8:42 am
  • “..but it’s what the ownership does that gives me conniptions, not what they say.”
    This the most insightful comment in this whole thread. And the most interesting parts of that interview are where Hal details the new decision-making in the Yankee organization. For all the bluster, Hal is portrayed as the reasonable brother with equal power to determine the fate of the organization. As a diehard Yankee fan, I know with the money, emotion, and now reason this organization in in very good hands for the next generation. Nowhere has that been shown better than how this past off-season was handled.
    That’s most sad, to me, about this post and the resulting thread: It needlessly called attention to a non-starter when the real story is throughout the interview (the first Hal has given in 20 years: yeah, he’s a real Red Lighter). All I know is that I’m very excited for the next generation of Yankee ownership. His Dad gave us 6 world championships. I’m looking forward to the sons giving us just as many.

    A YF February 21, 2008, 9:32 am
  • SF, my last comment has nothing to do with H/H, and I should’ve made that clearer. I’m just offering a mea culpa. And, while on an absolute level you’re probably right that these are words deserving of criticism, in the Yankeeverse they basically boil down to “meet the new boss(es), same as the old boss.”
    In other words: Yankees/Red Sox rivalry continues, news at 11.

    Adrian-YF February 21, 2008, 10:38 am

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