Friday, February 29, 2008

Hank Steinbrenner's Red Sox Slam Is Good For Baseball

God bless Hank Steinbrenner.

Proving that the nut -- and I use that word purposely -- doesn't fall far from the tree, George's son and one of the principal leaders of the New York Yankees lashed out at the Boston Red Sox in an upcoming article in the New York Times' Play Magazine.

It's great stuff, because it adds some much-needed fuel to a Yankees-Red Sox family feud that had been drying up in recent years. Part of the evaporation has to do with the fact that the Yankees have become increasingly irrelevant, not appearing in a World Series since 2003, and not winning one since 2000. The Red Sox, meanwhile, have won two championships in the past four seasons -- including the remarkable comeback in the '04 ALCS from an 0-3 deficit against the Yanks.

All of it has been making Hank Steinbrenner chew glass. And in the Times piece, he levels both barrels at Red Sox Nation.

"Red Sox Nation? What a bunch of [expletive] that is," he said in the interview. "That was a creation of the Red Sox and ESPN, which is filled with Red Sox fans.

"Go anywhere in America and you won't see Red Sox hats and jackets, you'll see Yankee hats and jackets. This is a Yankee country. We're going to put the Yankees back on top and restore the universe to order."

The words are so over the top that they read like something taken from one of those satirical pieces at

Hank's words, I think, are great for baseball. It's always nice to have a loose cannon in our midst. Charlie O. Finley played that role to perfection when he owned the Oakland A's in the 1970s. Before Finley, you had Bill Veeck, who was part baseball owner, part circus barker. Then, of course, came Hank's dad, who took over the Yankees in 1973 promising to be an "absentee" owner -- perhaps one of the biggest lies in the history of the world.

No wacky owners as of late -- just goofy managers like the White Sox's little punk, Ozzie Guillen. So it's nice to see Hank Steinbrenner stoking the fire. Agree with me or not, but pro sports are always better served when there's a goofball with a loose mouth wearing the black hat.

Hank's assertion that "We're going to put the Yankees back on top and restore the universe to order" is dynamite, especially the way it ends. "Restore the universe to order"? Who is he -- a pro wrestler yapping about the upcoming match? Regardless, I love it.

It's also funny that Hank is so infatuated with the Red Sox, when there may be two or three teams better than them in the American League; the Tigers, the Indians, and the Angels might all win more games than the Red Sox and the Yankees will in 2008.

But that's OK. Let the Yankees and Red Sox have their Hatfield and McCoy thing. The beauty of it is, contrary to what Hank believes, most of the nation doesn't like either team. But that's our little secret. Don't tell Hank.


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