Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pipe Down Lil' Stein

Congratulations to Hank and Hal Steinbrenner for being handed the keys to the one of the most successful sports franchises in history. Along with the clout comes a boost in ego, a leap in confidence, and an opportunity for excess beyond Jim Morrison's wildest dreams.

Unfortunately, tact and self-awareness do not come with the gig. As Hank Steinbrenner illustrates after a week on the job, it's never too early to exercise these new privileges. After Joe Torre's farewell press conference alluded to a sense of disrespect for the four-time World Series champion, Hank did his best Randy Levine impression, pretending he's earned any right to undermine personnel in place for the last decade plus.

"Where was Joe's career in '95 when my dad hired him?" said the new Boss. "My dad was crucified for hiring him.

"Let's not forget what my dad did in giving him that opportunity - and the great team he was handed," Steinbrenner told The Post by phone from Tampa, Fla.

Come on now. Where were you in '95 Hank? Oh that's right, heaving hay to horses down in Florida. Looks like the Yankees may not lose much ground once George fully relinquishes the Yankee kingdom. Hank already displays the type of blind entitlement his father became famous for as the Bronx burned.

Had Torre been an excellent manager before joining the Yankees in 1996? No, in all honesty, Torre was a horrific manager with the Mets, satisfactory with St. Louis and above average in Atlanta. However, his style fit in perfectly with the 1990's dynasty and consequently pronounced Torre untouchable from baseball foreigners like Hanky.

Like him or not, George established himself as "The Boss" and oversaw six world championships during the journey. Now he wants Donnie Baseball managing in 2008, but even Big Stein would remind Hank he'll have to do more than saddle Bellamy Road before trying to saddlebag a Hall of Famer like Joe Torre.

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