Steve Lombardi, writing over at Was Watching this morning, surmised that the Steinbrenner clan may cash out of the Yankees once the Boss passes on. The suggestion was that most of the Junior Bosses do not really care that much about the team, and are simply running the club to continue their father’s legacy and attempt to impress him before he dies. Once he goes, most of them could simply search for a mega-payout and live off that for the rest of their lives.
I have two questions about this:
1) Do you agree with Steve? Prior to the 2009 season, I likely would have concurred with his evaluation of the season. However, it seemed to me that Hal warmed to the role as the year progressed, and was really gaining a feel for running the club by the time the offseason was reached. The fact that he set assessed the finances, set a budget, and stuck firm to that line despite the clamoring by Yankees fans for the return of Johnny Damon suggested that he is in this for the long haul. Someone with an eye towards cashing out might have been a bit more frivolous in terms of long term deals and big money, but Hal was the picture of restraint and prudence in this offseason. How would you interpret those actions?
2) Will it make a difference? Anyone willing to pay upwards of a billion dollars for the entire Yankees conglomerate is likely to continue pouring money into the club. In fact, my one worry about a new owner is not that he might spend to little. Rather, I am afraid that we might see a return to the bad old days of the George Steinbrenner 1980’s, where a Dan Snyder or Jerry Jones type comes in and begins directing particularly short-sighted personnel decisions. While the Yankees of the last 40 years have been a perfect cautionary tale on this issue, having billions of dollars often leads people to believe that they can do anything, and that rules that apply to others are not an issue for them.
What do you think? Do you fear the day when the Yankees are not owned by Steinbrenners?