George Steinbrenner has been dead since 2010. While obviously still active, he ceded real day-to-day control of the team to Gene Michael and others following his reinstatement in the early 1990s. He stopped having any substantive role of the New York Yankees at least by 2006, and probably earlier than that due to declining health. Since George stopped being the defacto general manager the team has won five World Series titles, seven pennants, has made the playoffs seventeen times and won thousands of games.
Nevertheless, this was Joel Sherman’s column in yesterday’s New York Post:
Since George Steinbrenner stopped being the George Steinbrenner of legend and lore, the Yankees have experienced astounding success, both as a baseball team and as a business. Their run has rivaled the greatest runs in the Yankees’ storied history. It is not hyperbole to say that since the team’s repudiation of George Steinbrenner’s 1970s and 1980s managerial style, they have resumed their role as the gold standard for a professionally-run baseball franchise.
In light of that, why would anyone find it at all reasonable or useful to frame a story about the future of the New York Yankees in “what would George do?” style? It seems just as relevant to ask what would Ed Barrow do, or what would Larry MacPhail do.
Marc Carig of Newsday took Mets owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon to the woodshed over the weekend. He, quite justifiably, lambasted them for their inexplicable frugality, their seeming indifference to wanting to put a winning team on the field and, above all else, their unwillingness to level with the fans or the press about the team’s plans or priorities.
Mets ownership is unaccountable, Carig argues, asking everything of fans and giving nothing in the way of a plan or even hope in return:
Mets fans ought to know where their money is going, because it’s clear that much of it isn’t ending up on the field . . . They never talk about money. Whether it’s arrogance or simply negligence, they have no problem asking fans to pony up the cash and never show the willingness to reciprocate.
And they’re not just failing to be forthcoming with the fans. Even the front office is in the dark about the direction of the team at any given time:
According to sources, the front office has only a fuzzy idea of what they actually have to spend in any given offseason. They’re often flying blind, forced to navigate the winter under the weight of an invisible salary cap. This is not the behavior of a franchise that wants to win.
Carig is not a hot take artist and is not usually one to rip a team or its ownership like this. As such, it should not be read as a columnist just looking to bash the Wilpons on a slow news day. To the contrary, this reads like something well-considered and a long time in the works. It has the added benefit of being 100% true and justified. The Mets have been run like a third rate operation for years. Even when the product on the field is good, fans have no confidence that ownership will do what it takes to maintain that success.
All that seems to matter to the Wilpons is the bottom line and everything flows from there. They may as well be making sewing machines or selling furniture.