Earlier this week Mike Lupica — I know, whatever — said that he was convinced that the Steinbrenner family was going to sell the Yankees and chalked up the team’s failure to sign Max Scherzer as evidence of that. The idea: no more big albatross contracts so as to make the team a more desirable commodity.
The New York Post asked Hal Steinbrenner about that yesterday. He was unequivocal in denying it:
“The family is not selling the team. We have no intentions of selling the team. You can quote me on that. I am not sure why everyone continues to ask that. The Steinbrenner family is not selling a majority stake in the New York Yankees. We are not going anywhere.”
He’s used to answering that question, of course. You’ll recall a couple of years ago that ESPN New York wrote a series of articles arguing that the sale of the Yankees was imminent. This despite multiple denials from Steinbrenner.
I guess it’s just good sport to assume otherwise. Or, rather, it’s a function of Yankees reporters who are still mentally wired to think that all baseball teams should be run like George Steinbrenner ran the Yankees and, when they see activity that doesn’t comport with what went on in back in the good old days, such as they were — things like passing on what could be a bad contract for a pitcher over 30 or behavior that is somewhat less insane than that which The Boss tended to exhibit — they interpret it as lack of interest or passion for the team.
If the Steinbrenners do see the Yankees as just a part of their family’s assets and business empire then, yes, it would make sense that they think about selling the team from time to time, especially given how crazy-high franchise values have gone. The bubble has never really popped on those values and they may defy logic and continue to rise. It’s something to consider and smart business people should consider that sort of thing from time to time. But if they view it as the family business and enjoy owning the New York Yankees — and there is nothing which strongly suggests otherwise — these things won’t matter too much.
I’ll believe the Yankees are for sale the moment Hal Steinbrenner or a spokesman says they’re for sale. And not a moment before.