Sunday, June 19, 2005

Interesting Theory on the New George

This one from the Newark Star- Ledger:

Concern for legacy has softened a frail Boss
Sunday, June 19, 2005
BY DAN GRAZIANO Star-Ledger Staff
Still waiting for George Steinbrenner to fire somebody over the Yankees' lousy first half?
Keep waiting.
Yes, you could go broke quickly trying to predict Steinbrenner, so a disclaimer is necessary here. But this isn't the Steinbrenner of 1978.
People close to The Boss say that, ever since he collapsed during Otto Graham's funeral in Sarasota in December of 2003, Steinbrenner has been afraid he doesn't have much time left. In his rare public appearances, he seems frail and relatively feeble. Short walks from the Yankee Stadium elevator to his car after games are difficult to watch as he struggles just to keep his balance while walking. He will turn 75 next month, and he suddenly looks every bit of it.
What does this have to do with the job security of Yankee coaches? Plenty. Steinbrenner is just as concerned now with his legacy as he is with winning the World Series, hence care he takes in no longer putting himself in position to say something crazy or stupid for the back pages of the tabloids. A man concerned about his legacy isn't going to want the firing of a beloved New York sports icon like Joe Torre, Mel Stottlemyre or Don Mattingly to be one of his last memorable acts.
Now, should the Yankees miss the playoffs with a $205 million payroll, all bets are off. You'd still have to think Torre is safe because of the $12 million or so left on his contract after this year. Brian Cashman, who's in the final year of his deal, could be gone if the Yankees aren't playing in October, but it's not a sure thing.
After all, when he had that conference call a couple of weeks ago, Steinbrenner asked Torre what he needed - as in, "Would you like me to spend some more money to bring in more players to help you?" Doesn't sound like a guy who wants to fire his manager.
A kinder, gentler George? Sure looks that way.

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