SBD/Issue 49/Franchises

MLB Owners Unanimously Approve Hal Steinbrenner As Yanks Head

Hal Steinbrenner Will Lead
Day-To-Day Yankees Operations
MLB owners concluded their quarterly meetings in N.Y. Thursday by unanimously approving Hal Steinbrenner as the new designated control executive for the Yankees, officially ending a historic, high-profile reign of power by his father, George, dating to '73. George Steinbrenner will remain team Chair and Hal and brother Hank will remain co-Chairs. But the shift firmly codifies the 39-year-old Hal’s increasing control of the Yankees’ day-to-day business and financial operations over the past two years. “I realize this is a great responsibility. Needless to say, I’ve got a tough act to follow,” Hal Steinbrenner said. “Really, for the last two years I have been intimately involved with all aspects and all departments of the company. It’s what I’ve been doing day-to-day. My duties aren’t really going to change and my workload isn’t going to change much. So, I mean, it’s as much a procedural thing within the family, I think, as anything at this point.” Still, the move carries significance as Hal gained the control nod over older and more vocal brother Hank, who initially was the leading executive face for the franchise among the two as George’s public profile receded. Hank, according to a club statement, will continue to oversee the Yankees’ baseball operations. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and his wife, Sue, met with George Steinbrenner and his wife, Joan, last month in Florida on October 23 during the Tropicana Field portion of the World Series where the impending change was discussed (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).

HAL OF FAME: In N.Y., Jack Curry notes while Hank has been "much more talkative about the Yankees in his frequent interviews," Hal has been "more involved in the daily operations of the team." It is Hal, not Hank, who "deals with team executives and spends considerable time in the Yankees' offices" in N.Y. (N.Y. TIMES, 11/21). On Long Island, Ken Davidoff notes Hal is "far more involved" than Hank, and the move "should solidify that reality and blunt the impact of Hank Steinbrenner's routinely outrageous statements." One Yankees official said of Hal, "He wants to do things in a more normal way" (NEWSDAY, 11/21). Also on Long Island, Johnette Howard writes Hank shows the "same explosive potential" as George, which "probably helps explain why Hal ended up in control instead." Hal is the "more temperate of George's boys and, truth be told, more responsible" (NEWSDAY, 11/21). N.Y. Daily News columnist Bill Madden said of Hal, "He has been the face of ownership. All this is doing is basically confirming this. Now there’s no doubt about it. Hank might be quoted somewhere saying, ‘I’m the leader here.’ He’s not the leader. Hal is the leader” ("Daily News Live," SportsNet N.Y., 11/20). ESPN's Tim Kurkjian: "Hal is just not quite as bombastic as Hank is and I think he’s just a little bit more measured in some of the things he says and does." But he added, "Both boys are going to be in charge of this team and I don’t think we can look too much into who’s in charge and who’s second in charge” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 11/20). The EXAMINER's Paula Duffy wrote Hal is an "interesting choice since fans and media don't know him as well" as Hank (EXAMINER.com, 11/20).

HANK SUPPORTIVE OF MOVE: One Yankees source, when asked if the shift "meant Hank was being brushed aside or requested a lesser role," said, "Hank supported this move because Hal works with the finances. He is fine with it" (N.Y. POST, 11/21). Another Yankees source said that there was a "vote within the Steinbrenner family and even Hank voted for Hal." In N.Y., Anthony McCarron writes it will be "interesting to see how the dynamic plays out between the two brothers," as they are "separated by a difference in age and temperament" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/21). WMAQ-NBC's Josh Alper wrote Hank, "verbose as he is, doesn't seem to actually like baseball," while Hal is "regularly at games and regularly speaking" with Yankees GM Brian Cashman (NBCCHICAGO.com, 11/20). NEW YORK magazine's Chris Smith wrote Hank is "still very much a force, if an erratic one, in decisions" about pursuing free agents "because of his personality and his standing as first-born son" (NYMAG.com, 11/20).

Columnists Ponder Steinbrenner's Legacy
After Running Team For 36 Years
LASTING LEGACY: On Long Island, Wallace Matthews writes under the header, "An Impossible Act To Follow." There is "something jolting and final about an official announcement, even when it only confirms something all of us have known for years." The shift of control "represents a sea change in New York sports history." George Steinbrenner is an "impossible act to follow," and Hal would be "well advised to not even try." Matthews: "There never was an owner in this town quite like George Steinbrenner, and you've got to figure there never will be again" (NEWSDAY, 11/21). In N.Y., Mike Vaccaro writes of George, "We will never see another like him, and who ever would have thought, back in the day, that this would be a sad thing? So the name of the boss, lower case, changes. Even as everyone knows that the Boss, upper case, will be forever" (N.Y. POST, 11/21). NEWSDAY's Howard writes, "The Boss will never be totally gone, not as long as he's still alive." But Thursday's announcement was a "passage just the same" (NEWSDAY, 11/21). In Westchester, Sam Borden writes, "It is still a Steinbrenner running the Yankees, still the same name. It just isn't the Steinbrenner. It can't be" (Westchester JOURNAL NEWS, 11/21). In N.Y., George King writes George will be "impossible to replace," as Hank "likes to talk, but nobody roared like The Boss." Hal is "very thorough and is serious and tough, but The Boss was ultra intense and ruthless" (N.Y. POST, 11/21). In Toronto, Dave Perkins writes Hank and Hal "might prove to be windy buffoons, but they are unlikely to leave the mark their old man did" (TORONTO STAR, 11/21). But on Long Island, Steve Jacobson writes George's "legacy of tyranny shouldn't be forgotten now that he officially has withdrawn from the masthead of the Yankees" (NEWSDAY, 11/21).

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