SBD/Issue 38/Franchises

Hal Steinbrenner Says Yanks Were Angry About Greenberg's Words

Steinbrenner Demanded Greenberg Apologize
To Yankees Fans For His Recent Comments

Yankees co-Chair & Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner yesterday said the team was "very angry" about Rangers Owner Chuck Greenberg's derogatory comments about Yankees fans, according to Brian Costello of the N.Y. POST. Steinbrenner: "They were absolutely inappropriate, ridiculous comments. We reached out to Major League Baseball right away. We told them we were absolutely going to respond in an aggressive way. We agreed to wait until after the game because we didn't want to distract from the World Series." Costello notes Greenberg "reached out to Steinbrenner" Monday night "before things escalated and apologized." Steinbrenner insisted that Greenberg also "issue an apology to the Yankees fans." Steinbrenner: "The bottom line is Chuck realized that they were ridiculous comments and inappropriate and he reached out to us within an hour or two of the news breaking and apologized in what I believe was a very sincere way" (N.Y. POST, 11/3). Steinbrenner said Greenberg "absolutely would be the first one to admit that they were stupid comments and inappropriate" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/3).

FREEDOM OF SPEECH: ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said of Greenberg's criticism, "In every city in the country there are terrible fans who get all liquored up and treat everybody badly. I don't think he has to apologize. If that's his opinion, that's fine." Kornheiser later asked, "Don't you think this Rangers guy is doing this to get Cliff Lee, to put that out there?" ESPN's Michael Wilbon: "There's an agenda there. But he shouldn't apologize, because that just seems disingenuous" ("PTI," ESPN, 11/2).

MONEY MATTERS: Steinbrenner yesterday said that the Yankees' payroll "will remain at roughly the same levels going into next season." Steinbrenner: "I can safely say we're going to stay within the same level." The team's opening day payroll this season was an estimated $206.3M (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 11/3). Steinbrenner said of free agents SS Derek Jeter and P Mariano Rivera, "Obviously we want them back. They're hopefully lifelong Yankees. They're great leaders. They've been great Yankees. But we're running a business. If there's a deal to be done, it's going to have to be a deal both sides are happy with." On Long Island, Ken Davidoff notes there is an "understanding on the Yankees' part that Jeter needs to stay in the Bronx to maintain his brand as an athlete with integrity, and that Rivera simply has no desire to leave." Davidoff: "This will work out, unquestionably. What Steinbrenner accomplished so effectively Tuesday was he laid out the terrain of the battle" (NEWSDAY, 11/3).

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