(Syndicated from Gotham Hub Baseball).
In the past when George Steinbrenner spoke you listened, especially since they were comments that often generated news and sometimes tweaked people such as second-guessing the manager or referring to Dave Winfield as “Mr. May” in 1985.
That’s a bygone era and the public comments from Yankee ownership, especially managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner are less about bluster and more about an even-keeled measured approach to the state of the team.
There’s not a Steinbrenner watch in the sense of standing outside the stadium waiting for some kind of comment. It’s a bit more formal these days but Monday afternoon there was an opportunity to hear him address a number of topics. Among the more notable topics were the current performance of the team, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano’s contract and the lack of attendance at Yankee Stadium.
Steinbrenner was present for a press conference to announce a partnership with the Big 10 Conference for the Pinstripe Bowl. After making those remarks, he spoke for about five or six minutes on the topics listed below:
1 – On the recent performance of the team:
“We’re struggling. There’s no doubt about it but they’re going to keep fighting. The morale is good. I know that for a fact. I was down there earlier today and they’re going to keep fighting. Let’s keep perspective here, they’re three games out in the toughest division in baseball and we’re right in the middle of the fight and that’s going to continue. But we do need to start hitting, there’s no doubt about it. They know that.
2 – On contract talks for Cano:
“There’s nothing new to report, nothing new to report. If something significant (happens), believe me you guys will be the first to know.
3 – Is Cano changing agents from Scott Boras to Roc Nation a positive thing?
“We’ve had a good relationship with Scott, so we’ll see. I guess we’ll see but we had a good relationship with Scott. There’s been a lot of years and my dad certainly had his dealings with him and Scott’s been around a long time, so it is what it is. Whoever his agent is that’s who we’ll be dealing with.
4 – On the challenges of meeting the payroll goal for next season:
“Again tell me how the young players are going to continue to develop, tell me how Pineda is going to do. It’s too early to speculate.
5 – What have you heard about Pineda so far
“He had a great outing today. He threw 65 pitches or so and he’s getting ready to start his rehab assignment in the minors. There’s been no hiccups o far.
6 – How would George Steinbrenner cope with losing to the Mets last week?
“He went through a few so sometimes it ended up better than others. Some of you guys were here. So I can’t really say. Maybe he would have been fine. Maybe he would have surprised everybody, maybe not but it’s a long season. It’s a marathon and we’re right in the middle.
7 – Follow up question to losing to the Mets:
“They are the cross-town rivals there’s no doubt about that but I concern myself a little bit more with the teams in our division, you have to. But does it feel good? No. Does it sting? Yes, absolutely.
8 – On Cashman’ comments to ESPN about Alex Rodriguez not performing to his contract:
“It’s big contract to live up to. I didn’t see Brian’s comments to be honest you. Look, we just help he comes back healthy as he did in 09 after the surgery and we hope he contributes in a big way. He’s a heck of an athlete and if the surgery has fixed the problem you may see good things out of him. We hope so.
9 – Follow-up on Cashman saying that nobody can live up to the contract:
“That may be true. That’s philosophical. It’s a big contract. We all hope he’s going to act like a Yankee and do the best he can to live up to that, how bout that.
10 – Do you think he has acted like a Yankee?
“We’ll see. We’ll find out when he comes back. I know he’s been working hard and he’s been working hard to come back and he does work. He knows what it means to be a Yankee and he knows what we expect of him and he knows what his teammates expect of him, without a doubt. So we just hope he comes back strong. We need all the help we can get.
11 – Are you disappointed in Rodriguez?
“There have no doubt been times when we’ve been disappointed in him and we’ve conveyed that to him and he understands that. But look everybody’s human and everybody makes mistakes. If you’ve got a guy over the course of 10 years, there’s going to be times any of us make mistakes.
12 – How has the investigation into Biogenesis complicated the relationship between the team and Alex Rodriguez?
“We haven’t been told anything so it hasn’t complicated at all. He’s been in Tampa. He’s been rehabbing and we hope he comes back strong. He’s innocent until proven guilty right? We haven’t heard a thing.
“I was not here. I was in Tampa when it happened and I really didn’t get too involved. They’re all grown men and they’re going to handle it amongst themselves. They don’t need me involved, let’s put it that way.
14 – How much is Derek Jeter’s leadership missed in terms of how the team is playing (or something like that)?
“A lot of people expected a doomsday scenario, April 1 I didn’t think anybody would think we’d be three games out of first place in the American League East. So I think the team has done well against adversity. The pitching has done great. You can’t say enough about the pitching the entire season and the guys we’ve brought in, the veterans have done a good job and some of the young kids have done a good job. The last week has hurt, there’s no doubt about it. It’s not a fun place to be but again let’s try to keep it perspective that we’re still very much in this fight and we’re right at the top.
15 – on the decline in attendance despite the team playing well
“As I said a couple of weeks (ago), I think there’s a lot of factors (for the decline). We’re not the only major league team by a long shot and I still think the economy’s not great and there’s other things going on. The weather was horrible in April as you know but we’re starting to see better crowds now and that’s going to continue with summer coming and I just urge people to come out and support this team. Number one they need it right now they’re in the fight of their lives and number two they’ve earned it.