Hal’s brother Hank has always been tagged as the apple that didn’t fall far from George’s tree. He has been portrayed and labeled as the more cutthroat and volatile of the sons.
This of course is true, but ignores that Hank in fact knows nothing about running a sports franchise. He has little if anything to do with the actual decision-making process of the New York Yankees. His only true comparison to his father stems from an occasional jaw-dropping quote.
Meanwhile, Hal has had his assertiveness unfairly questioned simply because he does not lose control like his father did. The message that resonated from Mark Teixeira’s press conference was heard loud and clear; Hal means business.
While George had tragically deteriorated month by month, fans and employees alike wondered what would come of an ‘Evil Empire’ without the presence of Darth Vader. Everyone can rest their worried minds, because the Yankees have fallen into good hands.
Hal not only has earned his last name, but has become the ‘perfect’ Steinbrenner. He not only has the business savvy that George used to help build an empire, but also the poise and self control to not follow a path blindly.
He inherited the nerve to pull the trigger on a monumental decision, yet lacks George’s ego. This ego often prevented him from consulting the brilliant baseball minds the Yankees employ. Hal possesses the ability to step away from a situation and analyze it, as opposed to acting primarily on emotions.
Hal delivered the message in a much more collected manner, but with the same bold confidence that we used to hear in the old regime:
“If some of the owners are upset that we’re trying to invest in our team…I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.”
“We’re going to reinvest it…that’s going to continue whether or not people like it. [The fans] deserve the best team we can put out there.”
On doing and spending whatever it takes to build a champion, Hal added, “This philosophy does not change and this philosophy will not change.”
It was truly a breath of fresh air to hear Hal declare once and for all that the Yankees will be the Yankees for as long as he holds his position.
This is a position that he almost never held. Remember Steve Swindal? He was George’s son-in-law, the man who was nearly handed the Yankee legacy. Fate thankfully intervened, and a DUI and painful divorce forced George’s hand into giving Hal reign of the kingdom.
Hal may take chances in the future that remind us more of George than we may like. He may or may not restore Yankee glory and quickly hang a banner at the new Yankee Stadium.
What we can confidently accept is that Hal is clearly George Steinbrenner’s son, and has inherited all of the qualities that captivated Yankee supporters and enraged everyone else.
The “Gentle George” is now in charge…but he has no intentions of taking it easy on the American League.