By Tony McClean
Updated: November 16, 2007

YankeesBRISTOL, CONN——While all baseball fans/haters cry foul with the Yankees’ acquisition of ARod, I’m about to do something that I never though I’d do in this life: Defend George Steinbrenner.

You’ve been reading all over the past few days about how the trade of Alex Rodriguez to the Bronx means the end of the world as we know it. How the competitive balance in baseball is in such flux. How the race is over in the AL East.

To all you Chicken Littles, I say one thing: GET A DAMN GRIP!!!!!!

This isn’t coming from some loud-mouthed Yankee fan. Hell, I know misery first hand. I grew up rooting for that other baseball team in the Big Apple. When you go from Tom Seaver to Pete Falcone, Darryl Strawberry to Jeremy Burnitz……

Well, you get the idea. But let me hip you to some history.

From 1987-1990, guess who had baseball’s highest team salary? If you guessed the Yankees, go to the head of the class. Now if you’re really a genius, tell me how many World Series crowns the pinstripes won in that stretch.


That’s right, zero, zilch, nada, nothing. Their highest finish during that period was an unthreatening fourth place (89-73) under Lou Piniella in 1987. It would be safe to say that it wasn’t all about the Benjamins during that time.

Hey, it wasn’t even about the Lincolns or Washingtons either.

When Boston went out and got pitchers Curt Schilling and Keith Foulke during the winter, there were no cries of competitive balance and salary caps.

Now that Bosox dropped the ball on the ARod deal and the Yanks gave a lesser offer to Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dee (Texas’ Tom Hicks and his GM John Hart) to get ARod, there’s rioting in the streets.

Let me state that I despise the Yanks and Steinbrenner. Rooting them isn’t like rooting for U.S. Steel, it’s like rooting for the Republican Party. To say that the sky is falling everytime the Bronx Bombers make a major move is just becoming tired and old.

It’s not always about the Benjamins, but it is about how the hell you choose to use your Benjamins. The one thing that has been consistent about George is that he put all his money into the team.

He was doing this long before the sophisticated marketing of sports, before there was an ESPN, before Yankee Stadium was rebuilt, before Sosa vs McGwire, and so on and so on…..

You can bet that at some point this season, Hicks will complain about his payroll and try to pin the blame on George. He’d better look at the man in the mirror before he opens his mouth, but that probably won’t happen.

While the Boston fans and media continue their bitching and moaning, they should try and realize one thing. They still may have the better overall team. But for them it’s easier to whine instead of playing it out on the field.

Even if Boston wins the AL East and goes on to the World Series, they’ll still won’t be satisfied. Even if Nomar wins MVP in the process, they’ll still moan about not getting ARod.

Here’s a word to the wise for both the Yankees, Red Sox, and their bombastic fans. Don’t get so caught up in the moment that you think think the entire baseball race revolves around you.

The last time I checked, the Marlins, Angels, and Diamondbacks weren’t favored to win the last three World Series titles. Just some food for thought as Spring Training opens in earnest this week.