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Lupica: This Ain't George's Yankees Anymore

From Mike Lupica:

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They're not your old man's Yankees anymore, and won't ever be again.

If you saw the whole movie with the old man, not just the second act, you know that is not entirely a bad thing.

For now, the people in charge of the Yankees, starting with the Steinbrenner heirs, are able to spend money and watch the money roll in. It doesn't make anybody a baseball Warren Buffett. Maybe they even watch the Yankees win a second title in a row in the fall. The old man, George Steinbrenner, came in with two straight titles, at the end of the 1970s, and that was another time when people began to assume the Yankees would be on top forever.

The way they were going to be on top forever after they won four World Series in five years through the Subway Series of 2000.

We'll see about that. And we'll see if the team is going to stay in the family forever. We hear that now. It's all over coverage in the media of Hal Steinbrenner especially, coverage that can only be described this way: Please like me best.

But the Yankees, with the old man gone, won't be evaluated, from this point forward, on what anybody says or what anybody tells us. They will be evaluated on what they do.

We will find out in different ways, the way we did this week when no Yankee players, not a single one, past or present, attended Bob Sheppard's funeral. It is not the end of the world, or a sign of one. Just quite revealing, even as the Yankees tried to blame the media. Of course.

In another time, when the old man was around, there would have been more of a Yankee presence than that. The Yankees like to Yankee things up when it suits them, and when it is good for business. Then it all becomes practically a religious ceremony. Just not Bob Sheppard's ceremony.

"George loved being in charge," a baseball team executive from another part of the country told me this week. "But he loved the Yankees more. Now you have people in charge, like Hal, and (Randy) Levine and even Brian (Cashman), who love the power."

It doesn't mean that Hal and Hank Steinbrenner and their sisters are going to decide in a couple of years to sell the team. But just because we are being told that they won't doesn't mean that they won't, even if their father dying when he did was like one last stroke of business genius, saving his kids about half-a-billion in estate taxes because of a hole in the tax laws that will surely be closed by the end of this year.

And if the politicians try to come back at families like the Steinbrenners, and somehow hit them for that tax money retroactively, it still doesn't mean they'll sell.

He goes on to praise Hal for his work on building last year's championship team, but still wonders where the team will go from here. It's a questions that I'm sure is on the minds of most Yankees fans as we officially enter the post-George era.

We'll see if there are big thinkers around now, not just big spenders. We'll see about a lot of things. For now, people say all the right things. The people around Hal try to do what they did with the old man, which means tell him what he wants to hear.

They keep calling this a family business. Only it was never that until the old man started to fade. The family business was him.

Good point. It was the Boss's business and nothing else for a long time, and if you ask me, this is all on one person and not the family as a whole. And than man is Hal Steinbrenner. He was giving the reigns when Hank proved to be nothing more than an attention grabbing loudmouth, and it will be up to Hal to continue to keep the Yankees right where they're supposed to be: at the top of the baseball world.


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