George Steinbrenner never would have stood for the kind of piss-poor performance his pin-stripers just put on in Detroit. He would have called it pitiful, a coma, a sleepwalk, a slump. He would have publicly denounced the on-field talent as lazy lapdogs and interred them to the press as the walking dead. He’d have arbitrarily fired at least one person responsible and perhaps, as a lesson, set fire to a few more.
Yes…Yes, that’s right: 10 years ago, George Steinbrenner would have dragged Alex Rodriguez kicking and screaming from the dugout and set his flailing body ablaze down the third base line to prove a point. He would have had a hobbled Jeter, wincing with every wayward swing, struggling to stand, bleed out on the infield. He would have hung the hollowed out skulls of Swish and Cano from menacing pennant pikes outside New Yankee Stadium, with the words of warning, written in still-warm blood, to all future Yankees:
“ABANDON ALL HOPE, YE WHO ENTER HERE.”
He was, in short, a devil and not a man to be crossed, a temperamental old tyrant known on more than one occasion to make snap, quick-time decisions based on an unruly and perverse sense of justice. It wasn’t beyond George to unnerve people if only to prove that he could, and to this day he’s the only owner in all of professional sports who had to be pardoned by a president for big-time felony white collar and political crimes…
Things are indeed different now. In New Yankee Stadium, Steinbrenners still roam the halls, but they lack the sincerity and fire of their father, whose hooves can no longer be heard. Their gushing statement to the press, congratulating the Tigers and speaking in all but uncertain terms about the future, came and went with little clamor, a far cry from the flaming pulpit old George used to rain down fire and brimstone from.
Blood spilled and splattered the walls for less in The Boss’s day, but George never had to explain why a team affectionately known as the Bombers scored runs in only three of 39 LCS innings. Or why they hit .188 on the whole, a record low for any team that had played at least seven games. Or why a player owed $114 million over the next three years went 3 for 25 with no RBIs, or why the heart of the lineup went a combined 11 for 100 through nine postseason games. George never had to explain any of those things, but there is little doubt that, after what we just saw from the Yankees, his reign of terror would have rivaled Robespierre’s. He would have been Nero on the balcony, laughing wildly into the night while his city burned around him.
The thing about Rome was that everybody feared the Romans even while they burned; they were crazy and wild and ruthless pyromaniacs who earned the ire and respect of half the known world. It wasn’t until they went soft that we realized they were little more than a bunch of rich, chiseled kings, just playing for a pennant, just playing pretend.
This Week's Lines:
Circumstances beyond our control have forced us into nothing but quick slants this week. We’ll be back with high action reasoning come next Friday:
Buffalo (-3.5) over Tennessee, Minnesota (-5.5) over Arizona, Dallas (-2) over Carolina, Washington (+6) over New York, Green Bay (-5.5) over St. Louis, Oakland (-3) over Jacksonville, New York (+10.5) over New England, Pittsburgh (-1) over Cincinnati, Houston (-6.5) over Baltimore, New Orleans (-2.5) over Tampa Bay, Cleveland (+3.5) over Indianapolis, Chicago (-6) over Detroit,
Last Week: 6-7
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