Keep talking Hank, we're listening   

Updated: April 25, 2008, 5:54 PM ET

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Since taking control of the Yankees, Hank Steinbrenner has run Joe Torre out of town, bid against himself to give Alex Rodriguez a raise, ripped Red Sox Nation, complained about his team's use of Joba Chamberlain and generally demonstrated that he is taking over from his father in every loud, boorish and insufferable way.

Off Base
Thank God.

The Yankees needed Hank. They had become so bland in the past few years that they were in danger of permanently losing their Evil Empire title to the Red Sox. Not that they had become a lovable underdog by any stretch, but put it this way: When you fail to get out of the first round of the postseason three consecutive years and the most notorious act of misbehavior is a player sunning himself in Central Park, you know you've lost your edge.

Fortunately, Hank came along.

He showed he can meddle in team affairs every bit as much as his old man by getting rid of Torre, the manager who led the Yankees to four world championship, six American League pennants and 12 consecutive postseason appearances. Then he gave A-Rod a more lucrative contract after the third baseman opted out of the old one, even though there were no other teams interested in signing him. He fired a shot across the bow of his rival, calling Red Sox Nation a creation of the team and ESPN as well as a "bunch of bull----."

The thing is, though, he's not always wrong. His complaint that baseball is unfairly singled out for criticism on steroids while the NFL gets a free pass was spot-on. He's right about the Joba Chamberlain thing, as well. "I want him as a starter and so does everyone else, including him, and that is what we are working toward, and we need him there now,'' Hank told The New York Times. "There is no question about it, you don't have a guy with a 100-mile-per-hour fastball and keep him as a set-up guy. You just don't do that. You have to be an idiot to do that.''

So bring it on, Hank. What we need is for you to speak out more, not less. We need your view on more issues. In fact, let's imagine what Hank would say about ...

Hank on candy in the clubhouse:

"I want all the candy out of the clubhouse, especially candy corn. I mean, c'mon. Candy corn? Can you think of a worse concept for candy? Maybe candy broccoli or candy rutabaga, but that's about it. Besides, why would you want candy in the clubhouse? You don't pay world-class athletes millions of dollars and then stuff their lockers with Three Musketeers bars and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. They would all end up looking like Luis Sojo. You just don't do that. You'd have to be an idiot to do that. Of course, if you're a winner and a true Yankee -- like Reggie Jackson and Babe Ruth -- and they name a candy bar after you for hitting three home runs to win a World Series, then I've got no problem. Personally, I would love to see a 'Mr. $300 Million Bar' in the clubhouse. Not that I'm thinking of anyone in particular.''

Hank on the No. 21 controversy:

Hank Steinbrenner

AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

From left to right: Tree and apple.

"I want 21 retired for Paul O'Neill, a winner and a true Yankee, and so does everyone else, including Paul, and we need it retired now. You don't have a number that was worn by a great player like Paul O'Neill and give it to a journeyman reliever like LaTroy Hawkins who has never won anything or been featured in an episode of Yankeeography. You just don't do that. You'd have to be an idiot to do that.

"I also want No. 62 retired for Joba Chamberlain, and so does everyone else, including him, and we need it retired now, before he makes his next start, which should be this week if Joe Girardi knows what's good for him.''

Hank on the presidential campaign:

"I want Rudy Giuliani, a winner and a true Yankee, as our president, and so does everyone else, including him, and we need him in the White House now. This is a Yankees country, no matter what the Red Sox claim. Red Sox Nation, my ass. That's just a creation of the media and the Democrats. This always has been a Yankees country and always will be. And you don't have a job like president of the United States of Yankee-Merica and give it to a Diamondbacks fan like John McCain, or worse, someone who roots for the White Sox, like Obama, or worst of all, someone who sometimes roots for the Mets, like Hillary Clinton -- when she can make up her mind at all on who to root for, that is. You just don't do that. You would have to be an idiot to do that.''

Hank on the subprime mortgage situation:

"What subprime mortgage crisis? You don't risk the House That Ruth Built by financing it with a subprime mortgage or a balloon payment. You would have to be an idiot to do that. You tear it down instead and build another stadium to increase your revenue streams.''

Hank on the new Indiana Jones movie:

"I don't want to see it. Not now, not ever. The first one was great, the second one was unwatchable and the third one only seemed decent because the second one sucked so bad. Harrison Ford is 66 years old. You would have to be an idiot to watch him in an action movie. Who asked for a fourth Indiana Jones movie anyway? For that matter, who asked for a sixth Rocky movie? Why are they giving us these crappy sequels when what we really want to see is a remake of 'Pride of the Yankees,' only this one is a comedy where New York invites a 60-year-old comedian to spring training because his career is dying.''

Hank on "American Idol":

"Give me a break. You would have to be an idiot to watch that crap. The only American idols I want to hear are Frank Sinatra singing 'New York, New York' after a Yankees win and Ronan Tynan singing 'God Bless America' during the seventh inning of a World Series game.''

Hank on the Pope's visit:

"The Pope is a winner and a true Yankee. You notice that he delivered Mass at Yankee Stadium, not Shea. You would have to be an idiot to say Mass at Shea. Last rites, maybe. But not Mass."

Hank on the falling value of the dollar:

"The treasury department needs to prop up the dollar, and they need to do it now. You think it's easy throwing money at free agents? Try it when the dollar is worth so little that you tear your rotator cuff tossing all the extra wads of bills at them. You think it was a disaster signing Kei Igawa to that four-year contract? Try paying him when the yen is trading at its highest rate since the mid-'90s. And don't even bring up Carl Pavano. God, you would have to be an idiot to sign him.''

Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached here. His Web site is at jimcaple.net.


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