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Thursday, November 21, 2002
Showin' them who's Boss

By Jim Caple
Page 2 columnist

News item: In order to cut costs, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner may eliminate dental insurance for his off-the-field employees, a move estimated to save the team $100,000. Makes us wonder what's next ...

George Steinbrenner Revises the Yankees Employees Benefit Welcome Packet:

George Steinbrenner
As King George knows, money can't buy you love -- his Yankees rank only 27th in our Ultimate Standings.
OVERTIME: What's this? You haven't even started work and already you're looking for more money? Don't you realize that with the way they increased the asinine luxury tax in the new collective bargaining agreement, I desperately need to keep my costs under control? I know your type. During the job interview you talk about what an honor it is to represent the Yankees and how hard you'll work for the team. Then we hire you, and the first thing you do is pass around a petition to start up a union. Well, I won't stand for it.

Besides, when I was your age, my employees at Steinbrenner Shipbuilding considered it a source of pride to work from dawn to dusk without so much as a cigarette break. They were embarrassed if they ever saw natural daylight. And that was exhausting, back-breaking work that you can't even begin to imagine, let alone perform. So quit your bitching. You don't get to the World Series by watching the clock, boy.

VACATION: Brother, you've really got some big brass ones, don't you? Asking for time off before you even punch your first time card. Listen, the only people I give vacations are my most loyal boys in the shipyards, only it's not called a vacation, it's a layoff caused by the recession and high taxes that lower the orders for ships. But there is never a recession in fielding a world champion, and, as long as there's work to be done, I expect you to work. You want to spend October vacationing in Aruba, go work for the Devil Rays.

SICK LEAVE: Now what? Like I'm supposed to pay you while you lie in bed, sipping chicken soup and watching MTV videos? Gen. Patton knew how to handle slackers like you -- you don't need a day off, you need a kick in the ass. Listen up, pal. You don't win the World Series four times in five years from a sickbed. I remember when our shipbuilding employees wouldn't even think about phoning in sick until they were coughing up blood from having worked unprotected around asbestos for 20 years. And even then, I would dock them a day's pay and expect them to be in early the next day. If you want to call in sick, go work for the Red Sox.

MEDICAL INSURANCE: Hey, if you think you need medical coverage, try dealing with the migraines the insurance companies give me when they submit their estimates for a group rate. I used to think middle relievers were overpriced, but that's nothing compared with these bloodsuckers. Sorry, I just can't afford it anymore. And cutting medical coverage not only saved me a bundle in premium costs, it allowed me to lay off half the human resources department to boot. Look, I'm not your daddy. If you want health care coverage, go whine to that witch, Hillary Clinton, about it ... just don't waste my time or money. Besides, you looked fine when I hired you.

Derek Jeter & Alfonso Soriano
Brush those teeth boys, those smiles aren't cheap.
I'm not heartless, though. If your kid is in the hospital, I'll see about getting Giambi or Jeter to hit a home run for them. But he has to have something at least as serious as leukemia.

DENTAL INSURANCE: You've got to be kidding, right?

PENSION/401K BENEFITS: Let me tell you something. Mickey Rivers was one of my favorite Yankees. Helped us return the team to dominance and restore its luster. Helped us win the World Series. Great player, great guy. But what has he done for me lately? He hasn't scored a run or caught a flyball for us in years. Which is why I don't pay him anymore. So if I don't pay one of the greatest Yankees of all time after he left the team, why on Earth would I pay you? If you don't like it, go work for the Cubs. I'm running a world champion here, not Social Security.

Now get to work -- we've got a pennant to win. And don't be lingering too long on those coffee breaks. Remember, I've got my eye on you.

Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at cuffscaple@hotmail.com.