Tuesday, July 3, 2007
The Tao of Steinbrenner
By Mike Philbrick Page 2
Where did you learn the most about life?
In school? From your parents? From your friends?
Someone's having a little too much fun on the golf cart.
I can't speak for everyone, but I've learned the most about how to act and be successful from one person -- Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.
So, as we prepare to celebrate the 77th birthday of The Boss (and the 231st birthday of the United States) let's brush up on the lessons the great George Michael Steinbrenner has taught us.
"Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing. Breathing first, winning next."
"What is wrong with winning? I don't think anything's wrong with winning. I don't like people who don't understand that."
"You spend more time on your losses than you do on your victories. Don't waste time looking at your victories. You lose, you find out why you lost. You study, you study, you study."
On having the right to change your mind:
"We plan absentee ownership as far as running the Yankees is concerned. We're not going to pretend we're something we aren't. I'll stick to building ships."
"I am dead set against free agency. It can ruin baseball."
"I want second place."
"My goal is not to run the team again. All I want to do is see the truth come out."
''I don't say anybody who disagrees with me is disloyal."
"Believe it or not, I haven't been very involved."
''A bad start will not affect Yogi's status." Note: Yogi Berra lasted 16 games into the 1985 season as the Yankees' manager.
"I haven't always made the right decisions."
''Maybe I made a mistake."
The Boss feels up Jason Giambi, trying to determine whether he did in fact take steroids.
On health care:
"I will never have a heart attack. I give them."
On his legacy:
"In the end, I'll put my good acts up against those of anybody in this country. Anybody."
On the arts:
"Owning the Yankees is like owning the Mona Lisa."
"Of course, another question is why women's tennis and golf don't allow men in the locker room. They don't allow anybody in the locker room because they don't want to be faced with that problem. I'd like to be the first male reporter who tries to get into the women's tennis locker room."
"When the going gets tough, the tough get going."
"This is the most important series of the year. We've got to sweep. This is a test of Yankee heart and Yankee pride. We can't let Toronto shame us in our own ballpark. This is the whole season right here." Note: The series in question began on May 14, 1988.
On international relations:
"He's a big fat pussy toad."
Note: This was Steinbrenner's assessment of Japanese pitcher Hideki Irabu's inability to cover first base in a spring training game.
On respecting the game's elders:
"Who's going to take a 36-year-old outfielder with two gimpy knees making $960,000 a year besides me? Who else is that stupid?"
On maintaining team balance:
"I don't like things too calm. I worry when things get too calm. It's like a ship in the ocean with no wind."
What happened to the rest of the handle, Georgie?
"Football failed up there. The Alouettes folded. And if the Bronfman family couldn't make it in Montreal, as smart as they are, who the hell is going to make it in Montreal? So get that franchise out of there. We've given it a chance."
On his future:
"I don't intend ever to get out of the Yankees. I don't intend to ever let the Yankees go."
On dealing with your critics:
''I clocked them. There are two guys in this town looking for their teeth and two guys who will probably sue me."
On young players:
"They're babies. Most of them still shave with a washcloth. I don't mean they're actually babies, but they're still coming into the game. They average $222,000 a year. That's almost as much as the president of the United States."
On evaluating people:
"You say you can't tell from one outing? The hell you can't."
"I don't believe in judging a man until he has had due process."
On relating to children:
"I'm really 95 percent Mr. Rogers, and only 5 percent Oscar the Grouch."
"I don't like being a villain."
Mike Philbrick is an editor for Page 2. Sound off to Page 2 here.