Bob Raissman of the Daily News chides everyone for jumping all over Hank Steinbrenner when Hank said we all need to be patient with the next manager and not expect a World Series out of the box. Raissman says in effect we're all being hypocritical and jumping all over Hank for bringing reality back to the Yankees and setting reasonable goals. He also suggest people are loving to use Hank as a punching bag. I've got a couple of problems with this. Personally, I've been able to ignore the ugly personality of George Steinbrenner because when he was at full strength the Yankees were winning all the time and as their fortunes have faded, he's faded too into old age. Joe Torre has been the face of the Yankees and THAT'S why they've been so beloved for the past decade.
I would LOVE Hank to be sober and sane and behave like an adult with dignity, with the fire to win but the intelligence to realize that EXPECTING to go to the World Series every year is idiotic. I truly wish Hank meant what he said as a return to reality. Unfortunately, in the past two weeks he's made a series of obnoxious, bullying and petty remarks, each one more vile than the last. And he realizes the Yanks have painted themselves into a corner. Next season's team could be much improved. But the moment they lose a few games, the moment the manager stumbles with the media, the second-guessing will begin and it will be intense. The joy of the media if the Yankees DON'T make the post-season will be rapturous and Hank and Hal and George (NOT Cashman because if Cashman had his way Torre would still be manager) wil be pilloried for firing Joe. Unless they go to the World Series, the season will be an abject failure. Every step of the way, the media and the fans will chastise them for behaving like buffoons and showing disrespect to a manager that got them to the post-season 12 years in a row. Hank wants to lower the bar now -- first by insisting the choice of manager is all on Cashman and second by saying they don't REALLY expect to go to the World Series. Three weeks on the hot seat and he's already trying to shift the blame to others.