An owner of a team has to know about laundry

"You Gotta Be Kidding!"
by Mickey Charles, CEO Sports Network

If at all possible, you do not go out there and display your laundry for all to see until it is cleaned, pressed, folded and ready to be hung or put away until you plan to use it next.

What is that all about? The recent daytime soap opera featuring Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees. If George Steinbrenner, The Boss as he became known, was still alive, none of what we just witnessed, heard or read about would have taken place. The heirs apparent and current management displayed the aplomb and professionalism of neophytes.

Then the media ran with it. They did what they always display ... disjointed, blown-out-of-context, distorted and totally twisted commentary on a simple matter. Their "public has a right to know" outcry has worn incredibly thin over the years and lost whatever emphasis it might have had when first stated. Honestly speaking, the public, of which we are a part as much as we are the media, does not have a right to know anything other than what it is told. I know, I know, it sounds good, almost impressive and seems to echo a "right" directly from the Bill of Rights, Constitution and, if we can find a phrase or two, the Bible itself. Nah!

Derek Jeter
Derek Jeter signed on for 3 more years for a reported $51 million with the Yankees.
What the public has a directive to do is to sort out the overstated from reality, to use its common sense. Not too tough when you really think about it.

Jeter is a Yankee ... plain, pure and simple. He is not going anywhere, was never going anywhere, no one was asking him to desert the pinstripes and anyone with a scintilla of intelligence knew that. It was always just a matter of sorting out a contract that would take him to the anticipated end of his career at the Stadium.

What awaited him after that was just about anything at all he wanted to do. He knew that, the team knew it and even the media knew it. Hell, the fans knew it. Duh! However, something as simple as that would not prevent the idiocy and inane graphic of a New York paper showing Jeter wearing the uniform of the "hated" Red Sox.

The Red Sox, speaking of them, have gone out and obtained Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez in recent weeks. They have no intention of heading home at the end of the upcoming season to watch the playoffs on the giant screens in their respective dens and trophy rooms. The Yankees are all that seemingly stand in their way. That is why Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has put a normally unheard of seven-year contract with nine numbers and two commas on the table, accompanied by all the perks and endorsements that come from playing in New York, in front of prized free agent Cliff Lee. He, and one more close to him, like Kansas City's Zack Greinke, would create as formidable a pitching staff as you could find in baseball this season.

Then there is A.J.Burnett, a huge "if" for the starting rotation. If, the biggest little word in the English language, an "if" as large as Mount McKinley Denali. He has been anything but what New York expected. Is the potential still there? The jury is out and, if Joe Girardi has any sense at all - another questionable circumstance - he will make a firm decision during spring training and not continue with his "season underway trials" of the past waiting for miracles.

The Yankees were one of professional sports' first teams, maybe the first team, to understand that sports had changed from just being a sport to being big business. For all intents and purposes, they went corporate. Everything about them was big business. Their demeanor, how they ran the organization, the way the players looked ... dressed ... presented themselves ... the way contracts were negotiated and completed, the components of the Stadium, concluding broadcast agreements, establishing their own network. The list goes on. They set the pace and other teams followed. Heck, they were the first ones to line up and congratulate one another after a win in the mode of the conclusion of the Stanley Cup championship. Now every team does it.

You do not continue the regimen, tradition, legend with the sort of nonsense they allowed to happen with Jeter. Even now, with Lee, details need not be shouted from the top of the Empire State Building. It is sufficient to know the obvious ... they are going after him. The world knows it will be dollars and cents, winning the World Series a number of times, being told how good things are in New York by his old friend C.C. Sabathia and getting a contract that ensures the rest of his career, life and that of his family for a very long time to come. Not bad ... not bad at all. If there is no announcement about this, a positive one, within the week, it is an educated and experienced guess that the Yankees are in trouble on this one.

The Steinbrenner offspring have one thing to their credit ... birth. Yes, you hire people to run your organization, put faith in them, hope they are among the best at what they do and then you step aside ... just aside, you do not leave to bask in the rays of Florida only to make appearances on cue, as with the Jeter announcement of a concluded signing. They got the inheritance, the team whose value is estimated at well over a billion dollars, security for life, notoriety on command, photo opps with a phone call and the adulation of the other members of the country club.

They also inherited the legacy and the responsibility. It is not Girardi's or Cashman's team other than in the sense of the phrase ... they work there. They get their ultimate marching orders, when warranted, from the big suite on the second level, or from Florida.

Steinbrenner Family
The Steinbrenner Family at the dedication ceremony for father and husband George at Yankee Stadium.
The good ship Yankees ... George was, after all, in the ship building business ... hit a small bit of ice. Not a glacier. Some minor image damage done, not much else. All onboard would be best served to see that it does not happen again, certainly not with Lee since that will definitely breech the hull or, conversely, add to the fun of the voyage for 2011 if he joins the "crew."

Will the entire episode with Jeter have a negative impact on the season ahead? Of course not. Will it be forgotten, has it already been forgotten? Of course. But, even things forgotten are history and, as has been said, we must learn from history since it just might repeat itself. "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Will Hank Steinbrenner, Hal Steinbrenner, Jessica Steinbrenner and Jennifer Steinbrenner-Swindal learn and carry on the tradition of their dad? The acorns were gathered but the distance they fell from the tree has not yet been determined.

Is it going to be the Yankees and the Red Sox for the AL crown in 2011?

You gotta be kidding!

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