Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner took to the airwaves on Tuesday, speaking to Mike Francesa on WFAN and Michael Kay on 1050 ESPN about a variety of topics that included the 2011 payroll, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, and the comments made Monday by Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg.
Here’s a summary of the major points raised, with credit given where due:
Thoughts on the 2010 season (WFAN):
“Very disappointing. Look, you know that we try to field a championship caliber team every year. We expect to be in the final round. We didn’t make it. Still trying to figure out why, scratching our heads a little bit. We just seemed to play a little cold. You’v e got to give it to the Rangers. They played us tough but disappointing. As always, we’re going to figure out what we need for next season and we’re going to improve.”
Steinbrenner’s thoughts on upcoming Derek Jeter negotiations (ESPN):
“We absolutely want him back. We want Mo back. They’re career Yankees. We hope, as far as we’re concerned, they’ve certainly been great Yankees, some of the greatest. But having said that, we’re running a business here. So if there’s going to be a deal to be done, it’s a deal that both sides are happy with.”
On increasing payroll for 2011 (ESPN):
“I can safely say we’re going to stay within the same level. But I’m obviously not going to get into details. But we know we’re expected to field a championship caliber team and we’re going to do what it takes to do that. So if we have to get creative in a trade, or if we have to go out for a big free agent, we’re going to do it. We do have some money coming off.”
Could things get messy with Jeter? (ESPN):
“There’s always the possibility that things could get messy. I know our fans are emotional and that’s what we love about them. But I’ve got to try to do my job on behalf of the partnership and the partners and everybody else involved in the organization. Hank and I need to keep a level head and realize that we’re running a business here.”
Thoughts on Chuck Greenberg’s comments and subsequent apology (WFAN):
“Completely inappropriate, ridiculous. Our fans are the greatest in the world. We were somewhat shocked, but very angry as all of you were. We got on the phone to the Commissioner’s office, we told them that we’re absolutely going to respond in an aggressive way. We agreed to wait until after the game so as to not distract from the Series.
But the bottom line is within an hour or two of the news breaking, Chuck was reaching out to us and I had a conversations with him a few hours after the game started. He’ll be the first one to admit that his statements were, just as I said, ridiculous if not stupid. He apologized in what I believed was in a sincere way.
I only talked to him over the phone but I definitely believe he was sincere about that. But what we told him was, ‘It’s great that you’re apologizing to us, but you need to apologize to the fans. They’re the ones you’ve wronged. There’s no excuse for it.’ So, he did. It’s going to be up to each individual fan I guess to read his statement and find it sincere or not sincere, but that’s kind of where we are.”
On if there was an incident at Yankee Stadium involving Cliff Lee’s wife (WFAN):
“As far as I could tell, we couldn’t find anything. Anything’s possible. Doesn’t mean something happened or didn’t happen. But we could not find anything. But again, that’s a second or two of a three-hour game and there’s a lot of people there, and a lot going on. There was no major incident that required 20 security guards.”
On 2010 as something to be proud of (WFAN):
“It’s certainly better than two years ago, not making the playoffs at all. I’m proud of many of the things we accomplished this year without a doubt, I think right now I might still be a little bit too raw after a week and a half ago, you know what I mean? But a few months from now, as I look back, who knows? But I can just tell you that we are going to field again next year a championship caliber team and we’re going to expect, just as the players expect, and the coaches expect, to be there at the end.”
On adjusting Yankee Stadium ticket pricing and empty seats (WFAN):
“The Legends section, which is the section of course everyone seems to focus on, we did very well on this year. I think the price reductions really worked. We were at about 92, 93 percent, if I recall. The number’s going to be very close to that, anyway. You know, you’re going to see empty seats at any time. Our stadium’s so big, there’s so much to do, certainly some of the empty seats you see one innings may not be empty the next. But that area did very well. But we’re going to do this every year. We’re going to talk to our fans, we’re going to look at every single section, and we’ll make price adjustments as we need to. Some sections may be overpriced, some may be underpriced, quite frankly. So that’s something we’re going to do and should be doing on an annual basis.”
Closing thoughts for fans (WFAN):
“Thank you so much for your support, You are among the most loyal fans in the world. We believe you’re the most loyal fans in the world. We commit you right now that we are going to field a championship caliber team. We’re going to work very hard in the offseason and we’re going to give you what you deserve.”