For sale: Storied Major League Baseball franchise with 27 World
Championships, 40 American League pennants, a giant mall-of-a-stadium and a couple of aging, over-priced sluggers. Price: $3 billion.
Rumors are swirling that the Steinbrenners may be looking to sell the New York Yankees. Those in the know are speculating that if the Los Angeles Dodgers could go for $2.175 billion, then the Yanks could pull in close to a billion more. George Steinbrenner bought the team for $8.8 million back in 1973. Talk about a profit.
His initial investment may have been small, but Steinbrenner put his money
into the team to make it successful (and at times bloat it up with under-performing All-Stars). During the Boss’ tumultuous reign, the Yankees won seven World Series titles and got a shiny new stadium. Love him or hate him, he did his best to make the Yankees the premier showpiece of the MLB. He took the floundering team he bought and turned it into the multi-billion dollar business it is today.
The baby bosses are denying that the Bombers are on the block, but you have to think that if the offer is right, they’ll take it. Unlike their dad, the sons have not built their whole identity around the club. They have also been more fiscally responsible (by Yankee standards), working to get the payroll under the $189 million luxury-tax threshold. If the Boss was still alive and running the show, I’m pretty sure Yu Darvish would be wearing pinstripes and making an even more ungodly salary, and Carl Crawford would be taking up space on the Yankees’ disabled list instead of Boston’s.
So, who would be interested in purchasing the Pinstripes? Names being bandied about include California real estate developer Rick Caruso, who teamed with former Yankees manager Joe Torre to kick the tires on the Dodgers, hedge-fund manager Steven A. Cohen, who had shown interest in both the Mets and Dodgers, and Cablevision overlord Charles Dolan, who owns the Knicks and Rangers. (I’ll be saying novenas to make sure Dolan doesn’t get his hands on my favorite team, considering how well he’s run the Knicks and the havoc he’d cause with the Yankees’ cable rights.)
It’s all theoretical at the moment. Yet it’s interesting to speculate what life in Yankeeland would be like without the Steinbrenners. It could be a blessing… or it could be downright awful.