Steinbrenner: Time To Take A Step Back

When George Steinbrenner first took over the Yankees he claimed that he would not be the type of owner to interfere with the management of the team. As any baseball fan knows, this could not be further from the truth. He has been a constant part of Yankees baseball since the 70's. For the most part his reign has been a time of prosperity, particularly in the last few years. However Steinbrenner's presence has stopped being a boon to the team and has now become a hindrance.

I do not hate George Steinbrenner. I feel he has been an excellent owner and as a Yankee fan I admire his passion and devotion and it is a comfort to know that every off-season, he will do all he can to get the best free agents. The last few years have been wonderful for Yankee fans; we have been a part of four World Series championships and six American League pennants.

To be honest, we're spoiled and that's the point. This 2003 edition of the Yankees was by no stretch a perfect team; they lacked middle relief, had a complete inability to score runs with runners on base and had their leadoff hitter play the worst baseball of his career at the worst possible time. However despite all this, they were able to beat the most resilient Red Sox team that has been assembled in decades, and take on the hottest team in Baseball and still push them to six games. This team should be considered a success despite not winning the World Series. However to Steinbrenner a team like this is an abysmal failure.

It has now gotten to the point where imperfection is not an option as a New York Yankee. Sorry George, but this is still a game, it's supposed to be fun. The Yankees are the greatest franchise in sports history and as Yankee fans we've grown accustomed to constant success. Steinbrenner though has taken this expectation for success to a new unprecedented level. There was a time when a playoff berth would be considered a victory but with the highest payroll in baseball nothing less than World Series championship every year is acceptable.

Unfortunately this is not how sports work.

No matter how good, how expensive, how favored the Yankees are every year; they are bound to lose sometimes. I'm not writing this article to suggest Steinbrenner step down or go away, far from it, I'm asking to reevaluate his expectations. He needs to realize he cannot demand the impossible; no team in any sport can win every game.

He has become a menacing presence, hovering over the Yankees every game like an unseen ghoul haunting the team. It's time for George to stop being a specter and a tyrant, and to take a step back. What Steinbrenner should do is let Torre, Cashman and the players do their jobs and just enjoy the game. Maybe easing his iron grip would allow the Bombers to exhale and just play the game.

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