They Wouldn't Be The Yankees Without The Boss

Legions of baseball media report on George Steinbrenner's every accusing phrase, maniacal rant, or slightly perturbed glance. It is almost too easy to criticize the owner of the New York Yankees. He is rash, arrogant, demanding and similar terms in a long list of grievances against him. However, I believe the man has not earned nearly enough credit for what he has done for the Yankees and their fans.

At the beginning of last year, there were rumblings that Steinbrenner was preparing to lessen his iron grip on the franchise. This news was met with skepticism, however almost everyone – media, players, fans, and owners – treasured the thought of evil "King George" stepping down. Some of the Yankees might have salivated at the thought of lessened expectations. Steinbrenner has been healthy for Major League Baseball, and should not step down his position with the franchise.

Let's start with baseball itself. During the 1994 strike season, baseball had hit a low. Owners and players could not see past dollar signs and fattening their wallets. Enter Steinbrenner, an owner who spends freely and cares more about winning than making dollars. Baseball should applaud an owner for trying to be competitive. The sell-off of the 1997 champion Florida Marlins will always be a black mark on baseball. The owner's main priority was making money. He did not care for repeating the championship, or even finishing respectably the next year. George Steinbrenner offers a franchise that tries to better itself and remain competitive, which if every owner did, would make for far more exciting baseball. He has created a team that everyone loves to hate, something that fosters intense play and rivalries – something that is needed by baseball. In fact, parks in which the Yankees were visiting could see attendance rise by as much as 50%. Despite concerns over his spending, which is really the fault of Major League Baseball's salary structuring, George Steinbrenner's attitude towards winning has been beneficial for baseball.

Some might argue that George Steinbrenner's expectations are too high, and his expectations are negatively impacting the New York Yankees. It would be hypocritical to complain that Steinbrenner wants to win too much. Major League Baseball is a highly competitive sport. The main goal every year is to win. Steinbrenner takes it further, and demands winning. The goal has been adopted by all members of the Yankee organization and its fans. Is it a terrible thing, to want to win? Apparently not, as fan attendance has risen every single year since 1994. New York Yankee fans have adopted George Steinbrenner's approach of winning or nothing, and come out in droves to watch them win. This indicates that this attitude of winning has not negatively affected the fans. When players are being paid in the millions each year the expectations for them should not be to just have a good time, it should be to win. This is the pressure put on by Steinbrenner, and is perfectly justified.

If Steinbrenner were to step down, and less pressure was put on the organization and its players, it is reasonable to assume that the winning attitude would lessen significantly. Is this what the fans of the New York Yankees want? Does Major League Baseball really want to lose their most competitive team? I say no. Let Steinbrenner's "reign" continue, and bring on 2004.


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