We've always thought it was kind of nice that Hal Steinbrenner, unlike his brother, Hank, keeps his mouth shut. He doesn't talk himself into a tizzy, he doesn't battle with the press, and he doesn't even bluster when events call for it. But this week, he talked at length with GQ and explained a lot of what he has been thinking in a calm, non-obnoxious way. It's a great interview. "I'm more introverted than extroverted, for sure, but I'm definitely not a recluse," he told staff writer Nate Penn. "I can't speak for Hank, but for me, I had my hands full. I didn't have time to sit down like I am with you. I'm glad I'm doing it now." Here are some of the highlights:
• On reports that he "hates" and "avidly disdains" the media: No truth to that. That was Bill Madden [of the Daily News]. Look, first of all, I don't hate anybody. It's a useless emotion. It accomplishes nothing.
• On whether he always expected to take over the Yankees: My dad would say, "Someday this is going to be yours. We're counting on you; we're counting on Hank. I'm not going to want to do this forever." I don't know [laughs] if that was true. George was very involved, and he loved it.
• On calling his father by his first name: That's purely an office thing. I guess when you're right out of college and working in the office, you don't want to go around saying [puts on little-boy voice], "Well, Daddy said this. Daddy—" Throughout the course of fifteen years, I think it took on a life of its own here, but certainly not at home. [Steinbrenner adds the he doesn't call his dad "George" to his face. "That would be completely disrespectful."]
After a columnist labeled George Steinbrenner "The Boss" years back, the cranky Yankees owner started using the term to describe himself. He'd refer to himself in the third person by the name. Now that his sons are taking over control of the team, one has to wonder if they'll try the same tactic. It seems like Hank, at least, has started to try to make one stick for himself this week.
• On new manager Joe Girardi's last firing. When asked if the club looked into it, he said: "I don't want to get too much into that, but we're not stupid." [10/22]
• On Brian Cashman's recommendations: ''The baseball people we have are the smartest guys in the game,'' he said. ''I'm not stupid. It's not like I'm not going to pay attention to what they say.'' [10/29]
• On A-Rod's contract: "I really believe that in his heart, [A-Rod] wants to be a Yankee, and we’re going to let him know he’s wanted. But we’re not going to be stupid.” [10/27]
• On prospects: "We want to win the World Series every year," Hank Steinbrenner said. "We're not stupid enough to think we can do it." [10/25]
Oh, Hank. Nicknames have to make sense for them to stick.