Roger Clemens's friendship with the black sheep of the Bush family, Sharon Bush, may cost him a pardon from George W. if he is convicted of perjury. Both HarperCollins and Random House are set to come out with books about George Steinbrenner. A "Page Six" spy thinks Howard Stern's fiancée, Beth Ostrosky, wants to have a baby because she, uh, stopped to say hello to one. Will Ferrell and Tom Brokaw did an onstage bit together at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday for Ferrell's Funny or Die tour. The New Yorker reveals that the late Bishop Paul Moore was a closeted homosexual. Tracy Westmoreland, owner of erstwhile dive bar Siberia, may play a bouncer in a movie called The Bouncer.
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."]
Manhattan Moms, an East Coast equivalent of Bravo's The Real Housewives of Orange County, will premiere early next year. A lot of the city's foremost graffiti artists congregated for a book party at Auto in the meatpacking district. Billy Joel is in talks with the Mets to perform a bunch of gigs at Shea Stadium. George Steinbrenner will have a high school named after him in Tampa. Padma Lakshmi was rude to the staff at Soho eatery Fiamma, but Martha Stewart overtipped and was nice. CNN gave out an award to someone for forcing "one of the world's largest oil corporations to pay more than $6 billion to clean up toxic waste in the Amazon rain forest," but didn't name Chevron as the company because they are an advertiser.
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.
This was June in Chicago, at the end of a long, weird Yankees road trip that had started with A-Rod cavorting with a woman not his wife and ended with the team winning three in a row and finally showing some signs of life. Right in the middle of the turnaround had been Joe Torre — though, characteristically, we didn’t find out until much later just how much credit Torre deserved. We knew he’d called a team meeting in Toronto, but neither Torre nor any of the players would even hint at the tone or content; only when the season ended, after another disappointing first-round playoff exit, did word get out that Torre had ripped the team behind closed doors. It was rare for him to raise his voice; far more of his best work was done with pats on the back. But Torre always had a gift for what the moment required, and he never deployed it better than this season, when he kept the team battling and focused after a horrendous April and May.
Joe Torre has turned down an offer from the Yankees brass to return as manager next year, ESPN.com reports.
The Yankees offered Torre a one-year deal with a base salary of $5 million and incentives that would have increased his salary to $8 million based on postseason performance. Under that offer, if Torre reached the World Series in 2008, an option for 2009 would have vested.
Torre traveled to Tampa from New York on Thursday with general manager Brian Cashman and chief operating officer Lonn Trost. The manager was at Legends Field for about an hour and then left for the airport.
Team president Randy Levine said that the two sides were "working on it" and expected more meetings. Wow, we have no idea what to think! And we thought this was the first playoff season we weren't going to spend all our time worrying about what was going on with the Yankees.
Torre Turns Down Offer to Return As Yanks' Skipper [ESPN]
Today's the day the Steinbrenners get together in Florida with the rest of the Yankees brass to decide the fate of Joe Torre. What are they talking about? We have no idea. But according to the Newark Star-Ledger, one Steinbrenner boy was sent to the meeting with the following message: Don Mattingly doesn't want to take Torre's place. The bench coach is one of the names being bandied about to replace Torre if he gets the can, but many see him as too green to take on the role — including Mattingly himself. The popular former first-baseman thinks he's "not ready" for the gig and would be "uncomfortable" in the role, reports the paper. So, yeah, we still have no idea what they're debating down in Florida. Except maybe whether to root for the Indians.
Friend: Mattingly Says It's Not Time [Newark Star-Ledger]
A noose dangling from the door of an African-American Columbia professor’s office was the only thing that kept Yankees manager Joe Torre off the front pages this week. Rudy Giuliani pleaded with a capricious higher power — God, that is, not George Steinbrenner — to save his pin-striped pal’s job (he’d already said he’d appoint Torre to his Cabinet if given the chance). Mayor Bloomberg, displaying the tendency to be not totally insane that has set him apart from his predecessor time and again, merely remarked that “you can have great people and great coaching and it’s just not meant to be.”
So Joe Torre still has his job so far, and as we try to fathom what could possibly be going on in George Steinbrenner's gargantuan head, Editor & Publisher's interview with Ian O'Connor sheds a little light. O'Connor is the sportswriter for the Bergen Record who kept calling Steinbrenner at his New York home last weekend until the Yankees owner picked up and talked to him about the team. That's when Steinbrenner dropped his bombshell about Torre, saying, "His job is on the line I think we're paying him a lot of money. He's the highest-paid manager in baseball, so I don't think we'd take him back if we don't win this series." As Steinbrenner has avoided follow-up interviews with reporters, some have speculated about his health and whether he was thinking clearly when he gave the interview. But O'Connor says he's confident the owner knew what he was saying.
So George Steinbrenner is, apparently, off his rocker. The Post reports this news today, based on a profile in the upcoming issue of Portfolio that finds the Boss puttering around his Tampa home in pajamas and a robe, repeating "great to see ya" in response to nearly any question. (And Fortune, meantime, is reporting that YES, the team's TV network and apparently the true cash cow of the operation, is up for sale — as might be the franchise, too.) This raises a series of questions. First, is it really different to have George crazy in this way rather than crazy in the old way? And if it is, is it possible that his current dementia is the cause of the team's present woes, that they actually need a competent, meddling George to succeed? Also, what would a post-George Yankees even look like? And, finally, how the hell did Howard Rubenstein, who reps both the Yankees and the Post, ever let such a shitty piece about one client appear in another?
Tragic Madness of King George [NYP]
The Dismantling of the Yankee Empire [Fortune via CNN/Money]