Oye Johan Va!Johan Santana’s opening day debut with the Mets was solid but not mind-blowing. But that doesn’t stop the sports press from losing their heads.
Hal Steinbrenner Calls His Dad ‘George’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.”]
A Brief Conversation With Alex RodriguezNew York ran into Alex Rodriguez at last night’s Gucci event for UNICEF. His trademark boyish skin was looking, as you can see, a little orange even for him. But it may have been because we asked him about the Mets scoring pitcher Johan Santana from underneath the Yankees’ noses, and he was blushing with, um, goodwill. His response:
“Johan Santana. I love him. I think it was a wonderful move for the Mets. I love all this great energy that’s happening in New York, with the Giants winning the championship, with the best pitcher going to the Mets, and the Yankees keeping all their great, young, wonderful players. It’s going to be a great year.”
Young players are wonderful, aren’t they? Man, and you thought good sportsmanship in baseball was dead.—Jada Yuan
the sports section
Breaking: The Mets Snag Johan SantanaIf USAToday.com is to be believed, the Mets, after eating the Yankees’ dust all off-season, have just become the National League East favorites — and Omar Minaya has once again become a hero. The general manager who presided over the greatest-September-collapse-ever last season has apparently stolen Johan Santana from the Minnesota Twins and out from under the Yankees and the Red Sox. (You’ll recall, Hank Steinbrenner had been full of bluster about a potential Yankee deal for Santana for months, though lately he’s been claiming he doesn’t care.) Yes, the Mets are trading away four highly rated prospects: outfielder Carlos Gomez and pitchers Phil Humber, Deolis Guerra, and Kevin Mulvey. But odds are that two, at most, will become big-league regulars, let alone stars. Santana, on the other hand, is the best lefty in the bigs, in his prime, and exactly the ace that’s missing from the Mets’ rotation. Supposedly the only hurdle is a contract extension. Here’s betting that the Wilpon family gives Santana everything he wants, up to and including his name on the new ballpark. Heck, the way things are going on Wall Street, he’ll be worth more than Citigroup. —Chris Smith
Twins agree to deal Santana to Mets for prospects [USAT]
Earlier: Hank Steinbrenner Talks Himself, Twins Into a Tizzy
Hank Steinbrenner Talks Himself, Twins Into a TizzyAnyone following the Yankees in the news for the past few months must be tired of hearing from Hank Steinbrenner about the possibility of a trade with the Minnesota Twins for young pitcher Johan Santana. It’s been literally weeks and weeks of the same mantra: “I’m in charge!” “We’re still open!” “Our offer was the best offer!” Even though way back on December 2, Steinbrenner set a one-week deadline for the Twins to accept his offer, it’s been dragging on and on. Since today, just over a month later, papers are reporting Steinbrenner as saying actually “there were no offers on the table,” we thought we’d take a little walk down memory lane of all of his bluster:
December 3, 2007: “I’m not going to be played against the Red Sox. That’s not something I’ll do. That’s not something the Yankees should ever do, and that’s I think what they’re trying to do now,” Yankees senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner said Sunday. “So if they want the best offer that has been offered to them, then they need to make up their minds.” [Boston Globe]