In Defense of Steinbrenner

What's not to like? George wants to win, and what's more, he wants to win for us

The Mets have, potentially, the same resources as the Yankees, but they make a player like top-shelf Vladimir Guerrero an offer he can't accept and make no offer at all to baseball's best player, Alex Rodriguez, then mumble about "producing more players from their farm system." (As if you can't spend the same amount of money on your farm system that you could have spent on free agents.)

Meanwhile, they cut their budget by one-third from last season while raising ticket prices. Some consumer advocates liken ticket-buying fans to stockholders; if that is true, would Mets fans have a potential lawsuit for fraud? What else would you call it when a business devalues the product while increasing the price?

The Mets are a New York team on a St. Louis budget, or at least they would be if Wilpon would match the Cardinals' payroll by spending an additional $2 million. Say what you will about Steinbrenner, but don't accuse him of being afraid to invest in his own business. That's yourmoney he's spending, Yankee fans, the money that you gave him. You want to win, he wants to win for you. This is New York; it ought to cost more to make it here than to make it anywhere.

Of course George Steinbrenner is a New Yorker. The only question is why it has taken so long for us to realize what the rest of baseball knew from the beginning.


Allen Barra's most recent book isBrushbacks and Knockdowns: The Greatest Baseball Debates of Two Centuries (Thomas Dunne/St. Martin's Press).

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