Yankees Fall to Last Place, Prompting Vintage Outburst from Boss
Yankees Boss George Steinbrenner bids farewell to his sanity as the team's recent string of losses inspires an unhinged melt-down.
ST. PETERSBURG, FL (The Sportsman's Daily Wire Service) –It lasted only ten minutes, but for those present in the visitor's locker room, it was worth every deranged second.
"Man, it was like the old days," said a long-time Yankee executive, still savoring the vintage melt down. "Some of the guys only heard about it, but they never actually witnessed it. The whole thing was almost surreal -- the Boss is thrashing about in a wheel chair, red in the face, obviously off his meds and completely out of his mind, while everyone is standing around watching like it's something out of the WWF and they're expecting Vince McMahon to spill into the room, holding Donald Trump's disembodied hair piece in a headlock."
As the Yankees filed into the visitors locker room after their 6-4 loss to the Devil Rays, they were greeted by the rare sight of team owner George Steinbrenner, who in recent years has gradually faded from public view. He now spends the majority of his time in Tampa, which has given rise to persistent rumors of his failing health. While this has been consistently denied by Yankee brass and long time public relations rep Howard Rubenstein, recent sightings indicate that the Boss has indeed slowed dramatically and is unsteady on his feet. But most uncharacteristically -- and most notedly -- the Boss's legendary, often unprovoked tirades, have been missing in action for several years now-- to the dismay of sports fans, sports writers, Yankees haters and anger management professionals everywhere, all of whom fondly remember the vicarious thrill of lavishly paid athletes being humiliated in public.
However, only moments into his vintage tirade, it turned even more vintage than expected.
"Where the hell is Nettles? Nettles! Get your big overpaid behind in here, I know you're hiding out in the trainer's room getting hammered with Munson and Gossage, making fat jokes at my expense. Get out here you big pussy! And while you're at it, bring Lyle with you, before I send his butt packing with some of the other guys wasting my fucking money."
As Steinbrenner shook with rage, Yankee GM Brian Cashman and a cadre of Yankee aides looked on helplessly. Later, Cashman laughed it off, referring to it as an "ironic, post-modern performance that only the Boss would even try to pull off -- in effect, Steinbrenner playing Steinbrenner. He could have played it for laughs, but that would have cheapened the effect. I thought it was brilliant."
Players and onlookers watched silently -- first in awe and fascination, then with amusement, and finally with horror, as the depths of Steinbrenner's mental deterioration became clear. Former Yankee great and current bench coach Don Mattingly respectfully approached and unsuccessfully tried to settle him down.
"Beat it, kid, you're two years from being drafted, four from being called up. From where I'm sitting, you're still in Indiana, studying for your chemistry finals."
Just then, Reggie Jackson entered the clubhouse and manfully absorbed three-minutes of uninterrupted verbal abuse. When later asked why he just stood there and took it, Jackson said it was the equivalent of keeping a hostage taker on the phone long enough to identify his location. "Lately, when he goes off like that, he'll mentally land on a certain year. It could be 1982, it could be 1990, it could be, as was the case today, 1978. He'll occasionally confuse rosters and eras, darting from Mickey Rivers to Ed Whitson to Danny Tartabull...but then, after a while, if you keep him stoked long enough, he'll begin to focus on a specific roster, which makes it easier for Dr. Pettiman to treat."
A specific roster gives Dr. Richard Pettiman, a psychiatrist on the Yankees payroll, a fix on Steinbrenner's mental state. "If I know George is fixated on the 1985 Yankees, all I have to do is look up the roster, figure out his hot button issues -- Winfield is leaving runners stranded in scoring position, Ed Whitson is wilting under pressure -- and I immediately know the course of treatment. In 1978, the underlying issue was Billy Martin, who was fired and replaced by Bob Lemon. When we finally convinced Mr. Steinbrenner that both were long dead and buried, he slowly came around...though he did weep inconsolably for another forty minutes. For a guy like George, the finality of knowing you can't fire someone again is a hard pill to swallow. "
"That was pretty awesome," said Jason Giambi. "If there's a silver lining to being in last place it's getting up close and personal to vintage George. Toward the end it did get a little too reality TV, and watching them jam the tongue depressor into his mouth was tough. But to be on the receiving end of a full-on George rant, even if it was the guys from '78 he was going after, well, it really makes you feel part of Yankees tradition. And reminds us how lucky we are that we don't have to deal with that shit any more."
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