Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Growing Up Hank

By Nick McCann

After losing his ace, Chien-Ming Wang, to a base running injury in an interleague game at Houston just days before his Yankees played the Padres on Tuesday, Hank Steinbrenner said, “The National League needs to join the 21st century. They need to grow up and join the 21st century.”

Hank Steinbrenner doesn’t understand that growing up is hard, even though I’m sure growing up was hard for him. It must have been insanely difficult to grow up knowing that (A) you will never do anything as cool as your Dad (B) that your Dad loves the results of that cool thing more than you and (C) knowing that you will be expected to take over your Dad’s signature cool thing when his mind is unraveling and unable to make the family’s bitchy comments to the media.

George Steinbrenner bought the New York Yankees for next to nothing in the seventies. The deal now is looked at to be the equivalent of the Louisiana Purchase within the context of sports, because The Bronx Bombers are now worth well over a billion dollars and climbing. Recently, the family has decided to isolate George from media because of health issues, leaving his son Hank to carry on the daily operations and the tradition of complaining about everything. However, it seems like Hank is trying to prove that he can be more like his father than his father ever was.

The idea that the National League needs to grow up implies that the National League needs to develop itself into something better. But that doesn’t really apply when dealing with the designated hitter rule, because it takes more things away than it adds.

Within the game, not having the rule forces players to have larger skill sets and managers to exhibit more of their own strategic prowess. For fans, it allows us (when the pitcher is not Jake Peavy) to identify more closely to at least one batter in the lineup. How many times have you been sitting with someone at a National League game who doesn’t know anything about baseball and had to explain to them why the pitcher can't hit? For someone new to the game, this observation is usually a confusing one, but it also breeds more interest into what this new slow-yet relaxing-game is all about.

The worst part about Hank Steinbrenner’s statement isn’t that it is clearly idiotic; it's that it's clearly a statement intended to be a “Steinbrenner Response” from a Steinbrenner who hasn’t won anything since taking the throne. It’s beyond stupid; it’s just tragic. His Dad probably doesn’t recognize him anymore, and even if after the inevitable classic New York quick fix at the trade deadline somehow leads to a World Series Title this season, it will satisfy nothing because the team will always be George’s favorite son.

I would rather keep never growing up while watching Chris Young bunt.

1 comment:

Red said...

Also, no one ever played Hank on Seinfeld. That's George's true legacy.