In the far-reaching cult of Yankee-haterdom, the main target of the fiercest venom from those who subscribe, the arch villain, and the manifestation of the inequalities that were the sole reason for every Yankee dynasty since 1976 was George Stienbrenner.
Like Nixon to the Yippies, George was gleefully portrayed as a heretic of pure evil, constantly trying to use his massive capital to buy a championship while polluting the game with his wealth. A grotesque monster, lording over the House that Ruth built; ruining baseball with each swift stroke of his pen against the cool, smooth paper of his check book, George was a scourge to all whose teams felt the hammer of the Yankees’ success.
So when the shattering news broke that the Boss would initiate the succession processes many of these Yankee-haters found themselves lost and directionless, recycling old Giambi steroid jokes and using phrases like, “Remember Irabu!”
With no World Series win since 2000 and a horrifying debacle against Boston in 2004, George was the one constant that the anti-Yankee factions could always count on even when victory was fleeting. Win or lose, there would always be another Kevin Brown signing to scoff at, another assault on an ineffective coach, or another threat to clean house — all laced with his signature bombastic absurdity.
Then, out of a messy divorce that displaced then Stienbrenner in-law Steve Swindal as successor and the mystifying speculation that followed, stepping forth from the shadows was he who is known only as Hank.
One could see the figurative “blazing hell torch of evil” that is the Yankee mantle passed down to the next generation. He looks like his dad, he sounds like his dad, and he has the same last name — the proletariat lined up with guns drawn, waiting for the initial outburst by which to draw first blood.
On the surface it would seem that thus far Hank has provided his detractors with ample ammo. Critics have cited Hank’s various commentaries on his players, construction workers, and his own baseball philosophies as evidence that he is merely a replication of his volatile father, another ticking time bomb in the Bronx just waiting to explode and ruin the team.
But if one actually delves past the delivery and packaging, examining the content of Hank's statements, a startling revelation occurs. You realize that, unlike The Boss taking a hard stance on Don Mattingly’s hair, Hank actually makes sense and demonstrates a reasoning ability and an understanding of the fundamentals of winning that are far more proficient than his father, regardless of his six World Series titles.