9:26 PM ET
PHOENIX — In his State of the Yankees address Wednesday, Hal Steinbrenner singled out all of the right suspects, absolved all of the innocent parties and threw at least a partial bone to frustrated Yankees fans who have been desperate for any shred of evidence that he is indeed a blood relation to George M. Steinbrenner III.
The only thing the New York Yankees owner didn’t do was point a finger in the direction it belongs: at himself.
Steinbrenner was right to name Mark Teixeira, Chase Headley, Michael Pineda and Luis Severino as the chief culprits in the Yankees’ horrible start. The team is six games under .500 and in the cellar of the American League East, 7½ games behind the division-leading Baltimore Orioles entering Wednesday night’s meeting with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“Clearly not living up to their potential,” owner Hal Steinbrenner said of his last-place Yankees. “When you look at a guy like Mark Teixeira, clearly, he’s not playing to his potential with the bat.” AP Photo/Kathy Willens
And Steinbrenner was equally justified in exonerating his manager, Joe Girardi, who can neither hit, pitch, run nor field for the men on his highly paid roster, and his general manager, Brian Cashman, who like all general managers acts strictly in accordance with the wishes of his boss.
Where he went wrong, however, is in not shouldering the blame himself, as he should have. The reason is not because he did not spend enough money — the Yankees’ 2016 payroll is $225 million, up $8 million from last season and second only to the Dodgers’ $249 million — or because he did not pursue the handful of desirable free agents on the market this past winter. (Can you imagine the fans’ reaction if the Yankees had given David Price seven years and $217 million?)
The reason is that for all his positive qualities as an owner, Hal Steinbrenner has not been truly honest with Yankees fans. Whether he, Cashman or Girardi would dare admit it, it is obvious that he is not all in it to win it this season, nor was he last season.
Yes, he is trying to put a competitive team on the field, because he has seats to fill, debt service on the Stadium to pay off, and cable TV …
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