Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Risky Investment Strategy Pays Off for Yankees

Back in 1998, during a resurgent year for Major League Baseball, George Steinbrenner made a decision that, while risky, would ensure the long term prosperity of the Yankees for years to come.

"He called a meeting of the board of trustees, telling us it was urgent," recalls Lonn Trost. "None of us knew what was going on. George's message was very cryptic. Something about money no longer being a factor. It didn't help that it was communicated through Howard Rubenstein."

That fateful day, George arrived fashionably late and just stood there. "Finally, Felix [Lopez] asked George what was going on," recalls the a no longer wealthy Steve Swindal. "George then motioned towards the door, and in walked these men carrying a giant mattress. It was like four king beds sown together, or maybe duct taped, I think I remember duct tape." Then came the announcement that would rock the Yankees leadership, but ultimately made the Yankees recession proof.

"We're no longer investing in the market," announced Steinbrenner, "From now on we keep our money right under this mattress."

"We all looked at each other like, 'Oh $#!%, he's finally lost it,'" recalls Randy Levine. "We wanted to replace him with Hank right there, but we weren't sure if George had lost it, we knew Hank had."

No one argued with George that day. As soon as he'd left the room, discussion of how to replace him erupted. It did not go anywhere however, as the board could not decide which off-shore shadow corporation the organization should be transferred to in order to lock out the senior Steinbrenner.

"I was very upset at the time," explained Mr. Levine. "I had all these great stock tips: Enron, WorldCom, a myriad of internet start ups. We were going to be rich. In hindsight, George saved our asses that night."

Indeed, the Yankees seemed unphased by the recession of 2001-2002, and currently are spending money like they were Bill Gates, their wife just left them, and they were hell bent on making sure half wasn't going to be worth the legal fees it would cost to collect.

"It was weird for a lot of years," said Brian Cashman. "Every time I wanted to make a deal, George would point to the mattress, which he kept in his office, and would simply say, 'ask the mattress.' Funny thing is, the mattress always said yes, so I didn't ask why George was the only one who could hear the mattress talking."

Now, with the recent signing of Mark Teixeira, in addition to CC Sabbathia and AJ Burnett, it is clear that the mattress policy has paid off. The Yankees have money to burn, meanwhile the rest of baseball whines and moans about how they can't get credit and how their investments have gone belly up. Amazingly, it was one simple yet faithful decision that lead to all of this. A decision, and a mattress.

Many Bothan spies contributed to this article.

6 comments:

Fred Trigger said...

Now that you bring up Hank. How much longer is he going to duck you guys?

Roberto Alejandro said...

not sure, my guess is forever.

Ruthie said...

cute!!I am fond of that old man. He may be bat outta hell crazy, but he can develop a team. Loves it! I was watchng arond the horn and they were talking about the yankees tv station (yes network). How much do you guys think thats effect them in terms of money wise and in being easily obtainabel to everyday viewers. These teams complain but yet i gotta go to channel 5675637 to see their games.Media plays a big roll in makeing dough...no ones gonna come to your store if they dont know what you sell....

Bucky7588 said...

I disagree with you guys here, I think that while in Vegas, Cashman developed a severe alcohol problem, and spends his money on players, alcohol, and strippers...

Raven King said...

Truth is, Broony Cash developed a severe gambling problem in Vegas and spent the money to be used to sign Manny on slot machine.
That's why we end up with Maria T instead of Manny.

Roberto Alejandro said...

YES network is a big deal for the Yanks, since the team itself generally generates (alliteration anyone?) losses. That revenue is made up for by the TV network and now the new stadium.

It's clear some of you wanted Manny, and for Bronny Cash to get sober, but we may have to live without him. I thought the Yankees would land Manny, I also thought the Angels would make a real push for Teixeira, they didn't. But who knows, if they trade Matsui and Swisher (poor guy), they may sign Manny just for the hell of it.