Surely, Yankees principal owner Hal Steinbrenner read the papers today. With a new sheriff arriving in Queens, is a renewal of the Mets rivalry far behind…
The current state of Yankees affairs has Hal Steinbrenner waiting to receive news from Brian Cashman, a costly but beneficial free-agent proposal is on the way for his consideration. All systems go, Steinbrenner has indicated. Bring it on.
Yankees fans, of course, are hoping Steinbrenner means it and Cashman is dead serious about putting him to the test based on renewed hope the Yankees are in play on Gerrit Cole following a visit to meet with Player #1 on Scott Boras’s list.
But if Steinbrenner needed another push before spending some of his father’s well-earned money, he got it today in roaring fashion.
It came with the announcement Steve Cohen is soon to be the principal owner of the Yankees cross-town rival in Queens, the New York Mets.
Just desserts, some will say, as the Yankees and Steinbrenner have superseded the Mets payroll without even trying – and it’s about time the Yankees have something to think about.
Has Hal Steinbrenner met his match…
Forget the games played on the field in the regular-season Subway Series (Yankees 71 – Mets 51). They mean nothing. The real rivalry is contained in who controls the flow of news, headlines on the back of New York newspapers, and talk radio in the city that never sleeps.
Steve Cohen figures to be more than a formidable opponent to the Yankees, and the impact is going to be felt soon, as he ramps up the Mets with an infusion of cash and instructions to “do what you have to do to bring a World Championship to fans of the Mets.”
Much like Steinbrenner, who was reared close to the Yankees, Cohen was raised on Long Island and is a life-long fan of that “other team” in New York.
Cohen is also more like Hal’s dad George, a larger than life character who dominates any room he finds himself occupying.
Cohen likes toys, and his art collection valued at a reported $1 billion, along with the skating rink at home in Greenwich, Connecticut, requiring its own Zamboni, is a testament to his need for new toys – ergo – the New York Mets.
Unlike Hal Steinbrenner, who is responsible for the “Steinbrenner” family and legacy, Cohen is a self-made man who answers to no one other than himself.
Cohen made his billions as an investment handler of other people’s money. His career is checkered, and he is not without brushes with the U.S. District Attorney, accused with insider trading indictments.
Ironically, his reputation as a gunslinger has earned Cohen even more billions.
While Hal Steinbrenner has given every signal he is willing to thrust aside a three-year commitment to reign in payroll and more significantly to keep the team under the luxury tax threshold – he may find a need to accelerate the process with the arrival of Cohen on the scene.
It is also not without irony that Hal Steinbrenner probably sees the parallels between his dad and Steve Cohen. Both are confident and willing to spend money to make money – pedal to the metal all the way.
There is nothing better that could have happened for baseball fans in New York City – a leveling of the playing field between the Mets and Yankees re-ignites a dormant rivalry to a time when the Subway Series meant something.
The charge Hal is not his dad can no longer be avoided
The charge has been levied that Hal Steinbrenner is not passionate like his dad was. Who knows what fire burns within the soul of anyone?
But there is little doubt the question is racing to a more public arena, and Steinbrenner will have little or no choice but to do battle with the Mets.
At the moment, the rumblings heard from Queens are only rumblings. But they come with a warning that soon the first shot will occur over the bow and the Yankees, and in particular, Hal Steinbrenner will have to answer.
Or not. Things are heating up in New York City – and for that – it’s a good day for baseball.