Who better than Hank Steinbrenner — a man who has toiled long and hard for everything he has in this world — to scold his underachieving New York Yankees for failing to capture a 28th World Championship? With the following comments, relayed by the New York Daily News’ Mark Feisand, is it fair to ask exactly when the Yankees will stop letting the world know they wish they’d successfully pissed off Derek Jeter so much this past winter that someone else in the AL East would be overpaying him this season?
“Sometimes I think maybe they celebrated a little too much last year,” Steinbrenner (above, right) said of his team. “Some of the players are too busy building mansions and doing other things, not concentrating on winning. I have no problem saying that.”
Asked if any other player besides Jeter was building a mansion, Steinbrenner said he wasn’t referring to anybody in particular.
“I’m just saying they were too busy; I’m not singling anybody out,” Steinbrenner said. “I’m saying maybe they were riding the wave of ’09 a little too much. It happens. Psychologically, it happens sometimes.”
Despite his assertion that he wasn’t singling out Jeter, it’s hard to take Steinbrenner’s comment any other way. Jeter had the most disappointing season of any regular last year, hitting a career-low .270, and he’s building a 30,000-square-foot palace in the Tampa area, dubbed “St. Jetersburg” by the locals.
Construction on Jeter’s house began in 2008, so it should be noted that he was “building mansions” during the World Series season of 2009, too.
Steinbrenner said the entire team seemed to lack the hunger last year that helped carry them to the title the year before, but he’s seen that appetite return so far this spring.