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The Evil Empire Strikes Back

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Darth Steinbrenner says: "Pedro I am your daddy"

post #2 of 6

NY Times

November 17, 2004

Steinbrenner and Martínez Meet: Let the Intrigue Begin


edro Martínez, who has reveled in his role as a villain to the Yankees while pitching and chirping for the Boston Red Sox, met with George Steinbrenner yesterday in Tampa, Fla., in a potential bid to dramatically change his status in the Bronx and in Boston.

Some Yankee club executives adamantly oppose signing Martínez, who is a free agent. But if Steinbrenner, the principal owner, wants to make the splashy move, it does not really matter what anyone else thinks.

Martínez is three weeks removed from helping the Red Sox win their first World Series title since 1918 while Steinbrenner is busy working on restocking the Yankees so they can fight for their 27th championship. The notion that Steinbrenner, the most powerful Yankee, and Martínez, one of the most beloved Red Sox, could land on the same side would add a compelling twist to the fiercest rivalry in baseball.

"We had a good meeting," Steinbrenner said in a statement released by his spokesman, Howard Rubenstein.

But an executive from another American League team, who was told about the two-hour meeting, theorized that Steinbrenner and Martínez might be using each other. Even if Steinbrenner and Martínez are not genuinely interested in joining together, they probably figured that they could gain leverage in other negotiations by appearing to do so.

The Yankees' vice presidents - Mark Newman, Billy Connors and Damon Oppenheimer - joined Steinbrenner at the Legends Field meeting with Martínez and his agents, Fernando Cuza and Pat Rooney. A person who was briefed about the gathering said Steinbrenner had told Martínez, who hails from the Dominican Republic, how much he would enjoy pitching for the Yankees and how Martínez could perform in front of a legion of Dominican fans.

Steinbrenner's last foray into one-on-one negotiating was extremely successful. Smitten with Gary Sheffield, Steinbrenner negotiated with him last year and signed him to a three-year, $39 million deal. Sheffield, an outfielder, finished second yesterday to Vladimir Guerrero in the voting for the American League Most Valuable Player award.

Still, the Steinbrenner-Martínez meeting may be a way for both sides to get the attention of other teams. The Yankees are hoping to pry Randy Johnson from Arizona and may believe their interest in Martínez could persuade the Diamondbacks to accept less.

Though Johnson, 41, is eight years older than the right-handed Martínez, he is more durable and is the pitcher the Yankees would prefer because they want to add a left-handed starter. Johnson was 16-14 with a 2.60 earned run average and 290 strikeouts in 245 2/3 innings last season. Martínez was 16-9 with a 3.90 E.R.A. and 227 strikeouts in 217 innings.

Martínez is considering a two-year, $25.5 million offer from the Red Sox, with a $13 million option for 2007 and the chance to make $2 million in incentives. But he could be letting Boston know that he wants more by meeting with Steinbrenner.

The Red Sox offered Martínez an extension similar to the one that Curt Schilling signed after they obtained him from Arizona last November. But there is a difference. Schilling's option year and incentives became vested after the Red Sox won the World Series.

Agents routinely try to pull the Yankees into the negotiations for marquee free agents because their generous bidding can increase the contract the players eventually sign. Martínez may hope that the Red Sox will boost their offer if they think he might sign with the Yankees. The Yankees would not mind seeing the Red Sox pay more to keep Martínez, and Steinbrenner enjoys antagonizing them.

The Yankees and the Red Sox may compete for another free-agent pitcher, Carl Pavano, who is supposed to visit the Red Sox tomorrow. Naturally, in keeping with the rivalry that never sleeps, Pavano is also slated to visit with the Yankees after Thanksgiving.

"We will be taking them up on the invitation,'' said Scott Shapiro, the agent for Pavano. "I know Carl would want to talk to Mel Stottlemyre. He's going to want to talk to players and see some of their facilities."

Pavano, a right-hander who went 18-8 with a 3.00 E.R.A. for the Florida Marlins last season, has a three-year, $21 million offer from Florida. Shapiro said Pavano has also received an offer from the Philadelphia Phillies.

After the Yankees defeated Martínez and the Red Sox, 6-4, last September, he offered a memorable postgame diatribe. Martínez said he wished he could have buried himself on the mound, he wished the Yankees would disappear and he called the Yankees "my Daddy'' because of their success against him. Of course, Martínez heard "Whose your Daddy?" chants the next time he pitched at Yankee Stadium, in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series.

In July 2003, Steinbrenner was annoyed with Martínez after he drilled Alfonso Soriano and Derek Jeter with fastballs and caused both players to leave the game in the first inning for X-rays.

After the Yankees prevailed, 2-1, Steinbrenner stood beside the press box and wept. Martínez insisted he was not trying to plunk anyone, but Steinbrenner wondered if the pitches were intentional.

"If indeed - and I'm not saying he did it - but if he threw at them to deliver a message, he delivered the wrong message, in my opinion," Steinbrenner said.

Now Steinbrenner and Martínez have combined to send a message to the rest of the baseball world. There is at least a chance that the first installment of Pedro meets the Boss could turn into a marriage, a potentially fascinating marriage.

Tyler Kepner contributed reporting for this article.
post #3 of 6
Theory one - Steinbrenner wants to lure Pedro to the Yankees. Theory two - Steinbrenner doesn't care where Pedro signs as long as its not with the Red Sox so he's making public gestures to Pedro to further stress Pedro's relationship with the Sox. Personally, I think Steinbrenner wants the Big Unit and he's just messing around with Pedro.
post #4 of 6

Money Talks & Bull Sh!t Walks

I doubt even George is dumb enough to throw a bunch of dough at Pedro. Hopefully the Sox are of at least equal intelligence with regard to this as well.
post #5 of 6
...it'll be who wants to guarantee him the number of years he wants (four, i'd guess) and how the option year is worked out.

i see him winding up in anaheim (though if the owner there has his way, it'll be the los angeles angels).



The Angel Name Game: Profit and Los Angeles

Bill Plaschke

November 17, 2004

John Roehling doesn't sell power hitters, but he sells forklifts.

He doesn't work at Angel Stadium, but his office is close enough that he can walk to the games.

He doesn't have the visibility of Arte Moreno, but he has the same philosophy.

The name of his Anaheim-based firm?

Equipment Co. of Los Angeles.

"It's simple," said Roehling, the owner. "When people outside the area think of Orange County, they think of it as being part of Los Angeles."

You see? It's simple. An Anaheim businessman wants to attract the largest possible number of customers, so he reminds everyone that he is part of Los Angeles.

A smart move. A money move. A move that potentially will result in more business, which means more money for the city of Anaheim, which means everybody wins.

John Roehling does it and he's being honorable.

The Angels want to do it and they're being devious?

Although one cannot seriously compare a vendor of heavy equipment to a team of heavy hitters, their bottom line is the same, the argument just as silly.

The Angels supposedly are denying their heritage and shaming their people by considering replacing "Anaheim" with "Los Angeles?"

Los Angeles is the Angels' heritage.

Just like with Roehling's company.

"We started 29 years ago in Los Angeles, and we've since moved around, but that is how we're originally known," Roehling said.

And the Angels would not be shaming their people, they'd be embracing more of them, the thousands of season-ticket holders who don't live in Anaheim, the 35% who don't even live in Orange County.

Yeah, just like Roehling.

"Seventy-five percent of our business comes from L.A. County," he said. "Our name just makes sense."

Little about the opposition to the Angels makes sense, Anaheim city officials cutting off their growth to spite their face.

On Tuesday they again threatened legal action against the Angels if the team name is changed, citing the 8-year-old lease agreement in which the team adopted the name "Anaheim" in exchange for $30 million in stadium renovation funds.

Yet it is precisely that name change that would help pay back that $30 million, some of which has already poured into city coffers through ticket sale fees and sales taxes paid by fans who crowd Anaheim restaurants, bars and gas stations.

Moreno's Angels have the third-highest payroll in baseball, a stadium amazingly filled to 94% of capacity, and a newly crowned league most valuable player in Vladimir Guerrero.

Since taking over the team two years ago, Moreno has tried to think huge and win big.

After being saddled in recent years by ownership groups whose vision demeaned Anaheim as a small market, city officials should be delighted with this effort.

Can't they see that Moreno is now angling for the increased TV revenue that would come with a "Los Angeles" designation — a difference of as much as $15 million a year?

And that maybe this could lead to Moreno's ability to back the lucrative arrival of an NFL team to play in a site next to the stadium?

Yet Anaheim says its name isn't for sale.

Although eight years ago, it was very much for sale.

"We will do whatever we can to help them augment their business … short of changing the name," Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle said. "That name is very significant."

Yet that name represents the fourth-smallest city designation in baseball, attached to a team playing in its second-largest market.

Translated, the Angels are able to sell only from a population base of 332,000 while trying to compete in a market of 16 million. It's like trying to win a network ratings war while being able to advertise only on public television.

Anaheim voters would be wise to wonder how much money it will eventually cost their city to maintain a team name that isn't even on that team's shirts, or logo or schedule.

All because some politician doesn't want to be known as the one who allowed the invasion of that boogeyman known as "Los Angeles."

Let's be honest. That's what all this howling is about.

It's not about supporting Anaheim, it's about fearing Los Angeles.

It's not about a city, it's about a county, about a curtain, about a paranoia, and it's just plain outdated and dumb.

My favorite protest thus far came in a letter to The Times, from a gentleman who vowed to never again attend an Angel game if "Anaheim" was replaced by "Los Angeles."

This huge Anaheim supporter had an address listed as … Garden Grove?

"All we're trying to do is enhance our economic viability," said Tim Mead, Angel spokesman. "We've done nothing, we're only exploring concepts.

"We enjoy a tremendous partnership with the city of Anaheim, and we want it to remain that way."

There's no reason it can't.

What the Angels are trying isn't unusual. A couple of months ago, the reigning champions in the four major sports all had monikers of places other than their actual address.

The New England Patriots, Detroit Pistons, Florida Marlins and Tampa Bay Lightning.

In an age of regional sports marketing, the Los Angeles Angels works.

And for those politicians who disagree, I'll expect to be seeing you at the reopening of Disney's Anaheim Adventure.
post #6 of 6
If you can't beat them..join them?
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