The Boss is Back!... and it's not Bruce Springsteen. It has turned into a spring ritual for baseball fans: We must endure George Steinbrenner for yet another season.
His $140 million player, Jason Giambi, it turns out, had been caught doing steroids, before and since he became a Yankee. And someone (never Steinbrenner) has to be to blame. One would think perhaps some blame lies with Giambi. Not according to Steinbrenner, who when asked whether Giambi should apologize, simply retorted: "I figure that's his business." Or perhaps the Yankees front office shoulders some blame. Or perhaps everyone else in baseball who turned a blind eye to the use of steroids in baseball because it was in everyone's pecuniary interest to do so. Or perhaps... perhaps... even the man at the very top... George Steinbrenner.
Instead, the villain, as Steinbrenner sees it, is Giambi's agent, Arn Tellem. Giambi was to engage in a tearful apology and confessional, worthy of Oprah, at Yankee stadium on Feb. 10. The issues of which Yankee players used steroids, Giambi's future with the team, etc., the fact that it is the Boston Red Sox rather than the New York Yankees who are the world's reigning champions, that it was the Mets instead of the Yankees who got Pedro, were then simply going to fade with time. To Steinbrenner, steroids is nothing more than a public relations matter, like any other, that with the proper spin can be made to go away.
When Tellem wouldn't let Giambi answer specific questions about his steroid use, because of the still ongoing federal grand jury investigation of the matter, Steinbrenner flew into a public rage at the agent, full of profanity. We don't know exactly what that obscenity was, because the New York Times declined to publish it. The newspaper of record will only supplement Steinbrenner's comments regarding Tellem by saying that he also mumbled: "He's no good."
On the upside, it is good to see someone being held responsible for the steroid scandal, even if it is just a player's agent.
Update, Feb. 28, 2:37 A.M: The New York Times still won't tell us what word or words of profanity Steinbrenner used. But Murray Chass, a baseball columnist for the Times brings us closer to the... truth, writing that Steinbrenner "used a four-letter verb Saturday in speaking to reporters about Arn Tellem."
I would like to say that clears up the matter, but if one uses that particular word to describe a person, is it not then, in its usage, a noun?