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The venerable New York Yankees, after the ultra-successful whirlwind retirement tours of Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter, have decided to follow up with a round-the-horn circuit by “The Boss”, the late George Steinbrenner.
“We want to maintain the momentum established in 2013 and 2014,” explained Yankee Director of Chutzpah, Steuben Lowe. “When we looked at our roster, however, we found a serious dearth in expected retirements for the next few years.” Mr. Steinbrenner, who passed away in 2010, was the next logical choice.
“He’s a legend,” claimed Lowe. “He singlehandedly transformed baseball from an athletic competition to a virtual meat market. To top off his regime, he transformed ‘The House that Ruth Built’ into ‘The House that George Demolished’. No other owner in baseball history can claim achievements of that significance.”
As the Yankees visit each ballpark during the 2015 season, honorary local volunteer pall-bearers will carry Steinbrenner’s coffin to home plate where he will receive the accolades due his reputation as fierce competitor and ruthless executive.
“Of course, he’ll have no use for the vehicles, artwork, and memorabilia of the type showered on Mariano and Derek,” Lowe told reporters. “But all those goods can be converted into cash to sign future retirees.” eBay has been contracted and is already gearing up to handle the expected bonanza. Donations to Mr. Steinbrenner’s favorite cause, the Yankee Free Agent Fund, will be accepted and welcome.
“Being honored in all those ballparks would have brought a genuine thrill to Mr. Steinbrenner, especially Fenway Park, which held a special place in his heart. I only wish Shea Stadium was still around for The Boss to occupy. It will be a bittersweet time, that’s for sure,” the Yankee executive said with a well-placed tear in his eye.
Lowe further explained that, what with the Yankees recently losing such stars as Robinson Cano and Andy Pettitte, the pipeline for “quality retirees” is dry. “The storied history of the Yankees demands higher profile pensioners than those currently available. Gone are the days when we could have filled an entire decade with Hall of Fame caliber players to drain the pockets of kowtowing competitors. Lou Gehrig in particular was a missed opportunity of exceptional proportions.” Lowe later added that the level of available plundering has not always been as rich as it is today. “With the advent of interleague play, the stakes are much higher. The amount we could have extorted before the interleague era pales in comparison to today’s potential take.
Depending on the outcome of his suspension and various appeals, Alex Rodriguez is generally regarded as the next viable tour candidate. Unfortunately, his availability will be in doubt for some time. A traveling Congressional inquiry with Rodriguez as the key witness has been discussed but the legalities involved could make such a tour prohibitive.
If A-Rod falls through, rumor has it that Jacoby Ellsbury, speedster centerfielder signed away from the rival Red Sox, will be asked to take early retirement after the 2016 season to fill the gap. “We signed Ellsbury not only for his baseball skills but for his estimable marketing potential,” declared the Yankee’s General Manager, the ironically named Brian Cashman. “He has nothing to lose taking early retirement. The Yankees’ severance package is, as you might imagine, generous to a fault. Additionally, Jacoby will be allowed to keep the cars, shoes, bling, and other offerings that are de rigueur for these tributes.”
Reaction to the announcement from around the league was mixed.
“This is not only good for the Yankees and for baseball, frankly, it’s good for the Tampa Bay Rays,” declared Rays Senior Vice President of Overachievement. Merry Chase. “We don’t draw flies here at the Trop unless one of the big money teams comes to town. These tributes boost our attendance tremendously as retired New Yorkers flock to the stadium to pay their respects to their returning heroes. That’s fine with us, as long as they put out for the proverbial peanuts and Cracker Jacks.”
Orioles brass were less enthusiastic. A source who wished to remain anonymous summed up their feelings, saying, “What a bunch of greedy bastards.”