I discovered something last week, to my dismay. My cell phone number is only one digit off from Yankees’ General Manager Brian Cashman’s cell phone number, which goes a long way towards explaining why I, your everyday frustrated Yankees’ fan, was on the horn with George Steinbrenner himself at 3:30 am this past Tuesday. Fortunately, I was able to illegally record our dialogue, and I will now release it to the public, because that’s what he gets for waking me up from my dream about winning the Pulitzer Prize at an awards show hosted by Angelina Jolie.
Me: (Groggy) Hello?
George: Brian, wake up! What the hell do you think this is – sleepy time? We’re a .500 baseball team, and you’re acting like that guy who fell asleep for a long time, and then woke up and he was all old and wrinkled.
Me: Rip Van Winkle?
George: What? Winky who? What the heck are you saying? Stop talking gibberish, and explain to me WHY, the $200 million of MY money that YOU spent, has been magically transformed into a giant pile of pinstriped dog doody?!
Me: Wait a second. Hold up. Is this George Steinbrenner?
George: Ohhh, yeahhhh. (Clapping hands.) Bravo, Brian. You’re a regular Carrot Top there with your brand of comedy. WHO THE HECK ELSE WOULD BE CALLING YOU AT 3:30 IN THE MORNING – MEL FREAKIN’ GIBSON?!
Me: Oh, ummm, actually Mr. Steinbrenner, I think you may have dialed –
George: An idiot? Darn right I dialed an idiot! Did you WATCH the game last night, or were you snoozing away again, like your friend Henry Winkler?
Me: Ummm, actually, yeah – I did watch the game last night.
George: So WHAT happened? Why can’t we beat the MILWAUKEE BREWERS, Brian? Why is Mr. Randy Johnson himself pitching like he doesn’t even care? And did you SEE him at the plate last night, Brian? He looks like a giant pencil with an eraser on his head, and he swings like a girl! How much are we paying for this – to embarrass ourselves every night?
Me: Ummm, a lot?
George: DARN RIGHT A LOT! Why is Posada striking out with the bases loaded and no outs? When is Matsui going to get a hit? Is Mariano Rivera still on the TEAM, cause I haven’t seen him in THREE WEEKS?!
Me: I think he is, but I’m not –
George: Ya’ know, we start off the year playing like crap. Then we win 10 straight, 16 out of 18, and I’m thinking to myself, “Ya know George – maybe you DIDN’T waste millions and millions of dollars on a bunch of underachievers who have no idea what it means to play for the New York Yankees. Maybe they just needed a little kick in the rear – a little push on the old caboose.” Then the Red Sox come to town and THEY push us on the caboose all right! You might as well have taken a picture of David Ortiz standing on top of a pile of our pitchers, giving a salute, and sticking a Boston flag in the back of Carl Pavano. Just embarrassing, Brian. Then the ROYALS – the ROYALS, Brian! The last time the Kansas City Royals swept the New York Yankees you were probably in diapers, blowing your mother’s hard-earned money on thousand-dollar pacifiers! Ya’ know Brian, I wish I was still in the shipbuilding industry, so I could build a huge ship, invite you on it, and then throw you overboard.
Me: Ya’ know, Mr. Steinbrenner, I’m NOT –
George: Capable of making an informed decision? Ohhh – you don’t have to tell ME that Brian. Do you know how I look when guys like Javier Vasquez and Jose Contreras are pitching so well for other teams, and we get overpriced prima donnas like Brown and Johnson who come over here and crap the bed? It doesn’t make me look good, Brian. I’ll tell you that. That’s why I felt compelled to issue this conference call, to clear the air, and find out what’s going on here.
Me: Conference call?
George: Yes, conference call, you MORON! You know I never do things without a team of advisors. Say hello to former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and my good friend, Donald Trump.
Me: Uhhh, hey guys.
Giuliani: Brian, it’s not good for my political career to be seen at games where the team I’m rooting for is losing. Do I have to start going to METS games, Brian? I hope not.
Trump: Brian, judging by your performance so far in 2005, if you were on “The Apprentice,” I’m sorry, but I’d have to say, “You’re fired.”
Me: Alright – that’s enough. I don’t know WHO you think you are waking me up at this hour to scream at me, and belittle me in front of others. This is YOUR team, GEORGIE boy. Our whole roster is made up of the overpriced and aging stars that YOU salivated over at some point, from Giambi, to Sheffield, to Brown, to Mussina, to Johnson. You tell Cashman who you want, and he goes and gets them. THAT’S his job. So don’t come crying to him when things don’t work out as planned. You saw Vasquez and Contreras pitch here, so don’t even try and tell me that THEIR absence is the reason we’re losing now. I know we’re not playing even close to our potential right now, but all we can do is hope that things turn around. This is our team – the manifestation of years and years of coveted free agents signing multi-year contracts. The bad news is we’re playing terrible baseball right now, we’ve depleted our farm system, and all of our underachievers are virtually immovable because of the money they make. The good news is we have a team centered around Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, a pitching staff that can only get better at this point, the best manager in the game, and enough time to turn this thing around. We’ve made our bed, and it’s time to sleep. And speaking of sleep, that’s where I’m going back to right now. And Trump, shut up.
George: Okay, Brian. Points well taken, but I don’t know where you get the cojones to refer to yourself in the third person. Only I can do that, so take note. And we better get this thing turned around soon, cause I’m getting reeeeaaaal antsy over here. And you know what happens when I get antsy, Brian? People end up on the unemployment line - THAT’S what happens. If we don’t win it all this year, you owe me $200 million, so start saving. Do you hear me, Brian?