Hal Steinbrenner feigns to be ‘confused’ to dodge accountability for Yankees’ struggles

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner with GM Brian Cashman at spring training center in Tampa in 2023.
Kim Klement/USA Today Sports
Amanda Paula
Thursday June 22, 2023

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The New York Yankees are not at their best and struggling with injuries that have stumped their rotation and slumped the offensive power. However, owner Hal Steinbrenner told that he was confused over fans’ reaction despite the team standing at third in AL East and injury troubles. It is nothing but an attempt to hide his accountability for the team’s present state of affairs.

When Michael Kay informed the Yankees owner that fans were “vocal” and “very, very upset” over the team’s performance, Hal Steinbrenner responded:

“I understand they’re upset,” you told Kay. “I’m a little confused this year, in the third week of June, why they’re so upset. But they’re upset, and that’s going to get my attention.”

In 2022, the Yankees had an impressive performance, winning 99 games and clinching the American League East title. However, they were through their worst August and fell to the Astros in the ALCS for the second time. Injuries too buried their offense then.

This year, despite returning to the winning path with two victories against the Seattle Mariners in a row in 2023, the Yankees have stumbled with a record of 40-33, placing them 9 1/2 games behind the division leaders. This stark contrast has caused disappointment among the demanding Yankees fanbase, known for their high expectations and passionate support. 

With lots of strains and sprains, the fans are concerned over the team’s readiness. Hal Steinbrenner is well aware of all these. But he still tried to hide behind the word ‘confused’ and sidestepped the anger among Yankees fans.

Given the context of their record, it was predictable that fans would be upset. In May, the team performed well with a 19-10 record, but their performance declined in June, combined with suffering a 1-5 defeat against their rivals, the Red Sox, in consecutive weekend series culminated with a lot of disappointment by the fans.

What Hal Steinbrenner said

The New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner during a interview.
USA Today Sports

During a recent appearance on The Michael Kay Show with play-by-play announcer Michael Kay, Hal Steinbrenner expressed his confusion regarding the fans’ anger. While acknowledging their discontent, he couldn’t understand why it had reached such high levels in the third week of June.

Nevertheless, he assured fans that their concerns had not gone unnoticed, emphasizing that the organization was diligently working to rectify the situation and return to the successful form they exhibited in May.

“I would say that if we can march into the playoffs with 90 percent of our intended team that we expected to be on the field every day, 90 percent, and we don’t perform well in the playoffs, I will start asking the questions even then. If we don’t make the playoffs, and we’re healthy in the second half of the year, with guys returning and the team we intended to have, then I’m going to be asking some tough questions.”

Hal Steinbrenner backed Yankees hitting coach

The New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner with Aaron Boones.

Despite the Yankees hitting coach being often criticized by the Yankees fans, Hal Steinbrenner puts his faith in the Yankees manager Aaron Boone and his hitting coach Dillon Lawson, saying that “nobody is on the hot seat right now” and to “let’s see what happens.”

It’s worth noting that injuries have played a role in the team’s struggles. The absence of 2022 AL MVP Aaron Judge, who has been on the injured list for multiple stints, has undoubtedly impacted their performance. The team’s record with Judge in the lineup was 15-8.

Additionally, the Yankees’ significant offseason acquisition, left-handed starting pitcher Carlos Rodon, has been sidelined by injuries throughout the season. Rodon recently made a successful minor-league rehab appearance, pitching three innings, striking out five, and allowing only one run on one hit for Double-A Somerset.

The Yankees’ official announcement of Aaron Judge’s recod contract and captaincy may have been relegated to secondary New York baseball status.
Jessica Alcheh/USA TODAY Sports

Hal Steinbrenner acknowledged the importance of getting key players like Aaron Judge and Carlos Rodon back to total health. If they can remain uninjured, their return would greatly bolster the team’s capabilities and improve their recent performance. However, this outcome is still being determined.

Overall, it needs to be clarified that Hal Steinbrenner finds himself confused by the fans’ reactions. The Yankees have a storied history as one of the most successful franchises in American sports, and their fanbase expects consistent success. Consequently, New York Yankees fans become displeased when the team underperforms for extended periods.

The New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner during a speech.

This level of emotional investment from the fans is customary and reminiscent of Hal Steinbrenner’s father, George Steinbrenner, who was known for vocal criticism of the team during any perceived underperformance. While it’s understandable for the owner to have a different approach, it is unusual for him not to anticipate the passionate response from a significant portion of the fanbase, as his father once did.

Yankees fans slam Hal Steinbrenner’s statement

On Wednesday night, the Yankees found themselves trailing by a significant margin of 9 1/2 games in the American League East standings, while barely holding onto the second wild-card spot with a mere half-game lead. Notably, this comes on the heels of the team committing a staggering $573.5 million in expected salaries.

As his remarks made it clear, some fans have seen this as nonsensical, and some need clarification about the Yankees owner’s interest and ambition for the season.

However, the Yankees have won two consecutive victories over the Seattle Mariners, and it could be a good sign of returning to the winning path.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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