(AP Photo, Feb. 16)
"We're going to win it this year. We're going after it." -- George Steinbrenner, 02.22.06
Bizarre Boss Makes His Presence Felt in Tampa
"This year he's been everywhere. Yesterday, he showed up in the coaches' room as the players were finishing their workouts, then lingered in the hallway outside [Joe] Torre's office and then decided to come in and sit on a couch while Torre did his daily media session.
"As the manager talked, Steinbrenner fiddled with a paper clip and peered curiously at each reporter who asked a question. He also seemed interested in playing the role of class cut-up; at one point, Torre was asked about how Damon nearly came to the Bronx during the same winter that his good friend and former A's teammate Jason Giambi signed his seven-year, $120 million contract with the Yanks.
"'(Giambi) took all of the money so we couldn't do anything,' Torre joked, only to have Steinbrenner pipe up, 'You got some, didn't you?' as everyone laughed and Torre responded, 'Thank you sir.'
"At another point, Torre was asked if he had been able to sit down and have an extended chat with [Johnny] Damon yet.
"'I haven't had a chance sit down and really to talk to anybody," Torre began. "I've talked to ...'
"'Me!' Steinbrenner piped up.
"'Yeah, Mr. Steinbrenner,' Torre continued with another chuckle. 'That's always nerve-wracking.'
"The entire scene was bizarre, and long-time Yankee observers struggled to recall a similar incident. Although Steinbrenner and Torre have had an up-and-down relationship, their heart-to-heart this winter (which preceded Torre's announcement that he was going to return to manage again this season) has apparently made a difference.
"Quite simply, The Boss just seems happier. He can still get riled up - he doesn't like the World Baseball Classic and he reiterated his displeasure with it yesterday - but he hasn't been nearly as curt as in previous springs and seems to enjoy just hanging around the clubhouse." -- Sam Borden, New York Daily News, 02.23.06
Eric Wilbur: By George, a pledge