By Greg O’Brien, Codfish Press
New York has a way of upstaging Boston in most ways other than schooling. Even when these New Yukers come to the Cape, they think they own the place. The braggadocio can be nauseating. For in the city that never sleeps, where those “little town blues are melting away,” the supposition is that if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.
Flash to Joe Torre. Apparently, Torre didn’t cut it in New York, according to the “Boss” George Steinbrenner. Torre on Thursday rejected a pay cut and a one-year “performance- based” contract after a 12-year run as Yankee Sipper that raised memories of Ruth and Gehrig and Mantle and Maris. Paraphrasing Torre’s response to loudmouth Steinbrenner—no longer the “king of the hill, top of the heap,” in ol’ blue eyes, the Chairman of the Board’s words—the New York Daily News shouted Friday on its front page: “4 Series Wins, the Playoffs every year, now you dis me. So George, take this job and shove it!”
The American Heritage Dictionary defines the term blabbermouth as “one who talks indiscreetly or incessantly.” Beyond all doubt, New York has two of the world’s biggest blabbermouths since Ralph Kramden’s harassing stereotypical mother-in-law dressed him down for his weight, shortcomings as a provider, and for Alice’s missed opportunities to marry a better man. In the classic scene from “The Honeymooners,” Kramden in recounting his mother-in-law’s not-so-subtle disparagements slowly boils to a blather. Bang. Zoom!
“I will never have a heart attack. I give them,” blabbermouth Steinbrenner once told former Yankee general manager Bob Watson, a comment recounted on ESPN’s Classic’s SportsCentury series and noted in a piece written by ESPN’s Mike Puma.
Steinbrenner and fellow big mouth Jim Dolan, chairman of Cablevision, dysfunctional parent of Madison Square Garden and the Knicks, aren’t giving us heart attacks these days, not even mild angina, but they are the root cause of aggravating dyspepsia that collectively turns the nation’s stomach. Their arrogance and swagger, real or imagined, and their proclivity to harass and abuse is childish, nauseating and malevolent.
Steinbrenner’s rants on Yankee manager Torre—who has coached a near perfect game with 12 consecutive post-season appearances and deserves serious consideration for manager-of-the-year—had about as much to do with motivation as our Iraq war plan does with inspiration. It was babble, and it’s getting old—as old as the Boss himself. Remember, this is the guy who in 1989 paid gambler Howie Spira $40,000 to dig for grime on former Yankee star Dave Winfield, and who pled guilty 33 years ago to illegally tossing coins into Richard Nixon’s collection plate.
Yankees are out, and maybe for years to come, so enter blabbermouth Dolan, the “Ritchie Rich” of the corporate world, as one writer called him, a spoiled man-boy who doesn’t know the difference between make believe and real life because he has never had to live in reality. Until now, that is—the cold reality of a recent $11.6 million judgment against him in punitive damages for discriminating against former Garden executive Anucha Browne Sanders. Clown prince Isiah Thomas, the foundation stone of the case, doesn’t have to pay up, but his chances of ever coaching again beyond the Knicks are about as good as Wilt Chamberlain having another 100 point game.
“Jim Dolan gives poor little rich boys a bad name,” writes sports columnist Ian O’Connor. “Poor little rich boys can be spoiled, arrogant and dismissive, and…Charles Dolan is all of that. But thanks to their gene pools and trust funds and prep school educations, poor little rich boys aren’t dumb. Jim Dolan? He’s dumber than a Game 7 technical.”
Dolan has fouled out with his actions and contemptuous demeanor in the Browne Sanders case, as has Steinbrenner whiffed again with his tongue. These are breaches of class behavior that both sports and corporate executives should observe closely and discern from.
Blabbermouths in Ralph Kramden’s world go to the moon. Bang. Zoom!