Monday, June 23, 2008

No One In Yankees Organization Has Heart To Tell George Steinbrenner That Tampa Bay Rays Have Better Record

New York, NY. (Jun 23) - New York Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner, in seclusion due to poor health, has been mercifully withheld from the news that the Tampa Bay Rays have a better record and are in second place behind the Boston Red Sox.

"We just don't see the point" in bothering Steinbrenner, 77, with the troubling scenario, said Mary Steinbrenner, one of George's nieces. "It would only...make things worse."

The elder Steinbrenner has left the day-to-day running of the team mostly to son Hank.

The Rays are currently 44-31, 1 1/2 games behind the Red Sox. The Yankees are 41-35, five games out. And three-and-a-half games behind the usually poor Rays -- which is unheard of in late June.

Aides to the patriarch Steinbrenner say that he is shown sports pages from the early-2000s, and is told that the team has reacquired such former stars as Paul O'Neill, Bernie Williams, and Tino Martinez -- or that they've been coaxed out of retirement.

"Sometimes we just run videotaped highlights from 2001," Mary Steinbrenner said, "and tell my uncle that they're from last night or something."

But the biggest secret the family and aides are keeping from the elder Steinbrenner is the fact that usually terrible Tampa Bay has risen to second place, ahead of the history-rich Yankees.

"That would be the killer blow," one aide said. "It might just shove the old coot over the edge," he added on condition of anonymity.

The move to shield Steinbrenner from the Tampa Bay news had old-timers recalling other similar moments, like the Kennedy family withholding news of John's death from father Joe in 1963, and elderly Vancouver Canucks owner Seymour Knox not being shown the team's new gold and black and brown uniforms in 1979.

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