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Bringing a Knife to a Gun Fight

John Henry’s critical comments of the Yankees yesterday was like serving George Steinbrenner a meatball right over the fat part of the plate. What? Did you think that the Boss could resist this one? Come on, now. The Yankees’ principal owner issued the following statement:

“We understand that John Henry must be embarrassed, frustrated and disappointed by his failure in this transaction,” Steinbrenner said. “Unlike the Yankees, he chose not to go the extra distance for his fans in Boston. It is understandable, but wrong that he would try to deflect the accountability for his mistakes on to others and to a system for which he voted in favor. It is time to get on with life and forget the sour grapes.”

As Bill Madden writes this morning:

Crazy as this might seem, Henry and fellow Red Sox honcho, team president Larry Lucchino, have managed to make Steinbrenner look almost like a sympathetic character in all this with their cries of foul and outrage over his snaring of A-Rod. How foolish did they look, lobbying Selig to block the A-Rod deal to the Yankees – especially after the commissioner had threatened to intercede in their behalf to keep their deal for A-Rod alive after Orza’s kiboshing of it?

In his statement yesterday, which concluded, “Baseball doesn’t have an answer for the Yankees,” it was as if an exasperated Henry was laying down the gauntlet and saying: “Okay, George, take your best shot!”

Or as Dan Shaughnessy opines:

Hang your heads, Sox fans. It’s a sad day in the Nation when George Steinbrenner sounds like the reasonable party.

Joel Sherman adds:

The only insanity, however, was Henry thinking he could go bluster for bluster with the king of the art form. By late afternoon, George Steinbrenner had issued a statement so biting and cunning in return that Joe Torre, face in hands, literally was caught between chuckle and grimace as the words were read to him by a reporter.

Bud Selig later spoke with both owners and told them to behave themselves like big boys. Joe Torre, a genuine grown up, was having himself a fine day in Florida. Still high off the Rodriguez trade, Torre has had several good conversations with his boss over the past couple of days and there is even a possibility that he will want to continue managing the Yankees after his contract runs out at the end of the season.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver