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October 09, 2002

Nothing Against the Angels, He's Just Picking the Twins

Yankee owner George Steinbrenner, a longtime friend, was on the phone asking me to help him get some World Series tickets.

Steinbrenner, of course, was kidding.

Naturally, the Yankee owner is not pleased his team lost to Anaheim in the division series. But Steinbrenner always was a big fan of the late Gene Autry, who owned the Angels before the franchise was purchased by the Walt Disney Co.

Steinbrenner was impressed by the Angels, who eliminated the Yankees in four games. "They're good. Fundamentally they do all the things that we did not do," he said. "That's the best way to explain it. They believed they could win.... Now they have to come up there and play on that ping-pong table. It's going to be a good series, but there won't be that much interest in the country in it. That's the problem."

Overall, Steinbrenner does not believe the Angels are as good as the Yankees. "They aren't a super team," he said. "They are a bunch of good athletes. They have a great manager [in Mike Scioscia], but so do the Twins."

Steinbrenner picks the Twins to win the American League championship series because they have the advantage in pitching.

"The Twins have got a shot, definitely," he said. "I'm not taking anything away from Anaheim but pitching usually wins. It didn't in our case. This was an unusual year when pitching didn't come through. But it didn't work for Oakland either."

Steinbrenner is not happy with the new collective bargaining agreement, which will penalize the Yankees' high salaries more than any other team. He said the success of the Twins and Angels in the postseason proves the luxury tax is not needed.

"What does this say to [Commissioner Bud] Selig' argument, that it's all one-sided?" Steinbrenner asked about the agreement for which Selig pushed. "It doesn't sound very good for Bud, does it? It proves that payrolls don't win pennants."

Sid Hartman

Minneapolis Star Tribune


You Can Take It to the Bank That Selig Did Not Act Alone

It should have sounded different. The place should have sounded like a jumbo jet with anger-management issues.

What came out of mouths Tuesday night should have been ugly and bitter and oh so satisfying. The people deserved at least that.

But the vast majority of the 55,562 fans who showed up at the Metrodome for Game 1 of the American League championship series had no idea that the enemy was, if not within, then at least lurking near the edges.

Bud Selig spent part of Tuesday night in the private box of Minnesota Twin owner Carl Pohlad, the man who was willing to make his franchise go away in exchange for a satchel full of money.

Must have been some party up there, wingtips a-tapping, money being minted.

Sooner or later, the commissioner is going to have to show up and face the heavy metal. Sooner or later, he is going to have to settle up with the people whom he marginalized.

If there were any justice in this world, Pohlad would have been forced to sit shoulder to shoulder with Selig in the stands, been forced to absorb the abuse, maybe even been forced to throw out the ceremonial first pitch into the thick of the anger. Selig might have been the facilitator, but Pohlad was the one willing to sell his soul and the soul of a city. Pohlad was willing to contract his team into thin air.

"It's not all Bud," Twin center fielder Torii Hunter said. "It's not all Bud at all. I think we have some people from within too."

That would be banker Pohlad, whose fingers still are wrapped around the first dollar from his first foreclosure.

Rick Morrissey

Chicago Tribune


What They Lack in Talent, They Make Up for With Heart

The subject was heart. The speaker was Twin Manager Ron Gardenhire, who in his way might know as much about heart as a cardiologist.

"We know we're young and probably overmatched in experience," he said. "That's where heart comes in."

Basically, he was saying what Richard Adler and Jerry Ross put into lyrics half a century ago: "You've gotta have heart. All you really need is heart. When the odds are sayin' you'll never win, that's when the grin should start. You've gotta have hope. Mustn't sit around and mope."

That song is from the Broadway musical "Damn Yankees," which, incidentally, was about a man who sold his soul to the devil to play for the Washington Senators, who later became the Twins. All these years later a couple of modern-day devils--Bud Selig and Carl Pohlad--conspired to eliminate the Twins.

That's when the Twins showed the size of their heart. They won the American League Central Division. Then it was on to the AL divisional series against Oakland. The Twins were underdogs going in, and the odds against them increased when they trailed, 2-1, in the best-of-five series. You know how that turned out. Then they won Game 1 Tuesday night.

"We go game-by-game. If one day doesn't work, we try to go the next day," Gardenhire said.

Bob Sansevere

St. Paul Pioneer Press

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