The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman reminds us that Republican presidential hopeful Rudolph Giuliani — a recent fixture on Yankee TV and radio, has a long-standing, back scratching relationship with The Boss.
In the late 1990s, when Steinbrenner was smearing the Bronx while attempting to scare someone into allowing him to build a new stadium in Manhattan, then-Mayor Giuliani (above, right) was often heard with his two radio bobos, John Sterling and Michael Kay, pushing a sweetheart West Side stadium deal.
On the television side, Giuliani was less visible. There were times he slithered onto telecasts. There were also nights when he was turned away. At the time, Yankees TV rights were owned by MSG. Back then, some MSG suits actually realized baseball telecasts and politricks don’t mix.
Now, when it comes to Giuliani spreading his gospel on Yankees outlets, there are no obstacles. With Steinbrenner owning the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network, all self-serving projects can be pushed.
When YES’ cameras zoomed in on Giuliani, wearing a Yankee cap and pullover and pounding his baseball glove, it was evident where this was going. Giuliani was the catcher in Sunday’s “first pitch” ceremony. This meaningless exhibition game with Pittsburgh was the perfect venue for him to reach a captive audience of Yankees fans.
Giuliani was in Tampa for a morning political fundraiser. And while Steinbrenner may be a Republican at heart, he has essentially entrusted team president Randy Levine with all the day-to-day operations of the ballclub (baseball and otherwise), and was said to have taken a very passive role in the Yankee mascot’s presidential whistle stop.
Levine is pals with Giuliani. He also was a trusted deputy when Rudy was mayor. Giuliani might as well have the keys to both broadcast booths. Suzyn (Georgie Girl) Waldman said as much when she offered Giuliani a season pass to the radio side.
“You will be going to a lot of cities (to campaign),” Waldman said in the bottom of the fourth. “So when we (the Yankees) are in the same town, you should come up and do an inning or two.”
Before his radio appearance, Giuliani visited YES’ booth in the top of the inning. Play-by-play man Kay greeted Giuliani, saying: “Just like old times.” Kay was right. As always, Giuliani’s presence was annoying and distracting. Still, Kay gets credit for attempting to steer clear of politics and keep Giuliani talking baseball.
No such luck during Giuliani’s radio appearance. After making the first two outs, the Yankees went on to score seven runs, giving Ma and Pa Pinstripe ample time to turn the “interview” into an overtly political, pom-pom waving, Giuliani gush-a-thon.
The subject of Giuliani’s relationship with his son Andrew, or the current state of Rudy’s friendship with Bernard Kerik, were not going to be part of this Twinkie munch.
Sterling, in disingenuous mode, claimed not to be “a political” person, but insisted because America is “broadening and changing” Giuliani will be accepted by people who hold a variety of political and moral beliefs.