With apologies to Jack Lee and Peter Case, George Steinbrenner leaves the New York Times’ Murray Chass (above) hanging on the telephone.
I called (Howard) Rubenstein yesterday morning and told him I would like to talk to George at Yankee Stadium before or during the Yankees’ home opener with Kansas City. I mentioned that probably no other reporter was also there for Steinbrenner’s first Yankee Stadium opener, way back in 1973.
In fact, I said there would be reporters there who hadn’t even been born at the time Steinbrenner saw his first home opener as the Yankees’ principal owner. Indeed, four of the Yankees’ nine beat reporters had not made their appearance in the world.
“I’ll ask him when I get to the Stadium,” Rubenstein replied.
Early in the game Rubenstein called and said: “George will talk to you on the telephone. Is that O.K.?”
Not really. With Steinbrenner in his loge-level office and me in the loge-level press box, we were no farther apart than home plate from first base. But with my editors waiting for a “George talks” column, I couldn’t very well turn down a telephone interview, so I said yes.
“We’ll call you,” Rubenstein said. The game became secondary. I was going to talk to George.Innings went by, and no call. During the fourth inning, I said to a colleague, “I wouldn’t be surprised if George changes his mind.”
Just after the Stadium grounds crew did its “Y.M.C.A.” act after the fifth inning, Rubenstein called.
“He decided he’s not going to do it today,” Rubenstein said. “He’s entertaining up here. Maybe he’ll do it tomorrow.”
I will not sit by the telephone waiting for the call.