Q: You once said: “If I fired somebody, it would be for a very good reason, and they’d stay fired. Dad fires somebody, then hires them back and sends their kids to college.”
A: I don’t want to compare myself with my dad. The fact is, I’m a much easier Boss; I’m very slow to fire somebody. It would have to be for a very good reason – if they cross me or the company. Once I fire them, they stay fired.
Q: How do you think you’re like your father?
A: Someone once said in one of the articles I tend to shoot from the hip like my dad. I’ll analyze things as well, just like he did at times. You don’t get to be as successful as he’s been without analyzing things. He was always thinking.
Q: What was it like working for your father?
A: He was a difficult Boss. As a dad, he’s a great dad, but a very, very difficult Boss. A pain in the (butt).
Q: Best piece of advice from your father?
A: Nothing is as important if you have children than being a good father. And being charitable. The third thing is winning. There’s no reason to get into business, especially if you’re in sports, if you don’t intend to win. It’s more of a coach’s mentality than the usual owner’s mentality. There are owners out there in all sorts of different sports that are not that committed to winning.
Q: You once said, “If you’re the Boss, you have to be a benevolent dictator. Otherwise, they’ll take advantage of you every time.”
A: I was speaking historically. There were probably two benevolent dictators: Lincoln and Roosevelt … caring leaders. Most people, when they become dictators, aren’t benevolent anymore … Yeah, you gotta be The Boss, no question about it … you gotta be The Boss, but you should be good to your people.
Q: Will this be a fun role for you?
A: It’s the family business, is what it is. Winning is always fun; we want to win. It’s a necessity. If you want to be a leader, you gotta step up. You can’t hide in a room somewhere just because there’s a controversy over the Joe Torre thing or this, that and the other thing. I’m a horse trader, I’m a horse bettor, I’m a horse breeder. You learn a little something when you’re in that business. If you can do horseracing, you can do baseball.
My dad was kinda looking to be a celebrity, and he enjoyed it. I’m not looking for that and neither is my brother (Hal).
Q: Why will New York like Joe Girardi?
A: Baseball-wise, he reminds me a lot of Billy as far as baseball intelligence – tactics, strategy and so forth. Good leader. Obviously Joe Torre was as well, and so is Joe, maybe in a little different way. They’re gonna like him. He’s tough, he’s smart, but he also cares about the players. He’s also a real organization guy; he likes to work with the scouts and with the GM.
Q: Brian Cashman’s strengths?
A: He’s probably more frugal with money than myself or my brother are, or my dad was. The biggest thing he’s done these last few years is these young pitchers (Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy). Him and Damon Oppenheimer, and Mark Newman. Nobody gives you pitching. You gotta grow your own, and you gotta draft them, and they’ve done that. Nowadays, it’s very tough to be able to get a (David) Cone or a (David) Wells when they were at their peak. You saw what (the Giants) paid (seven years, $126 million) for (Barry) Zito.
There’s a very small part of me that gets a somewhat bad vibe when Hank speaks. But, on the whole, reading what he has to say is much more fun than seeing those boring and vanilla Big Stein statements from Howard Rubenstein.