Greenberg: Yankee ripper
Rangers owner blasts NY fans
ARLINGTON, Texas — As his team was fighting to stay alive in the World Series against the Giants, Rangers owner Chuck Greenberg decided to pick a fight with the Yankees.
During an appearance on a Dallas radio show yesterday, Greenberg ripped Yankees fans for their behavior during the American League Championship Series.
“I thought Yankee fans, frankly, were awful. They were either violent or apathetic, neither of which is good,’’ he said. “So I thought Yankee fans were by far the worst of any I’ve seen in the postseason. I thought they were an embarrassment.’’
In New York, Yankees officials were furious when they heard the remarks, but issued only this terse statement: “At this time, we are honoring the Commissioner’s policy regarding respecting and not distracting from the World Series.’’
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig reportedly admonished Greenberg for his comment. Greenberg then called Yankees president Randy Levine and owner Hal Steinbrenner to apologize before issuing a statement through the team.
“Earlier today, in the course of praising the extraordinary support and enthusiasm of Texas Rangers fans, I unfairly and inaccurately disparaged fans of the New York Yankees,’’ Greenberg said.
“Those remarks were inappropriate. Yankees fans are among the most passionate and supportive in all of baseball. I have spoken directly to Hal Steinbrenner and Randy Levine to apologize for my intemperate comments.
“I would like to express again how proud we are of our fans and how remarkably they have supported the Rangers throughout lean times and now during this magical season.’’
Kristin Lee, the wife of Texas starter Cliff Lee, told USA Today last week that the Rangers wives were taunted, spit at, and had beer thrown at them in the Bronx.
“The fans did not do good things in my heart,’’ she said. “When people are staring at you, and saying horrible things, it’s hard not to take it personal.’’
But the lefthander, who is on the verge of free agency, quickly tamped down the issue, perhaps knowing the free-spending Yankees would be among his suitors.
“I brush that off as fans being fans. You can’t control 50,000 people and what they’re going to do,’’ Lee said last Tuesday. “There were some people that were spitting off the balcony on to the family section and stuff like that, which is kind of weak. What can you do?
“I know it’s been made into a big deal, but that’s really all it is. Two, three, or four people acting like fools in 50,000. You can’t group them all together.’’
Greenberg’s attack could serve to intensify the battle for Lee in free agency.
Players with options have three days before that deadline, which will be Friday at midnight.
The Red Sox hold options on David Ortiz, Bill Hall, and Scott Atchison, while Adrian Beltre holds a player option.
Hall has been told that his $9.25 million option will not be picked up. Lowell is expected to retire, and Beltre will not exercise his $10 million option.