Saturday, December 10, 2016
Posted by el duque at 7:13 AM
You'll meet Hippo Hank, the chain-smoking blowhard; Food Stamps Hal, the tightwad Dan Quayle-clone; Jolly Jessica and Jiggly Jennifer, the requisite evening gown vixens; and, of course, the Trumpian leviathan himself, Old George. Each would be a hot air balloon filled with hope and despair, good and evil, brains and buffoonery. But the two most fascinating characters - (I'm seeing Christian Bale and James Franco) - would be the ones that got away.
The first would be Steve Swindal, Jennifer's ex, who served as a Yankee general partner from 1998 to 2006. In 2005, Swindal was selected by George to be his heir apparent - the next Yankee scion. Who couldn't love the idea of a Yankee owner named Swindal bossing around a GM named Cashman? You can't make this stuff up. I figured the Swindal must possess an instinctive, Machiavellian genius - marrying into the family and becoming its patriarch. He'd make a good owner.
But the juju gods didn't bite. Swindal had a messy DWI and the marriage went south. Shit happens, you know? His name vanished from the masthead. He moved to the Dominican Republic and launched a prospect factory, buying and developing young talent. At least in 2012, he was on decent relations with the family. Imagine being tabbed to run the Yankees, and then ending up in a Third World meat market. Life, eh? Come on, Scorsese, you gotta want this!
Then there is Felix Lopez, Jessica's ex, who saw a similar trajectory. A Cuban-born construction company president, Lopez married into the team and made the masthead in 2005. For whatever reasons, and I can think of some bad ones, the NY Post never gave him any respect. They called him a former "landscaper" who "rose from the mulch to become an executive vice president." They didn't use the word "gold-bricker," but you got the picture. Lopez was put in charge of rebuilding the team's complex in Tampa, and seemed bulletproof within the organization until 2015, when the divorce papers were filed. Then - poof, gone - we all know the drill.
But something else happened. The Yankees took some parting shots at Lopez, blaming Lopez in whispers for the ongoing fiasco known as Yoan Moncada. They emerged in a 2015 story by the tabloid columnist Billy Madden, who noted Lopez' slur-like nickname within the Yankees: The Gardener.
Other than having hit the lottery by marrying the Boss’ daughter, Lopez’s primary duties were the overseeing of construction projects (and cost over-runs?) at Steinbrenner Field and the Himes Field minor league complex, and dabbling (often times without the knowledge or approval of GM Brian Cashman) in the Yankees’ Latin America scouting operations — most recently, I’m told, with an unauthorized heavy hand in Yoan Moncata negotiations that effectively ended any chances of the Yankees signing the Cuban free agent.
Yup. They actually blamed the Moncada debacle on the Cuban guy. Meanwhile, the Yankees were still defending their utter cheapness, stressing the high $63 million price tag paid by Boston. (Of course, this week, the Redsocks converted Moncada into three years of Chris Sale, and quite possibly the next few AL East titles.) Other Lopez tidbits were teased. As far as I know, they never tumbled out. Everybody sort of shut up.
But to Yankee fans, Moncada and now, Chris Sale, should remain a symbol of a dysfunctional family, which boiled over into a dysfunctional franchise... and then which scapegoated the outsider. Pretty rancid, no?
Wednesday, Felix Lopez puts his 2009 World Series ring up for auction on invaluable.com. It's expected to sell for between $3,000 and $4,000. It's an icon of Yankee pride, and a symbol of love gone south. This diamond ring, it don't shine for me anymore... Come on, Scorsese, pass on the ring and buy the movie rights - before Damon and Affleck get their hands on it. I BID TEN DOLLARS!