Was the sign a, um, sign of customer service or did it serve some other useful purpose? From the NY Times (reg req’d):
It is clear by now where George Steinbrenner stands on the World Baseball Classic. Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ principal owner, likes it about as much as a 20-game losing streak.
But the tournament is happening, even though the Yankees never voted for it. Now Commissioner Bud Selig wants Steinbrenner to stop complaining.
Selig ordered the Yankees to remove the sign at Legends Field that apologizes to fans for certain players not taking part in exhibition games. Five Yankees — Johnny Damon, Derek Jeter, Al Leiter, Alex Rodriguez and Bernie Williams — left the team Thursday to participate in the Classic.
Here is the sign (sorry for the blurriness – a clearer version is in the NY Times article):
Steinbrenner said through his spokesman, Howard Rubenstein, that he did not sanction the sign, which misspelled the word Yankees and instructed fans to direct their comments to the commissioner’s office or the players association.
“He had nothing to do with it,” Rubenstein said. “It was the ticket office who put it up. They sold all the seats, and they felt that if there were any complaints, people should call the commissioner. But George said they were going to take it down.”
Steinbrenner has said publicly that he would rather his players focus on preparing for the season, and he praised Hideki Matsui last week for staying with the Yankees instead of playing for Japan. Whether or not he posted the sign, the wording was consistent with Steinbrenner’s feelings.
This sounds more like a case of the ticket people not wanting to be bothered by any more fan complaints (or trying to head off fan complaints) with the tacit approval of the Boss.