Steinbrenner takes a shot, Naimoli refuses to fire back
By MARC TOPKIN
Published May 5, 2004
ARLINGTON, Texas - When the Yankees are struggling, George Steinbrenner isn't shy about making pointed comments to let them know who's boss.
In a lengthy interview with Sports Illustrated, Steinbrenner has some choice words about the Devil Rays.
"I think they should do better because hell, they have had the first-round (draft) picks every year for a lot of years," Steinbrenner said.
"And (Arizona owner) Jerry Colangelo, he's had a world championship and he came in the same time they did. I like Jerry. We've been closer than everybody thinks."
Devil Rays managing general partner Vince Naimoli, who considers Steinbrenner a friend, declined Tuesday night to fire back.
"The only comment I have is that I'm the CEO of the Devil Rays, and I'll restrict my comments to the Devil Rays and not comment on other teams in Major League Baseball," Naimoli said from his Tampa home.
Steinbrenner's comments were on the magazine's Web site (www.sportsillustrated.cnn.com) with other excerpts on wide-ranging subjects from the season-opening trip to Japan to the Red Sox to his friend Donald Trump to his family.
In an article in the upcoming issue of the magazine, Rays manager Lou Piniella, a former Yankees skipper, is quoted as saying: "George is a great guy, unless you have to work for him. My relationship with him is great, better than it's ever been. That's because I haven't worked for him in years."