Thursday, October 14, 2010
Big Stein's mash notes quashed, for now
Sorry, folks. Looks like you'll have to wait a while longer before reading the early romantic stylings of George Michael Stein III ...
The 19 letters describe an innocent 60-year-old story of the friendship between a collegian named George Steinbrenner and Mary Jane Elster, a girl two years his junior.
Despite the letters’ chasteness, the Yankees are emphatically refusing to let the woman, now Mary Jane Schriner, use them in a small book about the relationship, which began in 1949 when she was 16 and living in Bay Village, Ohio, that she has been asked to collaborate on.
Lonn Trost, the Yankees’ chief operating officer, told Schriner’s son Michael in an e-mail last month that “regardless of anyone’s intent,” publication of the letters “will cause untold embarrassment and damages to the Steinbrenner family and the Steinbrenner’s business interests.” Trost declined to say what offended the family.
“We just think it’s insensitive and because of that it would be inappropriate to proceed on their request,” Trost said in an interview on Wednesday.
Michael Schriner said he was angry and perplexed by the Yankees’ decision.
“Lonn could not have been more of a bully,” Michael Schriner said. “George looks so great in the letters. We wanted his kids to see the letters. But no one wants to mess with the Steinbrenners. People are afraid of them.”
Someone who works for the Yankees was a bully? Why, you could knock me over with a hummingbird's feather ...
This is about control. Releasing those letters would cause the Steinbrenners little (if any) embarrassment, and wouldn't cost the Steinbrenners a single penny.
This is simply about control.
It's also about the law. Apparently the law does prohibit publishing someone's letters without his consent. Or his estate's.
The only real loss here is suffered by serious historians who might want to someday write a serious, scholarly biography of George Steinbrenner. Granted, you might think that Steinbrenner's family would like to see him treated seriously.
That is, unless you've been paying attention for the last few months.