July 18th, 2002


you tell 'em, George.

NEW YORK (AP) -- George Steinbrenner responded to charges from Cleveland owner Larry Dolan that the New York Yankees are to blame for baseball's economic problems.

"Since the day that Babe Ruth was acquired, the Yankees have been the envy of many in the game and subject to the jealousies that success brings," Steinbrenner, the Yankees owner, said in a statement Wednesday. "In reality, it is the Yankees' success and commitment to providing a consistent winner that is at the center of the criticism."

On Tuesday, Dolan criticized Steinbrenner for increasing his team's payroll even more through trades for Raul Mondesi and Jeff Weaver as the Yankees make another postseason run.

"George is a large part of our problem," he said.

Dolan said the Yankees, whose payroll is about $135 million, are forcing other teams to overspend so they can compete.

"No one complained when the Yankees did not have success on the field," Steinbrenner said. "Our revenues have not been developed and increased accidentally. They are directly attributable to hard work and continuing investment in the team."

Larry Dolan's brother, Charles, is the chairman of Cablevision Systems Corp., which is in a dispute with the Yankees about carrying the team's new cable network on Cablevision's cable systems.

Steinbrenner said that when he first bought the team in 1973 the Yankees paid WMCA to air radio broadcasts and that New York drew fewer than 1.2 million in his first three seasons. He also made a passing reference to Tuesday's lawsuit by former limited partners of the Montreal Expos against Bud Selig, accusing the baseball commissioner of mail fraud and wire fraud in violation of federal laws against racketeering.

"I have run the Yankees the best way I know how and will continue to do so," Steinbrenner said. "In the wake of the most recent lawsuit, which has created even more turmoil for commissioner Selig and his officers, I think it best for me to not comment any further at this time."