One man's "violent, apathetic and embarrassing" is another man's "ridiculous, inappropriate and stupid."
Those were the words Hal Steinbrenner used to characterize comments made on Monday by Texas Rangers president Chuck Greenberg to describe the behavior of Yankee fans during the American League Championship Series.
Appearing on The Michael Kay Show on 1050 ESPN radio, Steinbrenner said he was "very angry" when he learned about the remarks just before the start of the Yankees organizational meetings in Tampa on Monday afternoon.
"We reached out to Major League Baseball right away," said Steinbrenner, the younger son of the late George M. Steinbrenner III, who is the Yankees managing general partner and along with his brother Hank, the team's co-chairperson. "We agreed to wait until after the games to respond. We didn't want to distract from the World Series."
According to Steinbrenner, Greenberg called him soon afterward to offer an apology.
"Bottom line is, Chuck realized they were ridiculous comments and inappropriate. He reached out to us within an hour or two of the news breaking and, we believed, in a very sincere way."
Steinbrenner said he accepted Greenberg's apology but insisted he also apologize to the fans.
"They're the ones you have wronged here," Steinbrenner said he told Greenberg.
Later Monday evening, Greenberg issued a statement in which he acknowledged "unfairly and inaccurately [disparaging] fans of the New York Yankees."
"Those remarks were inappropriate," the statement continued. "Yankees fans are among the most passionate and supportive in all of baseball.
Appearing on the Ben and Skin Show on ESPN 103.3 FM in Dallas, Greenberg had said, "I thought Yankee fans, frankly, were awful. They were either violent or apathetic, neither of which is good. So I thought Yankee fans were by far the worst of any I've seen in the postseason. I thought they were an embarrassment."
Steinbrenner said Greenberg was unable to supply an explanation for his remarks.
"He was trying to figure out what came over him to even say such a thing," Steinbrenner said. "And he absolutely would be the first one to admit they were stupid comments and inappropriate and he very much wanted to give a sincere apology. Now, it's up to each individual fan to decide if it's good enough."
Later, appearing on WFAN radio in New York, Steinbrenner expanded his comments: "Look, everybody's different and everybody needs to make up his own mind. I talked to the man and I believe he's sincerely sorry. You either forgive him or you don't. You either move on or you don't. The conversation was enough for me. I heard the tone of his voice, and for me that was enough."
Wallace Matthews covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com.