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By Murray Chass

February 22, 2015

As far as his baseball life goes (his private life is another matter), Brian Cashman has lived a charmed existence. He has spent two and a half decades being in the right place at the right time.

When Cashman was old enough to join the working world in 1989, a good friend of his father’s had a job for him. The friend was George Steinbrenner, and the job was at Yankee Stadium as an assistant in baseball operations.

He was there – and briefly in Tampa – as Steinbrenner plowed through five of his first 16 general managers. Cashman became the 17th when Bob Watson could no longer tolerate Steinbrenner after two years and retired.

Inheriting a team that had the highest payroll in baseball and, bulked up by the owner’s free-spending ways, would reach the unprecedented $200 million level eight years into his tenure, Cashman was playing on an uneven playing field.

Cashman, however, has not produced a World Series winner after 2009 and, based on Steinbrenner’s history, would not have retained his job as long as he has had Steinbrenner not died in the middle of the 2010 season.

In significant ways, Hal Steinbrenner has adopted the opposite style of his father and last year he extended Cashman’s contract for three years. That decision bothered some Yankees fans and other observers.

I recently wrote a column saying the Yankees made a mistake, that 17 years in the position were long enough and that Cashman had outlived his usefulness. Cashman didn’t appreciate my view and told people I was “out to get” him, as though he were above criticism or questioning.

Because Cashman hadn’t taken or returned my calls for a couple of years, I was surprised when he got on the phone Friday when I called him. It wasn’t a long conversation. In fact, it wasn’t a conversation at all.

“Why are you bothering calling me?” he asked gruffly. “Lose the number. Write your shit.”

And he abruptly hung up.

I was calling Cashman not to ask him about the Yankees but about the person who really is “out to get” him. For at least the last six weeks – it could be a lot longer – this person has anonymously filled reporters’ inboxes with …

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By Murray Chass

February 19, 2015

If Lou Gehrig were alive, being the modest man he has always been portrayed as, he would probably shrug it off and find an excuse for it. Babe Ruth, on the other hand, would very likely see it for the crass money-making gimmick it is and blister the New York Yankees for cheapening the honor they bestowed on him by retiring his famous uniform No. 3 June 13, 1948.

The Yankees, in recent years, have gone into the business of increasing ticket sales for games at Yankee Stadium by retiring uniform numbers and putting up plaques in what they call Monument Park at Yankee Stadium.

They have cheapened their legitimate honors so much that they may as well go the rest of the way and start selling plaques to fans for hanging among the monuments for Ruth and Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio.

The Yankees introduced their Monument Park expansion last year when they added plaques for …

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By Murray Chass

February 15, 2015

When Bud Selig left the commissioner’s office Jan. 25 after 22 years, he did not leave a clean desk behind. Rob Manfred, his successor, inherited several juicy items on which Selig had not acted.

In his strategically procrastinating way – that is, I don’t want to have to decide this – Selig ignored for more than 17 years Pete Rose’s application for reinstatement to the game he had left involuntarily in 1989.

Rose, however, was not alone in dangling from Selig’s rope. The commissioner’s college fraternity brother, Lew Wolff, has been waiting for six years or more to learn if he would be permitted to move his Athletics from Oakland to San Jose.

Much more recently another issue landed on Selig’s desk on East Wisconsin Avenue in Milwaukee, and he has gladly passed it on to Manfred’s desk on Park Avenue in New York. The Tampa Bay Rays filed a …

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