Yankees owner George Steinbrenner gave almost eight hours of testimony to baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent Thursday regarding his dealings with Howard Spira and Dave Winfield. And still all the tangles and turbulence of those relationships had not been addressed. So Vincent and Steinbrenner agreed to adjourn and continue the hearing Friday.
That Steinbrenner and Vincent met at such length without conclusion hinted at the complexities and scope to this case, one that imperils Steinbrenner's control, if not ownership, of the Yankees."It was a very civilized, gentlemanly procedure," Vincent said. "I regret that we did not finish it. But I am not apologetic."
Vincent told reporters at a makeshift news conference after adjourning, "I am not going to tell you anything substantive" about the hearing. But he said he hoped to address the case in some specifics after what he expects to be the conclusion of the hearing Friday.
One of the areas Vincent is expected to discuss Friday is his timetable for a decision. No decision is expected Friday. And because Vincent does not wish to detract from the pageantry of the All-Star Game, none is expected until at least after that event is held Tuesday in Chicago. It also is possible that Steinbrenner will introduce information that would move Vincent to re-open his investigation.
The commissioner's investigation stemmed from $40,000 in checks drawn from Yankees accounts that Steinbrenner gave to Spira on Jan. 8. Steinbrenner first explained the payment as a goodwill gesture, then explained it as a means to prevent Spira from divulging damaging information about former Yankees employees.