NEW YORK (WFAN) -- Yankees fans were jolted by Thursday morning's edition of the New York Daily News.
There it was on the front page: "BUY, BUY, GEORGE? YANKEES SALE RUMORS SWIRL." On the back page, "The $3B QUESTION."
Seriously? Could the Steinbrenner family really consider selling The Boss' beloved franchise? The story caused such a stir that Yankees brass quickly delivered a strong two-pronged denial. Managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner dismissed it as "pure fiction" in a statement. On WFAN's Boomer & Carton morning show, team COO Lonn Trost called the report an "absolute fabrication."
Faced with the brushback, Daily News writer Bill Madden called in to WFAN to defend his story, which cited a source that said there's been "chatter" about a potential sale "for a couple weeks now."
LISTEN: Madden with Boomer & Carton
Though no insiders told him "anything substantive," Madden said these are "more than just rumors."
"We don't just talk to people on the street," he emphatically told Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton. "I talked to four or five extremely prominent, plugged-in baseball people, all of whom told me, 'I have heard the same thing.' That the Steinbrenners are considering selling the team. They all said the same thing to me."
Madden said there's been much talk in New York's financial circles -- and around Major League Baseball -- about the Yankees possibly looking to sell in the wake of the Los Angeles Dodgers' recent $2 billion-plus price tag. It has been estimated that the Bombers could go for up to $3 billion.
To the writer, the story was balanced -- and the buzz was certainly reportable.
"So I have (Yankees president) Randy Levine's denial in the story," Madden said. "But the very fact that baseball people don't seem to believe that -- or at least in their minds, there is something to this story. And that's all this story says."
He added: "We could have very just easily ignored this whole thing. But every time we called somebody else in baseball, we got the same thing."
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