Vintage Tube: Steinbrenner's 'mahvelous' interview with Crystal

I recorded this video of George Steinbrenner being interviewed by "Fernando" — a Billy Crystal character based on Fernando Lamas — with my family's first VCR.

The VHS tape, though it had been watched dozens and dozens of times, survived long enough for me to convert it to a file for uploading to YouTube. I finally did this early Tuesday morning after the tape had been sitting on a shelf at my mom's house for the better part of 25 years.

Now it's preserved forever. Isn't that just mahvelous?

This skit was part of an hour-long show Crystal produced in 1985 as part of NBC's programming for the All-Star game. I also recall taping the game itself (played in Minneapolis, won by the NL), though I'm not sure where that recording is.

That's OK, because this is some of the good stuff. Not only is Crystal at his funniest, but Steinbrenner shows terrific comic timing as he's interviewed. It's one of the reasons I grew up liking him. Being funny gets you a pass, even if you're the hated owner of the hated New York Yankees.

It's not a historical document for the Hall of Fame or anything super important (like Jackie Rogers Jr. $100,000 Jackpot Wad), but it's still a pretty good time capsule discovery.

I always wanted to interview Steinbrenner, and I would have asked him about this experience.

Among the funny lines:

• Steinbrenner is one of the biggest names in baseball, Fernando says, because "it's got 12 letters in it."

• When asked where slugger Reggie Jackson went, Steinbrenner says it was "a bad mistake some of his people made" in getting rid of him four years earlier.

• Steinbrenner says he has to buy everything for his players — including gloves, socks and "the other thing" — which allows Fernando to call him an "athletic supporter from way back."

• Steinbrenner's definition of love: "What the players have for me."

• Fernando, who struggles with the language barrier because he has "American teeth and a Spanish mouth," says he doesn't know which way to go — like the Yankees infield sometimes. Ba-dump-bump.

• Fernando mistakenly gets excited about 7-foot rookie Patrick Ewing playing defense for the Yankees.

• Fernando imagines Steinbrenner as a teenager roaming the halls of his high school with other students telling him to "go fire the principal."

• Fernando speculates that the AL East is the toughest division in baseball because "there's not so many good places to eat in Cleveland," Steinbrenner's home town.

Watching it, I'm thinking there's a little bit of Fernando inside of every "Answer Man" Q&A.

I hope you enjoyed this vintage tube. I wonder what other odd baseball stuff I have on VHS...

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