The Yankees have held spring training in Tampa since 1996.
Tampa’s connections, and commitment, to the New York Yankees baseball team runs deep. Multiple legendary Yankees, from Lou Piniella to Dwight Gooden to Derek Jeter were either born in Tampa Bay, live here now or both. And the region has been a second home for the extended family of the team’s owners, the Steinbrenners, for generations.
This spring training, the team will hit a milestone in Tampa, celebrating 25 years holding camp and playing games at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Designed to the exact dimensions as the original Yankee Stadium in New York, it’s the largest spring training ballpark in Florida, with capacity of more than 10,000 people. “This is a great community and we love being here,” Yankees CEO Hal Steinbrenner tells Coffee Talk.
On a recent press tour recognizing the silver anniversary, Steinbrenner spoke to the Business Observer about leadership and building a winning culture. Edited excerpts:
• Aim big: “If you set the expectations high for yourself, then everyone else should follow,”says Steinbrenner, who earned an MBA from the University of Florida in 1994. “You have to lead by example.”
• Fail forward: When hiring people for team culture who fit with the organization, Steinbrenner seeks employees who admit mistakes. “We look for people who are willing to admit they are wrong,” he tells Coffee Talk. “It’s really the only way to grow.”
• Father’s footsteps: The youngest son of the late George Steinbrenner, who bought the team, now worth $4.6 billion, for $8.7 million in 1973, Steinbrenner says his dad taught him the value of a strong work ethic. “To whom much is given, much is expected,” Steinbrenner says. “I try to live my life that way, raise my kids that way and run the business that way.”