The Ohio State fans showed respect when Bo Schembechler passed, Michigan fans reciprocated when Woody Hayes left. Baseball fans either love or hate the Yankees, there is no middle ground. With that inference in place, I bid farewell to George Steinbrenner, a guy who did anything he could to win at any cost. I am on the other side of the Yankee fence, hate the way they can buy championships by fielding an all-star team, and would rather hear vuvuzela’s humming at a soccer game than watch the Yankees win a World Series again.
Steinbrenner single-handedly revolutionized free agency in baseball. If he liked a player, the player was soon a Yankee, and a rich Yankee at that. Several members of my own family are Yankees fans, as well as friends, who don’t root for the Knicks, Jets, or Rangers – just the Yankees. Just like Lebron James, Steinbrenner left Cleveland to pursue his dreams. I can go on and on and on, but I won’t… not this time.
The admirable quality that has my respect are the suddenly popular stories of the countless charitable acts that Steinbrenner did. Maybe I misread him as a person while he was here. To make a mockery of a sport by purchasing everybody is one thing, but to make sure a down and out player was financially taken care of years after he retired, well that is just goodwill that he hid, and he has my respect in that regard.
One thing is certain, baseball will not be the same without him. I can’t wait to watch his son, who admittedly knows little about baseball, spend millions of dollars for the wrong guys. Enjoy what “The Boss” has left you, Yankee fans. Soon, you will return to mediocrity, by George.
Rest in peace, George Steinbrenner.