From the Auburn Citizen -
George Steinbrenner isn’t known as “The Boss” because of his generous reputation.
The New York Yankees’ 75-year-old owner is famous for his surly demeanor and his no-nonsense approach to running an organization.
But don’t tell that to Sydney Lattimore, 10, or her brother, Sean, 9. The budding Yankee fans and their parents were granted front-row tickets at Yankee Stadium for New York’s home opener April 11 courtesy of Steinbrenner himself.
The Auburn family’s encounter with baseball’s most controversial owner occurred on a last-minute spring break trip by the Lattimores. Sean Sr. and his wife, Beth, decided to take their two children to New York City for a few days and ended up staying in the hotel where Steinbrenner lives.
“My wife and I went down to the lobby and all of a sudden a guy came in and he looked familiar,” Sean Sr. said of his first encounter with Steinbrenner. “I looked down at his hand and saw the (World Series) rings and knew it was him. I went over and introduced my son and daughter and he immediately was taken by them.”
He said his family’s conversation with Steinbrenner was “just like talking with one of your relatives.”
“It was cool,” Sydney said. “He was really nice.”
The next morning, the day of the Yankees’ opener against the Kansas City Royals, Steinbrenner was once again in the hotel lobby. When he saw the Lattimores get off the elevator, Steinbrenner signaled for Sydney and Sean Jr. to come over to him. That’s when he offered up his own personal seats.
The Auburn family quickly accepted the exclusive tickets.
“Mr. Steinbrenner asked the kids if they were going to the baseball game,” Sean Sr. said. “They said they didn’t have tickets so he reached in his blazer and pulled out four tickets. He turned to them and said, ‘You’ll love these seats, they’re my seats.’”
When the family arrived back at the hotel after the game, there again was ever-giving Steinbrenner.
“We went back after the game to get our luggage and he came right over to the kids,” Sean Sr. said. “He was chuckling with them. He asked them, ‘Were the seats good enough?’ You never see that side of him but we’ve shared the stories with a bunch of people and different people have come up with some really special stories of Steinbrenner. He’s got a real big heart and personal side that people seldom get to see.”
I gotta start hanging out in hotel lobbies more often. Best I ever did was running into the acts of Ozzfest 2002 in the lobby of a Hilton Hotel in Woodbridge (NJ) while I was waiting for a tow truck.
That’s nada compared to a Big Stein encounter.