And, to think, once upon a time, Billy Martin probably would have gotten fired for reading the words “Here lies George Steinbrenner” out loud…
Via the Tampa Tribune –
In the days since the barriers came down and the deputies withdrew, the pilgrims have come in a steady trickle to this place, both unlikely and compelling, where George M. Steinbrenner lies.
Finding their way to Trinity Memorial Gardens off State Road 54, they steer carefully into the first parking lot past the wrought-iron gates, nudging their bumpers in the direction of the Georgian colonial mausoleum, a collection of symmetrical angles in polished granite, fighter jet gray.
And even if the building is grand enough, nothing on its exterior suggests the identity of its owner. That requires stepping between the sturdy pillars that flank the narrow wooden entry doors, and peeking through tall, slender windows, to see where his name is engraved.
Some do, gazing inside, even aiming their point-and-shoots into the crypt illuminated by sunlight spilling through three small stained-glass windows. But most are content to gaze at a distance, or settle a while on a nearby bench.
Gilligan and her husband Bill, retired three years ago from the New York suburbs to northwest Pasco County, were satisfied with a drive-by sighting at the end of a morning-long tour of all things Steinbrenner: the spring training ballpark that bears his name, the high school, the cemetery.
They’ll be back. When friends from back home come to visit, Pat says, “I know they’re going to want to come see where Steinbrenner is buried, and we’ll bring them.”
Trinity resident Cathi Emslie expects to visit frequently, too. She and her husband, Bill Emslie, a longtime Yankees scout, traveled in the Steinbrenner orbit for a quarter century, coming to regard him as “our third father.”
For her, Steinbrenner was neither caricature nor legend, but the grateful recipient of her home-baked cookies every Christmas, a memorable storyteller with a wicked sense of humor and a remarkable – if underappreciated – flair for demonstrating loyalty.
Flashing a diamond-encrusted 2000 World Series ring, a Yankees pendant and Yankees-blue toenail polish, Emslie, 54, sparkled as she recalled being part of the Steinbrenner traveling party to Columbus for the 2003 Ohio State-Michigan football game: private jet, top-notch hotel, luxury box. “Unforgettable,” she says.