• Big Stein’s Passing – One Year Later

    Posted by on July 13th, 2011 · Comments (5)

    Bob Nightengale and Paul White had a great feature yesterday on how George Steinbrenner’s death changes the Yankees.  Note this part:

    Although George Steinbrenner, who bought the team in 1973, had gradually stepped away from the heavy lifting of the Yankees in the years before his death, there has been a distinct change in the feel and operation of the franchise in the past year.

    “It’s a lot more businesslike today,” says Yankees designated hitter Jorge Posada, who along with Mariano Rivera and Jeter are the last remaining members of the World Series championship run that started in 1996. “I know baseball has changed a lot, but it’s especially changed here.

    “I will always remember the way it was here when (Steinbrenner) was alive. The things he did for a lot of the players, the things he did behind closed doors … well, you just don’t see that now.”

    Yup.

    The Life Big Stein Lived

    Posted by on December 25th, 2010 · Comments (1)

    If you haven’t seen it, check out Jonathan Mahler’s An oral history of George Steinbrenner.  Good stuff.

    h/t: Rich Eisen.

    George Steinbrenner Not Elected To Baseball Hall Of Fame

    Posted by on December 6th, 2010 · Comments (11)

    While waiting to hear the news announced live on the MLB Network, I saw this on the HOF site, posted already.

    Amazing, it was announced on the MLB Network at least 9 minutes after the news was on the HOF site.

    Gotta say, I am bummed that Big Stein didn’t get the call this year.  Perhaps they’ll let the Boss in 2013?

    Will December 6th Be Big Day For Big Stein?

    Posted by on November 9th, 2010 · Comments (8)

    Can the day before Pearl Harbor Day be special for the man born on the Fouth of July?

    All depends on the ballot results.

    Yanks Respond To Critics Of Massive Big Stein Monument

    Posted by on September 22nd, 2010 · Comments (27)

    Via the Daily News

    Not even the Yankees can deny the monument unveiled in honor of late owner George Steinbrenner on Monday dwarfs legends such as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle in Monument Park.

    However, they aren’t about to apologize for it, either.

    “We think the monument is a tribute to the man The Boss was, larger than life. His spirit is encompassed by that monument, and there was no intention to make it bigger than the others just for the sake of doing it,” team president Randy Levine told the Daily News before Tuesday night’s game against the Rays. “We just felt that it was The Boss, the greatest owner in sports. He built (the new) Yankee Stadium. He did so much for so many people. And he made the Yankee brand a worldwide one and took it to heights that never have been reached.

    “It was not made bigger in an attempt to have it be larger than the others. We just wanted to represent the spirit of George Steinbrenner.”

    Steinbrenner’s bust measures seven feet wide by five feet high – not including the base – and weighs 760 pounds.

    Chief operating officer Lonn Trost said he and Senior VP of marketing Debbie Tymon worked with U.S. Bronze to commission the piece and that everything about the monument ultimately was approved by the Steinbrenner family.

    “Mr. Steinbrenner always was so proud of Monument Park and now it’s as if he’s overseeing the other monuments and plaques and the tradition that reside there,” Tymon said.

    I’m all for “The Boss” having a monument – he deserves it. If he’s not the greatest owner in sports history, he’s in the team picture – for sure. And, the Yankees are what they are, today, and what they have been for the last 38 years because of George Steinbrenner. But, I do think the organization made a mistake with the size of this monument. No monument in “Monument Cave,” er, I mean “Park,” should be bigger or higher than any other one out there. And, if you have to go bigger or higher, then it should only be slightly more – and not like this “Death Star” of a monument that they have out there for Big Stein now.

    Leave it to Levine, Trost & Company to turn what should be a tribute into an embarrassment.

    Quick Thoughts On Big Stein Monument Dedication

    Posted by on September 20th, 2010 · Comments (8)
    • A Steve Swindal sighting! Go figure, huh? Where was Joe Malloy?
    • Somebody needs to buy Hank Steinbrenner a dress shirt.
    • When did Hal Steinbrenner marry Ashley Judd, and, why did Bud Selig marry Gwildor from the Courteney Cox Masters of the Universe movie?
    • Nice to see Roy White there – along with Stick, Tino, Boomer and some other (non-Torre, Donnie, Yogi, Reggie) Yankees. But, Lee Mazzilli? How does Lee Maz get to go to Monument Cave while The Toady Trio (of Levine, Trost and Cashman) had to hang back at the dugout?
    • Lastly, yes, without question, Big Stein deserves the monument. But, did they have to make it the size of the Hoover Dam? Holy cow, that thing is huge!

    Torre & Mattingly To Attend Big Stein Monument Dedication

    Posted by on September 20th, 2010 · Comments (14)

    Here’s the story.

    Have to say – this is impressive on all ends…the Yankees for asking and Torre/Mattingly for making the effort to be there. It’s going to be a special night, for sure, at the Stadium today.

    Big Stein To Be Honored In Monument Park

    Posted by on August 24th, 2010 · Comments (1)

    Via the Yankees today -

    “We remain profoundly grateful and touched by the many expressions of sympathy and support from so many. We wish to thank everyone for their kind thoughts and prayers, which we continue to hold close. We are especially appreciative that our family’s privacy was respected as we grieved the loss of George.

    We know we will always share George’s memory with Yankees fans everywhere, and a monument in his honor to be located in Monument Park will reflect the special connection, appreciation and responsibility that George felt for New York Yankees’ fans everywhere as they were always uppermost in his mind.”

    The Monument Park dedication will be held in New York on Monday, September 20, 2010 at Yankee Stadium, prior to that evening’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

    There will be a tribute to his life in Tampa at the opening game of spring training in March of 2011.

    While there are many plaques in Monument Park, there are actually few monuments. So, to me, this is a pretty big deal. But, I fully understand why they are doing it.

    Gridiron High Schools Honor Big Stein

    Posted by on August 14th, 2010 · Comments (2)

    Via the Miami Herald

    High school football teams in southwest Florida will honor the late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner by placing his initials on their helmets this season.

    Hillsborough High coach Earl Garcia, who displayed the stickers at practice Friday, said it’s a small way to honor a man who gave so much to the community.

    Most of his donations were anonymous, but a few became public. Steinbrenner helped complete Tampa Catholic’s football stadium.

    He replaced stolen equipment for little league teams and aided in the purchase of commemorative rings for the University of Tampa’s first national baseball championship. In the 1970s Steinbrenner paid for lights at a South Florida’s baseball field so teams could play night games.

    Steinbrenner died of a heart attack last month.

    Nice touch. And, it’s a good thing “The Boss’” name wasn’t Adam Samuel Steinbrenner – or else such an honor would have carried some complications.

    Big Stein Memorial Before Game On 9/20?

    Posted by on August 12th, 2010 · Comments (0)

    Via mlb -

    Commissioner Bud Selig said a few words at dinner on Wednesday night for George Steinbrenner, the late Yankees owner. And his son, Hal, was very moved by the gesture.

    “It was very moving,” the younger of the two surviving Steinbrenner sons told MLB.com after the third quarterly owners meetings of the year. “Bud said, ‘We all know he did a lot for the game. He passed away between these last two meetings. Like all of us, there were good times and bad times. But he was good for the game and a good friend.’”

    Hal said that a memorial is planned for his dad during the Sept. 20-23 four-game series against the Rays at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees already honored Steinbrenner and public address announcer Bob Sheppard at Yankee Stadium before a game against the Rays on July 16. Sheppard died on July 11. The family was not in attendance that day because the elder Steinbrenner’s funeral was in Tampa on July 17. Selig said he is planning on attending the September memorial.

    “We’re still trying to pin it down, but I think it’s going to be before the game on Sept. 20,” Hal said.

    That would be two weeks after Labor Day. First day of what might be a huge series against the Rays. Is that a good time or a bad time for something like this? What do you think?

    Heisler On Big Stein

    Posted by on August 5th, 2010 · Comments (5)

    Mark Heisler writes about George Steinbrenner’s Evil Empire.

    It’s a very long, but, very interesting read.

    Big Stein Backs Up Bleacher Creatures

    Posted by on July 22nd, 2010 · Comments (1)

    Via Seth Livingstone

    The Boss is back at Yankee Stadium in a big way.

    At least his face is.

    On Thursday the Yankees unveiled a 40-foot wide by 13.5-foot tall image in honor of the team’s principal owner who died July 13.

    Located on the back wall of the right-center field grandstand, the inscription on the predominantly navy blue tribute reads: “George M. Steinbrenner III, 1930-2010, THE BOSS.” The trademark Yankee Stadium frieze runs across the top.

    Steinbrenner’s Yankees won 11 AL pennants and seven World Series.

    A list of the Yankees’ 27 championship years – including the seven under Steinbrenner – will be relocated to the facing of the H&R Block Suite level around the Stadium bowl, in view of the field. That relocation will take place prior to the next homestand.

    Just a matter of time before something for The Boss shows up in Monument Cave…

    Big Stein’s Tomb Becoming A Tourist Attraction?

    Posted by on July 21st, 2010 · Comments (2)

    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.

    Not All Yanks Fans Are Mourning Big Stein’s Passing

    Posted by on July 17th, 2010 · Comments (5)

    An interesting piece was in the Times yesterday regarding some fans who were not in favor of George Steinbrenner. Here’s a snip:

    The death of Mr. Steinbrenner on Tuesday has elicited fond remembrances and effusive tributes from Yankees fans outside the gates of the team’s stadium in the Bronx and throughout the region. The man known as the Boss was praised for bringing the struggling Yankees back to life in the 1970s and for rebuilding what has become one of the richest and most successful franchises in all of sports.

    But Mr. Steinbrenner’s death has sparked more complex emotions among a smaller, less visible demographic: Yankees fans who loved the team but hated Mr. Steinbrenner. Their outrage over his braggadocio, management style and even his politics drove them away from the team, and now that he is gone, they are looking at the Yankees in a new light and considering becoming fans once more.

    Life — as in baseball, as in death — is complicated, and though no one likes to speak ill of the dead, some of the people who came close to making exceptions this week in the case of Mr. Steinbrenner have been these Yankees fans, or former fans, or formerly former fans.

    New York and New Jersey residents’ relationships with their sports teams can be as nuanced and as perplexing as their relationships with their spouses, or former spouses for that matter. Lapsed Yankees fans coming to terms with Mr. Steinbrenner’s death are, as a result, an emotional, mixed-up lot. They talk of rushing home as children to turn on the television to watch Don Larsen pitch a perfect game against the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1956 World Series, yet they have no problem rattling off Mr. Steinbrenner’s sins as well as any Red Sox fan might.

    Each had a personal “last straw.” For some, it was political: they were disgusted that Mr. Steinbrenner pleaded guilty in August 1974 to having made illegal contributions to the 1972 campaign of President Richard M. Nixon.

    For others, it was about Yankee Stadium: they said Mr. Steinbrenner was wrong to push for tearing down the old ballpark to build a new $1.5 billion stadium with public subsidies, and they hated his publicly articulated argument that the largely Latino neighborhood around the stadium was too dangerous for people to come to.

    Others said it was about baseball: they blamed him for trading players they loved, like pitcher David Wells, and never forgave him for firing Mr. Berra.

    “I would rather watch a team that struggles and gets to the World Series once in a while so that it means something, rather than feel like, ‘Well, we won because we bought all the best players,’ ” said Neil DeMause, 44, a former Yankees fan who lives in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn.

    I fully understand what DeMause is saying here. And, it is much, much, sweeter – at least to me – when a team like the ’76 Yankees reaches the World Series or when a team like the ’96 Yankees wins a World Series than it is when a team like the 2009 Yankees wins a World Series. And, while I still love going to Yankees games, I’m not in love with the present “experience” has become in attending games at the new Yankee Stadium – in terms of cost and having to witness the seating élitism that is practiced there now.

    And, in the past, during the ’70′s and ’80′s, I found myself – at times – not being pleased with Steinbrenner’s antics.

    So, I “get” what some are saying in this feature. But, times change. Steinbrenner changed a bit as he got older too. And, I am mourning his passing. I suppose some others just have a hard time of letting certain things go. And, that’s fine. I also have my own persistent feelings of resentment towards some things. We all do, don’t we?

    How about you? What’s your take on Yankees fans who were not fans of George Steinbrenner and who allowed that to influence how they thought about the team and how they now feel about his passing?

    Spaceman Not Sad For Big Stein

    Posted by on July 16th, 2010 · Comments (11)

    Via Brian Costello

    Bill “The Spaceman” Lee’s hatred of George Steinbrenner did not mellow at all with the Yankee owner’s death Tuesday.

    Lee, who pitched for the Red Sox for 10 seasons, ripped Steinbrenner in a TV interview.

    “Trust me, if hell freezes over, he’ll be skating,” Lee told a reporter for WMUR-9 in Manchester, N.H.

    The TV station talked to Lee on a golf course Tuesday afternoon a few hours after Steinbrenner died from a heart attack at 80 years old.

    Lee began the 58-second interview by saying, “As far as Steinbrenner’s passing? Good.”

    During the 1976 season, Lee famously broke his collarbone during a brawl between the Yankees and Red Sox when Graig Nettles tackled him.

    Lee said Steinbrenner tried to have him kicked out of the game after the fight.

    “Steinbrenner tried to have me banned from baseball,” he said.

    “He said I was an incompetent and I was bad for the game of baseball. Well, I’m not a convicted felon like George Steinbrenner, and he’ll take that to his grave.”

    When the reporter asked Lee if he had any sadness about Steinbrenner dying, Lee said, “I have no sadness. I’m Irish; I’m Catholic, and when you’re gone, you’re gone.”

    I used to think that Bill Lee was an interesting and funny guy…but, that’s stopped after reading this report.

    Now, he’s just a 63-year old cranky pot head…

    The Secret Steinbrenner Was A Good Dude

    Posted by on July 15th, 2010 · Comments (8)

    Via Otis Livingston:

    “[George Steinbrenner] once told me, and this is a direct quote: ‘If you do something for someone and more than 2 people know about it, meaning you and that person, then you did it for the wrong reason,” said former Yankees PR executive Rick Cerrone.

    And, to Big Stein, this was not just lip service. Click here to see just one example of this.

    Yanks Will Salute Stein & Sheppard Tomorrow

    Posted by on July 15th, 2010 · Comments (8)

    Via Bryan Hoch

    The Yankees will hold a tribute to commemorate the lives and recognize the deaths of George Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard before Friday’s game against the Rays.

    The pregame ceremony will include a video tribute to Steinbrenner, the former Yankees chairman and principal owner, who died Tuesday at age 80, as well as a moment of silence for “The Boss” and Sheppard, the club’s longtime public address announcer.

    The game starts at 7:05 p.m. ET, and the team encourages fans to be at their seats by 6:45 p.m. Additional ceremonies will take place Saturday during Old-Timers’ Day, and more tributes will be revealed Friday.

    During Friday’s ceremony, a wreath will be placed in front of Steinbrenner’s statue in the Gate 2 Executive Lobby of Yankee Stadium, and another will be placed in front of Sheppard’s plaque in Monument Park.

    Since they’re only scheduling 20 minutes for this, I have to think Saturday we’ll see more stuff for the guys…

    BDO Seidman Lawyer: “A Good Year To Die” For Big Stein

    Posted by on July 14th, 2010 · Comments (5)

    According to this report, if the Steinbrenner family does now sell the team, it won’t be the result of estate taxes making them do it.

    Small Private Funeral For The Boss

    Posted by on July 14th, 2010 · Comments (4)

    Via Jon Heyman

    George Steinbrenner’s family is planning for a small private funeral for the immediate family that is likely to be held Saturday in Tampa, according to people close to the Yankees owner who died early Tuesday morning after a heart attack in his adopted hometown of Tampa.

    There will be memorials held at George M. Steinbrenner Field, formerly called Legends Field, the Yankees’ spring training home in Tampa and later in New York, where dignitaries will honor the man who bought the Yankees in January, 1973 and became sports’ most iconic owner, probably at a ceremony at Yankee Stadium.

    Seems to be the smart way to handle this – letting the family have their privacy during a time like this and then having the public memorials later. If they do a ceremony at Yankee Stadium, I wonder if it will be a non-game day…and, if so, what the turnout will be like…

    George Steinbrenner & Bob Sheppard

    Posted by on July 14th, 2010 · Comments (0)

    Heard a great one from Len Berman on the radio last night…

    George Steinbrenner was waiting for Bob Sheppard to pass first before going because George wanted to make sure that Sheppard was there to announce his arrival at the Pearly Gates.

    Wish I had thought of that line!

    Big Stein’s Passing

    Posted by on July 13th, 2010 · Comments (0)

    As promised earlier today, what follows are my further thoughts on the news of George Steinbrenner’s passing this morning.

    Here, I will not provide a chapter and verse account of the Steinbrenner story. There’s really no need for that at this junction. Big Stein had both his good deeds and his bad moves. In fact, there were many of those on each side of the ledger for him. Most of them are well-known by now. And, if you don’t know the details on these, I highly recommend reading Bill Madden’s book on Steinbrenner – it’s one of the better sources for everything you need to know about the life of this man.

    More so, I want to convey how this Yankees fan feels, today, regarding the death of “The Boss.”

    As I shared earlier today with WFAN’s Neil Keefe, there was good reason to be prepared for what happened today. After all, George Steinbrenner has been a ghost on the Yankees scene for the last three years. And, in fact, Big Stein really hasn’t been the same since that church service for Otto Graham back in December 2003. Bottom line, he was a severely ill 80-year old man at the time of his death.

    But, as I mentioned just 15 days ago, in my mind, the image of George Steinbrenner is from his salad days of the 1970′s and ’80s. Yeah, I know, this was also the period just leading into the time where “Steinbrenner Sucks” chants became popular at Yankee Stadium. And, there were probably some moments therein where I was also perturbed over something he did where I disagreed with what went down. It’s just that “The Boss” as a man in his late 40′s and 50′s was such a larger than life entity that it’s hard for me to let that imprint go – even if that wasn’t the “most popular” Steinbrenner.

    Yes, the “kinder and gentler” reinstated Steinbrenner from the mid-to-late 1990′s and early 2000′s never really overwrote that aforementioned image of George for me. Why? It’s because I was in my teens and twenties during the late ’70′s and 1980′s. And, we are more impressionable as younger fans, aren’t we?

    Due to my mind’s eye view of Steinbrenner, I lacked the preparation that others may have been armed with today. Therefore, I was surprised when the news broke this morning.

    This feeling was soon followed by sadness.

    I know that, in most situations, we should not be sad over the passing of an octogenarian suffering from Alzheimer’s – especially one who had lived a life as full as George Steinbrenner. And, I am somewhat mad at myself for feeling this way.

    But, here’s the deal. I became a baseball, and a Yankees, fan in 1973 when I was 10-years old. As such, I’ve never known a time in Yankeeland where there wasn’t a George Steinbrenner. And, even if Big Stein has been a shadow in recent years, at least he was still among us in some fashion and could be referred to as being in the Yankees house.

    Today, that’s over. “The Boss” has left the building. The Big Stein era is officially a closed book. Along with many of the other changes in Yankeeland since 2004, it’s something that will never be the same.

    Sure, the memories will always be there. And, someday, there will be some related bonus moments that come from the wake of today – such as the day that George Steinbrenner joins those in the Baseball Hall of Fame (in Cooperstown). Nonetheless, with the death of George Steinbrenner another star goes black in the Yankees galaxy that I’ve been staring at for my entire life.

    Other Yankees fans, especially those older and younger than me, may not feel this same way. After all, they have their own Yankees galaxies formed from their own stars that they’ve been gazing at during their life. Related, maybe their Yankees view has more black spots than mine or has more stars still shining in theirs – and the Steinbrenner void doesn’t carry the same impact? Dunno for sure…but it’s possible…I suppose.

    All I do now, for sure, is how I feel about Big Stein’s passing. And, now you know it too.