A Tribute to the Boss, George Steinbrenner

Hello, my name is Christopher and I’m a Red Sox fan. Which makes what I’m about to say so difficult.

I could not have written this years ago. In October 2003, we Sox faithful had once again suffered another devastating defeat to our arch-rival and overall evil-doers, the New York Yankees. This time, the blow came from the bat of Aaron Boone in the American League Championship Series. Game Seven, extra innings, another loss to the Yankees, could things get any worse?

Numbness ensued. Another crushing loss meant yet another year of ribbing from Yankee fans everywhere who were, and had always been, our daddies. However, six years, two World Series titles and one Ruthian exorcism later, Red Sox fans can put all that behind them.

Growing up, I hated the Yankees. I hated absolutely everything about them. The pinstripes, the fans, Graig Nettles catching Yastrzemski’s foul pop-up in the 1978 playoff game, the endlessly, obnoxious Reggie chants, Yankee Stadium and of course the Boss, George Steinbrenner. He is the Yankees epitomized. His tirades were legendary, his temper that of a scorned Latin lover. His passion for the game and his desire, if not need, to win were unrivaled. Indirectly, he made me a better fan, for he made me care more about the Red Sox, and beating the Yankees.

Steinbrenner bought the Yankees in 1973 for $10 million, not a bad investment. Before finally settling on Joe Torre in 1996, Steinbrenner hired and fired over twenty managers. That’s nearly one a year, folks. Several of them he recycled including Billy Martin, Gene Michael and Bob Lemon. The Yankee skipper post saw more traffic than a New York subway turnstile.

Seeing Steinbrenner manage from afar, one would guess him to be the type of boss that struck fear into the hearts of his employees, the kind of man you avoided as you walked down the hallway for fear of saying the wrong thing in passing. Mark Cuban could never be him, too obnoxious. Dan Snyder could never be him, too sniveling. Ted Turner could never be him, too Jane Fonda. Only Jerry Jones might be able to hold a candle, but still… no. Not even close. As an owner, George was one of a kind. Oliver Platt did an outstanding job playing the fiery Steinbrenner in the mini-series “The Bronx Is Burning,” but even he would admit he couldn’t do George justice.

After tallying several World Series titles between 1996 and 2000, we slowly began to see a kinder, gentler Steinbrenner. It was even rumored that he enjoyed the Seinfeld parodies of his character. I guess winning 125 games in a season can put a smile on anyone’s face. The enlightened Steinbrenner was, dare I say, likeable. His charitable contributions in his home town of Tampa Bay are too numerous to mention.

Steinbrenner’s passing touches even this Red Sox fan. It serves as a reminder of how fragile life is. Steinbrenner was a figure you never imagined would grow old, never one you’d see in a weakened state. After all, he was the boss.

The bottom line is George Steinbrenner pulled the Red Sox fan out of me, made me care about the game more. He may very well be the most hated Yankee ever. Bucky Dent and Don Mattingly, Chris Chambliss and Dave Righetti all came and went, but big George was a mainstay, ultimately orchestrating every Yankee move. His shrewd ownership and heavy handed decision-making made the Yankees perfectly hate-able. In fact, hate isn’t a strong enough word. But we felt that way because they were the best, and to be the best, you had to beat the best, which we could never do. Steinbrenner was no camera hog, he just wanted to win, wanted what was best or his team. For this, I salute him. While most Red Sox fans would likely not be able to pick the Yawkeys out of a lineup, everyone knew Steinbrenner. The Yankees won six World Series under his ownership and were ALWAYS competitive. He saw to that.

Due to his declining health, George relinquished control of his franchise to his son, Hank, years ago.  Hank can only hope to follow in his father’s footsteps, for they are big bossy shoes to fill. As a Red Sox fan, I can only hope Hank fails miserably. But in doing so, I must acknowledge the kind of man George Steinbrenner was and the sports fan he ultimately made out of me.

Yankee, Red Sox and baseball fans nationwide owe him a debt of gratitude.

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16 Replies to “A Tribute to the Boss, George Steinbrenner”

  1. You got to love the the Boss,He has kept Baseball very Interesting by doing all the good and bad deals in those long years.

  2. Why’s it got to be about scorned Latin lovers? I just wanted to take this opportunity to say that I don’t hate all of the Red Sox. I’m a real big fan of Bill Buckner…

  3. DB… actually, I do believe Leprechauns have a more consistent winning record. Ouch, sorry, that was low.

    Donny C… we all thought that’s their temper was the reason you dated Latin lovers. That and to teach them all how to dance.

  4. ReverendRythm
    I think it only appropriate that you ought to be
    chiding whilst at the same time extolling the virtues
    of an overbearing ignoremus. But then again what’s new ?
    He’s handed over the reins to his two sons. And Hank has
    proven that he’s just as much of a moron as his father !

    I’ve a new piece up on the Bucs should you be interested ?
    And it can be found within the wordpress domain as well as over at Fox.
    I’ve provided a link below to each.

    How Many QB’s Does It Take Indeed And Need To Change A Light Bulb …?

    How Many QB’s Does It Take Indeed And Need To Change A Light Bulb … ?

    I’m assuming that you’ll try and take in the Hatton Pacquiao fight ? I’ve got an op-ed piece
    on that also. Here’s the link to it as well.

    This Bud Isn’t For You ….

    And I see where Jermain Taylor suffered another humilliating defeat ? He got his butt
    whupped and then knocked out in a title challenge.
    tophatal …………….

  5. Ouch is right
    That’s okay….Buckeyes are tough to crack.
    I’m used to the Brownie abuse

  6. Tophat… I’ll definitely be there to check out your Bucs take.

    Daybreak… Anything over two losses for your Bucks this season will be a disappointment. After all, you do have T. Pryor behind center now. Another Gators-Bucks rematch in the BCS perhaps?

  7. Bucks play USC early. That is a big game. They need to redeem themselves.
    Penn State may be tough too.
    Not worried about Michigan.

    I would love a rematch
    I feel a wager coming on

  8. Without Steinbrenner there would be no rivalry, over-hyped showdowns and endless list of villains (Joba is the latest, of course). Remember that the team he inherited (Was it Gabe Paul that used to own the Yankees?) was a total mess, and had been since the mid-60’s. Like most autocracies, the half-life of Steinbrenner’s (and by extension, Hank’s) Yankees is limited – in this case by their perpetual over-spending at the expense of the farm system – but we may be able to eke out another year or two from the rivalry before they disappear.

  9. Fortunately for us sports fan, I think the Sox-Yanks rivalry is here to stay. There’s just too many years, decades even, of bad blood.

    But we’re in total agreement. The Boss amped it up even more. Thanks for adding your two cents.

  10. Rev…

    Remember the movie, Hunt for Red October when the Soviet captain’s father-in-law (a government big wig) was walking into his office first thing in the morning and everyone was stopping what they were doing to acknowledge him? You remember what he was saying to everyone?

    It went like this… “Yeah, yeah, yeah… Yeah, yeah, yeah…

    Enough said? LOL

  11. Dwin…

    Is that an oral reference? Goodness, I bet you even made yourSELF blush with that one.

    Is Hunt for Red October the one where Hackman punches Denzel for not giving him the missile code hung around his neck.

    Or am I getting my submarine movies mixed up?

  12. Pingback: Bobby Bowden: The Enemy’s Perspective - Sports Chump

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