George Steinbrenner drove me crazy.
As a Red Sox fan, I was typically and not-so-secretly terrified by what Steinbrenner might do to give the Yankees the edge in the chase for the division banner. Publicly, I’d say things like, “he’s really just hurting his team,” but after 1993 or so, that was almost never the case. In addition to homegrown guys, he constantly brought in money players: David Cone, Cecil Fielder, Paul O’Neill, Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, David Wells, Jason Giambi, Chili Davis, John Wetteland, and the list goes on and on.
Steinbrenner died today. In between funding Watergate and hiring a private investigator to follow Dave Winfield around, he revolutionized what it meant to be an owner in pro sports. He didn’t run the Yankees, or just own the Yankees, he was the Yankees. Larger than life, more powerful than presidents, George ran it his way, for better or worse. And from the Yankees’ perspective, it was typically for the better. Always with a sense of theater, he said goodbye on the day of the All-Star Game. You could never accuse him of not having a flair for the dramatic.
I’ve already missed him the past couple of seasons, but, truly, I’ll miss him now. He was a blast and, ultimately, good for the game.
And, in case you didn’t know, he loved his portrayal on Seinfeld. That’s just all kinds of awesome.
Rest in peace, George. And wherever you are, if you could find a moment to fire and re-hire Billy Martin, that’d be fantastic.