SBD/Issue 211/Sports Industrialists
Yankees Roll Out Touching Tributes To Steinbrenner, Sheppard
Published July 19, 2010
|Steinbrenner Remembered Duing Pregame
Ceremony At Yankee Stadium Friday
The Yankees on Friday night prior to their home game against the Rays paid tribute to late Chair George Steinbrenner and late PA announcer Bob Sheppard in a ceremony that contained "some of the extravagant touches that came to define Steinbrenner’s ownership," according to Ben Shpigel of the N.Y. TIMES. Wearing uniform patches commemorating both Steinbrenner and Sheppard, the Yankees "watched the ceremony from in front of their dugout, with their caps off," and "most of the Rays did the same." After a video tribute to Steinbrenner, P Mariano Rivera "placed two long-stemmed red roses across the plate -- one for Steinbrenner, one for Sheppard." The Yankees elected to "turn off the public address system during the game as a way to honor Sheppard." SS Derek Jeter was the only player to "address the crowd during the ceremony," which also included a "traditional moment of silence, followed by the playing of taps" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/17). On Long Island, Mark Hermann noted there was a "quiet prologue to the ceremony, with light and respectful organ music accompanying a video of Steinbrenner." Many players were "seen on the video screen, honoring" their late owner during the "moving, brief, tasteful ceremony worthy of George Steinbrenner" (NEWSDAY, 7/17). In N.Y., Larry Brooks wrote the tribute was "distinguished in its simplicity." It was a "special night and sadness at the same time," an evening "marked by melancholy and a night marked by celebration of just what it was Steinbrenner had brought to the Yankees" (N.Y. POST, 7/17).
FOR OLD-TIMERS' SAKE: ESPN N.Y.'s Ian Begley noted during the Yankees' annual Old-Timers' Day Saturday, "former players shared their memories" of Steinbrenner and Sheppard. About 48 former players and their wives were "quick to offer anecdotes and memories of Steinbrenner and Sheppard, whose deaths" last week "cast a shadow on what is normally a day for reminiscing about fun times in the Bronx" (ESPNNEWYORK.com, 7/17). The Yankees played a "video montage honoring" Sheppard before the old-timers' game Saturday at Yankee Stadium. Also, instead of playing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the seventh-inning stretch, the scoreboard "showed a clip of Sheppard cheerily singing 'Let Me Call You Sweetheart,' which he made a Mother's Day tradition at the Stadium" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 7/18).
THE BOSS LAID TO REST: In N.Y., Calabrese & Hale reported Steinbrenner on Saturday was "entombed at a Florida cemetery in an imposing blue-gray crypt with pillars and stones the colors of those at Yankee Stadium as his widow, Joan, and children watched and wept." Joan, the couple's four children and their grandchildren were among "about 40 mourners" at the ceremony at Trinity Memorial Gardens near Tampa (N.Y. POST, 7/18). The 10 pallbearers included Yankees co-Chair & Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner and co-Chair & General Partner Hank Steinbrenner, as well as George's son-in-law, Felix Lopez (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/18). The cemetery was closed for Saturday's service. Deputies in "marked and unmarked cruisers patrolled the roads for security breaches for hours," and the event was "so hush-hush that the deputies didn't know until a briefing" on Saturday morning (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 7/18).
FINAL REMEMBERANCES: N.Y. Daily News columnist Mike Lupica said the “only larger-than-life figure that the Yankees ever had that was comparable” to Steinbrenner was BABE RUTH. Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan: "He reinvigorated New York and became the most identifiable New Yorker of the past 40 years, with the possible exception of his friend, RUDY GUILIANI." ESPN.com’s Howard Bryant: "I don't think anyone could have recognized that coming out of the strike what that local cable television money (from the YES Network) was going to do to these individual markets. He saw that” ("The Sports Reporters," ESPN2, 7/18).