Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New York Yankees Owner Steinbrenner Dead At 80...

Well, those of you who know me, and especially any of you that have followed my older blog on photographyreview.com , understand that I often wander far from photography and art-related topics in my musings. Sometimes very far...

So today we have the first off-topic post of my new blog. The passing of long-time New York Yankees baseball club owner George Steinbrenner at the age of 80. According to news reports, Steinbrenner, in poor health for several years now, died of a massive heart attack at approx. 6:30 this morning:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/bbo_obit_steinbrenner

As a lifelong Yankee fan, I'm sure I'm not alone in saying it has been a love-hate rollercoaster ride of emotions over the years with Steinbrenner as the owner of the team.  For many sports fans, the ends justify the means, and in that sense I've been very happy with the great success of my Yanks since the mid-1970s.  Plenty of great baseball, and American League Divison Championshps and pennants, and of course World Series Championships.

But I've also suffered greatly over the years (at least in the sense that you can suffer as a sports fan), being embarrassed many times at his public behavior and royally pissed many other times when he fired popular managers for what sometimes seemed like the slightest of reasons (Dick Howser being let go after winning 103 games in 1980 comes to mind).

Still, in the end, he not only transformed the Yankees into perennial winners, but forever changed the way baseball and every other type of professional sports franchise is operated and marketed. To me, the ultimate irony (and compliment to him) was that at some point, nearly every owner that criticized him was actually trying to emulate him, but simply couldn't do it as well, and the fans of other teams that publicly berated him, secretly wished their teams were more like the Yankees and their owners more like George...

Thankfully, George Steinbrenner mellowed as he got older and acquired championships. While his drive to succeed never waned, he took a much less public profile in later years, rarely "calling out" coaches and players the way he had done in the past.

Now, this may sound a bit morbid to some of you, but I can't help but smile thinking Steinbrenner could not have picked a better time to die: on the eve of tonight's MLB All-Star game. At a time when baseball wants the fans and media's complete focus and attention on all the teams, who should be dominating, not only the sports networks, but every news channel and outlet?  His beloved (and hated) New York Yankees. He would not have wanted it any other way.

Rest in peace King George...