Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Monument will only honor the good Steinbrenner

Having finally finished Bill Madden's biography of New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, I have mixed feelings about Steinbrenner being honored with a monument in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium.

I'm grateful that Steinbrenner was one of the few owners in baseball willing and eager to reinvest his massive profits into his ballclub rather than close his wallet. Fans in towns such as Pittsburgh and Miami can vouch for how lucky Yankee fans really are in that respect. And Steinbrenner deserves tremendous credit for all his community good works, especially for the college scholarships for children of fallen cops and firefighters.

But Madden's engaging, yet disturbing book made it incredibly clear to me just how terrible a bully Steinbrenner truly was. He lied about his employees, accused his manager Lou Piniella once of stealing furniture from him and fired employees for offenses as egregious as leaving the office a few days before Christmas for a long-overdue family reunion. People could argue that he was just being a tough boss, but he tortured many employees to the point that their physical and mental health began to fail and that is just inexcusable.

When someone dies, it's human nature to overlook their sins and focus on the good in their life. But I can't bring myself to do that. This book calls Steinbrenner the last lion in baseball, but it makes clear that Steinbrenner was more of a monster in the years before his suspension from baseball over the Dave Winfield affair.

I’ll be one of the 50,000 fans personally witnessing what promises to be a moving dedication ceremony on September 20 since I purchased my ticket for that game more than two months before Steinbrenner died in anticipation of the Yankees playing the Tampa Bay Rays in a critical game. The pre-game ceremony unveiling Steinbrenner’s monument is bound to overshadow what could be a decisive game in a tight division. But the real problem is that in placing Steinbrenner alongside the team’s immortals, the Yankees will be honoring his legacy while ignoring the bad side of the Boss.

No comments:

Post a Comment