Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Boss tribute brings crowd, Yankees to tears

I couldn't stop the tears from flowing from my eyes when George Steinbrenner's wife Joan cut the rope unveiling his monument in Yankee Stadium. I wasn't the only one.

Joan Steinbrenner and her daughters couldn't hold back their tears as they received a standing ovation when the covering came down to reveal the Boss in all his glory and the words honoring their husband and father were read out loud to the crowd. I can't even imagine what that felt like.

The Yankee players, current and old timers, were equally emotional. Having the entire team walk the Steinbrenner family out to Monument Park was a wonderful touch. Mariano Rivera was the last current player to leave Monument Park, staring at Steinbrenner's monument. To see the great Mariano, never overcome by anything that happens on the mound, transfixed in that moment was telling. Everyone talks about Derek Jeter's relationship to the Boss, but it is clear that Rivera is taking his loss as hard as anyone in the organization.

The ceremony didn't resolve my mixed feelings for the Boss. I'm grateful to him for making the Yankees the team that they are, one of the top organizations in all of sports, not just baseball. However, his behavior toward his staffers during his first tenure still bothers me, more so after reading about the horrible things he did in Bill Madden's biography. But at least for one night, all was forgiven in the Bronx and I was grateful to be a part of that tribute. I cried, not in anger or frustration, but in sadness over the loss of our Boss and in solidarity with the family he left behind.

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