Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Rough Week for the Yankees

In the past few days, the New York Yankees have lost two of their most beloved, influential, and memorable off-the-field figures. On Sunday, longtime public address announcer Bob Sheppard died quietly in his Baldwin, New York home, only three months shy of his 100th birthday. He announced over 4,500 games at Yankee Stadium from 1951 through 2007, when illness and old age finally forced his retirement. From Mantle to Jeter, and 13 World Championships in between, Bob Sheppard was and is among the most recognizable voices in baseball history. One thing the new Yankee Stadium can never recreate is the smooth, distinctive player introductions of Sheppard.

Now batting, for the Yankees...#2, Derek Jeter...#2.

Only two days after Sheppard's passing, Yankees owner George M. Steinbrenner III died of a massive heartattack in Tampa at the age of 80. Steinbrenner purchased the Yankees in 1973 for what was then a very large sum of money to buy a team - $8.7 million. Seven World Titles later, the team was estimated to be worth over $1.5 billion by Forbes this year. "The Boss," as he was called, was controversial, and butted heads with a lot of his players and managers, but was also said by many to be a very caring, generous, and passionate person. He will perhaps be known for two things in particular: the hiring and firing of 20 different managers in his first 23 years at the helm (including Billy Martin five different times), and his brainchild of the YES network. This Yankees broadcast station brought in unimaginable revenue streams for the team and helped finance the new ballpark that opened last year. Unfortunately, illness forced Steinbrenner to relinquish control of everyday operations to his sons following the 2006 season. Never has an owner been more in the public eye and more influential on his team in the history of sports than George Steinbrenner.

Owning the Yankees is like owning the Mona Lisa.

Both Sheppard and Steinbrenner were honored with a moment of silence before the 81st Midsummer Classic on Tuesday night in Anaheim. Erik and I are both grateful that we got to be in the presence of these two Yankee giants while they were still with the team in 2007.

Brewers 40-49, -8.5 (4 @ Braves, 4 @ Pirates)
Reds 49-41, +1.0 (3 v. Rockies, 4 v. Nationals)
Twins 46-42,
-3.5 (4 v. White Sox, 3 v. Indians)

Erik - 15
Peter - 31

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