Thursday, July 15, 2010

George Steinbrenner

Let's talk about George Steinbrenner, the New York Yankees owner who died Tuesday morning, at the age of 80.

You loved him, or you hated him.

I look at it this way.  I try to leave things in better shape than the way I found them.

Steinbrenner bought the Yankees in 1973.  The team had been awful for years.  Steinbrenner spent the Yankees into the World Series in 1976, and the team has been very good, with a few off years, ever since.

Yes, he outspent every other major league baseball owner.  I don't like that, but it's not Steinbrenner's fault.  He didn't break any rules.  Hate the game, not the player.

I've read Steinbrenner was an awful boss.  There is no excuse for stomping all over the dignity of another human being.  There is significant evidence to indicate Steinbrenner did that.

On the other hand, there are those who will say George Steinbrenner was a very generous man, and he gave money to causes while staying in the background, quietly.  I like that.  I never trust those people who do something nice, then call news conferences to tell the world how wonderful they are.

Steinbrenner hated to lose.  I'm not sure if he was that way for the good of the fans, his own ego, or both.

He was suspended from baseball-- twice.

There was a period of time when he was constantly threatening to move the Yankees to New Jersey.  Some will argue he had to do that because Yankee Stadium in the Bronx was falling apart.

Former Major League Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent got it exactly right when he said Steinbrenner was "complex."

Are the Yankees better off because George Steinbrenner was around?  No doubt.

Has baseball improved because of George Steinbrenner?  I'm not so sure.