The name "George Steinbrenner" is synonymous with Shipping, Baseball, New York, And the Yankees. The Yankees are a team I love to hate, and I admit to a lifelong animosity toward the Yankees, and George Steinbrenner in particular.
I was watching the news when the news scrolling marque on CNN announced the Death of George Steinbrenner, today, at age 80. He died at his home in Tampa, the result of a heart attack.
In a way, Steinbrenner was baseball. He almost always fielded a winning team. He'd go out of his way to get the BEST players. It didn't matter -- Reggie Jackson, A-Rod -- He'd get 'em -- at ridiculous prices. He'd open his wallet to many -- and I still remember the talks of Rod Carew possibly going to the Yankees. While it didn't happen, it was all the gossip.
Steinbrenner was once suspended from the Yankees day to day operations because of illegal campaign contributions. It was originally supposed to be 2 years, he got off in 15 months.
Oh, I'll never forget the times he hired, fired, rehired, fired again, etc -- the Manager who was constantly associated with the Yankees: Billy Martin. Martin was definitely shrewd. But the personality conflicts and Steinbrenner's obsession would constantly win out.
Steinbrenner opened his wallet -- and caused a torrent of multi-million dollar contracts. Even players who were barely mediocre players started taking advantage of "Free agency" and with the open wallet, teams were forced into auctions, higher and higher prices for less and less quality.
Will Steinbrenner's death today help close the gusher of high-priced players, the higher and nearly unaffordable ticket prices? Will it result
in bringing some common sense back to baseball? Will it bring parity among the clubs, like helping out the Orioles, the Diamondbacks, the Nationals?
Although I suspect not, the loss of Steinbrenner is still a blow to baseball. If the Hall of fame inducts owners, and he's not already there, he'd be a shoo-in.
I wonder what Pete Rose thinks about it. Of course, we'll never know. With the Steroid scandal, I'd say gambling is the least of the problems.
The Yankees will continue without Steinbrenner. They existed before him, they will exist after. But the man with the Money -- the guy who started the era of expensive tickets and multi-million dollar contracts to guys who can barely bat .250...is gone. We can only wait to see what the impact will be. He left the bases loaded -- AS I SEE IT.