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Comment of the Day: You wish Steinbrenner owned your team

Jul 13, 2010, 12:30 PM EDT

You may have hated him while he ran the Yankees, but what would you have given for your team's owner to be as passionate and committed to winning as Steinbrenner was?

HBT Commenter Emeritus Old Gator had the following to say about Big Stein this morning. Unlike Gator’s usual comments, minimal translation is required here. For the totally clueless among you, know that ‘The Borg” refers to the Yankees and “the Feesh” refer to Old Gator’s rooting interest, the Florida Marlins:

His not being there anymore is like looking out a window in Alaska on
one of those days when Denali disappears in an ice crystal haze. He
wasn’t really a New Yorker but he was as much a feature of New York as the Empire State Building, and gave his adopted town a serious helping of tough love during his reign.

Truly one of the most unique and memorable figures ever to own a sports franchise, yet Steinbrenner was so much more: a style that couldn’t be copied, a temper that inspired envy from Vesuvius – and, whatever you thought of the Borg as acorporate culture, his cognizance of and solicitude for his team’s fans was unmistakable.

Sad to say, I’ll be mulling this last point repeatedly as July 31 looms because the contrast between King George’s passion for his team and the parasitic, even contemptuous posture of the little bloodsuckers who run my Feesh couldn’t possibly be more stark in a Newtonian universe.

  1. BC - Jul 13, 2010 at 12:56 PM

    Excellent job by Old Gator…well put.

  2. Simon DelMonte - Jul 13, 2010 at 1:16 PM

    I do. And I don’t.
    The objective of sports is to win. Not to make money. I understand that.
    And yet I have never been comfortable with the win-at-all-costs mentality. In most people’s daily lives, that mentality is a bad fit. And watching people who act that way has never sat well with me. It might be why I am not a Tiger Woods fan. It might be why I don’t get that upset when my teams lose. Because I lack that drive. At the end of the day, it’s only a game.

  3. Old Gator - Jul 13, 2010 at 1:26 PM

    Thanks BC, and thanks to Craig for finding my gibbering-in-shock remarks this morning meritorious. I wasn’t even awake in the truest sense of the word when I nudged the mouse and the headlines came up.
    Truth is, with half a day of thinking about it under my belt, I’m having trouble trying to conceive of a world without King George. I guess tonight I’m going to settle in with my boxed set of The Bronx is Burning and find Oliver Platt’s performance, marvelous as it was, yet unequal to its subject. How could anyone ever play that part? It would be akin to taking the Krell brain boost with the dial cranked up to eleven. The passion that George Steinbrenner invested in playing himself, whatever you thought of him, would kill any actor who got too close to the role.
    Probably safer to do it the way Ben Gazzara did when he played Yogi Berra off-Broadway a few years ago in the one-man show Nobody Don’t Like Yogi, as a dominating presence never visible to the audience. I don’t think that Gazzara’s performance was filmed, at least not for release, and if not that’s a criminal offense of omission (I flew up to New York from Macondo one afternoon to meet some friends and go see the play – best waste of air miles I ever committed). I think the text of the play is available at, though – and this would be a great time for any interested party to give it a read.

  4. Boo Hoo Florio picked on your team - GET OVER IT - Jul 13, 2010 at 2:30 PM

    Kudos to Old Gator. And I agree. While George was a little too hands-on many times (especially in the 80s), he infused that organization with the mentality of “we play to win”, not “we play to not lose” like many other teams do (*cough* Royals).

  5. Boo Hoo Florio picked on your team - GET OVER IT - Jul 13, 2010 at 2:37 PM

    Also, Craig, you are writing too many posts that are similar in nature. You should compile all your thoughts into one or two (or update older posts) and be done with it. The way you’re doing things is cluttering up HBT with the same subject over and over.

  6. jojomama - Jul 13, 2010 at 2:40 PM

    I think the best Steinbrenner performance I have witnessed was voiced by Larry David on Seinfeld, and I’m not being facetious. David absolutely captured Steinbrenner’s absurd obsession with winning and perfection in a hilarious manner:
    That’s the way I’ll remember the General: batsh!t crazy, but in a good way.

  7. CYGNUS X-1 - Jul 13, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    while I hate the yankees at least stienbrenner was not afraid to spend his own money to make his team a winner. unlike today’s billionaire owners who buy ball clubs and use taxpayer money to get new stadiums then cry poverty or small market when they don’t sign players that will make thier team winners.the yankees have thier own network and outside revenues to afford all the spending they do now,but none of that would not have been possible if george had not spent his own money to make them a reds fan it was tough to watch a guy worth over a billion dollars not spend a dime of it to improve the team while he owned it.great he got griffey jr. but then would not get anybody else to help him crying small market the whole time he owned I wished we had an owner like stienbrenner then.

  8. NicoSamuelson2 - Jul 13, 2010 at 5:07 PM

    I agree with Simon. There are stylistic concerns when it comes to rooting for teams. I, for one, don’t think I would get a lot of satisfaction rooting for the Yankees. I can’t see the enjoyment in rooting for a team that – at best – *meets* expectations. There is not a lot of upside there.
    I’m feeling it with my Twins this year, too. They’re right in contention like they’ve been in years past, but I am finding it a whole lot tougher to get behind underachieving sluggers than it was to get behind overachieving scrappers. Luckily Target Field is pretty awesome.
    In any case, to each their own, I guess, and while Steinbrenner may not have been an owner to me and my midwestern values’ liking, his larger than life persona and win-at-all-costs mentality certainly were a fit for New York, and for that, I have always respected him.
    My condolences to all Yankee fans and particularly to the Steinbrenner family. Here’s to Jeter going deep in his first at-bat tonight.

  9. Boo Hoo Florio picked on your team - GET OVER IT - Jul 13, 2010 at 6:49 PM

    Apparently Craig is dumb and illiterate.

  10. Craig Calcaterra - Jul 13, 2010 at 7:07 PM

    Actually, I’m just deciding that you don’t get to dictate the editorial direction of this blog. Sorry if that bothers you.

  11. Old Gator - Jul 13, 2010 at 10:02 PM

    jojomama – thanks for the link. Funny stuff.

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