Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays, Yankees pay tribute to George Steinbrenner

NEW YORK

As the emotional tribute to George Steinbrenner played out on the Yankee Stadium video board and field before Friday's game, the Tampa Bay Rays stood attentively in front of their dugout to pay their respects.

They were merely incidental tourists, manager Joe Maddon insisted, party to the ceremonies due to the irony of the timing of Steinbrenner's death Tuesday and the 26-week baseball schedule.

But as much as Steinbrenner's legacy was about demanding perfection, it almost seemed as if their presence was somehow preordained, as the most perfect guests to be on hand to say goodbye — the bridge between the two communities he represented and the ongoing battle between the team he loved to see win and the team he loved to beat.

Before they stood in front of their dugout, wiping away tears as video clips rolled and roses were placed on home plate and taps was played, Yankees manager Joe Girardi and captain Derek Jeter smiled at the thought of how much Steinbrenner relished beating the Rays, Devil or not.

"There were two teams we couldn't lose to whether it was spring training or the regular season — Tampa and the Mets," Jeter said. "He'd bring everybody over to spring training games (in St. Petersburg). We'd have four of our starting pitchers.

"He never wanted to be embarrassed. And in his mind it was almost like an embarrassment to lose in his hometown. So we were well aware we were supposed to play well against Tampa."

"George wanted to keep it a Yankee town," Girardi said. "Those games were very important to him."

He would have been happy Friday night. The Yankees beat the Rays, 5-4.

There were thousands more words spoken of Steinbrenner on Friday — mostly good, you should know — and will be more today as the Yankees, through another twist of scheduling irony, host their annual old-timers day event.

Friday's 15-minute ceremony began, ever so appropriately, with the song My Way, the palatial stadium that truly is the House that Steinbrenner Built ringed by flags at half-staff.

A stirring video tribute was followed by veteran reliever Mariano Rivera placing long-stem roses on home plate in honor of Steinbrenner and legendary PA announcer Bob Sheppard, who died Sunday, and an address to the packed Yankee Stadium crowd of 47,524 by Jeter, who wiped away tears.

After military renditions of taps and the national anthem, there was another ovation as the scoreboard offered the most appropriate of all the things Steinbrenner had been called during his 80 years: The Boss.

There have been other tributes, including a wreath alongside the Steinbrenner statute inside the stadium offices, and there will be more after today's private funeral, with talk of a public memorial in Tampa, perhaps next weekend as the Yankees visit the Rays on July 30 to Aug. 1, and maybe another in New York.

As the Yankees returned to the field Friday night for the first time since the passing of the two icons, they wore patches in their honor. Sheppard's featured a microphone and was sewn on their left sleeve.

For Steinbrenner, his full name, his initials and that nickname again, THE BOSS, worn, appropriately, over their hearts.

"It's fitting," Jeter said, "that that's where it is."

Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@sptimes.com.

Tampa Bay Rays, Yankees pay tribute to George Steinbrenner 07/16/10 [Last modified: Friday, July 16, 2010 11:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays morning after: A lot that went into a marathon win

    Blogs

    Rays manager Kevin Cash had a simple strategy when Fox Sports Sun's Alex Corddry asked him how the team would move on from Sunday's marathon win and get ready to face the Rangers tonight in Texas:

    Kevin Kiermaier of the Rays celebrates as teammate Michael Martinez slides safely into home plate to score a run against the Minnesota Twins during the 14th inning.
  2. Rays journal: Erasmo Ramirez ready to start a day after closing game

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — RHP Erasmo Ramirez was on the mound to finish Sunday's 15-inning marathon win over the Twins and will start tonight's game against the Rangers.

    The Rays’ Erasmo Ramirez throws 12 pitches in the 15th inning against the Twins to earn the save then says after the game that he’s ready to make his scheduled start against the Rangers: “My arm feels good.”
  3. Rays exhausted but happy after 15-inning win over Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Before the Rays eventually won Sunday's 6½-hour, 15-inning marathon against the Twins 8-6, they did plenty to lose it. And we need to get that out of the way first.

    The Rays’ Evan Longoria enjoys a laugh after scoring, barely, to tie it in the ninth on Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out single.
  4. Tom Jones' Two Cents: ABC's Indy 500 coverage is stellar again

    TV and Radio

    Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Takuma Sato left, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 as Helio Castroneves is a little late passing him. ABC’s coverage of the race is stellar throughout, with plenty of extras but no fake drama.
  5. Takuma Sato surprise winner of wreck-filled Indy 500

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Takuma Sato, a journeyman driver, became the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when he held off three-time champion Helio Castroneves in a 230-mph wheel-rubbing duel to the finish.

    Scott Dixon’s car goes over the top of Jay Howard, soaring so high that Helio Castroneves drove under it while it was airborne. Stunningly, there were no serious injuries.