Make us your home page

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


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

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

  1. U.S. repeats as Solheim Cup champion


    WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Lexi Thompson set the tone by rallying from four holes down. The rest of the Americans took it from there and restored their dominance in the Solheim Cup

    Lexi Thompson, left, comes back from four holes down to halve the day’s first singles match with Europe’s Anna Nordqvist to set the tone for the United States.
  2. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  3. Bucs journal: Demar Dotson (mild groin strain) expected back for opener


    TAMPA — The Bucs got good news Sunday on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI exam showed only a mild right groin sprain and who should be back at practice next week.

    Tackle Demar Dotson has only a mild groin strain.
  4. Bucs counting on better health creating better pass rush


    TAMPA — Ask Bucs coaches about the improved depth and health of their defensive line, and they'll look around for a piece of wood to knock on.

    Retired All-Pro defensive end  Simeon Rice, right, the last Buc to have double-digit sacks in a season,  works with defensive end Ryan Russell, who last season was promoted from the practice squad for the second half of the year as injuries piled up. He is competing for a backup job this year.
  5. Rays journal: Jake Faria heads to DL with left abdominal strain

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jacob Faria made the trek he didn't want to take after his last start. It was to the trainer's room. The pain in his left abdominal went from nagging to an issue during his start that night in Toronto.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jacob Faria (34) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 4, 2017.