'George, this one is for you'
Steinbrenner not on hand, but Yanks pay homage to Boss
NEW YORK -- As the Yankees celebrated the 27th World Series title in franchise history and the seventh since George Steinbrenner purchased the team in 1973, the organization's driving force was missing.
"The Boss" was home in Tampa, Fla., apparently watching the festivities on TV."I wish he was here," said Mariano Rivera, who closed the game, 7-3, against the Phillies that set a wild celebration in motion. Rivera added that he asked son Hank Steinbrenner "if he was here and Hank said, 'No.' I wish he was here so I could give him a big hug. He's the driving force behind putting this all together. He's definitely a part of me." Steinbrenner's possible ill health is a well-kept secret around club circles, and neither another son, Hal, nor Commissioner Bud Selig wanted to talk about it.
If nothing else, he has been flamboyant, once insisting the team couldn't survive for the long-term in the Bronx and finally acquiescing to fund a new $1.5 billion stadium when it became obvious that 4 million people a year were willing to pay their way into the old ballpark now being torn down across 161st Street.
"What can you say about him?" said Andy Pettitte, who won the game on Wednesday night, but isn't certain yet if he's coming back next season. "He built this new ballpark for us. He put this team together. He set a standard here that we have to win championships. It's an awful high standard to set when you say that the season is a failure if you don't win the championship. That isn't a good pressure to have."But these guys have dealt with it. We embrace it and we did it, man. It couldn't feel any sweeter because of it."
|"He's here. He's everywhere, believe me. We're real proud that we were able to do this. This has got to be the greatest day for him. His pride and joy is his family, and his pride and joy is the Yankees. And on a night like tonight, they both came together."|
|-- General manager Brian Cashman|
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.