Barnaby Monk 1:14 p.m., June 19
"The sands of time, for me, are running low!" --Iron Maiden, from "Hallowed By Thy Name."
Let me just say this now--I'm not a NY Yankees fan. Never have been, never will be. However, when I heard over KNX that George Steinbrenner passed into the afterlife at age 80, the news stunned me quite a bit. Not that I expected him to live forever (Methusala still holds the record at 900+ years), but I knew that with Steinbrenner now on his way to his afterlife abode, MLB has truly lost a larger-than-life figure.
When Steinbrenner took over the Yankees from the CBS conglomerate that owned them, they were in, to put it chartiably, a major-league tailspin. Steinbrenner began to set that to rights by paying top-dollar for any free agent whom he thought would achieve his goal...bring MLB championships to Yankee Stadium.
However, Steinbrenner was, as a boss, pure hell to work with. He'd hire you one day, the next day you were looking for new employment. He expected loyalty that one showed kings back in the Dark Ages--as in absolute loyalty. If he yelled "FROGGIE!", you jumped--or became frog's legs!
The man was arrogant, no doubt about it. Often, he reminded me of what the Viscount El Alamein, Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery told a reporter about his command style: "Sometimes, only a cad can get certain troops moving. I am that cad."
He was often accused of trying to buy MLB Championships--and he admitted it. The man wanted to win--and it mattered not how he obtained his victories. Heck, if Lucifer made him a deal for nine imps that were guraranteed to win championships for twenty years, George would say: "Here's my soul--now get me those imps!"
He epitomized the arrogance that made the New York Yankees the "Evil Empire" of Major League Baseball. What mattered not were others thoughts about how he got those wins, just as long as he did get them. And he sure got them--the Braves, Dodgers, Padres, and Mets were merely speed bumps on the road to yet another Yankee's World Series win.
Strangely enough, it was the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Florida Marlins who managed to stop him at World Series time.
However, the NL team he faced the most in the "fall Classic" were the Los Angeles (formerly Brooklyn) Dodgers. The O'Malleys and the Steinbrenners could be counted on to put on a great series. The Yankees won more of them, but they were hard-fought.
But now with George Steinbrenner facing the Judgement Celestial, how will the Yankees react? Will they "Win it For Georgie" this year? Or will the Yankees pull a power dive into the AL East cellar, now that their heart-and-soul no longer walks the Earth?
Well, we will have the second half of the 2010 MLB season to find out.
Bye-Bye, George--good luck in the afterlife! And--wear sunscreen! High SPF-level sunscreen! You will need it where you are going! --LPR