I wrote a long, rambling blog entry yesterday that drew parallels between George Steinbrenner dying and my losing an aunt on the same day. I scrapped it because my emotions are pretty raw right now and that’s probably a bad time to be writing about the dead – especially when all I want to write about Steinbrenner is how much I disliked him and how annoying all of the “He was a good man and great for baseball” stories that are out there right now.
I’ve had some time to take deep breaths so here goes draft two (without any mention of my aunt because, honestly, it’s an insult to her memory to lump her in with Steinbrenner).
George Steinbrenner was generous to the Jimmy Fund and to most of his players (at least with their salaries). These two things I won’t dispute. The list of reasons why he doesn’t deserve glowing obituaries that make him sound like the Second Coming is too long to rehash here but we all know it exists. I don’t expect to read headlines like “George Steinbrenner is dead – woo-hoo!” but I also don’t expect tweets like the one the official Oakland A’s Twitter account published yesterday:
…baseball lost a good one today
My reaction was a loud “Are you shitting me?”.
Baseball lost a notorious one today. Baseball lost an infamous one today. Baseball lost a scandalous one today. These all would have worked. Baseball lost a good one today is just mind-bogglingly ridiculous. George Steinbrenner did amazing things for the New York Yankees team and fans, often times to the detriment of the rest of the league. This does not make him a “good one”.
I understand when someone dies folks want to put a halt to the negative talk for a day or two. What I will never get (and will never join in on) is acting like someone was a wonderful human being just because they had the misfortune of dying. This is a man who called one of his own players a “fat toad”. This is a man who took the time to mock the Red Sox after their loss at Yankee Stadium in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS with “Go back to Boston, boys!”. This is a man who insisted Don Mattingly be benched because of his facial hair. This is a man who was a convicted felon. This is a man who was suspended TWICE from baseball. This is a man who hired someone to dig up dirt on one of his own players and got a lifetime suspension from then commissioner Fay Vincent because of it (as an aside, guess who reinstated him? Fellow team owner Bud Selig. I didn’t know weasels ran in packs). Instead of being good for baseball, as so many claim today, he made a mockery of it and now that he’s dead we’re supposed to pretend he was the most amazing man to ever work in MLB? Not me. Not doing it.
I’m sorry that his family and others who love him are going through what they are because I know how much that truly sucks and I don’t wish it on anyone. That doesn’t mean his entire slate gets wiped clean…that’s all I’m saying. I’m not here to dump on the dead guy but I’ll be damned if I sit idly by while revisionist history runs amuck.
Now that I got that off my chest…
Local Yankee troll “Lou” commented last night that Big Papi lost the game for the American League with his poor base running (I deleted the comment because Lou lost commenting privileges a while ago, but he wasn’t the only Yankee fan I encountered who gave that argument).
How’s this for a dose of reality? Joe Girardi manages his first All Star Game and the American League loses after 13 straight wins on the back of Phil Hughes’ poor pitching performance (check the box score folks, the “L” is next to Phil’s name).
Last week, when Joba choked up the lead by giving up a grand slam to the Mariners just after Girardi picked Paul Konerko over Kevin Youkilis for the All Star team, I jokingly tweeted:
Mariners win. Maybe the curse of Joe Girardi being a horse’s ass begins tonight?
Yanks won the next game but they lost both Bob Sheppard and George Steinbrenner and now have to face the realization that Mr Girardi (and Mr. Hughes) blew home field advantage for whichever AL team makes it to the World Series (I figure this way the Sox can win the next one in Boston!). I don’t wish death on anyone (especially not sweet Mr. Bob Sheppard) so I take no glee from either death, but maybe there is a cloud forming over the house that Ruth didn’t build?
And finally, some of you mocked me when I began calling Jon Lester “Crabcakes”. He’s finally letting his guard down. Unlike Steve Buckley, I get no joy from reading about one of our players backhandedly insulting another player who hasn’t engaged first. This isn’t a Sox/Yanks Sox/Rays Sox/anyone rivalry. STFU and just say “no”, Jon. You’re a major league ball player, try acting like an adult.
Guess I still don’t have the cranky out. It’s going to be a long week and I really need a game that counts to get me through!