Before yesterday’s game, the Yankees unveiled a larger than life sized monument to their former Boss. The 760 pound slab of granite, which at seven by five feet resembles more of a gigantic plaque, was prominently positioned against the back wall of monument park, overlooking the more traditional and much smaller headstone-like monuments dedicated to Yankees legends of the past.
Although some questioned the relative size of the monument, the oversized presence of the Boss looming over monument park was a perfect way to honor his memory. Never one to blend quietly into the background, Steinbrenner was larger than life as an owner, so it is only fitting that his permanent memorial share the same quality.
Probably just how The Boss wanted it. The biggest one out there. It probably was his idea.” – Derek Jeter, commenting on the size of the Steinbrenner monument, courtesy of the LoHud Yankees Blog, September 20, 2010
Considering his propensity for performing charity in anonymity, it’s open to debate whether the Boss would have approved of his monument’s dominating presence, but there really isn’t much room for debate when it comes to determining his place in history. With the exception of Babe Ruth, and perhaps early owner Jacob Ruppert, no one has had a greater impact on Yankees history than George Steinbrenner. For that reason, he not only deserves his oversized plaque in monument park, but merits one in Cooperstown as well.
Another fitting tribute to Steinbrenner also involved who was in attendance at the ceremony. The return of Joe Torre to Yankee Stadium, along with the underlying thaw in the chilly relations between the former manager and the organization, was a perfect way to honor the Boss. For all his faults, Steinbrenner was always keen on having great Yankees return to the fold, so Torre’s presence at the ceremony spoke even louder than the words chiseled in stone on the granite monument.
Finally, perhaps the most appropriate way to honor the Boss was for the Yankees to win the game and extend their first place lead over the Rays. Thanks to another solid outing by Ivan Nova and career high five RBIs by Curtis Granderson, that’s exactly what the team did. By bouncing back after squandering a 4-0 lead, the Yankees showed the kind of resilience that Steinbrenner always took pride in seeing from his ball clubs. So, even though the game took a backseat to the earlier celebration, things wouldn’t have seemed right if the outcome would have been different.
During the ceremony, the most poignant scene was of Mariano Rivera gazing at the Steinbrenner monument as the rest of the assembled crowd began to dissipate. So, it was only fitting that Rivera also closed out the evening with the welcomed sight of another save. Someday Mariano’s monument will be unveiled for all to behold, but for now, the Yankees should be grateful he remains their rock in the ninth inning.