Airwaves: Steinbrenner’s death a big loss for baseball 

We all knew he was in poor health. Over the last two years, he was barely seen in public. He was no longer quoted very much. But we all knew he was there.

His sons are the active heads of the New York Yankees, but we knew who was in the shadows. Like we all will face some day, his time on earth eventually was done and he is now gone.

In a sick way, it was fitting that the man who arguably may have been the best owner in the history of baseball passed away on Tuesday, the morning of the MLB All-Star Game. It was fitting in a way that this broadcast gave him the national tribute he so well deserved. It was almost like his passing away was bigger than the game itself.

“The Boss,” George Steinbrenner, will be missed. He lived an interesting life, an existence that will live on for years to come. Arguably, he might be the greatest Yankee ever. Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Lou Gehrig, Derek Jeter, the list of great Yankees is endless. “The Boss,” however, took the pinstripe kingdom to another level.

It would take the entire edition of today’s Examiner to review what he did for baseball and all the highlights of his life. He was George Patton in pinstripes. He was absolute gold for the tabloids and every media outlet. He has some of the greatest quotes in the history of sports. He was blunt, spoke his mind and did not mince any words. Yes, George Steinbrenner was one of a kind.

He shared a birthday each year with Al Davis. Born on July 4, 1930, Steinbrenner lived for 80 years.

Hopefully, his death will speed up the process of getting him into the Baseball’s Hall of Fame. I "kinda" think he deserves it. The Yankees will continue to be the Yankees. However, we must remember the Godfather movies were never the same when the boss, Don Corleone (Marlon Brando), passed away.

Give Fox Sports a ton of credit for their ability to cover his death and blend it into the broadcast in a very classy manner and keep the balance of the game in perspective with the many tributes and pieces that were done on Mr. Steinbrenner.

ESPN, although not directly broadcasting the game, also did an excellent job of bringing the world the news of his death and putting together segments illustrating his life. Both ESPN and Fox had outstanding interviews with people that were in Steinbrenner’s life, such as Joe Torre, Jeter, Jerry Jones and Bobby Knight. All great stuff!

Mr. Steinbrenner you will be missed, but not forgotten. As an East Coaster, thank you for the memories.

 

Berman an ideal choice for HOF honor

 

A few quick hits from all over the air:

-- Congrats to ESPN posterboy Chris Berman. This year at the Pro Football Hall of Fame inductions, “Boomer” will be presented with the Pete Rozelle Award for longtime excellence in covering the NFL. The humble Berman deserves this great honor.

-- I did not like Joe Buck’s grayish, beige sports jacket during the All-Star telecast. Why can’t a broadcast team wear the same sports jacket?

-- Partner Tim McCarver looked sharp and snappy in a traditional blue blazer.

-- ESPN and the Atlantic Coast Conference have announced a new 12-year deal worth reportedly $1.86 billion. The money will be more than double what each of the 12 conference schools are receiving now. Sure is a ton of dough!

-- Alexi Lalas and Ruud Gullit, ESPN-ABC‘s World Cup analysts, were quite harsh in their opinions of the quality of play in the championship match last week. Gullit called it “ugly” and “terrible” while Lalas referred to it as “ugly” and “it was like putting lipstick on a pig.” I just love non-American humor and sports analysis.

-- ESPN’s “College GameDay” show has added the much in demand Erin Andrews to its cast of characters.

She will do features and some hosting for the popular college football pregame show. Andrews will also do regular projects and appearances for ABC’s “Good Morning America” show. This has been an interesting year for this talented beauty. After a tragic bout with some moronic stalker, she rebounded with a very impressive performance on “Dancing with the Stars.” This opened the doors to many sports and non-sports offers. I am happy she will remain at ESPN-ABC in an expanded role.

-- The Yankees lost another member of their family last week when the “Voice of God” was summoned to Yankee Stadium in the sky. Longtime Yankee Stadium public address announcer Bob Sheppard passed away last weekend. This was the voice heard in Yankee Stadium from 1951 until his retirement in September of 2007. He like, “The Boss, is Yankee royalty.

 

Who said it

 

George Steinbrenner

“Once a Yankee, always a Yankee,” the late “Boss” loved to say. His tough-love methods not only restored the Yankee dominance on the diamond, but also in the marketing world. The Yankee brand is one of the top five most recognizable brands in the world.

David Stern

“I think the advice that he received was poor. This “Decision” show was ill-conceived, badly produced and poorly executed,” the NBA commissioner lashed out after the LeBron James special on ESPN announcing what team he will play for next year. I respect him and his opinions, but I wonder if ESPN feels the same way?

 

Sports by numbers

 

Approximate amount George Steinbrenner paid for the Yankees in 1973

$10 million

The net value of the 2010 Yankees

$1.6 billion

Managerial changes Steinbrenner made in 37 years

23

 

On Target

 

Bill Clinton had a great line in 1999 when the World Series champion Yankees visited the White House. They arrived at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. and were walking out on the South Lawn in a group as the band struck up “Hail to the Chief.” The president, walking with “The Boss,” playfully reminded the former football coach, “Hey George, don’t get any ideas, it’s not for you.” Classic!

Artie Gigantino spent 25 years as a coach at the major-college and NFL levels, was lead college football analyst for Fox Sports Net for seven years, was with CBS for one year and was an executive with the Raiders for three years. E-mail him at agigantino@sfexaminer.com.

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Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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