Floral tributes line the gates of the new Yankee Stadium, only skimming the surface of the sadness sweeping Yankee nation after the death of the boss.
“I feel awful, really awful,” one fan said.
Shock was the overwhelming feeling for most.
“I know he hasn’t been behind the Yankee organization for several years,” said one fan. “But it’s disbelief.”
Fans say the “house that George built” is a legacy in limestone to the man who rescued the fabled franchise, and returned baseball glory to the Bronx.
“He took the Yankees when they were probably at their lowest point in the 1970s,” said Dennis Feldman, a Yankee fan from Marlboro, N.J., “He turned them around to be the most elite team in baseball, if not all of sports.”
It’s hard to believe that just 20 years ago, many Yankees fans cheered when Steinbrenner was banned from baseball.
“Yes, we remember in the 90s when he was losing, wasn’t doing as well,” said Rob Hyte of Tampa, Fla. “But he turned it around. Winning does that for you.”
And “winner” is the word many fans say sums up the color, controversial George Steinbrenner.
“He’s one of the greatest owners in all of sports,” said Eric Higger of the Upper East Side. “In a city like New York, where everyone wants to win, you got people that want to win it all, not just make the playoffs. And George Steinbrenner stood for that.”
Some fans see the controversy surrounding Steinbrenner as a positive.
“You have to be controversial sometimes to get things done,” said Jean Cavazzini of Valley Cottage, N.Y.
With a new stadium and control firmly in the hands of his sons, fans believe Steinbrenner’s legacy is secure.
“I’m kind of upset by hearing the news that he died, and I hope his sons take care of the Yankees like he did,” said Stefan Loyal of South Bronx.
“Life will go on and the Yankees will continue to prosper,” another fan said.
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