Rest in peace, George Steinbrenner

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As a Red Sox fan, I never really liked George Steinbrenner.
He created today’s version of my archenemy. I rarely, if ever, agreed with what
he said or did, and every time I would see him at Yankee Stadium in his
turtleneck and blue blazer, I would glare at the television screen, hoping he
would feel my hatred.

With that said, I am mourning his passing today.

I was at work at my summer internship in London when I
learned of the news. I was reading boston.com after returning from my lunch
break and saw a bright red “breaking news” bar flash across the top of my
screen. “George Steinbrenner suffers massive heart attack, in very critical
condition,” it said. I knew then that he was gone. Sure enough, no more than
ten minutes later, the news was updated with reports of his death.

I immediately texted all the Yankee fans in my contacts to
let them know. Although it was after lunch in London, it was still early morning
back home. When my boss came over to review my work, I asked him if he knew who
George Steinbrenner was. Baseball is about as popular as taxes here, but my
boss still knew who he was and was saddened to learn of his passing.

I am a Red Sox fan, but above all I am a fan of baseball,
and I would be blind not to recognize the impact Steinbrenner has had on the
sport since he bought the Yankees 37 years ago.

Steinbrenner was a man who jumped over hurdles in his youth
and blew through them in his adult life. He had an incredible amount of passion
and drive that he channeled into his penchant for winning, and much to my
chagrin, he was very successful at that. As a stubborn man who always voiced
his opinions, he often fought with players, managers, even the commissioner of
baseball. For all the money he spent, he was not immune to fines. He was
unapologetically polarizing.

Because of Steinbrenner, Yankees fans have an entire
television channel devoted to their favorite team. Baseball fans have teams
offering players big money. Steinbrenner was the first to promote the idea of
shelling out fat checks in order to get quality players, and many blame him for
baseball’s lack of parity. He showed the Yankees how to win, and he showed the
world what it meant to be involved. His formula was no secret.

“Work as hard as you ask others to,” Steinbrenner once
said. “Strive for what you believe is right, no matter the odds. Learn that
mistakes can be the best teacher.”

Through his mistakes and his successes, Steinbrenner left a
mark on this world that will never and should never be forgotten – not even by
a Red Sox fan.

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