Last night was the first game at Yankee Stadium since the deaths of Bob Shepard and George Steinbrenner and, it was, understandably, an emotional night:
As Yankee Stadium fell silent early Friday evening, Frank Sinatra’s voice wafted over the loudspeakers. Sinatra was singing “My Way,” a tune that George Steinbrenner no doubt knew well and with which he surely identified.
No one did it quite the way Steinbrenner did in his 37 years as the principal owner of the Yankees, and Sinatra’s song provided a fitting introduction for a 20-minute pregame ceremony that honored both Steinbrenner, who died Tuesday, and the team’s longtime public-address announcer Bob Sheppard, who died two days before Steinbrenner.
By the end of the night, the somber mood had dissipated, giving way to the rhythms of a stirring game between the best teams in the American League. Because he lived in Tampa, Fla., Steinbrenner took special joy in beating the Rays, and the Yankees honored him with a 5-4 comeback victory.
“Another one of those special moments at Yankee Stadium,” said Derek Jeter, the Yankees’ captain.
The Yankees, who trailed by 3-1 heading into the sixth and by 4-3 entering the eighth, won when Nick Swisher, whose homer an inning earlier tied the score, ripped a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth off Lance Cormier. Swisher’s hit scored Curtis Granderson, who led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice. After Granderson slid home, the Yankees mobbed Swisher, chasing him into right field. Perhaps the only thing Steinbrenner adored more than his Yankees was Ohio State. Swisher, a proud Buckeye, felt the same way.
“I think pretty much the agenda today was to win,” Swisher said. “That was what Mr. Steinbrenner would have wanted us to do.”
Today is Old Timer’s Day, so I’m sure the tributes will continue as will, hopefully, the winning.