Bad week all around. Bob Sheppard went over the weekend, taking with him the soundtrack of my youth, and George Steinbrenner departed today.
I'll admit freely that I never much liked Steinbrenner. He was generally a bully, and for a long, long time he didn't treat his underlings very well. Ask any of his former PR guys what a nightmare it was working for him. He flaunted some rules, too, one instance of which resulted in a felony conviction for illegal campaign contributions.
He made reporters' lives absolutely miserable. When you covered the Yankees in the Bronx Zoo era, you covered Steinbrenner as much as you covered the games themselves, maybe more. I was in the great man's presence more than once, and I can honestly say none of those experiences were particularly pleasant.
But give him this, he was a winner, and he'd make no bones about spending as much as he had to to create a winner. So he gets a lot of points for that. Is there a place in the Hall-of-Fame for him. Yep. Definitely.
As for Sheppard, his was as much a part of Yankee Stadium as anything that happened on the field. The Voice of God. Truly. There's no mourning here, for I'm sure we'll all benefit from Bob's passing at age 99 in the future. I can hear St. Peter now, after so many years of announcing arrivals at the Pearly Gates.
"Hey Boss. Sheppard's here. I'm taking a break."
Hope to see you up there, Robert.
"You're attention please. Now arriving at the Pearly Gates...Sportswritah, Ernie Palladino. Sportswritah."
That'll be cool. But maybe not just yet.