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Yogi Berra:

“George was ‘The Boss,’ make no mistake,” Hall of Famer Yogi Berra said. “He built the Yankees into champions, and that’s something nobody can ever deny. He was a very generous, caring, passionate man. George and I had our differences, but who didn’t? We became great friends over the last decade and I will miss him very much.”

Commissioner Bud Selig:

“He was and always will be as much of a New York Yankee as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford and all of the other Yankee legends,” baseball commissioner Bud Selig said. “Although we would have disagreements over the years, they never interfered with our friendship and commitment to each other. Our friendship was built on loyalty and trust and it never wavered.”

Rudy Giuliani:

“George was a friend of mine for over 30 years. He was truly the most influential and innovative owner in all of sports. He transformed baseball and sports broadcasting with the YES Network and brought New York seven World Series. Beyond that, he made the Yankees a source of great pride in being a New Yorker. George Steinbrenner’s Yankees represent the will to overcome all odds which is precisely the will New Yorkers display when meeting every challenge they face.”

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg:

“Few people have had a bigger impact on New York over the past four decades than George Steinbrenner,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. “George had a deep love for New York, and his steely determination to succeed combined with his deep respect and appreciation for talent and hard work made him a quintessential New Yorker.”

Joe Torre:

“I will always remember George Steinbrenner as a passionate man, a tough boss, a true visionary, great humanitarian, and a dear friend. I will be forever grateful that he trusted me with his Yankees for 12 years. My heart goes out to his entire family. He will be deeply missed in New York, Tampa and throughout the world of baseball. It’s only fitting that he went out as a world champ.”

Don Mattingly:

“His vision, passion and commitment to winning, recharged the New York Yankees and revolutionized the game. I remember a man driven to succeed. He was the owner, “The Boss” and number one fan of the Yankees. Our relationship was built on mutual respect. I will never forget and always be grateful for how he treated me and my family both during my playing days and after I retired.”

John W. Henry, owner of the Boston Red Sox:

“I had the good fortune to call George Steinbrenner both partner and friend. I had the privilege to watch George as he built a system that ensured his beloved Yankees would have a strong foundation for sustained excellence. And then we fiercely competed in the American League. George Steinbrenner forever changed baseball and hopefully some day we will see him honored in baseball’s Hall of Fame as one of the great figures in the history of sports.”

Mario Cuomo, former New York Governor:

“Everyone knows George Steinbrenner went from loser to legend by taking a second division team with a struggling franchise in 1973 and turning it into a champion again. But he was much more than a winner and a celebrity. There was no falseness in him. He did everything with his heart: His family, his friends, his team, his nation and his community. I’m not surprised that in the end he died by wearing it out.”

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The Yankees announced today that the team will wear patches on their uniforms remembering owner George Steinbrenner, who passed away Tuesday at the age of 80, and long-time public address announcer Bob Sheppard, who passed away Sunday at the age of 99.

The Steinbrenner patch will be placed above each player’s heart – over the interlocking NY on home jerseys, and above the word “YORK” on away jerseys.  The Sheppard patch will be worn on each player’s left sleeve.

I’m watching the all-star game right now and it appears that each Yankee has a black armband on his left sleeve in honor of Steinbrenner’s passing.

Just nine days after his 80th birthday and just two days after the passing of iconic PA announcer Bob Sheppard, the Yankees are now mourning the loss of owner George Steinbrenner Tuesday morning after a massive heart attack.

Steinbrenner had been in declining health for about 3 years now and most of the day-to-day operations of the team were passed to sons Hal and Hank.  Although many in the Yankee Universe were expecting his eventual passing, a heart attack was not what most were expecting.

Steinbrenner bought the Yankees for $10 Million in 1973 and initially claimed he would not be involved in the day-to-day operations of the team.  Fortunately, that didn’t happen.  In his first 8 years of ownership, Steinbrenner’s Yankees won 4 pennants and 2 World Series championships.

After a “Dark Ages” from 1982-1993, the Yankees started winning regularly again in 1994, leading the league before the player’s strike ended the season.  The Yankees have not had a losing season since and despite the “dark ages” the Yankees still hold the best overall record from 1973-today.

Love him or hate him, for better or worse, the Boss changed baseball forever.  He brought a businessman’s mentality to the game that led to higher salaries for the players due to his willingness to pay a lot of money for good players.  For example, he offered Catfish Hunter a $700,000+ salary back when many baseball players were not even making six figures.

Yankees fans will have to mourn the loss of two iconic members of the organization for the rest of the season.  I will be interested to see how the Boss is remembered at tonight’s all-star game.  After the impact this man had on baseball, I’ll be disappointed if nothing is mentioned.

Sports Illustrated has ranked the top five and bottom five owners in baseball.  Of the 5 teams in the AL East, four made the lists.

The Tampa Bay Rays were ranked fifth best, mostly because of new owner Stuart Sternberg’s investment into the team.  Since purchasing the team in 2005, he has made improvements to Tropicana Field and the rays payroll is over $63 Million this season, a franchise record.

The Yankees ranked fourth best, due to the devotion of the Steinbrenner family to field a championship-caliber team year-in and year-out.

The Red Sox were ranked number one and to be fair, it makes sense.  Since buying the franchise in 2002, John Henry and Co. have delivered 5 of 6 playoff appearances (including 4 ALCS appearances) and 2 World Series titles.  As SI points out, Henry’s leadership has brought the team some of the best minds in baseball, including GM Theo Epstein.

The only other Al East team mentioned was the Baltimore Orioles, who won the spot for worst owner in baseball.  Since Peter Angelos bought the team in 1993, they have a dismal .486 winning percentage and have not had a winning season in 11 years.  As SI points out, you can almost single-handedly blame Angelos for the demise of a team that was constantly challenging the Yankees for the AL Pennant in the late 90’s.

You can check out the article here.

Forbes came out today with a listing of baseball’s richest franchises. Not surprisingly the Yankees are on top. What is surprisingly is that in the face of the current economic climate, the Yankees actually rose in value thanks to YES and their new Stadium.

yankeesfranchiseval2005-091(graph from Biz of Baseball)

The Yankees draw in $375 million in operating revenue, and while their net income is in the red at -$3.7 million, the Yankees are profitable due to the rest of their holdings.

Forbes’ writers Michael K. Ozanian and Kurt Badenhausen break down the Yanks’ net negative income:

The new stadium also means the Yankees will have to hand over a lower percentage of their revenue to rivals. Yes, the team’s stadium revenue–tickets, suites, advertising, concessions–is likely to go up by more than $100 million this season.

In the new stadium the Yankees’ deductible expenses will be around $100 million, enough to wipe out the windfall in revenue.

The Forbes article says that Marlins’ owner Jeffrey Loria has received more money in revenue sharing payments than he had to pay out to buy the team.

Basically, Loria has gotten the team for free now after paying $143 million for them more than seven years ago.

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