My brief encounter with George Steinbrenner

I’ve mentioned this before, but it drives me nuts when a person dies and everyone is quoted inflating the guy into a quasi-saint. (“He was a giant…”; “No one has ever done more for baseball…”).  Its dehumaninzing.  It doesn’t do the person justice because it doesn’t tell you one thing about the kind of human being he/she was. 

Yesterday George Steinbrenner died.  I “met” him once.  Or rather, myself and two others, one of whom knew him, ran into he and his entourage on a street out East.  

George Steinbrenner may have had a reputation as a hard-driving, chainsaw businessman who favored sharp practices and backroom deals, and that may all be true.  But in my brief encounter with him I found him to be an extremely friendly man.

Bare in mind, he had nothing to gain from me.  I am and was nobody.  He could have easily bigfooted me and I would not have thought twice about it.  But instead he went out of his way to give me the whole “Where you from, son?”  routine, as if he actually cared where I was from.  And when I told him he even followed up with “Great town!  I know “suchandso” from Madison and he…” 

Do you know what I mean?  He just kind of put an effort in to faking like he was interested in who I was, and I appreciated it.  He even stage laughed when I made some lame crack about the Brewers or Bud Selig, I can’t remember.  (“Ho, ho, ho…”)

In fact, I really don’t remember at all what exactly he said or I said.  I just remember my impressions of him.  Gregarious, that’s what I’d call him.  Like a cross between Santa Claus and some stereotypical fat cat business man.  The type of guy that would put his arm around you to make a big show that you were buddies.  And it seemed to me like he liked people and he was willing to treat the little guy with respect. 

What more can you ask from a man?

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2 Responses to “My brief encounter with George Steinbrenner”

  1. Derek Smalls Says:

    Nice story!

    A “nobody”?!?! This is one of the best analytical sports blogs on the web!

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