NEW YORK – George Steinbrenner watched the Yankees win their 27th World Series championship not at the ballpark, but on television at his home in Tampa, Fla.
As Frank Sinatra's “New York, New York” played over the sound system in the moments after Mariano Rivera(notes) threw the season's final pitch in the Bronx, the message on the video board in center field read, “Boss, this is for you.”
Steinbrenner, 79, is in failing health, though he did attend Games 1 and 2 at Yankee Stadium last week. The team's owner since 1973, when he purchased the Yankees from CBS for $10 million, Steinbrenner has stood watch over seven championships.
He handed down the team to his sons, Hank and Hal, who'd spoken to their father over the course of Wednesday night's clincher. The Yankees beat the Phillies, 7-3, to win the series in six games.
“He was subdued during the game,” Hank said in the clubhouse afterward, “and very emotional after it.”
Hank said they'd built the Yankees – on a $201 million budget – like they always had, with a night like this one in mind.
“We knew we had the best team in baseball,” he said. “So, we just expected to win.”