Sad Yankees, happy James

Published 10:59 am Thursday, July 15, 2010

There are a few topics I want to touch on this week so hang on; this is going to be a bumpy ride.

It has been a tough week for Yankee Nation. First was the passing away of Bob Sheppard.

Sheppard was the public address announcer for the New York Yankees from 1951 through 2007. During that time he announced over 4,500 games and watched as the “The Pinstripes” won 22 American League pennants and 13 World Series championships.

Sheppard was “The Voice of Yankee Stadium” and became such an important and beloved part of the franchise that his microphone is in the Baseball Hall of Fame. While Sheppard was also a longtime announcer for the New York Giants and one of the very few men to ever be awarded both a World Series and a Super Bowl ring, he will be forever remembered as a Yankee.

While there have been many Yankees over the years when it comes to that organization there has only been one “Boss.”

The news of George Steinbrenner’s death was shocking and unexpected. Maybe it shouldn’t have been considering that he was 80 years old and had lived a not so stress free life; however given his personality and inner drive I must admit that I somehow expected him to outlive us all.

Steinbrenner was the owner of the most loved and hated franchise in all of sports. Some might say that because of this, people felt jus as passionately about him. I think it was the other way around.

It was because of Steinbrenner’s constant desire for perfection and his willingness to win at any cost (monetarily mostly) that people feel so strongly about the Yankees. Fans don’t love or hate George Steinbrenner because he was the Yankees’ owner, people loved or hated the Yankees because of George Steinbrenner.

Love him or hate him, the man was a winner and baseball was better because of him.

On to a lighter note, in case you hadn’t heard already there apparently was some sort of NBA free agent acquisition in Miami last week. It is supposedly some sort of bid deal and quite frankly I don’t understand why. Cleveland seems so upset to lose Lebron James and Miami appears so excited to have him.

Enough with the sarcasm…what I really don’t understand is why everyone seems so mad at Lebron. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert was so mad that he got fined $100,000 and guaranteed that no decent free agent would come play for him with the passionate, but ill advised remarks he made after Lebron announced his intention to move to South Beach.

That kind of brings me to my next point.

We as sports fans have been griping for years that all players nowadays care about is their money. Lebron James, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade all chose to accept less money and play together thereby assuring themselves an opportunity to content for a title. Shouldn’t this be celebrated?

While we are at it, I dare anyone to tell me that if they were in his shoes they would not have seriously considered doing the exact same thing. The uber-millionare had a choice between staying in Cleveland, going to Chicago, New York, New Jersey or Miami. If you were an uber-millionare where would you live? In the cold, cold, cold, cold or South Beach? The man is 25 years old. Don’t be mad because he acts like it.

David Friedman is a long-time contributor to the Roanoke-Chowan News Herald. A Bertie High School

graduate, he and his wife currently reside in Wilmington. David can be reached via e-mail at