Joe Girardi, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Andy Pettitte met the media in Anaheim to talk about George Steinbrenner. Here are some of their comments:
Girardi: “It’s a difficult time. It’s a great day for baseball, the All-Star Game, something everyone looks to – and a great man has passed.”
A-Rod: “In ’04, he wrote me a handwritten wrote and it was hand-delivered by a clubhouse kid … (It said) ‘I’m counting on you’ – with capital letters and exclamation point. … And I hold this dear. We’re still playing for him.”
Pettitte: “He would (challenge you). For me, getting a little personal – George used to hand me bible verses before some of my playoff starts. He was tough, but he was always there to support you.”
Girardi: “I never really felt that his expectations were overbearing. I felt he just wanted what all of us wanted – to win.”
Girardi: “I think winning the World Series meant a lot to him but the next day he was back to work. I really believe that he enjoyed it but he stayed the course all the time. We experienced that in 1996 and we were told that he was already planning for 1997 when they were planning the parade. I think he loved it and thought it was a true accomplishment but he never rested in it.”
Jeter: “(I’m) shocked, to say the least. I don’t know if you can put it into words. … I’ve known him since I was 18 years old. We were more friends than anything. We had bets on Ohio State-Michigan football games. I’ve been in trouble a couple of times. We’ve filmed commercials with him dancing. … It’s tough because he’s more than just an owner to me. He’s a friend and he’ll be deeply missed.”
Jeter added that he is flying home to Tampa after the game tonight and had been hoping to see Steinbrenner over the next few days. The last time Jeter saw Steinbrenner, he said, was Opening Day this year when he (along with Girardi) presented Steinbrenner with his 2009 World Series championship ring.