Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Who's The Boss?

In the beginning of my solving life, I made up little exercises to help improve my technique. I'd practice by choosing a word or phrase (culled from that day's news) and then define it very quickly, in as many ways possible. For instance -- if I had to define THE BOSS in a puzzle, four ideas immediately come to mind:
  • My Mother:  When we were kids, my dad referred to my mom as "The Boss," a nickname that came in handy during those "go ask your mother" scenarios.
  • Bruce, as in Springsteen--"The Boss," the guy who put Asbury Park, N.J. (my childhood stomping ground) on the map.
  • Bess Truman: Presidential trivia I learned through crosswords--Harry Truman called his wife, Bess, "The Boss."
How does one begin to examine the complex life of George Steinbrenner who died today at age 80? I'll leave that to the capable obit writers in tomorrow's newspapers. Some loved him, some hated him. What Steinbrenner hated the most was--losing. I loved that about him. He said: "Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing. Breathing first, winning next."

High achievers--like George Steinbrenner--are often criticized simply because they're the best, they've worked the hardest, they've taken the biggest risks. 

In addition to presiding over seven World Series titles, Steinbrenner knew something about women. He made many women fans happy by enforcing a "Grooming Policy" which required that players lose the excess facial and skull hair. It was major league baseball's version of Extreme Makeover.

Prime example--when Johnny Damon joined the Yankees in 2006, he went from this to this. The transformation was astounding. I loved it, and so did every woman I know. And yes, we women know he's not just a pretty face. His awesome double steal (2nd and 3rd base on the same play) helped the Yankees win a 27th World Series last fall.

Steinbrenner's pitchers distinguished themselves in other fields too. Mike Mussina, the crossword-solving Yankee great and future Hall-of-Famer IMO, was featured in Patrick Creadon's Wordplay documentary.

Bravo to George Steinbrenner. He was the in-your-face performer, the quiet philanthropist, the quintessential New Yorker. He's The Boss.


Anonymous said...


Nice tribute to Mr Steinbrenner.
His passing marks the end of an era for sure.

Love the quote you selected.

"You show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser." -- George S.

He and Billy Martin must be having one heck of a great reunion now.

Elizabeth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elizabeth said...

Hello Anon,

Thanks! I like the quote you cited as well -- it captures the essence of George S.

As for Billy and George's ascent to the Big Show in the Sky: Do you think George has hired and fired Billy at least once by now? :)