As a dedicated Red Sox fan, even I have to admit that things were more fun when Big George was running things in New York. He was a great villain, and helped to spark the rivalry that has helped to grow Red Sox Nation to its current status of pink hat glory (Note: I am not against the pink hats in any way).

Losing The Boss is a loss to the sport. One of my Yankee friends thinks that Steinbrenner is among the top 5 most important people in the history of professional baseball (he includes Babe Ruth and Kenesaw Mountain Landis on that list), but I think he’s a little overwhelmed by the moment (and influenced by his blind love of all things Yankee).

I think that history will show George as one of a group of colorful owners – including Bill Veeck and Charlie Finley – and that his drive to win and willingness to spend ruthlessly helped to shape the game we have today, for good or for ill. I will never forget 2003, when the Yankees traded for Alex Rodriguez after the Red Sox had failed in a similar effort and Steinbrenner said something to the effect of, “It’s too bad that the Red Sox were not willing to go the extra mile for their fans.” That jab hit home to the problem that all Red Sox fans had with the rivalry – the Yankees would go out and sign the big players and the Red Sox would unveil tired, broken down warhorses like Jack Clark and Andre Dawson as their marquee acquisitions.

George Steinbrenner was many things – from what I have read he was arrogant, petty, and could be incredibly difficult to work for – but he was never boring. Baseball was more exciting with him, and he will be missed.