Results tagged ‘ West Point Color Guard ’

Tasteful tribute

I gave credit to the Red Sox for their tribute to George Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard Thursday night at Fenway Park, and the Boston club deserves it. But no club quite handles moments such as these as the Yankees. Friday night was no different as the Yankees paid tribute to the deceased icons movingly and tastefully in a pre-game ceremony at Yankee Stadium.

A five-minute video of Steinbrenner’s lengthy and largely successful career as the franchise’s principal owner was shown on the Mitsubishi screen. After which, the crowd stood in preparation for the playing of taps as the West Point Color Guard walked onto the field.

Mariano Rivera then came forward with two long-stemmed roses and placed them on the plate. After the playing of taps by Staff Sergeant Mikki Skinner, a bugler with the West Point Band, a tape of Sheppard was heard directing attention to the microphone behind the plate and the appearance of Derek Jeter. The captain gave a brief, poignant address about the legacy of the two larger than life figures.

“We gather here tonight to honor two men who were both shining stars in the Yankee universe. Both men, Mr. George Steinbrenner and Mr. Bob Sheppard, cared deeply about their responsibilities to this organization and to our fans, and for that, will forever be remembered in baseball history and in our hearts. 
“Simply put, Mr. Steinbrenner and Mr. Sheppard both left this organization in a much better place than when they first arrived. They’ve set the example for all employees of the New York Yankees to strive to follow. 
“So now I ask everyone to join us in a moment of silence.”

Jeter’s role as team spokesman has been firmly established at times like these. Think of his eloquence the day of the last regular-season game at the old Stadium in September 2008. He has a sense of the moment that is fitting for such occasions.

After Jeter’s speech, United States Army Sergeant First Class Mary Kay Messenger delivered a rousing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner that the patriotic Boss would have applauded.

Paul Olden, Sheppard’s successor, read the starting lineups of the Rays and the Yankees, then told the crowd that in Sheppard’s honor there would be no more announcements during the game. A camera shot of the empty chair in the PA announcer’s booth was displayed on the screen.

The bleacher creatures got into the spirit of the evening and refrained from shouting out the roll call of the Yankees in the field that has become a first-inning ritual the past decade and a half or so. The lack of noise actually allowed fans the opportunity to speak among one another between pitches, which Sheppard surely would have enjoyed.

Tributes to Yankees icons

Fans attending Friday night’s game at Yankee Stadium between the Yankees and American League East rival Tampa Bay are encouraged to be in their seats by 6:45 p.m. for a pre-game ceremony to honor the memory of former principal owner George Steinbrenner and longtime public address announcer Bob Sheppard, who both died earlier this week.

The tribute will include a video presentation of the Boss’ life and career and a special moment of silence saluting the two team icons. Additional acknowledgments of the accomplishments of Steinbrenner and Sheppard will be unveiled during Friday night’s ceremony.

United States Army Sergeant First Class Mary Kay Messenger will sing the national anthem, and the West Point Color Guard will present the colors. A wreath will be placed in front of Steinbrenner’s statue in the Gate 2 Executive Lobby of the Stadium as well as in front of Sheppard’s plaque in Monument Park.
Tributes to Sheppard are scheduled at the 64th annual Old-Timers’ Day Saturday. Prior to the introductions of more than 40 former Yankees players and coaches in attendance, the Yankees will honor Sheppard with a video tribute. Additionally, the Yankees will recognize Sheppard with a special performance during the seventh-inning stretch. 
Sheppard began his tenure as the Yankees’ public address announcer April 17, 1951 and held the post until Sept. 5, 2007. Over his career, he announced many of the Old-Timers expected to be in attendance Saturday. Gates will open to ticket-holding fans at 12:30 p.m. with introductions scheduled to begin at 2 p.m., followed by the traditional Old-Timers’ game. Monument Park will close to fans at 3:15 p.m.


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