The monumental tribute to George Steinbrenner the Yankees unveiled Monday night is unquestionably the largest structure devoted to a player in Yankee Stadium's Monument Park. And it isn't even close.
The structure towers over a smaller one for Joe DiMaggio next to it, as well as those of all the other team icons.
"It represents George," Yankees President Randy Levine told The New York Times. "He was a force. He built the stadium. He took the Yankee brand to places nobody else did. We don't look at it in comparison to Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle or Joe DiMaggio. They were unbelievable Yankees, but George was larger than life, and you needed something that represented that spirit."
The size of the monument rankled some Yankees fan, who lit up the New York Times' Bats blog with comments.
Here's what The Times' Richard Sandomir wrote in a post:
Numerous people weighed in with derisive comments, describing the memorial as crass, ostentatious, preposterous, gargantuan and egomaniacal. Some who were critical identified themselves as Yankees fans.
However, the Yankees' Mariano Rivera, who paused for a while in front of the monument Monday, had this to say to The Record of Hackensack, N.J.:
"They should have a big statue of The Boss in front of the stadium, too. He gave everything he had in his life to this team and he belongs right there with all the greats. Everyone knows how much he meant to all of us and this team. ... Whatever we can do to honor him; he deserves everything we can give."
Steinbrenner was the driving force behind the Yankees' new $1.5 billion stadium and, during Monday's tribute, Commissioner Bud Selig said he belongs in the Hall of Fame for his enormous impact on the game. Steinbrenner helped build the Yankees into a global entity valued at $1.6 billion by Forbes, while every player who draws a hefty paycheck probably has Steinbrenner and his propensity to dole them out at least partly to thank.
However, is the monument appropriate? Tell us what you think.
Stephen Borelli, USA Today