George Steinbrenner is expected to be at the new Yankee Stadium for the season opener on April 16, a person with knowledge of the situation told Newsday Thursday.
Steinbrenner, who is 78 and thought to be in frail health, has not been seen in New York since he attended last summer’s All-Star Game at the old Yankee Stadium.
“I spoke with him and he said he is going to be there,” the person said. “I doubt he will be at the welcome-home dinner. But he said he is coming to the opener.”
The person said he recently sat with Steinbrenner at two exhibition games in Tampa and found him “very enthusiastic, fully engaged in the game, his players, his manager. To me, he was really terrific.”
Steinbrenner is essentially confined to a wheelchair. “He can’t walk; he has two football knees,” the person said. “He can barely stand.”
Steinbrenner, who made a tearful farewell to the old stadium while riding with one of his daughters in a golf cart last July, is not expected to make a public appearance at the game.
While I am glad to hear that George will be able to attend the first game in the ballpark that he dreamed of for many years, it is sad to contemplate how quickly he faded from the limelight. It seems like just yesterday that he was threatening managers and blustering at press conferences. Hopefully he changes his mind and makes an appearance, even in the wheelchair. He has been the most important Yankee figure of the last half century, and it would be great to see him have a role in christening the new ballpark.