"It means a lot to him," Derek Jeter said. "He expects us to win." (Jeter commenting on the 2009 World Series.)
Someone has to explain something to me. The world knows that George Steinbrenner suffers from Alzheimer's. And it is sad. And for family members, it is heartbreaking.
So why does the Yankee organization pretend that he doesn't? They dance around it, say that he is not well, but they still issue statements allegedly from George.
There is nothing wrong with admitting someone has Alzheimer's. It afflicts millions of people.
Do they think because he owns the Yankees that somehow, there is this "captain of the ship" image to uphold, that revealing the fact that he as Alzheimer's tarnishes George?
I do think there is something to that. Steinbrenner spent his whole life dedicated to the following proposition: I AM IN CHARGE; I AM THE BOSS; and now, like the rest of us will at some point, he needs help. A lot of help.
So the Yankee organization would rather perpetuate a myth, which is George is still the Boss, than to simply acknowledge the fact that the man suffers from a devastating illness that can affect everyone from the guy who cleans the toilets at Yankee Stadium to the man who bought the team.
If a real boss, the leader of the free world, Ronald Reagan, could freely admit that he suffers from Alzheimer's, than why can't the Yankees admit the same about George?
At some point, image has to give way to reality.
Ronald Reagan's Letter to the American People
My Fellow Americans:
I have recently been told that I am one of the Americans who will be afflicted with Alzheimer's Disease.
Upon learning this news, Nancy & I had to decide whether as private citizens we would keep this a private matter or whether we would make this news known in a public way.
In the past Nancy suffered from breast cancer and I had my cancer surgeries. We found through our open disclosures we were able to raise public awareness. We were happy that as a result many more people underwent testing. They were treated in early stages and able to return to normal, healthy lives.
So now, we feel it is important to share it with you. In opening our hearts, we hope this might promote greater awareness of this condition. Perhaps it will encourage a clearer understanding of the individuals and families who are affected by it.
At the moment I feel just fine. I intend to live the remainder of the years God gives me on this earth doing the things I have always done. I will continue to share life's journey with my beloved Nancy and my family. I plan to enjoy the great outdoors and stay in touch with my friends and supporters.
Unfortunately, as Alzheimer's Disease progresses, the family often bears a heavy burden. I only wish there was some way I could spare Nancy from this painful experience. When the time comes I am confident that with your help she will face it with faith and courage.
In closing let me thank you, the American people for giving me the great honor of allowing me to serve as your President. When the Lord calls me home, whenever that may be I will face it with the greatest love for this country of ours and eternal optimism for its future.
I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead.
Thank you, my friends. May God always bless you.