As PeteAbe points out this morning, last night was the first time that some of the younger players and recent acquisitions had even met Steinbrenner. Nick Swisher said "It was an honor to meet him", and CC Sabathia thought he was "friendly". If this was ten, twenty or thirty years ago instead, The Boss would have probably been instrumental in trying to bring them to the team, his visit would have been punctuated by a "got get 'em" type of speech and I highly doubt "friendly" would have been on the list of adjectives used to describe the man. Certainly not by his employees or the beat writers:
Now we give Steinbrenner his space, even the tabloids. Hal Steinbrenner runs the team and when the voice of ownership needs to be heard, he steps forward. That’s how it should be, I think. Let the old guy have his dignity.
It's unfortunate that part even needs to be said. If Steinbrenner hadn't spent most of his time owning the Yankees in a frenetic quest to win at all costs and have everything his way, people probably wouldn't need to be reminded of that.
Given how absent he's been from the picture in recent years, it's easy to forget that the guy still exists. At age 79, we'll all be lucky if we still do. It's great that he's feeling well enough to start making clubhouse appearances again and hopefully he's around for long enough to see a bunch more outings like the one last night from Joba.