10/05/09 4:50 PM EST
Steinbrenner proud of 'tremendous' year
Winning World Series remains Yankees owner's only goal
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
The Yankees' principal owner will be looking in from afar this week as the club opens the American League Division Series against either the Tigers or Twins, taking the field where they secured the best home record in the Major Leagues this season.
"This has been a tremendous year for our team as we have settled into our new home," Steinbrenner said in a statement issued by Howard Rubenstein. "The New York Yankees are proud of our rich history of outstanding players, and this year's team has worked hard to prove that they are worthy of the great distinction of calling themselves Yankees.
"We look forward to finishing what we started this season and never losing sight of our goal -- to bring another championship to the best fans in the world and the great city of New York."
Steinbrenner, 79, visited with the Yankees for approximately one hour on Sunday at Tropicana Field, making the trip from his home in Tampa, Fla., and delivering a few words of motivation behind closed doors.
"It was really great to see him," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Everyone came in and saw him. He was in great spirits. It was good."
Steinbrenner also attended the Yankees' 6-2 win on July 29 in St. Petersburg, and he was at the new Yankee Stadium for the opener on April 16. Steinbrenner told The Associated Press that he is "excited" for the upcoming postseason.
After Tuesday's game against the Royals at Yankee Stadium, Steinbrenner arranged a team party at the "NYY Steak" restaurant, which the players appreciated. Girardi summarized Steinbrenner's message to the team as: "Just keep going -- keep doing what we're doing."
In addition to Steinbrenner, general partner Jennifer Steinbrenner-Swindal and senior vice president Felix Lopez made clubhouse appearances on Sunday.
Steinbrenner is not expected to travel to New York for the AL Division Series, but he will likely be in attendance for selected games if the Yankees advance.
Hal Steinbrenner stated earlier this week that his father is planning to be present if the World Series is played in the Bronx.
"That's the plan, particularly if -- and when, I should say -- we make it to the World Series," Hal Steinbrenner said. "He'll absolutely be here."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.