NEW YORK (AP) -- George Steinbrenner was dead, and all was forgiven.

Well, almost all. You can't treat Yogi Berra badly and expect Yankees fans to get over it.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

"That was the stupidest, when he fired Yogi," said Hector Aspe, 49, an unemployed mover who was outside Yankee Stadium on Tuesday shortly after Steinbrenner's death was announced. "But I think he learned. I think he gave up those bad habits. I don't want to say anything bad about George today, and you can't argue with what's happened here recently."

Most people on the Bronx streets near the grand new ballpark -- where the Yankees beat the Phillies to win last year's World Series -- seemed to barely remember the days when Steinbrenner was lampooned for firing managers (including Berra) and interfering with the team, and was blamed for long stretches between championships.

"I'll tell you what I remember," said Henry Gables, 44, who was waiting for Billy's Sports Bar to open. "I remember 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009," the Yankees'most recent championships. "George can bank that and go straight to heaven as far as I'm concerned. Don't tell me anything else."

Despite occasional rain, a few fans assembled a small memorial to Steinbrenner on the huge interlocking NY on the pavement outside Yankee Stadium's Gate 4. Mary Byrne, 28, of Saddle Brook, N.J., scattered red and yellow rose petals and left two roses in a makeshift vase -- an energy drink can.

"The Yankees are my whole life since I can remember," she said. "My dad brought me to the stadium and now I bring my nephew." Of Steinbrenner, who was 80, she said: "When I was young, people did not like him; as the years went by it got better. He made the Yankees the biggest brand in the world. He made the team what they are today."

Bronx-born Edwin Roman and his 3-year-old daughter, Alanna, knelt on the pavement to light two candles in Steinbrenner's memory.

"He was a great person," Roman said. Glancing at his little girl, he said, "She's part of me and the Yankees are a part of me."

Another family left a glass candle holder with two tiny red roses taped to it and a note that said, "Thank you for making our lives a little happier."

Francisco Gomez, 23, of Monterrey, Mexico, came to the ballpark with two friends for a prearranged tour. He said he has followed the Yankees -- and Steinbrenner -- for 15 years and watched their games regularly in Mexico on the Major League Baseball website.

"He had his own way of spending a lot of money," Gomez said. "He had the idea to get the best players and I'm glad." Like several other fans, he mentioned the death on Sunday of Bob Sheppard, the longtime Yankee Stadium public address announcer.

"It's too much at once," Gomez said.

The Yankees'home was closed except for those with tour tickets, including Laura Delorey, 47, of Westminster, Mass., and her father, Skip Coynlon, 76, of Ronkonkoma, N.Y. The stadium tour was her Father's Day gift to him.

As they waited to get in, Delorey said Steinbrenner "had to run the business the way he ran it. Maybe he wasn't the most well-liked person, but he brought the new stadium and look at what he did for the Yankees."

"I'm very, very happy to be here today," she added, tearing up. "I'm honored, actually. I will never, ever forget this day."