NEW YORK Mariano Rivera laid red roses across home plate. Tears filled Joe Girardi's eyes. Derek Jeter's face was flush with emotion.
As fans stood through "Taps" and a 2-minute moment of silence, the 27 World Series championship flags that George Steinbrenner cherished with all his might could be heard flapping at half-staff toward center field in the stiff breeze.
The New York Yankees celebrated the life of "The Boss" with a solemn 15-minute pregame tribute Friday night that included an emotional remembrance from Jeter, spoken to the crowd from behind the plate before New York played Tampa Bay.
Steinbrenner, the team's driving and blustery owner, died Tuesday, two days after the death of Bob Sheppard, Yankee Stadium's longtime public-address announcer, and New York returned home following the All-Star break to mark what both meant to a franchise obsessed with its tradition.
"We gather here tonight to honor two men who were both shining stars in the Yankee universe," Jeter said as teammates and the Rays stood ramrod straight, caps off, in front of their dugouts. "Both men, Mr. George Steinbrenner and Mr. Bob Sheppard, cared deeply about their responsibilities to this organization and to our fans, and for that, will be forever remembered in baseball history and in our hearts."
The new ballpark, opened last year in one of Steinbrenner's final acts, could not have been quieter.
"Simply put," Jeter said, "Mr. Steinbrenner and Mr. Sheppard both left this organization in a much better place than when they first arrived. They've set the example for all employees of the New York Yankees to strive to follow."
Steinbrenner died of a heart attack at age 80 after 37 1/2 years as owner of America's most famous team. Sheppard, whose elegant and booming introductions gave old Yankee Stadium its voice from 1951-07, was 99 when he died.