Negron: John Szponar, he earned his stripes

After a successful weekend of taking two out of three games from the Boston RedSox a contingent of Yankee Officials will be flying back to Tampa to celebrate the life of John Szponar.

This weekend the Yankees gave John a moment of silence before the capacity crowd of just about 50,000. Even though John was just about the most humble person that I have ever known, I like to think that he had a smile in his face after the public address announcer Paul Olden mentioned all of Johns accomplishments (and there were many) and the fans gave John a wonderful Bronx cheer.

My people in Tampa are hurting today because saying goodbye is never easy. Especially when your as loved as John will always be.

I’m proud of how the Yankee family has shown such wonderful sensitivity and devotion towards the Szponar family.

When you work in the world of community relations your heart has to be so big that it just doesn’t fit in your chest because you are always helping and giving to others. You develop so many relationships in the process of doing the right thing that most of the time you feel like you just can’t do enough, even though you have done more than most.

That was who John was. No wasn’t in his vocabulary. He always found a way to quietly help someone and get things done.

This morning I shed tears for his family, his friends and anyone who has ever met John. I shed tears for all the make a wish kids that I ever met through John. Come next spring, every time I walk on Steinbrenner field with one of those kids you know John will be with me every step of the way.

Today I will also have a smile on my face because I will never forget how before I would go in to see Mr Steinbrenner in his office I would always wait for John, along with Howard Grosswirth and Diane Blanco to come out from meeting with the Boss. If they had a smile on their face then I would go right in but if thier heads were down John would usually say ‘I’d wait a while before going in.

Howard and Diane spent the most time with John and could not of been more loyal to him.

Through John I now really know what it means to be a part of the Yankee family. I’m sorry that it took him leaving us but we really are so damn blessed to of known him.

Anita, John could not of had a better wife. Those are his words.

We love you and your family.

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