Of course, being that the Red Sox were his chief rivals through the years, Steinbrenner had many public verbal skirmishes with Boston.
In 2002, he had a war of words with Larry Lucchino after the Yankees outbid
the Red Sox for Cuban defector Jose Contreras. Lucchino told The New York
Times, "The Evil Empire extends its tentacles even into Latin America."
Steinbrenner responded by saying, "That's B.S. That's how a sick person
thinks. I've learned this about Lucchino: he's baseball's foremost
chameleon of all time. He changes colors depending on where's he's
standing. He's been at Baltimore and he deserted them there, and then went
out to San Diego, and look at what trouble they're in out there. When he
was in San Diego, he was a big man for the small markets. Now he's in
Boston and he's for the big markets."
He accused Red Sox manager Jimy Williams of inciting fans to litter the
field with debris in Game 4 of the 1999 ALCS after couple of blown calls
went the Yankees way. Williams responded memorably, "When Georgie Porgie speaks, I don't listen. The calls on the field incited it, not me."
The first time he was front and center of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry was in 1978, during the "Bucky Dent Game." He was seated next to Yankees dugout near the on-deck circle. When Dent hit his famous home run, the ballpark was nearly silent, save for Steinbrenner and his group applauding.