Even before the final walk-up tickets were sold, Yankees president Randy Levine was pleased with the brisk business that the Pinstripe Bowl had done. And he is sure that his former boss would have been happy too.
The game between Duke and Indiana drew 37,218 to Yankee Stadium Saturday, which made the executive proud because there were no local teams or big national brand-name schools involved.
“We’re still very successful,” Levine said before the start of Duke’s 44-41 overtime victory.
He attributed it to the work that the staff does in promoting it, and to the reputations of the two colleges.
Granted, much of the upper deck was empty, but Levine was fine with the turnout on the day after Christmas, when many people are traveling or otherwise busy.
He sees it all as a tribute to the legacy of George Steinbrenner, former assistant football coach at Northwestern and Purdue.
“George Steinbrenner was the greatest owner of all time. When it came to the Yankees, it was his passion. He lived it and breathed it 24/7,” Levine said. “But if you gave him sodium pentothal, I think he might say that his favorite thing was being a college football coach. When we built this, he was very firm: We have to make this place available to be a showcase for college football.”