Yanks miss Sheppard funeral

Updated: July 16, 2010, 7:26 PM ET
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- The Yankees weren't at Bob Sheppard's funeral, and according to team captain Derek Jeter some didn't even know when the event was taking place.

"To be quite honest with you, I didn't even know his funeral was yesterday,'' Jeter said on Friday. "Having said that, I don't necessarily think you have to go to a funeral to honor someone. I think a lot of players have honored him. It's the reason why I've recorded his voice throughout the years, and I'll continue to honor him every time I go to the plate for the rest of my career. But I was not aware of it and I don't know how many of the players were aware of it.''

Earlier Friday, reports that a bus carrying Yankees players to the funeral got stuck in traffic due to a fatal accident on a Long Island highway were deemed false, according to a team spokesman.

A column in Friday's Daily News took current and former players to task for not making an appearance at the funeral of the Yankees' legendary public address announcer. Jeter, who has a recording of Sheppard introducing him at the plate, was the most conspicuous no-show. According to a team source, Jeter flew home to see his family in Tampa after the All-Star Game in Anaheim on Tuesday night.

"I don't know why he didn't fly back to New York to attend the funeral," the source had said.

"We didn't organize any bus for the players," Yankee publicist Jason Zillo told ESPNNewYork.com. "I don't know about any bus."

Asked if it would have been his responsibility to arrange for team transportation, Zillo said, "I would think so."

NY1 cited police as reporting a bus carrying Yankees players was delayed in a traffic jam caused by an auto accident on the Meadowbrook Parkway in which three people were killed. Other Yankees sources denied any knowledge of the report and confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com that there was no organized travel plan for players to attend the funeral.

"Maybe the players got stuck in traffic in their cars, and then got on a bus to try and make it," said a source, who acknowledged, "That doesn't seem very believable."

Frank Bandiero, a spokesman for the New York State Police, agreed. "I happened to pass the accident site," he told ESPNNewYork.com. "I saw the procession pass by without any problems. There was no traffic whatsoever."

The only prominent Yankees employee to attend the service was GM Brian Cashman, who delivered a eulogy.

Wallace Matthews covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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