NEW YORK -- George M. Steinbrenner watched from his Tampa, Fla., home as Mariano Rivera threw the final pitch of the American League Championship Series, sending the Yankees on to their first World Series in six years.

The Yankees principal owner's first action was likely to celebrate the victory, vaulting New York into a Fall Classic against the Phillies that opens on Wednesday. His next call should have been to book a flight.

Steinbrenner, 79, will be on hand at Yankee Stadium as the Yankees put their 40th American League pennant into their back pocket and continue the march for their long-elusive 27th World Series title.

In a statement released Monday, Steinbrenner said, "The Yankees' enormous will to win, tremendous professionalism and great team spirit, backed by the best, most vocal and supportive fans have propelled us into the World Series. We're looking forward to our 27th ring."

Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner assumed the role that his father played in the wild celebration at Yankee Stadium on Sunday night, a task that included being doused with ice cold liquids by captain Derek Jeter.

While the elder Steinbrenner remained dry in Florida, the Boss wasn't far from the party in the minds of many.

"We're doing this for him," Hal Steinbrenner said. "We want to win this whole thing for him. I feel like he's here. He's a big part of it.

"I can't wait for my dad to come up here and be here for Game 1. I think a lot of us here feel like we did it for him."