An article from Portfolio magazine, which we all can read by going to www.portfolio.com, is going to be the talk of the baseball world in the next week or so.
It's about George Steinbrenner, the head of the New York Yankees' organization. Steinbrenner has been a dominant face and voice in baseball since taking over the team about 35 years ago. He's turned the Yankees into a billion-dollar business. But now Steinbrenner is 77, and his health seems to be failing.
Franz Lidz, a former Sports Illustrated writer, starts the article on the Yankees' organizational fate by paying a visit to Steinbrenner in Florida, and the legendary Boss pretty clearly doesn't know much about what's going on around him. He kept repeating himself, and according to the description looked poorly.
There are fair questions about Lidz' technique in getting the story. He was turned down in interview requests by the Yankees, so he tagged along with mutual friend Tom McEwen went over to Steinbrenner's house. It was a bit of an ambush, but Lidz was quite polite in his visit and didn't stay long. I'm not sure if that could be considered a major invasion of privacy.
This might explain Steinbrenner's infrequent appearances in Yankee Stadium and his silence about team issues except through prepared statements. And it also gives the Boss a new role: a subject of sympathy. Red Sox fans just aren't used to that one. But if this article is true, and there's no reason to think it's not, the Steinbrenner Era in Yankee history is coming to a sad conclusion.