In his prime he was an imperious bully. But George Steinbrenner was also a bully with a vision, and his impatience and his money revived a moribund franchise and propelled the team to six world championships. Steinbrenner did a lot of mean-spirited and dumb things, but his sense of urgency permeated the organization. And not coincidentally, Steinbrenner took the Yankees from a threadbare castoff valued at $10 million to a thriving behemoth worth more than a billion dollars. The TV network he created, called YES, has become a bonanza, and next year, another Steinbrenner dream will come truea state-of-the-art, cash-minting, $1.3 billion new stadium.
The official line is that George Steinbrenner remains deeply involved in decision-making. But he had become a less forceful presence even before he got sick. And now that he's almost completely offstage, his children have been forced into running the show. The two sons, Hank and Hal, are divided by their twelve years and their very different personalities. More threatening to the long-term success of the team, however, is the heirs' ambivalence about actually taking charge of the franchise. So a question that for 30 years had a laughably simple answerwho's running the Yankees? is instead more complicated than it was seven months ago, at the start of the season. What's clear is that life after George is going to be very different for the Yankeesand, in some ways, far more difficult.
Torre's gone, the Stadium is going, George no longer runs the team. It's a brand new era for the Yanks.