The New York Times’ Tyler Kepner on a probable change in the New York Yankees’ chain of succession.
George Steinbrenner ate dinner in the cafeteria at Legends Field on Wednesday with his daughter Jessica beside him and her husband, Felix Lopez, next to her. Lopez merrily took out a cellphone and snapped a picture of his wife and his father-in-law. It was one big, happy family. But all is not right in the Steinbrenner clan. His other daughter, Jennifer, filed for divorce from her husband, Steve Swindal, in the family law division of Hillsborough County Circuit Court on Tuesday. Swindal was arrested last month on suspicion of driving under the influence, and the divorce would end any chance he had of succeeding Steinbrenner in running the Yankees, as Steinbrenner had said he would do in June 2005.
œI™m the boss, Steinbrenner said through his spokesman, Howard Rubenstein. œI continue to be the boss, I have no intention of retiring, and my family runs the Yankees with me.
Steinbrenner™s sons, Hank and Hal, are listed as general partners along with Swindal at the top of the Yankees™ hierarchy. Lopez, who has become an increasingly active presence, is listed as a senior vice president.
When Swindal leaves the family, he will effectively leave the Yankees. According to an individual with direct knowledge of the matter, Steinbrenner no longer plans to promote him, and he would seem to have no future with the team. But the situation is complicated because Swindal has a small financial interest in the team ” among other things, he is listed as the chairman of Yankee Global Enterprises, the umbrella company for the club and the YES network ” and the specifics of that interest will have to be untangled. Rubenstein would not say if Swindal still worked for the Yankees.
Steinbrenner™s appearances in public are less frequent than ever. He has answered questions from reporters only once this spring, on the first day of camp, when he appeared unsteady as he walked slowly through a tunnel to see Torre.
œWhen I™m ready to say something, I™ll say something, Steinbrenner said through Rubenstein on Wednesday. œI don™t really appreciate being mobbed and people screaming at me.