As the Stein turns
Yankees family power play evolving into soap opera
Posted: Friday March 30, 2007 12:56PM; Updated: Friday March 30, 2007 2:11PM
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TAMPA -- In little more than a moment, Steve Swindal went from George Steinbrenner's heir apparent to apparently done, setting in motion what could become a real and protracted Steinbrennerian soap opera.
Swindal has not officially been removed from his job as general partner atop the Yankees' hierarchy -- in a move straight out of the playbook of Seinfeld's' George Costanza, Swindal actually reported for work Thursday at Legends Field; he "got there before the receptionist,'' one person noted, and was there "all day'' -- but it's only a matter of time now that Steinbrenner's daughter Jennifer Swindal has filed for divorce. The guessing game has already begun as to who will take over.
Steinbrenner's two sons, Hank, 49, and Hal, 38, are said to have been taking a more active role in recent months, though neither has shown much outward interest in running the team for all these years. If one of the two emerges as a strong candidate, it's more likely to be Hank, who has an easygoing manner and is well thought of within the organization, though some question whether he has anything close to resembling the killer instinct of his father. In that regard, some say Jennifer is the best-equipped among family members to succeed her father.
"She has balls and a business sense,'' one person said of Jennifer, who is also said to have a business degree from North Carolina. "She is blond, but she is anything but ditzy.''
"Very sharp,'' is how one Yankees person described her.
According to the glowing assessments heard here in interviews Wednesday and Thursday, all she might need is her very own set of white turtlenecks.
Her divorce filing came six weeks after her husband was arrested on a charge of suspicion of driving while intoxicated in St. Petersburg in the early morning hours after Valentine's Day. (He has pleaded not guilty and has an April 5 pretrial hearing.) Police sources say four guns were in his car but that unlicensed hunting rifles are permitted by Florida law, as long as they aren't within reach of the driver. Prior to the arrest, Steve Swindal had been staying on the couple's yacht in the St. Petersburg port.
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