Next Up for the Yankee Dynasty

Op-Ed Contributor

Next Up for the Yankee Dynasty


Published : April 13, 2007 / The New York Times

With his soon-to-be-former son-in-law Steve Swindal reportedly no longer his heir apparent, and no other members of the immediate family likely to step up, George Steinbrenner might have to think outside the box to find a replacement. According to insiders, the following little-known candidates have emerged as serious contenders for the Yankee throne:

BARON RUPERT VON STEINBRENNER A member of the Bavarian branch of the Steinbrenner family, Baron Rupert von Steinbrenner has never paid a visit to Yankee Stadium, preferring to spend summers in his 17th-century castle on the Danube. Rumor has it that the Yankee owner’s “baseball people” in Tampa, Fla., shudder at the thought of their storied franchise in the hands of a man who has spent most of his adult life raising prize-winning finches. But perhaps Rupert is ready for a new challenge; in a recent interview with the Bavarian newspaper Suddentsche Zeitung, he said, “I am very interest in this ball of bases.”

KIM JONG-STEINBRENNER Very little is known about the super-reclusive head of the North Korean branch of the Steinbrenners, who for the past 15 years has managed the family’s vast plutonium mining interests. George Steinbrenner paid an impromptu visit to his mercurial ninth cousin while scouting pitching talent in Pyongyang in early 2002. According to one insider who was present at the meeting in Kim’s highly fortified underground bunker, the Yankee boss came away impressed, although he feared that the North Korean might be “a little too autocratic.” Still, Steinbrenner is reported to be high on Kim, believing that if he were at the helm of the Yankees, he would try to win at all costs. “Kim would try to destroy the Red Sox,” the insider said. “Literally.”

BIZARRO GEORGE STEINBRENNER NO. 1 Perhaps the darkest of dark horses on the list, Bizarro George Steinbrenner No.1 has run the Old York Yankees of the alternate universe known as the Bizarro Planet for the past 30 years, securing 30 consecutive last-place finishes. The Bizarro Yankee boss’s recent comments to the Bizarro Planet’s leading sports magazine, Mademoiselle, offer some hints about his baseball philosophy: “Me spend big money on bad players and lose, lose, lose!” One Steinbrenner insider believes that Bizarro George Steinbrenner No. 1 has virtually no chance of running the Yankees, but adds, “He could catch on with the Knicks.”

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALBERTO GONZALES Rumors that the embattled attorney general had made George Steinbrenner’s shortlist swept through Tampa and the Bronx this week. Gonzales is the only non-Steinbrenner under consideration, and the mere mention of his name has Yankee-watchers debating his pros and cons. “On the negative side, Gonzales doesn’t seem very good at remembering things that were said at meetings,” says the insider. “But on the plus side, it looks like he’s going to be available soon.” Gonzales’s biggest fan may also be the most important one: The Boss himself. “Steinbrenner is totally blown away by Alberto,” the insider says. “Even George has never fired eight people in one day.”

Andy Borowitz is appearing in “Next Week’s News,” a comedy show on Broadway.