Steinbrenner birthday candles mark winds of change
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Born on the Fourth of July in 1930, George Steinbrenner turns 77 on Wednesday. His family -- wife Joan, four children and 13 grandchildren -- will gather at his home in Tampa, Fla., to fete the patriarch and feast on cake. The honoree likely will augment his slice with a generous scoop of ice cream, his favorite sweet.Yet something's missing from this annual convergence of birthday and holiday. Fireworks will fill the evening sky over Tampa Bay. But when it comes to the fireworks long associated with Steinbrenner, only occasional traces still flicker. After running the New York Yankees for 34 years, he's in the twilight of his ownership career. As with all else concerning the Boss' storied, stormy epoch, the transition to a new generation is filled with Sturm und Drang. The subtext to the family birthday party is family upheaval. Steve Swindal, once Steinbrenner's designated successor to run the Yankees and for now still his son-in-law, will be absent. Swindal and Jenny Steinbrenner are getting divorced, causing his dismissal from the Yankees, as well.
The friend was struck by Steinbrenner's seeming inability, during a visit, to elevate their conversation beyond small-talk."He's different," the friend said. "He's not as he was."
On July 3, a photo in an ESPN.com story about New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was incorrectly identified as son Hank Steinbrenner. The photo was of Hank Steinbrenner, former secretary general of the U.S. Soccer Federation.
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