New York City - New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner has had his share of run-ins with managers in the past. During his first 23 seasons of owning the Yankees, he changed Managers 20 times. His relationship with Manager Billy Martin became a comedy routine, as Steinbrenner hired & fired Martin an astounding 5 times.
Steinbrenner's relationship with his Managers took yet another turn on Wednesday, as he and Manager Joe Torre got into an elderly brawl over this weekend's Kentucky Derby. Both Torre and Steinbrenner own horses in the race, and tensions have been mounting for weeks, sources report. Making headlines earlier in the week, the struggling Yankees had a major lineup overhaul, sending unproductive hitters to the bench while bringing up some minor leaguers. It has now been suggested through Yankees sources that this was a move by Steinbrenner intended to agitate Torre.
The escalating tension climaxed Wednesday morning, as the two men became involved in a brawl in the Yankees clubhouse. "They were swinging, punching, and wrestling," states Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui, "it took several of us to pull them off of one another."
Steinbrenner, 75, was treated and released from the Yankees athletic trainer for abrasions, scrapes, and a black eye. Torre, 65, got the worst of the altercation, and was sent for x-rays to a New York hospital with a fractured nose. "Steinbrenner got him (Torre) in a headlock, and was raining blows into his face," states Yankees designated hitter Jason Giambi, another witness to the altercation. Giambi went on further to say that Torre's face was "a bloody mess" after the fight.
The two men were apparently involved in a heated discussion over the horses in the race this weekend, when it escalated to the fisticuffs. Witnesses stated that there was a lot of yelling and screaming over which horse was going to win, and to whether Steinbrenner was going to allow Torre to watch the race from Yankee Stadium, as the team has a game that day.
No charges have been filed for the incident, and the Manager/Owner have not seen each other since the altercation. With the Yankees already struggling with a record of 11-16 this season, near the bottom of the AL East, only time will tell if the Hall-Of-Fame Manager and eccentric owner will be able to patch-up their relationship and save their season.