George Steinbrenner once told The Tampa Tribune that being parodied on
Seinfeld had brought him more notoriety than anything else he had ever
And, most important to him, was that it had boosted his image with
his grandchildren. “They love the show, and they think it’s wonderful
that I’m part of it,” he said in a 1996 interview.
So it’s fitting that cable network TBS is fondly recalling the late
Yankees’ owner with reruns of selected Seinfeld episodes at 7 and 7:30
p.m. through Friday.
The marathon kicked off Monday with the episode in which slacker
George Costanza (Jason Alexander) lands a job with the Yankees management
as “the assistant to the traveling secretary.”
The wildly exaggerated Steinbrenner character was a blustery,
easily confused boss played by actor Lee Bear and voiced by Seinfeld
co-creator Larry David, now of Curb Your Enthusiasm).
Viewers never saw Steinbrenner’s face, only the back of his head as
he ranted in front of George, usually about trivial things.
The Steinbrenner character appeared in 16 episodes (the longest
amount of time that George was ever employed at one place).
The real Steinbrenner, who had given his blessing to Jerry Seinfeld
to use his name, finally agreed to film some scenes that were to be in
the 1996 season finale. In the episode, Steinbrenner wants to date Elaine
Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and threatens to fire George if it doesn’t
happen. Reportedly, the episode ran 14 minutes long and Steinbrenner’s
sitcom debut was left on the cutting room floor. The scenes are included
on DVDs of the seventh season.
The TBS episodes include the classic, The Calzone (7 p.m. Thursday)
in which Steinbrenner gets hooked on eggplant calzones and gets the idea
to make Yankees uniforms more exciting by heating them in a pizza oven.
Also, check out The Millennium (7 p.m. Friday) during which George
does everything he can to get fired, but Steinbrenner loves everything he