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Yankees owner George Steinbrenner dies; here's a 'Seinfeld' tribute

Sad news this morning — even for the most bitter of Baltimore fans. Yankees owner George Steinbrenner passed away this morning in Florida after suffering a massive heart attack. He was 80.

As the man behind the Evil Empire — baseball's pudgy, free-spending Darth Vader — Steinbrenner was viewed with anger and envy here in Baltimore. His Yankees have beaten up on the Orioles during the past 15 years, leaving Orioles fans to curse Steinbrenner's name every time his high-priced Yankees squads — with payrolls higher than the GNP of some third-world countries — won the World Series. All fans need a villain to root against. Steinbrenner seemed to revel in the role.

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But as much as fans loved to hate Steinbrenner, many respected him because he was willing to do what Orioles owner Peter Angelos wasn't: Open the checkbook and do whatever it took to win championships. Raiders owner Al Davis may have coined the phrase, "Just win baby," but Steinbrenner lived by it.

Maybe it's a generational thing, but I'll always think of "Seinfeld" when I think of Steinbrenner. Somehow, the fake Steinbrenner bossing around George Costanza made the real-life one more endearing to me, even though it was a wild exaggeration (I think) of the man. So in honor of Steinbrenner, here's every time the fake Steinbrenner appeared on "Seinfeld" (Part I and Part II.)

And the clip below goes out to Hideki Irabu:

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