The Boss would have lost it.
It’s October and George Steinbrenner IV’s lush brown locks have just met his shoulders.
Consider rule No. 1 of Yankees universe broken.
“I think if he was still around, that phase [of mine] would have never happened,” George IV, now sporting a clean cut, tells The Daily News on Tuesday.
“It’s part of why I decided to cut it.”
Whether you loved or (most likely) loathed him, there’s no disputing George Steinbrenner III changed the course of baseball forever by rebuilding the most iconic franchise in sports.
But his grandson is on track to make his mark elsewhere.
At 22, George IV is the youngest IndyCar Series team owner in history, a title that will officially be bestowed upon him this coming year when the Harding Steinbrenner team makes its debut in March. George IV joined forces with Mike Harding after a stint in Indy Lights, the sport’s Triple-A, and the two now serve as co-owners.
Growing up in the Midwest, George IV always had two TVs by his side — one to watch Derek Jeter and the Yankees go on epic title runs and another for IndyCar racing. The two seasons practically mirror one another from March to September and he made sure to keep tabs on both.
“Now with streaming, I can be at a racetrack and if we’re not in meetings, I’ll have the [Yankees] game on my phone,” Steinbrenner said. “Doing both as much as I can. I try to watch every baseball game I can. There’s certainly not a race I’ll miss.”
IndyCar, like baseball and horse racing, runs deep in the Steinbrenner family, albeit on a much smaller scale.
The Boss, who died in 2010, was a partial team owner during several Indianapolis 500s around the same time he took over the Yankees in the early 1970s, while Hank Steinbrenner, George IV’s father and now the Bronx Bombers co-owner alongside brother Hal, was a drag racing sponsor at the beginning of the millennium.
George IV doesn’t mimic his grandfather, though there are some common personality traits that are noticed right off the bat.
“George [IV] is really stern on things that need to happen, but he can also be charming in the way of getting stuff that he needs done and not p—ing people off,” says Harding Steinbrenner racer Colton Herta, son of Indy champ Brian Herta.
The two met six years ago as the elder Herta knew George IV’s stepfather through IndyCar.
“Not p—ing people off but still getting what you want out of it,” Herta added of George IV’s style.
Sounds just like his grandfather, minus the whole not “p—ing people off” part.
“I do remember times when I was younger, sitting in with him when he’d be on the phone with [Brian] Cashman or in a room with a lot of the executives, coaches,” George IV said of his grandfather, adding that getting into an ownership role has always been his dream.
Herta, 18, and Mexican driver Patrico O’Ward, 19, join George IV on this New York media tour, now in the Daily News newsroom, and are making waves in their own right. Most of their competition is already married with children.
Though the miniscule age difference between the three combined with their role on the team hasn’t led to any problems, yet.
They goof around just like any kid their age.
“It’s weird because it doesn’t feel like a team ownership like I’ll stay over (George’s) house and play video games all night,” Herta says. “Like we’re still kids. Like it’s weird, he’s my boss but I don’t really see it that way. I see him more as a friend. Because it’s easier to work with him that way.”
While it wasn’t mandated, Herta and O’Ward are now die-hard Yankee fans. The two threw out the first pitch during a September game against the Blue Jays when the Harding-Steinbrenner merger was announced. They say neither turned into a viral clip, so it’s considered a success.
Steinbrenner stood off to the side, watching on the field he may one day preside over as owner of the New York Yankees.
But for now, he has his eyes on the track.
“We’re here to win and we can’t really excuse ourselves if we don’t.”
He’s a Steinbrenner, all right.