…but sadly, he was just kidding around. From the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman

The principal owner, a media recluse over the past few seasons, is handing out loaves to the hungry herd. On Wednesday, Ch.9’s Russ Salzberg got his.

Salzberg saw George Steinbrenner joining scribes in Joe Torre’s office for a session with the manager. He waited in the hall outside the office with his cameraman. When Steinbrenner exited, he asked Salzberg: “Are you alone?”

Then, he agreed to the interview.

Salzberg asked a couple of questions. The Boss provided short answers. Then, Salzberg offered an observation, saying: “George, you seem like you are mellowing a bit.”

That’s all Steinbrenner needed to hear. He immediately segued into Bosshtick. Steinbrenner grabbed Salzberg by the back of his neck with his right hand. He cocked his clenched left fist, preparing to deliver a chopping blow to the chin of the artist formerly known as The Sweater.

Steinbrenner, mugging for the camera, released Salzberg, laughed, and said: “Not mellow. Not mellow. Not mellow.”

I tried in vain to find an appropriate photograph of Steve Somers’ former radio partner, but alas, all I could come up with was this picture of Russ Salzberg and Tony Orlando.