During a week in which the Boss blew off Murray Chass and his security force might’ve roughed up New York Daily News colleague Jesse Spector, Bob Raissman wonders “what exactly are they protecting him from?”

The timing of the protection often is curious. Early in spring training, Steinbrenner was tooling around in his golf cart, doing shtick with writers. He even mock-mugged Ch. 9 sport guy Russ Salzberg and ran over WFAN Yankee reporter Sweeny Murti’s foot.

Still, more often than not, Steinbrenner, like some pin-striped Wizard of Oz, can be found hiding behind Rubenstein press releases.

This is now officially a joke.

Is Steinbrenner (above) really even issuing these statements on his own? Or is this some kind collaboration coming from Yankees suits and Rubenstein?

Did Steinbrenner decide he did not want to talk to Chass? Or did Rubenstein think The Boss was having a bad day and make the decision for him?

Did security guards take it upon themselves to get uptight with the media on Wednesday? Or did someone upstairs tell them to do it because they thought Steinbrenner did not want to be bothered?

If all this is about hiding the fact that age, like it does for all of us, has caught up with The Boss, well, that is pretty darn silly. So what if he cannot fire the fastball like he used to? Most people approaching the age of 76 ain’t what they used to be.