Happy Birthday, Boss

George Steinbrenner, who will celebrate his 80th birthday at his home in Tampa on Sunday, released a statement this morning through his spokesman, Howard Rubinstein:

"I want to thank everyone who has sent their good wishes. I am very fortunate to have the love and support of a great family and many, many friends. The Yankees and their fans are a large part of what keeps me going. It means a lot. And I remind everyone that the Fourth of July is also the birthday of our country. We are all lucky to be Americans."

Said Joe Girardi: "He's meant so much to my career, from bringing me here as a player and giving me the opportunity to win three world championships, to giving me a job in the broadcast booth, bringing me on as a bench coach and finally as a manager, he has been very important to my family and me. When I think of George, I think of his passion for winning.''