I truly believed that the Steinbrenner children would keep my Yankees in good hands. For more than 30 years, George Steinbrenner ensured that my favorite team would put the best product on the field, in spite of the critics. Yes, the man could be a real prick. He could treat a person like dirt until they did something for him at which point, they were treated like royalty. There were a million other reasons to loathe the man but, as far as I was concerned, I wanted no one else owning the Yanks. Why? Because unlike other owners, George would do whatever it took to win. The man hated to lose and that one characteristic endeared him to me. Damn the cost, get me the best players in the game. Where other owners were pocketing most of their team’s profits and leaving their stadiums and product on the field at status quo, George was pouring dollars into keeping his on-field product at the highest possible level as well as creating the best possible venue for their beloved fans. George was all about proactively creating the best.
This is why now that George is gone, he must be turning in his grave. The Yankees have watched as their bitter rivals- the Red Sox– have acquired top notch talent like Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez. In the meantime, they have let Lance Berkman and Kerry Wood-two high talent players that fitted nicely into the Yankee lineup in 2010- go without so much as an attempt to re-sign them. Instead, they re-signed Sergio Mitre who did more to ensure a Yankee loss than any opponent during 2010. Now, they’ve lost out on the top free-agent of the off-season, Cliff Lee. George would never have stood for this. Watching the Yankee opponents get better while Brian Cashman has basically stood stagnant would have been grounds for immediate dismissal.
2011 is shaping up to be a bad year for the Yankees. As the “core four” grow another year older and, their talents begin the slide into the twilight, they are being surrounded with players of a lesser caliber and the team itself, I fear, is in the beginning of an era to be forgotten. With the continued complacency of it’s current general manager and Steinbrenner brood, there is little hope for improvement in the near future.
Perhaps George spoiled us. Maybe there aren’t many more with that same passion for being the best – that same pure hate for losing. All I can say at this point is “George, look away. You do not want to see this”.