It is a strange time to be a New York Yankees fan.
I’ll admit, I may have been spoiled by growing up in the age where the Yankees would throw money at the game’s best players in order to get them to sign on with the Bombers. Some players have worked, and some have been terrible mistakes. Yet year after year, I expect the Yankees to do it all over again because that is all I have ever known them to do.
But ever since George Steinbrenner passed away, his sons Hal and Hank have taken the team into a completely different direction. It is safe to assume at this point that Hal and Hank Steinbrenner are the polar opposites of their father when it comes to running the team. Sure George would go out and spend an asinine amount of money on players that may have not been needed – but the fact is he could. George would always take the revenue he earned as owner of the Yankees, and put it back into the team.
George loved to see his beloved Yankees win.
I have read countless stories about how players would shake in their boots whenever he was around because they knew that if they did not produce while playing for the Yankees, George would let them know. If a player would go into a slump, George would let them know. If a player got injured often, George would let them know what a disappointment they were. If the Yankees were not winning, George would yell at anybody responsible – whether it be the General Manager or the batboy. It was the fear of failure that the players had that forced them to succeed. No player wanted to come face to face with George Steinbrenner if they were not doing well.
The Yankees simply do not have that intensity anymore.
One of the main reasons for this – it seems – is that Hal and Hank Steinbrenner are not as involved with the team as much as George was. The players do not fear Hal or Hank because they do not have the fiery attitude that their father did. The players know that if they do not succeed, nothing will happen because the whole mentality of the Yankees has changed. They are no longer being put under the pressure of succeeding because they do not have to fear being traded, released, or benched if they do not.
I’m sure that if Hal or Hank Steinbrenner took a page out of their father’s book and ran the Yankees with the same desire to succeed that their father did, the Yankees would be a very good team even if they are trying to cut payroll. Do they have to go out and sign every player? Of course not. But if Hal and Hank were able to instill the same fear that their father did, things would be much different right now.
Follow Hunter Farman on Twitter @hfarman1