OK, perhaps that headline is slightly out of context. But Bronx Liason posed a number of thoughtful questions for the Newark Star-Ledger’s Dan Graziano about the current state of the Yankees, and here’s a couple of the latter’s snappier answers.
BL: It seems some New York writers forget that though he may seem mute in comparison with his elder, louder brother Hank, Mr. Hal Steinbrenner actually has equal say in all Yankees matters. What is your take on the new direction of Yankees ownership? Does the “mellow versus macho” dynamic [Hal and Hank] smell like a recipe for disaster or are they just a great source of backpage copy?
Graziano: It certainly smells like trouble, and there does seem to already have been some behind-the-scenes head-butting between the two. For instance, Hank Steinbrenner said last week that he planned to talk to Cashman about a new contract. Hal said it wasn’t true, then Hank went ahead and did it. I wonder, going forward, how the two will operate together. And I suspect that the unknown aspect of that is part of the reason Cashman is holding off on deciding whether he’ll be back. If it looks like working for Hank/Hal will be as bad as or worse than working for their dad was, he might want to skedaddle. And I think it’s too early to know for sure.
BL: You said earlier that this team’s clubhouse has shown some fire of late. What sort of uncharacteristic behavior would the casual baseball fan be surprised to hear about the Yankees who are often portrayed as robotic, corporate, drones?
Graziano: The mustache thing, I guess. Mussina’s quote board. I just get a different feel in there than I used to. I mean, fans like to talk about those Tino Martinez/Scott Brosius/Paul O’Neill teams playing with “fire,” but that didn’t translate to the clubhouse. That clubhouse was quiet, corporate and stuffy. This one is much looser in general, and a more comfortable place for us to do our jobs for sure. This is a more approachable, friendly group of players who seem to like each other a great deal. They’ve even come to tolerate Alex. [laughs]