"No" is not a familiar word heard in the New York Yankees front office.
General manager Brian Cashman has the resources to woo players to come play in the Bronx, so what happened this offseason?
It has to be expected that the Yankees sans Mr. George Steinbrenner lost a little bit of their appeal.
Not many owners possess the passion and fire that the Boss displayed. Even the negative stories about how he was a tyrant with unreal expectations were equalized by his never-ending willingness to help.
So, what the heck happened to the Yankees missing out on Cliff Lee and not signing any top free agent? Why is Andy Pettitte so hesitant to commit?
In my opinion, the unmistakable absence of Mr. Steinbrenner is what is crippling the Yankees.
Imagine yourself as a player who the Yankees wanted in pinstripes while Mr. Steinbrenner was the principal owner. Hence, Mr. Steinbrenner thought that the Yankees needed to acquire you to win. Figuring out how to get a player was never the problem; it was just a matter of when, because the Boss would go to any extreme.
To feel that important in Mr. Steinbrenner's eyes must have felt special for a free agent. Now, with Mr. Steinbrenner having passed last July, that aspect is gone for potential free agents.
Mr. Steinbrenner was first and foremost a baseball fan. Over the past few seasons, where poor health didn’t allow for the Boss to be at the ballpark, you still could feel him everywhere. I was at the plaque ceremony against the Tampa Bay Rays last season, and the fight that the Yankees played with was inspiring.
Let’s just hope the current players can prove that is not gone. The 2011 season will answer a lot of questions, because this would be the season where winning one for the Boss would be the most meaningful.
The players have to always know in their hearts that the Boss will always be watching, and winning is what will make his spirit felt everywhere again.