About a decade ago the "hated" New York Yankees took the baseball world by storm. There were the gamers like O'Neil and Brosius, the young core of Jeter and Rivera, and a veteran manager named Torre.
There was a feeling that at no time was a lead safe against them or if they were ahead the utter thought that they would fall behind. There was an aura, a lead pipe lock that once you stepped into the Bronx you would walk out a loser.
Times have changed. Baseball has changed. There was an era where open checkbooks got you into the playoffs, a time when high priced free agents led to wins, and a time when veteran pitchers would gut out victories. Unfortunately, the end of the 1990's led to a different turn in the century, but the Yankees management didn't get the memo.
Years after the championships in the 1990's the Yankees management felt as though they could outslug opponents and rely on past all-stars to lead them to the promise land. With one look into the present, the game has changed, young players and pitchers with live arms who have a drive in them succeed.
In my estimation Alex Rodriguez should go down as one of the worst signings in Yankees history. He, like many others, cares only about the dollars and cents, about the glitz and the glamour, not about what it is to be a true Yankee. A true Yankee, shall I say Mr. Paul O'Neil, showed emotion, played hard at all times, and the fans appreciated that.
The 2008 squad was filled with present and past all stars. There was Giambi, Abreu, Cano, and Ivan Rodriguez just to name a few. Players that in some cases were "dogging it" or worrying how their mustache looked instead of looking at the standings in the last season Yankee Stadium would be standing.
Give me that checkbook and I'll search for players with a fire, a want, a desire to win and prove themselves. Not grizzled vets who hope to get another contract extension. Brian Cashman, the general manage, should have been fired years ago. He and management believe that two rookie pitchers and a .250 center fielder would be better than an ace in Johan Santana? Honestly, I truly believe I could ask my 7 year old niece who she would want there and good ol' Mr. Santana would have worn the pinstripes.
Times must change once the new Yankee Stadium opens. It should not be about signing Sabathia or Burnett to long range deals, it should be about finding that ace caliber pitcher with a fire, with a need to lead a team like Jake Peavy. Get rid of the Giambi's, the Matsui's, the Damon's, and work in youngsters with an upside and a desire to make the opening of the new Yankee Stadium a welcoming addition to the 2009 playoff schedule.