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For Yankees GM Brian Cashman, 'World Series or bust' mentality a thing of the past

Time:2018-06-26 05:18Turbochargers information Click:

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NEW YORK — Outside the Yankees' clubhouse, there's a quote inscribed on a sign from the lips of legendary Yankee Joe DiMaggio: "I want to thank the Good Lord for making me a Yankee." 

Little does anybody know, there's another sign just beyond it that reads, "World Series or bust."

OK, maybe I made that part up, but it's at least partly true.

Over the last 40 or so years, expectations in New York were always set for the ultimate goal: win a championship, or the season is a failure. Their payroll indicated it. The star power enforced it.

For Yankee GM Brian Cashman, that mindset — somewhat surprisingly — has changed.

"The 'World Series or bust' mentality, I don't buy into that as much," Cashman told Sporting News. "… I think we've gotten away from that failure and disappointment stuff.

"It did start with the king of all kings, George Steinbrenner. But even in fairness, if he judged himself on that, he lost more than he won, because he didn't win every year."

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Steinbrenner was notorious for his desire to win at all costs. That aggression permeated the ball club in every facet, from the team on the field to the ballpark food vendors. (As an aside: The garlic fries at Yankee Stadium are excellent.)

But as in the late '80s and early '90s, the success of the team hasn't been up to Yankee standards in recent seasons. With just one World Series championship in the past 17 years, Cashman knew a rebuild (oh, that dirty R word) was on tap in the Bronx. 2017 was supposed to be that "rebuilding" year — with it comes a surprising rebuild in philosophy.

"I think we probably have a more pure perspective. We have had a successful season, regardless of how this plays out," Cashman told SN before Game 3 of the ALCS. "It's very difficult to qualify for the postseason, first and foremost. It's very difficult to extend yourself through the postseason."

Certainly, given the age and apparent lack of athleticism — a word repeatedly used by manager Joe Girardi — of the team in 2016, who thought the team would be at this stage now?

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This Yankee team has far exceeded preseason expectations. Just run down the list of players 25 and younger to make their postseason debuts: Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird and Luis Severino. While some have stumbled and others excelled, the experience has been not as much a toe in the pool as a cannonball.

Seeing the performance of the new core alone is a win for Cashman.

"It's very satisfying. … I've been a part of a lot of clubs now, this is my 20th year as general manager, six years as assistant GM. Some of them were championship teams, some of them were 100-win teams that got knocked out early in the postseason. 

"Every single one of them is special, but you just love to see (this team) compete. We have another shot, which is more than most."

Still, even if a World Series falls out of their grasp in 2017, winning is still the expectation and goal in the Bronx.

"Winning helps you sleep better at night, so 91 wins certainly had 91 nights of better sleep than I might've had," Cashman said. "We're all in this to win and be the last team standing."

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