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Thursday, June 30, 2011
The Boss is gone, but not forgotten

By Andrew Marchand
ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees general manager's office is located on the third-base side of Yankee Stadium with windows that overlook Jerome Avenue and walls that are barren.

"I still don't have pictures in my office on the wall," Yankees GM Brian Cashman said. "I have never settled in. My walls are empty. There is no decorative, 'This is my office,' because when you start to feel comfortable that is when you get out. I'm just wired that way."

The office is a monument to George Steinbrenner's beliefs and, according to Cashman, the way Steinbrenner wired the GM to never, ever be satisfied or fully comfortable.

George Steinbrenner
Brian Cashman lives by the lessons he learned from George Steinbrenner -- like never get too comfortable.

Nearly a year after The Boss died, his attitude still resonates from the picture-less walls of Cashman's office to the home clubhouse.

While the organization's unpredictable nature is gone, the mission statement remains to win it all or fail.

"It all started with him," Jorge Posada said.

This Monday, the Fourth of July, Steinbrenner would have turned 81. The Yankees, appropriately enough, will be in Steinbrenner's hometown of Cleveland.

A little more than a week later, July 13, will be the anniversary of his death.

"I miss him," Mariano Rivera said. "I miss him a lot."

Steinbrenner hadn't been the vintage Boss for years, but the magnitude of his utterly relentless personality is still present in the organization. Cashman said many of Steinbrenner's principles were "accurate."

"To leave no stone unturned," Cashman said. "When you are doing well, that is when you have to be worried. Obviously, you are always busting your tail when you are not doing well, but it is when you are doing well he would work more overtime.

"When we won in '09, it was like, 'There is rust on that trophy already.' The attitude is like, 'We won, but that was yesterday. It doesn't count anymore. It is now. We have to move forward on what we are doing next.' He was relentless."

But not always. The paradoxical part of Steinbrenner's personality is how he roared and fired employees one moment and then the next, with a soft heart, would continue paying them anyway.

For Posada, he never received any public brushbacks from The Boss and was never banished (though it would have been interesting to see what classic Steinbrenner would have barked about Posada's May sit-in against the Boston Red Sox). Posada remembers The Boss' words, but they were always one-on-one.

"I miss him," Posada said. "I miss having him around. I miss going and talking to him about anything. He was always really caring about family. It was good that your owner would make time for you."

Cashman thinks that Steinbrenner spawned little clones that come out on radio and blogs and everywhere else.

"Every New Yorker has been so spoiled because of how he set this up," Cashman said. "He was bloodthirsty for a win, or go home. There are 9 million Steinbrenners out there because the culture he created just in the tri-state area.

"I don't listen to talk radio as much anymore and I try not to read the papers as much, but that attitude, he created it. Now, it has mushroomed into, and snowballed into, a whole bunch of them out there now. It is win or else. It is a motivator."

With his sons ensconced in Tampa and not as publicly involved, the organization is bound to evolve away from the force of personality Steinbrenner had.

"I'm not used to not having the tenacity every day that he brought," Cashman said. "If you took the energy from everyone here [in Yankee Stadium], it would not match the energy that man had in his singular body. He was a doer. So, yeah, I miss the fact that he is not here every day to fight through this with us because that is what he was all about."