(Courtesy of the AP)
Hal Steinbrenner was in the house yesterday for team photos and he took the opportunity to make what I believe are his first significant public comments on the team's performance this season. As expected, Hal's comments were all of the positive variety. He said he was "pleasantly surprised" but "not shocked" at how well the team had done, citing the unexpectedly good performances of some of the veteran signings and the young MiL players called up to fill the injury gaps.
I know the day after a victory to put the team 11 games over .500 and third best overall in MLB isn't the time to get salty, but Hal's comments did nothing but make me roll my eyes when I read them yesterday. I'm sure his feelings of excitement and surprise are genuine, as they are for a lot of other fans. I just can't help but feel like this hot start makes Hal feel like his approach this offseason was the right one, and that in his mind his continued commitment to "building a championship-caliber team" is justified by the club's current record.
The real credit here goes to Cash and his scouting staff and Joe and his coaching staff for finding cheap players who still had something left in the tank and coaching them in a way that allows them to best use what they've still got. All Hal did was handcuff Cash into only being able to target these players and force Joe to build the best lineup he could with them. So enjoy the early success, Hal. Your team's performance has given you the right to do that. Just don't pat yourself on the back too much thinking you were a key part of this and that this was your plan all along.
P.S.- "I knew that the guys we got in the offseason were veterans. Whether people thought they were worth getting or not, I felt they were veterans and this is what you expect veterans to do.” You knew that old players who had been in MLB for years and years were veterans? Real astute observation. I'm sure that was the determining factor in Hafner getting signed.