Many beat writers and commentators have noticed the different feel around the Yanks these days. First came the music in the clubhouse, then pies in the face after walk offs, and now they’ve had their first Kangaroo Court session since Buck Showalter was manager. Throw in a toy WWE wrestling belt here and there and these Yanks clearly have a different feel this year, one that Girardi has encouraged and cultivated since he got here. As Moshe pointed out yesterday, Johnny Damon has been one of the more vocal players distinguishing this clubhouse from the Torre years, and Bill Madden goes into further detail in his column today:
Togetherness was what Girardi made a point of in spring training when he arranged that surprise “Day at the Pool Parlor.” Say this for Girardi, he recognized what guys like Damon are only now willing to talk openly about: The Yankee clubhouse was a joyless place in the latter years of the Joe Torre regime. Part of it was the personnel – how could anyone find any fun being around Kevin Brown? – but a big part of it was the generation gap that existed between Torre and his players. Aside from his small coterie of veterans from the championship years, Torre kept his distance from his players and when each new high profile free agent came over from another organization, like Jason Giambi, Hideki Matsui or Damon, they were never able to blend in with the championship core as it gradually diminished. It was apparently the consummate “25 players, 25 taxi cabs” team.
“Rarely in the last three years I’ve been here would there be four-five guys hanging out playing video games in the hotel room,” Brian Bruney said. “Now, guys are having fun and they want to hang out together. The shaving cream, the music, people need to realize you can do those things and still win. You can’t win with just All-Stars all around. We’ve done that the past three years and we haven’t done anything.”
“The rules here are much more family oriented now,” said Damon,”and that’s why you have free agents wanting to come to New York instead of a low-key place.”
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