I just finished reading the book The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty: The Game, the Team, and the Cost of Greatness, by Buster Olney. What a great book for a Red Sox fan. First of all, a word to vendors out there: if you want me to buy something, cover it with pictures of despondent Yankees. Most of the narrative weaves around the 2001 world series talking about the players and then leading up to the well known ending of the Yankees losing to the Diamond Backs in game 7. For me, reading it must be similar to what a Yankee fan might feel when watching the movie "Still, We Believe." Side note: I have been avoiding the emotional pain of watching this movie, even though I know the true happy ending of 2004.
One of the interesting points made was that Yankees team of the late 90's was architected by some very clever people that know how to select talented people that play well together, support each other, and can withstand the pressure of New York. These people were finally able to operate freely when Steinbrenner was banned from Baseball preventing him from sacrifice long term success for short term tinkering.
The Epilogue of the book is priceless reading for a Sox fan. It basically talks about how the 2001 loss drove Georgey crazy and he has been throwing money into the team in foolish ways (Contreras), overriding his experts with his own bad baseball decisions (Mondesi), and making Yankees management miserable and less invested in the Yankees program. What is left is a bunch of highly paid mercenaries that are individualists and not so much fun for Torre to coach as the old gang.
Pitchers and catchers report today. I am pumped. It is so on.