Two years after the fact, the truth comes out: as many suspected, the Yankees weren't trying to win their division in the final weeks of the 2010 season, preferring to face their own personal Washington Generals, the Minnesota Twins, in the ALDS than the Cliff Lee-led Texas Rangers.
Although Yankees manager Joe Girardi angrily considered questions that even hinted at that possibility "questioning my integrity'' back in September of 2010, GM Brian Cashman acknowledged the obvious on Sunday when asked if he was in favor of adding another wild-card team to the playoff mix.
"I like it and we're Exhibit A,'' he said. "We conceded the division two years ago because of the previous set-up.''
Cashman said the difference that year between winning the division and being the wild card was "a T-shirt and a hat.''
In reality, losing the division meant being rewarded by facing a weaker team in the first round and buying some time to get healthy before facing Lee and the Rangers. In the end, it didn't really matter -- the Yankees lost the ALCS in six games -- but it exposed a major flaw in the system that the addition of a second wild-card team, and one-game play-in, could eliminate.
"It's going to create a lot of buzz and excitement and meaningful games deeper into
the season, as it should be,'' Cashman said. "It certainly brings back the importance
of being a division winner again.''
As for the Yankees admittedly less-than-honest effort at the end of 2010, Cashman said, "I felt we made the appropriate decision. I won't say we gave it away because Tampa earned it, but we were willing to not win it if it meant putting ourselves in a better position to move forward in October. Those are choices that I think it's best to eliminate from the equation.''