Brian Cashman mourning father

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has a lot of reasons to want his team to win its 28th World Series championship this season, including one very personal one.

Cashman sees it as a way of giving one last gift to his father, John, who died Sept. 22 after a long illness.

"He loved the Yankees," Cashman said. "I know he wants us to win. There's a lot of people going through a lot of stuff and they look to the Yankees to provide a positive distraction for them. While my dad was struggling and going through this stuff, the Yankees were always something he could look forward to."

After beating the Boston Red Sox on Monday night, the Yankees hold a one-game lead in the AL East and are tied with the Texas Rangers for the best record in the American League.

"I always want to win, but this year, I want to win for a lot of reasons, for different reasons," Cashman said. "For myself, for my family, for my mom, for my dad in heaven, and for my job, because it's my responsibility to Hal (Steinbrenner). I keep thinking if we win, maybe it will give my mom some joy and happiness."

John Cashman died at age 72 in a Florida hospice after a 10-month battle with pancreatic cancer. He had been a prominent figure in the standardbred racing industry, driving and training harness horses as a teenager before becoming the director of racing at Roosevelt Raceway. He also was a New York Racing Association steward and was inducted into the Standardbred Racing Hall of Fame.

But the Yankees remained a great love until his death -- he visited the Yankees training camp in Tampa every spring -- and Cashman spent much of the season shuttling between New York and Florida, where his father was hospitalized.