From the LA Times:
Williams has seen them all, and they gather in his head like the patches of gray in his beard, the image of other men celebrating the annual elimination of the Yankees. They were Diamondbacks, Marlins, Angels, even Red Sox.
The cause, he implied, was too fluid to cover with money, too devious to repair in batting practice: The Yankees came to believe championships came with the uniform.
“I’m going to be completely honest with you,” he said on a recent dank morning at Legends Field. “I think that this year marks the beginning of a slightly different attitude about this club. We were on somewhat of a downfall as far as playing with a killer instinct.”
After their appearance in the 2003 World Series, won by the Marlins, the team character shifted, Williams said. It was subtle, so much so as to be unrecognizable in the moment. It all looked like a couple of fat sliders, a fluke four-game losing streak, a sore shoulder or two. But two more seasons and then a winter spent considering his future with the Yankees — and in baseball — brought him somewhat closer to the truth, as he saw it.
“The team was sort of taking for granted we were going to be there every year,” he said.
Told Williams had these doubts about the last couple of seasons, in particular, Derek Jeter turned and said, “Who said that?”
Torre said he likes what’s happening here, the reshaping of the Yankees, the enthusiasm brought by two new coaches, Larry Bowa and Tony Pena. (“Just offsets my stoic demeanor,” he said, laughing.) They bring different voices, different energy, something fresh.
He wouldn’t disagree with Williams’ observation, he said, calling it an entirely human reaction to sustained achievement.
Thanks Bernie. It’s good to hear this being said.