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Yankee news and notes: Can we skip straight to the playoffs, please?

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Hey, it's a fancy new logo to go along with our all too infrequent (at least lately) tour Around the Yankee Universe! It only took me almost the entire season to get around to having one of these built.

Anyway, with our fancy new logo in place (thanks to Megan Snider, a non-Yankee fan who probably had to hold her nose while designing it) let's go for a tour and see what is happening as we wait for the playoffs to begin.

  • Outstanding article on the job done by Yankee manager Joe Girardi this season from -- of all places -- The Boston Herald. Here is a snippet:

Girardi is riding a hot streak of good moves that has left the Yanks favored to win it all. He handled the entire bullpen better than Torre could. He made Phil Hughes the eighth-inning guy. He made Jeter the leadoff man.

More than anything, Girardi made the Yankees his.

This was the enduring message of the 2009 season in the Bronx. The Yankees respond to their manager now, whether he’s asking for a little hustle on the bases, or a lot of compassion for a boy in dire need.

There's an old saying in baseball - "you can't scout desire" - and most general managers will tell you the same applies to "makeup." And when you're the GM of the Yankees, you have to add yet another uncertainty to those intangibles and that is the "New York factor."

Between Sabathia's and Burnett's influence with the pitchers, Teixeira's subtle leadership and Swisher's clubhouse effervescence, Cashman wound up going 4-for-4 in the makeup and chemistry department. Undoubtedly, if the Yankees go all the way this year, there are those critics who will scoff that Cashman bought himself a World Series. In fact, they already are doing so, as evidenced by Toronto Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi's bitter assessment of the AL East the other day in which he said, "The Yankees could take their payroll to $300 million if they want to."

Yeah, but look what $200 million bought them last year. Cashman took his deserved share of criticism for that, as well as for the Pavano, Kei Igawa and Kyle Farnsworth signings in recent years. Which just goes to show it's not how much money you spend. It's how you spend it.