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Hal Steinbrenner apologizes to Yankees fans: “We failed...we didn’t even come close”

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The Yankees owner shares his thoughts after another disappointing postseason exit.

MLB: Winter Meetings Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday afternoon, Hal Steinbrenner appeared on The Michael Kay Show, where he provided his first public comments since the Yankees fell to the Rays in the ALDS. The Yankees’ owner addressed a variety of issues regarding the team’s 2020 campaign, its future, and the state of the game in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Steinbrenner’s comments kick off the Yankees’ offseason information tour. Aaron Boone and Brian Cashman will follow soon, offering their own post-mortem analysis, before the club shifts gear and gets into the weeds of the offseason.

You can watch the full interview here. In the meantime, here are some highlights:

What went wrong in the 2020 season

“I just the think the whole year, especially with the offense, and I know we had other issues, and we had a rash of injuries the way a lot of teams do, but our offense—just inconsistent at playing up to their potential, to me. So many lows with the ups, so many downs with the ups, and highs with the lows. And the lows were every bit as extreme as the highs, and the highs were pretty good! When they were on, they were on. But it just seems like every game, including some of the postseason games, you couldn’t tell which offense was going to show up.”

“I didn’t like what I saw in the inconsistency, especially in a short season, I didn’t like so many lows going with the highs. You know, we lost 15 out of 20, I think a rash of injuries kind of started that train, but again, we gotta get through that. And the last week of the season, we had no excuses, didn’t play well, and one or two of the playoff games, obviously. It’s disappointing because the expectations of course were so high, but I didn’t like the team not playing up to its potential as much as it did not.”

On Game Two of the ALDS

“Look, I know this is a source of great debate, I thought the logic was sound—we’re not the only team that employed that plan in this postseason. But, the bottom line is, in order for a plan to be successful, the different components of the plan have to be well-executed, and that didn’t happen here. [J.A.] Happ struggled, and he struggled significantly, and eventually the plan failed.”

On the futures of Boone and the coaching staff

“Well, if you’re talking about Aaron Boone, Aaron Boone is a good baseball man, he’s a good leader, he has the respect of the players. Aaron Boone will be back next year. That’s a fact.”

“We have not sat down yet to discuss anything about coaches, anything about players, as I said, the pro scouting meetings haven’t event begun yet. Our focus has been 2020. But we will get into all that, as we always do, and we will look to see if there are any places we need to improve. And we won’t be afraid to make a change.”

On the financial impact of the pandemic impacting future spending

“Well, we’ll see. It depends what kind of money is gonna be required to be spent based on what we look at and decide needs change. But, look, there’s no doubt we sustained significnat losses this year, more so than any other team in baseball. It’s just been a crazy year. We’re just going to have to see what we really feel we need, and what that’s going to cost, and we’ll go from there, the way we do ever year.”

On DJ LeMahieu’s free agency

“I think I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t recognize what a contribution he made to the club, and how good of a player he is. I recognize both of those things. I’ll leave it at that.”

On fans returning to Yankee Stadium in 2021

“I have no idea, and neither do you guys. You know, we’ll just have to see what happens with this virus, with vaccines, nobody would love it more than me. It was a surreal experience to be playing regular season games with no fans—didn’t like it any more than any of you did. Hopefully we get back to some normalcy in 2021, because I’ve about had it with 2020.”