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Yankees’ owner Hal Steinbrenner on playing with house money: ‘That’s never been our attitude’

The general consensus around Major League Baseball is that for the first time in a long time, the Yankees are entering a postseason series as the underdog, playing with house money against the AL defending champion Cleveland Indians.

Well, Hal Steinbrenner isn’t buying that.

“That’s never been our attitude. We’re never happy with losing,” Steinbrenner told ESPN’s The Michael Kay Show on Thursday afternoon. “This team, as I tell people, is very laid-back, very professional. They never feel like they’re out of a game or out of a season. Their demeanor in May when we were doing well was the same walking in the clubhouse in August when we weren’t doing well. It was the same before the wild card game. They’re just a really loose, fun team that cares about each other and they never feel they’re out of a game, a series, or a season.

“I was asked in August if it is a failure of a season if we don’t make the playoffs, and I indicated that I would consider it that for the most part, where that’s always our goal, is have a championship-caliber team that can make the playoffs and go deep. It’s just tough for me to answer that, especially now since we won and they did a great job. It would’ve been disappointing, without a doubt, knowing that we were capable of more.”

New York will send righty Sonny Gray to the mound in Game 1 at Progressive Field, while the Indians match with righty Trevor Bauer.

Although Steinbrenner is known for his stern look, it’s difficult for him to hide his emotions while watching October baseball in a ballpark or at home.

“I do get nervous before these games,” Steinbrenner said. “A little bit of that’s a healthy thing, as long as it’s controlled, I guess. Look, it’s been five years [since the Yankees’ last ALDS]. It’s pretty exciting. Tuesday [AL Wild Card game] was abosultely nerve-racking, and it probably is to any team that has to play one-game elimination. So this is a slighty different animal but it’s been five years. It’s exciting.”

The entire interview with Steinbrenner can be accessed here.

If you want to connect with Tom Hanslin, email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @tomhanslin.

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