There's no mistake the mystique left the Yankees when the ball left the bat of Luis Gonzalez in November of 2001. They started going after guys who were bigger than the team. The Yankees replaced two of their classier guys in Tino Martinez and Paul O'Neill with Jason Giambi and his steroid problems and Raul Mondesi and his attitude problems. They made a foolish trade of Ted Lilly for Jeff Weaver and gave a boatload of money to Jose Contreras solely so that Boston couldn't get him.
In 2004 they essentailly sold their heart and soul, allowing character guys in Andy Pettitte and Clemens to go, while dealing for overpaid, oft-injured, headcase, mal-content Kevin Brown. Sure A-Rod might be the best player in baseball, but the trading for him went against the grain of the 90's Yankees who weren't about the super-star. That season the Giambi signing, Brown trade, not signing Pettitte and Clemens and trading for Javier Vazquez instead of Curt Schilling came back to bite them in the end.
Before 2005 they again let a clutch pitcher in El Duque walk away, the same El Duque who dominated the Red Sox in a relief apperance in the playoffs that year allowing the White Sox to sweep. They signed Jaret Wright who had red flags all over the place and was another oft-injured headcase. Signed and overpaid for Carl Pavano, again another oft-injured headcase, just so Boston wouldn't get him. And traded for and overpaid the moody Randy Johnson, one year too late. Perhaps the biggest move they didn't make was signing Carlos Beltran to be their centerfielder for the next decade.
When one looks at this season and the Clemens deal, ask yourself this: If the Yankee mystique was so important, why then did they sign Kei Igawa to $46 million? Igawa's main problem is gripping the ball and getting a feel for the mound! Really, don't you think that your genious scouting department would've picked up on those two things before anything else? Anyone who doesn't believe that deal was done solely for marketing purposes to Japan and to compete with Boston's signing of their own Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, you're fooling yourself. That move right there, which was obviously not a baseball move, spits in the face of Yankee mystique and tradition!
This shift from the 1990's Yankees to now reeks of sheer sellout.