"We're gonna be in it every year, every single year. You can't say that about any other team, except maybe the Red Sox. But they weren't in it last year. And the Phillies seem to be keeping it going but how long will that last? The only team you can be assured as long as we own them is going to be in it every single year is going to be us. We're gonna be a major contender to win the championship every year."
"We're in the AL East and anything can happen, but we got a shot. I'm not gonna pick who the best teams are but we're one of them. We got the best bullpen in baseball, we got the hitting, we're gonna be good defensively and the starting pitching hopefully will come around. We think A.J. Burnett will turn it around and all our baseball people like this kid [Ivan] Nova. And Boston's got a lot to prove, too, after last year."
However, when asked if he thought the Yankees were better this season, Steinbrenner hesitated.
"I really don't know. I certainly hope so. We're going to find out. But you can't predict. You just play the games and hope you don't have injuries."
He had been asked about the likelihood that his ace, CC Sabathia, would invoke the opt-out clause in his seven-year, $161 million contract after this season.
"I don't think he will, he's very happy there. He's been very happy there. Now he really knows what it's like to be a Yankee. He's here to stay."
Earlier in the day Sabathia had refused to rule out the possibility, an option that Alex Rodriguez exercised after the 2007 season, only to be rewarded with a contract extension and a raise after Hank Steinbrenner took over the negotiation from his general manager, Brian Cashman, who had advised against it.
File this one under famous last words, folks! Check back for all the Hank-isms that will spew from Da Bronx all season long! Thank you, Hank! You make our jobs s-o-o-o easy!