Is Hal Steinbrenner having second thoughts?

Wow, I never saw this coming - and if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you - but Hal Steinbrenner may be rethinking this whole $189M budget plan according to Wally Matthews of ESPN New York.

As another source told me on Wednesday, "This is the first time since George died that it appears a Steinbrenner is actually running the Yankees.''

Translation: That $189 million? Forget about it. Large checks are about to be cut, not payroll.

I wonder what changed Hal's mind. Did the Ghost of George visit him in a dream and threaten to haunt him for the rest of his days if he went ahead with his austerity plan? Or maybe it was the reaction of fans and the stalled ticket sales that have something to do with it?

According to the proverbial insider with knowledge, Hal was "freaked out'' by the negative reaction from Yankees fans at what they perceived to be a trend toward "cheapness'' from a club that had always been known for wild extravagance.

(I'm not privy to the internal financial workings of the Yankees, but it's possible that advance season ticket sales for 2013 have reflected that perception.)

Considering the amount of emails I get from yankees.com with new ticket deals, I'm going to assume that sales for 2013 are down. Also, there are a lot of ads on the YES Network for ticket packages. I think some fans are beginning to believe the negative hype they're hearing from sports pundits who insist the Yankees are going to be terrible this season and their thinking may be, "Why should we bother attending games when the Yankees don't want to give us the best possible product for our money?"

Personally, I wish Hal had this epiphany before the team lost guys like Nick Swisher and Russell Martin but hopefully with this change of heart, the Yankees will make some waves next Winter and not sit idly by as more free agents leave for inferior teams.