Officially, Aaron Boone will have competition for the AL Manager Of The Year Award. Unofficially, given the adversity he has faced, it’s a walkaway…
Aaron Boone, if nothing else this year, has pushed all the right buttons in handling the Yankees revolving roster. With credit given to Brian Cashman for finding the players, sometimes known as The Replacements”, it’s been Boone who has molded each one into the Yankees lineup.
Invariably, each player has responded by making considerable contributions that amount to a Yankees team on their way to a second consecutive 100-win season.
One hundred wins are no small achievement: it’s been done once before throughout Yankees history. In 2002-2003, Joe Torre led the team to 103 and 101 win seasons. But no one other than Boone has achieved the mark in his first two seasons as manager.
Eyebrows were raised when Boone was plucked out of the ESPN TV booth where he was serving as an analyst. Boone wasn’t an unfamiliar name to Yankees fans. It wasn’t that. His walk-off home run in Game Seven of the 2003 ALCS (upper right) assured his name was written permanently in Yankees lore. Instead, it was the uneasiness concerning Boone’s zero managerial experience – anywhere in professional baseball.
The Yankee’s awkward dismissal of Joe Girardi after he has taken the team to within one swing of reaching the 2017 World series didn’t help Boone’s cause either.
Aaron Boone Shines As a Fast Learner
Hired primarily because of his communication skills and how he fulfilled the description of New Era major league manager, Boone stepped almost seamlessly into the role.
Boone, for instance, quickly learned to walk the tightrope between reciting the company line, especially about injury updates, while still making nice with the voluminous and hardened New York media.
Last year, Aaron Boone garnered only two third-place votes in the AL Manager Of the Year polling. The overwhelming winner was Bob Melvin, who managed the Oakland A’s to a surprising Wild Card finish.
Some felt justified in their reasoning that Boone was hurt by those who felt – “What’s the big deal? With that team, a frog could manage the team.”
Adversity In Spades
That’s all changed in 2019. The litany of Yankee injuries is well known, and we won’t recite the impact those injuries have had on the team. What separates Boone from all others is how Boone has assimilated the no-names who came on board while never having seen the inside of the Yankee’s clubhouse.
By now, all the names are familiar to Yankees fans. Come October; they’ll be introduced to the rest of America as well.
Whether it’s Gio Urshela, Mike Ford, DJ LeMahieu, Nestor Cortes Jr., James Paxton, Edwin Encarnacion, Mike Tauchman, or Cameron Maybin – it’s been Aaron Boone who has tied the knot together via his manipulation of the lineup.
Blending smoothly into a clubhouse led by veterans Brett Gardner and CC Sabathia, with an assist from Aaron Judge, Boone wisely let that area take care of itself.
Following in the footsteps of Brian Cashman, who is rarely seen in the Yankee’s clubhouse, Boone developed a unique skill and way to “keep in touch” with his players.
Using the media as his communication tool, Boone regularly dishes out (sincere) compliments when a player shines. Eventually, his words are aired or printed.
Players may say they never read the papers, but they all do. And when they return to the hotel after a game, the first thing they do is order room service and tune into Sports Center.
Boone also makes other practical and wise decisions. Marcus Thames (Hitting Coach), Larry Rothschild (Pitching Coach), Reggie Willits (Outfield Instructor)and Carlos Mendoza (Infield Instructor) all have jobs to do.
Aaron Boone lets each of them do their job with no interference and butting in. He provides input to each coach, but when it comes to communicating with the player, Boone does not reach over the realm of his coaches. That’s big.
Aaron Boone Is Next In Line
The vote for the AL Manager Of The Year will be tight. In addition to Rocco Baldelli, manager of the first-place Minnesota Twins, Bob Melvin is once again leading the A’s to a possible Wild Card. Kevin Cash is also doing it again with the small-market Tampa Bay Rays.
But no one can deny this year has been far more tumultuous and unpredictable for the Yankees than any other team. At least in terms of the revolving clubhouse door due to injuries.
Boone has remained calm and determined throughout the adversity. He’s stayed within himself, never attempting to micromanage his team. Given what’s on the line for the Yankees (no Title since 2009), and therefore Boone as well, that’s no small accomplishment. Boone has earned the Award for 2019…
Aaron Boone: Making The Switch Successfully
No-Stress (Left) High Stress (Right)
Visit My Main Page, Reflections On Baseball