Once again, and because he can’t hit for himself, Aaron Boone has gone to bat for Gary Sanchez. Enablers do this at their own peril.
Aaron Boone, the recently extended Yankees manager for 2021, took the opportunity to wield his new-found job security to proclaim that the criticism directed at his catcher, Gary Sanchez, has gone “over the top.”
“I think he’s been unfairly criticized a lot,” Boone told YES Network, per the New York Post. “I think at times it’s over the top, and people are blinded by some of the things that he’s done really well.”
Ironically, if Aaron Boone has a list of “some of the things he’s (Sanchez) done really well,” they remain a secret known only to him.
I’ll help you out, though, Aaron.
Gary Sanchez is the fastest catcher in Major League history — and the fastest American League player regardless of position — to collect 100 home runs.
It came in Sanchez’s 355th career game; the next fastest catcher was Mike Piazza, who did it in his first 422 games while with Los Angeles.
Now, you help me out, Aaron Boone.
Is it “over the top” to point out that over the course of his five years with the Yankees, Sanchez has four times as many strikeouts (461) as he does home runs (115)?
Or, that Gary Sanchez has averaged a mere fifty hits per season for you that have not been a home run – sounds like your classic all or nothing player – doesn’t it Aaron Boone?
Of note, too, is the timing of Boone’s love note to Gary as the Yankees weigh their option on Sanchez for 2021. That deadline is a week from today for the Yankees to tender a contract to their beleaguered catcher.
Aaron Boone: Who’s The One With The Blinders On?
With Gary Sanchez, though, the numbers, good and bad, barely hint at the real story, of which Aaron Boone is keenly aware.
Next to Greg Bird, who received the Yankees’ backing year after year and surgery after surgery, no other player in recent Yankees history has benefited more than Sanchez from the benevolence of a team that has bent over backward to aid in his success.
Even to the point of hiring a personal catching coach for Sanchez, and all the yay-rah-sis-boom-bah cheerleading, he is still the same defensively as when he came into the league.
Starry-eyed supporters like Aaron Boone are mesmerized by Sanchez and his league-leading average exit rate of hit baseballs (91.1 MPH), but what is the good of that given his propensity to strike out in almost half of his at-bats?
Aaron Boone: Your Classic Enabler
Enabling is a verb not commonly associated with baseball. In other walks of life, enablers are people who, knowingly but more often unknowingly, assist others in feeding an addiction or some other personality defect that proves to be counterproductive to their aim in “helping” the other person.
“Looking the other way” when, for example, a parent finds a small stash of pot in the bedroom of their child – and instead of confronting, they rationalize thinking – it’s not heroin, for gods’ sake.
Generally, enablers like Aaron Boone are good people with good intentions. They see a problem, and their instincts tell them to fix it, especially if they are someone in a leadership role – again like Aaron Boone.
Aaron Boone And The Perils Of Enabling
Think back a minute to your early days of schooling as a first or second grader. Recall how a portion of the day was devoted to reading aloud in small groups, or even on occasion, the entire class.
Naturally, some were better readers than others. But each student had to take their turn.
Because he was a notoriously slow reader who needed help from the teacher pronouncing certain words, boredom always set in when it was Gary’s turn to read.
You’d begin to hear snickers from classmates as Gary stumbled along. Until finally, the teacher would step in to correct the mean-spirited criticism coming from the class, taking great pains to point out that “we all learn at a different pace – so knock it off!”
Unwittingly perhaps, the teacher (a la Aaron Boone) has none nothing to correct Gary’s reading deficiencies – but just as surely, the teacher has succeeded in calling attention to Gary – thus reversing the original intent to show the class how wrong it is to pick on someone who is struggling.
Aaron Boone – Stop It – You’re Smothering Gary Sanchez
This is not the first time Aaron Boone has felt the need to come to Sanchez’s defense.
What’s troubling is it’s more than likely Gary Sanchez has never asked Boone to do so, and every time Boone singles out his catcher in this manner, as with the struggling reader in class, Sanchez’s confidence descends another notch.
It would be fitting and uplifting if Gary Sanchez were to take it upon himself to call Aaron Boone to deliver this pointed message – “Thanks, Skip, but I got this, and you don’t need to babysit me.”
In effect, it’s Aaron Boone who is “piling on” and stoking the very fire he is trying to extinguish. Sadly, that’s the way things usually develop when an enabler becomes blinded by his good intentions.
All of which points to a need for the Yankees to release Gary Sanchez by next Wednesday, a sad but necessary move that enables him to begin a new chapter in his life, both on and off the baseball field.