While fans continue to debate whether Aaron Boone has made the grade in his first season as Yankees’ skipper, owner Hal Steinbrenner still believes his staff hired the right managerial candidate last winter.
According to a report by George King of the New York Post, Steinbrenner approves of Boone’s work thus far, even though debilitating injuries and incessant surges and slumps have placed the Yankees in a vulnerable position this month.
“Aaron Boone has done a good job dealing with all these moving parts and certainly has the respect of the players,’’ Steinbrenner told The Post. “Overall we have been happy with the choice… The injuries we have had the last few months have been of significant duration, and have affected some of our key players. The team has done well persevering but losing players like [Gary] Sanchez, [Aaron] Judge, [Aroldis] Chapman, etc. does have an impact. The good news is that we appear to be getting healthy again. Slowly, but surely.’’
Back on September 3, New York embarked on a three-city, 10-day roadtrip with a 4.5-game lead over the Oakland Athletics for the top wild card spot in the American League. But there’s no guarantee the one-game playoff will be held in the Bronx for a second consecutive year, as recent series losses in Oakland and Minnesota (4-5 overall on roadtrip) leave the Yankees just 1.5-games ahead of the Athletics for home field advantage entering Friday.
With 16 regular season games left (all against AL East opponents), the Yankees’ goal is to play well enough to host the wild card game. And with Judge and Chapman reportedly on track to be activated from the disabled list sometime next week, that goal can be achieved.
But if the Yankees are forced to return to Oakland Coliseum on October 3, Steinbrenner won’t be concerned, according to The Post. Whatever it takes to schedule an ALDS meeting with the Boston Red Sox.
“I’m not sure disappointed would be the word I would choose regarding [playing in] Oakland. I would certainly prefer to play in New York of course,” said Steinbrenner, whose Yankees have lost nine of their last 16 games and are only 28-23 since the All-Star break. “Having said that, if it is to be the wild-card game then the focus of our players will be to beat whatever team is in front of them, [regardless] of what city we are in. That much I know for certain.”
So, fans will have to wait until November to evaluate Boone’s overall performance. But in the meantime, Boone has no intentions of changing his methods or behavior. That’s the last thing he and the Yankees want.
“The only thing I ever want to be in this job, in any job I have, or in life is authentic,” Boone told ESPN Radio’s The Michael Kay Show on Thursday. “I think players, especially, will smell a fraud and smell it when you’re not authentic… I think it’s important that you’re authentic in your job and I try to do that every single day.
“Obviously, there’s going to be things that come up that you have to address in a stern way or in a way that’s uncomfortable. But hopefully, my players see every single day when they walk in, they know in that office, in that chair is somebody that’s consistent and they know who I am and what I’m about.”
The Yankees will host the Toronto Blue Jays for three games starting Friday.