There are a lot of responsibilities that rest on a Major League Baseball manager’s shoulders. He has to make a lineup every day, know when to rest players and even has to scream in an umpire’s face on what feels like a weekly basis to wake their team up from a mid-game slump.
No wonder former manager Joe Girardi looked exhausted after every game during his press conference. Baseball managers are a crucial ingredient to a team’s success, and there is probably no more pressure in baseball than being the manager of the Yankees.
Yes, gone are the days of George Steinbrenner hiring and firing managers left and right (besides the saintly Joe Torre), and plopping on the field the league’s oldest and most expensive rosters. A new age for New York has arrived. An age filled with youth, exuberance, and for the first time in a few years: World Series potential.
Who better to lead a group of young bucks (and Brett Gardner and C.C. Sabathia) than a manager with no managerial or coaching experience? Enter Aaron Boone. What can we expect from the rookie skipper this season?
Expect Boone not to sweat in pressure situations
Like stated above, Boone has never managed any baseball team on a professional level. Maybe he coached a high school team, who knows, but in the Big Leagues: no dice. So, we can not comment on Boone’s past managerial experience, but what we can look at is his prior playing experience. Boone was a very talented middle infielder that played every infield position in the Majors in his 13- year career.
Boone only played half a season in New York but goes down in Yankees’ lore by providing one of the greatest moments in their storied history. Yes, Yankees fans, the walk-off home run in the bottom of the eleventh inning off Red Sox’s premier knuckleballer Tim Wakefield in Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series. The home run led to the Yankees making it to the World Series, and Boone garnering the nickname Aaron “Effin” Boone from the Boston fan base. Expect Red Sox fans to yell his nickname out a lot in Fenway. Hopefully in disbelief.
It was a pressure situation in one of the most significant games in Yankees’ history, and Boone passed with flying colors. He will always be remembered for the moment, and now he has the chance to make even greater memories in the Bronx. As a manager, expect Boone to stay calm, cool, and collected under pressure. Speaking of cool…
Expect Boone to continue mimicking “Joe Cool” himself, Torre
We have all seen Boone’s impression of Torre’s walk to the mound. If you haven’t, here it is. It’s a ridiculously accurate impression of one of the greatest Yankees’ managers of all time.
In an interview with the New York Post this past December, journalist Steve Serby asked Boone how he would motivate players. Boone’s response was very Torre-esk, stating, “I hope to be a tremendous relationship-builder. I don’t think I’m gonna have a lot of rah-rah stand-up riveting speeches.”
If that doesn’t remind you of Torre, then check out the way Boone wears his hat. High and loose on his forehead, as Torre did. He’s walking like Joe, talking like Joe and wearing his hat like Joe, can we expect wins like Joe? Let’s hope so, er Joe? Sorry, wanted to keep the pattern going.
Could we expect Little League cheers from Yankees dugout?
Over the last couple years at ESPN, Boone covered the Little League World Series. A baseball event that is bigger than the College World Series and World Baseball Classic combined. Ok, might be a stretch, but it’s a big deal. Boone was one of many heavy hitters ESPN provided for the telecast of the games, including Jon Kruk and Karl Ravech.
Due to Boone’s experience covering the young ballplayers, could we hear Little League style cheers from the Yankees dugout? The young Yankees could enjoy the new exercise. Wouldn’t it be amazing to hear Aaron Judge calling opposing pitchers, “belly-itchers?” Maybe older vets like Gardner would dismiss the idea. But Gardner also let Joe Girardi call him (a grown man) “Gardy” for 10 years, so who knows.
The Yankees are a different organization nowadays. First came “Judge’s Chambers” in the right-field bleachers providing more of a Minor League atmosphere. Then Todd Frazier‘s thumbs down celebration caught on like wildfire through the postseason. Anything goes for the Yanks right now. Why not Little League dugout cheers!? Next, the players will be allowed to grow their hair out, and we can finally see what Gary Sanchez looks like with a full beard.
Expect Aaron Boone to get injured playing basketball, and Alex Rodriguez gets hired as the next Yankees manager.
Using analytics was a requirement for any manager that was to be hired by the Yankees, so this technically isn’t Boone’s doing. But we should see more lineup changes based on who is pitching, even more defensive shifts and yes, more of Judge hitting second.
Finally, with one of the best rosters in baseball, we should expect Boone to win a lot of games.