For two consecutive games in the Rays series, Aaron Boone had a line that I felt belonged on a t-shirt. Both, in their own way, referred to how special this 2019 Yankees team has become. On Tuesday, when talking about whether CC Sabathia having words with Avisail Garcia sparked the team, Boone said, “I think we’re always pretty lit.”
But his rant in the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader was truly remarkable. “That guy is a good pitcher, but our guys are *bunting * savages in that box,” he exclaimed. Then, once more for emphasis: “Our guys are *bunting* savages in that box.”
Here is the full sequence of the Boone ejection. Hot mics galore. pic.twitter.com/R6Vw0qw0qn— Jomboy (@Jomboy_) July 18, 2019
I’m really starting to like Aaron Boone.
I never disliked him, per se, but he had work to do to make me actually like him. Winning 100 games in his first season apparently wasn’t enough. Back in April, I wrote about the differing opinions on Boone, on how Yankees fans saw him differently than the players and front office did. The club has had his back since day one, while the fans have always had a target on it.
When things are going right, it’s the players on the field who did it. When things go wrong, though, they’re free of blame? The manager is responsible for putting the best team on the field, from the roster he’s handed, but it’s still the players who have to produce. To me, managers are mostly just the glue holding all the pieces together. That’s always been Boone’s strength.
Boone’s biggest boon (yes, that’s 100% on purpose) has and still is his ability to work with and manage players, especially ones as young as the Yankees field. It was Joe Girardi’s biggest flaw, and ultimately why the Yankees made the switch.
The Yankees handed Boone a ready-made team. He was tasked with taking them to the next level, and overall he’s done nothing but produce. Last year’s team was good, but Boone’s inexperience showed in the spotlight quite often, specifically with his bullpen decisions.
That inexperience has reared its ugly head at times this season as well, but he’s still shown improvement from where he was. That’s really all us fans can ask for from a guy learning on the job: that he actually learns. And he’s done an excellent job this season of putting his “savages” in the best possible position to succeed. Just look at how successfully the team has implemented an opener this year, when they straight-up ran out of starting pitchers.
The amount of injuries this team has faced would’ve understandably derailed any season. Yet Boone has his guys atop the AL East, with a healthy lead, and fighting for the best record in baseball. Sure, they have one of the deepest rosters in baseball, but he deserves all the credit for the way he’s navigated everything that’s been thrown at them. This isn’t just a winning team, it’s a team that’s thriving.
Of course, Boone still has a long way to go to earn him the sort of leeway Joe Torre had, but he’s working his way over in my heart. The same way Girardi and his neck vein won my heart over. I’ve long been of the opinion that managers get too much blame for things going wrong and not enough credit when things are going right.
Boone always had the players’ confidence, and on Thursday we got to see why. He’s going to fight for his guys. He has his team’s back, and that’s why they have his. It’s probably time to slowly start removing the target off it. This 2019 team is special, and the guy leading them is showing why he’s the right fit. Hopefully this ends with millions of fans yelling “f***ing savages” as the team parades down the Canyon of Heroes, but even if it doesn’t, the team seems to be in good hands going forward.