17 years ago today, the Yankees hired Aaron Boone as their manager (kinda) when he sent a Tim Wakefield knuckleball deep into the night.
17 years ago today, the Yankees played possibly the most instant classic in the history of their franchise, defeating the Boston Red Sox after a furious comeback in Game 7 of the ALCS.
Also, this victory directly led to JA Happ entering Game 2 of the 2020 ALDS in relief in the second inning. Funny the way it is.
As euphoric as it was to dispatch of the Idiots on our turf and bring every single ghost to the party one last time in extending their curse, it’s now officially weird to think of this moment as the launch of our current trepidation. After all, if Aaron Boone hadn’t socked this blast, is there any chance he rises above the fray to become the franchise’s choice as a manager, the first such gig he’s ever held?
Not to take anything away from the blast itself — you cannot get clutcher, just after Mariano Rivera had finished his day’s work, holding down the Red Sox for three innings and embarrassingly whiffing Doug Mirabelli to end it. He wasn’t going any longer, and there was no one else in the Yankees bullpen who could’ve held the Sox down. Somebody had to finish it here. Boone did.
Not to take anything away from his managerial tenure, too! He won 100 games in 2018! He won 103 games in 2019! It just feels like there’s a little something missing, and there are plenty of people who wish Boone wasn’t in their lives.
And he wouldn’t be, without his heroics 17 years to the day. When you think about it, it’s certainly weird!
Of course, he saw his heroics matched from the other dugout just last week, for only the third time in postseason history.
Dammit. Just, damn it all. Why do we deserve this?
Boone will be returning in 2021, and will hopefully be celebrating the 18th anniversary of this magic moment managing in the ALCS instead of fielding Gary Sanchez. questions in an empty ballpark.