Haven’t heard much criticism of Aaron Boone lately, have you New York Yankees fans? In fact … you haven’t had much criticism for Aaron Boone yourself, have you?
That’s because fans might be witnessing a reversion everyone’s been waiting for. Back in 2018 and 2019, Boone was the man. He had returned to the Yankees for the first time since that 2003 season when he sent the Boston Red Sox packing and the city was galvanized coming off an epic ALCS run.
The vibes were good. The energy was elevated. The Yankees had back-to-back 100-win seasons and Boone quickly became an icon for his “Savages in the Box” rant that went viral on social media. For a time there, that was Aaron Boone — a pretty scary dude who would fight for his guys and wasn’t afraid to blow a gasket when he knew the time was right for the necessary theatre.
Then came 2020. A shortened season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Injuries took their toll, the offense went silent at the worst times, for some reason Deivi Garcia was used as an opener, and it was all an unenjoyable watch.
Throughout last year, Boone found himself faced with the same questions, but no answers. It also didn’t help that he made some questionable lineup/pitching decisions that didn’t exactly prove there was a logical strategy in place with the weapons he possessed at his disposal.
But here we are in 2022 and things just feel … different.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone is giving fans the energy and demeanor they want
The 7-6 start showed these previous issues all weren’t Boone’s fault. He managed the pitching very well and did some necessary early experimentation with the lineups, but the players couldn’t deliver. Gerrit Cole was bad. Aaron Judge was silent. Joey Gallo couldn’t get a hit. Aaron Hicks kept blowing it with runners in scoring position.
Now, after crafting the 10-game winning streak, Boone can sit back, relax, and be himself, which is giving us 2019 vibes. How about that dugout interaction with Judge in Kansas City? Look at Boone’s face! Through gritted teeth he’s making intense gestures and offering words of encouragement. Emphatic fist-pump. Hard high-five. Firm spank for Judgey. That’s baseball, baby!
Just like the rest of the roster, it feels as if Boone is able to act more like himself rather than be stuck having to put on an act answering the same questions about the team’s inexplicable failures, regressions and lapses in judgement. Isn’t it more fun when the media wants to talk to more players about their accomplishments and perspectives after a 12-2 win instead of hunting down the manager to face the music after losing 3-1 to a bottom-barrel team?
Boone has been able to slip behind the curtain a bit and there’s a sense his energy has shifted for the better. He seems to have more of a hold on the lineup construction and bullpen management. He’s quick to answer the media and offer lengthier, informative and positive responses without pause, doubt or dejection.
Let’s keep it that way. And if the curtain needs to be peeled back, the Boone moment we want to see isn’t him answering for his players failing to do the basic aspects of their job — we want the spit-flying, dirt-kicking, NSFW version of the Yankees’ skipper hitting the showers early as he kickstarts a memorable comeback victory.
At the very least, the ejection on Wednesday night is a start. A pro move tossing out that gum before giving it to the home plate umpire:
And getting his money’s worth. Welcome back, Boonie.