New York Yankees fans have seen this story before. The team goes in a stretch of the worst baseball you’ve ever witnessed to that specific date, and then various sects of the fan base start blaming different people.
- “It’s this damn roster construction!”
- “The medical staff is awful!”
- “Brian Cashman never makes the aggressive trades we need!”
- “The players are showing no emotion and have no heart!”
- “Giancarlo Stanton needs to stop striking out!”
- “Aaron Boone needs to go!”
That last one is a topic worth discussing as of right now. A couple nights ago, “Fire Boone” chants broke out at Yankee Stadium and the manager actually responded to the backlash in the postgame. It’s nothing new, either. The groans were perhaps loudest last season, especially since Boone was in a contract year and the Yankees could’ve easily parted ways without much controversy with the offseason arrived.
Instead came a four-year contract. The thing is, though, it wasn’t really until 2020 when fans started truly growing dissatisfied with Boone. The pandemic-shortened season pretty much ruined everything, and then the way the Yankees responded in 2021 was flat-out unacceptable.
But then came 2022. The Yankees got off to a 50-17 (!!) start and Boone was making all the right decisions, saying all the right things, screaming at all the right umpires, getting ejected like a madman when it was necessary to galvanize the team and fanbase.
Good times. But since that 50-17 start, the Yankees have gone 23-30 dating back to June 21. The far and away best team in MLB became … one of the worst? How? Where can we point the finger? Is Boone actually the problem?
Is manager Aaron Boone the problem with the New York Yankees?
Our biggest concern is how Boone’s fire, which is seemingly only present when the Yankees are plowing ahead without a worry in sight (remember “Savages in the Box” during a 103-win season?), has disappeared during this hellacious stretch of play. Why isn’t he eviscerating his team for the lackluster play? The moments in which he explodes/expresses the raw honesty necessary to evoke emotion out of the players he manages only seem to come out when things are peachy, which hardly does anything.
Then, a 23-30 stretch happens, the Astros overtake the AL lead, and the Yankees’ division cushion falls into the single digits, and you have to force a quote out of the guy. How is there no natural response of pure anger in regard to what he’s been watching transpire from the dugout for this long?
In the end, however, fans blaming Boone at this rate feels like a “scapegoat-y” type situation. How many games has Boone blown himself this year? Maybe one or two? You probably can’t even think of specific moments he’s actually done it. Take us back to 2021, though, and you can easily count up to 10-12 that were directly a result of his awful decision making.
In some corners of MLB, yes, Boone might’ve been canned by now, and you could assume it’d be for his inability to properly motivate a roster when the going gets tough. The Yankees doing what they’ve been doing since 2018 is comparable to other failures elsewhere across the league. New York just happens to have higher expectations, so it’s a bit different. Perhaps Boone overseeing the Yankees constantly falling short is akin to the Rangers firing Chris Woodward because of his failure to properly navigate the rebuild, or the Phillies parting with Joe Girardi because of the poor job he did trying to maximize the talent he was given, or the Angels pulling the plug on Joe Maddon prematurely because of one awful early-season stretch. It’s not the same thing, but it’s relatable in a different context.
But then you look elsewhere in the Yankees’ organization. Fans love Aaron Judge, but the “de-facto captain” has also overseen various collapses/failures since 2018. Have you heard any worthwhile comments from him since mid-June? Just think, what would Derek Jeter be doing in this situation? Then there’s Brian Cashman, who’s botched so many free agent chases and has time and time again not done “enough” at the trade deadline. Boone isn’t the captain responsible for such personal relationships with the players, though he should certainly be more effective, it would seem, in that department. Judge likely has to be a greater influence than he’s perceived to be. Boone isn’t the executive passing on Max Scherzer, George Springer, Michael Brantley, Kevin Gausman (and more!). Boone isn’t the one making roster decisions that negatively impact play and morale. Boone didn’t inadequately build the depth behind the team’s starters that’s left him with whatever this is right now.
Is Boone to blame somewhat? Sure. He could rip his players to light a fire under them, be more candid when speaking to the media, and act more on motivating the guys in the clubhouse (since it seems he’s more of a people-pleaser than anything).
Then again, the Yankees don’t necessarily need a manager who has to navigate every aspect of a game and keep every single one of his players in check like he’s babysitting a bunch of toddlers. Boone is merely supposed to oversee one of the best rosters in MLB, make the right decisions when he’s sparingly faced with them, and reveal the harsh truths when those infrequent moments come.
Firing Boone could instill positive change, but it’s not going to alter the foundation of an organization that’s been an abject disappointment since 2010.