Aaron Boone’s pathetic Trent Grisham defense is final indictment of modern Yankees

Cincinnati Reds v New York Yankees
Cincinnati Reds v New York Yankees / Luke Hales/GettyImages

For the majority of their history, but more specifically the 1990s and early 2000s, the Yankees' calling card was that they would always be crisp at the margins, efficiently outworking their opponents until they were worn down and ready to surrender. 3-2 games became 8-2. Tight contests became Mariano Rivera's canvasses. The Red Sox, especially in the late '90s and beginning of the next decade, were hustle-fueled, but ragged. Sure, they would overcome the Yankees occasionally, but when important games arrived, New York would always be better prepared.

Nowadays? There seems to be no such mandate. A lackadaisical play on a Thursday night in the middle of a quicksand streak won't preclude a player from getting right back out there on Friday night against a chief rival. Effort? Never heard of it. Eventually, the percentages will even out (in a world without the human element).

On Thursday afternoon against the Cincinnati Reds, Trent Grisham commemorated the holiday by declaring his independence from repercussions. He slow-charged a late-game single, allowing the baseball to roll up his arm, turning a soft looper into a hustle double.

Grisham was right back in the lineup Friday night for the series opener against Boston, batting eighth and playing center field. Team captain Aaron Judge was moved to DH in order to accommodate him. Prior to Friday's game, Aaron Boone defended Grisham, further explaining how, exactly, the Yankees could've lost nine games in the loss column to the battling Red Sox between June 15 and July 5.

Yankees defending Trent Grisham is Aaron Boone's biggest embarrassment

Are the 2024 Red Sox an exceptional, all-time baseball team? It's too soon to say. But three weeks back, they out-scouted the Yankees, exploited Jose Trevino's arm, and dealt Boone's crew their first setback in weeks. Since Alex Verdugo homered in the Yankees' series-opening win at Fenway Park on June 14, the Yankees have proceeded to go 4-13 with a 7.76 ERA, the worst mark in MLB. The Red Sox? 13-4, and ready for blood this weekend.

The Yankees don't appear to be ready for much of anything, responding to Grisham's low-effort play with a 40-word justification, directly from leadership, explaining that the center fielder's skills come from the ease with which he plays. It's an embarrassing directive, rewarding a .165-hitting bench piece with a spot in the field 24 hours after a season-stalling knife to the heart.

If you try and you fail? You brush yourself off and get back after it the next day. Shaking off failure is an art, and a hallmark of a champion. If you don't try very hard and you still fail? You should feel the sting.

The Yankees, since Aaron Boone's hiring, haven't seemed to care much about that. In large part, that explains why Boone himself is still employed. The standard has changed, and in the war between ragged high effort and by-the-book beardless formulaic sleepwalking, Boston's brand has won for nearly two decades now. It's time for the Yankees to wise up and realize that failure used to have repercussions in this town.