Say what you will about Aaron Boone, but the Yankees' manager is certainly aware of how heavy the crown lies at this point, and has heard the waves of criticism levied at his clubhouse. That hasn't stopped him from appearing on Jomboy and Jake's Talkin' Yanks podcast weekly during the season, where the cohosts can often get an agitated rise out of Boonie with pointed questions.
It also hasn't prevented him from taking that show into the public square. Boone agreed to open the 2024 season by appearing in a Talkin' Yanks event at a sports bar on Monday, and when the floor was opened for questions -- literally OPENED, this is QUESTION NUMBER ONE -- the fans did not hold back.
In an effort to press Boone on the team's long-criticized strategy of declaring "rest days" ahead of time and running out mid-week "punt lineups," this fan-turned-journalist reminded Boone of the 1996 Yankees' relentless mentality of, "We play today. We win today. That's it."
This fan was no doubt cognizant of the changing realities of baseball, and probably shouldn't have mentioned Scott Proctor (whose arm exploded), but the fact remains it often seems like modern Yankee teams take certain opponents and certain games less seriously, which causes them to lose their edge and struggle to find themselves once more when the lights are brightest. They love teeing off on Toronto, but will readily try to sacrifice a mid-May Rays game for load management, only to find that they can't get back whatever they lost along the way (not to mention their players, uh, don't stay any healthier, no matter how much rest they receive).
Yankees manager Aaron Boone stomachs fan's question about resting players
Will Boone abandon his strategies completely in 2024, wilting in the face of fan questioning? Highly doubtful; these maneuvers come straight from the front office, and have become conventional wisdom across the modern game.
Love him or hate him, Boone operates in the 2020s, and everything looks a lot different than it did two decades ago (and not just because the Yankees can't seem to polish off championship runs anymore).
If the Yankees are going to reach the mountaintop this season, they'll need to stay healthy, exploit their depth advantage, graduate a few more ready-made rookies to the bigs, and recapture their edge. How they'll accomplish that last task falls on the men in that room, who should probably watch more '96 footage instead of 2004 lowlights.