Dan's Dugout: Yanks Take Big Gamble With Boone • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Yanks Take Big Gamble With Boone

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NEW YORK — If experience is the best teacher, the Yankees did not learn their lesson very well.

Joe Torre and Joe Girardi, the last two men who managed the club, combined for 16 postseason runs in 22 seasons.

Aaron Boone’s pennant-winning homer un 2003 made him a Yankee hero

Newly-annointed Aaron Boone has never coached or managed before – making him baseball’s equivalent of our current president.

The last time the Yankees tried to turn a player into a manager, Yogi Berra lasted only one season. True, he won the pennant in 1964 but ownership opted for the man who beat him in the World Series, Johnny Keane of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Although general manager Brian Cashman believes Boone’s eight-year tenure on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball gave him a window into the 29 other teams, that argument seems nebulous at best. How much can anyone learn watching a different game every week?

A former third baseman for several clubs, Boone is best remembered for hitting the pennant-wining home run in the 11th inning of 2003 American League Championship Series Game 7 against the Red Sox. But he was hardly as good as brother Bret, an All-Star second baseman with power, or father Bob, a long-time catcher who later managed several major-league teams. Even grandpa Ray Boone was a better ballplayer than Aaron.

At 44, Aaron Boone is 10 years younger than Girardi and blessed with a brighter personality. That should work well with the media but not necessarily with the players – especially younger players who prospered last year with a disciplinarian at the helm.

At 44, Aaron Boone is 10 years younger than Joe Girardi

Nor does Boone have the same command of the English language as the man who just left. In his first media interview after word leaked about the appointment, Boone referred to “Me and my staff” when he should have said “My staff and I.”

Ouch!

Perhaps Cashman doesn’t realize that there’s a negative history of turning broadcasters into managers. Jerry Coleman, another former Yankee, flopped when the San Diego Padres tried it. So did Lou Boudreau when Phil Wrigley sent him from the booth to the dugout more than 50 years ago. Both men are in Cooperstown but not for their work as managers.

The feeling persists here that Cashman could have cut Girardi not only to shave payroll but also to deflect attention from his own expired contract, which still remains in limbo. That’s a familiar tactic, usually emanating from Washington, these days.

Shifting the blame is easy; accepting responsibility is not.

Joe Girardi wore No. 28 as he pursued the 28th world championship in Yankees history

The 2017 New York Yankees were not supposed to contend. But Girardi guided them all the way to the last game of the playoffs before the Houston Astros reached out grabbed their first American League flag. For that, Girardi should have been saluted, not censured.

Nor was it nice of Cashman to wait so long to slice ties with Girardi – too late for him to hook on with the crosstown Mets or any other club searching for a new and successful pilot.

Leo Durocher, who reached the Baseball Hall of Fame as a manager, would be the first one to tell Aaron Boone that nice guys finish last (he actually said of Mel Ott, “Nice guys finish eighth” in the days when each league had eight teams).

He should be nice to his players but he can’t be friends with them. Managers and coaches meet and mingle on their own, especially in bars and restaurants on the road, and players do their own thing. At least that’s how it works on successful teams.

Hiring Boone is just the latest salvo in an avalanche of off-the-wall moves that tilt the average age of the field general toward the younger side. Mickey Calloway (Mets), Gabe Kapler (Phillies), and Alex Cora (Red Sox) are also heading into their rookie seasons as managers.

But none faces the pressure of Aaron Boone, who has to fill enormous shows with a team that’s just starting to blossom. The betting here is that he’ll be back in the broadcast booth long before his three-year pact is fulfilled.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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