I knew this would happen, and yet, I’m still disgusted by it happening. I knew Hal Steinbrenner would retain Aaron Boone. I knew it. It doesn’t matter that the Yankees were just swept by the Astros in embarrassing fashion, and it wouldn’t have mattered if the Yankees lost to the Guardians in the ALDS, or if they had completely blown their 15 1/2-game lead, or if they missed the playoffs completely.
“As far as Boone’s concerned, we just signed him and for all the same reasons I listed a year ago, I believe he is a very good manager,” Steinbrenner said. “I don’t see a change there.”
It doesn’t matter that Boone and his coaching staff spent the hours before Sunday’s Game 4 showing their players videos of their organization experiencing the worst collapse in postseason history as a motivational tactic. It doesn’t matter that the Yankees have grown progressively worse under Boone’s watch since losing Game 7 of the 2017 ALCS and moving on from Joe Girardi. It doesn’t matter that with Boone as manager, the Yankees have been eliminated by both the Red Sox and Astros in two postseasons, and by the Rays once, and in a season in which Boone’s Yankees were the odds-on favorite to represent the American League in the World Series (2021), they finished fifth in the AL and third in their own division with their postseason lasting nine innings (but really not even one full inning thanks to allowing a first-inning, two-run home run). It was after that depressing, miserable season that Steinbrenner decided to double down on his decision to hire Boone by giving him a new three-year deal with a fourth-year option.
A year ago, Boone became the first manager in Yankees history to be given a fifth year on the job without winning a championship in his first four years. Now, he has broken his own record, becoming the first manager in Yankees history to be given a sixth year on the job without winning a championship in his first five. That’s just a small part of the prestigious history he has helped create as Yankees manager.
In 2018, Boone oversaw the most lopsided home postseason loss in franchise history. In this year’s postseason, his Yankees became the first team in Major League Baseball postseason history to have a three-game span with 12 hits or fewer, 40-plus strikeouts and three losses. His Yankees set the MLB record for most consecutive games in postseason history with six hits or fewer at 10 straight games. After Game 3 of the ALDS, his Yankees recorded the lowest team batting average through eight postseason games in MLB history as well. And best of all, Boone’s bullpen management of Game 3 of ALDS became the first time the Yankees as an organization have blown a multi-run lead in the ninth inning of a postseason game, as they were 167-0 prior to Boone deeming Clay Holmes unavailable.
And Boone deemed Holmes unavailable on a night in which Holmes told the media he was available to pitch, which led to that night’s starter (Luis Severino) questioning Boone’s bullpen management to the media. It was Severino who in Game 3 of the 2018 ALDS didn’t know what time the game started before getting rocked by the Red Sox and before Boone let that game get out of his hand with his slow hook and poor choice of relievers, just like it was Harrison Bader this postseason unaware he was leading off for the first time as a Yankee until the media told him.
When Boone was hired, fans were led to believe the Yankees chose him over more experienced and better-suited candidates because of his communication skills. And yet, the team’s communication failed at least twice (that the public knows about) in this postseason to go along with countless other instances since 2018. Instances like Boone benching Gary Sanchez in the postseason in favor of his personal favorite Kyle Higashioka without explaining to Sanchez his decision, or Boone saying he didn’t think Domingo German needed to address the clubhouse upon returning from his domestic violence suspension. It wasn’t until Zack Britton spoke out about German’s presence that Boone backtracked and had German apologize to the team to try to make amends for being a scumbag.
“Fire Boone” chants began at Yankee Stadium during the 2021 season and carried over to this season when the Yankees watched a 15 1/2-game division lead fall to one game in the loss column. When questioned about the possibility of blowing the division, Boone told the media, “If we blow this thing, you’ll have a hell of a story to write.” His use of the word “if” was an admission that the Yankees might blow the single-largest division lead in baseball history. I’m shocked the manager who didn’t deny the possibility of blowing the AL East this season thought it was smart to both show his team video highlights of the worst moment in organization history and willingly tell the media and public about his decision show these videos.
Steinbrenner’s decision to give Boone a new contract last season was his own admission as well: an admission that winning doesn’t matter and losing is acceptable. That’s because winning doesn’t matter to Steinbrenner. The Yankees’ revenues are at an all-time high, and year after year the team’s payroll isn’t relative to revenue. Winning isn’t close to being a top priority for ownership, if it’s even a priority at all. George Steinbrenner planned on leaving the team to his son-in-law over his own children, and then when his daughter and son-in-law divorced, he had no choice other than to leave the team to his children, who had never wanted a part of running a baseball team. We’re likely seeing why George didn’t want Hal to run his team.
If Steinbrenner isn’t willing to replace Boone then the only other hope is that Brian Cashman isn’t given a new deal and a new general manager wants his own manager. Unfortunately, that prayer isn’t going to be answered, as Steinbrenner announced he’s working on a new deal with Cashman, who has been Yankees general manager for a quarter of a century, and has produced one World Series appearance in two decades.
“Cash and I had some preliminary conversions,” Steinbrenner said on Wednesday.
Cashman gave up on Sonny Gray after 2018, saying, “I don’t feel like we can go through the same exercise and expect different results,” and yet, the Yankees just went through the same exercise in 2022 as they did the previous four seasons, and to no surprise the result was the same: no World Series. It seemed unfathomable ownership could possibly bring back the same general manager and manager tandem that continues to fail and the same roster that continues to disappoint, but it’s happening, again.
Boone is a loser, who never won anything as a player and hasn’t as a manager, and the Yankees have become losers under him. A once-proud franchise that used to live in the World Series hasn’t been there in 13 years, and it’s hard to expect that number to not reach 14 in 2023. As long as Boone is manager it’s hard to envision the Yankees winning the World Series, and for at least another season, he will be manager.
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