A Great Communicator?
by Paul Semendinger
August 28, 2023
Throughout his tenure, people have said that Aaron Boone is a great communicator - that he relates well with his players.
That might be true, maybe, but if it is, it is something I (removed as a fan from the daily interactions of the team, of course) have not seen.
One would think that a manager would interact with his players during the game - that they'd talk about the game, about strategy, about... anything, but most often, almost always, it seems that whenever the television cameras show Aaron Boone in the dugout, he is alone.
It is rare to see him talking with any of his players or the coaches. To me, this belies the notion that Aaron Boone is a great (or even a good communicator) - at least during the games. In short, a great communicator wouldn't always be off in a corner of the dugout, alone.
I decided to put this theory to the test by checking the most extensive accessible clearinghouse of photographs of the Yankees - Getty Images. My theory being that these are archived photos taken during games which would give some indication or overview of a manager's habits and routines.
I went to the site, filtered the results by "Aaron Boone" and by date (March 31 through August 25, 2023) and 359 images came up (presumably all of the photos in Getty Images' archive of Aaron Boone and the 2023 season).
One would think that these photos would show a manager interacting with his players and coaches, especially since the team is struggling and he is the team's leader.
Instead, of those photographs, the following is what I found:
Boone Sitting Alone - 24 photos
Boone Walking Alone - 34 photos
Boone Standing Alone - 89 photos
Boone Mound Visits - 30 photos
Boone Blowing Bubbles - 9 photos
Boone Talking To A Player During A Game (non-Mound visit or "high five") - 5 photos
Boone Talking To A Coach During A Game - 0
Boone Arguing With An Umpire - 81 photos
The results of this informal survey of photographs seems to have supported my conclusion. During the games, at least, Aaron Boone, supposedly a great communicator, is often alone.
Now, granted, to be fair, this was not the most scientific study ever taken. To get the most accurate representation to test my theory, one would have to go through the game footage of every contest the Yankees played this year. I, obviously, did not do that.
Still, the vast majority of the photos shows the manager alone, or if he's with others it was to remove a pitcher or argue with an umpire. The arguing photos are plentiful. (I'll also state that when a manager argues with an umpire it creates numerous opportunities for photographers to capture a significant moment so it can be assumed that there would be a lot of those type of photos.)
But, still, in this random sampling, one thing was not present - the Yankees manager interacting with his players or coaches in any meaningful way during games - expect when he was in the process of taking a pitcher out of a game or congratulating a player after a game or a home run.
There are very few photos of the manager and a player or coach sitting together or standing together in the dugout during a game. The photo evidence seems to indicate that, at least during games, the manager seems removed from his players.
In the entire archive of Aaron Boone photographs on the Getty Images site, there are 3,690 photographs. I limited my detailed study to just the photographs from the 2023 season, but I welcome someone to catalogue all of the photos from Aaron Boone's tenure as Yankees manager from the site to test my results in even more detail. My cursory review of the thousands of photographs did not show anything significantly different from what the 2023 season seemed to show.
Again, this is just one small study. It does not, necessarily prove anything, but on the other hand, it might say a lot. The photographs seem to reflect the same feeling I get as I watch the games on television - the manager seems removed from the people around him.
It is possible that Aaron Boone is a fantastic communicator in the clubhouse and outside the ballpark. But the photo evidence I found doesn't seem to show that it's happening a lot during the games.