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  • Tim Kabel

About the Off-Season: The Hot Stove League Begins

By Tim Kabel

October 29, 2022

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I originally named my new series, which I started with Brian Cashman, "Should he stay, or should he go?" However, there is already a series on this site by that name. Therefore, to avoid confusion, particularly my own, I will change mine to, "Welcome back, or vamoose."


Vamoose is a good word and it conjures up images of The Old West and in particular, America's favorite short-tempered and short-statured cartoon cowboy, Yosemite Sam. I'm feeling rather like that pugnacious little fellow today as I turn my attention to Aaron Boone.


This is almost a pointless exercise because Hal Steinbrenner has already declared he intends to bring Boone back. To paraphrase Felix Unger, "Oh Harold, Harold, Harold. How could you?"

We have gone over this multiple times on this site. I'm not the only writer who has documented this opinion. Boone has been here for five years. He has not improved. He shows no sign of improving. As a person, I'm sure he's a delightful fellow. But as a manager, in the words of Archie Bunker, "I never liked him, and I always will."


Boone's in-game decisions are uniformly dreadful. They're not consistent either. In the four-game series against Houston, the Yankees used three different lead-off hitters and three different shortstops. Boone used Aaron Judge as the leadoff hitter down the stretch of the season and into the playoffs against Cleveland until he was criticized by Alex Rodriguez. Alex Rodriguez has even less managerial success than Boone.


Boone makes awful decisions all year long. This had been the case ever since he became the manager. It's just that in a game in Kansas City on a Thursday afternoon, in front of 12,000 people, no one notices. It's when the playoffs roll around that the magnifying glass is on, and we can really see Boone's flaws.


I'm not saying the Yankees could have beaten Houston. They probably could not have. However, If the Yankees had not been extended to five games against the inferior but better-managed Cleveland Guardians, they would have been able to line up their pitching in a more advantageous order.


All the writers here at SSTN have gone over Boone's inadequacies and poor decisions ad nauseam. He is not going to improve. I doubt Boone is capable of improving but, there is no incentive for him to do so. He has job security. He thinks he's a very good manager. He is very dismissive of the media and everyone else. Remember, he was brought in here because he was a masterful communicator who could charm everyone with his clever commentary and outstanding explanations. It was supposed to be like having a slightly less tedious version of Bob Costas. It hasn't worked out that way. You could burst into a room with a shattered lamp, six ruptured water balloons, and three overly sugared five-year-olds, and get a more coherent explanation than anything Boone has ever been able to offer.


Although I know he will return, Boone should not return. The biggest reason for this is that he does not fit the direction the team seems to be going. Brian Cashman eschewed signing big free agent shortstops last off-season. He was waiting for his crown jewel prospects to develop. Well, they are here, or in the case of Anthony Volpe, very close to being here. I don't know if it's just due to Boone's smug dismissiveness, but he has little use for young players. He has not completely and successfully developed one young position player in his tenure as Yankee's manager. Gleyber Torres is very inconsistent and it's unclear what his long-term role with this team is. As far as the pitchers, there have been some successes but, don't forget the pitching coaches function as a buffer to essentially Boone-proof them. Still, we need look no further than the Cleveland series to see how Boone mishandles the young pitchers.


Boone's approach to dealing with young players seems to be along the lines of the advice all our parents gave us about what to do when we meet strangers: Don't establish eye contact. Don't speak. If they speak to you, move away slowly. If you get nervous, blow a bubble with your gum. I imagine that if Boone is surrounded by Oswaldo Cabrera, Oswald Peraza, and Anthony Volpe during spring training, he will run from the field screaming, "Stranger Danger."

There are no reasons to bring Boone back other than that Hal Steinbrenner likes him and he is under contract. That is not good enough. He needs to go.


In closing, I will give Boone some credit. He has provided me with my go-to excuse for the rest of my life under any circumstances. "The roof on Minute Maid Park was open."


"Hey, why didn't you turn this report into court on time?" "Well, the roof on Minute Maid Park was open."


"Why didn't you get the snacks I needed for school?" "Well, the roof on Minute Maid Park was open."


"Why didn't you clean the litter box today?" "Well, clearly because the roof on Minute Maid Park was open."


I will be eternally grateful to Boone for giving me this excuse and also for his motivational tool of having the Yankees win one for "Big Papi."


The verdict: Vamoose.


It doesn't matter what any of us think, Hal has made up his mind. Oh Harold, Harold, Harold. How could you?

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