“You are being very unDude.”
Of course, that’s Walter with his bag of dirty undies telling The Dude he’s losing his dudeness in The Big Lebowski.
Will Bret Boone lose his “dudeness” now that he’s the manager of the most prestigious brand in American Sports?
For the first three months, things couldn’t have gone more right for Aaron Boone in his new gig as Yankee manager. The team was rolling, playing close to .700 ball. The Red Sox were hot too, but it was still early, and the Yanks seemed primed. The “Baby Bomber Dynasty” was selling somewhere. Yankeeland was happy.
Fast forward a couple months. The Yanks have been playing virtually .500 ball for 50 games. They’ve lost a dozen games in the standings to the Sox, and the AL East division race appears all but over. Greg Bird is just happy to be here. Or there. Or anywhere.
How has Aaron Boone responded? Well in much the same way The Dude would have responded. “It’s ok man. Tomorrow is another day. And didn’t that rug tie the room together?”
George Steinbrenner used to call New Yorkers a city of fighters. He’s referenced how New Yorkers fight every day to get a cab, survive the subway, just to get to work. George saw that in Billy Martin. Maybe that’s why he fired him and brought him back a million times.
Aaron Boone is not Billy Martin. And Hal Steinbrenner is undoubtedly NOT his father. Now, these can be good and bad things at the same time. Life is like that. It’s complicated. But it’s still a fair question–Is Aaron Boone Right for New York?
In a recent YES telecast, David Cone, probably the smartest baseball voice on TV today, was asked by Michael Kay, what did you say in that team meeting after the Yanks got off to that 1-4 start in 1998? And please keep it clean.
David relayed some of what he said. He referenced some Old School notions. “Get Mad.” “Hate the other team” “They’re laughing at us.” Now none of us know exactly how the room responded to his impersonation of Vince Lombardi, but history tells us that that team went on to win 114 games and cruise through the playoffs culminating with a four-game sweep in the World Series in the most southern California of southern Californian cities, San Diego.
Now is it fair to judge Aaron Boone so quickly? After all, he’s a rookie manager in a city not known for patience with its sports personalities.
Well, you know the answer. Life Ain’t Fair. But we can be, and I think it’s probably right to give Aaron Boone a little more slack. As it is, the analog for Billy Ball is playing in Fenway Park now. And the thing about Billy Ball is, it’s doesn’t age quite as well as a first growth Bordeaux. Maybe Aaron Boone likes to play the long game.
But it was an old and wise Yankee catcher who used to say this about left field in Yankee Stadium, “it gets late early out there.”
It gets late early in the fall in The Bronx too.
Photo Credit: New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone stands in the dugout before a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Tuesday, July 10, 2018, in Baltimore. Baltimore won 6-5. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)