Believe it or not there was a time in the beginning Aaron Boonwhen Yankees fans wondered if he was too passive, if he had enough fire.
Who knew that in his sixth year, Boone would become a Billy Martin Or Lou Piniella?
Thursday night in the Bronx, Boone was thrown out in the third inning of a Yankees 3-1 loss to Baltimore for contesting balls and strikes. It was his second ejection in four games, his third since May 10 and his fourth leading MLB this season.
Boone has been ejected 30 times since he started coaching in 2018, the most in baseball during that time.
First, to take the nuts and bolts out of this one, Boone is unlikely to be suspended for this one despite plate umpire Edwin Moscoso’s accusation that Boone was spitting in his face.
Physical contact with a referee warrants a suspension, but in this instance Boone was clearly spraying while yelling and not intentionally spitting. The only other contact came when team manager Chris Guccione stood in front of Boone to hold him off Moscoso (bench coach/sudden part-time skipper Carlos Mendoza also stood in front of Boone to make sure he didn’t get crazier). Boone shouldn’t expect more discipline.
Zooming out, Boone’s fiery demeanor has two positives and one main negative.
The positive: Word is that Boone’s Yankees bosses have no problem with semi-regular ejections, considering him an excellent manager and attributing the arguments to his passionate commitment to the game.
Also, Yankee players appreciate the manager defending them. In this game, Moscoso lacked clear strike calls on the New York starter pitches Clarke Schmidtand Boone spared a young player the stress of defending.
“I put the emphasis on him to thank him,” Schmidt said. “We are going to war there. All players, we are fighting tooth and nail there. So seeing your manager fighting tooth and nail for you too is a good feeling. I know he will always support us, and you saw it tonight.
Now on to the downside: the men in blue clearly don’t like Boone. In fact, one can’t help but wonder if his reputation as a referee earned him a hook he thought was premature.
Referees tolerate a certain amount of grabbing on balls and dugout strikes before considering an ejection. In this case, Boone firmly believes he hasn’t crossed any lines.
“I shouldn’t have been kicked out of that game,” Boone said.
After the ejection, which happened while Boone was in the dugout, he lost his temper – which he says was not so much because of the missed calls, but because of Moscoso’s behavior at his regard, in particular a refusal to engage.
“I came out pretty calmly after being kicked out,” Boone said. “Again, I shouldn’t have been kicked out of that game. I was very calm, I didn’t do much at all. [Guccione] was holding me back, just telling me – so, I didn’t need to be held back.
“[Moscoso’s] dismissive attitude and moving away, I objected to. I really didn’t need to be held back. I was restrained, and he was standing in front of me. Nothing bad was going to happen.
It’s a manager’s job to rally and unify their players, and Boone certainly does that. And the Yankees seem to be playing with an advantage this year, which people on the team attribute to Boone and the center back. Harrison Bader, another passionate and lively character. Boone has become a manager who defines the culture of this franchise.
If the umpires, being human beings, refuse to give Boone and his team the benefit of the doubt on future appeals because of the arguments — well, it won’t be so good for the Yankees.
Hey, when Earl Weaver Jr. is your manager, you take the bad with the significant good.