ROBBINS NEST The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com
By Lenn Robbins
If this keeps up, and there are no signs of it changing, then a bad thing will likely happen to a good man:
Aaron Boone won’t be the Yankees manager by the end of the season.
That’s by no means a guarantee and certainly it’s not the opinion here. Boone has proven to be a good manager and his demeanor has been the right one for a franchise that lives in a Big Apple fishbowl.
That franchise begins every season with one goal – win the World Series, a triumph that hasn’t been accomplished since 2009. This season the mediocre Yankees (40-38) will not even make the playoffs if things don’t improve dramatically for the better.
Boone acknowledged that Monday before the Yankees lost their fourth straight, 5-3, to the Angels, dropping seven and one-half games behind the division leading Rays. He said the season was “on the line.”
“We’ve got to go do it,’ Boone said. “You can throw out all the sayings, [but] talk is cheap. We’ve got to go do it . . . We’ve got to go play tomorrow and try to dig ourselves out of this.”
It seems as if not even a backhoe is capable of excavating these Yankees from the rubble of this season. It’s no longer about all the players who are underperforming and all the shortcomings that is the Yankees. They are not built to manufacture runs and the starting pitching is a crapshoot. Noted.
This dismal season has gone beyond that.
If a backhoe can’t do it, can Boone? Can any manager? That’s the harsh question that GM Brian Cashman and principal owner Hal Steinbrenner must be at least entertaining if they intend to remain true to their station – doing everything they can to bring a 28th championship to The Bronx.
Boone is not a screamer, not a cajoler, not a Machiavellian motivator who will play mind games in the belief it will obtain a player’s best effort. He respects his players and his position. If Boone tries to be something he’s not, he has lost, the Yankees have lost, the season is lost and ultimately the fans are losers.
Maybe they already have. Because if a good man, a respected man, can’t get the Yankees to at least show up every night and win considerably more than 50-percent of it games, then maybe these players don’t deserve that. Maybe they need an owner like the late George Steinbrenner, a Conor McGregor-like event promoter for a manager such as the late Billy Martin, and a daily trip to the ballpark wondering what today’s episode of Desperate Ballplayers of New York will feature?
Those were fun times.
“We just haven’t showed up every night,” Giancarlo Stanton said after the game. “We have spurts of it. But this game, these seasons, this uniform — it isn’t about spurts. It’s about showing up every night. We just have to figure it out. We’re just n wot collectively as a group performing as we should, as we envisioned.”
If the Yankees continue to play as they have, it’s not hard to envision a new manager filling out the lineup card. What a shame.
“This is not an Aaron Boone problem and this is not a coaching staff problem,” Cashman said prior to Tuesday night’s game against the Angels. “They’re doing what they need to do but we’re not getting the results we need. They’ve got my support. We’re in this together.”
How many times have we heard such sentiments from a GM only to hear a news conference has been called a week later if, say, the Yankees have just been swept by the Mets? Boone should have Cashman’s support. He’s managing with the players Cashman assembled.
“It’s easy from my chair to all of a sudden say, ‘You know what? Let me throw something overboard to satisfy the masses,” said Cashman. “It’s harder to actually stick with what you got because you believe in them.
“These people care, they’re working their asses off, they’re really good at what they do. We’re not getting the results. I’m the head of baseball operations, so that falls more on me than them.”
There’s enough blame for this Yankees mess to go around the five boroughs twice. Before it lands on Boone, the Yankees need to ponder what their professional lives would look without him.