So I have been traveling a lot for work lately and the hot stove really hasn’t been really a priority. I was in Vegas the week after Thanksgiving when most of the talk around the Yankees was “Who’s the Manager” and “What about Ohtani?” News was mostly silly chatter about potential candidates and what a failure Brian Cashman was beginning to look like in his “bungling” of the Joe Girardi situation. It’s kinda funny though what can happen in a week.
Aaron Boone happens around the time I am packing my suitcase to head back from AWS re:Invent (for you nerds, I work for MongoDB and love it, sorry RAB they paid for my trip) and I kind of giggled to myself. I had been in a cab on the way from McCarran to the Encore the beginning of the week and I was absolutely convinced that this was going to be Carlos Beltran’s job. Like many other fans I felt that his connection to the group currently on the field, his skill set as a player and mind for baseball was something that Brian Cashman was looking for. At this point it was either Hensley Meulens or Beltran in my mind. But all of a sudden the news of Beltran’s elimination came out, which was not the biggest shock, and the realization that there’s a big chance the needle was starting to move in the Bronx.
The news leaks, and we all find out Aaron Boone is the new Yankees manager. I get wifi on the flight back to Newark in the morning and follow along until I lose streaming audio (thanks airplane wifi) and just start keeping up on Twitter. Like most, the Aaron Boone selection was a shock because of the lack of experience. I started thinking about Joe Girardi a bit and the 2007 Yankees season.
Joe had just come off a Manager of the Year victory over his stupid old boss, Jeff “literal dumb person” Loria and took a job with the YES Network doing color. Girardi was smart on the microphone and really made me look at what Joe Torre was doing a bit more. By the end of the 2007 season I was completely convinced that the right manager for the Yankees wasn’t in the dugout, he was in the booth with Kay.
As the year moved on I started thinking about the tech industry and the problem I’ve seen with talent that’s just not properly placed in the organization. A person who writes code can also be someone who contributes solid ideas and proper organization of an application or product. It’s sometimes about recognizing the talent you have in your organization, in this case Girardi, and moving them to the right place so that you can succeed. Torre had proven to be no longer in the favor of the Steinbrenners and the “correction” of talent was made. YES was only partially owned by the Yankees at the time, but my feeling was that he went with YES for a broadcasting job because he knew he wanted to stay close to the Yankees as the organization began to change.
Now Boone didn’t work for YES, but he did for ESPN and for the last eight years all he did was watch, talk and study baseball for the enjoyment of the fans. While he was paid well for it, it made me think about how much you as a player have to love baseball after years of playing to stay in the game somehow. Aaron Boone is a young man, but he’s one who’s seen hardship personally as his health suffered from a heart defect in 2009 while playing for the Astros. But he came back, and he played just months after the procedure to repair the big heart we all saw on display after his heroic crack of the bat in 2003. That story always stuck with me. So I felt that Boone was probably the right guy. He was a baseball lifer who grew up in the game and understood the type of person the Yankees needed for 2018 and beyond.
So the dust settles in Yankees world and most of us wait to see what’s next as the Winter Meetings approach. I am in San Francisco with my wife at the time working at another conference. I take small breaks to catch up with news, but honestly I am pretty busy and staying on top of things with the Yankees was a bit difficult. It can be funny how a storm can hit and change everything so quickly … Ohtani was only the rumbling of what was really behind the clouds. After he rejected the Yankees, many of us began really paying more attention to those rumors Jon Heyman had been floating about the reigning NL MVP. Well, that storm was Giancarlo Stanton.
Ben, Mike and myself tend to try to keep up with things so we can keep the Twitter up to date. Mike of course is doing his job for CBS. So we’re all online watching what’s cooking until Hank Shulman bombed Baseball Twitter. I am in SF and finally went bed at like 12AM local when nothing was quite done but I couldn’t stop checking. The morning was wonderful though as Heyman told the world that the Yanks and Marlins had a deal.
I had a flight to catch at 10am as the details started to come together. I start grabbing my stuff and trying to get ready while furiously reading updates. We hop on the plane and I get wifi and try to keep up as Brian Cashman basically blows up the whole baseball world before the Winter Meetings can even get started.
In a week we watched Cashman get himself a big raise, a new manager and the biggest fish in the 2017 trade ocean. He caught himself a friggin Marlin. In a week we watched the Yankees add a new manager, add a new star and take a ton of attention away from the rest of the 29 teams in the league.
Finally after two weeks, I am back home and I am looking forward to more hot stove news. Mike will be all over it, so keep reading us on the site or check our twitter. Thanks again for making RAB part of your Yankees baseball life.