Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
On Friday night, we reported that Aaron Boone held a brief team meeting after the Yankees' dreary Wednesday night loss to Minnesota. This was but a teensy weensy scoopie, notable not so much for what happened, but for what it said about how the embattled manager handled his first major crisis point.
Then, the reaction by numerous Yankees fans on Twitter through the weekend made clear that I hadn't made my point clearly or effectively enough.
As the Yankees dropped a pair of games to the gutted Toronto Blue Jays, losing another series to a second-division team, the reaction to our Boone story was generally along the lines of "this didn't age well," "this lasted one game," and "Boone knew enough to hold the meeting before Tanaka started."
So it seemed worthwhile to circle back and say that the results of Saturday and Sunday's games had no bearing on the effectiveness of Boone's leadership style -- and neither did Friday's blowout win validate it. Wins and losses rarely teach us much about the quality of the manager. Those are more on the players, and the front office executives who choose the players.
Some managers can be bad enough tacticians to cost their team wins, and a few are good enough to help their teams overperform. But most, like Boone, make the bulk of their impact off the field. In his first season, Boone has been fine as an in-game manager -- some players have privately questioned a bullpen move here or there, but overall, he brings a pretty standard approach.
Plus -- and as one longtime Yankees person notes -- it's hard to know these days which moves are on the skipper, and which are dictated by the front office. That's consistent across most organizations.
Boone's team meeting -- like his general demeanor-- was effective because of the calm professionalism that he displayed, and which he brings to work every day. He is an antidote to the tone set by Joe Girardi, who Yankees leadership ended up viewing as a good man too intense and tightly wound to motivate the contemporary player.
Fans often seem to want managers to echo their own anger and frustration. This is an understandable impulse, borne from the helpless feeling of sitting at home and watching your favorite team struggle. But the best way a manager can address a rough period is to make individual connections, remain positive when addressing the media, and display emotional maturity and consistency.
Boone does this at an elite level. He is secure in his personality, and treats his players like adults. The Yankees are lucky to have found a manager with these tools, and the potential to be special. This will be true no matter how the Yanks finish the season.