Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Following a disheartening road trip, the Yankees won big on Friday night -- and as it turns out, the bounceback came after a relatively rare Aaron Boone team meeting.
As the Yankees were preparing to leave the visitors clubhouse at Minnesota's Target Field on Wednesday night after being one-hit into the eighth inning by the Twins, Boone gathered his players in the locker room and addressed them for several minutes, according to people in the room. Normally on a getaway day, a team simply dresses and trickles out to the bus, but on this occasion, the manager felt a need to speak.
Boone's demeanor was described as even-keeled but firm, and his message was that the Yankees were a good team, and would be successful again if they simply remembered that and started playing that way. He did not shout, and the players came away appreciating the way he handled it.
On Friday night, Boone confirmed the meeting. "I do it from time to time," he said, grinning before slipping into his office.
It is, of course, simplistic to connect a team meeting to a subsequent victory, but the clubhouse's reaction to Boone did underscore a more important theme: He is an effective manager, despite the recent angst that many Yankee fans seem to be feeling about him.
As the Yanks have seen some of their early season mojo fizzle in recent weeks, some in the fan base have grown frustrated with Boone, venting on talk radio and Twitter that the rookie manager should express more anger or outward fire.
But Boone feels that he needs to be authentic. Players can sense a phony, and will not respect a manger who acts in a way that does not seem natural to him, or is inconsistent with his moods. And while some fans still pine for a Lou Piniella or Billy Martin, Boone's approach is playing well in the clubhouse, players say. Grown men -- especially those who play major league baseball in 2018 -- do not typically respond well to a stern or angry leader. The days of skippers turning over food tables are largely over.
It's not that Boone lacks the ability to express anger. As one former teammate puts it, "I've played with him -- there's a red ass in there." But he usually treats his players like professionals.
This was the case on the way out of Minnesota: Boone was firm but respectful, and the team appreciated it. Then, coincidence or not, they went out Friday night and battered the Blue Jays.