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Yankees Boone Baseball

New York Yankees new baseball manager Aaron Boone poses outside Yankee Stadium after an introductory news conference Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, at Yankee stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

"Aaron effin' Boone."

Broadcaster Michael Kay phrased his question to New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman on YES Network perfectly regarding the hiring of Boone as the team's new manager.

"Did you have trepidation about handing a Bentley to a guy that's just getting his license?"

Make no mistake, the Yankees are a Bentley. New York is one of the most popular sports franchises on the planet and the most successful of the last century.

They're also a team that seems primed to add to its 27 World Series championships. The Yankees upset a World Series-favorite Cleveland Indians team in the ALDS and took the eventual champion Houston Astros to seven games in the ALCS. 

As personable as Boone seems to be and as knowledgeable about baseball as he came off in his years broadcasting for ESPN, he still has zero managerial experience. Not in the majors, not in the minors, not at college ... not even in Little League.

Now Boone is being handed the keys to a Yankees team that will enter 2018 with expectations to win — though in New York, those expectations are always pretty high.

Call me crazy, but I like the hire.

Boone was a major-league infielder for 12 seasons. Not a Hall of Famer by any stretch, but he was selected for an All-Star Game in 2003 and later that year hit one of the most famous postseason home runs in MLB history.

Boone's history in the major leagues dates back a couple generations — his grandfather Ray was an All-Star third baseman and his father Bob is a former player that managed (with medicore results) for six seasons in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

After retiring from baseball after the 2009 season, Boone joined ESPN as a commentator and served as an analyst for "Sunday Night Baseball" for the past two seasons.

It's rare, but not unheard of, for someone to go from the broadcast booth to the bench. The guy Boone is replacing, Joe Girardi, did the same thing. The difference with Girardi, however, is that he spent a season as a bench coach with Joe Torre in 2005 before accepting his first managerial position with the Florida Marlins in 2006.

Girardi left the Marlins after one season despite winning Manager of the Year, took a year off and then accepted the same job with the Yankees in 2008.

St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny had no managing experience at the professional level before taking over for Tony La Russa in 2012. Matheny's resume included a 12-year playing career and a few seasons spent as a minor-league instructor. The Cardinals, who were coming off a World Series win in 2011, didn't hesitate to give him the job.

There will be pressure, but I like Boone's chances much better than another former Yankee who is trying his hand at running a franchise (sorry Derek Jeter fans). You don't spent over a decade in the majors without learning how to prepare for opponents or understanding the day-to-day grind of professional baseball.

In his introductory press conference, the 44-year-old Boone spoke frequently about building relationships with his players. That (along with some more pitching) will be the big key on a roster that features young stars like Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Luis Severino.

And being on the younger side should help. Hiring a coaching staff that isn't as green as Boone will also help.

Almost 15 years ago, Boone did his part in pushing the Yankees to postseason glory. This time from the dugout, there's no reason he can't do so again.

Sports writer Justin Ritzel can be reached at 282-2257 or at Follow him on Twitter @CitizenRitz.


Sports Reporter