Boone faces high ex­pec­ta­tions re­plac­ing Gi­rardi

New York Post - - SPORTS - By GE­ORGE A. KING III ge­orge.king@ny­

Ninety-one wins and get­ting to Game 7 of the ALCS rep­re­sents more than just the Yan­kees’ 2017 sea­son.

In other towns those dig­its would be a wel­come ceil­ing. In The Bronx? Try the first floor of Aaron Boone’s new of­fice.

Boone, 44, was in­tro­duced as the Yan­kees’ 33rd man­ager on Wed­nes­day at a Yan­kee Sta­dium press con­fer­ence and en­tered an en­tirely new chap­ter of life in and out of the game.

“I un­der­stand what I signed up for. I un­der­stand what the ex­pec­ta­tions are,’’ said Boone, who ar­rives from the broad­cast booth as Joe Gi­rardi’s re­place­ment with no ex­pe­ri­ence as a man­ager or coach at any level. “I hope those ex­pec­ta­tions are ramped up each and ev­ery year. That’s cer­tainly part of be­ing here. I don’t want to get caught up in that per­son­ally and I don’t think that I will. Again, my job will be im­pact­ing that room, get­ting the most out of our play­ers and then, hope­fully, the rest takes care of it­self be­cause of what I think our ros­ter po­ten­tial is.’’

If it was sim­ply tak­ing over the Yan­kees, hir­ing Boone would have been met with raised eye­brows due to the lack of ex­pe­ri­ence. It’s not of­ten a team on the rise, one that ex­ceeded ex­pec­ta­tions in 2017 by go­ing to Game 7 of the ALCS, is look­ing for a new man­ager. But that’s the sit­u­a­tion Boone in­her­its based largely on how well he per­formed in the interview process.

“There was a dif­fer­ence of opin­ion from the par­tic­i­pants about who the No. 2 and No. 3 choice was, but there was lit­tle or no dif­fer­ence of opin­ion of who their No. 1 choice was. Some of the guys in­volved who I had a lot of faith in, [said] it wasn’t even close,’’ said Hal Stein­bren­ner, who af­ter hear­ing the glow­ing words from gen­eral man­ager Brian Cash­man and his staff de­cided he didn’t need to fly Boone to Tampa to meet the Stein­bren­ner fam­ily. “When I get a rec­om­men­da­tion that strong from my top peo­ple I didn’t see the need [for Boone to travel to Tampa].’’

Through­out the day, Boone, who signed a three-year deal for $4 mil­lion, em­pha­sized build­ing re­la­tion­ships with play­ers, some of whom he has texted and oth­ers he has spo­ken to. He ad­dressed the is­sue of hav­ing zero ex­pe­ri­ence in a dugout other than when he was a player, and didn’t shy away from be­ing re­mem­bered for the 11th-in­ning home run off Tim Wake­field in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS against the Red Sox at Yan­kee Sta­dium that sent to the Yan­kees to the World Se­ries.

When sift­ing through the can­di­dates to re­place Gi­rardi, who av­er­aged 91 wins in his 10 sea­sons, won the 2009 World Se­ries, ap­peared in six post­sea­sons and came within nine in­nings of get­ting to the most re­cent World Se­ries, Cash­man drew on a per­sonal note.

Cash­man was 30 years old when GM Bob Wat­son stepped away fol­low­ing the 1997 sea­son. Dur­ing the early days of Fe­bru­ary 1998, Cash­man, then the as­sis­tant GM, was sum­moned to a meet­ing with Ge­orge Stein­bren­ner.

“The Boss said to me, ‘I have talked to enough peo­ple to know you can do this. I can go out­side the fran­chise and re­cy­cle some­body, bring them in and plug and play. But I have talked to enough peo­ple and they said you can do this.’ He took a chance on me in 1998 and here I am 20 years later,’ Cash­man said. “I re­flected on that as we were go­ing through this process as I have peo­ple that I re­spect, peo­ple like Tim Naehring, Jim Hendry, Michael Fish­man, David Gra­biner, Chad Bohling, Ja­son Zillo, Steve Dono­hue, Kevin Reese, Dan Giese, peo­ple who were part of this process along with own­er­ship.

“We were all im­pressed with one can­di­date, the one we are in­tro­duc­ing to­day, Aaron Boone.’’

Boone was a Yan­kee for just 54 reg­u­lar-sea­son games (and 17 more dur­ing the post­sea­son) in 2003, and hasn’t for­got­ten how a man­ager is viewed here.

“I will be judged on wins and losses in the end and with the New York Yan­kees we are chas­ing cham­pi­onships,’’ Boone said. “I think I will be as a man­ager some­one who isn’t chas­ing af­ter wins ev­ery day. I want to get locked into the process and by do­ing that we will have chance to get the best out of our play­ers. I want to im­pact them to be­come bet­ter play­ers. I think you do that by get­ting lost in the process.’’

“I un­der­stand what I signed up for. I un­der­stand what the ex­pec­ta­tions are. I hope those ex­pec­ta­tions are ramped up each and ev­ery year.”

— Aaron Boone

N.Y. Post: Charles Wen­zel­berg

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