History shows Boone's error long way from defining moment


Do you remember Game 4 of the 2010 American League Championship Series?

That contest popped up in my brain on Monday night, as Luis Severino did anything but light the Yankee Stadium mound on fire before Aaron Boone finally, mercifully, lifted him in what wound up an embarrassing, 16-1 loss to the Red Sox in AL Division Series Game 3, putting the Yankees’ 2018 season in peril.

The same “What is the manager doing?!” sentiment swept through The Bronx on October 19, 2010 as A.J. Burnett, who already had given the Yankees five solid innings, imploded, eventually serving up a three-run, sixth-inning homer to Bengie Molina in what turned into a 10-3 Rangers blowout victory and a 3-1 ALCS advantage.

That head-scratching thought process wound up not sticking to Joe Girardi, even though the Yankees lost that series in six games; CC Sabathia won Game 5 to send the action back to Texas, and Girardi lasted another seven seasons before getting the boot.

Fast-forward to the present. Will Boone’s deliberate actions from Game 3 leave a mark as did, say, Terry Collins sticking too long with Matt Harvey in the 2015 World Series or Buck Showalter repeatedly passing on his closer Zach Britton in the 2016 AL wild-card game? Or will it turn into a blip like Girardi’s eight years ago?


Aaron BoonePaul J. Bereswill

“In sport, in baseball, you’ve got to be able to get past it, learn from things, process all that happened, and get past it because the next day, the next play is so damn important,” Boone said Tuesday, before Game 4 at the Stadium. “That’s part of the game.”

Unquestionably, and Boone faced a few strategy inquisitions in his rookie voyage as a manager, although Monday night’s carried the highest stakes and therefore played at the highest volume. He handled the questions with his usual calmness, and the same went for Tuesday’s day-after queries.

(Although the all-time gold medal goes to longtime Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who made a shaky call that backfired in his very first postseason game as a manager, then sat down the next day for his pre-game news conference and proactively said, “Before we get started, who would have brought [Troy] Percival in last night? Give me a show of hands. Everybody’s hands got to go up!” He instantly and completely won the room.)

Girardi managed the Yankees for 10 years, and his most famous mistake occurred in last year’s ALDS Game 2, when he declined to call for a replay challenge after umpires incorrectly awarded first base to Cleveland’s Lonnie Chisenhall for getting hit by a pitch when video showed that Chad Green’s pitch actually struck Chisenhall’s bat. Francisco Lindor followed with a grand slam. That the Yankees rallied from behind 0-2 proved to be a credit for Girardi, who fell on his sword after initially defending his inaction.

Boone didn’t fall on his sword Tuesday as much as reiterate, “In hindsight, when [Severino] doesn’t get an out, yeah, you’d like to have that back.” He said he endured a “[bleepy]” drive home to Connecticut, listening to the “soothing sounds” of the satellite radio stations The Bridge and ’80s on 8.

“I think I do a pretty good job of turning the page, but you always kind of work through things or play out things differently,” Boone said. “Because a lot of times, decisions you make are not just black and white — ‘This is what we’re doing in this spot’ — they’re decisions that you understand a couple of different ways you could go that makes some sense.

“So you kind of evaluate those and think about those and hopefully analyze always and kind of sharpening the process as far as those decisions are made. And then you move on and hopefully always continue to grow from things that have happened.”

Will this prove to be one for Boone to grow on, or one that haunts him? Only with the passage of time will we know the answer.



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