The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees have both hired managers that lack big league experience but Aaron Boone is no Alex Cora.
The epic rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees has been an ongoing battle of one-upmanship. The teams are playing a game of “anything you can do I can do better,” yet New York’s latest attempt to keep up is bound to fall short.
Neither has ever managed in the big leagues but the comparisons between the track records of the newest AL East skippers essentially ends there.
Cora served as the bench coach for the World Series champion Houston Astros this year and has also managed Winter Ball teams in his native Puerto Rico. He’s been in the dugout before for the long grind of a season and seen the responsibilities of a manager first-hand from the perspective of a coach rather than a player.
Boone? He’s spent the last several years sitting comfortably in a broadcast booth analyzing games for ESPN. He’s insightful and has a vast knowledge of the game. Is that enough to make him qualified to manage a contender?
I’ve heard those praising the selection of Boone say that he will make a great manager because he grew up around the game with a grandfather, father and brother who all played in the majors. Boone is a baseball-lifer. Wait, so if I came from a family of doctors but never went to medical school myself would you let me perform surgery on you? Come on, I’m a medical field-lifer!
Cora earned a reputation as a coach for his ability to communicate with his players, which was one of the traits that led many within the industry to predict that he would be the next great rookie manager long before the Red Sox interviewed him.
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Was Boone even on the radar of any other teams? It’s not as if he comes with the legacy of a Yankees legend to boost his candidacy either. Boone played a grand total of 54 games for the organization during his 12-year career. The only thing he’s remembered fondly for in the Bronx is his home run against the Red Sox in the 2003 ALCS.
Maybe the Yankees hired Boone simply to irk Red Sox fans. Get ready to see that clip of Boone taking Tim Wakefield deep in Game 7 on an endless loop. The Red Sox and Yankees will meet on Sunday, July 1 at a time to be announced. It’s a safe bet that game will be played Sunday night so that Boone’s ESPN buddies can remind us of his most significant contribution to this rivalry.
That’s assuming Boone lasts that long. I wouldn’t actually expect the Yankees to give their rookie manager the ax that early – these aren’t the George Steinbrenner days – but he’ll certainly have a shorter leash than Cora will. We also can’t rule out the possibility of Boone shredding his knee during a game of pickup basketball, forcing the Yankees to turn to Alex Rodriguez to manage the team instead. You never know with the Yankees.
He may very well end up being a great manager. The well-spoken Boone undoubtedly nailed the interview with the Yankees brass and the communication skills he sharpened during his broadcasting career should be benefit in his new role. He has some of the tools that make a great manager but he’s wildly unproven, even compared to Cora.
Boston is taking on a modicum of risk entrusting the manager role to Cora but his hiring isn’t nearly as surprising as New York turning to Boone.
Red Sox fans have referred to him as Aaron Bleepin’ Boone ever since the 2003 postseason but if the Yankees get off to a slow start next season then the impatient Bronx crowd may steal that nickname from us.