TORONTO -- Aaron Boone can remember fidgeting at a clubhouse locker as the minutes ticked off toward the first pitch of Opening Day, a special blend of anxiety and adrenaline puffing through his uniform. As he has learned, being in the lineup was more stressful than filling one out.Boosted by
TORONTO -- Aaron Boone can remember fidgeting at a clubhouse locker as the minutes ticked off toward the first pitch of Opening Day, a special blend of anxiety and adrenaline puffing through his uniform. As he has learned, being in the lineup was more stressful than filling one out.
Boosted by Giancarlo Stanton's two-homer, four-RBI performance and a solid Luis Severino outing, Boone became the 11th manager in Yankees history to win his debut, securing Thursday's 6-1 Opening Day victory over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
"It was a lot of fun," Boone said. "I'm just excited to see Sevy get off to a good start. I thought our at-bat quality throughout the game was really strong, and obviously Giancarlo had a special day to start things off. A lot of good things out there. The bullpen was strong. It's definitely fun to do it for real and get off on a good note."
After Thursday's victory, outfielder Brett Gardner addressed the team briefly, drawing special attention to Boone's accomplishment.
"It was great to get him that first win -- especially in our first game," Dellin Betances said. "It was just exciting, skipper's first win. I know he's excited, so it was kind of one of those, 'Let's keep this going and congrats on that first victory.'"
On the eve of his first regular-season contest as a manager, Boone wandered over to the third-base side of Rogers Centre and checked in with Blue Jays counterpart John Gibbons, who welcomed Boone to the fraternity while wishing him luck in his transition from the broadcast booth to the dugout.
Boone also found time to tap into someone with more than 800 games of big league managing experience -- his father, Bob, who piloted the Royals from 1995-97 and the Reds from 2001-03, including 2 1/2 seasons when the younger Boone manned third base for Cincinnati.
"I talked to him last night," Boone said. "He's pretty low key and he was last night. He was like, 'Good luck, have fun.' And my mom [Susan] sent me a lot of emojis this morning, a lot of hearts, prayers, the whole bit. So that was nice. So I got a nice balance there. My mom fires off emojis and my dad is just chill."
After six-plus weeks in the Florida sun, Boone's players have a much better understanding of who their new skipper is, and how he plans to run the club.
"He's doing a great job so far," Aaron Judge said. "I know it's still early and I've only been around him for Spring Training, but I'm excited for this season to get going and how he's going to manage the team. He's been great so far."
Judge said that he believes Boone will be successful in his new role, a sentiment echoed by Stanton.
"He's comfortable up there. He knows his plan," Stanton said. "He knows what we need to do. He's got different ways to attack it with adjustments of how a game is going to go. That's exactly what you need from a manager."
With the Opening Day lineup already set, Boone said his first duties on Thursday morning were to go down the elevator of their Toronto hotel and join some members of his team for breakfast.
"We have a team type breakfast where guys can roll in and out," Boone said.
Forks and knives down, Boone clicked onto the Internet for a while, firing off a tweet and Instagram post before showering and boarding the 10:00 a.m. ET bus to Rogers Centre.
Entering the ballpark approximately five hours before the 3:37 p.m. first pitch, Boone had a brief jog on the treadmill before engaging coaches Josh Bard, Mike Harkey and Larry Rothschild to go over the team's game plan.
"There's a lot of comfort in knowing that I feel like we really are prepared and the guys are prepared," Boone said. "So sports, life -- all those things come up and throw you curveballs you've got to roll with and you've got to deal with and handle. I feel like we have a club capable of handling [things] when it gets a little ugly or gets a little thick."
Boone said that his family is planning on attending the April 2 home opener against the Rays, and he expects that day's pregame routine to be even more consuming.
"New York. It's a big lineup on Monday," Boone said.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.