Rock beats scissors ... but nothing beats an MLB game ball

March 7th, 2023

TAMPA, Fla. -- Spend enough time around a big league dugout and you’ll hear myriad ways that fans try to request autographs or souvenirs: It couldn’t possibly be all of their birthdays, but still the shouts cascade down from the seats.

Seated by the Yankees’ on-deck circle Monday night during the eighth inning of his club’s 9-2 Grapefruit League victory over the Pirates, manager Aaron Boone heard a new one: “Game of rock, paper, scissors for a ball?”

His interest piqued, Boone spun to see a young boy -- about 8 to 10 years old -- dressed in a white T-shirt with a blue Yankees cap. Boone asked what he would get if he won.

“He was really funny,” Boone said. “He said, ‘A good compliment.’ I said, ‘You’re a negotiator, huh? I want your hat.’”

The boy raced to his mother, seated a few rows away, asking for permission. Mom gave her blessing: The blue hat was on the table.

“He came back and said, ‘OK,’” Boone said. “We tied on the first one; I had to get his rhythm down. Then I two-nothinged him. No mercy.”

After the last round (rock beats scissors), the boy presented his hat to Boone, who did not gloat over his victory. Boone plopped a baseball into the cap and the boy scampered away from the dugout, having acquired a keepsake with a story.

“He was a charismatic, clever kid,” Boone said. “I liked him.”