After eight years as a baseball analyst for ESPN, Aaron Boone decided to get back on the field, becoming the manager of the Yankees. Boone appeared on the Newsmakers podcast and talked about his new gig. One thing is obvious: He can't wait to manage the 2018 Yankees, including Giancarlo
After eight years as a baseball analyst for ESPN, Aaron Boone decided to get back on the field, becoming the manager of the Yankees.
Boone appeared on the Newsmakers podcast and talked about his new gig. One thing is obvious: He can't wait to manage the 2018 Yankees, including Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge.
MLB.com: Has it hit you that you are the manager of the Yankees? Spring Training will start in less than two weeks.
Boone: To some degree, it has hit me because we have been so busy … putting a staff together, all that goes into the offseason. … [We are] trying to connect and build relationships with players. There has been a lot going on -- a lot of media stuff. To some degree, it feels like I am [the manager of the Yankees].
I have had a conversation with [Astros manager] A.J. Hinch and he said, "The first time [you realize you are the manager] is, when you stand in front of your team in Spring Training." So maybe there is another level of realizing that I am the manager. But, so far, I'm really enjoying it. I've really enjoyed the work that has gone into getting prepared for the season.
MLB.com: What do you like about the 2018 Yankees besides having two sluggers like Stanton and Judge?
Boone: For the most part, it's guys at the prime of their careers or even haven't reached the prime of their careers. Not to mention our farm system that is very strong, in great shape. We feel like there will be a couple of players who will have a chance to contribute in a meaningful way for this year's Major League team. You feel like the organization is on such solid ground.
… Yeah, they are excellent players on the field. They seem to be having a lot of fun playing the game, but there are also a lot of good guys in the clubhouse, a lot of high-character individuals. That's why one of the appealing things about this job is knowing that I'm taking over a room with a lot of quality people in it.
MLB.com: I know you haven't managed yet. But what's the one thing you would like to see the Yankees improve on?
Boone: I don't know if there is one thing, necessarily. We are trying to squeeze everything out of every player. Whether it's giving someone better information, helping them take another step -- whether it be on the defensive side of the ball or gaining an edge in the running game -- kind of the little things you kind of drill down on in Spring Training. We want to get the most out of each individual player, and that's upon us as coaches and the information that is available.
• Spring info | Tickets | Schedule
MLB.com: I thought you were a natural in the broadcast booth. I, personally, was surprised that you went back on the field. Why did you want to become a manager?
Boone: I loved working for ESPN. I loved the job. … I love the art of it. I loved that I stayed connected to the game. I loved that I had a small voice within the game. But I would say, in the last year and a half, I felt like the game was calling me a little bit. I really started to get that itch, to get back with an organization. It was the competitive juices flowing a little bit. So I was considering making a move this offseason. I was in some conversations with a couple of different clubs about joining a front office, possibly becoming a coach with a team. So I was starting to transition out of the booth, whether I got the Yankees job or not. Then, in the midst of those talks with other teams and possibly joining other franchises, the interview with the Yankees happened. Obviously, the rest is history from there.
MLB.com: Your father, Bob Boone, told me when you were a little kid, you would go behind home plate and pretend you were managing the game. Did you know back then you wanted to become a manager?
Boone: No. I will say this. I was the little kid, I was the kid sitting in the stands when the other kids were in the kids' room playing with their toys. I was the one sitting there watching the game -- never taking my eyes off of it. Whether I was thinking about imitating a player or just watching all that was going on, I felt like, from a very young age, the game just captivated me. There were times later in my playing career, or even my broadcasting career, where managing was something I considered at some point. But it wasn't this burning desire or lifetime goal to manage. It's kind of the path that has unfolded for me in the last couple of years.
MLB.com: What was your father's reaction when he found out you were named manager of the Yankees?
Boone: When [Yankees general manager] Brian Cashman told me I had the job, I couldn't say anything for the first 24 hours. But I was able to call my dad. I called him that day. I low-played it a little bit. I said, "Hey, Dad, what are you doing? Cash called." I was kind of in a downer voice. And my dad said, "Oh, he did." And then I said, "I got it." He started laughing right away in that giggle voice he has. Then it turned into crying. I haven't seen my dad cry very often in my lifetime. But that was one of them where I could hear him on the other end of the phone breaking down a little bit. He was very excited.
MLB.com: You mentioned this earlier. The Yankees are loaded with prospects. Who are you looking forward to seeing during Spring Training?
Boone:Gleyber Torres is a guy I'm so excited to see. I text messaged with him this winter, and I got to meet him for the first time a couple of weeks ago down in Tampa when I was there with my coaching staff. He is already there working out. He is in great shape. Obviously, people know Gleyber Torres is one of the best prospects in all of baseball. We are very excited for him. He is going to have a great opportunity in Spring Training to open even more eyes. He is coming off the elbow injury. He is fully recovered and fully healthy. He is in camp already. He is just chomping at the bit. He is a guy I'm really excited to just see him embark on a really special career.
Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002 and does a podcast, Newsmakers. He also could be found on Twitter @ladsonbill24.