NEW YORK -- Yankees manager Aaron Boone received a one-game suspension and an undisclosed fine for his "inappropriate actions" and making contact with home-plate umpire Brennan Miller in the Yankees’ 6-2 victory over the Rays in Game 1 of a doubleheader Thursday, MLB announced Friday afternoon.
Boone was serving the suspension Friday night, when the Yankees opened a weekend series with the Rockies at Yankee Stadium. In his pregame press conference, Boone addressed the situation, saying that he saw the punishment coming.
“I knew I made contact with my hat, and [Brennan] said it right when it happened,” Boone said. “That happened to me last year and I knew it, so I figured I’d be getting the call at some point from [chief baseball officer Joe Torre], and I did.”
Boone was ejected in the second inning Thursday -- his third ejection of the season and first since May 1 at Arizona -- after aggressively arguing balls and strikes with Miller. Boone charged home plate and got close to Miller, pointing toward his face and clapping his hands for emphasis, but it’s not clear on video when the contact occurred.
“I never regret ejections or defending our players certainly,” Boone said. “It was a time in the game where I felt like guys were getting pretty heated and I felt like players, coaches could have been ejected in that game, especially early in the game, and I didn’t want that to happen, so I felt like it was right to stand up.”
During his explicit outburst, Boone referred to his hitters as "[bleeping] savages in that [bleeping] box." The tirade earned praise from many of the Yankees' players, who appreciated the skipper defending his players. But Friday, Boone expressed remorse about the “foul language” he used, given that he is in a position of influence.
“You live and you learn. Hopefully it doesn’t change who I am too much,” Boone said. “I’m trying to live my life a certain way that hopefully people, for the most part, can look up to and respect. I had some choices of words that weren’t great, especially in a public setting where kids are gonna get a hold of that, so you’re not necessarily proud of that stuff. But also, we’re playing for a lot and I’m gonna be myself night in and night out.”
Still, he understood why his players were excited by his fiery display. In the clubhouse, the Yankees take a lot of pride in their hitting, with a goal to put pressure on opposing teams in their game preparation and especially on opposing pitchers in their specific matchups.
Quickly after Boone’s outburst, the video went viral on social media, gaining traction as people weighed in on whether the skipper’s actions were, in fact, warranted. Boone wasn’t surprised by how much attention it received, and he personally heard reactions from people on “both sides of the ledger” -- those who expected more out of him and those who thought he made the right decision.
The confrontation also reignited a larger discussion about the potential for an electronic system to be implemented to call balls and strikes in the place of umpires. Boone shook off that notion, instead pointing to the hardships of the profession and praising Brennan’s performance.
“I’d have to see how that looks and if we get to a point where that’s viable and it’s the best thing,” Boone said. “But I think by and large, our umpires do a really good job and have a really difficult job, for that matter. And now more than ever, because of video and the high-tech video, we’re able to analyze and microanalyze when they miss a pitch by an inch -- and we’re usually on ‘em, and I’m certainly usually on ‘em.”
“And Brennan yesterday, I thought, certainly handled the situation with a lot more class than I did, but also, I thought turned in a really good game. So, I respect the job that they have to do.”
Ultimately, though, Boone is ready to put the incident behind him and focus on making his return to the dugout with his team Saturday.
“I have a responsibility obviously, so anytime in the heat of the game or something you go off a little bit, you wish you could have done things a little differently,” Boone said. “But it’s happened now, and hopefully now we can move on.”