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Boone calls Yanks 'savages' during epic ejection

@BryanHoch
July 19, 2019

NEW YORK -- Yankees manager Aaron Boone gave a rookie umpire an earful, and he inadvertently provided his big-swinging squad with a new T-shirt tagline. Ejected in the second inning of the Yankees' 6-2 victory over the Rays in Game 1 of Thursday's doubleheader, Boone provided home-plate umpire Brennan Miller

NEW YORK -- Yankees manager Aaron Boone gave a rookie umpire an earful, and he inadvertently provided his big-swinging squad with a new T-shirt tagline.

Ejected in the second inning of the Yankees' 6-2 victory over the Rays in Game 1 of Thursday's doubleheader, Boone provided home-plate umpire Brennan Miller with a lengthy admonishment that included referring to the Bombers' hitters as "[bleeping] savages in that [bleeping] box."

"Sometimes in the heat of battle, you utter some things," Boone said, almost sheepishly, hours later. "I feel that way about our guys right now."

The display drew applause from several Yankees, including Brett Gardner, who attacked the bat rack and dugout roof with his lumber after being rung up on a questionable called third strike for the second out of the inning.

"I disagreed with some of the stuff that was going on out there," Gardner said. "Obviously our manager went out there and stood up for me and for some of the other guys. It's good to see. It gets us fired up. … He's done that several times now. It's good to see that he has our back."

"We love it as a team," added Aaron Judge. "It shows he’s in the trenches with us. He's out there fighting with us, living and dying on every single pitch. He has our back. There were a couple of questionable calls, and he trusted us and had our back and went with us. He saved maybe Gardy and couple of people from getting thrown out. That’s a good thing."

New York first complained about Miller's zone in the first inning, with catcher Gary Sánchez turning around and demonstrably shaking his head after one of German's pitches was not called a strike.

The Gardner punchout prompted more commentary, and even the mild-mannered DJ LeMahieu turned around to complain after the first pitch of his at-bat was called a strike, telling Miller that the pitch was outside.

"It was getting heated there with several of our guys in the first couple innings," Boone said. "I felt it was necessary to take the attention off some other guys."

An International League crew chief who made his Major League debut on April 20 as a callup, Miller briefly warned the bench before thumbing Boone, who charged to home plate. Boone got close to Miller, pointing toward his face and clapping his hands for emphasis.

According to audio picked up by the YES Network broadcast, Boone told Miller that he understood he was having a rough start to the day and that "I feel bad for you, but [bleeping] get better."

"He was getting a lot of heat from us," Boone said. "I was sympathetic to him, while obviously also being upset. I didn't mean that by any means in a demeaning way, it was more just, 'I know we're all over you here, and it's early in this game.' I thought it was important to make a statement there."

After Thursday's second game, crew chief Gerry Davis told a pool reporter that he believed Boone "absolutely" went too far with his rant.

"You're not allowed to argue balls and strikes, so yeah. Yes, he did," Davis said, adding, "That will all be in the report."

Asked to explain his "savages" comment, Boone said, "I always just want our guys all the time controlling the strike zone and making it hard on the pitchers. That’s something those guys take a lot of pride in as a lineup. You may have your way with us, you may have success, but I want you to feel us."

It was Boone's third ejection of the season, and his first since May 1 at Arizona.

"He's been calling us savages all year, and we've had that mentality since Spring Training," said Luke Voit. "It's pretty cool. Not a lot of coaches would back it up and use that type of word, but I think we appreciate it. We are a bunch of savages, and we've got to keep going."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.