Updated: Aug 23
With only 41 games remaining in the 162-game Major League baseball season, the New York Yankees have a 7-game lead over the second place Toronto Blue Jays in the American League East.
That lead likely enough to ensure that for the sixth consecutive year the Yankees, baseball's winningest franchise, will compete in the postseason for a chance to win the World Series.
Though the current mood of many Yankee fans is incongruent with those prospects.
In THE Beginning
The Yankees built their lead with dominating play during the season’s first 70-games. The team winning 52 of those games no post a remarkable .742 winning percentage through the All-Star break.
As recently as June 29th baseball savants were predicting that the 2022 Yankees would challenge the record for most wins in a baseball season. That record, 116-games, is currently held by both the 1906 Chicago Cubs and 2001 Seattle Mariners.
Now, just six-weeks later, the prospect of a Yankee record-setting seasons seems fantastic.
In their last 51-games the Yankees have managed to win only 12, an appalling .324 winning percentage. The Yankees have seen their once bawdy 15 1/2 game lead dwindle to seven games over that span.
More recently, the news has been even worse. In August, the Yankees have won only four of the 18-games the team has played.
The Boone of Bronx's ire of course, is the team’s manager. Aaron Boone.
The shade thrown Boone’s way despite a .603 winning percentage since joining the Yankees as manager before the 2018 season.
A higher winning percentage than any manager in baseball’s Hall of Fame.
In addition to his respectable won-loss record, Boone has Yankee bona fides which should have saved him from the crowd’s derision. “Boonie” hit one of the most dramatic home runs in the history of the Yankee franchise.
Boone’s dinger against the Red Sox in the 11th inning of game-seven of the 2003 American League Championship Series, sent the Yankees to another World Series. While driving the last stake into the heart of a Red Sox nation which was still a year away from breaking the Curse of the Bambino.
Boone's dramatic blast was recently named the second-greatest moment in the postseason history of the Yankees.
From the time he purchased the Yankees in 1973 until his death in 2010 the principal owner and managing general partner of the New York Yankees was THE Boss, George Steinbrenner.
Believing that anytime a Yankee team was playing poorly it was the managers fault, Steinbrenner hired and fired 19-managers between 1973 and 1990.
A revolving door, five of those 19-managers were Billy Martin, the former Yankee second baseman who was hired and fired By Steinbrenner five times between 1975 and 1988.
Despite having played for five World Series winners as a Yankee, and winning the World Series MVP Award in 1953. Martin's earning the MVP for his twelve hits, including his walk-off series winner in game six.
George fired Billy five times after Billy had managed the team to a World Series victory in 1977!
Momentum before loyalty earning The Boss seven World Series trophies.
Here Comes the Son
Since Steinbrenner's passing in 2010, the team's managing general partner has been George's oldest son Hal. Who must have learned a lot about patience from his mother! Since taking over the reins of the Bronx-based family business, Hal has employed a less capricious attitude towards managers than his father had.
Aaron Boone is only the second manager the team has had during Hal’s 12-year tenure as the team's managing general partner.
Hal's tenure marked by patience, and the absence of Work;d Series trophies!
(Why) Wait Until Next Year?
No matter Boone’s heroics as a Yankee player or success as a regular season manager, he has failed to deliver a World Series trophy to the Bronx in his previous four-seasons and it does not look like he’s going to this year either.
Despite managing a team which is deep in both talent and prospects, the Yankees sent six players to the All-Star game including baseball's best player, Boone's team has a listless style of play which is hard to watch nightly, explaining Yankee fan's outbursts towards Boone.
This season, Boone himself has referred to players on his team as lazy.
I guess he didn't get the memo about it being his job as the team's manager, to properly inspire his players!
What Would George Do?
With 41-games left to play this season the Yankees still have time to make a change at the manager position. The organization and game’s ranks are filled with qualified managers who can easily step into the role on an interim basis and manage the team through the October run they were built for.
It's unlikely that firing Boone could harm Yankee fortunes. The team's currently trajectory seems unlikely to land them a spot in the Fall Classic.
While an interim manager might inspire the Yankees to play to their level and compete for a World Series trophy.
Something Aaron Boone has been unable to do!
I’m sorry I had to skip last week, the 27-hour journey from Ibiza to Stamford necessitated a few days recovery. And, while I always enjoy the topic change when I write while on vacation, I’ll be back to talking paint next week!