Updated: Apr 29, 2021
On October 15th in 2003 the third baseman for the New York Yankees was Aaron Boone.
Still 24-hours away from earning his nickname (which I’ll get to in a second), Boone went 0-4 at the plate that temperate October night with two strikeouts. It was game six of THE American League Championship series pitting my New York Yankees against, “That team up Nahth,” the Boston Red Sox.
Despite Boone’s struggles at the plate, the Yankees managed to score six runs that night! Not enough though to win the game and send them to the World Series.
The Yankee manager at the time, Hall of Famer Joe Torre, had seen enough of the light-hitting Boone to know; that he had seen enough! With only two hits in his previous 16 at-bats during this series, Boone was sent to the bench for the seventh and deciding game.
It had been 86-years since the Red Sox had won a World Series crown. A drought so long they had to name it. For 86-years the "Curse of THE Bambino” explained the often disquieting ways the Red Sox used to steal defeat from the jaws of victory.
As the 10th inning began, Aaron Boone exited the Yankee dugout. Entering the game in the eight inning as a pinch runner who was shortly forced out at second, Boone’s night was far from productive. He had fielded one ground ball in his position at third base.
Up the four steps from the dugout floor to the field in the old Yankee Stadium.
The stadium was quiet as he took his practice swings and stepped up to the plate. Still unaware that it was almost time to stand, the crowd of 56,278 and I was mostly still.
On the first pitch from from Red Sox knuckleball pitcher Tim Wakefield, Aaron Boone hit handed the Red Sox the must crushing defeat.
In a curse full, of crushing defeats!
Giving himself a nickname which Red Sox fans still scream at him from their seats at Fenway Park, when Boone visits as the Yankees manager.
“Aaron Fucking Boone!”
If you close your eyes and shake you head while you say it, you can connect with Boston’s pain.
This year, with Boone as their manager the Yankees are less than legendary. Leading the league in sloppy play, their nightly fielding, throwing and base running miscues are at times hard to watch. To this lifelong fan of the game they seem dispassionate and unprepared to compete most nights.
An affliction which usually gets blamed on the manager.
”Aaron Fucking Boone!”
In his nightly post-game news conferences Boone has been reduced to head-shaking and mumbling, as he replies to the inevitable, “Aaron, what went wrong?”
Yankee fans deserve better answers than the canned, "We are on the cusp of turning this around" which Boonie doles out nightly. Maybe he can learn a thing or two from the former coach of the New Orleans Saints, Jim Mora. After a game when his team had been badly beaten, Mora was asked about his team’s performance and had this to say!