Aaron Boone admits blame for Yankees’ ‘defeatism’ but avoids fixing accountability

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AP Photo/Frank Augstein
Inna Zeyger
Wednesday July 10, 2024

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Before the New York Yankees began their Tuesday’s game in Tampa Bay, manager Aaron Boone addressed the team’s ongoing struggles, acknowledging the tough situation. He stressed the importance of resilience in baseball and expressed disappointment in the team’s inability to navigate this prolonged slump effectively.

“It feels terrible,” the Yankees manager said. “You’ve got to be a little sick to be in this game, though. You’ve got to be able to weather it. You [would] like your stretch where it’s a bump in the road to not be this kind of stretch. You’d like to weather it a little bit better, which we need to do.”

However, following the 5-3 defeat to the Tampa Bay Rays, he returned to his usual explanation. Boone reiterated his frequent refrain, “It’s all right there in front of us,” a phrase he’s used in past seasons during similar rough patches. This mantra has become familiar to Yankees fans, as Boone has employed it during the team’s downturns over the last three years.

The manager took the blame for the Yankees’ ongoing defeatist attitude and called on the team to stay focused and persistent. While aiming for a big lead is ideal, it’s important to concentrate on playing well and stringing together quality at-bats instead.

“You know, that’s defeatism,” he said. “You know, like, screw that. We got to get after it regardless of, of course, we want to run out to a big lead. But can’t look at it that way. You just got to keep playing and keep trying to string together their quality at-bats.”

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Boone stressed the importance of moving forward and finding solutions to their current struggles. He acknowledged the difficulties of playing from behind but pointed out that the team remained competitive until the end.

“Yeah, I mean, it’s never easy to play from behind. But no, you can’t look at it that way. You know, we get a lead there and I thought we at least gave ourselves a chance and put some guys out there.”

The manager highlighted several positives, including a key hit by a player he referred to as “Benny,” which kept them in the game. Boone also praised the quality of at-bats in the ninth inning, particularly noting strong performances from DJ LeMahieu and Juan Soto, which nearly brought Aaron Judge to the plate in a crucial moment.

“Obviously, a big swing by Benny right there. And we’re right in the game. And then, you know, even in the ninth, they’re good at bat by DJ and Juan smokes a ball. Looks like we got a chance to get Aaron to the plate there. So, you know, the bats were OK,” Aaron Boone said.

However, despite all these nagging words of realization, the Yankees skipper tactfully evades fixing the accountability. He continued to see positivity in Carlos Rodon’s four-run early hole that pushed the team into the loss. Veterans’ failure to boost offense as if was never a negative issue for him. As per his routine, Boone emphasized the importance of continuing to play hard and striving for quality at-bats, no matter the scoreboard situation.

Is Boone willfully ignoring the Yankees’ march to another disaster?

The Yankees’ recent downturn has been pronounced, with their performances declining significantly over the past three weeks. Despite the challenging period, Boone’s message focused on resilience and perseverance, making it clear that he is least concerned with fixing accountability.

In 2023, the Yankees’ promising 11-game-over-.500 record slipped to 46-55, prompting Boone to use the same phrase after a sweep by the Los Angeles Angels in July. Similarly, in 2022, a strong 61-23 start turned into a 38-40 finish, with Boone maintaining his optimistic outlook. That season ended with the Yankees being swept by the Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series.

A clear pattern has emerged: the Yankees start strong, raising expectations, only to falter in the latter part of the season. This recurring cycle has led to skepticism among fans and observers about the effectiveness of Boone’s persistent optimism.

MLB insider Joel Sherman has recently criticized New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone’s leadership amid the team’s ongoing struggles. On Episode 17 of the Pinstripe Post podcast, Sherman expressed concerns about Boone’s handling of player errors and perceived lack of hustle.

Sherman emphasized the importance of maintaining credibility as a leader, suggesting that Boone’s reluctance to confront issues could undermine his authority. He specifically cited an incident involving DJ LeMahieu, where Boone’s assessment of the player’s effort contradicted what Sherman observed.

The insider argued that there are addressable and correctable issues within the team that Boone appears to be overlooking. Sherman warned that tolerating such behavior essentially amounts to condoning it, potentially setting a problematic precedent.

The Yankees’ performance has significantly declined, particularly against AL East opponents, where they hold a 13-17 record. Since June 15, the team has posted a dismal 5-16 record over 21 games, the worst in the majors during this period.

Aaron Boone and his Yankees in Mexico to play an exhibition game on March 26, 2024.
643Network

These struggles have intensified scrutiny of Boone’s management style, with critics like Sherman calling for a more assertive approach to address the team’s issues and reverse their current downward trajectory.

As the Yankees continue to struggle, Boone’s unwavering message is increasingly seen as a potential indicator of another late-season collapse, rather than a motivational call for improvement.

Amid the New York Yankees’ recent struggles, top team executives made their presence felt at Tropicana Field. Owner Hal Steinbrenner and General Manager Brian Cashman attended Tuesday’s 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

Cashman cited the team’s recent poor performance as the reason for his visit, acknowledging their difficulties while expressing hope that their strong start to the season would provide a cushion during this challenging period. He emphasized the need for a swift turnaround, noting that the slump has lasted longer than desired.

The attendance of top executives highlights the seriousness of the Yankees’ current situation and their commitment to addressing on-field struggles. But who will bell the cat?

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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2 thoughts on “Aaron Boone admits blame for Yankees’ ‘defeatism’ but avoids fixing accountability

  1. The man is falling on his sword. He didn’t put this team together. He can’t fix the lineup issues, as it’s not up to him. I think Boone wants out, so he’s greasing the skids so he gets fired and gets his money.

  2. I think Boone has some weak points, but all Managers do. The Players today make a Ton of money. Just about all of them a Millionaires or close to it. It has to be hard to motivate Rich people if they don’t want to be motivated. This on the Players. Verdugo as an example is making over 7MM this year, if he doesn’t feel like putting out today no amount of motivation will cause him to, he has to want to.

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