Aaron Boone’s table slamming rallied Yankees to fight back, win AL East

Yankees manager Aaron Boone slams table during a press conference.
John Allen
Saturday October 1, 2022

Table of Contents

Aaron Boone was in a terrible mood as he made the short walk from his office to a media room in Yankee Stadium nearly three weeks into what would become the worst month for the Yankees in more than three decades.

It was 20 August. The Yankees had just lost to the Blue Jays for the third day in a row. All of a sudden, the Blue Jays were coming from behind to tighten the AL East race, which seemed to be over months ago. This was the sixth loss in seven games and the ninth in 11. They started the season by beating almost everyone. With a 61–23 record, they were on track to have the most wins in MLB history. Then, in a shocking turn of events, they lost 23 of their next 34 games, and key players kept getting hurt. On July 9, the Yankees led their division by 15 1/2 games, but with 39 games left, that lead was down to seven.

Yankees fans were worried. The public once again began to hate general manager Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone.

When Aaron Boone spoke to the media that afternoon, he was a ticking time bomb. He was sitting at a podium table with rows of chairs for the media in front of him and YES cameras rolling. He had been standing up for his team in the face of hard questions for days and was sick of being asked how worried he was and what he was doing to stop the Yankees from bleeding.

At some point, NJ Advance Media was asked to do something. Aaron Boone was asked about the state of the Yankees after they lost their sixth straight series, which was a first for the team since 1995. He shot back:

“You can ask any of these questions about…We’ve answered them until we’re blue in the face. We have to go out there and do it. I need to stop having to answer questions about this date. We need to play better, full stop. The best part is…”

His voice had anger and desperation. At that point, Aaron Boone lost his temper and slammed his right hand on the table. He then finished his answer in a way that sounded like he was giving his players a pep talk.

Aaron Boone said:

“It’s right there in front of us. Right here it is. We can make it better. This is the place. It’s there, and we can take it and run away. And we sent in the guys to do it. We’ve got to do it.”

Aaron Boone’s antics went viral on social media and quickly got around the Yankees clubhouse. During their slump, they had team meetings, but it wasn’t until Boone lost it in front of the press that they paid attention.

The Yankees won the next day, which was the start of a five-game winning streak. After that, they had another bad week of baseball, but they quickly got back on track and won 5-2 in Toronto on Tuesday night to clinch a division title.

During the Yankees’ party in the clubhouse and before Wednesday’s game at Rogers Centre, NJ Advance Media talked to Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and other players about what Aaron Boone’s hand slap meant.

All of them thought that it was good for the team. Santon felt that Boone’s act sent them a different kind of message and the Yankees gave it to their attention. It reminded them of their responsibility, galvanized them to fight back, and pushed them hard to win the division title.

Jameson Taillon, a pitcher, didn’t see the video of Aaron Boone’s press conference until hours later. He says it was his “Oh s**t!” moment because, in his last nine starts, he had an ERA of 5.32 and had been the losing pitcher the night before. He said:

“I was struggling during that whole time. Obviously I was still working and preparing, but I definitely had a sense of urgency after that. I know it sounds cliché, but I think struggles definitely make a team grow closer and stronger. There are side conversations, team meetings, postgame meetings, guys in hotel rooms hanging out talking about how we can get through it. Seeing Boone do what he did that day, I think that helped us get through it.”

In mid-August, reliever Lou Trivino was still getting used to playing for the Yankees after being traded from Oakland at the end of the summer. The Yankees’ losing streak didn’t bother him because when he started the season with the Athletics, they were in last place and didn’t have any stars. However, he could feel the anxiety that his new teammates were feeling because of all the struggles.

Trivino said, “I saw a video of Boone from that day on the MLB app and thought, ‘Oh, wow, Aaron is a pretty quiet person. He’s very even keel. I thought, ‘OK, here we go’ when he did that. We put our heads down and work hard, and we know we’re doing well. Boone kind of told us that message in his way that day, and it made us more determined. Absolutely.”

Aaron Judge agrees. He is the leader of the Yankees’ clubhouse and their unofficial captain. He is also in the middle of one of the best seasons ever, with 61 home runs and a possible Triple Crown on the way. But neither Judge nor anyone else could get the Yankees out of their slump in August.

Aaron Judge got mad when he saw his manager lose it at a press conference. He said,

“Boone is a leader of this team every day. The trust he has in us, the faith he has in us, through the good times and the bad, he’s always been there for us and has our backs. So, when he says something or does something like that, you should listen and answer. When he did that after that game, we all had to look in the mirror and say, ‘What can I do to help this team out?’ You can definitely look back on that moment and see the team picked it up.”

Do you see this as a deliberate act by Aaron Boone to send a message to the Yankees?

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