The New York Yankees say they’ve entered their managerial search with an open mind. Despite the writing being on the wall for months regarding Joe Girardi’s future, they insist they haven’t been zeroing in on any one candidate. Nor have they set up any parameters that might give them pause or limit their search in any way. Every candidate will start in the same position, and that might bode well for one perceived dark horse in particular: former infielder and current ESPN analyst Aaron Boone.
The 44-year-old Boone was brought in as the fourth candidate to be interviewed for the job on Friday. He joined Yankees bench coach Rob Thomson, San Francisco Giants bench coach Hensley Meulens and former Cleveland and Seattle manager Eric Wedge. Dodgers third base coach Chris Woodward became the fifth to be interviewed on Saturday. Boone then went through the same routine as every other candidate, meeting with the Yankees brass before holding a conference call with the media. It was there that Boone reiterated his desire to be Yankees manager and made sure everyone knows he’s better prepared than one might think.
The main concern people have with Boone is his lack of coaching experience. Of the five candidates interviewed so far, he’s the only one without experience. Boone went from the playing field to the broadcast booth, where he’s done a superb job providing analysis on ESPN. On the surface, that might not sound like a path that would prepare him for the opportunity that lies ahead, but Boone makes an excellent point when he says an entire life spent in baseball has given him the tools he needs.
“Look, obviously experience is very valuable, and should be a check mark for somebody,” Boone told reporters on a conference call Friday after interviewing for the Bombers’ managerial vacancy earlier in the day. “I would also say, in a way, I’ve been preparing for this job my entire life. I’ve been going to the ballpark since I was 3 and 4. It’s certainly fair to question my experience in actually doing the job, but I would say I’ve been preparing for this for the last 44 years.”
Boone cited his family’s long history in baseball – his grandfather (Ray), father (Bob), brother (Bret) and Aaron all played in the majors – and his father’s past managing experience (Royals and Reds) as factors that have impacted his baseball acumen.
There really is something to be said for simply being around the game and absorbing all of the information that’s been laid out in front of him. He’s likely heard it all, from strategy sessions to the best way to handle players and the media. When you love something as much as Boone and his family love baseball, that’s all stuff that sticks with you. It doesn’t go in one ear and out the other. It breeds a better understanding and deeper appreciation for the game.
As for his broadcasting career, Boone says that helped too. Over the last eight years he’s been able to pick the brains of other managers and his fellow analysts, all while seeing the game from a new perspective.
Perhaps most importantly, Boone doesn’t figure to be intimidated by managing in New York. He’s played there. He’s succeeded there, with his highlights including a pennant-clinching walk-off home run in 2003. He’s felt the wrath of the fanbase after suffering a season-ending knee injury while playing basketball. That’s about the highest high and lowest low possible in that environment.
All of these experiences and knowledge don’t guarantee success. It’s a different ballgame being in that hot seat every single day. But Boone is every bit as qualified to handle it as anyone else New York considers.
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
– – – – – – –