I love dominos. Not the game, nor the national pizzeria chain, rather watching elaborate labyrinths come tumbling down. Knowing each domino cannot collapse without the preceding, tracing it all the way back to the beginning. The beginning of Aaron Boone's dominos started with that swing. Go back and watch it, note his batting average, how much of an afterthought he was to everything else going on around him. The then 85-year curse, future Hall of Famers in both dugouts, a more accomplished Boone in the broadcast booth. History changed the moment Tim Wakefield grooved a 69-MPH knuckleball over the heart of the plate, and though I didn't realize it at the time, it remains my favorite Yankee home run and I can't imagine that ever changing.
I enjoy it, of course, because the Yankees went on to lose to the Florida Marlins. If New York wins that World Series I couldn't have these emotions because the math wouldn't add up. Instead, the Red Sox went into that offseason and went harder than ever, knowing they were closer than ever at getting over the hump. Theo Epstein's eyes focused in on Alex Rodriguez, to the point where there's a signed Red Sox contract with A-Rod's signature on it in Jed Hoyer's office somewhere. The MLBPA famously nixed that deal, and then Aaron Boone went out and played basketball one day. Without that game of pickup who knows where A-Rod lands, who knows if Jason Varitek ever gets into a season-defining scrap, who knows if someone hits a soft dribbler up the first base line and causes calamity. A majority of the 2004 Championship DVD's highlights never exist without Boone tearing his ACL playing H-O-R-S-E.
For some reason the fanbase that introduces itself with a ring total held Boone's ALCS dinger in high regard. It happened against a rival, I get it, but it resulted in nothing but another loss and a shift in power to those very same rivals. This cult status was enough to convince Brian Cashman that fans would celebrate bringing home their hero in a new role, MANAGER. And for that, I am thankful. Because as much joy as the fallout of Aaron Boone's home run has brought me, nothing quite compares to watching this dude attempt to manage the New York Yankees.
It hurts to watch. These are my coworkers. My pals. My chums. I hate to see them in such misery. The Yankees led the League in home runs in 2018, people forget that. That doesn't happen without Boone on the bench. Don't worry about the fact that he can't be bothered to tell his own starting pitchers what time the game starts, that's a small detail that surely didn't cost his team any pivotal postseason games. What's he supposed to be the manager and the traveling secretary? There's only so many hours in a day!
I hope Cashman never fires him. I love Aaron Boone for all of the torment he's brought these people. We're 18 years strong of this dude perpetually costing the Yankees and helping the Red Sox in ways that are hard to conceive. Should be retire his number? The Miami Heat retired Dan Marino's number, and Michael Jordan's, so there's precedent for such an act. We gave Mariano Rivera a standing ovation in 2005, I don't think this would be a terrible tip of the cap to someone who has brought so much unbridled joy to a nation of fans.
Download and subscribe to The Short Porch!