An introductory press conference is like a first day of school or a first day at a new job. It’s hard to mess up, and things can only go downhill from there.
The Yankees introduced Aaron Boone as their 33rd skipper in franchise history Wednesday afternoon. It was all hunky-dory from the media towards Boone and vice versa. Basically, it was nothing but sweet nothings and petunias being thrown at the new manager, and he answered questions well.
Here’s hoping Boone enjoyed this moment. The New York media members won’t be like this when the season starts. Just ask Buck Showalter, Joe Torre and Joe Girardi. Fortunately, the new Yankees manager is not naive. He knows how it works in a town that demands high expectations like winning a championship, and the Yankees have an eight-year drought and counting.
There is going to be pressure on him to win the World Series in 2018. Remember the Yankees were a game away from going to the World Series under deposed manager Joe Girardi this past season, so the expectations are going to be higher. It was going to be higher even if they lost in the American League Division Series since the Yankees experienced a taste of postseason this season. The feel-good story of this team is now over.
To Boone’s credit, he is not shying away from it. He is ready to go. It was the expectations that had him interested in managing the Yankees. He knows he has a team that is ready to win the World Series.
Saying it is one thing and meaning it is another thing. There’s no manual to handling crisis until a manager experiences it for the first time on his own. Boone will get plenty of experience since managing the Yankees is not going to be smooth sailing.
The new Yankees manager will get questions about his players going on slumps. There’s no doubt will have to give an answer when the Yankees go on a losing streak. When the Yankees lose to the Red Sox or lose a playoff game, he will be interrogated in a Mike Wallace-style fashion. He will also has to deal with mundane questions that he may not be interested in answering. Oh, he better be prepared for second-guessing if his moves don’t pan out.
Yes, Aaron Boone is no longer on ESPN. He will be the spokesperson of the Yankees on a daily basis. That can wear on guys after awhile, and it wore on Showalter, Torre and Girardi in their later years as the manager of the Yankees.
How Boone handles all this will determine if he is going to be a successful Yankees manager. He may have the temperament to do so, but we won’t really know until the season starts. Even if he manages to work well with the media for the next two years, it’s going to get harder every year. This is the job he wanted to take, so there should be no sympathies towards him at all, and thankfully, he doesn’t want one unlike Girardi.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman believes Boone can handle it, which is why he is putting his faith in him. He lost faith in Girardi since the media and expectations underwhelm the ex-Yankees manager to the point he was worn out. He needed a dynamic manager who understands the role of the media, and Boone passed the test based on his work with ESPN and when he was the go-to guy for quotes in his brief time as a Yankees player.
No one knows how Boone will do. It’s a mystery. Only time will tell. As great as he was in yesterday’s press conference, it will mean nothing come April. It will be all business from there, and it’s even going to get tougher when the postseason begins.
Boone wanted a challenge, and he is going to get it here. He is not managing a ordinary Major League Baseball team. He is managing the New York Yankees, who are known for their rich history when it comes to winning championships and producing great players.
Besides handling the pressure, he will be judged on how many championships he can bring to the Yankees. Winning only one will not be enough as Girardi can attest.
Boone’s introductory presser was easy. There was no pressure.
Now the real work begins.