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Good for Aaron Boone
Baseball is not football
Good morning, all. I hope your week is off to a terrific start.
Good for New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone to lower the boom on the media’s football mentality. Before Saturday night’s game against Baltimore, the media was raking Boone over the coals about the ability of hotshot shortstop Anthony Volpe to adjust to the major leagues. Remember, Volpe had a terrific spring training and earned the Yankees’ starting shortstop job.
Volpe was under the microscope because he collected three hits in his first 21 at bats. The media started boring in, until an annoyed Boone ended the nonsense. I am paraphrasing here, but what Boone said in a nutshell was the Yankees had only played seven games; a drop in the bucket in a 162-game season. In other words, that 3-for-21 start isn’t even a small sample size as to whether Volpe can hit big league pitchers.
For the record, Volpe went out and belted his first triple of the season to jumpstart the Yankees 3-run fifth inning that resulted in a 4-1 victory. The same people will once again be singing the praises of Volpe.
Welcome to the media 2023. With a plethora of sports websites - many of them financially hanging by a thread - every story is portrayed as the most important, all in the name of generating website clicks or viral traffic on social media. To be fair, the media - made up of many people fighting to keep their jobs - isn’t the only entity writing as if an April game is the equivalent of the seventh game of the World Series. Many team, social media accounts, in all sports, blast out posts and troll other clubs in a cyberworld gone mad.
I do not know when, if ever, this landscape will change, but I do know Saturday’s outburst by the mild-mannered Boone was a breath of fresh air.
Speaking of which…
As of this writing (before their game against the Red Sox) the Tampa Bay Rays are off to a 9-0 start, winning each game by at least four runs- a record. Although a fan with imagination and humor, held up a sign at the Rays decrepit domed-stadium on Sunday that read “162-0,” don’t bet on the Rays not losing a game this season. You’ll lose your shirt.
Again this is the beauty of baseball, which, by the way has recaptured its charm with games moving at a quicker pace, under the new rules. The Rays, who should contend all season, could lose three in a row or even nine straight. Stuff happens over the course of a long season.
The streak reminds me of a story about the 1953 Yankees, managed by the GOAT, Casey Stengel. The Bombers unleashed an 18-game win streak only to be followed by a nine-game losing streak. Those who covered the club in that era said Stengel was unrelentless in his criticism of the club, during the winning streak, but was there offering aid-and-comfort to his players, during the losing streak. Of course, his approach would not work today, when aid-and-comfort seems the only way to massage a player’s psyche. The fact is, however, Stengel knew how to get it done back then and one way was to realize it is a long season.
A little boasting in order
As I sit writing this newsletter in my Connecticut home, I would be remiss not to mention in this small state of 3.5 million people, that we are now home to two NCAA champions. Not only did the UConn men’s basketball team win the national championship, so did the Quinnipiac hockey team, rallying to beat Minnesota in the ‘Frozen Four’ finale. In many ways, the Quinnipiac story may be more compelling than UConn’s achievement. That is a discussion for another day. Meanwhile, winning two national titles in a week is living in rarified air.
That is it for this week’s newsletter. As always, thank you for your support and have a terrific week.