TAMPA, Fla. — It was, I suppose, like some other first day of spring coaching for the New York Yankees. Gary Sanchez inspected a stack of orange Nike packing containers full of recent sneakers. A clubhouse attendant positioned a pair of very massive and freshly scrubbed spikes in CC Sabathia‘s locker. Dellin Betances answered questions on his weight — he is at a trim 264 kilos, down from 280 at the tip of final season, though he joked, “I know I’m going to gain some weight during the season with all the late-night eating.”
Of course, it wasn’t some other day at Yankees camp as a result of it was Aaron Boone’s first actual day on the job as supervisor. As he took questions from the media, it was instantly clear the Yankees may have a totally different form of supervisor guiding the workforce after 10 seasons below Joe Girardi, and in addition a discover of how a lot has modified for the Yankees since final spring.
A year in the past, Girardi entered the season within the last year of his contract. At his preliminary spring coaching information convention, he mentioned he hoped to handle the Yankees past 2017, whereas admitting that 9 seasons is “a long time.” As ESPN.com’s Andrew Marchand wrote final February, Girardi’s state-of-the-workforce periods had been boringly environment friendly, with a predominant objective “to provide nothing of interest.”
While Girardi approached his job like an funding banker, Boone guarantees to be extra personable, a little extra huggable, a little extra like Joe Torre and a little much less sandpaper character. After he was employed in early December, Boone made it a level to attach with lots of the gamers, embarking on dinners and golf outings with a few of them. He pressured that he desires to create a clubhouse tradition “where guys are at ease, where guys are allowed to be themselves, where you walk into our room and it’s not a stressful place.”
That wasn’t a direct dig at Girardi, nevertheless it does level to why basic supervisor Brian Cashman made a managerial change following a profitable season. After all, ESPN.com ran a profile of Girardi final spring with the headline, “Is Joe Girardi having fun yet?” The feeling was that Girardi did not join with the younger gamers.
Gary Sanchez was a kind of gamers. Sanchez obtained a lot of criticism from Girardi due to his errors on protection — not with out warrant because the younger catcher struggled at occasions on a number of the finer elements of his recreation. Girardi benched Sanchez in a recreation final August in Cleveland, a determination that caught Sanchez abruptly at the time. On Tuesday, Sanchez mentioned he understood the critiques from Girardi. “Looking back, all the things Girardi said were to help me get better,” he mentioned. “In the end, I feel like he did help me get better. You also have to move on.”
Still, whereas Boone takes the reins with no managerial or teaching expertise — he has spent his submit-enjoying days as a broadcaster for ESPN — he is aware of what he is moving into. While Girardi had his binders and his corny jokes and his each day routines — he had the identical breakfast of six egg whites and ham on wheat toast day-after-day — he additionally was profitable. He received a World Series and by no means had a dropping season. After a interval of rebuilding, the Baby Bombers received 91 video games final year, probably the most for the Yankees since 2012, and got here inside one win of reaching their first World Series since 2009.
Last spring, solely certainly one of 35 ESPN baseball contributors picked the Yankees to win the American League East. Only 9 picked the Yankees to make the playoffs. The forecasts this year will likely be fully totally different. The Baby Bombers are a year older. Aaron Judge is not a query mark who might win a job in spring coaching — he is coming off a historic season during which he slammed 52 dwelling runs. The addition of National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton brings a 59-homer slugger to a lineup that already led the majors in dwelling runs. The bullpen is deep and dominant, with David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle now on board for a whole season.
“If we don’t win [the World Series], it won’t be a great year for us,” Betances mentioned.
Asked about that, Boone smiled. “Well, he’s right about the World Series,” he mentioned. Boone did not shrink back from these expectations, and that is precisely what Yankees followers love to listen to. Some of that outdated Steinbrenner-like swagger is again for the primary time in a very long time. “I think one of the things that’s exciting for me is to hear some of those comments,” Boone added. “A lot of these guys came of age and I think viewed  as a very successful season. But what stands out in that room right now is each guy I’ve spoken to, the hunger is there and there’s no satisfaction with what they were able to accomplish.”
Sanchez did not go to the World Series-or-bust route like Betances, however he spoke of how excited he was when he was again dwelling within the Dominican Republic and discovered the workforce had acquired Stanton. He talked about how thrilling the playoffs had been with the heightened ambiance and his need to get again there.
Sanchez and Judge are the brand new breed of Yankees, homegrown expertise. The final time Boone was with the Yankees as a participant — 2003, when he hit his well-known dwelling run to win the American League Championship Series — the common age of the place gamers was over 30. While the starters for 2018 at second base and third base will likely be decided in spring coaching — rookies Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar are the favorites heading into camp — the one projected starter older than 28 will likely be outfielder Brett Gardner.
They should still be younger, however do not name them the Baby Bombers any longer. They’re the Bronx Bombers once more. And which means all eyes are pointing to a World Series title.
So good luck, Mr. Boone. The first day is the simplest one.