BY RONALD BLUM
NEW YORK (AP) — Having never managed or coached at any level, Aaron Boone believes his provenance prepared him to lead the New York Yankees.
“I would say in a way I’ve been preparing for this job for the last 44 years,” Boone said Friday after becoming the fourth person to interview for the job that opened when Joe Girardi was let go Oct. 26.
Boone’s grandfather, Ray, was a two-time All-Star infielder from 1948-60. His father, Bob, was a four-time All-Star catcher from 1972-90, then managed Kansas City from 1995-97 and Cincinnati from 2001-03.
Aaron Boone was a big league third baseman from 1997-2009 and was an All-Star in 2003, when New York acquired him from the Reds at the trade deadline. His 11th-inning home run off Boston’s Tim Wakefield won Game 7 of the AL Championship Series for the Yankees, but he tore a knee ligament during a pickup basketball game during the offseason and was released by New York, which replaced him by acquiring Alex Rodriguez.
Asked this week whether A-Rod would be considered to manage the Yankees, owner Hal Steinbrenner said “my concern about a candidate like that would just be the lack of managerial experience but even more important coaching experiences of any kind. Presidential candidates normally are senators or governors.”
Boone doesn’t see it as a hurdle.
“Obviously experience is very valuable and should be a check mark for somebody,” he said. “I’ve been going to the ballpark since I was 3 and 4 years old, and in a way managing the game from a very young age. And then growing up where my dad was in the big leagues from the time I was born to the time I was in a senior in high school and being around great teams, great players, I’ve kind of lived this game as a kid.”
Yankees bench coach Rob Thomson, former Cleveland and Seattle manager Eric Wedge, and San Francisco bench coach Hensley Meulens previously interviewed.
Boone had never interviewed previously for a manager opening. He has been an analyst for ESPN since his retirement as a player.
“I just feel like it’s started to really pull at me,” he said. “Especially the last few years I find myself managing games all the time and thinking about strategies and how I would handle different situations.”
Yankees general manager reached out to Boone a few weeks ago about the job. Aaron Boone spoke with his dad all week ahead of the interview but doesn’t envision hiring him for his staff.
His dad has worked for the Washington Nationals since December 2004 and currently is an assistant general manager.
“He definitely recognizes how much it’s changed over the last couple years, five years, 10 years, to where — specially with analytics these days, it’s a different job,” Aaron Boone said. “There’s a lot to consider and there’s a lot of great information out there that is instilled into the game today. And it’s I think now more than ever more of a partnership from front office to manager.”
“We are an extension of the front office and a part of the front office,” he added, “and how we gather information and get it in the hands of the players is a very important part of the job nowadays.”
Boone thinks his initial challenge would be the mechanics of in-game moves such as pitching changes. A big part of the job would be to convince players he and the staff care about them, can be trusted and will make decisions best for the team.
“One of the big parts of the job is relationships,” he said.
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