Not that Aaron Boone any longer owed us an explanation or further proof of his fantasy-based managerial philosophy — he has made that abundantly clear since 2018, when he first removed an effective reliever for one hopefully as effective — but Tuesday night in Boston, he provided a show and tell.
In the top of the fourth inning of the AL wild-card game, after he had removed starter Garrett Cole in the bottom of the third following a wobbly session, he explained it, from the Yankees’ dugout, to ESPN:
“We’re set up, back there.”
By now we know what he meant: Boone had all his relief pitchers lined up in a row — bullpen as tarmac — ready to enter, as per Boone’s pregame scripted schedule, regardless of outcome or common sense.
Boone, again, was going to manage by wish, hope and a recipe torn from the Betty Crocker Cookbook of Needless Kitchen Disasters & Other Regrets.
The here-and-now of what he saw from his pitchers, were ignored again on that night — the biggest game of the season. He again figured they’d all be at the tops of their games, upon request, even if the mere notion is preposterous.
Spread-sheet analytics may work for robots, refrigerators and rubber baby buggy bumpers, but not for pitchers or, as he has yet to discover, Aaron Boone.
So in a game that became the Yankees’ last of the season, the relievers came marching in (and out) until a 3-0 deficit became a 6-2 au revoir.
Clay Holmes, Boone’s best reliever the second half of the season, again was removed too early, as if Boone were saving him for a big game. He’d thrown just 16 pitches, allowing one hit and no walks over two innings.
With a DH, there was no sensible reason to pull Holmes, despite Boone’s claim that, “We’re all set up, back there.”
What about right here, during a win-or-bust playoff game? Holmes corked the Red Sox for two innings. Boston had to be thrilled Boone yanked him for no apparent good reason.
Boone’s next three “we’re all set up, back there” relievers allowed three runs and five walks in four innings.
But why am I wasting time and space telling you? You’ve seen it over and over for years, and not just from Boone. It persists throughout MLB in total defiance of common sense.
For about 10 years, games have been contested to determine which manager will find the reliever or relievers to blow the game. It’s nuts, absolutely crazy, but what do I know about baseball
Giants radio duo adds annoying clichés to playbook
The Giants’ radio team, Bob Papa and Carl Banks, used to stand out for their reliability and sensibility. Papa was a solid nuts-and-bolts man who clearly described every pre-snap scene. Banks was concise and candid, often pointing to particular players, Giants included, for failures to perform and why.
But lately they’ve gone the way of a duo performing a sportscasting satire.
Papa has become an irrelevant stats parrot — misleading red-zone data included — and a cliché machine. Last Sunday, his, “The Giants don’t want to allow any big plays,” was as wince-worthy as his redundant filler, “They move the chains for a first down.”
Early in the fourth quarter, with the Giants’ offense and defense both moribund, Banks repeated a plea: “Someone has to step up and make a play!”
We often hear that one, but what does it mean? How can one step up and make a play if the ball or the play is not near you? Could Banks identify anyone who appeared unwilling to step up and make a play? Or did the Giants lack volunteers to step up and make a play?
Come on, fellas.
In 1978, when I was assigned to cover the NBA’s ”Piscataway” Nets, the first person I met was the team’s official scorer, Herb Turetzky. He was more than that, he was the lean-on for everything needed to know about the Nets and the NBA.
And no ref who worked a Nets home game would dare start a game without checking in with Herb.
Last week, after 54 years on that job, Turetzky announced his retirement. Fifty-four years, brothers and sisters! Heck, King Henry III of England reigned for 56 years — but he began at 9.
Funny that Bob Costas, during MLBN’s telecast of Game 2 of White Sox-Astros on Friday, would bring up the ages of the managers — Tony La Russa is 77, Dusty Baker is 72.
After all, the three fellas in the booth — Costas (69), Jim Kaat (82) and Buck Showalter (65) — are all eligible for Early Bird Specials (no substitutes, no sharing), as they total 216 years.
Griese way too gabby
As we watch TV’s game analysts come and go, no perceptible improvement from their first days on the job, we wonder if they were beyond help or if no one at or near the top—- provided they know bad from worse — bothered to help them. I’m convinced it’s the latter.
Is there no one at ESPN with the authority and applicable sense to take “Monday Night Football” analyst Brian Griese aside and say, “Listen, you talk much too much. You’re driving viewers off the road. Say less, sound better”?
Or will ESPN do what TV’s shot-callers do — dump him for the next one? Two seasons in, Griese has been more an annoyance than viewing aid, no apparent effort to improve.
But it’s ESPN. Three seasons ago, they threw yak box Jason Witten into the MNF booth — ESPN’s biggest, most expensive stage — without knowing whether he could speak a cogent sentence. One and done.
All the signs now read “EXIT.” The NFLPA has named Marshawn Lynch its first “chief brand ambassador.” Classy move. Lynch is synonymous with grabbing his crotch after scoring TDs. Say, why doesn’t the NFLPA adopt that image as its new logo?
Not that we should be surprised, but the NFL Store once sold framed photos of Lynch grabbing his crotch. Now that’s part of Roger Goodell’s Super Bowl halftime show standard.
After more than 25 years, Tim McCarthy last week wrapped it up, shoved out as general manager of ESPN Radio in New York and Los Angeles.
Given the egomaniacal, self-overrated, self-entitled, jealous and demanding talent in his midst, McCarthy was a natural soother and smoother — a guidance counselor, a fellow only a fool could dislike. At 58, he has plenty left.
Why watch live TV when you can read a big, fat graphic? Last Sunday night on NBC, the Buccaneers led the Patriots, 19-17, 55 seconds left. The Pats tried a 56-yard field goal.
As the ball smacked against the left goal post, no good, the officials near the end zone could be seen be seen waving the kick no good.
A large graphic in the upper left read, “56-YARD ATTEMPT: GOOD FROM 56 YARDS.”
Reader Steve Boxer notes that NYC health commissioner, Dr. Dave Chokshi, this season broke the Yankees between-innings YES appearances record established by hair-today, gone-tomorrow Giuseppe Franco.