New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone can still practice what he preaches. Boone turned 50 on Thursday and fulfilled a personal wish by commemorating the day by hitting a home run in batting practice before a Spring Training game against the Boston Red Sox.
Boone took several cuts without success before finally finding the sweet spot and tattooing a pitch that landed over the outfield wall just inside the left-field foul pole.
He spoke with the YES Network announcers during the game and addressed his homer, saying:
“I told my kids that I was going to try to go deep on my 50th birthday. I was a little nervous because there were a lot of people out there and I’m like ‘this may not end well.'”
But it did end well for Boone. He got to show the Red Sox that he still has at least an inkling of the power that helped the New York Yankees bounce Boston out of the 2003 American League Championship Series. Boone ended that postseason matchup among the most heated of MLB rivals with a Game 7 home run off Boston knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.
The homer propelled the Yankees to the World Series and extended what was then a decades-long championship-less drought for the Red Sox.
The opportunity was also a chance for Yankees Nation to get a bit snarky about the state of their team’s offense. But we’re not exactly sure anyone really wants Boone, who was mostly a third baseman during his playing career 14 years ago, to take over for Josh Donaldson in the hot corner.
And seriously, did MLB purposely schedule the Yankees to be playing the Red Sox on Boone’s 50th birthday? Someone in the league scheduling office is wearing a New York cap and a grin.
If nothing else, Boone is making a lot of Generation X males take a hard look in the mirror.
New York Yankees did lose to Boston this time
Without Boone’s bat in the lineup for Thursday’s game, the New York Yankees did lose 11-7 to Boston. But the manager will likely get over that.
His place in Yankee lore for that night in 2003 will never be disputed. However, Boone actually played only three months for New York in his 12-year major-league career. He was traded to New York from the Cincinnati Reds on Deadline Day that season. He sat out the 2004 campaign after suffering an ACL injury while playing basketball that winter. By 2005, he was playing for the Cleveland Guardians.