Aaron Boone reflects on conversations with Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner

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Boone Hal Steinbrenner Cashman in dugout during Summer Camp 2020 masks on
Boone Hal Steinbrenner Cashman in dugout during Summer Camp 2020 masks on

Say what you want about the Yankees not going over the luxury tax, but Hal Steinbrenner put forth over $200 million for a spring training World Series favorite just to have them be in fourth place in the American League East almost halfway through the season.

Through 80 games, the Yankees are just 41-39, only ahead of the Baltimore Orioles in the division, and 8.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox for the division lead.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he's been in touch with the owner, who has been "pretty pointed" in some of his comments and feelings toward the sluggish Bombers.

“I think big picture, there’s been times [he’ll say] ‘hey, we gotta be better’ right away," Boone said. "Sometimes, I think his initial comments are that. ‘This needs to improve.’ And then we talk about things that he’s interested (in), or players he wants to hear about and where they’re at in their season and what’s going on with them. I would just say that. Sometimes, it opens with that kind of comment."

Boone said he cannot recall if Steinbrenner has "screamed or hollered" at him, and they "usually" have "very good" conversations, adding that he has been heavily invested in the product on the field.

“He’s pretty measured and very much in command of his motions," Boone said. "...He’s been pretty pointed with some comments at times about what’s going on, 'this needs to be better,' but most of our conversations are very measured and leveled, what are we seeing, wanting to know about different players, where they’re at, guys that are struggling, guys that are doing well, what we’re doing to unlock them. He’s invested and interested and wants to know, and usually our conversations are very good.”

One of the things that has angered the owner the most, according to Boone, has been the poor baserunning.

“Obviously, he’s been concerned at different times this year when we’re making mistakes on the bases, if we don’t play a clean game as far as defensively, those are the things that he inquires about. The baserunning, for example, that was an issue the first couple of years, that we’re obviously making too many mistakes there, so that’s one thing that he dove into a little bit," the fourth-year manager said.

"He’s concerned about those things and wants to know what we’re seeing and what’s going on, what we’re doing," he added. "I spoke to him over the phone two days ago, very supportive, just knowing that we’re all trying to get this thing going the right way together. Obviously, it’s been difficult year to this point with the ups and downs, but just trying to fight through it.”

The Yankees will wrap up their first half of the schedule among completion of Thursday's afternoon matinee with the Los Angeles Angels, whom they've already lost two out of three against this week.