The Bronx might not be burning, but the New York Yankees’ 2023 season has been anything but a success. While the team is over .500, they sit in last place in the American League East Division. That’s a feat the team hasn’t achieved in August since 1990, and the level of dissatisfaction among Yankee fans is at the highest it’s been in decades. Manager Aaron Boone has often found himself a target this season, a feeling that’s trickled down the past few seasons.
Boone, Brian Cashman, and the team at large came under fire earlier this week. On Sunday, when the Yankees played the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday Night Baseball, superstar and reigning AL MVP Aaron Judge sat. Judge had just returned to the Yankee lineup after a prolonged absence following the slugger’s injury at Dodger Stadium. But still, No. 99 sat while the O’s clobbered the Bronx Bombers at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
“From a fan perspective, it feels like a white flag. If it’s not now, when? Is there going to be more of a sense of urgency?” Jake Storiale asked.
Boone then responded quite emphatically. “I’m not gonna protect Aaron Judge,” Boone said, before turning it on Soriale. “You, of all people, I would think would be a little more unemotional than that. Like, the guy did not play in a rehab game. Did not play in a rehab game, and one of the calculuses for that was, ‘We are gonna get him here so we can get some games with him in the big leagues in a rehab situation when a guy has torn ligaments in his toe. Hasn’t been built up even a little bit, like, stop. Be better than that.
“And I understand how big of a game it is on Sunday against the Orioles. How big are these games against Tampa? How big are the weekend games in Houston? Do you think he’s gonna go out there and play every day? Right out of the chute? He’s not in the position to do that.”
Aaron Boone was NOT happy when asked why the Yankees rested Judge on Sunday pic.twitter.com/F5dsdqSIVV
— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) August 2, 2023
This was a pretty unique and exclusive opportunity for everybody involved here. From that perspective, Boone’s reaction plays well. The Yankee manager had a readied answer, and while fans might not want to hear it, it does make sense. It might not be what the fans wanted, but if the team wanted to slowly bring Judge along, then it adds up to do it that way. The team’s struggles are well-documented, and the team’s struggles without Judge in the lineup are documented even further.
On the other side of the coin, though, Yankees fans can be in the right to take issue. Nobody wants to hear about the struggles of Yankee fans. Rival fans and otherwise often take great pride in seeing the team struggle, lose, and in some cases, fall flat on their face on the big stage. That’s what you get when you’ve won 27 World Series championships, the most titles in North American sports history. Yankee fans, though, wish that the team would remember who they are. Swinging, missing, sometimes not even swinging and missing at elite free agents has irritated the fanbase for a while now. Namely Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, the latter who would be ideal as the Yankees have issues in the outfield.
The team was punchless at the MLB Trade Deadline, acquiring the lesser-known Keynan Middleton and Spencer Howard. Howard, who the team optioned to AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre just hours after the trade.
The testiness and back-and-forthness on display made for quality sound, though. Unfortunately for the Yankees, whether it leads to quality production on the field is yet to be seen.