Aaron Boone watched the Red Sox celebrate their World Series title. He did not enjoy the experience by any means, but the New York Yankees manager refused to turn off the television as his rivals flooded the Dodgers Stadium field.
In his first press conference at spring training, the second-year manager told reporters he took away some added motivation from watching Chris Sale close out Boston’s title.
“I’ve always been a fan of the game, so I watched the postseason. This year was a little more difficult,” Boone said, per ESPN’s Coley Harvey. “But I certainly made a point to even watch the World Series and the Red Sox celebrate and watch them on the podium. I don’t know whether it was to torture myself or what, but I made sure I watched it.
“You know, you put this hat on and this uniform on — to get to wear a big league uniform, you shouldn’t need much motivation. But to watch a team you know so well and is certainly one of your rivals celebrate where you want to be, I think that adds a little fuel to the fire, certainly.”
En route to that on-field celebration, the Red Sox knocked the Yankees aside in the American League Division Series. New York knows it has to conquer Alex Cora’s squad to meet its World Series-or-bust expectations this season.
Although the Yankees have not yet splurged for Manny Machado, they did bolster their rotation, bullpen, and infield over the offseason as they try to reel in the Red Sox. New York re-signed C.C. Sabathia, Brett Gardner, and J.A. Happ, while trading for Seattle Mariners lefthander James Paxton and signing Adam Ottavino, Troy Tulowitzki, and D.J. LeMahieu in free agency.
Boone noted that on paper, his rotation and bullpen feels “a little bit stronger” than the pitching staff that led the Yankees to 100 wins last season. However, he recognized that they need to turn that paper into production.
“In a lot of ways the talk about it is cheap,” Boone said. “We have tremendous expectations, and I think we rightfully have those expectations, but now we gotta go out and do it.”