Boone excited about his opportunity

By RONALD BLUM

The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Aaron Boone was pulling into the driveway of his home in Scottsdale, Arizona, last Thursday, bringing 8-year-old daughter Bella home from school so his wife could drive her to a dance lesson, and he noticed a missed call from Brian Cashman.

Boone called back the New York Yankees general manager as his wife looked on and said Cashman told him: “Hey, just first and foremost, I want to make sure you’re completely on board and understanding the commitment level that is now expected of you.”

“If that’s the case,” Boone recalled Cashman saying, “I’m going to recommend to ownership that you’re the guy we move forward and focus on.”

And with that, at age 44 Boone had secured his first manager or coaching job of any kind since his retirement as a player eight years ago.

Boone was introduced Wednesday as New York’s manager during a news conference at Yankee Stadium, where televisions throughout the ballpark showed images of him rounding the bases in triumph after his 11th-inning home run off Boston’s Tim Wakefield won Game 7 of the 2003 AL Championship Series for New York.

“It’s certainly something that I’m known for in my baseball life, obviously, and in some way probably is a contributor to me being here today,” he said.

Among six candidates for the job, Boone so impressed Cashman and his staff that no second round of interviews was needed.

“The interview process is to try to determine how Aaron ticks and if he an extension of our philosophies or pretty close to an extension of our philosophies and what kind of decision-making process he would gravitate to,” Cashman said. “That doesn’t mean there won’t be some growing pains on the beginning end, and we’re OK with that.”

Boone had worked for ESPN since retiring as a player. He acknowledged one of his first tasks will be to convince his players he can do the job.