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Aaron Boone on relationship with media: Mutual respect is needed

Manager Aaron Boone of the New York Yankees

Manager Aaron Boone of the New York Yankees speaks to the media prior to a game against the New York Mets at Yankee Stadium on Monday, June 10, 2019 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

Aaron Boone can relate to Mickey Callaway. Both know what it’s like as a New York manager after a game, being pressed by a mass of media for explanations of their moves, especially when the decisions don’t work out and lead to a difficult defeat.

Take last year’s Division Series, in which the Yankees fell to Boston in four games. Boone took heat for not pulling a couple of starters earlier in the last two games.

But the Yankees’ manager has never let that frustration boil over the top of the pot the way Callaway did Sunday. After the Mets’ come-from-ahead loss to the Cubs in Chicago and Callaway’s subsequent news conference, the Mets’ manager unleashed some expletives at Newsday Mets beat writer Tim Healey for all to hear and tried have him ejected from the clubhouse.

The writer’s “transgression” was simply saying, “See you tomorrow, Mickey.” Callaway, in the midst of a frustrating season that has led to calls for his firing, labeled it “a misunderstanding” Monday and tied it more to the game, saying, “I don’t like losing.”

“I mean, it’s part of the job,” Boone said of facing the daily/nightly postgame questions about decisions when he met the media before the Yankees’ game against Toronto on Monday night at the Stadium. “You know you’re going to be scrutinized, obviously.

“I don’t know obviously everything that’s gone on there [with Callaway]. I’ve seen a couple of clips of some things, so I don’t want to get into it too much. It’s a long season.”

Callaway experienced hard questioning about staying with reliever Seth Lugo and not bringing in closer Edwin Diaz with five outs to go. Callaway initially didn’t apologize when he met the media before the Mets’ game in Philadelphia on Monday night, but he met with reporters again a few hours later, expressed his regrets and said he was sorry. He said he apologized in a meeting with Healey.

Jason Vargas, who physically threatened Healey on Sunday and had to be restrained by two players, didn’t apologize when he spoke Monday. The pitcher called it all “an unfortunate distraction.” Newsday reported that the Mets fined Callaway and Vargas $10,000 each.

The scrutiny obviously is even more intense in the postseason. In Game 3 of the ALDS, Boone left a struggling Luis Severino in to open the fourth and the game got away. The Yankees ended up losing 16-1. Boone admitted after the series that he “got a little greedy” with Severino. There was more scrutiny after Game 4 over the thought that he left CC Sabathia in too long.

Boone said Monday that the relationship between the manager and the media comes down to respect.

“Guys, I get upset,” Boone said. “People get upset. Ultimately, it’s how you handle things, and hopefully there’s at least a mutual respect that goes on throughout the baseball season.

“And … part of this position is, I think, understanding that and having that mutual respect and you try to do it the best you can.”

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