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Aaron Boone stood in the corner of the clubhouse that night by himself for five minutes watching everyone around him celebrating. The Yankees’ second-year manager looked around the room, taking in Aaron Judge, soaked in champagne, speaking to reporters and Gleyber Torres and Gio Urshela hugging across the room. Boone smiled at the group of rookies that was shaking up the bottles of champagne to spray them around the room.
Boone was soaking in the Yankees’ celebration after clinching the American League East title, the first they had won since 2012. He was also reliving a year that had so many ups and downs, so many injuries and hits to the roster that many never thought the Yankees would get there.
“I wanted to take in a little of all of it, of each of them celebrating and how we’d gotten there,” Boone said. “It was their moment and a moment for me to reflect and take it all in, a memory of this season.”
The 46-year-old baseball lifer had guided a team that set an MLB-record for players on the injured list (30) to 103 regular season wins and that AL East title, which earned him enough votes to be one of the three finalists for the AL Manager of the Year Award along with Tampa Bay’s Kevin Cash and Minnesota’s rookie manager Rocco Baldelli. The winner, based on the voting of a select number of members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, will be announced Tuesday night on MLB Network.
“I only know playing in New York, but I know it’s not easy compared to other places. Managing here isn’t easy either,” Yankees veteran outfielder Brett Gardner said. “I think he did a great job this year. When you look at the injuries he had to deal with, that is impressive. How many games has he won in just two years of managing (203)? It’s a lot.
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