Mancuso: Enough Of the Yankees “Savage” Attitude

Aaron Boone called his Yankees “Savages” in the box last month after he argued balls and strikes with a rookie umpire. And for the third time in a month the savages were at it again at Yankee Stadium.

Again Boone and Brett Gardner were savages in the Bronx Saturday afternoon.  Oh, the Yankees won another ballgame, 6-5, their second straight playoff type of win over the Cleveland Indians.

And If something is different with the Yankees this season it has nothing to do with their persistence to be the best team in baseball. But the way they are going about things at times leaves many to speculate about a line being drawn.

 The Indians top four in the lineup of Francisco Lindor, Oscar Mercado, Carlos Santana, and Yasiel Puig, combined to hit 8-for-15. They scored five runs, hit four doubles, drove in four runs.

The bottom five, went 1-for-8 with a walk and struck out five times. That should have been the headline along with Gleyber Torres and his Major League leading seventh multi-home run game. Home runs from DJ LeMahieu and Didi Gregorius should have been the headline. 

So should the Indians bullpen and how this potential playoff team is 3-3 against the Yankees this season, 1-2 in the Bronx, and 13-13 in one-run games.

No, it was about the Yankees and ejections from the umpires over balls and strikes, their continued quest to be savages in the box.

Good enough for the Yankees and James Paxton (9-6) to get the win. The Yankees bullpen again closed the door on this.  Aroldis Chapman converted his 25th save, the most by a Yankee since Andrew Miller had with his 36 in 2015. 

Instead,  the talk was about the bottom of the sixth inning. After the Yankees Cameron Maybin, called out on strikes by rookie home plate umpire Ben May, he continued to argue. 

Manager Aaron Boone came to the aid of Maybin immediately from the first base dugout side. The argument continued and  Boone was ejected. CC Sabathia, scheduled to make his first start off the injured list in the Sunday series finale, also barked and was ejected.

So was Brett Gardner, who was seen once again banging his bat above the roof of the Yankees dugout. First base umpire Phil Cuzzi who tossed Sabathia, did the same to Gardner, 

Savages at the plate they are. The Yankees lead baseball in runs scored. And though the umpires, more often than usual, are working with a strike zone that can be questioned, the Yankees refuse to look at what is at hand here.

Competitive, yes ,they are. In the end though, arguing balls and strikes is grounds for immediate ejection the last time you read the rule book.  

The Yankees, though, as Aaron Boone would say, objected to some calls and there were issues.

“Obviously it went too far,” Boone said about the ejections. “We’re playing for a lot right now. We’re in this thing we’re playing for keeps. We’ll certainly work closer with the commissioner’s office  and find out what’s acceptable or not and try and be respectable with that, and do what we have, to stay in the game.”

And the issue here is Gardner. Word has gone around that the intense outfielder is more content with getting a point across by banging his bat above the dugout roof.  Umpires, a small fraternity, have got the word around about these Savage Yankees in the box and in the dugout.

It’s an issue. Boone wants some answers and will get this addressed. Right or wrong, he deserves answers. But the Yankeees, inevitable to their first October step, well they want to play to keep and get that home field advantage in October.

But they can’t be savages in their quest and that means not  losing a player or two to suspension for that best record. The manager also made reference to that. 

“In the heat of the battle you get a little passionate,” Boone said. “Obviously, don’t like that.”

 Are the umpires gunning after the Yankees after that incident of words the first time and aiming at them more? Or is this just a coincidence and a part of the game? Are the umpires not dealing with this in a rationale matter?

You be the judge here, but the Yankees may have took this to another extreme. Boone also claims the umpires are looking at his team which will certainly get some attention when this is all sorted out.

Said Boone about the umpires, “Watching Gardy with the bat, they are obviously looking at us.” 

Through a pool reporter, crew chief umpire Tom Hallion said, “Cuzzi saw Gardner banging his bat on the dugout roof.”   
“That’s probably a pretty accurate statement,” Hallion said. He said about the Aaron Boone ejection, “I wasn’t the only one ejecting him. That will be in the report to New York. So if you need that information you can call New York and get that.”

Gardner said, “Kinda crazy to be honest. Felt like I had a target on my back. I’m not saying what I did was right, but I probably won’t do it tomorrow.”

So don’t do it tomorrow and don’t do it the next day. Bret Gardner needs to continue using his bat to get the big hit and needs to be informed by higher ups that pay him a bat is not meant to bang a dugout roof.  The fans, 47,347 in the sellout crowd are buying into this savage attitude.

The game is not supposed to be played that way, though arguing with umpires has always been, to a lesser extent now with the advent of replay 

And Sunday afternoon, the Yankees will look to close out another successful homestand and take three-of-four from the Indians who are neck-and-neck for the AL Central lead with the Twins.

“These last two games have been very well played games, two very good teams,” Boone said.  “It’s our job to play under control.”

He said it has been great to be a part of managing a playoff atmosphere type of series.  The Yankees should keep it that way.

Yeah, but you need to stay in the dugout, and of course not be savages because in the end the game of baseball is in command with the umpires when it comes to balls and strikes,

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About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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