Just when you think the Yankees – Red Sox rivalry is beginning to wane, the two teams meet in the postseason and order is quickly restored. Following the Yankees 6-2 win at Fenway Park in Game 2, Aaron Judge left the building blasting New York, New York on his boom box.
Here’s Aaron Judge walking past the Red Sox clubhouse on his way to the bus. Note the music selection on his boom box pic.twitter.com/0vHGBxRoP3
— Jim Witalka (@jwitalka) October 7, 2018
AARON BOONE Q&A
Video circulated last night on social media of Aaron Judge walking past the Red Sox clubhouse playing “New York, New York.” What do you think of that?
AARON BOONE: It’s a good song. Aaron, he’s one of our resident deejays, so he’s got a pretty extensive playlist. I guess that’s the one that was going. We like to hear that song sometimes when we win a big game. I saw it. I think it’s fun. It’s something to talk about. But I think it’s just a good-natured whatever.
What if a Red Sox player walked past your guys’ clubhouse playing “Sweet Caroline”?
AARON BOONE: I like that song too actually. I think both teams are really good, have a lot of respect for each other, and I’ll just kind of leave it at that.
The fact that the Red Sox are going with Nathan Eovaldi tomorrow, does that impact what you do?
AARON BOONE: Possibly. I’m going to talk to my coaches and just see if there’s anything different we might consider doing if we want to get anyone in there. Obviously, a lot will depend on Hicks and seeing if he’s good to go, but I haven’t decided that yet.
Yankee Stadium is not a pitcher’s park, but you guys have pitched better at home than on the road this year. What do you think is behind that?
AARON BOONE: I think sometimes when we talk ‘hitter’s park,’ ‘pitcher’s park,’ we always just go right to the home run and that’s not always the only indicator. There’s places to go in this ballpark; you hit the ball to left center, center field, it’s a big park. I think we do a good job, our team is kind of built around our lefties, of course, but even our right-handed hitters are very good at taking advantage of the short porch in right field, but not every team is necessarily equipped to do that. Plus we have good pitchers.
Aaron Judge, after he came back from the DL, had just the one home run, didn’t have a lot of production at the plate. What told you that he was going to be okay and that this kind of a start to the postseason would be possible for him?
AARON BOONE: Even though he wasn’t hitting the ball out of the ballpark a lot, the last 10 games that he got to play, I felt like doing what Aaron does; control the strike zone. Guys that hit a lot of home runs, it will go through a couple weeks where they won’t hit a home run, and then all of a sudden you hit six in a week or something. I was really encouraged actually with what I saw from him when he did come off the DL … that was my biggest concern was how is he going to be timing-wise and I felt like he beat my expectations right out of the gate.
Attendance here is up over 4,000 a game from last year. What do you have to say about the intensity, the crowds, and the interest in Yankee baseball over the last couple of years?
AARON BOONE: I think that’s something that really started last year, as this fan base, I feel like, absolutely connected with kind of this new generation of Yankee player, this young corps that has developed. And me watching from afar last year, especially in the postseason, you could kind of see that raw intensity connection that the fan base had with the players, and that created a lot of buzz going into the winter obviously. Some of the acquisitions, bringing in G and others over the winter, I think, created more excitement. And then going out and having a really strong season, seeing more young guys kind of come of age, and I think it’s always evident how tied now this fan base is to this new crop of Yankee players. That’s been fun to witness, and I think that’s a reason why there’s the interest there.
And do you feel any sort of momentum shift?
AARON BOONE: I don’t know. We know we’re up against a great team. We’re really excited to come back and play in our ballpark where we feel like we have a home field advantage, where we know our fans are going to have an impact … it really comes down to we’ve got to go out and play well, and if we can do that, hopefully grab a lead in the series.
Gary Sanchez has been so different behind the plate the last three games. How can you explain that?
AARON BOONE: He’s a really good player. I’ve been answering a lot of questions about Gary over the last month. Over the last week or ten days, I feel like the at-bats have started to improve even when he wasn’t getting a lot of results yet. We’ve started to see the walks happen a little bit, just control the strike zone a little bit better, and now all of a sudden, hopefully, a little bit of success kind of unleashes what is a massively talented offensive player. He’s been able to do that so far in the postseason, limiting the mistakes. I think he’s been really sharp from behind the plate from a receiving, blocking, game planning, game calling, really on top of his game.
You and Alex Cora have been friends for a while. Have you guys spoken in recent days or weeks now that you’re in this situation? Kind of how has that been?
AARON BOONE: We spoke a little bit before Game 1. It’s been fine. Obviously, these games mean a lot. We’re playing for a lot. But that doesn’t change the respect I have for him and my feelings towards him. But we’re competing against each other, and we both want something precious that we’re both chasing after. So a couple text messages, congrats, things like that, and we spoke a little bit before Game 1. So it’s not weird or anything. It’s just two guys that, I think, have a lot of respect for each other but are playing for a lot.
Aaron, your fans haven’t seen this in a long time, Red Sox-Yankees in the playoffs. What do you think this place will be like tomorrow night?
AARON BOONE: I think it’s going to be amazing. I really do. I think the connection that our fan base and our fans now have with our players is a special one, and now you put it in the postseason, and you bring the Red Sox, who, obviously, that rivalry that’s there and as great of a team as they were this season, I think the atmosphere tomorrow night is going to be special, electric, whatever you want to put on it. I think it’s going to be there, and hopefully we can go out there and give them reason to keep building as the game unfolds. I thought the atmosphere against the A’s was special. I think there’s a potential that it could be even more so tomorrow night.