It’s a great time to be a New York baseball fan.
Both teams are on the fast track to October. And their managers deserve plenty of credit. But could Aaron Boone and Buck Showalter both be named manager of the year in their respective leagues? The Athletic says yes. It gave its midseason honor to both.
From The Athletic:
Boone has a lot of [former Yankees manager Joe] Torre in him. And that ability to deflect the Big Apple noise, connect with so many fellow humans and handle every crisis is a necessity for managing in New York and, especially, managing the New York Yankees. One prime example: You know how hard it is to keep the Joey Gallo debacle from becoming A Major Thing, even on a team that never stops winning? Trust me. Harder than you think.
And could there possibly have been a more perfect fit for the post-Wilpon Mets than Showalter? This was a franchise desperate for attention to detail, a manager with the ability to shut down selfish sideshows and decades of managerial expertise in answering every possible question without blowing up the back page of the Post four times a week. That’s Buck.
He’s an instant culture-changer. Always has been. Which is why he’s in a position to become the first man ever to win a manager-of-the-year award for four different teams. I can’t guarantee he’ll pull that off. But I can gladly hand him this manager-of-the-half-year award.
Let’s start with Boone.
The veteran manager dealt with a ton of noise this past offseason. Yankee fans were impatient, and rightfully so. Arguably the greatest franchise in the history of sport hasn’t reached a World Series since 2009. There were fans who wanted Boone out. But the Yankees elected to stick with their guy and it has paid dividends thus far.
With the help of Aaron Judge’s MVP-caliber start to the season and strong pitching from lefty Nestor Cortes (7-3, 2.44 ERA through 15 starts), Boone is managing a top-tier Yankees squad that is 14.5 games up in the AL East (in early-July, mind you).
Boone and the Yanks keep winning ballgames, which is what the impatient Bronx fanbase wants (for right now, at least). The main test will be how they fare in October though. A World Series title would quiet any negative noise regarding Boone.
As for Showalter, the Mets have finally added a mature voice to the managerial role in the post-Terry Collins era. The team failed to reach the postseason with Mickey Callaway (2018-19) and Luis Rojas wasn’t even the team’s first choice during its managerial search for 2020 (that was Carlos Beltran before his role in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal forced the Mets to fire him two and a half months into his tenure).
Showalter’s stern but player-friendly approach to the game has been a huge reason for the Mets finally reaching their potential. This team has had talent within the roster for a number of years but has failed to get over the hump (the Mets haven’t reached the postseason since 2016).
The Mets keep winning games, but just like with the Yankees, the true test will be in October. Showalter and his ballclub have proven to be dominant against the Marlins and Nationals of the world. However, let’s see how they fare against teams like the Braves and Dodgers this fall.