Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Aaron Boone's debut story
Former Yankee Aaron Boone's MLB debut may not rival Stephen Strasburg's, but it was pretty good. Aaron’s working “Baseball Tonight” this week, so we caught up with him to get the story of his first big league appearance. Here's his tale:
“It’s 1997 and I’m in Indianapolis. It’s June and the Reds have a veteran club that’s struggling. My brother (Bret) gets sent down ... he was an established guy who was struggling and they made an example of him. I knew he was coming down to play with me, which was weird.
"The Reds had an off day. We played a game that day in the minors. I got called into the office after the game. My dream was being realized. I was being called up to replace my brother. It was a very emotional moment on so many levels for me.
"My brother was only down for two games and then back up, thankfully. He was very excited for me. I remember he said ‘I’ll see you in a couple days.’
"My first game, I fly to St. Louis, didn’t get much sleep that night. My lack of sleep aided me, calmed me down so I wasn’t overwhelmed running onto the field at Busch Stadium.
"Matt Morris was pitching. In my third at-bat I got my first hit and got my first RBI. I stole second. Joe Oliver got a base hit to right field. I come in to score, slide, tap the plate with my left hand in a pop-up slide. I get called out by Gary Darling.
“As I pop-up from my slide, I react, and throw my helmet down, not trying to be confrontational -- more of an ‘Oh no!’. It catapaults 10 feet in the air. Next thing I know, Gary is giving me the heave-ho. An ejection.
"The panic sets in, and I walk off the field thinking that the umps are gonna blackball me. I’m in panic mode as I go back to the clubhouse. I walk in, and John Smiley, Jeff Brantley and Dave Burba are sitting there. They all start laughing.
" ‘Hey, we liked it,' they said, referring to the ejection. ‘We got your fine covered.’
“Someone talked to Gary on my behalf. We look back and laugh now about that moment. We got along great after that. Fortunately, the umpires never stuck it to me.”
Mark Simon is a researcher for Baseball Tonight. Follow him on Twitter at @msimonespn or e-mail him at email@example.com.