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Aaron Boone shrugs off Yankees’ grim reality with brilliant pitch

Aaron Boone shrugs off Yankees’ grim reality with brilliant pitch

If this doesn’t work for Aaron Boone, it might work in politics, or rather in diplomacy.

Or if he takes a 97 percent pay cut (a fair estimate), he can write for one of those websites dedicated to positive news about the team.

In the meantime, we can count on the Yankees manager to find the kindest way to describe every mistake or misconduct. And while that works for him — he’s in his seventh year as Yankees manager, the longest he’s been in that job without winning a championship — he can sometimes be too lenient with his players, as was the case this week.

This is where we have to step in. It takes balance. Reality needs to resurface. And raw honesty can be helpful. (We’ll get to some of that below.)

Aaron Boone can be a little too nice for the Yankees at times. Robert Sabo for The New York Post

Boone angered some fans when he gave a crucial pass to Gold Glove-winning backup center fielder Trent Grisham after Grisham’s apparent indifference caused the Yankees to lose a base on Thursday in the third game of a win over the also-losing Reds. (While he was on a one-hit, the normally accomplished center fielder looked like me when I pick up The Post when it’s delivered at 6 a.m.) Even the next day, Boone continued to point out that the game didn’t look good because Grisham is so talented and plays so easily.

While this is undeniable—Boone is particularly good at avoiding lies—it was also a shockingly bad play that deserves to be described as such.

Eventually, Boone spoke to Gresham, and apparently told him so explicitly. Anyway, Gresham got the message, and that’s what matters most.

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“I should have done this play,” Gresham told me frankly.

Boone, whose team was opening a series at Yankee Stadium against the rival Red Sox, would not attack his team or its players. Not publicly, he wouldn’t.

“I try not to get too emotional because we lost some games or won some games. I have the conversations that I think are necessary,” Boone explained.

Trent Grisham made an error during the ninth inning of Thursday’s game against the Reds. Getty Images

Team management boils down to a series of calculations, and Boone clearly decided long ago to keep things positive when he talks to the press about his players. Indeed, that has been a trend in baseball for decades, and to varying degrees, nearly every manager takes to the microphone to put a happy (or at least better) spin on whatever is happening.

Expressing happy thoughts is not difficult for Bon, he is a very kind person by nature (except for the judges), and sees the bright side in any situation. Bon will not get angry; he simply will not get angry. And that is why we are here.

Boone’s method requires some verbal maneuvering, and Boone, a USC graduate who can make anything sound upbeat and is better at using words than I am (please don’t laugh), will always find the best way to describe what’s happening. Naturally, Boone ignored the social media posts of Aaron Judge’s hitting coach Richard Schenk, who pointed out how poorly the team played and blamed the organization. (Boone is even kind to opponents.)

Obviously, they both have different jobs, and perhaps different personalities, too. And while I can’t say I know enough to blame the Yankees’ development staff for dealing with the problems of players who have come through the system (except for the great Judge, of course), it’s also refreshing to hear a candid perspective from time to time.

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Now let’s get some facts straight. The Yankees are 4-13 in their last 17 games, and they look worse. In their last 11 losses, they haven’t led. Not even by a run. It doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out that’s at least 99 innings without a lead. Which makes sense given the way things are going.

Meanwhile, Boone used the phrase “difficult period” on Friday to document the past few weeks, which have been nothing short of tragic (not a word he would use). While I like Boone a lot (and I’m not just talking about diplomacy), it’s time someone chose words that better describe the situation.

Gleyber Torres made a mistake during the Yankees game last month. USA Today Sports via Reuters Con

Boone also noted how “unfortunate” it is that mistakes by his starters are being treated negatively. But that’s what major league teams do when it comes to mistakes: they make them negatively.

The once-best team in baseball has been underperforming lately. Carlos Rodon, Luis Gil and Marcus Stroman have all fallen off the pace after great starts.

Let’s face it, almost nothing beats 1) Judge, who’s still on pace like Babe Ruth, 2) Juan Soto, who’s not far off that pace, and 3) the return of Gerrit Cole.

While Boone has talked as if some players have been below average in recent days, the reality is that almost everyone except the MVP candidates have. Of the 10 active Yankees players with the most plate appearances, only two — Judge and Soto — have an OPS+ above 100. That’s right, the other eight are all below average.

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They lost 13 out of [17] while [Judge] “Hits like an MVP. Yankees offensive lineman development is terrible,” Schenk wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, in response to the YES Network account.

While he may or may not be right about the second part, it was nice to hear a raw, real opinion.