I've been following the Aaron Boone discussion with a great deal of interest. The violence of the criticism has been surprising. First and foremost, as of this date, April 17, 2006 Mr. Boone is hitting .277 with 5 strikeouts in 47 AB with 4 doubles, a homerun and 9 RBIs (plural again, a fetish of mine). He's eighth on the team in hitting and sixth among starters (Perezard being forth and Hollandsworth with only 5 ABs). He's hitting better for average than Michaels, Belliard and Peralta, is tied with V. Martinez in RBIs and has three times as many RBIs as Sizemore. He is definitely a contributor on offense and playing a passable third base. All in all not bad, and certainly playing well enough to continue in his starting role.
Again, I'm new to the site so let me give you my bona fides. I'm at a disadvantage since I'm out here in Hawai'I and see the Indians on TV very rarely. Out here the majority of baseball fans follow California teams with the odd obnoxious Red Sox or Yankee fan sprikled in for flavor. As a result, the vast majority of TV games here are west coast games. East Coast afternoon games start at 7:00 AM local and even west coast night games end by 9:00 PM at the latest. But I did see the opener and my wife had to hide all the sharp objects in the house. I can only judge player's performances by what I see in the box score. And what I see from Boone isn't bad.
A friend and I exchange predictions at the start of the season. Here's an excerpt of my predictions for '06:
Boone will play better than last year, but will still be the least productive Indians 3rd baseman in 15 years. Broussard's a bust- cut or sent down to the minors by years end. The good news will be Marte, called up in early June with a Sizemore like year (.280. 15. 70). Belliard will have another solid season hitting .285, 25 and 85.
So it's not like I thought (think) that Boone would (will) tear up the league. On the contrary, I expected him to come out of the box struggling and replaced by Marte before the All-Star break. But he's doing better than I thought.
A long way to go to get started but here it is. Every successful Indians team in the last 20 years has had at least one professional's professional on the roster. Be it Eddie Murray or Orel Hershisher. That's the one thing that Boone is: professional. Name another player on the current roster who's been through as many play-off games as Aaron. I can't. Plus he has one of the rarest of rare pedigrees, the son of a pro baseball player and the grandson of another. He's been around professional baseball, literally, all his life. He understands that the baseball season is a marathon - not a sprint. He knows that every player, and I mean every player, has gone through slumps, some prolonged. He knows that you're never as good as your winning streaks and never as bad as your slumps. He knows what to do to work himself back. He can and will impart these very valuable lessons to his teammates. Yes, yes, I know, he's not reacting to the pitcher's scouting reports, he's trying to pull everything, but the guy is hitting .277! Let's not panic yet. He may, still, get better.
So here's my message: the Tribe needs at least one veteran leader, Boone seems to fit the bill, and he's playing a decent third base. Give him a break.