Just before the season started, I asked Yankees manager Aaron Boone on TV how it felt to be managing a third-place team, or words like that. While Harold Reynolds was gasping a room away, Boone seemed unfazed, unannoyed. Boone answered calmly, saying he had great confidence in his team, more than many (apparently me included). 

On Sunday, when I asked Boone if he recalled that conversation, he said no. And the reason is plain: He hears a lot of stupidity, and gives it no heed. This is a great gift. 

I’ve known Boone a bit since he was 14, the middle of Bob Boone’s three ballplaying boys (the oldest Bret, you know; Matt, was a Tigers draftee). I was a writer covering the California Angels and Bob, their starting catcher. Yes, it was eons ago. The middle Boone son always seemed unfailingly upbeat. Today, he drowns out negativity and noise, even if it comes from a misguided sometime TV “talent.” 

Boone is so positive you wonder if it’s legit. I asked him if he meant what he said that day. No surprise, he did. You believe him. 

He’s upbeat, yet honest. Remember, he’s about the only player ever to admit he hurt himself doing something in violation of his contract when he wrecked his knee playing offseason hoops, costing himself a huge paycheck and us more than a decade of A-Rod drama. Such rare honesty just might have earned him his current job 13 years later. 

Anyway, as good as Boone felt about the Yankees as spring closed, he must feel that much better now, as they stand 19-8 after splitting Sunday’s doubleheader versus Texas, still the best in AL. It’s early but they are starting to establish themselves as the team to beat in the American League.