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The Yankees Could Be Meaner

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 23: Anthony Volpe #77 of the New York Yankees smiles during Spring Training at George M. Steinbrenner Field on February 23, 2023 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by New York Yankees/Getty Images)
New York Yankees/Getty Images

The New York Yankees are not the team you would immediately assume would go for PR treacle like those "I've got bad news for you … you've made the club" videos, but here we are with 21-year-old starting shortstop Anthony Volpe getting the word from manager Aaron Boone that he's made the roster after an excellent spring. It's a lot like those hardworking-walk-on-wins-scholarship clips universities emit regularly that routinely elicit tears from the student in question who just saw a last-minute reprieve from years of crippling college debt.

The Yankees being the team with a heart is a weird proposition, especially since the St. Louis Cardinals did the same thing with Jordan Walker. One can only assume that a directive came down from MLB's video people saying, "Let's do some of these to show what swell folks we are—you know, nervous young guy, thinks he's getting sent down, gets good news, breaks down, it's a natural." But the Yankees have always given off the stereotypical vibe of the team that just puts the opening-day roster on the clubhouse white board and then gets about the business of the day. Or, more in keeping with the brand, lines up all the players and says, "Everyone going up to the big club take one step forward, with the following exceptions." Or, hearkening back to the Steinbrenner/Martin days, loading everyone on a bus and dropping off the unexpecteds in Scranton.

Besides, it's a little hard for Boone to surprise Volpe that much, given that his main competition for the job, Oswald Peraza, hit .190 in spring while Volpe hit .314 and got more spring training at-bats than any other Yankee. If this helps, Peraza also doesn't have a contract too big to demote, making this almost a no-brainer in the new era of less service time manipulation.

Good for Volpe and all, as he clearly earned the gig, but as a matter of entertainment, this kind of doesn't work because Boone doesn't do the set-up very well. He's had enough experience, surely, having been the Yankee manager for five years, so if this is going to be a staple of the new kinder gentler Yankees, both in player relations and cinema verite, he has to load the gun a bit better. He needs to draw out the agony a bit more, making the news to Volpe seem more dire, instead of bailing out of the premise after 20 seconds. I mean, the camera wasn't being rented by the hour. This should have taken at least a few minutes—sort of like this:

But maybe they'll be as generous with the camera if Volpe comes out of April hitting .190 and Peraza gets promoted. By then, we expect Boone to be better at this, at least comedically. If we're doing show biz, let's do show biz.

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