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Bret Boone, Former MLB All-Star

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb
The Truth Network Radio
July 11, 2023 9:40 pm

Bret Boone, Former MLB All-Star

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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July 11, 2023 9:40 pm

Former 14-year MLB veteran Bret Boone joins Zach Gelb to discuss the first half of the regular season, the future of Shohei Ohtani and Aaron Judge's return from injury


Alrighty, we continue this Zach Gelb show coast to coast on CBS Sports Radio. The All-Star Game coming up in just a bit out in Seattle. Let's welcome in a former Seattle Mariner and a man that has played in three All-Star Games himself. You can now check him out on the Boon Podcast.

And that of course is Brett Boon, kind enough to join us on CBS Sports Radio. Brett, I know it's been a while since we last connected, but appreciate the time. How you been?

You got it Zach. I've been good. I've been busy. Seattle, they're doing a really good job out here for the All-Star Game. We started, I got in on Friday, we had the Celebrity Softball Game and the Teasers Game and the Swingman Junior had a new game they put in the rotation.

That was cool. The city's doing a really good job. I saw Nelly last night watching a home run derby, so I'm exhausted. I'm going place to place, doing a lot of stuff, but enjoying it. And for me, this is kind of my city and the city's been great to me, so walking around just interacting with the fans, it's been a lot of fun. When you look back all these years later from your three All-Star Game appearances, Brett, what are the memories that still come to mind for you?

I'll tell you, I remember my first one was in 98 and I got the call and I was a kid in a candy shop. It's like, alright, you get to the big leagues, that's the first thing. You get to your first All-Star Game, that's another level.

There's certain things in your career that are kind of pinnacle. Going to a World Series. But I remember getting the call for the first one. It was great.

It was in Colorado. But the fondest memory I think I have is the 0-1. Obviously, we had an unbelievable season and I did my first home run derby. I remember going to the ballpark and Joe Torre said, Dooney, you're hitting fourth and you earned it this year and it was cool. Because as much as I like to play that cool guy game, the realness inside me was like, wow, I'm hitting fourth in the All-Star Game.

Who would have thought I would have ever done that? That was really cool. But the pinnacle for me probably was my first home run derby. We were in Seattle, we won 116 games that year. So there was a lot of standing obeisance, a lot of positive fan interaction, especially in the city. But to be in my home city, I remember as athletes, we have an ability to kind of zone out the noise.

So that goes for a home game when the fans are cheering for you, a world game where you have some hostile fans. You kind of get in the box and I'm in my own world. But for the first time, I stepped in that box when I got announced as a home run derby. And it kind of was a little bit overwhelming. The standing ovation I got, I kind of stepped out of the box like, wow, usually I'm not affected by this stuff.

And it affected me. And to this day, I still remember that I got a chance to talk to Julio before the All-Star, before the home run derby last night. He put on a great show.

He ended up not winning. But I said, listen, I remember when I did it here, this could be the biggest ovation you ever hear. And sure enough, he came to the plate and the roof flew off and it was really cool.

So that's, you know, as much as it's an exhibition, not a big deal. I didn't have the walk-off three-run homer. That was one of the key moments that I'll always remember. It's so cool to just hear the genuine passion that you had for the All-Star game. And I always ask this to players that have played with a lot of other great players. Because I always have that vision when a player goes into the locker room for the first time, whether it's American League or National League. You're probably in awe of the other great players. But for you, each and every day when you went into the clubhouse, you had all these All-Stars on your team. So was that still surreal to you the first time in 98 when you walk into the clubhouse and you have all these other great players getting dressed and getting ready to go? Well, I get that a lot.

Because I did. I grew up in a pretty unique situation, going to the ballpark. And I always thought, doesn't everybody get to do this? I'm just going to work with my dad. His workplace just happened to have Pete Rhodes and Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton there.

Later on in his career, I was hanging out with Reggie Jackson and Rod Carew and Don Baylor and Don Sutton. And it was no big deal for me. But the flip side is, that's one thing to be a little kid running around, probably being a pain in the ass. And it's another thing when it's your job. And it's your livelihood. It's what you do for a living. It's just as overwhelming.

And yes, I'm sitting there and I'm listening to Barry Bonds hold court and talk hitting and Manny Ramirez is sitting there and Juan Gonzalez at the time, one of the biggest run producers in the world. And I was like a kid. Yeah, everybody thought, oh, well, Brett's used to this. No big deal. It's one thing being a kid.

It's another thing, this is what you do for a living. And it was just as kind of cool and unreal as I think it is for any guy that goes to his first All-Star game. We're talking to Brett Boone right now. When you get to the Angels, they're currently five games out, a game under.500 of that final wildcard spot. You know Mike Trout is now going to miss some significant amount of time. The talk is, what do they do with Shohei Ohtani?

I don't think they're going to trade him and probably they'll end up losing him in the offseason anyway. But if you were running the Angels, would you move Ohtani from now until August 1st? Ohtani's an interesting take for me. I think the bottom line, what he does for the game of baseball, the way he moves the needle, not only in America but especially that Japanese market, I got to see it up close in 2001 when Ichiro came over here.

So, you know, put the economical impact aside, what he's doing in the game right now. You know, I'm here with a lot of great players from a lot of different generations and the talk is Ohtani. And they can't believe, you know, I rode over in the car today with Raleigh Fingers.

Wow. And we're talking about Ohtani and he's in awe. You know, those old school guys are usually like, yeah, my generation was this and that. But I'll tell you, he's the boss. He's the talk of baseball from Raleigh Fingers, you know, his Oakland A-teams in the early 70s to the current players. The thing is Shohei Ohtani, the one thing as a fan, and I have an appreciation for it because I didn't think this would ever come to fruition.

A guy played two ways at the highest level. What he's doing now, not only if he's doing it at an average level, let's say he's hitting seventh in the lineup but he's a number three or number four starter, that would be unbelievable for me. But the fact that he's doing it at a number one starter level and a middle of the lineup legitimate all-star level on both sides, it's unbelievable. And by the way, he's one of the fastest guys in the game too and he steals bases. He plays every day.

The only thing for me is, if I'm ownership, is it too good to be true? How long can you keep this up? And I was thinking about when he falls off and just is a good player, is just a third or fourth starter, the expectations are set so high. Are the people going to frown on always not what he used to be when he's still something we've never seen?

So I think it's an interesting case. I don't think money is going to be the problem. It's going to be 600, it's going to be 700, whatever it is.

I think you're going to have teams lining up. But as an owner, I'm just thinking, how real is this that he can keep this up for an extended period of time? I, as a fan, I love it that he's playing and I just want to see him get better and better.

I don't know if he can get any better. But it's going to be really interesting this offseason. I know the Angels' entire focus this year was retaining Otani. They're a better team. I think they're in a little tough spot in that division.

I think Texas has gotten a lot better. They're a better team. The Houston Astros, who I think is going to be at the top of that division at the end, they're a better team because they can just pitch better than everybody else. Mariners have had a rough start, not living up to expectations, but they can really pitch, too.

So I think it's a tough division for the Angels to go anywhere and make that postseason going to be a real stretch for them. But who knows? We'll see. I think Artie Moreno, the owner of the Angels, he was going to sell, he was going to sell, then he decided not to sell.

I think the reason he didn't sell is because he wanted to do everything in his power to retain Otani's services. It's going to be interesting. We'll see.

It's going to come down to Otani. It's where do I want to play? Where am I comfortable? He's had a ton of success in Southern California. It's a great place to play. Anaheim Stadium. I played there.

It was probably my favorite ballpark to play in. Just the weather, the atmosphere, the location. Taxes are high. He might want to think about the taxes when it comes to six, seven hundred million. But it's going to come down to where is he comfortable playing? Where does he want to raise his kids? Where does he want to be with his family? He's pretty comfortable in Anaheim.

I know the people there are unbelievable to him. So it's going to come down to a personal choice. I know the Angels are wanting it, but I know there's a lot of other ball clubs that are going to be lining up. Wrapping up with Brett Boone, the AL is wide open right now with what you've seen so far and how you think it will play out in the second half. Who's the team that you trust the most right now in the American League?

The American League. I'm going to have to say, and I can't believe I'm saying it because year in and year out they do it as the Tampa Bay Rays. I mean, they're off to an unbelievable start.

Baltimore's making noise. They're only two games back. I think in the end, Tampa pitches too much. And offensively, they're not a star-studded lineup. They have the Wanda Francos.

The Rosaritas really upped his stock as far as name recognition. But that pitching, just every year, year in and year out, the turnovers, unbelievable. Whatever that culture they have going in Tampa Bay, they should bottle that and sell it because whatever it is, it's a winning strategy. I still think in the American League, it's the Tampa Bay Rays or the team to beat. And then you look at the National League, Atlanta's just been ridiculous. The Dodgers haven't even played their best baseball yet, and they just found a way right before the All-Star break to be tied right up there with the Arizona Diamondbacks for the first spot in the NL West.

Outside of Atlanta and the Dodgers, because those are the two teams I trust the most, who's that next team that you say, okay, if it's not Atlanta, if it's not the Dodgers, maybe we see them in the fall classic? Well, you would think on paper it makes sense for the San Diego Padres, right? Well, who would have thought at this stage in the game, they're number two in the National League in pitching. They're 14 offensively. And you look at that team on paper, that's the best lineup in baseball, the star power.

They got four legit MVP candidates every year, but for some reason, it's not meshing. They're still 14th in the league in hitting. I think their pitching's good. I didn't think it was second in the league good, but they're proving me wrong at this point. It's going to be a stretch for them.

It's going to be tough. I still think they're six or seven out in the wildcard, so that's going to be a tough draw for them. Dodgers, not as good as they were a year ago, definitely not as good as they've been the last five or six years. But definitely, they're still the Dodgers, and they're still good. Arias is getting back and healthy.

He's the key. Kershaw's still pitching at a high level, and they're going to be a team to beat. I think Atlanta's the clear-cut favorite. I mean, they're just the best team in baseball around offensively, defensively. Pitching-wise, they got it all in Atlanta. That lineup's unbelievable.

I got a chance to go out there. I think Atlanta's a team. You look to the Central Division. Cincinnati, that's a fun story.

I think they're making some noise. They don't have the pitching to hold up. That Central Division and the National League and the American League I think is equally bad. I don't think you're going to see a World Series champion from those Central Divisions, but I just don't see anybody better than Atlanta. Arizona might find a playoff spot. That's another great story to go along with those Baltimore Royals and the Cincinnati Reds.

But at the end of the day, I think you're right. I think it's the Dodgers. But I think the superior team in that league, the Atlanta Braves, by far. Two more questions for Brett Boone, who's here with us on the Zach Gelb show.

You mentioned Cincinnati. Elie De La Cruz has taken the league by storm in his first 30 games. I can't believe I'm saying this, Brett. I would not have been annoyed with what the All-Star game is today.

It's about marketing young stars. If after only 30 games they put him in the All-Star game, because that's how great he's been. He's unbelievable. He's one of those, and I don't say this in a bad way or a condescending way, he's a freaky talent. He's a freak. Who's that big, runs that fast, hits balls that far, and is that athletic?

But that's what we're seeing in 2023. The Tatis juniors of the world. I think Elie De La Cruz, there's a lot of comparisons to a Tatis junior who I think is one of the most talented guys in the game. He's got it all. He can run. He can hit homers. He's exciting. And you hit it on the head, Zach, when you said the marketing in today's game.

It's a different animal than it used to be. And I think if you're talking about the cover of a magazine to represent your team, De La Cruz is becoming that guy. Like a Fernando Tatis, they're great players, and they're kind of rock stars, too, for the cover of the program.

We've been talking about stars. Your brother has one, managing the Yankees and Aaron Judge. And with that toe injury, we haven't seen him for a while. Do you think your brother will eventually get Aaron back in the lineup sometime this year?

I think so. And to be honest with you, you'd think I'd have some insight. I don't talk to Aaron. We talk weekly.

Once in a while, we'll talk baseball. He'll have a question, advice. He doesn't always take my advice.

I think he should. He'd be smarter. His older brother still knows best.

No, I'm kidding. But he's been tight-lipped on it. I haven't asked him about it. He hasn't said anything. I'm hearing some grumblings.

He's going to be back right after the All-Star break, so we'll see if I'm right. Are you really? So you haven't heard that from your brother, but someone's telling you. Yes, and that's honest. I haven't heard that from my brother.

I'll tell you this. We don't talk about the game so much. I think the big news was made yesterday or the day before. Sean Casey, who is a good buddy of Aaron's and a teammate for years in Cincinnati, was named the hitting coach. I had no clue, because people were coming up to me and asked me. John Heyman asked me, Booney, are you going to be the hitting coach for your brother? I said, what are you talking about?

I didn't even know that was up for grabs or anything like that. And I told Johnny, I said, no. We kind of decided a while ago that that's his thing in New York. It's not the Boone brothers hanging out in New York. That's Aaron's thing. I want to leave it Aaron's thing. So as much as people think I talked to my brother, I got all this insight on the Yankees.

We really don't talk about it. And I heard about the Sean Casey hire with everybody else on Twitter. So just to confirm, your brother has not told you about the Judge situation, but someone has got in your ear to tell you that Judge could be back sooner rather than later after the All-Star break.

Honest Abe, yes. Aaron Boone, definitely not my source, and that's honest. Well, we appreciate that, and I love that. Make sure you check him out on the Boone Podcast. They keep on pumping out content all throughout the week.

It has been great all throughout the year. Brett Boone, great to catch back up with you. Thank you. You got it, Zach. See you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-11 22:39:33 / 2023-07-11 22:46:58 / 7

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