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Boone pulling for his old mates10/11/2004 12:34 AM ET
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- One pitch last October made Aaron Boone a Yankee legend, forever etching his name in franchise history.
This month, Boone is watching the playoffs from his home in Arizona, looking ahead to next spring when he will return to baseball as a member of the Cleveland Indians after missing the 2004 season with a knee injury.
The Yankees and Red Sox will begin another American League Championship Series this week, as the two teams meet for the right to represent the Junior Circuit in the World Series. Alex Rodriguez now mans the hot corner that was occupied by Boone last year, but the former New York third baseman will be watching when his old teammates take the field.
"I've been following it," Boone said. "I know what's going on. I'm looking forward to the series."
Boone only wore the Yankees pinstripes for two months before last year's postseason, when his walk-off home run in the 11th inning of Game 7 against the Sox put him in the same company as Bucky Dent for the rest of time.
"I definitely have an appreciation for the rivalry, what it means, more so than I did two years ago," Boone said. "It's more interesting for me to watch than it may have been in the past."
Boone admitted that while he watched some of the Yankees' games against the Twins in the Division Series, he was busy watching his beloved USC Trojans on Saturday, as the No. 1 ranked team in college football avenged its only loss of 2003 by defeating the California Golden Bears.
Boone followed the Yankees throughout the season, watching them compile 101 wins for the second consecutive year. Having been a part of the battles against the Red Sox last season, Boone believes that this rivalry has only gotten more intense.
"It's hard in baseball to match anything that Yankees-Red Sox brings," Boone said. "I think all your life, you play in games that are heated or intense, but Yankees-Red Sox, just because it's on such a national level, you realize what it means."
Boone hasn't kept in touch with any of his Yankees teammates from last season, but he's still pulling for them to defeat the BoSox and advance to the World Series for the seventh time in nine years.
"I think they're real good," Boone said. "The Red Sox are great, too, so it will be a clash of the titans. They're two great teams playing for the pennant, which is what a lot of people wanted to see."
Something else people will see a lot of in the next week or two: Boone's home run. The replay of his game-winner against Tim Wakefield will surely be shown dozens of times during the ALCS, not that Boone minds seeing it.
Boone and his wife, Laura, plan on watching a lot of the series, which begins on Tuesday night. Boone's prediction? Fittingly, Yankees in seven.
"Nothing would surprise me," Boone said. "I think it will probably come down to the end, so I wouldn't be surprised to see it go to a Game 7. I'll be pulling for the Yanks, that's for sure."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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