Boone not concerned about job

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 26, 2003

SARASOTA, Fla. - Bob Boone saw himself mentioned first Tuesday in a newspaper's list of major league managers with jobs at risk.

His reaction? A shrug and a laugh.

The Cincinnati Reds' third-year manager knows he has extremely limited job security heading into the final year of his contract. He chooses to ignore it.

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''I may be on the hot seat, but it doesn't feel hot to me,'' he said. ''It's kind of the nature of the game. Certainly when you come into this profession, it's not the most stable means of employment.''

There are heavy expectations on the Reds as they move into Great American Ball Park. Fans expect a team capable of its first postseason appearance since 1995, when a tax increase to build the team's new home went on the ballot.

There could be sweeping changes if the inaugural season is a flop. General manager Jim Bowden also is in the final year of his contract.

The Reds went 66-96 during Boone's first season as manager in 2001. They were in first place for 57 days early last season before fading and finishing third at 78-84.

The strong start prompted the Reds to pick up the 2003 option for Boone, who is one of the majors' lowest-paid managers, with an annual salary of $400,000.

''The money part of it never motivated me,'' he said. ''It's not what makes me tick.''

Boone's penchant for trying unorthodox moves has been criticized, and his relationship with Ken Griffey Jr. was strained when he tried to talk San Diego's Phil Nevin into accepting a trade for Griffey in the offseason. Nevin blocked the deal by invoking his no-trade clause, and Griffey showed up for spring training stewing.

Boone doesn't dwell on his status or his future and insists he's not concerned about what might happen if things go wrong.

''I've never worried about anything,'' he said. ''I never have my whole life.

''This is a game you have to play relaxed. My goal is to try to keep these guys as relaxed as I can. I try to keep exterior pressures away from them and talk about how you deal with them. I think I have to have my act together on that before I can ask somebody else to do that.''