A Delayed Start To Season Helps The New York Yankees

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

To the dismay of baseball fans around the world, the MLB is shutting spring training down and delaying the start of the regular season due to the coronavirus outbreak. They follow suit of the NBA, NHL, MLS, NCAA, and others in suspending play.

However, the delay to the season will actually benefit the New York Yankees.

Going into today (3/12), the Yankees were getting killed again with injuries. Aaron Judge has a stress fracture on his right rib that he is slowly getting healed. Gary Sanchez has been sick the last week with a strong case of the flu, and Giancarlo Stanton has been dealing with a calf strain.

On the pitching side of things, Zack Britton got drilled by a comebacker on Wednesday in the wrist. Fortunately, he suffered just a deep bruise and will eventually be ok. However, James Paxton is still on the mend from surgery, removing a back cyst.

The suspension could give the team a chance to be almost completely healthy once Opening Day comes. Now, the season could begin in the middle of April, or it could even be early summer once we get going. The longer it is until the season starts, the more time players will need to get ready.

Although players will stay at camp, they still need more at-bats, especially against other pitchers. So I would assume that the league would eventually schedule scrimmages or exhibitions of some type once there is a set Opening Day.

But for right now, all we can do is wait everything out. Hopefully, the suspensions of all leagues won’t last particularly long. However, that’s all dependent on how healthy the nation is as a whole, and whether public officials believe it is safe to begin to play again.

XFL, New York Guardians suspend season in Coronavirus wake

New York Guardians

The XFL was among the final sports leagues to stop business in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, stalling the season of the New York Guardians.

The XFL announced on Thursday that the league will stop its regular-season schedule. While no specifics were given, the news likely comes as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic that has led to the cancellation or postponement of several other professional leagues’ proceedings, as well as numerous college basketball tournaments.

“Currently, the XFL will not be playing its regular-season games,” the statement reads. “However, all players will be paid their base pay and benefits for the 2020 regular season. All XFL ticket holders will be issued refunds or credit toward future games. The XFL is committed to playing a full season in 2021 and future years.”

The statement’s specification of regular-season game cancellations hints that they will attempt to stage the playoffs. Four of the league’s eight teams were set to be invited to the postseason, with the top two from each division getting the invitations.

The XFL was a rebooted spring football league, borrowing its name from a failed 2001 version made in conjunction with World Wrestling Entertainment and NBC. WWE chairman Vince McMahon announced the arrival in 2018, with eight new teams taking the field last February. The league deemphasized the gimmicks that defined the 2001 attempt but featured several innovations on the field. Among them were tiered extra points that featured plays worth one, two, or three points respective set up from the two, five, or ten-yard lines.

Thus potentially ends the season of the local New York Guardians. New York was one of two markets retained from the original version, the other being Los Angeles. The Guardians posted a 3-2 record, having won two games in a row after a tough start. That record was good enough to place them in a first-place tie with the DC Defenders and St. Louis BattleHawks. Their last game was a 30-12 victory over the Dallas Renegades last weekend in Arlington.

Several members of the Guardians took to social media to express their shock about the developments.

“This all happened too fast,” defensive lineman Joey Mbu said. “And the league didn’t even fold.”

Others, like long snapper Scott Daly, expressed their gratitude for their time in black.

“Thank you…for the opportunity to play the game that I love! Grateful for the new friendships, memories and chance to keep the dream alive! The journey continues!”

New York was set to welcome in the undefeated Houston Roughnecks to MetLife Stadium on Saturday afternoon. As mentioned in the statement, refunds will be available to ticket holders.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Pete Alonso Sends Out Thoughtful Tweet Regarding Coronavirus

New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso is more than just the reigning National League Rookie of the Year and MLB home run champion. He’s a classy, thoughtful young man who is as compassionate towards society as he is ferocious towards opposing pitchers.

On Thursday, after Major League Baseball announced that they were suspending all play in fear of the spreading COVID-19 “Coronavirus”, Alonso tweeted out the below message to the fans.

The 25-year-old Alonso took it upon himself to reach out and comfort and assure fans that we are all in this together. The Mets will continue to work out in Port St. Lucie until further notice.

The first two weeks of the season are history, unlikely to be made up when the season does finally begin. That’s 12 games, leaving just 150 games max to be played. It’s unlikely that the delay will be only two weeks. New York City is preparing for a prolonged shutdown of major venues across the region.

There is a possibility that MLB works out playing the beginning of the season in the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues but that would still involve some travel and whether or not fans would be allowed to view the games is not known.

New York Yankees win in what will be their last game for weeks, all the details

New York Yankees, Tyler Wade

Yankees win 6-3 over the Nationals as Wade gets his second homer

Today’s New York Yankees spring training game was at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in Florida.  It was 80 degrees with mostly sunny skies. Patrick Corbin started for the defending World Champion Washington Nationals.  Corbin is one of the Nat’s pitching aces’.  Mike Tauchman led off for the Yankees and ground out.  Gio Urshela ground out, and Mike Ford struck out for a quick inning for Corbin.  The Yankee starter was Jonathan Loaisiga, who has an ERA of 2.57 across seven innings.   Turner ground out, Eaton ground out, and Castro struck out matching Corbin’s three men up, three men down.

At the second inning, Miguel Andujar lined out, Clint Frazier struck out, and Kyle Higashioka hit a long fly out, and Corbin put down his sixth Yankee in a row.  Soto faced Loaisiga in the bottom, who struck out, Thames walked for Loaisiga’s first of the season.  Gomes hit into a double play to end the half.  Iannetta flew out, Tyler Wade singled, Estrada ground out, and Tauchman ground out, making Corbin look good.  For Loaisiga Hernandez ground out, Kieboom lined out to Estrada, and Robles got his first homer of the season over the left-field nets.  Turner reached for a single.  Eaton struck out looking.  Nats 1, Yankees 0.

Gio Urshela started the fourth with a single.  Ford was called out, and Miguel Andujar hit into a double play to end the half.  Nick Tropeano took over for the Yankees and got Castro to pop out.  Soto ground out, followed by a Thames walk.  Gomes then drove in Thames with a long double.  Hernandez finished the inning with a long fly out.  Nats 2, Yankees 0.  Sean Doolittle in for Corbin let Frazier hit a double to the left.  Frazier reached third on a wild pitch.  Higgy hit a towering fly out, Iannetta doubled for his 3rd RBI of the season as Frazier scored. Amburgey in to pinch run.  Tyler Wade, with his second homer of the spring, a homer way out for the Yankee 3-2 lead.  Ryan Harper replaced Doolittle.  Estrada struck out, Tauchman singled, and Urshela ground out, but the Yankees took the lead.  Kieboom popped out at the bottom.  Robles flew out, Garcia walked, Stevenson singled for two on, and Sanchez struck out, keeping the score at 3-2 Yankees.

Hudson faced Granite in the sixth, Granite walked, Gittens, struck out losing the bat, Milone flew out, and Florial made the final out.  David Hale out for the bottom, got Shuk, Noli, and Bonifacio to ground out. At the seventh, Sam Freeman got Amburgey to strikeout.   Holder popped out, Costillo singled, and Lopez struck out.  At the bottom, Hernandez lined out, Difo ground out, Gushue singled, but Garcia struck out to end the threat.

The eighth inning started with Strickland pitching to Aguilar, who hit a long fly out. Granite stretched a single into a double flying across the bases.  Gittens struck out, and Milone singled driving in Granite for the 5-2 Yankees lead.  Florial doubled, and Milone scored for the 6-2 Yankee lead.  Quackenbush replaced Hudson and Amburgey singled.  Holder ground out, but the Yankees picked up three more runs.  David Hale got Stevenson to strikeout, Sanchez popped out, and Shuk lined out for the fast half for Hale in his third scoreless inning.

At the ninth,  pitcher Backus allow Castillo a single, Lopez ground out, but Castillo advanced to second. Aguilar flew out, and Zack Granite slow rolled to the pitcher for the final out.  With last licks for the Nats, Albert Abreu came out for the Yankee save.  Noll doubled, Bonifacio ground out, Noll to third, Snyder hit a sac fly driving in a run for the Nats.  Difo flew out, and that was the game.  Yankees 6, Nationals 3.

Take-a-ways:

With all the coronavirus hysteria, it was surprising to see the stands full at the ballpark.   With the suggestion by John Heyman that MLB was shutting down, the cell phone never left GM Brian Cashman’s right ear.  Tyler Wade got his second home run of the season.  The Yankees got excellent defense, and they used only four pitchers in the game to the Nats eight.  The winning pitcher was Nick Tropeano, and the loser was Doolittle.  Albert Abreu got the save in the Yankee 6-3 win.  This will be the last spring training game and the regular season will be delayed at least two weeks.  With what is going on in the world with the coronavirus, everything is day to day, and no predictions can be made as to when the season will start, if the games will be made up or if the season will be shortened.  Stay tuned to EmpireSportsMedia.com.

MLB Optimistically Delays Regular Season by “At Least” Two Weeks

The COVID-19 virus aka Coronavirus has ground the world to a halt. Every day life has been disrupted and it’s only the beginning.

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo has banned gatherings of over 500 people, halted all Broadway productions, canceled the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and has basically shut the city down. Many people are working from home (if they can) as the virus – and the fear of the unknown – has taken a stranglehold on the physical economic health of the Big Apple.

The NBA and NHL have suspended operations and the Big East Basketball Tournament was shut down at halftime at Madison Square Garden during the St. John’s-Creighton game on Thursday afternoon.

Major League Baseball has followed suit with the following statement from the league office:

Following a call with the 30 Clubs, and after consultation with the Major League Baseball Players Association, Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. today announced that MLB has decided to suspend Spring Training games and to delay the start of the 2020 regular season by at least two weeks due to the national emergency created by the coronavirus pandemic. This action is being taken in the interests of the safety and well-being of our players, Clubs and our millions of loyal fans.

 

MLB will continue to evaluate ongoing events leading up to the start of the season. Guidance related to daily operations and workouts will be relayed to Clubs in the coming days. As of 4:00 p.m. (ET) today, forthcoming Spring Training games have been cancelled, and 2020 World Baseball Classic Qualifier games in Tucson, Arizona have been postponed indefinitely.

 

MLB and the Clubs have been preparing a variety of contingency plans regarding the 2020 regular season schedule. MLB will announce the effects on the schedule at an appropriate time and will remain flexible as events warrant, with the hope of resuming normal operations as soon as possible.

 

Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our players, employees and fans. MLB will continue to undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts. We send our best wishes to all individuals and communities that have been impacted by coronavirus.

What that means is we have no idea when Opening Day will take place. For the time being, teams are expected to continue working out at their spring training facilities.

Two weeks is an optimistically low timeframe for the delay. Experts have no idea when this virus will peak around the country. General estimates are anywhere from six weeks to three months with possible recurring outbreaks throughout the year.

The Mets were to open the regular season at CitiField on Thursday, March 26 against the World Champion Washington Nationals. After a three-game set with the Nats, the Phillies were due to come in for three. After that, the Mets were scheduled to hit the road on a nine-game road trip to Philadelphia, Houston and Milwaukee.

All of that is off the table, now. That’s 12 games gone that probably won’t be made up. More to come as this story continues to unfold.

Donovan Mitchell’s dad works for the New York Mets and recently attended a Knicks-Jazz game

New York Mets

The sports world has been shaken by the coronavirus in the past few hours. NHL and NBA suspended their regular seasons indefinitely, as did several top soccer leagues. MLB is also calling out the remaining spring training games, which means that the New York Mets won’t be playing for the foreseeable future.

Several professional athletes have tested positive for the COVID-19. Among them are footballer Daniele Rugani and NBA players Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. As it turns out, there is a link with the Mets out of all this.

Donovan Mitchell’s father, Donovan Mitchell Sr., is the Mets’ director of player relations and community engagement. He recently attended an NBA game, when the Utah Jazz (the team for which his son and Gobert play) played the New York Knicks on March 4.

After attending the contest, he returned to Florida the next day and has been a regular in the New York Mets’ spring training complex ever since. No one knows for sure if there is a chance he is infected, but it remains a possibility.

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Mets were planning a statement Thursday to explain how it was proceeding. It unclear, as of now, whether the Mets are planning to test players and staffers in light of the recent developments.

The Donovan Mitchell report came on Thursday morning by ESPN. He was the second known NBA player known to be infected, after Gobert, who tested positive on Wednesday. After the news, NBA decided to suspend operations. MLB followed suit on Thursday.

The NFL is not planning to postpone the the start of the league year

NFL, Football

While sports leagues around the world are suspending seasons, games, and other events due to the coronavirus, the NFL seems to remain on schedule, for the most part. The league released a statement earlier today that said there are “no plans to move the start of the league year,” according to Adam Schefter.

The league year could still be impacted, though, since teams generally meet with players before signing them in free agency. The draft process could also be severely impacted as many teams, including the Jets and Giants, have suspended travel for all scouts and coaches.

Even though the start of the league year is not being pushed back at the moment, the deadline for tagging players was moved from March 10 to 16 at 11:59 a.m., to be exact. The league also recently canceled the yearly spring meeting scheduled from March 29 to April 1, per a statement from Roger Goodell.

With the recent cancellations of NCAA conference tournaments and the NBA taking a hiatus, nearly all sports leagues and associations have taken some sort of action. The NFL, while not taking any drastic measures, may choose to in the near future.

There have not been any confirmed cases within the NFL regarding players and staff, but more than 124,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 4,600 deaths have occurred across the globe, according to CNN. As the numbers keep increasing, league views might continue to change.

NBA Season Postponed for Foreseeable Future

NBA

What a surreal 24 hours it has been for the world of professional (and amateur) sports. It seems like the massive announcement of Golden State and Brooklyn playing in front of an empty arena made Wednesday morning is ancient history at this point. If you have any access to a television, radio, or social media, you have heard by now that the NBA and all other Professional Sports Leagues are suspending play until further notice.

The unforeseen chain of events starting with Rudy Gobert

As the Oklahoma City Thunder prepared to play the Utah Jazz last night, Chris Paul wandered over to the Jazz bench. “Where’s Rudy?” he asked. “Get away!” the bench replied, motioning for Paul to get away from them. Shortly after, it was announced the game would be canceled, and both teams headed back to their locker rooms. The game was canceled because Utah Jazz, big man Rudy Gobert, tested positive for coronavirus.

Gobert, who was seen in a video mocking the coronavirus by touching all the microphones after a recent press conference, was not in the arena for the Thunder Jazz game, but unfortunately also infected fellow teammate Donovan Mitchell. Jazz players seem to be upset with Gobert, as several anonymously claimed Gobert has been touching his teammate’s belongings in the locker room before he was tested positive. The Jazz Thunder game was immediately canceled before tipoff.

Shortly after the Gobert news, the NBA reacted quickly, by suspending the rest of the season. While several games were played out last night, including the ESPN game featuring the Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks, the 10:30 pm EST game between the Kings and Pelicans was also canceled, due to one of the officials present being possibly infected since he had called a Jazz game earlier that week.

From Ryan Ruocco and Doris Burke announcing the Nuggets Mavs game to the video of Mark Cuban receiving the news on his phone, there was a certain shock and uncertainty watching yesterday’s ESPN broadcast. You could even tell with some of the players on the court were affected, as the 2nd half of the Mavs Nuggets game was sloppy on both sides. In the Hawks Knicks game, Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce took advantage of a dire situation by putting Vince Carter in the game with 30 seconds left in what might be his final game ever. Carter immediately hit a three-pointer, and the crowd went wild.

Today, the NHL and MLB suspended operations until further notice. Every conference canceled their individual tournaments in the NCAA. While the NCAA tournament is scheduled to be played without fans in the arenas, the thought is that Mark Emert will most likely postpone the tournament to a later date.

These are scary times we live in right now. We all hold our breath as the sports world, and society as a whole, wait for this horrible virus to run its course.

NHL Suspends Season: New York Rangers and Islanders playoff hopes stifled by Corona Virus

National Hockey League, NHL

The NHL has officially suspended any further league play, indicating the playoff runs by the New York Rangers and Islander may have been stifled from something other than their own misfortune.

The Corona Virus has caused all 31 teams to hat lt play in the United States, Canada, and around the world.

The NHL released the following statement:

“In light of ongoing developments resulting from the coronavirus, and after consulting with medical experts and convening a conference call of the Board of Governors, the National Hockey League is announcing today that it will pause the 2019‑20 season beginning with tonight’s games.

“The NHL has been attempting to follow the mandates of health experts and local authorities, while preparing for any possible developments without taking premature or unnecessary measures. However, following last night’s news that an NBA player has tested positive for coronavirus – and given that our leagues share so many facilities and locker rooms and it now seems likely that some member of the NHL community would test positive at some point – it is no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time.

“We will continue to monitor all the appropriate medical advice, and we will encourage our players and other members of the NHL community to take all reasonable precautions – including by self-quarantine, where appropriate. Our goal is to resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent, so that we will be able to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup. Until then, we thank NHL fans for your patience and hope you stay healthy.”

New York Giants have two options to fix the pass rush in free agency

New York Giants, Jadeveon Clowney, Markus Golden

The New York Giants need to prioritize the pass rush this offseason, whether it be through the NFL Draft or free agency. Luckily, there are plenty of options to consider in the open market. Now it depends on GM Dave Gettleman and his willingness to open his checkbook to inject more quality into the Giants’ defensive front.

However, two different scenarios could unfold for the Giants, as they represent the best situations available after a majority of the top pass rushers will be franchise tagged.

The two best options for the New York Giants:

1.) Jadeveon Clowney

Of course, Clowney is an ideal wish-list candidate, considering his ability to shut down an entire side on the defense. He can set the edge with solid run-stopping capabilities and also rush the passer an elite level, despite never having breached double-digit sacks in his career.

Last season, Clowney recorded just 3.0 sacks and 13 QB hits, but he was double-teamed on a majority of plays, essentially taking two offensive linemen out of the equation. The Giants will need to be confident that their No.2 pass-rusher is capable of winning 1v1 battles in the trenches. Also, factoring the Giants’ strong interior defense into the equation should justify a strong pass-rush presence, especially if they re-sign Leonard Williams to a multi-year deal.

2.) Kyle Van Noy and Markus Golden

This avenue is a bit more uncertain, considering Van Noy is an aging veteran, and Golden’s lone year of production after two years of consecutive injuries doesn’t scream consistency. However, this option is cheaper and lands two quality players who can serve multiple purposes.

Van Noy is a capable pass rusher but also stout against the run, and we know the type of production Golden can produce (10.0 sacks in 2019). I imagine they would likely garner around $25 million altogether while Clowney is projected to re-set the edge rusher market at $22 million per season. The Giants currently allocates just $29 million toward their entire defense.