New York Yankees: Yankee and Mets fans band together to demand refunds for games not played

New York Yankees

The New York Yankees and the New York Mets fans have banded together to demand refunds for games not played.  A pair of fans are suing  MLB demanding the refunds.

Back in March, Commissioner Rob Manfred halted spring training games and announced the delay of the beginning of the regular season for two weeks.  Since then, the coronavirus has spread and has led to the season being further pushed back.  At the moment, MLB has no idea when a shortened season will start or if the season will be played at all.  MLB had put forth several plans, but none have been decided upon.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles by Matthew Ajzenman, who said he bought a partial season plan for more than 20 Mets games; and Susan Terry-Bazer, who said she purchased six tickets for a May 9 game at Yankee Stadium against Boston.  The suit claims:

“Baseball fans are stuck with expensive and unusable tickets for unplayable games in the midst of this economic crisis,” the lawsuit said. “Under the pretext of `postponing’ games, at the directive of MLB, teams and ticket merchants are refusing to issue refunds for games which are not going to be played as scheduled — if ever.”

The suit is against Ticketmaster, Stubhub, Live Nation and Last Minute Transactions are among the defendants.  The suit further claims that the defendants continue to retain enormous profits from tickets sold for the 2020 MLB season at the expense of fans’ financial hardship.”  The suit also names MLB, Commissioner Rob Manfred, New York Yankees, the other 29 MLB teams for the return of monies paid for tickets, and certification of class-action status.

Fans have asked for full restitution and an accounting of all 2020 ticket sales.  It includes season tickets, single-game tickets, and public seat licenses.  The suit contends that the conduct of continuing to sell tickets for the 2020 MLB regular season violates California law.  The suit further states violations of California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act and Unfair Competition Law and of civil conspiracy.

MLB has said it is awaiting government and medical direction, and it does not know when the season can begin. The league and the players’ union have discussed the possibility of playing at neutral sites or in empty ballparks, but no decisions have been made.  The latest plans include starting the season in June in MLB home parks.  With all the different plans being floated, it further demonstrates that MLB has no solid plan going forward.

MLB, the New York Yankees, and the New York Mets have been contacted by the New York Post for comment, but at the time of this writing, they have yet to respond by commenting on the pending suit.

 

49ers started scrambling to get to the phones when Brandon Aiyuk fell past the Eagles

Brandon Aiyuk

John Lynch told NBC Sports Mike Trico on Tuesdays “Lunch Talk Live” that the 49ers originally never had any interest in moving up in the draft. At first, they wanted to accumulate picks and move back in the draft but all of that changed when the Eagles selected Former TCU wide receiver, Jalen Reagor, with the 21st pick.

Once the Eagles selected Jalen Reagor, the 49er’s felt they had a very realistic chance of drafting Brandon Aiyuk if they were able to trade up. The Niners had Aiyuk and former Oklahoma Star WR Ceedee Lamb as their two highest receivers on the board according to Coach Kyle Shanahan. John Lynch said he would have selected Aiyuk at 13 if Kinlaw was not available.

It makes sense that they had Brandon Aiyuk so high on their board as he is very dangerous after making the catch. These players tend to thrive in Coach Shanahan’s offense as he likes to get players into open space to make plays. The 49ers utilize a zone-running game forcing more players into the box for the opposing defense. They used this to their advantage as it helps to get their receivers into favorable matchups.

The 49ers had a conservative mindset coming into the draft. Once they saw an opportunity to grab a 1st round talent in the 2nd round, they knew they had to hop on the phones and make it happen.

 

New York Giants New OL Lemieux Discusses His Versatility

The New York Giants spent four picks in the 2020 NFL Draft on the offensive line. New York secured two tackles, one fourth-overall, and one ninety-ninth-overall. They then found some depth at guard with Shane Lemieux out of Oregon in round five.

Shane Lemieux was a bit of a surprising pick. The tackle position was weak for the Giants but they went into the draft already pretty strong at the guard position. Kevin Zeitler and Will Hernandez are capable starters. But Shane Lemieux might be able to fill a different role.

Shane Lemieux Discusses His Versatility

This morning, beat writers were given the opportunity to interview Shane Lemieux via a conference call. He was asked about his potential role with the Giants in the near future and whether or not he can play the center position.

“I think I’m an offensive lineman,’’ Lemieux said when asked what position he plays (via the NY Post).

Shane Lemieux discussed his versatility, stating “versatility is the biggest factor in this game. Coaches want to be able to put you into multiple spots.’’ This is certainly true with the Giants as we have seen with the likes of Nick Gates. Gates has filled in at guard, tackle, and is now practicing to play center for the Giants in 2020.

The Giants will likely try Lemieux at center and see how it goes. Here is what Shane had to say when asked about potentially moving over to the center position:

“I feel like with center there’s a lot more responsibility on you to know the offense and to know more of the defense and to just be more sound with what’s going on around you,’’ Lemieux said. “And obviously you’ve got to snap the ball.’’ – Shane Lemieux via the NY Post

Below is a video of Shane Lemieux pre-draft practicing snapping as a center:

The Giants will have depth at the guard position in 2020. Lemieux is a talented interior offensive lineman who understands the importance of versatility and durability. He missed only one snap in his four-years as a starter at Oregon. The Giants will see how he performs at center but, regardless, Shane Lemieux will be available to fill in at whatever interior offensive line position they need him to.

New York Mets: Hensley Meulens is helping the food bank of his native Curacao during the pandemic

Simeon Woods-Richardson

The current, ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has shown people’s true colors. Whereas some of them are acting irresponsibly by not respecting health recommendations and endangering others, the rest are wisely staying at home, donating and doing other altruistic initiatives. One person in the second group is New York Mets‘ bench coach Hensley Meulens.

The Curacao native is helping out the food bank daily, in order to provide families with groceries in times of need.
Meulens is a New York Mets representative in the Caribbean, specifically in Curacao. The organization has developed a fund to help employees in need, and it has secured some sort of payment to baseball operations staffers through the end of the originally scheduled season.

Curacao has a low number of confirmed cases as of Monday, with 16. However, the economy has been severely affected by quarantine measures and lots of families are struggling to put meals in their tables.

As a result, Meulens, who lives in Curacao, has been waking up very early to assist at the food bank to prepare and deliver meals and groceries to families in the island.

“We can’t cater to all of them,” Meulens told USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale (cited by SNY), “but we’re helping out the best we can. The food bank is doing a great job. We just have to make sure people take care of their health.”

The Mets’ coach is providing a valuable contribution

The New York Mets’ coach added that Curacao “never had a disaster or catastrophe that has wiped out the economy like this has.” For an island that feeds off tourism, the income has been severely hit with virtually no traveling. Cruises, hotels, flights, restaurants and related business are shut down for the time being.

As for his role with the Mets, Meulens said that he gets in touch with Mets’ front office and coaches about once a week.

“We keep in touch with the players, making sure we care about their well-being, and that they’re staying active. But the unknown is so tough on everyone.”

“Just like baseball, we are going to get through this. I know we will. We just have to do everything we can to help each other so that when we do come back, this will make us stronger than ever before.”

MLB working on plan to restart in June at home stadiums

New York Yankees

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that the MLB is working on a new plan where the league could restart by the end of June with teams playing in home stadiums. In this plan, players would not have to be isolated.

This plan is huge news. Players have previously expressed concern about being isolated and away from family for months down south. This plan solves that.

Once the plan is officially set, teams would give players and staff around a week to report to spring training sites before three weeks of training. It’s unclear if there will be games, or if there will just be practices and inter-squad scrimmages.

In an effort to reduce travel, there will most likely be three divisions of 10 teams rather than six divisions of 5 teams. Most rivals would be paired in the same divisions anyway, and a universal DH would almost certainly be implemented. The season would be at least 100 games long. Scheduled double-headers could still be on the table to get more games in, and rosters will likely be expanded past 26 men.

Now for the postseason, that may end up being played neutrally at warm-weather or indoor sites. It will be dependent on how late into October the season extends into. The postseason is also expected to be expanded for the season.

This news is also great news for minor-league baseball, who’s season was even more at risk. If major-league teams can play at their home stadiums, so can minor-league teams. They don’t travel nearly as far as major-league teams do anyway so it will be much safer for them.

This plan seems very realistic and optimistic for the MLB, players, coaches, and fans as well as minor-league counterparts.

New York Yankees: Gerrit Cole details the adjustments that helped him reach elite status

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole

Prior to leaving the Pittsburgh Pirates in a trade to the Houston Astros before the 2018 season, Gerrit Cole was already a very good pitcher. However, after increasing the usage of his four-seam fastball and throwing it up in the zone, he unlocked another level and reached elite status. He also made a minor tweak in his changeup grip, and now, after two seasons with the Astros, the New York Yankees will enjoy him for the long haul.

“It initially started in 2017 when I found that I was really inefficient when I was trying to throw strikes with the sinker, and sometimes it would slide off the plate or it would break too much, and I was really just trying to get count leverage in a lot of those situations, so I started mixing more four-seamers in,” Cole told YES Network’s Jack Curry and David Cone during spring training for a special episode of “Yankees Access: Cole, Cone & Curry.”

Cole told that when he went to Houston, “[pitching coach] Brent Strom was just such a great resource to the 70’s and 80’s, and maybe even late 60’s kind of style of Don Sutton, Tom Seaver, Drysdale, top of the zone kind of fastball, and he just, you know, he just encouraged me to chase that type of pitching.”

“Ironically, throwing the four-seam more was easier for me. It was just, made my breaking balls more consistent and I found that even if you still locate the four-seam at the bottom of the zone, you’re still apt to get a groundball in those situations. So, it cost me less, it made me more efficient because I could put guys away when I wanted to, instead of trying to induce contact and hoping that it didn’t go to somebody.”

The Yankees will enjoy a fully re-invented pitcher

Cole had a good five seasons with the Pirates, with a 3.50 ERA with 734 strikeouts and 203 walks in 782 ¹/₃ innings. However, with the Astros, he had a 2.68 ERA with 602 strikeouts and 112 walks in 412 ²/₃ innings in two years.

The New York Yankees won a bidding war to land him after Cole’s contract with the Astros ended after last season.
Per Brooks Baseball data, cited by the New York Post, Cole threw his four-seamer 47.3 percent of the time in Pittsburgh. The number grew to 53.8 with the Astros. You can expect more of that with the Yankees.

Nolan Ryan helped him with the changeup upon arriving to Houston. “Well, Justin (Verlander) and I were talking to Nolan one day and we were showing him both of our changeup grips and I was just kind of asking, saying kind of, I would like to get a little more depth out of my changeup,” Cole told Curry and Cone. “He was asking me about my grip and he saw that I really put my middle finger, kind of right through the center of the ball and thought that the middle finger, at least for him, was the finger that generated the most power and the index finger kind of steered the ball. So, he suggested, kind of what he did, which is where he offset the middle finger a little bit more to the inside of the ball so that he didn’t quite get so much power coming through the pitch. But, you can still finish the ball with good snap, like you do on your fastball.”

As a result, the current Yankees’ ace saw the whiff rate of his changeup go from 11.76 percent to 16.63 with Houston.
“I thought it helped,” Cole said. “It certainly gave me more confidence to throw the pitch aggressively over the plate, ‘cause I did notice that the velocity was more consistent, and as long as I got through the baseball, like I got through the baseball in my hand, or out of my fastball rather, I got an early commit to the pitch. So, it wasn’t always, it had a good chance of having some success.”

Thanks to these adjustments, the New York Yankees will enjoy arguably the majors’ best hurler for the foreseeable future.

The Los Angeles Chargers would have selected Tua Tagovaiola if Herbert was taken at 3rd overall

Tua Tagovailoa

Today on the Pat McAffe show, the Chargers GM Tom Telesco spoke with Pat about the preceding weeks leading to the draft and their views coming into this upcoming draft season. Tom disclosed that they had selected three quarterbacks (Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovaiola, and Justin Herbert) for their draft board picks and would have selected Tua if Justin was taken before their pick in the 2020 NFL draft.

After hearing about the leak regarding the Dolphins looking for an OT, Tom said he didn’t really ever believe that they would pass up on a QB.

Tom has made it clear that he is hopeful that this will be one of the few times they have a top spot in the draft and said he felt it was important for them to draft a QB. He joked that he will not be the GM for too long if they keep having these top draft picks.

The Chargers have one of the most talented rosters on paper in the NFL even if that was not reflected in their 2019 season.  Last year, they had a few factors that caused them to start playing losing football games. Phillip Rivers seemed to be losing his touch and battling against father time as well as they had contract negotiations with Melvin Gordon for a good part of the season. Austin Ekeler did a fantastic job in his replacement. However, when Melvin returned back for split time with Austin, they were never able to create a rhythm when playing together.

It will be interesting to see the Chargers QB1 position battle play out. The Head Coach, Anthony Lynn has said that Tyrod Taylor is the starter for now but it is a competition for the starting position between Tyrod and Justin. The Chargers saw many similarities in what Tyrod Taylor and Lamar Jackson’s numbers looked like on the field and are looking to replicate that success.  Many the of teams in the NFL have moved away from benching their high drafted QB for a year, recognizing how important it is to make use of the rookie contract for such a valuable position.

Latest scouting report on Yankees’ prospect Estevan Florial isn’t very encouraging

New York Yankees, Estevan Florial

For years, the New York Yankees have had an elite center field prospect in Estevan Florial. The kid can run like the wind and when he does make contact, it is usually powerful. He is a good fielder in center and has a fantastic throwing arm. Basically, you could say he has, comfortably, four above-average tools.

The fifth one, the one he is currently lacking, is perhaps the most important: hitting. Estevan Florial has issues making consistent contact and having decent batting averages, especially in the last couple of seasons in which he has been injured.

Injuries and strikeouts are a problem. And despite his still relatively young age (22,) the lefty-swinging outfielder has a lot to prove before the New York Yankees can picture a future with him being a fixture in the lineup.

Florial has five pro seasons to his name, and in four of them, he has had 325 or fewer at-bats, per NJ.com. Over the last three seasons, he has a .253 average and 229 strikeouts in 644 high-A at-bats. His spring training numbers are also disappointing.

The Yankees’ center fielder of the future?

NJ.com spoke to a veteran scout who has been following Florial for several years now. His report wasn’t very encouraging.

“it’s ridiculous to say Florial isn’t still a prospect. Is he a major concern at this moment? No. But if you’re the Yankees and watching his progress and how his injuries may have affected him … he’s falling to the Greg Bird routine.”

“You have to play,” added the scout, who asked to remain anonymous. “You have to be healthy. I hate to say this, but some players are brittle. Some players can sneeze and blow their backs out. And then when an organization decides time has run out on a player, they end up going somewhere else and sometimes become a star.

“The positive is Florial’s only 22 years old. Also, he’s not had major, major injuries, and he’s regrouped. And I’ve seen his tools. When he makes contact, the ball jumps off his bat. You see the rangy, athletic actions going back on the ball. You see the ability.”

Florial’s star has fallen so much that 17-year old Jasson Dominguez is now viewed as the New York Yankees’ center fielder of the future.

“Sometimes you run out of time and sometimes other prospects come in and bypass you,” the scout said. “Jasson Dominguez has passed Florial, but a lot of things can happen. We’ve seen it already with Florial. Let’s wait and see how this plays out.”

New York Yankees’ reliever Adam Ottavino is working hard to leave October memories behind

New York Yankees, Adam Ottavino

Adam Ottavino went from being one of the most dependable arms of the New York Yankees in the regular season to a seldom-used reliever who couldn’t find the strike zone in the American League Championship Series against the Astros last season.

As a result, Ottavino is currently trying to improve and is tinkering with his delivery. Fortunately, he has the will, the talent, the time, and the technological resources to use in order to achieve that goal. He wants to be consistently great.

He is currently with his family in his home outside New York City, trying to erase bad memories and create new, successful ones.

“I’ve been able to throw quite a bit and I’ve been able to throw off a mound and I have a gym in my basement,” Ottavino told MLB Network Radio on SirusXM, cited by the New York Daily News, “so I’ve been able to work out and take advantage of the nice days outside and do as much as I can to stay busy. The tricky part is not having a timeline.”

“You know baseball is one of the things you can always be working on something and every time I play catch to try to do with a purpose and try to get incrementally better.”

The Yankees need Ottavino and the super-bullpen

The New York Yankees still don’t know when they will take the field, as MLB hasn’t published an official date to start the season amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

If the Yankees want to regain the crown that they haven’t been able to win since 2009, they will need Ottavino and the super-bullpen to come through.

The owner of a 1.90 regular-season ERA, the Yankees’ star signing prior to the 2019 season was having a terrific year. However, it all went south in the postseason. Yes, he pitched in eight of the Yankees’ nine games in October, but allowed three earned runs in 3.1 frames, with seven hits and three walks.

“The good news is I can’t be this bad forever,” Ottavino said last October after pitching to an 8.10 ERA and .389 batting average against in eight postseason games.

New York Yankees: Get to know the “real” Aaron Judge, find out here

The New York Yankees and their fans are eagerly awaiting the start of the baseball season that has been delayed by the coronavirus.  For Yankee sportswriters, it presents somewhat of a dilemma; with no games taking place, there isn’t much to report about.  But, on the other hand, it has given this writer the opportunity to be more creative and delve into areas that might be overlooked in the news filled season.

I have already gone into subjects about New York Yankee history, player biographies, the consequences of the coronavirus, and many articles as to what a shorted baseball season might look like and the details that pulling off a season involves.  Although I’ve done a biography of Aaron Judge, today I thought I would look at his biography, not so much as Aaron Judge, the baseball player but who is the man we know as Aaron Judge.

Judge is a start outfielder and home run hitter for the New York Yankees, we know his stats, and we know of his injuries, and we know how popular he is with Yankee fans.  But taking a closer look at that super tall hulk of a macho man is actually a super representation of what it means to live up to the ideals of the Yankees.   Many think that past Yankee Star Derek Jeter was the epitome of that ideal.  Time will tell, but if how Aaron Judge conducts his life is an example of the man he is, he may well give Derek Jeter a run for his money.

In years past, it was difficult to get to know the players other than their performance on the field.  Sportswriters would report on the day’s game and the stats, but often any personal information about them only came out if they had a bar fight, got arrested, or some other publishable news. Today all that has changed.  Some players are very private about their private lives, and others like Aaron Judge regularly participate in social media the reveals much about their lives.

So what have we learned about that superstar Aaron Judge?  Obviously he’s a star baseball player, but he also loves football especially watching the playoff games.  He loves his friends and fellow players; he rather praise a fellow player than talk about himself.  He loves dogs and is a big fan of children that love baseball. He is deeper than many may think.  His Twitter header carries the Corinthians  For we live by faith, not by sight.”  His very first post is as follows: 

Christian. Faith, Family, then Baseball. “If what you did yesterday still seems big today, then you haven’t done anything today!”

Judge loves children.  He makes every attempt to greet them to sign baseballs and give them his gloves, bat, or cap. He frequently pulls them from the stands so their parents can get a photo of their child with the Yankee star.  Many would feel that doing this was a chore, but just watching Judge you can tell he loves it, even seeking out young Yankee fans in away parks. It is not uncommon to see him play catch with young New York Yankee fans when there is a pause in play.

Simply put, this hulk of a man is a softly and of high moral values that cherishes being a Yankee and all that that involves.  Below is a video of some of the many times Aaron Judge has reached out to his youngest admirers.