The New York Yankees will open tonight at Yankee Stadium after a bizarre week. The one thing about this short season that is normal is that nothing is normal. And that is pretty much what we can expect for this entire season that will have all kinds of twists and turns.
After a successful series win against the World Champion Nationals, the Yankees moved on to their hotel in Philadelphia for a split series that would see the first two games played in Philadelphia and the last two at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.
Meanwhile, the Miami Marlins that were already at Citizen’s Bank Park and on Sunday morning the Marlins received test results that showed four more Marlins had tested positive for the virus after having a single positive test on Friday. Unbeknown to the Phillies the Marlins still played their game against the Phillies. After it became known, everything came to a halt. The Marlins stayed in Philadelphia, and the Yankees stayed at their hotel.
MLB, in their first navigation of this mess, postponed the Yankee game and the Marlins game against the Orioles. The Yankees first suggested that the series be flipped with the first two games at the Stadium, this was immediately rejected by MLB. The Yankees sat in the hotel all of Monday with their future in limbo. The Yankee pitchers Cole and Happ that were supposed to pitch in the series got in some catch, and some players used the hotel gym. The Yankees decided to head back to New York and scheduled an evening workout at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday.
With the buses sitting outside the hotel and a half hour, before they were to depart for the Bronx, MLB, killing two birds with one stone offered the Yankees to go and play the now idle Baltimore Orioles. The Yankees took a vote and decided rather than be idle they would play in Baltimore. The Yankee equipment trucks had already left for New York. They had to be called and turned back to Baltimore.
“We had a discussion first off about what was happening here,” pitcher and Yankees union rep Zack Britton said Tuesday. “We were given some options on what we could possibly do. Guys felt like, you know, obviously we want to play. Our team has done a pretty good job I think overall for the protocols. We feel like we don’t want to take three or four days off. If there’s an opportunity for us to go to Baltimore and play, that’s what we want to do. And that’s what we decided.”
Before all of this was decided Yankee manager Aaron Boone was okay to play in Philadelphia, he said:
“Today I would have been comfortable,” manager Aaron Boone said on Tuesday. “We talked a lot yesterday about what was being done to make sure everything was cleaned properly and prepared properly going in and I felt like, had we been cleared to go play there today, I would have been OK with doing that. In the end, we didn’t.”
Instead, the New York Yankees planned a workout at Camden Yards for 8 p.m. on Tuesday, with game planning and pitching plans changing on the fly. Cole is expected to start Wednesday’s game against the Orioles, with Happ going Thursday. The Yankees ended up sweeping the Orioles series before leaving for New York to play an opening weekend series with the Red Sox.
Yankee pitcher Zack Britton who is the union representative for the Yankees, had more to say about the season in general.
“I think coming into it we understood that there was going to be positive tests and there could be a team that had multiple positive tests like the Marlins,” Britton said. “The biggest thing is for us to continue following the protocols that we have in place. I feel like guys on our team are doing a good job. We can’t control what’s going on with other teams, but as long as we follow the protocols and take care of ourselves, I think that we can minimize our exposure.”
Many, including this writer, hope that Britton’s belief is true. But this whole ordeal is just one of the twists and turns that this stranger than strange season will throw at us.