New York Yankees: End of the American and National League?, Trump on Baseball and more

William Parlee
New York Yankees, New York Mets
Jun 11, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Mets right fielder Michael Conforto (30) makes a diving attempt to catch an RBI triple by New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner (not pictured) during the fifth inning at Yankees Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Goodbye to the baseball leagues as we know them?

New York Yankees fans are pondering the new MLB plan to realign divisions to get in as many games as possible, as safely as possible for both fans and players.  The new plan also has an entirely different geographic lineup than the previous geographic realignment.

This plan would have all the east coast teams playing in one division.  There would be many “Subway Series” as the New York Yankees and the New York Mets would be in the same division.  Other teams in the East Division would be the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox, Philidelphia Phillies, Baltimore Orioles, Washington Nationals, Tampa Bay Rays, and the Florida Marlins.

The realignment calls for three divisions, the Eastern League as above, a Central League for the teams in the center of the country, and a Western League that would encompass the West Coast teams and the two Texas teams.  If you think about it these divisions actually make more sense than the traditional setup that sees teams flying all over the country to play games.  If this works out really well, there may be some discussions to keep the new divisions.  There is no question that traditionalists will push back as they do on any change in baseball.

If you’re open to getting rid of the American and National Leagues you see the immense benefits of the three divisions.  Number one is a drastic reduction in air travel as teams wouldn’t be flying from coast to coast to play series.  It’s an environmental plus, as well as allowing players more downtime to lessen injuries.  It would also create new rivals which would be good for baseball.  Imagine the New York Yankees/Mets, White Sox/Cubs and, Dodgers/Angels.

If the owners like it, if the players and fans like the realignment, MLB will have to consider whether to keep the divisions or go back to the two leagues with three divisions each.

Trump wants to see baseball at Yankee Stadium

In a meeting yesterday with business leaders on reopening the economy, President Donald Trump made it known that he wants to see baseball and the New York Yankees Yankee Stadium:

“I saw baseball’s doing something very unusual. I don’t know if I agree with it — I’d like to see the Yankees play at Yankee Stadium with obviously smaller crowds and then the crowds would start to build as things get to be a little bit better,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has said that Yankee Stadium won’t be allowed to open until after August at the very earliest and that Yankees fans may not return to the stadium soon.  Dr. Tony Fauci, the leading U.S. infectious disease expert, said sports might have to be skipped this year, indicating that widespread testing with speedy results would be needed if sports leagues are to safely restart their seasons.  Just like MLB can’t make up its mind on when and what a season will look, like politicians and health officials are not in agreement either.  The governor of Florida has said we are ready for baseball now.

One thing is for sure all the ideas and opinions will have to come together by the end of May for there to be an acceptable baseball season.  As of now, it looks like the three-division plan with games played in home parks seems to be gaining favor over the “Arizona plan,” in which all 30 teams would play all games in Arizona.  It looks as if a resumption of spring training games in the traditional locations would start in June, and as it becomes safe, regular-season games would revert to home parks with social distancing.

Dr. Fauci and Yankees President Randy Levine at odds

Dr. Tony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease specialist and head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been constant and steady on his advice on handling the coronavirus.  But when it comes to sports not so much.  He had indicated that games could go forward as it becomes safe, and he was also said sports might have to skip this season. New York Yankees President Randy Levine is confused.

“I really believe everybody should just work together to do this. I was kind of surprised this morning when I saw one story about Dr. Fauci where he said that now he doesn’t — he thinks some sports might not play till next year, but last week on the YES Network, he said that — quite the opposite,’’ Levine said.

Dr. Fauci has said in the past that he could see fans in the stands with proper precautions in place.  But what has Levine confused is what he recently said:

“Safety, for the players and for the fans, trumps everything. If you can’t guarantee safety, then unfortunately you’re going to have to bite the bullet and say, ‘We may have to go without this sport for this season.’ I would love to be able to have all sports back. But as a health official and a physician and a scientist, I have to say, right now, when you look at the country, we’re not ready for that yet.”

No matter what Fauci says, the bottom line is the MLB, the team owners, and local health officials will decide as to when baseball will begin and where games will be played.