New York Yankees News roundup while Aaron Boone recovers

Some New York Yankee fans don’t pay attention to what goes on in spring training and don’t get engaged until the regular season games that count get started. But even those fans must have heard the shocking news the Yankees skipper Aaron Boone required surgery to have a pacemaker installed to keep his heart beating normally. Boone had the surgery late on Wednesday at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida.

Reports are that the surgery was completed as expected and without complications. Reports were that Boone was resting comfortably. It was said he even chatted with the team from his hospital bed via Zoom. Boone had open heart surgery back in 2009, and because of that, he has been proactive about his health. During the past week, he said he experienced bouts of lightheadedness and shortness of breath. Because of that, he consulted with doctors who determined Boone’s heart was beating too slowly and that a pacemaker would be necessary to correct that.

In most cases, the patient will go home after 24-48 hours of hospitalization. Depending on the type of Pacemaker installed, he could be back to work at the Yankee training complex over the weekend, but it will be more likely at some point next week. Because Boone’s job is not that strenuous, he should be able to resume normal activities as long as he avoids lifting, pushing, and pulling anything heavy. He should be able to resume his normal life totally in 4-6 weeks.

Mike Ford still confident

Mike Ford hit his first extra-base hit Tuesday afternoon against the Baltimore Orioles. He said it felt good, especially after performing poorly in the 2020 campaign. Ford knows he will have to compete for playing time this year as the New York Yankees have picked up two veteran lefties during the offseason. The Yankees acquired Jay Bruce and Derek Dietrich; the catch for Ford is that the two veterans also play at first base, as does Ford.

“I always try to perform, especially when I’ve got a little chip on my shoulder,’’ Ford said Wednesday. “There’s great competition here with a lot of experience. Who knows where the chips are gonna fall?”

Bruce, who had made a running catch in the left-field already this spring, looked sharp at first base in Wednesday’s 4-1, seven-inning win over the Blue Jays. He also added two hits, including a double. Dietrich, who played third base on Wednesday, also hit his first homer of the spring.

Brett Gardner returned to left field

Wednesday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field, the Yankee fans in attendance saw an old friend out in the left-field, Brett Gardner. Gardner, the last holdover from the 2009 World Series, languished most of the offseason as the Yankees handled more important re-signings and acquisitions. The Yankees at the end of the season bought out Gardner’s contract rather than take up his $10 million option.

Finally, just days before the start of spring training, the Yankees and Gardner came to an agreement allowing the fan-favorite to return for yet another year with an option for the 2022 season. Gardner has always said he wants to retire as a Yankee. But last season was an odd one with the coronavirus and no fans in the stands. Gardner said he wants to be able to have his family see him play again. On his first at-bat Wednesday, he walked.

Darren O’Day on Darren O’Day

Darren O’Day threw live batting practice on Tuesday at the Yankees minor league complex, immediately after batters had faced Aroldis Chapman. O’Day acquired during the offseason will give a different look to the bullpen with his side-arm delivery. Chapman throws at 100 mph, O’Day is just at 85 mph, but he counts on deception to get hitters out.

“You can’t really quantify deception, but it’s a valuable tool to have,’’ O’Day said. “To have different looks. Just messing with the hitters’ timing [is important],’’ O’Day said. “The more we can do to disrupt that timing, the more outs we’re going to get.”

The right-hander is ready to contribute in various roles; he said that manager Aaron Boone would use him at any point in the game, much like he said Buck Showalter used him in Baltimore. O’Day pointed to Showalter using his relievers to get “four, five six outs a night.”

“We had a great relationship,’’ O’Day said. “I really enjoyed playing for him, especially the early years in Baltimore when the team was pretty much the doormat of the league for a long time. We kind of brought the nice baseball tradition back there.”

New York Yankees overtake the Jays 4-1

The Yankees were back at Steinbrenner Field yesterday after their win over the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota. The game yesterday was an unusual spring training night game. The first time fans got a look at Corey Kluber in a Yankees uniform, and he didn’t disappoint.

Kluber started for the New York Yankees facing the Toronto Blue Jay’s Simeon Richardson. Corey Kluber was magnificent in his first inning in pinstripes. Kluber retired the first three hitters he faced in order, ending the frame with a pretty strikeout of Rowdy Tellez. In the second inning, Kluber looked really good, folks. He struck out two more Blue Jays to finish off two perfect frames.  This performance is wonderful news for the Yankees.

Also making their first appearance of spring training were Brett Gardner and Giancarlo Stanton. After four innings, the game remained scoreless, with Luis Cessa on the mound for the fifth. Josh Palacios doubled off Cessa, but Warmoth struck out; Valero singled, scoring Palacios for the game’s first run. Blue Jays 1 Yankees 0.

At the bottom of the frame, Gary Sanchez again showed off his power, homering and tieing up the game at 1-1. That was followed by Derek Dietrich’s home run driving in two for the Yankees 3-1 lead. It looked as if it would be the first 9 inning game of spring training when the Yankees took the field in the bottom of the seventh, but as it turned out the Jays manager just wanted to get more work for his pitchers. It wasn’t a good decision. The game ended at the end of the seventh, but not before Robinson Chirinos homered to far left for the Yankee 4-1 lead.

 

New York Yankees: Aaron Boone’s surgery successful will return soon

New York Yankees, Aaron boone

The New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone had open-heart surgery in 2009. Since then, he has been monitoring his health carefully. When he noticed this week that he felt lightheaded and short of breath, he immediately contacted doctors. Doctors found that his heart was beating more slowly than optimal. After discussions with Boone, doctors decided that a pacemaker should be implanted in Boone. Boone took an immediate emergency leave from the Yankees.

The procedure was undertaken last night at St. Joesph’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida, and went without a hitch. Boone could be back with the team as early as this weekend with no complications, but more likely early next week. Boone, before the procedure, said:

“My faith is strong, and my spirits are high. I’m in a great frame of mind because I know I’m in good hands with the doctors and medical staff here at St. Joseph’s Hospital. They are confident that today’s surgery will allow me to resume all of my usual professional and personal activities and afford me a positive long-term health prognosis without having to change anything about my way of life. I look forward to getting back to work in the next several days, but during my short-term absence, I have complete trust that our coaches, staff and players will continue their training and preparation at the same level as we’ve had and without any interruption.

“I also want to take this opportunity to remind all those dealing with heart issues to remain vigilant in your care and to reach out to your doctor should you have any symptoms of discomfort or trouble. Any issue involving the heart has the potential to be serious. Staying on top of your health is always the first and most important thing you can do for yourself and your family.”

Boone being proactive, will be back with the team as soon as possible, and it will probably be sooner than later. He has already been in contact with the team Via Zoom from his hospital bed after the procedure. Boone, who turns 48 next week, is entering his fourth season as the New York Yankees manager. In three seasons, he’s led the team to a record of 236-148 (.615) and an 11-10 record in postseason play. That span includes one AL East title and playoff berth each season.

With the excellent coaching staff and bench coach Carlos Mendosa, the Yankees will hardly notice that he is gone. But you can be sure that Boone will be back with the Yankees before you know it.

New York Yankees: Aaron Boone, what are the implications of his surgery?

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

The New York Yankee manager, Aaron Boone, learned today that he had to have a pacemaker installed for his heart. Boone took immediate emergency leave from the team. Many know that Boone had open heart surgery back in 2009 and has kept close tabs on his condition since then. Recently he has felt some lightheadedness and seemed to be zapped of his strength. He consulted with doctors, and they informed him that his heart was beating slower than optimal. The heart pumps blood to the body; it also pumps oxygen; if the body doesn’t get enough oxygen, then the body often responses with Boone’s symptoms.

Many of you who have heard this news or are reading about it will be wondering what effect this will have on the New York Yankees. The answer is probably not much. Boone has a staff of competent coaches. If Boone has surgery, actually, it’s more of a procedure; today, he will likely go home tomorrow night or the next morning as long as there are no complications. He could be back with the team as early as next week.

I speak with a little authority as I have had the same procedure. The pacemaker is an electrical device inserted under the skin, usually in the left upper chest area. The device has wires that are attached to the heart and regulate the heartbeats. Newer models even detail motion and demands as your activity increases and decreases and automatically speeds up the heart to meet demand. There are three types of pacemakers, and all three have different recovery times. It is unknown what type Boone will have inserted.

Simply put, all three devices have insulated wires that are attached to your heart. The unit is run by batteries that usually last about seven years. The patient will normally have an echocardiogram for the surgeon to determine how your heart pumps and the best places to attach the wires; it will also determine the type of pacemaker to be installed. The procedure is relatively fast, and the incision will be glued shut.

As I said, Boone could very well be back at the job of leading the Yankees as early as next week. He will not have many limitations as he is not playing a body contact sport, playing golf, tennis, or swimming. He will have some restrictions for up to six weeks. He will not be allowed to lift heavy objects and will be asked to avoid pushing or pulling motions. The only long-term annoyance associated with the pacemaker is that he most likely will not make it through metal detectors at airports.

As far as the team is concerned, Boone will be able to carry out all his normal activities, although he probably will avoid pitching demonstrations. Just a couple of weeks into the regular season, Boone should resume his life as normal. Also of interest is that his pacemaker will be attached to the Internet. The pacemaker “talks” to a monitor in his home, and that monitor transmits any abnormalities in his heart function to his doctor’s office or monitoring station.

 

BREAKING: Yankees’ skipper Aaron Boone taking immediate medical leave of absence

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

As per the Yankees media:

“As many of you know, I underwent open-heart surgery in 2009, and I wanted everyone to understand where I’m at regarding the procedure that’s taking place today,” said Boone. “Over the last six-to-eight weeks I’ve had mild symptoms of lightheadedness, low energy and shortness of breath. As a result, I underwent a series of tests and examinations in New York prior to the beginning of spring training, including multiple visits with a team of heart specialists. While the heart checkup came back normal, there were indications of a low heart rate which, after further consultations with doctors in Tampa, necessitates a pacemaker.

“My faith is strong, and my spirits are high. I’m in a great frame of mind because I know I’m in good hands with the doctors and medical staff here at St. Joseph’s Hospital. They are confident that today’s surgery will allow me to resume all of my usual professional and personal activities and afford me a positive long-term health prognosis without having to change anything about my way of life. I look forward to getting back to work in the next several days, but during my short-term absence, I have complete trust that our coaches, staff and players will continue their training and preparation at the same level as we’ve had and without any interruption.

“I also want to take this opportunity to remind all those dealing with heart issues to remain vigilant in your care and to reach out to your doctor should you have any symptoms of discomfort or trouble. Any issue involving the heart has the potential to be serious. Staying on top of your health is always the first and most important thing you can do for yourself and your family.”

Per managing partner Hal Steinbrenner:

“The thoughts of the entire organization are with Aaron and his family as he undergoes this procedure and takes the time he needs to properly heal,” said Yankees Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner. “Aaron leads our players, coaches and staff with a rare combination of work ethic, intelligence and a genuine concern for others. Our only priority at this time is Aaron’s health and well-being, and we will support him in every way throughout his recovery.”

We here at Empire Sports Media wish Boony well and have him in our hearts as he recovers from this scary situation.

New York Yankee Manager profile: Aaron Boone will his contract be extended?

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone, Brian Cashman

The New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone was a baseball player for twelve years, mostly with the Cincinnati Reds. During the last half of the 2003 season, he famously played 52 games for the Yankees. Boone became a Yankee star when the 2003 Red Sox won the sixth game of the ALCS forcing a game seven.

Tim Wakefield pitched a scoreless tenth for Boston and in the bottom of the 11th faced Aaron Boone, who had entered earlier as a pinch-runner. On Wakefield’s first pitch of the inning, Boone launched a walk-off home run into the left-field seats of Fenway Park.   ALCS MVP Rivera running to the mound and collapsing on it in joy, Boone jumping on home plate, and Rivera being carried off on his teammates’ shoulders as the Yankees won the ALCS. Boone was forever entered into Yankee’s lore.

After the 2017 season and loss to the cheating Houston Astros (not known at the time), the New York Yankees decided it was time for a managerial change. Joe Girardi, who brought the Yankees to their last World Series win, did not renew his contract. The Yankees searched for a new manager, interviewing several prospects. Considered for the job was Girardi’s 10-year veteran Rob Thompson, Eric Wedge, who worked in the front office of the Blue Jays, Hensley Meulens, a hitting coach, and Aaron Boone. The Yankees ended choosing Boone and gave him a four-year contract.

Yankees fans, upon learning of the hiring, said Aaron, who? Boone had no managerial experience and was only known for hitting the walk-off homer in 2003. Most fans thought the Yankees should have kept Joe Girardi, but the Yankees wanted a manager that could better communicate with younger players and was not as strict as Girardi.

In the eyes of New York Yankee fans, Boone had some pretty big shoes to fill. The Yankee brass claimed that one of the main factors in his removal, besides his overbearingness, was that he didn’t communicate well with the young players. This was the same manager who brought a young Miami Marlins team that nothing was expected of to fourth place in the National League and was named Manager of the Year in 2006. The first time a Manager of the Year was ever awarded to a manager of a fourth-place team.

It wouldn’t take long to gain some faith in Boone and his approach to management. Boone and the team won 100 games in 2018. At the end of the season, the Yankees won their Wild Card games against the Athletics but lost the divisional series against the Red Sox. In 2019 Boone bettered his record and won 103 games and the AL East. In the postseason, they swept the Minnesota Twins in the divisional series. They went on to the ALCS against the Houston Astros but again excited early in losing to the Astros.

Still, Boone was praised for bringing the team to the postseason with unprecedented injuries. Fast forward to the 2020 coronavirus season when injuries again plagued the Yankees. The Yankees would lose the East to the Tampa Bay Rays. But in the expanded playoffs, the Yankees got a berth in the Wild Card Series sweeping the Cleveland Indians. The Yankees would have to face their foe in the south, the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS. The Yankees lost again.

With their third early exit in a row from the postseason, many began to question Boone’s leadership, at least in the postseason. Boone is now in the last year of his contract, and a contract extension was in question. Maybe in the eyes of the fans, but not so with the Yankee front office. General Manager Brian Cashman made it known he wants Boone to be the manager for the next ten years.

With the New York Yankees’ full faith and a new rotation of pitchers to work with, Aaron Boone will have a chance to prove that Cashman’s faith in him was warranted. The Yankees probably have the best chance of advancing this season than they have had in several years. If Boone fails to win the division that has several weakened teams or has another early exit in the postseason, we may again be having this discussion.

 

 

 

New York Yankees: Aaron Boone says 2021 team is championship caliber, and more

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier

Pitchers and catchers for the New York Yankees have arrived at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida, as spring training finally gets to a start. The position players will arrive shortly. Although this season will be as bizarre as last season, hopefully, it will be far from normal. In an almost empty training complex, the pitchers and catchers wander through the stadium’s halls with masks on and greeting each other with a wave instead of a traditional huge after not season each other since the end of the season.

New York Yankee manager talked to the media yesterday in his first spring training press conference. He was certainly upbeat, liking many of the moves the team made over the offseason.

“Talk is always cheap at this point, but I really liked the winter that we’ve had,” Boone said. “Some of the additions we’ve made, I think are going to be impactful. The makeup of this team is of championship caliber. That’s what we’re here to try and accomplish. Hopefully this is the year we get to the top of that mountain.”

Boone also announced that Clint Frazier would be his starting left fielder this season. Frazier has had a long journey getting to be a regular player for the Yankees; he has spent more time the last few seasons on the Scranton shuttle than playing baseball. There is no question that the kid has a live bat and can hit the ball; his often lousy defense has kept him from a permanent place in the lineup. But somewhere out of nowhere last season, he became a Gold Glove-like defender and earning an everyday job with the Yankees.

“Clint has come a long way in every aspect of his game,” Boone said. “He certainly earned his place last year when nothing was given to him. He had to earn everything. Really, the last couple of years he’s been a contributor, going back to the first year I was here [in 2018]. Last year, I think he really proved that he was ready to grab an everyday role on this team.”

Last season for the New York Yankees Frazier slashed .267/.394/.511 (149 OPS+) with eight homers and 26 RBIs in 39 games last season. His defense was so good that he became a finalist in the Glove Glove voting. The 2021 outfield will be rounded out with the Aarons, Aaron Hicks in center, and Aaron Judge in right field.

New York Yankees News/Rumors: Is Domingo German mentally stable?

New York Yankees, Domingo German

The New York Yankee returning pitcher Domingo German has added a new episode to his perplexing social media posts. On his Instagram account last night, he posted a cryptic message that said in Spanish, “everything is over.” That could be a sign that he still isn’t stable, or it could just be a mixup in his thinking, meaning his off-the-field bad behavior is over. But then, to make it more confusing, he deleted all of his previous posts and posted, “I’m ready to go.”

For those that have not been following the drama with German (Her-mon), after pitching to an 18-4 record for the Yankees in 2019, it came to light that he had broken the domestic violence protocol by slapping the mother of his children at a dinner in the Dominican Republic. The reason I say the mother of his children is that it is not exactly known if he and Mara Vega are legally married.

MLB investigated the matter, and the result was the MLB suspended German for 81 games for his bad behavior. That suspension didn’t start until the postseason in 2019. But he was not allowed to continue to pitch while the investigation was ongoing. Due to the suspension, he did not pitch at all during the 2020 season. He is now okay to pitch in the 2021 season, but during 2020 he made some strange Instagram posts.

At one point, he issued a post that said, it’s over. I’m retiring from baseball. He wrote, “If I decide not to return, I will be proud of my effort in my 11-year career,” leaving Yankees fans with the feeling he was at least thinking about leaving the game and the New York Yankees. The following night he posted an apology for the “unsettling” post.

“To my teammates, the Yankee organization, and our fans, I am very sorry for last night’s unsettling post. This past year has been very tough for my family and myself, for which I take full responsibilty. Not being with my teammates as they as they get ready for the season, knowing that I have let them down, has taken a toll on me, and last night I let my emotions get the best of me. Baseball is my life and I promise I am not walking away. I am using this time to get stronger and become a better man and father, and I can only hope I will be able to join my teammates once again and make them proud. Thank you to everyone and especially the Yankee organization for their support. Please forgive me for this mistake.”

Now with his suspension behind him, the question was would the New York Yankees allow him to rejoin the team. Early in the offseason, Yankee owner Hal Steinbrenner made it very clear that Domingo would have to prove to him that he was a “changed” man before he would be allowed to return. That has apparently been accomplished. It is not known whether he had directly spoken to Steinbrenner, but he did have meetings with general manager Brian Cashman, manager Aaron Boone, and coach Mendoza.

Boone, in a conversation yesterday, said:

“We know he’s paid a significant price from a career standpoint, really having missed a full season-plus now,’’ Boone said in a Zoom call on the day pitchers and catchers reported. “Hopefully, that’s behind us. We feel like he’s in a good place coming in and now it’s on him to go out and kind of resurrect his career and compete for a spot on this team. … It’s been a very long year coming back.”

Boone also clarified that “nothing is guaranteed,” he will have to show that he can still be effective on the mound and stay out of trouble off the field. His latest cryptic post may show that his emotions are getting the best of him again. Only time will tell, but you can be sure that EmpireSportsMedia.com will continue to follow the story.

New York Yankees: Pitchers and catchers set up house, Aaron Boone and more

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

For the New York Yankees, today is the day that pitchers and catchers are supposed to arrive at the George M. Steinbrenner Training facility in Tampa, Florida. Some have already arrived and set up house in the area around the Stadium. It marks the first day of baseball in a still infected coronavirus environment. This will be a season like no other, but far from the bizarre season that fans saw last year. Many normal baseball rules will return to 2019 while still dealing with health protocols.

Forget all the rules and that stuff, the major change this season is its length. Last season fans saw only 60 games, this year is planned to be different. Fans and players will see 162 games, almost three times as many games. Although fans and players alike will be happy to see and play that many games, it presents bigger challenges than most realize. The fact is you don’t go from 60 to 162 games seamlessly.

Last year you had spring training that was cut off early, then a two-month gap before the second spring training (summer camp). That was followed by a regular-season of just 60 games. Forget the pitchers that only pitched one inning or even no innings, even pitchers who got ten starts last season are going to be expected to start 30 games. Folks it just isn’t going to happen for most. This will be a season of being careful with everyone, rest, days off, in order to keep players someone fresh for a postseason run. It will be a challenge.

Aaron Boone to address fans today

Team manager Aaron Boone just a day before the pitchers and catchers have their first workout, and five days before all the players report, will address fans and the media today. It’s difficult to know exactly what he will have to say. You can be sure it will be positive about the upcoming season, but he will also address some of the challenges ahead.

He will undoubtedly speak to the challenges ahead for the pitching rotation and how to keep pitchers fresh by limited innings while adjusting to the strain of a 162 games season. It will be a bigger challenge for the Yankees because only Gerrit Cole pitched only 91 innings last season, that’s about a third of what he will be expected to pitch this season. Boone hopes he can hold up as he is one of the most durable pitchers in the game. As far as Corey Kluber, Jameson Taillon, and Domingo German are concerned between the three of them they only pitched in a single inning last year. Boone will have to be really careful with them while getting games pitched. Luckily for Boone, the Yankees do have many arms to fill in including a return of Luis Severino mid-season.

He will likely spend some time discussing the bullpen that will also have a far different look than last season. He also isn’t going to want to burn them out before the postseason. With Tommy Kahnle and Adam Ottavino gone from the group. Fans will likely see Adam Warren and Nestor Cortes jr. in the mix with Luis Cessa and Johnathan Loaisiga in relief early. That will be followed by Chad Green, Daren O’Day, and Justin Wilson setting up for Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman. Also, different this season is don’t expect Boone to automatically go to Chapman to close games.

He most certainly will talk about the lineup and the hopes for bounce-back seasons from Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, and others. He will probably address the hope of fewer injuries this season. He may speak about the powerhouse of Aaron Judge, Luke Voit, and Giancarlo Stanton who came on strong in the postseason for the New York Yankees. He might also address how Robinson Chirinos will augment the catching staff. EmpireSportsMedia.com will fully cover the address.

Will Boone be the 2022 Yankee manager?

The quick answer is yes! However, there are questions to his leadership that will undoubtedly be discussed before signing him on for another contract. This is the last season of his four-year contract with the New York Yankees. Boone has stood up to the challenges of unprecedented injures bringing the Yankees into the postseason every year of his tenure. The problem is that his management has failed each year to get into the World Series.

In 2018, his first year as management he beat the Oakland Athletics in the Wild Card but then only won one game against the Boston Red Sox losing in the ALDS. In 2019 he did a bit better taking the team to the ALCS but again lost, this time to the Houston Astros. In 2020 he lost the AL East but advanced to the Wild Card with the Cleveland Indians who he made quick work of, sweeping them two games. Then in the ALDS he again fell short losing to the AL East winners, Tampa Bay Rays.

The question for the Yankees will be are they satisfied with the New York Yankees reaching the postseason, but exiting early without a long-awaited 28th World Championship. They will debate if the reason for their losses were because of the pitchers and hitters, the injuries, or was it his lack of leadership that led up to those losses.

 

 

 

 

New York Yankees: Yankees will adjust to new MLB health protocols

New York Yankees

The New York Yankees and the other 29 teams will be subject to new stricter rules for 2021. MLB has released new health protocols (operation manual) for spring training just a week away. These measures have been agreed upon by both the teams and the players. By players, I mean the MLBPA (players union). Last year you saw manager Aaron Boone wear a gaiter last season along with other managers and staff. A gaiter is a scarf-like cloth worn around the neck and can be pulled up over the mouth and nose. That type of mask is outlawed under the new protocol. Boone this season will wear a regular mask as outlined in the protocol.

“Neither gaiters nor masks with exhalation valves meet the definition of a face covering for purposes of the requirements in this Operations Manual,” the document reads. “Gaiters may continue to be worn on the field by players.”

The team will also play differently in spring training. The units located on the west coast of Florida will only play teams located there, and the west coast teams will play only teams on that coast. That means teams will be playing more games with fewer teams. For the Yankees, it means they will only be playing exhibition games between them and the Philadelphia Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays, Detroit Tigers, and the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are all located from St. Petersburg south to Fort Myers, as noted by MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch.

If it remains in place, the plan is to promote more safety by eliminating overnight stays and long bus rides where players and staff are jammed into buses. As it is, many veteran players use their own cars anyway.

Major League Baseball’s 2021 Operations Manual, collectively bargained with the MLB Players Association, will have many of the same rules as in the 60 game shortened season in 2020. However, there will be no universal DH in baseball. The rules adopted by both sides will be the seven-inning doubleheaders, the runner on the second base after nine innings, a 26th roster spot, and no spitting. Anyone watching baseball knows that the no spitting rule wasn’t really followed or enforces. This year the agreement will feature several new regulations, including the exclusion of gaiters as an acceptable face covering for non-players in uniform. Below are some of the latest wrinkles in the agreement. Each team will have an enforcement officer who will have their hands full enforcing these rules.

  • After hitters complained last year about the lack of in-game video, they will receive access to that through MLB-issued iPads “in a format that cannot be used to steal the catcher’s signs” via selective editing and/or pixelating. Don’t even think about it, Astros or Red Sox.
  • Players, managers, and staff (designated as “Covered Individuals”) who test positive for the coronavirus must isolate for at least 10 days. A Covered Individual identified as having been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID must quarantine for seven days and must test negative on the fifth day or later to be cleared. Last year’s agreement didn’t feature a specific amount of days, instead of relying on two negative tests to be allowed back. To enhance contact tracing, all Covered Individuals will wear Kinexon devices while on team property or traveling with the team.
  • Stricter rules are in place, as per a league-wide “Code of Conduct,” to govern the movement of players, managers, and coaches (qualified as “Covered Individuals”) outside the ballpark. They can’t attend indoor gatherings of 10 or more people; eat at indoor restaurants, bars, lounges, or go to fitness or wellness centers, entertainment venues, or casinos. During spring training, Covered Individuals and their households must quarantine at their homes with the exceptions of outdoor dining, individual outdoor physical activities, and a doctor’s visit as well as going to work. Those who violate the Code of Conduct will be subject to pay forfeiture for the days they are in quarantine due to their forbidden actions.
  • Each club must appoint at least one “Facemask Enforcement Officer” whose job will be to ensure everyone is wearing a mask when required (all times at the ballpark besides playing in the game). A third violation and every subsequent one of this rule will result in a $150 fine, sent to a charity mutually agreed upon by MLB and the MLBPA.
  • For exhibition games held between Feb. 27 and March 13, the defensive manager may call an inning “complete” before the third out if his pitcher has thrown at least 20 pitches. Also, in this time frame, games can be shortened to as few as five innings if both managers consent. Starting on March 14, games can be downsized to as little as seven innings.
  • There will be no overnight trips for teams during spring training. Most Florida-based clubs typically do at least one of these a spring. For road games, players will be encouraged to drive their own cars (a choice most veterans typically make anyway) to avoid crowding on a bus.
  • On March 17 (15 days before Opening Day, as the schedule currently stands), commissioner Rob Manfred will determine whether the Triple-A level of minor league ball will begin in concert with the major leagues. If Manfred declares that Triple-A ball won’t start on time, then the “Alternate Site” model from last year will resume. Either way, each team will designate an alternate site to be ready for usage.
  • Mental health resources will be provided to players and staff.

New York Yankees Top 10’s: Examining the top ten best Yankee managers

New York Yankees, Joe Torre

The New York Yankees, in their illustrious 119-year history, since they were the Baltimore Orioles, have had some of the most impactful players, some of the greatest games played, and some outstanding managers.  In my Top 10 columns, I have covered almost everything Yankees except for the Yankee managers.  Today we delve into the subject of who was the best Yankee manager of all time.  In my biased selection, I have considered tenure, winning percentage, how many World Championships they recorded, and their ability to develop players.

The Yankees have had 35 managers over the years, some for a long duration, and some that didn’t even manage a season.  Some managed more than once in different years.  Billy Martin managed five times. In one year, he was fired and hired back again by owner George M. Steinbrenner.  Dick Houser managed for two stints, but only one game in one season.  The worst ever Yankee manager was Kid Elberfeld in 1908; he won only 27 games as Yankee manager.  The Yankees have only had a losing percentage in 13 seasons, the best record in baseball.

10. Bucky Harris 1947-1948

Bucky Harris only managed the Yankees for two years.  But in his two years, he brought the Yankees to four playoff wins and a World Championship with his .620 winning percentage during his tenure.  Only six other managers had a better winning percentage.

9. Joe Girardi 2008-2017

Joe Girardi was an average hitter but an excellent game caller as a catcher for the New York Yankees. He caught Dwight Gooden’s no-hitter and David Cone’s perfect game. In 2006 he took over the management of the lowly Florida Marlins and brought them to heights they had never experienced.  He was named MLB manager of the year. In 2008 he took over managing the Yankees; his hard-nosed style brought the Yankees to their last World Championship in his second year of management.  Girardi had a kind heart but was a demanding manager.  He lost his job because many of the new baby bombers couldn’t adjust to his management style.  But that style gave him a winning percentage of .562 with 28 playoff wins.  That’s the most playoff wins than 32 other Yankee managers.

8. Aaron Boone 2018-present

Aaron Boone has not won a World Series in his three years of New York Yankee management, but he places number 8 on this list for winning the most wins in his first two-year tutelage than any other manager that has managed for only two years.  He also had 103 wins in 2019 while having more injured players than any other Yankee baseball season.  He also has had the youngest players to mentor.  As the years’ pass, Boone may still rise above his number 8 placement.

7. Billy Martin (various)

Billy Martin is undoubtedly the most controversial Yankee manager being hired and fired five times by Yankee Owner George Steinbrenner.  He also oversaw the “Bronx Zoo,” a great upheaval period in the clubhouse that has spawned books on the rivalries and fights.  Billy was known as “Casey’s Boy,” a favored player by manager Casey Stengel.  Martin managed five different teams before his death in 1989.  He last managed for the Yankees in 1978.  Many fans liked his confrontational type of management, particularly his penchant for arguing with umpires. Martin won only one World Championship for the Yankees but had a .590 winning percentage.

6. Bob Lemon 1978-1979

Bob Lemon replaced Billy Martin in his final exit as Yankee manager.  Lemon’s quiet demeanor was in sharp contrast to Martin’s management style and restored some sense of order to the team and clubhouse.  In 1978 he won his only World Series Ring.  Although only managing for a year and a half, his .617 winning percentage coincidently places him number six all-time for the Yankees and sixth on this list.

5. Ralph Houk 1961-1963

Ralph Houk is another two-year manager in Yankee history.  Houk has the distinction of having the best winning percentage of any Yankee manager. In his two years, he had a .637 winning percentage.   He is also fourth on the list of World Championship managers to two to his credit.    In his two-plus years, he also won the AL pennant three times.  He was quick-tempered, but at the same time, he was known for being a “player’s manager.” He was just as quick to protect his players and was ejected 45 times for doing so.  Houk also managed from 1966-1973 far less successfully.

4. Miller Huggins 1918-1929

Miller Huggins is tied with Joe Torre for each having an eleven-year tenure as Yankee Manager.  Although with the 162 game season, Torre has 150 more games. Huggins had a .594 winning percentage and won 3 World Series for the Yankees.  Much of what is remembered about Huggins is that he had the “Murder’s Row” teams of the ’20s.  Huggins did not initially want the job because the Yankees were a lousy team but eventually was convinced to take the job.  He was all about the fundamentals of baseball and made immediate personnel changes. His all-business approach took the Yankees to their first two World Series.

3. Joe McCarthy 1931-1946

Joe McCarthy has the distinction of being the longest-tenured Yankee manager, managing the team for sixteen years.  He is tied for the most World Series wins (7) with Casey Stengel to his credit.  He is lower on this list due to making the accomplishment in 500 more games.  His winning percentage of .627 is tied with Aaron Boone.  His most successful years were between 1936 to 1943, while he racked up seven pennants in eight years.  His detractors say he was only valid because he had fantastic players like pitchers Lefty Gomez and Red Ruffing. He also had Bill Dickey, Frank Crosetti, Joe DiMaggio, and Charlie Keller on his roster. He is one of the few baseball managers that never played in the Major Leagues. Joe McCarthy was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1957.

2. Joe Torre 1996-2007

Joe Torre is my pick for the second-best New York Yankee manager ever.  He had four World Series wins in his eleven-year managership.  That’s one more than Miller Huggins and with an impressive 76 playoff wins, to Huggins eighteen.  Torre is one of the winningest managers in the postseason than any manager in baseball.  Torre had a .605 winning percentage for 8th on the all-time list. Torre had a calming effect on the team as he was reticent and seldom criticized players unless it was in private.  Torres won four Championships in five years, in a time that was called the last Yankee Dynasty.  The now 80-year-old Torre would go on to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014.  He served as MLB executive for baseball operations. He is now a special assistant to the baseball commissioner.

1. Casey Stengel

Casey Stengel is my pick for the best-ever New York Yankee manager.  The seven-time World Champion has the third-highest winning percentage in Yankee history. He accomplished his seven-wins in 500 fewer games than the tying Joe McCarthy.  He also won the second-most playoff wins, second only to Joe Torre.

The glory days of Casey’s management would begin along with the future dynasty of the Yankees. Stengel tried to keep a low profile during the 1949 Yankee spring training. Still, there was considerable media attention as Stengel shuttled rookies from one position on the field to another and endlessly shuffled his lineup. He had the advantage of diminished expectations, like DiMaggio, the Yankee superstar, was injured few picked New York to win the pennant. Gaining media attention and not wanting the media to know what he was doing, he started his “Stangleaze,” the ability to talk to the media, answer questions and leave the media wondering what he actually said.

In the 1949 World Series, Stengel’s first as a participant since 1923, the Yankees faced the Brooklyn Dodgers; The Yankees would win the series in five games. In 1949 he was Manager of the Year, and his low-key days were over. In the years to follow, the Yankees would win the Series in 1950-51-52-53, a five-time consecutive World Series streak that would not be repeated ever in baseball. After not winning in 54 or 55, the Yankees would again win in 1956. In 1958 the World Series was again against the Dodgers, who won the first two games at Ebbets Field. Stengel lectured the team before Game 3 at Yankee Stadium, and the team responded with a victory then and in Game 4.

For Game 5, Stengel pitched Don Larsen, who had been knocked out of Game 2, and who responded with a perfect game, the only one in major league postseason history. The Yankees took the series in seven games, their seventh World Series win under Stengel, making him the most World Series winner.  Stengel was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966.

Casey Stengel is one of the few managers in all of baseball to testify before Congress.  During baseball anti-trust hearings, Stengel used his “Stengeleaze” to filibuster famous anti-mob Senator Estes Kefauver.  His testimony frustrated and confused the Senate, much to the Senate gallery’s delight that often laughed during the proceedings.  I have chosen the interview below as an example of “Stangeleaze.”

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam