Yankees Owner Hal Steinbrenner Expects Fans at Yankee Stadium

New York Yankees, Hal Steinbrenner

New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner is very optimistic that the Yankees will have some sort of fan presence at Yankee Stadium this year.

In an interview earlier today with YES Network’s Meredith Marakovits, Steinbrenner said, “I do expect to see fans in our stadium at some point to some degree, and that’s going to be a great day as well.” 

He went on to say the stadium will “at first” be 20-30% full. He is confident that management can provide the proper precautions for fans to stay safe in the stadium. 

Teams can create their precautions regarding fans in stadiums. However, Commissioner Rob Manfred must approve them before they can be put into action. 

The MLB put out a statement that read, “The commissioner has made no decisions regarding permitting fans at games. The decision will be based both on whether local health authorities approve fans to attend games and whether our medical advisors believe it is appropriate to do so.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been very vocal about allowing sports venues to hold sporting events but hasn’t talked about allowing fans in attendance. 

The Yankees will stay in their home stadium for workouts and simulated games leading up to July 23rd. From there they will travel to Washington to take on the defending champs in primetime action. 

MLB News: Despite optimism there is no agreement for a baseball season, details here

While New York Yankees President Randy Levine expressed his optimism that there would be a baseball season, urging the sides to negotiate, Commissioner Manfred issued what appeared to be blockbuster news.

“At my request Tony Clark and I met for several hours yesterday in Phoenix.  We left that meeting with a jointly developed framework that we agreed could form the basis of an agreement and subject to conversations with our respective contituents. I summarized that framework several times in the meeting and sent Tony a written summary today. I am encouraging the clubs to move forward and I trust Tony is doing the same”

Manfred’s statement led baseball lovers everywhere to believe a baseball deal had been accomplished, and the only thing left was a union vote approving the deal.  But as the evening progressed, a letter from players union executive director Tony Clark was released stating: citing “a number of significant issues with what [MLB Manfred] proposed” and stated, “there certainly were no tentative agreements reached.”

Here is what Manfred’s latest proposal looks like:

  • Spring training would begin no later than June 28 for position players.
  • The season would consist of 60 games over 70 days, beginning July 19 or 20 and ending Sept. 27.
  • An expanded postseason in 2020 and 2021, with a minimum players’ pool of $25 million.
  • 100 percent prorated salaries (60 games would amount to about 37 percent of a 162-game season and salary)
  • The designated hitter in both leagues in 2020 and 2021.
  • Opt-out rights for high-risk individuals, as defined by the CDC.
  • MLB would direct $10 million for social justice initiatives.
  • ‘Minimum’ player commitments for broadcast elements, including the miking of players.
  • Corporate advertising on uniforms in 2020 and 2021.
  • Enhanced housing allowances for spring training and regular season.
  • Mutual waiver of potential grievances under the March Agreement.

MLB on their part has made significant comprises to the players union so that a season can be accomplished.  100 percent of prorated salaries is one of them. Previous MBL plans have called for large reductions in play.  The plan also allows players to have corporate advertising on uniforms to increase player revenue. But among other issues, the players are holding fast to wanting more games going later into the season.

According to how you look at the MLB deal, it appears each side of the negotiation gets a little of what they wanted.  The players will be paid their full prorated salaries, and the owners get a shortened season that will reduce losses from a much longer season. It makes you wonder why the sides couldn’t have come to a similar compromise earlier, producing a much more legitimate season.

After the final tweaking of the agreement, both sides may see that 66 games make more sense schedule-wise. 12 games each vs. 4 division opponents, 3 games each vs. 4 interleague opponents, and 6 games (home and home) vs. interleague rivals. The exact details may not be known until spring training 2.0 is resumed if the sides can finally come together and make it happen.

With the sides constantly disagreeing on issues now, they don’t seem to be able to agree on whether an agreement has been reached.  However, there is more optimism today than a few days ago when Clark said that further negotiations would be futile. With yesterday’s MLB announcement, I was hoping to be writing about a start to the season this morning, but It appears the sides are closer together to make that happen to provide some hope of an MLB season.  The supposed agreement could be a jump start that has been needed.

 

MLB: How players around the league are responding to concerns about 2020 season

Could the New York Yankees pursue Max Scherzer in a trade?

Major League Baseball is one of the only professional sports leagues that cannot seem to come to terms for putting together a season. Due to these disagreements between MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and the MLBPA, there are concerns that a season may not happen at all.

Rob Manfred told ESPN on Monday that he’s “not confident” there will be a 2020 season and that “as long as there’s no dialogue” with the MLBPA, “that risk is going to continue.” This is a complete turnaround of Manfred’s comments from last week when he said he was “100% confident” that there would be a 2020 season.

Manfred has also said, “The owners are 100 percent committed to getting baseball back on the field. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you that I’m 100 percent certain that’s gonna happen.”

MLBPA executive director Tony Clark responded to Manfred’s comments, “Players are disgusted that after Rob Manfred unequivocally told Players and fans that there would ‘100%’ be a 2020 season, he has decided to go back on his word and is now threatening to cancel the entire season. Any implication that the Players Association has somehow delayed progress on health and safety protocols is completely false, as Rob has recently acknowledged the parties are ‘very, very close.”

Although there are some players that have come out publicly and said that they are not interested in playing a modified season with reduced pay, there are a lot of players that have expressed their willingness to play under any circumstances.

Here is what some of the MLB players in the league have said about what is happening:

BREAKING NEWS: MLB likely to cancel season

In a wild turn of events, it’s very likely that the 2020 Major League Baseball season will not happen. League Commissioner Rob Manfred told ESPN that he is “not confident” that there will be a 2020 season.

“Unfortunately, I can’t tell you that I’m a 100% certain that’s gonna happen,” said Manfred. This comes after he promised that there will be a baseball season in some capacity during Wednesday’s MLB draft.

The league sent the Players Association a letter today saying that unless the MLBPA waives potential grievances, then there won’t be a season, reported Bill Shaikin.

Throughout the entire pandemic, and especially the past week, players have told the league that they are ready to go. “Just tell us when and where,” said many players.

All of this comes after a long money struggle between the players and owners. The players have requested prorated salaries all along, while the owners have been very reluctant to pay them. Owners wanted to pay the players significantly less than prorated salaries.

The players have stood firm on prorated salaries and made the owners be more reasonable with their offers. They don’t care about how long the season is, they just want to make sure they have their prorated salaries.

And it isn’t like the owners can’t afford the salaries. The billionaire owners would only undergo a one year revenue loss, and it’s something that could be made up in 2021 once fans return to the stands.

This is certainly disappointing for baseball, and hopefully it’s something that can be worked out. While the news of the likely cancelation is currently unofficial, things sure seem to be heading that way.

You Can’t Be a Baseball “Purist” and Call Yourself a Yankee Fan

There’s been a lot of talk from baseball fans, New York Yankees fans are not exempt from this, over the proposed rule changes that would have gone into effect this season surrounding use of the bullpen, number of roster spots on the bench during the regular season, and the proposed expansion of the playoff format suggested by Manfred that wouldn’t go into effect until 2022, after the current CBA expires.

Many people who chastise Commissioner Manfred are arguing “There’s no reason to change the rules of baseball. Baseball is perfect as is!” To which I counter “If you’re a left-handed relief pitcher on a major league roster, and you can’t get out a right-handed batter (and they make up the VAST majority of major league hitters), go back to the minor leagues and figure it out or retire.” But for all you “Old person yell’s at cloud” Yankee “fans” saying you shouldn’t change the rules of baseball, here are key moments in Yankee history you’re saying the Yankees should give back. Because these Yankees success stories hinged on baseball CHANGING THE RULES!

You Want to Give Back the 2017 Playoff Run?

The Yankees weren’t the division winner in 2017, they had to battle it out in the Wild Card game (I use battle loosely as it was over after inning 1) to get to the ALCS, after almost getting swept by the Indians in the Divisional round. The Wild Card play-in game didn’t exist until 2012. I hated it, but it was the only way the Yankees made the playoffs between 2013 and 2018.

You Want to Give Back the 90’s Dynasty?

The Yankees weren’t the division winners in 1996. They were the Wild Card team. The Wild Card wasn’t introduced until 1994, and not properly implemented until 1995/1996 because of the strike in 1994. If you hate baseball rule changes, the Yankees don’t win 4 titles in 5 years. Hell, they may not even win in 1998.

You Want to Give Up the Designated Hitter?

So many Yankee fans don’t want to see Giancarlo Stanton play left field, they just want him to hit DH. The DH wasn’t introduced until 1973. Which would mean that if you don’t want to “change baseball”, you actually want to see Stanton be the everyday left fielder?

You Want to Give Up the ALCS and Divisions?

For the longest time, baseball playoffs were a simple postseason format. The team with the best record in the AL played the team with the best record in the NL. Divisions didn’t exist until 1969. That same year, they introduced the Championship Series in the playoffs.

You Want to Give Up the 162 Game Season?

Some Yankee fans are clamoring for the full 162 game season to be played in 2020. That didn’t exist until 1961, the year Marris hit 61. The baseball season ended around Labor Day. That’s pretty much what we can expect this season.

You Want to Go Back to the Dead Ball Era?

Live ball baseball came about because of a RULE CHANGE! It’s also largely around this time that Babe Ruth became a Yankee, and moved from being predominantly a pitcher to becoming predominantly a hitter.

You Want to Raise the Mound Again?

The current height of the pitching mound came about because Bob Gibson was UNTOUCHABLE in 1968. To ensure no one had that impressive of a season again, the current baseball mound came to be.

So, when guys like Goose Gossage bemoan all the rule changes, and people start parroting what he’s saying, it sickens me. It sickens me because he knows better, and you all know better. But you want something to be mad at, so you decide to listen to him. If it weren’t for all the rule changes baseball has made throughout the years, who knows if the Yankees even became the perennial team in baseball? Who knows if the Mets ever come into existence?

Baseball will be back, but they are first and foremost, a business. Like the NFL. The NFL changes rules almost every season to try and keep people entertained and engaged. Why shouldn’t baseball take similar actions?

New York Yankees News: Arizona and Florida Governors okay with plan to start baseball in their states

New York Yankees

Baseball Commission Rob Manfred is working with the New York Yankees and the other 29 major league teams to get baseball started against while the coronavirus drags on.  He is also working with federal health officials and the governors of Arizona and Florida to use facilities in their states to get a start to America’s summer pastime.

Recently Manfred issued one plan to get baseball going by isolating it in both Arizona and Florida, where there is already a baseball infrastructure.  In Arizona, baseball would use the retractable roof Chase Stadium home of the Arizona Diamondbacks of the National League.  It is likely that doubleheaders and even tripleheaders would be played there in an attempt to get as many games in as possible.  The 30 MLB teams would also use open-air minor league and college stadiums within a 50-mile radius of Pheonix.  Although many New York Yankee fans are in favor of the plan just to be able to play, they also cite isolation from their families as an issue.

Florida is also be considered.  In the dual state plan, the Grapefruit league would be played there, and Cactus League games played in Arizona.  There is a lot of pushback for both plans as they would have environmental obstacles as well as causing players to be away from their families for an entire season.  The plans would cause the players to isolate themselves in hotels and only be allowed to travel between hotels and stadiums.  Florida is the home of the New York Yankees George M. Steinbrenner Field; it’s major training facility.

Another plan put forth makes less sense, still allowing players to engage in air travel and play teams that are not in their usual divisions.  This plan would create an entirely illegitimate season with a meaningless World Championship.

Both the Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have both indicated that they are okay with starting baseball in their states.  Ducey said:

“I have had discussions [Manfred],” Ducey said, via the Arizona Republic. “While I want to hold the content of those discussions in confidence, I just want everyone to know that Arizona, at the right time, is very open-minded to hosting whatever Major League Baseball would like from the state, at the time that it would be appropriate for public health if Arizona were in a position to reopen.

“We have the facilities that are here. We have the hotel space that is here. We want to make sure that the metrics and data are proper before we are able to go forward.”

Florida Governor DeSantis has deemed sports as “essential businesses” in the state, too.  Florida has over 21k active cases of the coronavirus in the state and Arizona has 3,800 cases as of Tuesday night, according to the New York Times.

One of these plans may be adopted or neither may take effect as Manfred mules over what to do to complete some type of baseball season.  He just may wait until it is safe to have baseball at New York Yankees Stadium and in other MLB home parks.  That would be a best option in this writer’s opinion, where a traditional season of 80 or so games could be played.  Manfred is not going to rush into starting the season but must make some decisions as to what a season will look like in the next few weeks.

“MLB has been working diligently to plan for many different contingencies, as one of many ideas that has been discussed has been to play some of our games in Florida when the public health situation allows for it,” the league said in a statement on Tuesday, via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. “We are appreciative that the Governor is open to playing games in Florida as one potential solution, but we all agree that such efforts can only be undertaken in a manner that does not endanger public health, nor the health of our players and fans. We will continue to be guided by those principles.”

New York’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, said today that he doubts that large gatherings would be allowed during June or July and possibly even August.  It should be noted that the major is a die-hard Boston Red Sox fan, although I’m sure that will have nothing to do with when Yankee Stadium can be opened to fans. One thing we call all agree on is that New York Yankees fans are starved for baseball and just want to hear the phrase, “Play Ball!”

New York Yankees: MLB makes stunning team re-alignment suggestion: Find out what fans think

For the past week, New York Yankees fans have been pondering the stunning, if not radical, plan that MLB is floating to completely re-align what teams play each other as sports adapt to how to get back to games during the coronavirus pandemic.

This writer has spent days pouring over every story written about the plan.  Writers pros and cons, and it got me to thinking what do real Yankee fans feel about all of this?  I conducted an informal poll on Facebook Yankee fan groups to see just what the average fan feels about not playing the traditional rivals.

MLB has suggested the possibility of re-aligning divisions into more or less geographic regions.  Instead of playing against traditional division rivals, the plan would look more like the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues of spring training.

The plan would be broken down into six divisions:  Grapefruit North, which would pit the New York Yankees against the Toronto Blue Jays, the Detroit Tigers, the Philadelphia Phillies, and the Pittsburgh Pirates.  The South would include Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins, Atlanta Braves, Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles.  The East would consist of Washington Nationals, Houston Astros, New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals, Miami Marlins.

The Cactus League would include the Northeast, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Oakland Athletics.  The West: Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Angels.  The Northwest would include Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals.

Where any of these games would be played is yet to be determined by MLB.  With wanting to get a baseball season this year, those determinations and details will have to be worked out in the next few weeks.  An original proposal to have all 30 MLB teams play the whole season in the Pheonix area seems less likely as the coronavirus is slowed and playing in home parks seems more feasible.

Although I am not totally against re-alignment to get in as many games as possible and at the same time protect players and fans, I can’t quite get a handle on how they figured this out.  Boston Red Sox in the south?  Cleveland Indians in the west?  Houston Astros in the East.  The only way this makes sense is if a bunch of MLB gurus sat around a big table hashing this out while smoking funny cigarettes.

The results of my poll although unscientific, were quite interesting for several reasons.  One is that the number of those in favor of the plan and those against it was pretty well equal, showing that fans may be as unsettled about what to do as the MLB seems to be.  54% don’t like the plan, and 38% are in favor of it.  What surprised me was that usually when I put forth a poll, people vote, and that’s it.  In this poll, New York Yankee fans not only voted but commented on the subject heavily.

In one of the Facebook Yankee groups, Yankee Fans R us!! for which I am an administrator, the group owner Michael Miracco said: “We have interleague play anyway, they’re all MLB teams.”  A moderator Mark Walsh noted in greater detail:

” I don’t know what to think, you’re taking Boston and Tampa Bay out of our division. To me that means we won’t play them except maybe in a postseason. Since when is Boston in the South. At the end of the day, if it’s only for this year, I can deal with it.”

That brings me to the other group represented in the poll.  Those that would agree, if not wholeheartedly, to the plan, if it was the only way we could have a baseball season (8%).  Many were citing; we just want to have some New York Yankee baseball to watch.

Although it was not reflected in the voting, many Yankee fans said they are more concerned about the player’s health, and the season should be canceled altogether in favor of starting fresh in 2021.  Those that responded that way, however, are definitely in the minority.  Most all will be satisfied with not attending games but want some ball played in the near future.  Whatever it takes!

On a side note, many New York Yankee fans still feel cheated by the Houston Astros, and feel Commission Rob Manfred failed when he didn’t strip the Astros of their World Series title and rings.  That dissatisfaction with Manfred seems to have carried over to most of those same fans now, citing that they are become more disgruntled with him and wish he would leave baseball alone.

This writer tends to agree with that.  I feel to have a legitimate season this year; we need to wait until it is safe to have a traditional albeit shortened season and play in the conventional divisions at the team’s home stadiums.  The re-alignment proposed with not significantly cut down on air travel, that is mostly done on chartered flights anyway.  What it will do is make a season that will be totally illegitimate with a World Championship that will be, for the most part, meaningless.

 

MLB, Players Association Agree on Plan For Shortened Season

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a halt in our world which has never been seen during this current generation. On what would have been Major League Baseball‘s opening day, the MLB and Players Association agreed on how the upcoming shortened season will be handled.

According to Ken Rosenthal, players will receive $170 million in advance to spread over two months.  The future salaries will be pro-rated on the number of games played in the abbreviated 2020 season. The deal should be completed Friday and it will also put roster moves on hold. This is why the Mets were actively trimming their roster over the last week.

Draft and Service Time Changes

Much like the NFL, MLB will continue to hold their draft as scheduled. There will be at least five rounds to the draft but it puts teams in a tough spot. With the entire NCAA season cancelled and high school season currently on hold, it makes the guessing game for each organization even harder. Some players who were also projected to leave school early may end up remaining at their respective schools to boost their draft stock.

No matter what happens with the season, players will still receive a year of service time as long as they were on the active roster or injured list. This means Yoenis Cespedes, Marcus Stroman, and Justin Wilson are just a few of the guys who will have their futures based off a small sample size. Michael Conforto, Edwin Diaz and Brandon Nimmo headline a strong crew of Mets who will have very little to work off of when they head towards arbitration.

New York Yankees: 5 Scenarios affecting a Yankee 2020 baseball season!

1. Yankees and MLB  take back seat to COVID-19

The New York Yankees, like all of MLB, is at a halt.  The COVID-19 virus, also known as coronavirus, is front and center in the news and everyone’s daily life.  With more significant restrictions, each day as to the size of gatherings, the Yankees, as well as all of the sports is taking a back seat to the deadly disease.  The virus is growing at an alarming rate, as the death toll rises, Yankee fans’ thoughts have shifted from the loss of baseball to their own health and that of their families.  Believe it or not Yankees fans may have put the Houston Astros cheating scandal in the rear-view mirror.

2. What to do with Yankee players and workers

With no baseball at the moment or in the near future, it has created all kinds of questions for MLB.  The MLB and the players union are going to have to decide how players will be paid during the CDC imposed work stoppage.  MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has had to put aside the final parts of the Boston Red Sox cheating investigation as his attention has had to turn to the questions regarding the baseball season.  As far as baseball workers in the stadiums around the country, MLB has mandated that all teams will donate $1 million to augment unemployment checks until baseball returns.

3. When will the season start

When the New York Yankees baseball season starts is the question of the day.  The Yankees have no control over that.  According to present guidance from the CDC, it appears and mini spring training could happen in late May with an early June start to the regular season.  This, of course, is a best-case scenario.  MLB has already said that it will follow CDC guidelines.

4.  What will the 2020 Season look like?

What the New York Yankee season will look like is an intriguing situation.  Again, the Yankees won’t have much control over that.  All the teams, along with MLB, will make those decisions as it gets closer to a time that baseball can start.  Different scenarios include baseball in November or a 120 game season.  Whatever happens to the season, there will definitely be an asterisk after the season, lessening the genuine feel of the season.  The season may do away with interleague games, and you may see more doubleheaders to get more games in.

The New York Yankees, the Houston Astros the Tampa Bay Rays,  Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals all seem to be headed to postseason play.  If the season is extended, we may find postseason games played in domed stadiums and neutral fields.  Picture a Yankee National World Series with all seven games played at the Miami Marlins Park in 75-degree weather.  The season could start with no fans in the stands, that’s not out of the question.

5.  For the Yankees, it’s a time to heal

Although there is very little good about the baseball season delay, it does have it’s benefits for the Yankees.  Earlier, we learned that Luis Severino would miss the entire season again due to Tommy John surgery.  James Paxton had back surgery and would miss the first two months or so of the season.  The delay in the start of the season will minimize the loss of pitching time.  Aaron Judge, with a rib fracture, will have more time to heal.  The same goes for Giancarlo Stanton with this calf strain.  Catcher Gary Sanchez will have more time to get over his back soreness.  The delay in the start of the season just may make the Yankees whole and ready to go when the bell sounds.

MLB Summary

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has made it clear that whatever decisions are made about the upcoming season, no matter how imperfect, will be better than the alternative.  No baseball season at all.

New York Yankees: Is Commissioner Manfred being tough enough?

There is much talk in the baseball world as to whether Rob Manfred is being tough enough on sign-stealing rule breakers that may have changed the outcome of postseason results.  According to who you listen to the answer is all over the place.  One news organization in Los Angeles is calling for the World Series loss in 2017 to be overturned and be awarded to the Dodgers.  CC Sabathia said yesterday that he feels cheated out of another World Series ring.  Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred issued his nine-page report on Monday.  The report detailed the sign-stealing that was conducted by the Houston Astros during the 2017 season.  The punishments issued included a one-year suspension of Astros Manager A.J. Hinch and General Manager Jeff Luhnow, a $5MM fine, the loss of first and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021.  In addition, the former Assitant General Manager was made ineligible.

At first look, many were pleased with the punishment that the Astros would endure, but the overnight trend seemed to change to think it was not all that stuff.  With all this disagreement with how Manfred handed this, I decided to conduct an informal non-scientific poll across several Yankee Facebook groups representing 35k Yankee fans.  I presented the poll with several options from Life bans to the feeling that the punishments issued by Manfred were too harsh.   Because the poll was taken of Yankee fans, it obviously does not include the feeling of all in baseball, just Yankee fans who would tend to want harsher treatment of the Astros.

Here are the results of those that voted in the 24-hour poll.   I feel the World Series title should be stripped and Championship rings returned: 59%.  All players and managers involved should be suspended: 21%.  I am satisfied with punishments issued: 18%.  I believe all players and managers should be suspended for life: less than 1%.  The punishments are too harsh: less than 1%.   The poll among Yankee fans shows that the general opinion is that although the punishments issued were appropriate they were not harsh enough and the Houston Astros should have been stripped of their World Series Title.  What we don’t know is if Manfred is saving his harshest treatment for Astros coach and Boston Red Sox Manager Alex Cora who has already been fired by the Red Sox.