We are in our sixth week since the New York Yankees and the rest of Major League Baseball shut down operations amid the coronavirus pandemic that has exploded worldwide. With no end in sight in the near future, there is a good chance that we could not see baseball in 2020.
With that said, here are some random thoughts about the Yankees and MLB during the shutdown.
Getting the Yankees back on the field
There have been many thoughts by MLB and the players association about how to get going with some type of season when it is deemed safe. Reports earlier this month suggested that there were talks about sending all 30 teams to Arizona. That sounds all well in good, but do we think sticking 30 teams and about 60+ essential personnel from players to staff in one state is going to protect against another outbreak? Highly unlikely. We have been living in a world of social distancing for a month and a half now.
Putting about 1,800 people one state to play games doesn’t make much sense. What happens when as many as three or four players are touching the same ball without washing their hands? A pitcher throws a pitch that is ground to short where he is thrown out at first. That’s three people touching the ball. Is there going to be hand sanitizer in the back pocket of each fielder and time to squirt some on their hands in between batters? Each player has to come into the dugout and line up six feet apart from each other in the tunnel near a bathroom and wash their hands after each half inning defensively? I know that there would be a lot of social distancing and even having the players sit six feet apart in the stands instead of the dugouts. There would be no mound visits allowed and games would be turned into seven-inning doubleheaders. All it takes is one player testing positive to throw things off again.
What do the Yankees do with their free agent pitchers?
If there is no baseball in 2020, how does Brian Cashman and the Yankees move forward with their pitching free agents? James Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka will both be free agents. Both are key rotation pieces.
There are questions about Luis Severino and his health after Tommy John surgery and Domingo German will not have pitched in a year and a half after serving his suspension for domestic violence. A lot of questions will surround the rotation this next winter behind Gerrit Cole.
Could the Yankees play in Florida instead?
A few days after ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported the everyone-in-Arizona idea, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported that MLB was considering having the teams return to their Spring Training cities in Florida and Arizona. When they get there, they would realign the teams into divisions based on location. That would be the end of American League and National League games as we know it for the 2020 season.
Under that scenario, the Yankees could be in a grouping with the Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays, and Detroit Tigers. Nothing will get your baseball motor going with a number of games against the Pirates and Tigers during the summer. After some sort of playoffs within each state, the Florida and Arizona winners would meet for the World Series championship. Mind you, all of this will be most likely without fans present.
Maybe the Yankees can trade Stanton
What are the odds that Cashman can find a team that would want to take on Giancarlo Stanton and his contract, which would provide the Yankees with salary relief? No, I didn’t think so.
What about booing the Astros?
If there is no season, the biggest crime in all of this would be the Houston Astros almost becoming an afterthought with their cheating scandal. Will fans still boo them, say next season? I hope so. But if Spring Training was any indication, I was looking forward to the Astros having to go into cities on the road and getting their due from the fans.
A Yankees home run party
If Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Gary Sanchez could every stay healthy for one season, think of the home run numbers we would possibly witness. One has to think we would also witness some insane strikeout numbers as well. I guess you have to take the good with the bad sometimes.
As a baseball fan, I would like to see the game back on the field. The summer nights won’t be the same without it. However, we all understand that if it does come back, it has to be under the right circumstances. The players also have to understand that if they do come back, they will most likely be leaving their family for possibly months at a time during a pandemic. Not sure how many would want to do that.
It may sound crazy in late April, but maybe we have to come to the realization that we might not see baseball until 2021. Players and managers have stated that they would need three to four weeks on an extended Spring Training to play a shortened season. If they can’t get back on the field until July or August, it might be time to pass on the season as painful as that would be to do.