Forty-five minutes before the Yankees were scheduled to travel by bus Tuesday from Philadelphia to Yankee Stadium, where they had planned training, the itinerary changed dramatically.
So instead of opening a two-game series against the Phillies on Wednesday night in The Bronx, after two games in Philly were postponed when more than a dozen Marlins tested positive for COVID-19 after the end was over. Weekend at Citizens Bank Park, the Yankees instead went to Baltimore and will play two games against the Orioles beginning Wednesday.
The play had to be approved by each club’s players, and the Yankees showed general manager Brian Cashman that they are comfortable with health and safety protocols and hungry to play.
“We are excited about the team we have and we are excited now that we have avoided the COVID situation to put ourselves in a position to play and I think the fact that our players said what they said [Tuesday] when they voted, ‘We’re going to Baltimore,’ ”Cashman said in a Zoom call Tuesday afternoon as his club prepared for a trip to Baltimore and a Camden Yard workout Tuesday night. “His attitude is: ‘Tell us where and we will be there.’ I think it is a very powerful statement from them. ”
Living and playing in a world with an invisible enemy causes anxiety, but according to Zack Britton, his teammates have calmed down because of the way the Yankees have handled the situation.
“The Yankees will go above and beyond what they need to do to keep us in a safe environment,” said Britton, who as the players ‘representative in the players’ association chaired the meeting. “From the players’ point of view, we are confident. We feel that if we follow the guidelines and with our organization going beyond many of the protocols to ensure security, I think we should be fine. ”
According to Britton, the players discussed what was on the table.
“They gave us some options on what we could possibly do. Boys felt that we obviously want to play. I think our team has done a pretty good job of following the protocols, and our medical staff has done a great job disinfecting the visiting club headquarters and things like that, ” Britton said. “We felt that we didn’t want to take three or four days off. There is an opportunity to go to Baltimore to play. That is what we wanted to do and that is what we decided. ”
The outbreak among Marlins players before a full week of games was played raised questions about the MLB’s ability to complete a 60-game season. Britton believes that players and teams should take on a large part of their respective parts to stay as safe as possible.
“I believe that each organization is responsible for how they address this,” he said. “There are no MLB officials every day at the clubhouse monitoring this, so much of the responsibility falls on the players and the organization to do the right thing and follow the protocols. I think we are doing a great job as an organization by following protocols and going above and beyond to make sure we are healthy and our players are available to play. ”
Aaron Boone has often spoken about the team that mentally handles the changing tides of the season will be ahead of those who don’t.
“We always try to be prepared for adversity. We know adversity is coming and 2020 is unlike anything we’ve all experienced. We knew going into this that we would have to prepare for some awkward situations, some difficult times, difficult days, ” Boone said. “From the baseball point of view, from the virus point of view, from the trip, from the inconveniences. I feel like we are uniquely equipped to handle that. I think that is one of those things that will be critical to being successful on the baseball field this year. You will have to deal with the curved balls. ”
The groundbreaking pitch delivered to the Yankees Tuesday was further proof that nothing out of this strange season is paying attention to a script.