News & Notes: Fallout from COVID-19 and season delay

River Avenue is going to be much quieter than usual. (Steven Pisano – CC BY 2.0)

Life is absolutely upside down right now. I’ve been on the edge of my seat, rapidly refreshing Twitter, to find out the latest about the pandemic that is COVID-19. I’m sure I’m not alone in this, though I definitely don’t recommend it for one’s mental health. Take some time to step away, unplug, and distract yourself if you can.

Of course, it’s gotten a whole lot harder to decompress now that baseball is on hiatus. There are no games to watch, no injury updates, no Opening Day roster discussions, etc. The only baseball related news right now relates to COVID-19, as one would expect. With that, let’s take a look at some of the latest Yankees-related news pertaining to the outbreak.

Impact on Restaurants and shops around Yankee Stadium

How many of you have had pre- or post-game meals and drinks at Yankee Tavern, Billy’s, or Stan’s? Ever bought a shirt or hat from one of the shops or street vendors outside the Stadium? Like many of you, I have as well. And well, there’s no easy way to put this: these small businesses and its employees are in a lot of trouble with the season delayed.

The Daily News’ Bradford William Davis illustrated the sort of concerns the folks running these businesses understandably have right now. Bradford spoke to a couple of shop and restaurant owners who explained the predicament they’re in and how any significant delay could cause those businesses to shutter.

This is just anther example of how the COVID-19 is wreaking havoc. Small businesses around the country, not just Yankee Stadium, are going to suffer. Hopefully, the Yankees can do something in good faith to help these people in the neighborhood, from owners to employees, stay afloat. As Bradford wrote: “[The Yankees] will lose money, but with a $4.6 billion valuation, they’re all but certain to weather the storm. Other shops will follow the Yankees [by closing its doors], but it might not be temporary and it won’t be by choice”.

Yankees minor leaguer has COVID-19

General Manager Brian Cashman announced that a player in the Yankees’ system has tested positive for COVID-19. The player’s name has not been disclosed.

The good news is that the minor leaguer is already feeling better after he reported fever and fatigue on Friday. He’s still in isolation though, as per protocol. Further, Cashman stated that the is “younger” and thus was not in contact with anyone in big league camp.

As a result of the positive test, all Yankees’ minor leaguers will be in quarantine until March 25th along with some coaches and personnel. The team is providing this group meals as well. Finally, to no surprise, the team’s Minor League facilities have undergone a deep clean.

It was only a matter of time until someone in some MLB organization contracted the virus, unfortunately. This illnesses is spreading rapidly as it is, and tight knit locker rooms, clubhouses, and other baseball facilities are a breeding ground for these sorts of things.

About that two week delay…

Last night, the CDC recommended no large events or mass gatherings consisting of 50 or more people for the next eight weeks. That recommendation puts us out until May 10th, well beyond the two week delay MLB initially noted last week. Granted, it was qualified with “at least”, but this latest recommendation paints a clearer picture. It’s going to be a long time until we see baseball.

Keep in mind that everyone is going to need another version of spring training to get ready once again, though perhaps it can be a brief miniature version. If, and this is a big if, things can get going again after that May 10th date, maybe the league can get its regular season going again come June. In any event, it’s pretty darn clear that the season will be delayed by more than two weeks.

Yankees’ players voted to stay in Tampa amid delay, but looks to be shortlived

Even though players were free to leave spring training following the announcement of the season’s delay, the Yankees unanimously voted to stick around and hold informal workouts.

The players decision is well intended as winning World Series is still on the forefront of the Yankees’ minds. Yet, as hopeful as they may have been, any sort of group workouts will be halted in short order:

More to come here, but I suspect that we’ll see the team depart to their homes (provided it’s safe to do so). Winning the World Series is great and all, but right now, the place to be with one’s family or loved ones. Now, I’m sure a lot of players keep homes locally in Tampa and may continue to work out individually, but that can’t be expected of everyone.

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Episode 2: Keeping the Faith

3 Comments

  1. RetroRob

    I definitely advise against constantly refreshing Twitter for pandemic updates. This is going to be something that’s going to go on for months, although granted, the news is coming fast and furious, with restaurants and pubs being limited to takeout in the tri-state area, the CDC recommending gatherings of no more than 50 people. then a statement from the WH asking people limit gathers to 10 or less, and MLB then announcing the season will be delayed further, etc.

    The last is no surprise. I’m hoping we have baseball by July, but the longer the delay preventing players from even practicing together means they’ll need to ramp up with another spring training, even if it’s abbreviated, before real games can commence. Would MLB move the postseason and World Series to neutral, warm-weather sites so those games can be played in November while regular season games still happen in October? That would be difficult. For one, let’s says it’s the Dodgers vs. the Rays (I’m purposely picking two warm-weather states). There would be no need to move the games, but that decision would need to be made well in advance of knowing the final teams. If there’s a shorter ST, maybe they expand rosters to 27 to allow teams to carry more pitchers for the first month while they’re still getting stretched out but enabling games to commence rapidly. They could simply pick up the schedule from a specific game. That’s the easiest solution, or they could try to re-balance the schedule. Every market will want the Yankees to come though because it’s additional revenue, but that’s probably not realistic. There will be challenges.

    Here’s the biggest concern. Many players are going to contract this virus. They’re young. They should be fine, but they’ll be out of action for a few weeks. Could significantly impact teams trying to play games.

  2. DJ LeMeddardhieu

    They had no right to do any of this, Derek. There are folks who look forward to opening day all year and now they won’t have that. And they won’t have March Madness. They coulda played in empty stadiums and been just fine. Now all these regular folks in food, hotels, airlines, hospitality industries will be out of jobs because they depend on these sporting events. Such a shame. Hopefully they get back to baseball in April. If the players are still working out together then they can go to the locker rooms and just play in front of empty stadiums. There is no need to shut everything down for months for a little cold or flu. And all of this happened because of that clown Gobert on the Jazz. He was careless touching everything he could and that caused the NBA, NCAA and MLB to shut down. Idiot. I can sort of understand basketball shutting down because the players get so close to each other when playing but then you can just test every player before the game and anybody who has it goes home. In MLB you don’t have that much physical contact so they should be playing these ballgames.

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