Earlier today, Jeff Passan reported that the players’ union and owners have discussed a plan to start the MLB Season as early as May in Arizona.
The plan is wacky for sure. Possibilities include:
no fans in the stands
players sitting in the stands instead of the dugout to enforce social distancing
the players being isolated in Arizona without their families
seven inning double headers
an electronic strike zone
Reactions on Twitter really varied across the board, as expected. There are fans ripping the plan apart who would prefer to just wait until 2021, and there are fans who just want baseball in any capacity.
Count me in the latter group.
Sure, this plan is super weird and unprecedented. Playing in Arizona at empty stadiums certainly isn’t my first choice. But what other choice do we have? Packing 50,000 people into Yankee Stadium in May or June isn’t happening. I’m sure MLB’s goal here is to play in Phoenix through June or July, and then get back into MLB stadiums by August. Would that really be so terrible? We’d get to watch baseball on TV for a few months and then get back in the Bronx towards the end of the summer. It’s not perfect by any means, but it is something.
A healthy roster
While playing on the west coast isn’t ideal for a New York based team, this plan does have some built-in advantages for the Yankees. First off, Giancarlo Stanton and James Paxton will be ready to roll when the season starts. Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks shouldn’t be too far behind. If the rosters are expanded to 28 or 30, the Yankees have a deep well of talent at the Triple A level, which means the they should have a far superior roster than most of the other teams. How many other teams have guys like Clint Frazier and Thairo Estrada just sitting in Triple A? Maybe the Dodgers, and that’s it.
Built for adversity
In addition to their roster depth, the Yankees have faced more adversity than any other team over the past three years. Since 2017, they have:
had the most games rained out
played the most double headers
had the most players go on the injured list
lost to a an electronically cheating team three years in a row in the playoffs
The Yankees have dealt with incredibly bad luck regarding injuries and weather. They’ve already proven they can consistently sweep double headers. Furthermore, they’ve dealt with the Astros stealing all of their signs with a camera and were still a play or two away from beating them.
Rest assured; the Yankees can handle this. And as a fan, so can you.