Major League Baseball is planning an exciting matchup to open its abbreviated 2020 season.
According to Joel Sherman and Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, the league is currently planning a primetime matchup between the New York Yankees and reigning World Series champion Washington Nationals to open its season on July 23. This would be played in Washington, and would be the highlight of an abbreviated Opening Day schedule.
This game would likely serve as Gerrit Cole’s Yankees debut, and would see him go up against Max Scherzer in a very exciting pitching matchup.
MLB knows it has to do something exciting to get fans interested after the bad-tempered negotiations between players and owners that dominated the news over the last few months. This is certainly a pretty good way to do that. It would also be unique, as an interleague game to open a season would be a first.
A lot has to be sorted out in order for this to happen. Even if it does, one of the most prominent Nationals players might not be there.
MLB players are expected to eventually file a grievance against team owners after commissioner Rob Manfred scheduled the 2020 season without an agreement in place, but the league does not seem concerned about losing.
One of the main reasons the MLB Players Association voted no on MLB’s latest proposal for a 60-game season was that the players wanted to preserve their right to file a grievance. That grievance would claim owners intentionally delayed the season in order to avoid paying players for more games. While SNY’s Andy Martino was told by sources that owners would likely try to settle to avoid having to open their books and reveal information about revenue, New York Yankees president Randy Levine says teams have nothing to worry about.
“It’s got a 90 percent chance of the clubs winning [the grievance],” Levine says. “I know good faith. This was good faith. We’re losing hundreds of millions of dollars. There is no secret. It’s very obvious. There are no fans in the seats. They are not eating or drinking in the seats. There is no place to hide money. Discovery of what? This concept of ‘they are hiding money’ is just not true.”
Part of the issue is owners agreed back in March to pay players 100 percent pro-rated salaries for however many games are played. They then went back on that agreement, citing the loss in revenue from potentially having to play in empty ballparks. However, it was known at the time that fans likely would not be permitted to attend games.
It shouldn’t be hard for owners to prove they have missed out on a massive amount of revenue, so you can understand why Levine is confident MLB would win the grievance. The only argument that could be made is that owners continued to drag out the negotiations intentionally and knew they were making proposals players wouldn’t accept, but that also seems like an uphill battle for the MLBPA.
How will a shortened season work for every MLB team? With only 60 games, one hot streak could push an unlikely team into the playoffs, while a cold streak could prove fatal to someone’s playoff hopes. No team is really truly built for this, but some might be more well-equipped than others to handle the situation.
Here are five MLB teams that could really put up a lot of wins in a shortened 60-game season.
Ken Griffey Jr had no love lost for the New York Yankees during his playing career, and now he is revealing exactly where that resentment stemmed from.
During MLB Network’s airing Sunday of the documentary “Junior,” Griffey, the subject of the film, told a story about how then-New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner once had him removed from the team’s dugout as a kid. Griffey’s father Ken Sr. was an outfielder for the Yankees at the time.
Wow, Ken Griffey Jr. had a really damn good reason to never play for the Yankees.
“I came up to visit my dad, and it was just me and him, and got to the ballpark early,” said Griffey. “I’m sitting in the dugout, and the security guard comes over and says, ‘Hey, George doesn’t want anyone in the dugout.’ My dad was like, ‘What? My son.’ So he goes, ‘Alright, hey, go in my locker. But before you go, look at third base.’ It’s Graig Nettles’ son taking groundballs at third base.”
The film also showed Griffey in archival footage from early on in his MLB career telling fans, “If the Yankees were the last team, if they were the only team that gave me a contract, I’d retire.”
Griffey would get his revenge against the Yankees by becoming one of baseball’s best all-around players for the American League rival Seattle Mariners. He also knocked the Yankees out of the playoffs with a series-winning hit in Game 5 of the 1995 ALDS.
Ken Sr. also shared a story a few years ago about a run-in that his son had with then-Yankees manager Billy Martin that may have contributed to Junior’s ire as well. Regardless, Griffey was one of the few stars of that era that the Yanks were not able to acquire at some point, and now we have a better idea of why.
Things like this will only raise suspicion of what is in the letter, fairly or not. What we know is that commissioner Rob Manfred sent the letter in 2017 around the time the Yankees were fined for illegally using a dugout phone for stealing signs. A judge had ordered the letter released publicly as part of a lawsuit brought by daily fantasy sports players against MLB in light of sign-stealing schemes put together by the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros. The plaintiffs believe the letter in question contains details of more severe sign-stealing allegations against the Yankees that have not been publicly shared.
The Yankees have promised to fight the release, claiming that the letter going public would lead to “significant reputational injury.” Those efforts to fight it are understandable, but will only make fans more curious about what Manfred told the Yankees.
The Houston Astros certainly seemed to take note of a new report that accuses the 2017 New York Yankees of participating in more severe sign-stealing than was previously reported.
The Yankees were among the teams most critical of the Astros for what Houston did in 2017. When the new allegations against the Astros came to light, Houston players seemed to waste no time in responding. They were led by Alex Bregman, who raised eyebrows with a tweet he has since deleted.
A judge has ordered the Yankees to release a letter from commissioner Rob Manfred detailing the results of a 2017 sign-stealing investigation, with plaintiffs alleging its contents are more serious than publicly reported. The fact that the Yankees are arguing that they would be subject to “significant reputational injury” if it is made public certainly raised some eyebrows around the baseball world.
A lawsuit regarding MLB sign-stealing may ultimately ensnare the New York Yankees — if plaintiffs are correct.
On Friday, a New York judge ordered the New York Yankees to release a minimally redacted letter the organization received from commissioner Rob Manfred in 2017, according to Evan Drellich of The Athletic. The ruling comes as part of a lawsuit brought against MLB by daily fantasy sports contestants who felt defrauded by sign-stealing scandals in Houston and Boston.
The Yankees had fought against the release, arguing that its contents being made public would cause “significant reputational injury.” For this reason, plaintiffs in the lawsuit believe that the letter details a more serious sign-stealing scheme than MLB publicly reported at the time. MLB had publicly stated in 2017 that the Yankees received a fine for minor rules violations relating to use of the dugout phone.
A lawyer representing the Yankees, Jonathan Schiller, said the letter’s release should be blocked because the court had held that its contents were irrelevant to the suit when the complaint was originally dismissed. A Yankees source told Drellich that the Yankees are “not doing this to cover up some smoking gun.” An emergency appeal is expected, but if denied, the letter is to be released on June 19.
The Yankees lost in the 2017 ALCS to the Astros team that was engaged in the most severe sign-stealing scheme. Subsequently, Yankee players were among the most vocal about how harmful Houston’s cheating was. It would certainly be something if that same Yankees team engaged in some sign-stealing of their own. If the letter in question is ultimately released, we’ll soon find out for ourselves.