The New York Yankees are Major League Baseball’s most popular team. Fans watch their games regardless of whether they love or hate the Bronx Bombers. So then, it makes sense that ESPN would want to feature the Yankees in as many of its Sunday Night Baseball Broadcasts as possible.
Last winter, ESPN announced a fixed schedule of select dates that had the Yankees playing on Sunday night four times during the regular season. The number of “flex dates” built into the broadcast schedule though has had the Yankees playing in that slot way more often. It is something the team’s fan base outside of the Northeast might enjoy, but manager Aaron Boone absolutely hates it. In particular, Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports that Boone is upset about a July 8th game against the Toronto Blue Jays that ESPN has moved to Sunday night, as the Yankees were already scheduled to play a double header in Baltimore the following day.
Boone wants the game moved back to its original 1pm start time and according to Marchand’s reporting, the team may shut any ESPN personalities out of interviews in order to get its way.
In an effort to change the time of the July 8 “Sunday Night Baseball” telecast, the Yankees are threatening to boycott ESPN personnel all year, according to sources with knowledge of the team’s thinking.
“It is a tool in the toolbox,” one source said.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Jimmy Traina, Boone said he was concerned for player safety.
…that is not good for the product on the field or the safety of our guys having [to] go from [a] night game, flight, and right into a doubleheader. Anyone who would argue that is not being truthful.
ESPN says that both teams were aware the Sunday Night Baseball game between the Yankees and the Blue Jays was on the schedule since well before it became public knowledge.
Major League Baseball can step in if they feel it is what is best for the sport. So far, no one in the league office has indicated any intention of doing so.