ESPN Relents, and the Yankees Are Spared a Travel Nightmare

ESPN Relents, and the Yankees Are Spared a Travel Nightmare

The Yankees were facing the possibility of having to play three games in two cities within 24 hours — a scenario that angered the organization so much that it threatened not to do any interviews with ESPN for the rest of the season. That would have been particularly awkward for Alex Rodriguez, who is part of the Sunday Night Baseball broadcasting team as well as a paid adviser to the Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner.

For the Yankees — as well as the Boston Red Sox, the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals — playing the maximum six times per season on Sunday Night Baseball is expected. But what often bothers players is having to travel and play the following night — something the Yankees are scheduled to do at least three times this season.

Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said he was grateful to everyone involved who “clearly ended up doing the right thing in considering the product and player safety and all those kinds of things. Excited to get that bit of news today.”

Though the Blue Jays understood the Yankees’ predicament, they had been excited to play on a national stage — even in a season that has become increasingly desultory for them. The Blue Jays, who began Tuesday 14½ games out of first place in the American League East, have not played on Sunday Night Baseball since 1999, according to ESPN.

“It would have been nice a couple of years ago when we were the best team in baseball,” center fielder Kevin Pillar said, referring to the Blue Jays’ back-to-back American League Championship Series appearances in 2015 and 2016. “It was hard to get an ESPN crew up here for a game. I think any time you get that opportunity to play on Sunday Night Baseball in a nationally televised game, it’s good for your brand.”

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