Tags: yankees | schedule | espn

Yankees Threatened to Boycott ESPN Over Schedule

Yankees Threatened to Boycott ESPN Over Schedule
Manager Aaron Boone #17 of the New York Yankees shakes hands with starting pitcher Domingo German #65 of the New York Yankees after he was pulled from game two of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers during the seventh inning at Comerica Park on June 4, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

By Wednesday, 06 June 2018 04:49 PM Current | Bio | Archive

One of the strangest baseball scheduling mishaps in the history of baseball happened this past week. Let’s start from the top. The MLB originally scheduled the Yankees to play a game in Toronto at 1:05 p.m. on July 8 and added a doubleheader in Baltimore the evening of July 9. Then for whatever reason, ESPN changed the July 8 game to 8:05 p.m., meaning the Yankees would be playing three games within 24 hours. Anyone who knows the physical, mental, and logistical realities of playing this many games in such a short period understands this scheduling error was ridiculous. It was so outrageous that the Yankees’ brass and manager Aaron Boone threatened to boycott ESPN regarding interviews and promos. Ultimately, ESPN reverted to the original schedule, but only after commissioner Rob Manfred brokered the deal due to the pressure from the team.

This situation brings up some questions about how it happened in the first place. It would be one thing if the original schedule was at 8 p.m. on the 8th and the Yankees requested an earlier time. Instead, the game was changed from an earlier time to a later time. ESPN either showed severe incompetence in their scheduling abilities or outright gave the Yankees an unfair game schedule. Additionally, when it was pointed out to ESPN, they should have fixed it immediately. A team shouldn’t have to threaten a boycott to get that fixed. The schedule given to the Yankees not only put the team at a disadvantage, but it also put their players’ health at risk, their contracts' at risk, and even their careers' at risk.

Let’s take an example from another sport to frame this situation. Previously during the NBA’s compressed schedule, LeBron James and other top players refused to play back to back games as it was too taxing on them physically. So, if LeBron James was willing to sit out games where young fans specifically came to see him play, why would a sports network expect a baseball team to play three games in 24 hours, with a flight between the first two games?

Even if we give ESPN the benefit of the doubt that they were doing it with the purpose of maximizing profits, it would have been on the backs of a team and is borderline, if not actually, negligence. And even from the profit perspective, forcing a team to play at that rate could ruin a team’s entire elite closing pitching staff. That wouldn’t be good for the league overall.

If the schedule wasn’t changed, and the Yankees were forced to boycott ESPN, fans would be privy to this, and the entire conversation around the sport would sour. Yankees fans could blame any shortcomings by their team this season on lousy scheduling. Fans of other teams would be robbed of legitimacy if their team won, as other teams could say the Yankees didn’t get a fair chance. Think of how awkward it would be for the Yankees to boycott Alex Rodriguez, as he is a commentator at ESPN.

We can even get a little bit conspiratorial here. Are the people who made this decision Boston Red Sox fans? Do they have something against the “evil empire” of the Yankees? I doubt this is seriously the case, but the fact the idea can even be entertained shows how ludicrous of a decision this scheduling mishap was in the first place. It’s so outrageous that people couldn’t help but call foul on ESPN.

Hopefully, this is a lesson to ESPN. Fans and players alike should be able to trust the schedule is made in good faith. After all, who wants to watch a compromised sport? It’s in the best interest of all parties for the schedules to be reasonable so that the integrity of the sport is maintained, not threatened.

Richard S. Bernstein, CEO of Richard S. Bernstein & Associates, Inc., West Palm Beach, Florida, is an insurance advisor for high net worth business leaders, families, businesses, municipalities, and charitable organizations. An insurance advisor to many of America’s wealthiest families, he is a writer, trusted local and national media resource and expert speaker on estate planning and health insurance. Visit his website at www.rbernstein.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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One of the strangest baseball scheduling mishaps in the history of baseball happened this past week.
yankees, schedule, espn
Wednesday, 06 June 2018 04:49 PM
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