Aaron Boone, so perfect for this market and for this storm, knows he has a Dream Team, his stars again healthy and aligned, his Savages in the box and on the mound making an unstoppable freight train that only one virus maybe can stop.
And all of a sudden it looks like the bottom of the ninth for the Yankees and for Major League Baseball.
Dr. Fauci on the mound.
And what a shame that would be.
Especially for Boone’s Bronx Bombers.
The baseball gods can’t be that cruel to the Yankees, can they?
Tanaka was back in the saddle for 51 shots, the judge pulled off the fourth game in a row, Gio Urshela pulled off a grand slam and Nick Nelson was an unsung hero of the bullpen in the Yankees’ 5-2 victory 6- 1 against the Red Sox.
Judge, finally healthy, looks like the dreaded version of the 2017 vintage.
“One of the great players in the game,” Boone said.
But despite the Yankees’ good play, the coronavirus persists. Forget hindsight, it’s 20/20: MLB should have built a bubble. Or two. Or three. Either way.
Money always talks. But the bulls still walk.
As they lobbied for the sport to come back, “Tell us when and where” became the rallying cry of the players.
None of them, starting at the top, had a clue the virus was telling anyone who listened to the same damn thing.
“I am not a coward,” said Commissioner Rob Manfred.
The virus either.
Six teams have put their seasons on hiatus.
“In fact, this season has taught us, and the virus has taught us, that it’s still a day-to-day, week-to-week situation that we live in,” Boone said before the game.
Boss George Steinbrenner would have been proud of the way his son Hal’s Yankees handled the pandemic.
“If your leadership shows how important it is and you have the front office like the one we have here taking it very seriously, I think it will trickle down to the players who take it seriously, I think it’s about leadership and it’s something we all need to take seriously, ”said James Paxton.
It seems inconceivable that a Marlins team owned by Derek Jeter and led by Don Mattingly could behave as recklessly as Billy Martin after hours and have the besieged Manfred threaten to call the third strike on Friday and end a season that started too late before it really started.
The news that four other members of the Cardinals organization have tested positive forced the cancellation of their Saturday and Sunday games against the Brewers has caused more consternation and great anxiety in the league.
Brewers All-Star center-back Lorenzo Cain became the 16th player to retire on Saturday. Expect others to follow. And who could blame them?
“It’s manageable,” Manfred said.
Until it doesn’t.
Manfred and the owners and the TV networks will continue to whistle in the dark, of course, until they don’t.
The baseball dance with Doomsday is what happens when:
Its leaders have bet they could control the sport outside of a bubble assuming the country has better control of the virus. Sadly, inexcusably, the country does not.
It was inevitable that there would be players who were passionate about stupidity and lacking in common sense and consideration who underestimated the virus or considered themselves indestructible and would choose to ignore warnings that weren’t loud or persistent enough.
It is a poisonous infusion and a poisonous disorder.
Hotel lobby monitors now have to prevent a player from looking for lemon and pepper chicken wings? Better late than never, right? Maybe a small army of compliance officers would help.
“Your off-field decisions will put all of our seasons in jeopardy this year,” Cubs outfielder Steven Souza Jr. tweeted Friday.
Especially outside of any bubble, there needs to be shared responsibility within each team and zero tolerance for anything but disciplined and obedient behavior.
Even so, no one should lose sight of the fact that the virus can strike anywhere and anytime. Sadly, he has been lost for some when he cannot afford to be lost for one.
Is broadcaster Jerry Hairston correct that the Cardinals partied in a casino? SMH.
This rushed baseball experiment seemed doomed from the start.
You feel for all the teams who vigilantly followed the protocols and did things as well as they could.
Despite the MLB’s uneven battle against the coronavirus, The Boss would have loved these Yankees – 14 homers in the first seven games, 306 homers in 2019. Vince Lombardi would have done it too: winning isn’t everything; that’s the only thing.
Brett Gardner was part of the 27th Yankees Championship team. This could be his chance for No.28.
“There are obviously 30 teams in the league, so I think it’s important that we all take this very seriously and be as smart as possible, not just on the pitch and on the pitch, but away from the pitch. Said Gardner.
There is no margin for error.
Alas, to err is human. Starting with the top of the sport.
Play ball? Or play bawl?
“I think everyone’s wondering, whether it’s the players or the fans, even the league in general… and I hope things get better, the numbers get better, and the things we have views over the past week are the worst, ”Gardner said.
Hope is not a strategy.
Nightmare looming for a Dream Team.
Bottom of the ninth.
Dr. Fauci on the mound.