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Circus-like atmosphere at Yankees' minor-league game

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi looks on

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi looks on from the dugout against the Seattle Mariners during a game at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, July 19, 2015. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Joe Girardi has handled a media circus or two as manager of the Yankees. A literal circus, however, is another story.

That's what happened to Class A Tampa Friday evening, Girardi learned Saturday at Yankee Stadium.

The farm team was forced to postpone its Florida State League game against the Clearwater Threshers because a visiting circus beyond centerfield was distracting batters with blinking lights.

"That's a first," Girardi joked.

But the former catcher has played under bizarro conditions himself. Girardi had to wait through sun delays at Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where he spent the 1988 season with the Cubs' Double-A affiliate.

"We'd have to take a break once the game started because the sun set in centerfield," Girardi said.

The ballpark was built in 1919, before night games under the lights became a reality. The diamond strategically faces due west in order to maximize light, an oddity in modern baseball. Night games were affected.

"You'd take about a 10- or 15-minute break once the game started if it was a sunny day in the summer, which was kind of strange," Girardi said. "It was very difficult for the catchers to see and the hitters to see."


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