The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry is taking a break in spring training.
But, presumably, just for 2021.
In a revised spring training schedule released by Major League Baseball early Friday afternoon — "which was created with health and safety considerations in mind" because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to the release — the Yankees will not be playing their longtime rival.
Instead, they will play "a regionalized schedule to mitigate travel" like every other team in Florida’s Grapefruit League.
That eliminates the Red Sox, who train in Fort Myers, which, on one of the rare good traffic days in Florida, is just over a two-hour drive from the Yankees’ spring training home in Tampa. It also eliminates the Mets, Astros, Cardinals, Nationals and Marlins, whose spring training homes are across the state on the East Coast, an even longer drive.
And so, for this year at least, the Yankees will face the Blue Jays, Phillies, Orioles, Tigers and Pirates, all teams in their’ "region," relatively speaking. The Orioles’ trip is the longest as Baltimore trains and plays at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, which is roughly a 1-hour, 15-minute drive from Tampa.
The Yankees will open their 28-game, 30-day exhibition schedule on Sunday, Feb. 28, at Steinbrenner Field against Toronto before taking on the Tigers, also at Steinbrenner Field, the following day.