BALTIMORE — The Yankees were unhappy to learn on Friday that their July 8 game in Toronto was picked up by ESPN for “Sunday Night Baseball” and will be played at 8 p.m. instead of 1 p.m.
The Yankees are used to playing Sunday night games, but they are not thrilled about this one because they have a doubleheader in Baltimore the next day beginning at 4 p.m. (a product of the rainout of Thursday’s game).
Manager Aaron Boone — who came to the Yankees directly from the ESPN Sunday night booth — said he reached out “a little bit” to powerful people to see if something can be done to spare the Yankees from having to play a night game in Canada before a doubleheader in Baltimore.
“I know there’s a lot of people concerned and talking about these things behind the scenes,” Boone said before the Yankees faced the Orioles on Saturday at Camden Yards. “So hopefully something good comes out of it.”
Teams, including the Yankees, have complained for years about being selected for the Sunday night game, especially if the team has a day game the next day in another city. Usually, absolutely nothing is done about it. It’s unclear if anything can be done this time, either by moving the game in Toronto back to a day game or changing the date of the Baltimore doubleheader.
“It was surprising when it came up [Friday], when I heard the news, obviously,” Boone said. “Obviously, that’s something way out of my hands, but again, hopefully Major League Baseball and everyone involved is looking at this smartly and taking everyone into consideration . . . Hopefully everyone behind the scenes is taking the product, taking player safety and all that into account when these kinds of decisions do get made.”
The Blue Jays haven’t been on Sunday Night Baseball since 2004. The Yankees seem to be on it every other week. Upcoming Sunday night games for the Yankees include June 10 against the Mets and July 1 and Aug. 5 against the Red Sox. The Aug. 5 one was announced on Friday as well.
“We’re dealing with it the best we can,” Boone said. “[The Toronto game] is obviously not a good situation. Hopefully there’s something that can be done that maybe changes that situation, but any time you have the potential of a night game traveling into a doubleheader, the first thing I worry about is player safety and the product on the field and everything. So hopefully those things go into the decision-making process. Hopefully, it’s not something that’s necessarily over with.”
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and a spokesman for Major League Baseball did not respond to requests for comment.