Major League Baseball, unsure if there will be a 2020 season, is already looking ahead to 2021, although there’s no guarantees given the unpredictability of the coronavirus.
Regardless, early Thursday afternoon the league released the 2021 schedule for all teams, the Yankees included.
Among the highlights of the, yes, traditional 162-game schedule: The Yankees’ season-opener will take place April 1 at the Stadium against one of their AL East rivals, the Blue Jays. The Yankees' first meeting against the archrival Red Sox won’t take place until June 4-6 at the Stadium. Their other home games vs. Boston take place July 15-18 and Aug. 17-18.
There will be six Subway Series games against the Mets – July 2-4 at the Stadium and Sept. 10-12 at Citi Field, with the middle game of the series marking the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The Yankees will face the NL East in interleague play for the second straight season (they’re matched up against the East in this shortened season, facing those teams in 20 of their 60 games). Besides the games vs. the Mets, the Yankees play the Braves at home (April 20-21), the Nationals at the Stadium May 7-9 and host former manager Joe Girardi and the Phillies July 20-21. On the road the Yankees travel to Philadelphia (June 12-13), Miami (July 30-Aug. 1) and Atlanta (Aug. 23-24).
The Yankees conclude the regular season at home vs. the Rays Oct. 1-3.
Newsday’s Mets beat reporter Tim Healey broke the news Tuesday of the Yankees/Mets matchup for the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11.
“I can't imagine how emotional and how powerful of an event that could be,” Aaron Boone said Tuesday when told of the series coinciding with that date. “Especially all that we have gone through this year maybe adding another layer of just how potentially powerful and emotional of a game and a day and an event that might be. It’ll get the magic that it deserves.”
Need for speed
Tyler Wade’s value for the Yankees extends behind his ability to play capable big-league defense at six positions (third, short, second and all three outfield spots). Wade is among the fastest – if not the fastest – players on the roster, which could prove critical with the new rule for this season that allows teams to start with a runner on second in extra-innings of any game.
"I feel like small ball is going to be a big facet of our game this year,” Wade said. “Hopefully, we don't have to implement those rules in extra innings too much, but if we do I feel pretty confident we are going to come out on top for sure.”
Wade said his speed advantage could be “huge, just because I’m not going to hit 50 homers.”
“And I think, especially in playoff baseball, baserunning’s going to win you games,” he said. “I take huge pride in that.”