The New York Yankees are reportedly threatening to give ESPN the cold shoulder unless the network alters an upcoming broadcast schedule that currently requires the team to play three games in less than 24 hours.
The Yankees, who are sitting atop the American League East standings as of Monday, are said to be upset that ESPN has pushed back a Sunday, July 8 game against division rival Toronto from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. that day. The team is currently scheduled for a makeup double-header in Baltimore starting the following afternoon. To get ESPN to reverse its decision, the team is threatening to boycott the sports broadcasting giant’s personnel, sources told the New York Post.
“It is a tool in the toolbox,” a source with knowledge of the team’s thinking told the newspaper.
A boycott – if it went through – would include players and management denying all interview requests from ESPN, as well as omitting special access to Yankees manager Aaron Boone before and during the “Sunday Night Baseball” broadcasts, the source added.
“I know there’s a lot of people concerned and talking about these things behind the scenes,” Boone, who used to work at ESPN, told the media this weekend, according to Newsday. “So hopefully something good comes out of it.”
“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,” he also said.
Sources told the New York Daily News that the reason why ESPN decided to push the July 8 game back is because they are hoping it will draw more eyeballs to the channel for the All-Star selection show, which is scheduled to happen an hour before the first pitch in Toronto.