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New York Baseball Live and In-Person and Other Yankee News

by Tamar Chalker

February 11, 2020

***

There were a few pieces of news regarding the Yankees on Wednesday.

First, was that they officially signed Darren O’Day, who is guaranteed $3.15M.

The Yankees DFAed Ben Heller to make room on the roster.

O’Day pitched in 19 games in 2020 accumulating a 4-0 record with a 1.10 ERA. He is 38-years-old but his funky delivery has given batters fits when he is on.

Ben Heller has been around the Yankees for a long time, but has never stuck with the team for numerous reasons. He was acquired (with Clint Frazier) in the Andrew Miller trade. He first appeared with the club in 2016. In 2018, Heller had Tommy John surgery. Last year he pitched six Major League innings for New York.

Of note, the Yankees also acquired Justus Sheffield in the Andrew Miller trade. Sheffield went to the Mariners in exchange for James Paxton. In what was considered a big trade at the time, the only player still with the Yankees is Clint Frazier.

***

Perhaps the most exciting news of the day was Gov. Cuomo’s announcement that large venues in New York may be able to open up to 10% capacity as soon as February 23. It’s a small step towards normalcy, although it feels huge after this past year.

Venues with a capacity of over 10,000 will be eligible to open under strict guidelines. The Nets have already been approved for their February 23rd game against the Kings, so this appears to be well on its way. Fans will have to have proof of a negative P.C.R. test within the previous 72 hours and abide by mask and social distancing rules if they want to attend – and I’m guessing these tickets won’t be cheap given how few are allowed, but still, we may have actual fans at games this year.

Maybe I’m grasping at straws here, but after this past year, this seems like a victory. While we are still a ways from what was normal, things are beginning to progress positively towards a day when we can all get back to a game. After last year’s shortened season of empty stadiums, cardboard fans, and piped in crowd sounds, a (closer to) full season with at least some fans in attendance gives me hope.

This slow return to normal is a great thing. I know that many Yankees fans look forward to once again attending games at the Stadium.

It will be interesting, seeing the ticket demand, how the Yankees will make sure that regular fans get the chance to attend the games in person. It is hoped that the regular fan is not immediately priced out of attending games under these regulations in 2021.

***

Finally, if you are someone who has been holding out hope for a Brett Gardner return to pinstripes, well, I wouldn’t hold your breath.

There have reportedly been no discussions between Gardy and the Yankees since before the holidays.

It seems to me that there would be other teams that would have a use for the veteran outfielder, so I’m curious to see if this is the end of his career.

Brett Gardner is, of course, the last remaining Yankee from their 2009 Championship team. His game slipped a lot in 2020, but he still possesses the ability to work pitchers, get on base, steal bases, and he is still a solid defensive player. Every now and then Gardy also finds the seats – even last year he hit five homers. He blasted a career high 28 homers in 2019.

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