Yankees Plan to 'Utilize Every Aspect of the Blueprints of Yankee Stadium' During Summer Camp Workouts
Long toss in the Great Hall? Stretching in the stands?
As the Yankees report to Yankee Stadium on Wednesday for the commencement of Summer Camp, the organization is doing everything it can to ensure all personnel will be practice social distancing at all times.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman explained that all parts of the ballpark in the Bronx are going to be used – or at least considered – by his staff over the course of the next several weeks of training.
"[We're] working with our stadium ops personnel to utilize every aspect of the blueprints of Yankee Stadium. That's not just your fields of play," Cashman explained in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday. "We'll be expanding and dispersing our players and staff throughout as they get divided up into assignments. Each of those areas of locale will be dealing with the social distancing protocols."
Cashman mentioned a slew of spots around Yankee Stadium that the team plans on using during workouts.
First and foremost, players won't be limited to the Bombers' home clubhouse. New York will spread out, opening the visiting clubhouse as well as an auxiliary clubhouse for ballplayers on the club's player pool roster.
Cashman pointed out that while there's a limited space compared to the Yankees' facility in Tampa, there are still multiple sets of bullpens, batting cages in tunnels underneath the field, training rooms, even referencing the concourses as a viable spot for team stretching.
Perhaps the most unique place Cashman mentioned, however, was Yankee Stadium's Great Hall, the 31,000 square foot area with larger-than-life banners of all-time greats.
"We’ve done that on rainy days before fans ever show up," the general manager explained. "Now we're in an expanded circumstance where between the dugouts not being large enough to control everybody you'll see players distancing extended into any aspect of the facility that we can utilize."
On the Yankees' website, the Great Hall is an available event space capable of accommodating approximately 1,500 patrons for receptions, dinners and concerts. Surely a handful of players can bring their gloves and use the space to long toss while the main field is occupied.
"We'll get as creative as we have to," skipper Aaron Boone said on an additional conference call on Wednesday. "We'll try and set up as many areas where guys can safely distance, guys can be in some open air situations and we'll have to get creative."
Boone confirmed on Wednesday that the club's first official workout of the second installment of Spring Training will be on Saturday. On Tuesday, Cashman cited delays due to challenges in travel due to the pandemic as a justifiable reason for a handful of players to be tardy in reporting to camp.
Eventually, the organization will send a chunk of players and staff to the club's affiliate in Scranton as an alternative training site.
In the meantime, New York's expectations for production on the field don't change. Sure, these circumstances are unprecedented – and players throwing in the Great Hall rather than thousands of fans filing to their seats before first pitch certainly wasn't part of the plan – but Boone said this team is still hungry to win a championship.
"I do feel like we're still a very hungry group and we want to climb to the top of the mountain," he said. "Because circumstance have changed and certainly this season has changed, that goal doesn't change. We want to be champions."
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