The New York Yankees are unhappy with ESPN, and have threatened to boycott the network’s personnel for the year unless ESPN caves in to a scheduling demand, The New York Post reports.
The dispute is centered on a July 8 “Sunday Night Baseball” game between the Yankees and Toronto. The game is currently scheduled for 8 p.m. to accommodate the telecast, but the Yankees want it moved back to its original start time of 1 p.m.
“The Yankees play a make-up doubleheader in Baltimore the next day,” The Post reports. “The first game was originally scheduled for 4 p.m., but has been pushed back to 5 p.m. The players think playing three games in two cities within 24 hours is unfair on many levels, including the integrity of the sport. From the Yankees’ point of view, it seems easy to select a different matchup for that night.”
The report notes that Yankees manager Aaron Boone, a former ESPN analyst, has been vocal about insisting on the schedule change.
“Sources said officials from MLB, the MLBPA, the Yankees and ESPN are in talks to potentially compromise on the Sunday night game,” The Post reports. “Spokesmen for ESPN, MLB and the Yankees declined comment.”
The report adds: “While the Yankees couldn’t prevent ESPN from broadcasting future games, the players’ and management’s boycott would include being uncooperative with ESPN for its broadcasts and any extra features, like the ones commonly seen on ‘SportsCenter.’ For ‘Sunday Night,’ the ESPN booth team receives a special session with Boone during the pregame, as well as in-game access. ESPN often asks for TV interviews with players prior to the game and special access. The Yankees would just say no to all requests, a source said, if the July 8 game remains on the ‘Sunday Night’ schedule.”