TAMPA, Fla. -- After adding what he referred to as his “great white whale” in ace right-hander Gerrit Cole, Brian Cashman largely side-stepped speculation about his Yankees being favored to bring home their 28th World Series championship, saying that he wanted to see it play out on the field.
Seven weeks after what would have been the Bombers’ Opening Day, the general manager said that he remains hopeful that we will see baseball in 2020.
“I'm optimistic that where there's a will, there's a way,” Cashman said on Thursday. “We all in this country are trying to find a way to get up and running. You see how that manifests itself, whether it's local restaurants changing how they go about doing their business -- in most cases, they've done take-out, and they’ve repackaged themselves. … It's incumbent upon all of us to find a way.”
Cashman participated Thursday on a Zoom call to benefit the Family Centers’ Emergency Family Assistance Fund, a Greenwich, Conn.-based organization that has issued more than 1,300 mini grants to help struggling families with food, rent and other necessities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Yankees were scheduled to begin the regular season on March 26 in Baltimore. Instead, Cashman was delivering meals to the parking lots of apartment complexes and hotels on that date, having remained behind in Tampa, Fla., to oversee the club’s efforts after two Minor League players and a staff member tested positive for the coronavirus. All three cases have resolved.
“Thankfully, we came through that with hopefully some lessons learned about how to try to now keep people safe as we move forward,” Cashman said.
As Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association continue to discuss parameters for the resumption of play, Cashman said that the Yankees have instituted policies intended to ensure the safety of their players, coaches and employees.
“That's been the mission plan, focusing on how we as an industry create a safe environment, because that's the only way it's going to work,” Cashman said. “Every business out there is coming up with new best practices, researching as much as they possibly can about the best hygiene care moving forward in terms of cleaning their facilities and maintaining a safe and healthy environment.”
Cashman and members of the Yankees’ front office have remained in regular contact with manager Aaron Boone and his coaching staff, frequently via video chats. In turn, Boone and the coaches have relayed information to the players, who largely scattered to their homes shortly after Spring Training was halted on March 12.
Some, like Aaron Judge, Luis Severino and Giancarlo Stanton, remained at the George M. Steinbrenner Field complex. Miguel Andújar, J.A. Happ, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres and Tyler Wade are among those also remaining in Florida. Cashman said that he believes that his players are eager to reunite and return to the diamond.
“From the Yankees’ perspective, I think we have a really talented group that is definitely focused on trying to be the best team in the game,” Cashman said. “I think our guys are hungry and regardless of the amount of games played. If put in the position to do so, they're going to compete in the best of their ability because they want what they feel they're capable of achieving, which is a championship.
“I know our players … all share a common trait, which is they are hungry to compete and they love playing in this environment of New York. I can tell you, they're daydreaming every day about finding a way to get back to this circumstance, if it's practical.”