In response to ESPN’s move to make their July 8 game the network’s Sunday night game of the week, the New York Yankees have threatened to boycott ESPN personnel.

As reported by the New York Post, the Yankees are displeased with the network’s decision to change the time of their game against the Toronto Blue Jays from 1 PM to 8 PM because of the timing. The team travels to Baltimore for a doubleheader with the Orioles the next day. The doubleheader comes as a result of a May 31 postponed game — one of two postponed Yankees-Orioles games from that weekend.

This will mean the Yankees would have three road games to play — one in Toronto, two in Baltimore — within 24 hours. The team says it may boycott ESPN personnel for the rest of the year if it is not fixed.

A boycott would not necessarily mean fewer Yankees games on the network, but it would mean ESPN getting no access to things like interviews with players and coaching staff, as well as press conferences and feature segments.

Responses from Yankees, ESPN

Yankees manager Aaron Boone, who has worked for ESPN as an analyst previously before taking on his current role, says while he’s hoping for a change, the team is preparing if things do not go their way. Boone is not the only connection between the Yankees and ESPN; former Yankee Alex Rodriguez, who serves as a mentor to several of the younger players, is a color commentator for the ESPN "Sunday Night Baseball" telecasts.

"[It’s] just not good for the product on the field, for the safety of our guys to be having to go night game then fly into a doubleheader,” Boone said. “That's ridiculous and anyone that would argue with that is not being truthful."

ESPN supposedly made the decision to move the Yankees-Blue Jays game as a way to help bolster ratings for the network’s All-Star selection show, which would take place one hour prior to “Sunday Night Baseball.”

Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement signed by the Major League Baseball Players’ Association (MLBPA), ESPN has the ability to select the Yankees game for its Sunday night program.

In the 2018 MLB Media Guide, according to ESPN, four games were listed as possible matchups for that night’s broadcast: Yankees-Blue Jays, Dodgers-Angels, Cardinals-Giants, and Red Sox-Royals.

The Yankees, under the CBA, also have the ability to vote on rescheduling the doubleheader. They did so, moving the first game from 4 PM to one hour later; however, the Yankees were at the time under the assumption the July 8 game in Toronto was at 1 PM.

The Yankees, MLB, MLBPA, and ESPN are in discussions to bring a solution.

Yankees travel woes and rainouts

This controversy comes at a time where the Yankees have faced several difficulties in their road ventures. As reported by Newsday, the team has had at least one plane issue each week because of problems with the aircraft.

ESPN adds that about two months into this season, the Yankees have had seven of their games either postponed or suspended by inclement weather. The team played a day-night doubleheader in Detroit against the Tigers to make up for one of these games.