Well, the Yankees kicked and screamed and threatened a boycott, and eventually they got ESPN to accede to their demands.
MLB announced Tuesday that the network has agreed to move the July 8 Yankees-Blue Jays game off of Sunday Night Baseball, replacing it with Angels-Dodgers. The Yankees, led by manager and former Sunday Night Baseball analyst Aaron Boone, had strenuously objected to playing on Sunday night, given that they have a double-header slated for the following day in Baltimore, with the first game falling at 1 p.m.
The Yankees/Blue Jays game is now set to begin at 1 p.m. ET.
The Yankees-Blue Jays game on July 8th has been moved back to 1 p.m. and will no longer be on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.
— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) June 5, 2018
The Yankees got their way thanks to a pretty furious campaign against ESPN. Boone expressed on several occasions that he would like the game to be moved, and Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported that the team was considering a boycott of all ESPN employees if it was forced to play at night.
Boone and company had fairly good reason to be upset about the situation. Although ESPN said it had that game pegged for Sunday night since December, the contest had been listed as a 1 p.m. start on the official schedule, which the Yankees say affected their decision to slate a double-header for the next day. Yankees players have said they would not have agreed to play two games on July 9 had they known they were going to play a night contest on July 8.
Some people will surely be annoyed here because the big, bad Yankees got their way. But playing three games in about 26 hours, with a flight mixed in, is a pretty extreme ask for any baseball team.
And ultimately, it’s not as if ESPN is really sacrificing all that much. Yes, the Yankees are the best ratings draw around, but the Blue Jays aren’t that good a team. In many ways, Angels-Dodgers — with some big-name stars and two competitive (and large-market) teams — will probably be a more appealing game anyway.