CLEVELAND — For the first time this season, except for one weird inning in Boston, the Yankees were playing in front of live fans.
After playing all season with no fans in the ballpark MLB is allowing family members of the players who have quarantined and are inside the playoff bubble to go into the ballparks and watch the games live.
So Tuesday night, in Game 1 of the Wild Card Series, was the first time many of the wives, girlfriends and families were seeing their player play in person this season.
“Yes, my wife is here with me. And she’s super excited to attend the game tonight, her first one this season,” Luke Voit said. “So it will be good for some of the families to see us play.”
About 12 Yankees players have their families with them on this postseason road trip.
“Oh, obviously it’s a big thing to have your family actually physically be here and watch the game,” Yankees' Game 2 starter Masahiro Tanaka said. "I think they play a very big role and support you. And I think that goes for all players including myself.
“So for them to actually physically be here and to root on us. I think that means a lot and it’s a big thing.”
MLB required family members to quarantine for seven days in a hotel before joining their player in the playoff bubble. The league actually eased up on the restrictions to allow the visiting team’s families to attend the games in the Wild Card Series round, after Reds' starter Trevor Bauer took to social media to complain about that.
“Having some family on the trip for guys is something that obviously provides them a little bit of support, and obviously, a little bit of escape,” Aaron Boone said. “When you get finished at the end of the night, having a little bit of a distraction for a couple hours before going to bed. And hopefully, it is something that provides a little comfort for our guys.”
It was actually shocking to see a live fan in the stands at Fenway last weekend. A fan broke in and was in the outfield throwing items onto the field and yelling. He was taken by Boston Police to a nearby hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.
J.A. Happ was working in the bullpen before Tuesday’s game, a good indication he is on schedule to start if the Yankees need a Game 3 starter. The Yankees manager said they were still deciding between Happ and Deivi Garcia.
“It’s looking like it’ll be Happ, but we’re a long ways away and a lot of things that can happen between now and then,” Boone said. “So not necessarily committing to anything, but if everything stays kind of on plan, it would probably be J.A. Happ.”
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