If the Yankees are spending the winter trying to forget how their 2018 season ended — watching the rival Boston Red Sox celebrate not once, but twice, at Yankee Stadium — it won’t get any easier when they start the 2019 exhibition season.
The Yankees, who announced their exhibition schedule on Friday, will play their first game on Feb. 23 against — you guessed it — the Red Sox, who poured a lot of Champagne in the Bronx this fall. First, Boston won the American League East in a September game at Yankee Stadium, then repeated the insult with a division-series clincher in October.
The Red Sox then went on to win the World Series in five games over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Red Sox, who will be the home team for the Grapefruit League opener, said there will likely be some sort of acknowledgment of last season’s championship that day, but nothing has been decided as of yet.
It’s not that the Yankees are gluttons for punishment — the exhibition schedule was worked out last August, before the Red Sox had won anything.
And if the Red Sox do unfurl a championship banner on Feb. 23 or play Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” — which Yankee outfielder Aaron Judge played on his boom box as he left Fenway Park after his team’s only playoff victory against Boston in October — at least it won’t be any worse than what the Yankees already endured in recent months.
The Yankees, who have finished behind the Red Sox in the A.L. East the last three seasons, will begin their latest chase when pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 13. Position players are due to report on Feb. 18, and the club’s first full workout is scheduled for the next day.
The Yankees are scheduled to play 32 spring training games, including another against the Red Sox at Steinbrenner Field on March 15. The final exhibition game will be on March 25 in Washington against the Nationals.
The Yankees will not face a pair of familiar faces — the Mets, who are sticking close to their home in Port St. Lucie except for a handful of games, and the Miami Marlins and co-owner Derek Jeter. But they cannot escape seeing the Red Sox.
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