Monday’s night’s inclement weather led to today’s Yankees’ double shift against the crosstown rival Mets. The rain ended up bringing one small blessing — players got to catch up with the NBA Finals.
Most NBA playoff games are televised at 9 p.m., which usually conflicts with the Yankees night games. Getting rained out allowed pinstriped basketball fans to follow the Warriors’ narrow, do-or-die win against the Raptors. The Yankees, featuring a plethora of players well above six feet, could form the Lineup of Death to match the Warriors’ small-ball lineup, and some stars, like CC Sabathia and Aaron Judge, played basketball in high school. A few Yankees stars weighed in on star forward (and Knicks free agency target) Kevin Durant’s Achilles injury.
“I was just sad for the guy,” said Adam Ottavino as he witnessed Durant’s leg collapse. The two-time Finals MVP had been dealing with a calf injury that had him on the mend since May 8. Though Ottavino was as far away from KD’s medical files as anybody else, and thus, wasn’t sure of his exact timetable, he admitted “he probably didn’t really have to go out there.” Nonetheless, he recognized Durant’s sacrifice attested to his competitive drive, and “the type of player he is.”
“It’s not really kinda going too far if you’re trying to get back to play.” Sabathia resonated with Durant’s drive to be out there despite the risks, especially given the Warriors facing elimination. Sabathia, an East Bay native from Vallejo, CA, believes Durant’s sharp shooting from behind the arc saved his hometown team’s season. “Just sucks that it happened. Not really enough time to let that thing heal and get back to 100 percent.”
Clint Frazier has battled a number of injuries in his short Yankees career, including lingering symptoms from a 2018 concussion that cut his season short. He related to Durant’s hunger to rejoin the squad. “You wanna compete with your team,” the Yankees’ outfielder said. “What he did was a team-first thing. Because he didn’t put his health first.”
Frazier added that though the severity may differ, sacrifices like Durant’s “don’t go unnoticed in the locker room.”
THE DRAKE CURSE
On a lighter note, Frazier thinks Toronto will win their first championship — “assuming the whole Drake curse thing” doesn’t get in their way.
Drake Curse? Frazier is joking, of course, (mostly) about the internet meme blaming the Toronto-born pop star’s varied and infamous sports fandoms turn tragic for the teams that suffer from his affiliation. Drake has been courtside throughout the Raptors’ magical playoff run, but they lost Game Five by a single point.
How real is it? It’s not my place to say. But you may want to ask tennis great Serena Williams about her loss to 300-1 underdog Roberta Vinci while Drake cheered her from the stands. Uproxx writer Jordan Coley cites Williams’ upset as the curse’s origin, while Frazier joked that heavyweight prizefighter Anthony Joshua’s stunning loss to the underdog Andy Ruiz Jr. as the latest example.
Even Rams star running back Todd Gurley counts Drake as a friend, but he refuses to save the rapper’s number lest he fall victim to the curse.
“It’s funny man,” said Frazier. While the Baby Bomber is adamant that he doesn’t “really believe in stuff like that,” he admitted that he may find religion if the Warriors somehow overcome their 3-1 deficit.
GLEYBER DAY DELAY
Aaron Boone told reporters before the game that Gleyber Torres would rest the first game to help his iffy shoulder. “Gleyber’s fine,” Boone said, adding he almost slotted him for both games, but decided against it. “With some of the shoulder stuff, he could benefit from not having the wear and tear of both games.”
BETANCES SHUT DOWN
Dellin Betances was diagnosed with a low-grade lat strain after an MRI Tuesday. He’ll be shut down “for a few weeks,” said manager Aaron Boone.
Boone is unsure of exactly when the lat strain occurred, but when the soreness persisted through a bullpen session, that’s when the team knew they “needed to take a look.”
The Yankees skipper remains optimistic that Betances will contribute this season. “The good news that it is a low-level strain,” said Boone. “But obviously frustrating especially because shoulder [bothering Betances earlier this year] is good.”
“We’ll support him right now and hopefully these few weeks down, then ramp him back up.”