As soon as Aaron Boone woke up Monday morning, he pulled back the curtains to take a peek outside, knowing that the weather forecast for the Yankees’ home opener had been grim.
Everything was white.
“Huh,” Boone said quizzically. “It really is 100 percent chance of snow at 7 a.m.”
The letdown was not quite as bad as the year when Boone was in Little League and he woke up to rain — and immediately burst into tears. But he had been eagerly looking forward to his first game wearing pinstripes as a manager on Monday, and his wife, their children and his parents — who skipped the season-opening series in Toronto — had arrived in town for the occasion.
Instead, Boone and the others who were waiting to make their home debut as Yankees, including the slugger Giancarlo Stanton, will have to wait another day. Perhaps even two.
The Yankees postponed the game against the Tampa Bay Rays until 4 p.m. Tuesday, which had been a scheduled day off. The weather forecast for Tuesday called for showers throughout the afternoon and evening. Jordan Montgomery is still set to start for the Yankees, while the Rays — who had been scheduled to make Monday a bullpen day, using all relievers to cover nine innings — instead plan to throw their ace, Chris Archer.
The snow also prompted the Mets to postpone their game, against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on Monday night. It will be made up as part of a single-admission doubleheader on July 9.
It is not unusual for the Yankees — or the Mets, for that matter — to experience inclement weather at home early in the season. The Yankees’ season opener two years ago was postponed by rain, then played the next day in 36-degree weather made even chillier by wind that whipped through the Bronx. It was so cold that heaters were placed over both teams’ bat racks.
Although snow left a white blanket over Yankee Stadium’s green field on Monday, it was not quite as bad as the home opener in 1982, when a blizzard left two-foot snowdrifts in the outfield.
Monday yielded less in terms of accumulations, but it was too much snow on the field — and covering the stadium seats — to push through as the Yankees did in their home opener in 1996, when they persevered through snow flurries that left Bernie Williams playing center field in a ski mask.
It does not figure to be quite that chilly on Tuesday, when temperatures are expected to hover in the mid-40s at game time, with a chance of rain around 75 percent into the early evening.
No matter when it happens, there will be a surprisingly large number of Yankees experiencing their first home opener at Yankee Stadium. Ten players on the 25-man roster have yet to be introduced to the home crowd on opening day, including Stanton, baseball’s home run leader last year who was acquired from Miami, and Montgomery, who was recalled two days after last year’s home opener to make his debut.
Others who could be making their debuts in a home opener at Yankee Stadium include third baseman Brandon Drury, first baseman Neil Walker and second baseman Tyler Wade.
Most eyes, though, will be on Stanton, who is expected to be in left field on Tuesday. Yankee Stadium, with its inviting right-field dimensions, seems well suited to the right-handed-hitting Stanton’s right-field-first approach. He has played only two previous games at Yankee Stadium, both in 2015. He homered off C. C. Sabathia in one of them.
“People yelling and screaming at B.P., already ready to go walking in,” Stanton said, recalling the atmosphere at batting practice.
But Stanton, who hit two home runs Thursday in the Yankees’ season opener at Toronto, could have a tougher time making a similarly strong first impression on the home fans. He is hitless in six at-bats against Archer. (Aaron Judge, who is off to a sluggish start, has not fared much better, with one hit in nine at-bats.)
If the weather provided a mild inconvenience for the Yankees, the Mets used their unscheduled day off to reconfigure their rotation. Matt Harvey, who was scheduled to pitch Monday, is set to go on Tuesday, and that day’s scheduled starter, Seth Lugo, will be skipped to allow the ace Noah Syndergaard to face the Phillies on Wednesday.
The Mets could have pushed Syndergaard back a day to face the National League East favorite Washington Nationals on Thursday, but chose to let Jacob deGrom open that series instead.
These types of decisions will get more scrutiny in New York for now because they are being made by rookie managers, Mickey Calloway of the Mets and Boone. And though Boone was faced with rapid-fire decisions over the weekend — injury substitutions, roster replacements and strategic moves — and some mild second-guessing in a loss on Sunday, he appeared eager to pull back the curtain for the home opener.
“I’m just excited to be here and walk out there in pinstripes, and go out there and try to get after it,” Boone said.
Mets outfielder Michael Conforto, who had shoulder surgery in September, could be activated from the disabled list as early as Thursday. … Reliever Ben Heller, whom the Yankees sent to Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, had his option revoked and is being placed on the disabled list with bone spurs in his right elbow. … The veteran left-handed pitcher Oliver Perez signed a minor league contract with the Yankees.
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