New York Yankees and Yom Kippur
By Bob Branco
September 19, 2018
When I first heard about what the Yankees were planning to do, it was obvious to me that they have a high regard for the Jewish population in New York. I’m not saying that nobody else has a similar regard, but the Yankees took it one step further. On the original 2018 baseball schedule, yesterday’s Yankees/Red Sox game was scheduled for 1:00 in the afternoon, a very rare Tuesday day game. The reason why the Yankees decided to play this game in the afternoon was so that the fans and players would be home by sundown in order to celebrate Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. I thought that was a nice gesture to the Jewish population of New York. By the way, this practice was not mandated by Major League Baseball. It was something that the Yankees decided to do on their own.
As it turned out, the remnants of Hurricane Florence hit New York early yesterday, leaving the field conditions in Yankee Stadium unplayable. Normally when this happens, the game would be rescheduled as part of a double header or be postponed until the teams have a common day off later in the year. Where the Yankees publicly acknowledge the Jewish community by purposely scheduling yesterday’s game in the afternoon, I never thought that they would move the game to last night. Well, they did. So much for their public acknowledgement of Yom Kippur.
It’s not that I have a problem with baseball teams postponing games for several hours if the weather forecast calls for improving weather. It’s been done many times. It’s just that the Yankees used Yom Kippur as an excuse not to play at night. I don’t find the behavior of the Yankees very consistent. If there is ever a time to play double headers, it’s now, because of expanded rosters. Did the Yankees need that additional revenue from the rained-out game so badly that they had to sacrifice Yom Kippur? I wonder. Does money outweigh any previous commitment that a baseball team makes? Whether this was the Yankees’ intention, I can almost guarantee all of you that the subject of additional revenue has crossed the minds of other baseball fans. If you’re going to make a religious commitment, honor it no matter what. No one has to make such a commitment, so it’s not like we made the Yankees do this. They did it, and then backed out of it. The game did not have to be played last night. It could have been today or tomorrow. Why not?