Red Sox

Mookie Betts: 'It was super weird' wearing Dodger blue at first

Mookie Betts: 'It was super weird' wearing Dodger blue at first

In mid-February, the Boston Red Sox made the franchise-altering decision to trade Mookie Betts in the final year of his contract. The former AL MVP was sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for a few prospects, Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs, and Connor Wong.

Red Sox fans are still getting used to the idea of Betts playing for the Dodgers. But so is Betts. In fact, when he first donned the Dodger blue, he thought it was "weird" but eventually, his mother convinced him that it was fine.

“It was weird,” Betts said in a recent interview with Dodgers broadcaster Joe Davis. "It took my mom calling to say, ‘You look good in blue’ before I accepted it. Accepted the blue. It was super weird."

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Once Betts got over that fact, he was quickly able to adjust to life in Los Angeles before the coronavirus pandemic shut down MLB.

"It didn’t take long to get used to," Betts said. "The guys in there made it so seamless, that it was just like home. It was really home by the time all this stuff happened. I definitely miss it."

It certainly seems that Betts likes his new home in Los Angeles, which indicates there's a chance that he will stay there long-term. But nothing is certain at the moment. And the longer that MLB's season is delayed, the possibility that Betts will hit free agency without ever playing a game for the Dodgers increases.

We're not at that point yet. And baseball is seemingly doing everything they can to get things up and running in the near future. But it's something to keep an eye on given that Betts will be a free agent this offseason no matter what happens with baseball, per the deal the MLB Players' Association agreed to with the league.

Either way, this just serves as a reminder that Betts is no longer on the Red Sox. They'll be moving forward with an outfield that is made up of Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr., Kevin Pillar, and Verdugo, who recently began swinging a bat again after dealing with a stress fracture in his back.

Yankees star closer Aroldis Chapman tests positive for COVID-19

Yankees star closer Aroldis Chapman tests positive for COVID-19

The New York Yankees will be without their star closer for the foreseeable future.

Aroldis Chapman has tested positive for COVID-19 and is experiencing "mild" symptoms, Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters Saturday, via the Associated Press.

The 32-year-old closer threw a bullpen session at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, but Boone said no other Yankees players or personnel will be forced to isolate due to Chapman's positive test.

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Chapman's "right-hand man" and trainer tested negative for COVID-19, according to ESPN's Marly Rivera.

Chapman, who is the first New York player known to test positive for COVID-19, has no timetable for a return. Under Major League Baseball's guidelines, a player who tested positive must test negative twice within a 24-hour period and not exhibit any symptoms for a 72-hour period.

The Yankees begin their 2020 campaign in less than two weeks against the Washington Nationals on July 23. They're expected to be serious World Series contenders, and Chapman -- a six-time All-Star who was named the 2019 American League Reliever of the Year -- is a big reason why.

The Boston Red Sox' first series against their AL East rival begins July 31, and it's much too early to tell if Chapman will be back with the Yankees before then. But it's clear that the coronavirus pandemic will continue to affect teams as they gear up for the 2020 season.

Why Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke 'really liked' fake crowd noise at Fenway Park

Why Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke 'really liked' fake crowd noise at Fenway Park

The Boston Red Sox experimented with fake crowd noise during Friday's intersquad scrimmage at Fenway Park, offering a preview of what the gameday experience might sound and look like once the 2020 MLB season gets underway.

The system is far from perfect and will continue to be tweaked, but so far, Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke is a huge fan.

"I liked it a lot," Roenicke told reporters Friday. "Some real noise that will get better with the timing of it. But I think even the noise with nothing going on is really good. So they're experimenting with the loudness of it, what the natural crowd would sound like early in the game and what it would be when things are tied and there's excitement in it.

"I thought it was great. I think the players all liked it. At times it was a little loud, and they were experimenting with that. The players said it was a little harder to talk to each other on the field. But as soon as they dropped it back down, it was in a place that was good. I think it's going to create a lot of energy, so I really liked it."

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A totally silent stadium atmosphere would allow teams to hear what the opponents were saying and make strategy tougher, so Roenicke likes that his players and staff can communicate without the entire conversation being heard by everyone in the area.

"It's nice on our part to be able to have conversations and not have the other side hear it," Roenicke said. "And at times it's nice for us to make comments and not have the players hear what you're saying. If we're discussing, maybe, taking a starting pitcher out of a game. There's sometimes comments you make that you'd rather the players not hear that, so it's a benefit to have that noise there. And I've also noticed with these masks on, I don't have to cover my mouth when I'm talking at times, worried about the camera being on me, so that's a real good thing."

One thing the league will try to accomplish is making the crowd noise work for both teams. A scenario where only the home team benefits isn't going to work.

"It will vary from ballpark to ballpark," Roenicke explained. "I'm sure (the league) will have somebody here -- I guess I could say policing it -- making sure, for one, that it's fair for both sides. I'm sure we won't try to get carried away with the things we do. We were discussing it today, Tom Werner was out here, and we were making sure -- it can't all be just positive noise just for the home team. There has to be some kind of noise for the visiting side or when things go bad on our side, because really what happens is the crowd doesn't make a noise whether it's good or bad.

"So trying to make sure we don't do anything that's so one-sided that it's ridiculous, and no one wants it that way. I think that's got to be policed around the league. But everybody's got the opportunity to change those noises and get it to a place where they think it's going to help their team."

The fake crowd noise might be needed for the entire season. Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker recently announced that the state's pro sports team can begin hosting games but without fans. Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said late last month that he's "hopeful" fans will be able to attend games at Fenway Park this season, but he's not sure if it will happen at all.