Yankees’ Zack Britton: No-fan games will be a ‘challenge’

When you run through a list of reasons for a team winning a title in a shortened season, solid starting pitching, strong bullpen and deep lineup are the top three selections.

Now, with MLB hoping to launch a 60-game regular season and a 10-team postseason in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic and in front of empty stadiums, at least in the beginning, Zack Britton has added another tool: self-motivation.

Having pitched for the Orioles in a vacant Camden Yards against the White Sox in 2015, Britton understands it’s not easy.

“When I played in the no-fan game in Baltimore and it was something that I remember directly saying, ‘I hope I never have to do this again,’ ” Britton said Friday on a Zoom call from Yankee Stadium, where he worked out and went through testing a day ahead of the Yankees’ first full-squad workout Saturday that will jump-start spring training 2.0. “It’s going to be a challenge. I have spoken to some guys on our team about it and what it felt like. It is something that we are going to talk about again in the next couple of days.

Zack Britton
Zack BrittonN.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg

“I think the team that can self-motivate the best is going to be the team that comes out on top. I honestly do believe that it might not be the most talented team this year. I think it will be the guys who come to the ballpark and not be relying on the adrenaline that the atmosphere would give you but be able to self-motivate and accomplish what they want to accomplish. I truly believe it is going to be that team that wins it.’’

With a talented roster of youngsters, young veterans, established stars and a few older players in pinstripes, it’s impossible to predict how they will react to performing in stadium that will sound like a funeral home.

“That’s a tough question. I do believe we have the guys who can do it. We have guys who have played at a top level for a long time,’’ said Britton, who fits in that group. “The more I have been around those types of players the more I realize those are the guys who can self-motivate, guys that can maintain a performance level throughout the course of a season at a high level. I am hopeful our team is that team that can do it. I will have a better feeling for that once we get into that environment but my gut reaction is that we are going to be fine.’’

For however long the season goes Britton has opted to leave his family of three children and wife, Courtney, in Austin, Texas.

“It is something that I made the decision with my wife that it is probably best for them not to be out here, see how things go,’’ said Britton, who mentioned plenty of people work away from their families. “If things are great toward the end of the year I am sure they will come out but for right now for myself and my family they are going to stay back home. That gives me the ability to make all the adjustments here and get used to the things that are happening in New York City and not just at the Stadium, the way of life in New York City right now.’’

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*