“Doesn’t Matter To Me”| Marcus Stroman Establishes Boundaries With Desperate Yankees By Refusing Opening Day Start

When Yankees ace Gerrit Cole went down with right elbow concerns (out 10-12 weeks), the Black baseball community got excited because the next logical candidate to fill the March 28 Opening Day void in Houston would be veteran hurler Marcus Stroman

Stroman is built for the big moment and says he came back home to New York to help the Yankees make history. 

Stroman would probably love the opportunity, but he has a finely-tuned body that must remain on a delicate schedule in order for him to remain healthy and effective throughout the 162-game grind, plus the playoffs. 

Marcus Stroman Make Business Decision: Won’t Pitch Opening Day

With all that is at stake with his new two-year $37 million deal, Stroman prefers to stay on his current schedule, which has the meticulous righty lined up to pitch March 30 (Game 3 of the Astros series), and the April 5 home opener against the Blue Jays, which of course, he prefers. 

Family and friends will be in attendance to see the Medford, Long Island, kid toss his first inning on the iconic Yankee Stadium hill. 

GM Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone approached Stroman to gauge his interest for the Opening Day assignment and the two-time All-Star, Gold Glove winner and 2017 WBC Championship star, passed on the opportunity.

According to reports, Boone is still holding out hope that Stroman will change his mind, but Stroman isn’t going to start changing routines just because it’s Game 1. 

He wasn’t shy about it either. 

“I think they thought I was going to be like, ‘Hey, let me get it,’” Stroman said of the conversation after a spring training outing against the Detroit Tigers at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium on Thursday.

“But like I said, that’s not my nature, man. Doesn’t matter to me.”

Of course, radio talking heads waiting for a moment to rip Stroman, who has the reputation of somewhat of a prima donna at times, didn’t like his decision either.

The way Stroman operates, he locks into a certain mental space and then he’s able to trigger all of the attributes, training and various preparations he puts into gearing up for an MLB season. 

Being mentally locked in from the beginning is just as important as how you feel physically. 

Stroman failed to make 30 starts in each of his two seasons with the Cubs (25), after leading the league with 33 starts for the New York Mets in 2021.

Marcus Stroman Focused On Long-Term Success

When the Yankees invested in Stroman, they invested in his program for achieving maximum results. Therefore, you can’t knock him for refusing the assignment and setting his boundaries.  

Do NOT come asking me to do any wacky stuff. 

“People don’t understand how much changing your schedule at this point in the spring — might seem like it’s easy — but every little day matters,” said Stroman, who has pitched in three Opening Days, including last year for the Cubs.

This shouldn’t be a big deal to the Yankees organization or Yankees fans. The long-term success of the team and health of the pitching staff in the wake of Cole’s unforeseen misfortunes, is most important. Let another professional starter on your staff have the honor of pitching an Opening Day. It’s a bucket-lister for any MLB pitcher of any talent level. 

For Stroman, there will be many more festive games. 

Every game will be a must-win game for Yankees starters as they navigate a brutal AL East Division without the Cy Young award winner and best pitcher in the game. 

This certainly wasn’t in the plans, after a productive offseason that saw the Bronx Bombers coral Juan Soto, Alex Verdugo and Trent Grisham, to balance out the Yankees’ lineup. 

Plus, Storman is in the Bronx to get wins and make headlines. He certainly craves that Opening Day slot at the stadium and barring Mother Nature impeding, he’s not letting anyone take that opportunity away from him. 

Stroman Make Black Pitcher History With Second Yankees Start 

How many Black pitchers have even started Opening Days at Yankee Stadium? 

One to be exact, and his name is CC Sabathia, who started a record six straight Opening Days for the Yankees from the season they signed him in 2009 until 2014. However, only two of those starts came at Yankees Stadium. A 2011 no-decision against the Detroit Tigers and a loss to the Boston Red Sox in 2013. 

(Photo by New York Yankees/Getty Images)

Either way, Stroman will be the second Black pitcher to ever tote the rubber for a Yankees season home opener. 

There’s nothing better than that. Stroman is in the perfect position to start his Yankees career with a bang. No need to disrupt the money train, especially with Cole out for a significant amount of time to begin the 2024 campaign.  

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