Play ball … here!
That’s the pitch made by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to all Major League Baseball teams, saying they should come play in New York state if they are unable to play ball in their home state due to coronavirus restrictions or outbreaks.
“Major League Baseball is struggling with the challenges of playing ball in the COVID crisis. I have said from day one I thought that it was a very good idea to get sports back without fans. But, it would be televised, etc. I think it would be good for the economy, I think it would be good for the psyche, I think it would be good for the nation’s soul,” the governor said Tuesday during a conference call with reporters.
“Here’s my suggestion: I understand the challenge they’re facing. New York state could host any Major League Baseball game that any teams want to play and they could play those games in our stadiums,” Cuomo said.
“New York state has one of the lowest infection rates in the United States. New York state has a full department of health protocol system in place. We have a testing system in place. I offer to Major League Baseball: if you’re having problems playing in other states come play here,” he said.
Cuomo previously announced special restrictions sanctioned by the state Health Department to allow a delayed spring training season for the Mets and Yankees.
He also last week announced the Toronto Blue Jays will be playing their regular season in Buffalo.
The statewide infection rate as of Monday was recorded at .9 percent, following results from roughly 57,000 COVID-19 tests performed — the state’s daily average.
“We will set up a health protocol. They could fly their team in on a private aircraft. They could go from the airport to a hotel, where they would be in quarantine. We would test everyone,” Cuomo continued.
“We would get the test results back and then they could play ball in our stadium and they could get on a plane and fly home. We have the ability to do it. We have the testing resources to do it.”
Asked whether or not baseball players are deemed “essential” workers under New York’s strict travel advisory mandating a 14-day quarantine following an individual’s entry from states experiencing high coronavirus infection rates — the governor said no, but upon entry into the Empire State athletes would be transported to a “quarantine hotel,” and testing would be administered.
They would also not be permitted to leave the hotel, and after playing the scheduled game would be required to immediately get on a plan and return home.