New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) invited Major League Baseball (MLB) teams facing coronavirus-related restrictions in their respective states to play in New York State, despite the Empire State having both the third-highest number of cumulative coronavirus cases and highest number of related deaths in the country.
“Major League Baseball is struggling with the challenges of playing ball in the COVID crisis,” Cuomo said during Tuesday’s press conference, reiterating his position that it is 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,” he said.
“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 offered, touting New York as having “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,” the governor stated.
New York, an early epicenter of the virus in the United States, has reported 417,591 confirmed cases of the Chinese coronavirus and 32,333 related-deaths — the highest number of virus-related deaths in the country. That is, largely, due to his administration’s early refusal to lock down nursing homes, forcing them to accept recovering coronavirus patients. The decision resulted in thousands of deaths among the most vulnerable. According to the New York Times, over 40 percent of coronavirus fatalities in the U.S. are connected to nursing homes and longterm care facilities.
Despite that, current infection rates in the Empire State remain low, around .9 percent.
While Cuomo recognized that MLB players are not considered “essential” workers and would thus be subject to his state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine (which applies to travelers hailing from states with high infection rates), Cuomo said they would “set up a health protocol,” essentially having players operate within a bubble.
“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 explained, according to the New York Post.
“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,” he added.
Cuomo’s offer coincides with MLB pausing the Miami Marlins’ season due to coronavirus outbreak among 15 players and two staff members.
“The health and safety protocols were designed with a challenging circumstance like the one facing the Marlins in mind,” MLB said in a statement.
“The response outlined in the joint MLB-MLBPA Operations Manual was triggered immediately upon learning of the cluster of positive cases, including contact tracing and the quarantining and testing of all of the identified close contacts,” the statement continued. “The Marlins’ personnel who tested positive remain in isolation and are receiving care.”
The Marlins provided an update on Tuesday as well: