Rhys Hoskins #17 of the Philadelphia Phillies runs down Gio Urshela #29 of the New York Yankees during a Summer Camp game at Yankee Stadium on July 20, 2020 in New York City.
Jim McIsaac | Getty Images
Gov. Andrew Cuomo invited Major League baseball teams to play out the rest of their season in New York where he said the state can keep players better protected from the coronavirus that has led to postponed games and cast doubt on the return of the sport.
The MLB postponed at least two games on Monday, including the Yankees game against the Phillies in Philadelphia, after more than a dozen Miami Marlins players and staff members tested positive for Covid-19. The Marlins played the Phillies last weekend, prompting league officials to reportedly postpone the Yankees-Phillies game on Tuesday as well.
MLB said it would “conduct additional COVID-19 testing” and “members of the Marlins’ traveling party” would self-quarantine while they awaited more test results.
The confirmed infections, which occurred just days into the delayed season, led some players and infectious disease specialists to criticize the MLB’s plan to return. Some, including Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, called for the suspension of the season so the league can conduct aggressive contact tracing.
Cuomo said Tuesday a successful MLB season “would be good for the nation’s soul,” adding that “MLB has had problems.”
“New York state could host any Major League Baseball games that any teams want to play and they could play those games in our stadiums,” Cuomo said on a conference call with reporters Tuesday. “New York state has one of the lowest infection rates in the United States.”
New York, which was once the epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, has since managed to bring its outbreak largely under control while other states have grappled with rapidly expanding epidemics in recent weeks. On Monday, New York state reported 534 new cases of the coronavirus, Cuomo announced on the call. Less than 1% of all people tested Monday had the virus, he said.
“If you’re having problems playing in other states, come play here,” Cuomo said. “We have the ability to do it. We have the testing resources to do it.”
White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, expressed concern earlier Tuesday that the recent outbreak among the Marlins staff and players could put the season “in danger.”
“I don’t believe they need to stop, but we just need to follow this and see what happens with other teams on a day-by-day basis,” Fauci said in an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Cuomo outlined a vague plan for broadcasting games from New York stadiums without fans. He said teams could charter private planes to the state and staff could stay in “quarantine hotels,” where they’d have to stay isolated for 14 days and be tested before any game. Those who test positive, would not be allowed to “play ball,” Cuomo said.
The governor added that New York is one of the top media markets in the country and acknowledged that the move would help the state economy, which he has previously said is struggling due to the pandemic. He added Tuesday that unless the federal government passes more comprehensive relief programs for states, cities and towns that are struggling to balance their budgets, local governments might have to cut services and raise fares on public utilities like the New York City subway.
— CNBC’s Jabari Young contributed to this report.