NEW YORK — As four Major League Baseball teams, including the New York Yankees, were forced to cancel games again Tuesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has a suggestion for MLB: use his state.
During a press conference Tuesday, Cuomo suggested the entire league use New York as a hub for any games that can't be played elsewhere during the 2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"Major League Baseball is struggling with challenges with playing ball in the COVID crisis," he said. "Here's my suggestion: 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. New York state has one of the lowest infection rates in the United States, a full health protocol in place, a full testing system in place."
Hub cities have been the way other sports have managed to return to play. MLS and the NBA have both set up shop in Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando. While MLS had some serious problems early on and two teams were forced to drop out of the hub, the league has now gone over two weeks without a single player testing positive for COVID-19.
Additionally, the NHL has set up shop in two hubs in Edmonton and Toronto, with zero positive tests upon entering the bubble. However, the NHL, NBA and MLS are seen as different propositions because they're all limiting the number of teams or playing in a playoff or tournament format. MLB is trying to play a complete, if shortened, regular season.
"We will set up a health protocol, they could fly their team in on a private aircraft, they could go from an airport to a hotel where they would be quarantined, we would test everyone and then they could play ball in our stadium, then they could get on a plane and fly home," Cuomo said. "We have the ability to do it. It would be great for the New York state economy and I think it would be great for New Yorkers and Americans."
Cuomo has consistently said he felt sports should come back for the nation's psyche.
Currently, three MLB teams have homes in the state of New York. Both the Mets and Yankees are carrying on in their traditional homes of Citi Field and Yankee Stadium, while the Toronto Blue Jays will be moving to Buffalo for the 2020 season after Canada denied MLB permission to allow players to travel in and out of the country.
Theoretically, if extended to the entire state, there are several professional and minor league stadiums the league could use. In addition to the major league parks in Queens and the Bronx and the AAA Sahlen Stadium in Buffalo, minor league teams ply their trade in Binghamton, Brooklyn, Rochester, Syracuse, Staten Island, Troy, Fishkill in the Hudson Valley, Auburn and Batavia, as well as an independent league team in Centril Islip on Long Island.
Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone has already tweeted his approval of the idea.
MLB has announced cancellations of several games this week, including multiple Yankees games in Philadelphia, after several members of the Miami Marlins tested positive while playing in Philadelphia, where the Yankees were scheduled to play this week.