NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Baseball teams worried about COVID-19 in their home states have a friend in New York.
The Empire State is now home to three Major League Baseball teams — the Mets, Yankees and Blue Jays, who will play the majority of its home games in Buffalo — but after several Miami Marlins players tested positive for COVID-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the time is right for baseball teams in higher-risk states to come play in New York where it's safer.
“New York State could host any Major League Baseball game that any team wants to play,” the governor said Tuesday.
As the MLB deals with a shortened 2020 season, they are struggling to squeeze in 60 games in just three months and with the recent coronavirus outbreak among Marlins players, which has led to the postponement of several games, there are concerns as to whether the season can continue.
Some, such as WCBS 880 Mets broadcaster Howie Rose, have suggested teams from COVID-19 hotspots play their home games in other stadiums.
Gov. Cuomo supports the idea and has said teams can play in New York – one of the only states in the country to successfully contain the spread.
“New York state has one of the lowest infection rates in the U.S. New York State has a full Department of Health protocol system in place. I offer to the MLB, if you are having problems playing in other states, come play here. We will set up a health protocol,” he said.
The two-week quarantine order for travelers from high-risk states would not apply to baseball players, who Cuomo says fall under their own separate category.
"It's a third category. If you're a traveler — you come, you have to quarantine. If you're an essential worker — you go, you come, you do nothing. For baseball players, teams coming in to play we'd create a third separate new protocol," Cuomo said.
That protocol would involve a "quarantine hotel" where every player would be tested upon arrival.
"It's very restrictive, you can only come in to play ball and you must agree — before you come — to a mandatory quarantine in a hotel," Cuomo said. "You get on a private plane in a high-risk state, you land in New York, you are transported directly from a plane to a quarantine hotel."
Cuomo stresses the players would not be allowed to leave the hotel.
"Quarantine hotel means you can't leave the hotel, it's a mandatory quarantine hotel," the governor said.
If a player tests positive, they go back home. If they test negative, they can play.
"The more games that we could have played here, the more games that could be televised would be great for the economy, it would be great for the morale, it would be great for the psyche for this state and for the country," Cuomo said.