Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Major League Baseball and the Players Association are willing to consider just about any idea that will enable them to salvage a piece of the 2020 season, including playing games at neutral sites.
That would seem especially relevant to the Mets and Yankees, who play their home games in a city that has become the country's worst hotspot for coronavirus. But there have not yet been serious discussions about moving New York games to other locations, according to people familiar with MLB's thinking.
As of Thursday morning, New York state had 92,381 confirmed cases of coronavirus discovered with more than 51,809 in New York City. The state had approximately 38 percent of the cases in the entire United States.
The Mets and Yankees might have to wait a long time until it's safe to play at home, even with no fans in attendance.
A baseball game devoid of a crowd and reporters would still necessitate a large gathering by current standards -- think 50-60 players, coaches, trainers, umpires, broadcasters, general managers etc. Not only that, but it's impossible to practice social distancing in a dugout or bullpen.
During an interview on Sirius/XM's MLB Network Radio Thursday, Yankees pitcher Zack Britton, the team's union representative, said that the issue of moving New York home games has been "slightly discussed," and that players were willing to consider it.
"We could possibly be a team that had to play in a neutral site for a little while, because New York has been such a hotbed for this, and guys are open to that," Britton said. "I know there are sites they have already discussed. I'm not sure I should even say this publicly but there are four or five sites."
The problem with engaging in serious consideration of that now is the possibility that other cities will become hot spots. No one knows if it will be safe to play anywhere in the U.S. this spring or summer.
Add to that uncertainty the risks inherent to traveling to games and staying in hotels, and the league is a long way from planning neutral site home games. Like many other aspects of this shortened season, it's simply too difficult to plan.