What Andrew Cuomo’s Phases of Reopening Mean for Yankees Baseball in New York

Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, home of the New York Yankees (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, home of the New York Yankees (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

Governor Andrew Cuomo wants the New York Yankees to play, but to an empty stadium.

Every day, the future of the 2020 Yankees season seems to be clouded by an all-new set of deterrents, but at this point, none of them are the fault of Andrew Cuomo.

At first, the nation’s safety seemed to make gameplay an impossibility. Then, suddenly, it felt as if we all time-traveled back to 1994, where a good, ol’ fashioned labor dispute interfered with the debate, causing an entirely different wedge between a celebratory July 4 Opening Day and the muddiness of May 19.

But beneath the surface of this ever-more-complex debate, a rare fountain of good news has bubbled up on a state-by-state basis. A month ago, baseball’s only potential future involved a quarantined season in a singular state, governed by a set of chaotic new rules. But now, the 2020 season would involve baseball games in teams’ home stadiums, a plan that was officially endorsed by California Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday, who foresaw a safe return of sports action to California by the first week of June.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo similarly fell in line Monday afternoon, stating at his daily news conference, ““I … have been encouraging major sports teams to plan reopenings without fans. But the games could be televised. New York State will help those major sports franchises to do just that. Hockey, basketball, baseball, football, whoever can reopen. We’re a ready, willing and able partner.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo isn’t standing in the way of Yankees baseball in New York.

While Cuomo specifically cited his desire to watch his beloved Buffalo Bills in action in the fall (who knew?), the Yankees’ and MLB’s plan to return to action this summer will not be impeded by Gov. Cuomo’s mandates, as long as ownership and the MLBPA falls in line. In fact, everything in New York State is trending in the right direction in recent weeks.

Seven of the state’s regions will have hit all benchmarks for reopening by Wednesday, and while New York City lags behind, all progression is currently positive. Once the capacity of available ICU beds and hospital beds increases, and contact tracers fall into place, there will be nothing stopping Gov. Cuomo from allowing Yankees baseball to be played under the required parameters this summer.

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Nothing, that is, except the league’s own agreement to restart games.