By Robert Pozarycki
The Yankees and Mets are relocating their spring training camps from Florida to New York due to the raging COVID-19 pandemic in the Sunshine State, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday.
Major League Baseball continues to negotiate a start to the 2020 season with the MLB Players Association, delayed more than three months now due to the pandemic. The Mets and Yankees had been working out in Florida in the meantime, but the rapid surge in COVID-19 cases provided serious concern for the teams’ health.
By contrast, New York — which saw a horrifying peak in coronavirus cases in late March and early April — now has one of the lowest infection rates in the country. Regions of the state are reopening in phases, with New York City going into its second phase on Monday, June 22.
Cuomo said Saturday that both teams will come back to New York and prepare for the season at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium. The arenas remain off-limits to spectators due to social distancing and capacity restrictions.
Even so, Cuomo said during a June 20 conference call that’s he excited to have New York’s home teams back early.
“To have spring training in New York, that is a really great development,” Cuomo said. “It’s where I think they should always be, obviously, but in a bleak time and in a season that obviously has had significant hurdles to deal with. That is the first bit of really good news when it comes to baseball in a long time.”
The Mets and Yankees will work with the state Health Department on protocol to protect the players and staff, Cuomo added.
The governor expressed hope that MLB and the players’ union will quickly hammer down an agreement on an abbreviated 2020 season that brings baseball back to fans through television. For weeks, both parties have been going back and forth over the length of the season and the terms of compensation.