Andrew Cuomo asks Jeff Wilpon: Why Can’t You Play Games Without Fans?

John Fennelly
Sep 30, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets chief operations officer Jeff Wilpon addresses the media during a press conference prior to a game against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball, like most aspects of American life these days, is shutdown indefinitely. When it will ramp back up and begin the 2020 season is still unknown. In the beginning of spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, Baseball instituted a two-week delay. Then, they shut down operations altogether.

One workaround option is to play the games in empty stadiums.  New York governor Andrew Cuomo, speaking on his brother Chris’ nightly CNN program said he posed the question to New York Mets COO Jeff Wilpon.

“I said why can’t we talk about a baseball season with nobody in the stands? Why can’t you play the game with the players,” Cuomo said “CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time” Wednesday. “I think it would be good for the country. I think it would be good for people to have something to watch and do. To fight cabin fever. I think it’s something I’m going to pursue.”

This is coming from a man who is the champion of social distancing and is leading the resistance of the returning to normalcy campaign being promoted by President Donald Trump. New York is the global epicenter of the pandemic and now are instituting an initiative making masks mandatory in areas where social distancing is difficult to achieve.

“Apparently Major League Baseball would have to make a deal with the players because if you have no one in the stands, then the numbers are going to change, right?” Cuomo asked. “The economics are going to change. But if Major League Baseball and the players could come into an agreement on how to adjust the economics for that reality, I think that would be a good thing. You know we have to start to move to normalcy and people have to see some sort of hope and light.”

Cuomo didn’t provide the answer – if any – that Wilpon gave him.

Playing the games without fans is one option the table. So is the ridiculous plan of have all 30 MLB teams begin the season in Arizona to cut down on travel. Neither is likely to happen but talk is ramping up.

If Cuomo is loosening his stance, that could mean the beginning of restrictions being lifted sooner rather than later. Many experts believe New York will not be able to open things up until the summer given the density of the COVID-19 cases.

We’re all hoping there will be a baseball season in 2020 but things would have to normalize in general for that to happen.