New York Yankees News: Arizona and Florida Governors okay with plan to start baseball in their states

New York Yankees

Baseball Commission Rob Manfred is working with the New York Yankees and the other 29 major league teams to get baseball started against while the coronavirus drags on.  He is also working with federal health officials and the governors of Arizona and Florida to use facilities in their states to get a start to America’s summer pastime.

Recently Manfred issued one plan to get baseball going by isolating it in both Arizona and Florida, where there is already a baseball infrastructure.  In Arizona, baseball would use the retractable roof Chase Stadium home of the Arizona Diamondbacks of the National League.  It is likely that doubleheaders and even tripleheaders would be played there in an attempt to get as many games in as possible.  The 30 MLB teams would also use open-air minor league and college stadiums within a 50-mile radius of Pheonix.  Although many New York Yankee fans are in favor of the plan just to be able to play, they also cite isolation from their families as an issue.

Florida is also be considered.  In the dual state plan, the Grapefruit league would be played there, and Cactus League games played in Arizona.  There is a lot of pushback for both plans as they would have environmental obstacles as well as causing players to be away from their families for an entire season.  The plans would cause the players to isolate themselves in hotels and only be allowed to travel between hotels and stadiums.  Florida is the home of the New York Yankees George M. Steinbrenner Field; it’s major training facility.

Another plan put forth makes less sense, still allowing players to engage in air travel and play teams that are not in their usual divisions.  This plan would create an entirely illegitimate season with a meaningless World Championship.

Both the Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have both indicated that they are okay with starting baseball in their states.  Ducey said:

“I have had discussions [Manfred],” Ducey said, via the Arizona Republic. “While I want to hold the content of those discussions in confidence, I just want everyone to know that Arizona, at the right time, is very open-minded to hosting whatever Major League Baseball would like from the state, at the time that it would be appropriate for public health if Arizona were in a position to reopen.

“We have the facilities that are here. We have the hotel space that is here. We want to make sure that the metrics and data are proper before we are able to go forward.”

Florida Governor DeSantis has deemed sports as “essential businesses” in the state, too.  Florida has over 21k active cases of the coronavirus in the state and Arizona has 3,800 cases as of Tuesday night, according to the New York Times.

One of these plans may be adopted or neither may take effect as Manfred mules over what to do to complete some type of baseball season.  He just may wait until it is safe to have baseball at New York Yankees Stadium and in other MLB home parks.  That would be a best option in this writer’s opinion, where a traditional season of 80 or so games could be played.  Manfred is not going to rush into starting the season but must make some decisions as to what a season will look like in the next few weeks.

“MLB has been working diligently to plan for many different contingencies, as one of many ideas that has been discussed has been to play some of our games in Florida when the public health situation allows for it,” the league said in a statement on Tuesday, via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. “We are appreciative that the Governor is open to playing games in Florida as one potential solution, but we all agree that such efforts can only be undertaken in a manner that does not endanger public health, nor the health of our players and fans. We will continue to be guided by those principles.”

New York’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, said today that he doubts that large gatherings would be allowed during June or July and possibly even August.  It should be noted that the major is a die-hard Boston Red Sox fan, although I’m sure that will have nothing to do with when Yankee Stadium can be opened to fans. One thing we call all agree on is that New York Yankees fans are starved for baseball and just want to hear the phrase, “Play Ball!”