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As COVID-19 cases force Miami baseball team to suspend season, Cuomo invites MLB to stage more games in New York

Healthcare worker Dante Hills (left) passes paperwork to a woman in a vehicle July 27, 2020, at a COVID-19 testing site outside Marlins Park in Miami. The Marlins home opener against the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night was postponed as the Marlins deal with a coronavirus outbreak.

(The Center Square) – Major League Baseball’s season started less than a week ago, and already there’s growing cause for concern as reports circulate that some teams would isolate or quarantine for days after a COVID-19 outbreak hit one team.

With that in mind, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo stepped up to the plate Tuesday and offered his state to host more MLB games this season. The offer comes the league approved the Toronto Blue Jays to play most of its home games in Buffalo after Canadian officials refused to allow them to play in their home park.

“I think it would be good for the psyche. I think it would be good for the nation’s soul,” the governor said. “We want everybody to stay home, curtail activity. Don’t go to the bar, don’t drink. OK, let’s stay home and watch a ballgame, but then there has to be a ballgame on TV. And I’m saying that Major League Baseball has had problems with that.”

USA Today reported Tuesday that the Miami Marlins season has been suspended by MLB officials after 15 players and two staff members tested positive for the virus. The suspension came after the Washington Nationals voted not to play in Miami this weekend.

The suspension also affects four games between the Marlins and Baltimore Orioles as well as two games between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees. The Marlins opened the season last weekend in Philadelphia, and the Yanks would have used the same clubhouse the Marlins used for the series.

The Yankees are scheduled to host Philadelphia for two games starting on Wednesday.

Under the plan, Cuomo said professional athletes arriving from high-risk COVID-19 states, such as Florida, would not be considered essential workers who are exempt from the 14-day quarantine period New York has put in place with New Jersey and Connecticut.

Instead, Cuomo’s proposal says any MLB team that wanted to play in New York would be welcomed. Teams would fly in on private, chartered aircraft, go to a hotel for testing and quarantine. If the tests are negative, the teams would be allowed to play.

The governor, who said getting the Blue Jays in Buffalo was a big deal, also touted the state’s currently low COVID-19 numbers as another reason for the national pastime to consider the proposal.

“We have the ability to do it,” Cuomo said. “We have the testing resources to do it. We have the department of health experience to do it. It would be great for the New York state economy, and I think it would be great for New Yorkers and Americans.”

While MLB prefers to play games in major league stadiums, like Yankee Stadium in the Bronx or the New York Mets’ Citi Field in Queens, Cuomo’s plan could allow minor league fields in Rochester, Syracuse, Troy, Staten Island, Brooklyn and other communities to host contests.

Fans, though, would not be allowed in the ballparks.

While Major League Baseball decided to play games across the country, other major professional leagues chose to operate in “bubbles.” The National Basketball Association will resume play Thursday with 22 of its 30 teams playing the rest of the season in Orlando. Meanwhile, 24 National Hockey League squads will play games in Toronto or Edmonton starting this weekend.

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