Andrew Cuomo is one of those guys who calls it “the MLB.”
Maybe that’s not the main takeaway from the New York governor’s announcement on Saturday that when and if baseball resumes, the Mets and Yankees will prepare with “spring training” at their home parks, but when people call it “the MLB,” it’s always a giveaway of being someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing.
Things are going well enough in New York now with coronavirus that planning to have the home teams work out at home isn’t hugely controversial. New York City has flattened the curve nicely, recording fewer than a 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 every day in June. It still remains to be seen whether numbers will tick back up as the gradual reopening continues, but the city has been trailing the rest of the state on reopening, and the state numbers are on the same generally good track.
It’s a hell of a lot smarter to have the Mets and Yankees work out in New York than for them to go to Florida, where new highs of positive tests are being reached daily and the governor is a complete moron. Still, Cuomo being able to make this announcement without looking like total jerk himself doesn’t mean that he’s off the hook for handling COVID-19 so poorly that New York has had more than double the number of cases of any other state, and three times as many deaths as every state other than neighboring New Jersey.
The whole thing also comes with one very large caveat — there may not actually be a resumed spring training for New York to host. Negotiations between MLB and the players’ union continue to be a disaster. While Commissioner Rob Manfred does have the option to simply implement a schedule, likely around 50 games, the spread of the virus has major implications for a league that, unlike the NBA and NHL, is planning to play out its season by having teams go from city to city, rather than play in a “bubble” or “hub cities.”
New York making progress on coronavirus doesn’t mean too much for baseball when more than a quarter of the teams in baseball play in Arizona, California, and Florida — all of which have experienced recent spikes in coronavirus cases.
It’s still a terrible and irresponsible idea, with predictably perilous consequences, to even have a Major League Baseball season in 2020. But, hey, so was keeping New York schools open, and Cuomo did that, while also cutting Medicaid in the middle of a pandemic.