The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced earlier today that they will impose a 14-day quarantine on visitors from states with high coronavirus infection rates. That list includes Florida, which happens to be where Mets and Yankees players have been preparing for a season that may or may not happen. But now that Major League Baseball has a tentative plan to start a season that, again, may or may not actually happen, players have to make their way back to Citi Field in Queens and Yankee Stadium in The Bronx to report for spring training by next week.
"Major League Baseball and spring training, we agreed to last week," Cuomo said at today's press conference. "The health commissioner is working on a health protocol with them, and that started last week. And that'll be subject to a separate protocol, done between the state and the teams coming back to spring training."
The Mets and Yankees released a joint statement about working with the DOH to bring players back from Florida by July 1st. You can read it below—even though the statements are the same, everything else about the presentation is hilariously different in these two tweets.
As it stands now, the Yankees’ 40-man roster, along with approximately 20 additional players on the “taxi squad," will work out of The Bronx; then as the season gets closer, the taxi squad will be sent to PNC Field in Pennsylvania, which is the regular-season home of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, the Yankees’ Triple-A team. The Mets' 40-man roster and taxi squad will start training in Queens, but they may use MCU Park in Coney Island, home of their Class-A affiliate, as an overflow site for workouts.
MLB has also released some of their guidelines on how coronavirus testing will work: "Players will undergo COVID-19 testing upon arrival, then begin workouts if they test negative. Players, coaches and support staff will be tested for COVID-19 every other day during training camps, the regular season and postseason. Anybody testing positive will be quarantined. Two negative tests are reportedly required for a return. Players will also receive temperature/symptom checks at least twice per day, and antibody testing will be conducted approximately once per month."
There will be no fans in the stands once games begin (although other teams have expressed a desire to brings fans back in at some point this year), and the trade deadline will be August 31st. The league is also creating a schedule that will minimize travel as much as possible, but having 10 games for each team against its four divisional opponents, along with 20 games "against the opposite league’s corresponding geographical division (for example, the AL East will play the NL East, and so on)."
MLB shut down all spring training facilities in Arizona and Florida last week after at least 12 players and staff members—including several Yankees employees—tested positive for COVID-19. Several Mets and Yankees players were already working out at each team's facilities in Port St. Lucie and Tampa, respectively. Cuomo then suggested over the weekend Mets and Yankees players should return to NYC for spring training, arguing it is "certainly" safer than the situation in Florida, which has seen a surge in coronavirus cases in recent weeks as the state has reopened.
On Tuesday, MLB team owners and players finally reached an agreement on an abbreviated 60-game season expected to begin on July 23rd or 24th. This came after weeks of negotiations, threats and disputes over prorated salaries, legal waivers, and safety concerns because of the pandemic. Those arguments, which strained an already "terrible relationship" between owners and players, has also soured some fans on the season: “The virus has hurt a vast number of people, companies and institutions,” Marc Ganis, a professional sports consultant, told the Times. “Was baseball hurt more than it otherwise needed to be? The answer is absolutely yes.”