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While much of the country sees COVID-19 cases on the rise and some states ease restrictions, New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner says he expects to see fans in the stands during baseball’s shortened season.
Steinbrenner, speaking to YES Network on Thursday, said “at some point this season” he expects Yankee Stadium will have fans inside of it. And not the cardboard cutouts like the A’s and other teams are planning.
It’s not a surprise that MLB owners are hopeful — bullish even — on the idea of getting fans in the stands. That’s a big chunk of revenue they’ll be missing out on if fans can’t buy tickets, overpriced beers and colossal hot dogs.
The entire fight about MLB salaries for the 60-game season was about owners saying they would be losing too much money and players needed to take an additional pay cut. Instead, we just got a shorter season.
Confidence and planning for fans in Yankee Stadium make sense in that regard. But it still seems like a longshot given the state of the country. New York isn’t as bad as some other states where numbers are shooting back up — California, Texas and Florida, for example. On Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York’s positive tests remained at “low levels” but also acknowledge that the crisis in New York, like other places, is far from over.
In that sense, the question around baseball isn’t too different than any other industry: When is it safe to re-open in a larger capacity? Even Hal Steinbrenner doesn’t know that yet.
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