As the smoke from wildfires in Canada triggered air quality alerts throughout the northern United States, sports events on the East Coast have already begun to be affected.
Two MLB games were postponed, the league announced Wednesday afternoon: the New York Yankees versus the Chicago White Sox and the Philadelphia Phillies versus the Detroit Tigers. Both were rescheduled for Thursday.
Tonight’s Yankees-White Sox game (Wednesday, June 7) is rescheduled because of poor air quality due to smoke from the Canadian wildfires and will be made up tomorrow, Thursday, June 8, as the first game of a single-admission doubleheader, which will begin at 4:05pm. pic.twitter.com/nx1WxqUaTU
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) June 7, 2023
The NWSL announced at 2:32 p.m. ET that Wednesday's match between NJ/NY Gotham and Orlando Pride would be postponed until Aug. 9 because of air quality conditions at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.
MLB reportedly began to monitor the air quality situation around midday, according to the Washington Post's Jesse Dougherty. The Yankees later said they and other affected teams would meet at 4 p.m. ET to discuss their options in the wake of the weather, according to the New York Daily News' Gary Phillips.
All the while, this was Yankee Stadium five hours before the scheduled start of Yankees vs. White Sox:
“You see the orange coming through the doors, and then you walk outside, like, ‘Whoa,’” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
The last time MLB postponed games due to poor air quality was in 2020, when wildfires in Washington and Oregon forced the league to move games between the Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants. Those games were eventually moved to San Francisco.
The Yankees and White Sox played Tuesday night, when the air quality index (AQI) in the Bronx reached as high as 191, according to AirNow.gov. That's well above the unhealthy level for sensitive groups and bordering on unhealthy for all individuals. For reference, an AQI of 0-50 is "good," and anything above 101 is bad. Above 300 is considered "hazardous" for everyone.
By 3 p.m. Wednesday, the AQI in the Bronx rose to 348, per AirNow.gov.
The Yankees lost that game to the White Sox 3-2 on Tuesday, with an eerie blanket of smoky air hanging overhead. The same day, New York City's air quality rated the worst in the world among major cities because of the effects of the wildfires.