Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement Saturday, and the teams confirmed the plan. Cuomo said he would like to stop by to see them training.
“I think New York now is especially attractive, compared to the other states, because we have such a low transmission rate, and this is a state that is ready, willing and able to partner with sports teams so that they can play,” Cuomo said.
The Yankees originally had intended for their base to be their spring training complex in Tampa, Florida. The Mets had said they were undecided between Citi Field and their training camp in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
Yankees employees received an email on Friday and then had a meeting, where they were told that “an employee” who had been working at George M. Steinbrenner Field tested positive and had been out of the complex since Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Marly Rivera. They were also told that beginning this Monday, “or as soon as possible,” they will begin saliva-testing all employees for the coronavirus, according to Rivera.
Florida at first appeared preferable because the complexes have more fields.
But positive cases for COVID-19 in Florida have increased markedly in recent days, while the percentage of positive tests in New York City has dropped sharply. New York City is set to enter Phase 2 of reopening on Monday, allowing stores and outdoor restaurant seating to reopen with social distancing.
All 30 MLB teams have closed their spring camps in Florida and Arizona this weekend over virus concerns, sources confirmed to ESPN.
MLB had hoped to start the season during the first week of July, but teams and the players’ association are engaged in a bitter fight over how to apportion revenue losses caused by the pandemic.
Both sides agree that players need three weeks of training before the increasingly slight season could start.
“To have spring training in New York, that is a really great development,” Cuomo said. “It’s where I think they should always be, obviously. But in a bleak time, and in a season that obviously has had significant hurdles to deal with, to have a spring training quick camp in New York, that is the first bit of really good news when it comes to baseball that we’ve had in a long time.”
Cuomo has said both teams can play games at home but without fans. The US Open tennis tournament is scheduled to take place without fans in its usual time frame that starts in late August.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.