Yankees president Randy Levine pushes back against fan-less games

Yankees president Randy Levine doesn’t envision the entire season being played in empty ballparks.

Slated to start on March 26, MLB’s season is on hold due to the coronavirus.

“I think the president’s guidelines have been very, very well done and that we have to abide by them. The sports industry can be an example for all industry for us to work with health experts and the people who run baseball teams and all associated businesses to reach that compromise how can we get into our parks as soon as we can with all the appropriate mitigation,’’ Levine said Wednesday on FOX Business Network’s “Mornings With Maria” show. “Social distancing, taking temperature checks, wearing masks, wearing gloves. I think it is all doable because I think that to have games just on TV for the whole season for many, many reasons is not practical.’’

While MLB and the Players Association haven’t formalized a plan as to when a season would start and where the games would be played, Levine would like to see a plan develop.

“I think, as the president has said, he wants — as [does] Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo — we need to get baseball back and we need to get a plan working with everybody as soon as possible to show how it is done,’’ Levine said. “Whether we start with stadiums with no fans but then quickly transition to one with fans.’’

Customers in the seats are important because clubs rely on them for revenue from ticket sales, concessions and parking.

“All of us are looking at many, many plans. Do you start in certain cities? Do you start with no fans and then move into your ballpark with limited fans? And how do you go about doing it? Everything is on the table,’’ Levine said. “Here in New York, we’re going to start a little later because obviously, the virus has affected us much harsher than in other places. So I think we should just get going and be prepared. There has to be a private-public partnership that all sides, the economic sides, the health sides, are brought to bear to make sure this is done safely and reasonably. And that’s where we are trying to go right now to get this thing going as quickly as we can. The country needs sports.’’

The Yankees are among a group of teams that will pay full-time employees through the end of May.

“No furloughs, no pay cuts until May 31 and then reassess the situation. So hopefully by May 31 we have this plan,’’ Levine said. “We have this real opportunity now. Doctor [Anthony] Fauci gave us the opportunity to put the pedal to the metal along with the president’s guidelines to see how we can do a plan where we can begin to think about getting fans into the stadium.’’

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, pointed out recently the coronavirus will dictate a time frame.

“It’s going to be the virus that determines what the timetable is because if we get the virus under really good control it is conceivable that you may be able to have some baseball with people practicing physical separation. Namely, you don’t pack a stadium,’’ Fauci said.

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