Play ball!

By Father’s Day weekend of any other year, both of New York’s professional baseball teams have already played a third of their games and are in the thick of a divisional race.

But 2020 posed a massive change in the way just about everything was done, including a delay to the start of Major League Baseball (and suspension of the NBA and NHL).

As testing for the coronavirus continues and caseloads decrease, phase two of New York’s reopening is underway, and Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced both the Mets and Yankees will begin training for the truncated 2020 season at their home fields of Yankee Stadium in the Bronx and Citi Field in Queens.

“COVID-19 has disrupted so many of the traditions New Yorkers know and love, and our inability to root for our home teams has been acutely felt all throughout this crisis,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Thanks to New Yorkers’ incredible efforts to slow the spread, we’ve determined it’s possible for the Yankees and the Mets to safely conduct spring training in the state this year and are thrilled to begin reopening America’s national pastime right here in New York.”

While the news is welcomed by sports fans, Major League Baseball and its players’ union have been at odds over details surrounding start dates, salaries, and other details that will mark an unprecedented season.

As of Monday, June 22, the earliest potential start date for a regular season would be July 19 and offer a 60-game season over 66 days. According to most recent negotiations, players are seeking at least 70 games and a higher percentage of their prorated contracts, along with other virus-related stipulations like shutdowns.

New York State has entered phase two of the reopening, and the Mid-Hudson region is on track to enter phase three on Tuesday, June 23, the governor’s office said.