There will be fans in the stands -- and a relatively large number of them -- for the New York Mets and Yankees when they hit the field for their major-league baseball home openers next month.
Flanked by Mets Vice Chair Andy Cohen, Yankees President Randy Levine and former pitchers C.C. Sabathia and Al Leiter, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that fans will be permitted into Citi Field and Yankee Stadium when the regular season begins.
For the Yankees, that means they will be able to welcome 10,850 fans to the stadium for their home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday, April 1, while the Mets’ game against the Marlins on Thursday, April 8 will permit 8,384 fans into Citi Field.
“We are going to play ball, and we’re going to play ball with a crowd in the stands, which I tell you, is so good for the psyche,” Cuomo said on Thursday, March 18. “Getting out of the house … Getting out of the apartment … Getting away from this entrapment we’ve been going in and going to a game and getting outside and seeing a new season start. Hope springs eternal.”
Leiter, a former Yankee and Met, compared getting back to the field with fans in the stands to when New York came back for the first baseball game in New York after the Sept. 11 attacks donning NYPD and FDNY hats.
“We wondered if it was the right thing to do after 9/11, and I’ll tell you what, wearing those hats, where we did it and when we did it, knowing how special it was, as an MLB player being in New York City, it was the right thing,” he said.
“I’m just thrilled fans will get a chance to get back in the stadium and it will keep advancing until more people can go,” he said. “And I’ll tell you what, there’s nothing like it when a large crowd is cheering … or booing you. And there’s no better place than New York or New York sports fans. Let’s play ball.”
Levine said that Yankee Stadium is ready for fans, and that crews from both teams have been working to ensure that fans can return safely and without concern, while Cohen noted that allowing fans back in the stadiums is a sign that New York continues opening up the economy further and further.
“This is a process. It’s an intelligent calibration of reopening the economy, watching science and data, but all indicators are good,” Cuomo said. “We’re excited about the season ahead, and expect to see success in the games.
“You’ll see they’re safe and see increased capacity and more flexibility across the board going forward and that’s only because we’ve been smart,” he added. “So let’s play ball.”
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