New York Yankees team president Randy Levine said Wednesday that baseball has to come up with a plan to re-open that would be good economically and take health risks into account, adding that playing in front of no fans with games being broadcasted on TV isn't "practical."
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Levine made an appearance on "Mornings with Maria" and told host Maria Bartiromo that the country is in dire need of sports.
"Commissioner [Rob] Manfred is working really hard on a plan to try and get us back as soon as possible," Levine said. "Sports is really missed in this country for two really good reasons."
"One, it's a trillion-dollar industry that employs millions of people both in our stadiums and hospitality and apparel and hotels that service it. It's a major part of the economy, and also it's kind of the rhythm of this country," he said. "In tough times, sports has gotten through to kind of calm us, and we need to get back to that."
Levine praised President Trump's guidelines on how to slow the spread of the virus and noted that sports can set an example on how to open back up safely. He said taking the proper precautions while allowing fans into ballparks should take place and that playing games made for TV only isn't something he really wants to have done.
"The sports industry could 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," Levine said. "How can we get into our parks as soon as we can with all the appropriate mitigation – social distancing, taking temperature checks, wearing masks, wearing gloves. I think it's all doable because I think that, to have games just on TV for the whole season for many, many reasons is not practical."
While Major League Baseball has toyed with the idea of playing games at a neutral site, Levine said that "everything is on the table" and he understands that New York is going to open back up a little later because of how many residents have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
"I think that we just get going, 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're trying to go right now to get this going as quickly as we can. The country needs sports."
Baseball was set to be played in late March but the coronavirus delayed the start of everything surrounding the sport.