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Yankees president Randy Levine pushes back against Dr. Anthony Fauci's gloomy comments about sports

Yankees president Randy Levine speaks during a news

Yankees president Randy Levine speaks during a news conference on July 19, 2009 announcing that Yankee Stadium will play host to the 2010 Notre Dame vs. Army college football game. Credit: GETTY IMAGES/Jim McIsaac

Yankees president Randy Levine pushed back slightly against the recent suggestion by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the national COVID-19 pandemic task force, that whatever is ahead for 2020, it might not include a Major League Baseball season.  

“I really believe everybody should just work together to do this,” Levine said Wednesday afternoon during an appearance on Fox News Radio’s "The Brian Kilmeade Show." “I was kind of surprised this morning when I saw one story about Dr. Fauci where he said that now he thinks some sports might not play until next year, but last week on the YES Network, he said . . . quite the opposite.”

In a story Wednesday in The New York Times, Fauci said: “Safety, for the players and for the fans, trumps everything. If you can’t guarantee safety, then unfortunately you’re going to have to bite the bullet and say, ‘We may have to go without this sport for this season.’ I would love to be able to have all sports back. But as a health official and a physician and a scientist, I have to say, right now, when you look at the country, we’re not ready for that yet.”

It was not a drastically different tone from the one Fauci struck during an appearance on the YES Network on April 20.

Regarding some of the scenarios that had been leaked about a restart of MLB, though he said “it is possible,”  Fauci added: “But I affirm what I have been saying: It’s going to be the virus that determines what the timetable is. Because if we get the virus under really good control and certain regions of the country can get gradually from the gateway to the phase one to the phase two to the phase three, it is conceivable that you may be able to have some baseball with people practicing physical separation. Namely, you don’t pack a stadium. I think quite likely, although it’s always dangerous to predict, I think it’s more likely that you’re going to have more of a television baseball than a spectator baseball.”

Fauci also said during the YES interview: “You can limit the amount of people in a stadium and make sure you seat them in a way that they are really quite separated. And maybe even wearing the facial covers, masks. I know people look at me and say, ‘What are you, crazy?’ But it’s better than no baseball at all . . . What are some of the possibilities? People who know more about baseball structure than I do have said, and I think it’s reasonable, you can have a situation where you get a group of players and you put them in a few cities. You get them tested and make sure they’re not infected and they don’t infect each other.”

Complicating matters is that for all of the ideas that have been leaked, none of them has been discussed extensively with the Players Association, with which MLB ultimately needs to reach an agreement.

Levine, like everyone else, would like to see a season of some kind and isn’t prepared to give up on the prospect of one.

“So I mean it’s confusing,” he said during the radio appearance. “And that’s why all of us with good intentions have to come together, need to come together and put a plan together that works.”

New York Sports