Mets, Yankees ticket bait vaccine strategy


New York Mets Yankees offer vaccination in stadium during game day Image: wsp

The Major League Baseball (MLB) teams New York Mets and New York Yankees (US) will offer free ticket vouchers for hundreds of fans who take shot in their arms at their respective stadia. This announcement was made by the New York Governor, Andrew M Cuomo (D), recently.

‘The Washington Post’ stated that Cuomo also informed that, starting May 19th, the two MLB teams will divide their respective venues into separate sections for vaccinated and unvaccinated fans. Vaccinated fans can sit in close proximity to each other in sections at up to 100 percent capacity, as was the scenario before COVID-19 bared its fangs on the world, while unvaccinated fans will have to maintain six feet of distancing in sections of no more than 33 percent capacity.

The New York Mets are a Major League Baseball (MLB) team based in the New York City borough of Queens (US). The Mets compete in MLB as a member of the National League East division. The 42,922-capacity Citi Field in New York serves as their residence.

The New York Yankees are an American professional baseball team based in the New York City borough of the Bronx. They compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League East division. The 54,251-capacity Yankee Stadium serves as their home arena.

At a presser in which Cuomo was flanked by Mets President Sandy Alderson and Yankees President Randy Levine, the Governor said, “You’re going to the game anyway – it’s on your way. Stop and get a vaccine. The main resistance now is people’s own fears and people’s comfort level. And when you have a set of rules and protocols in place where people feel comfortable, I think it’s going to have more people attending games. I think more people will go to restaurants. I think more people will go to museums if they know they are safe when they go there. You’re vaccinated, you are going to sit with only vaccinated people. I think that’s actually going to increase the public acceptance level.”

‘The Washington Post’ further stated that fans at Mets and Yankees games can get a shot of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine (per The first 700 to 1,000 Yankees fans who get the jab on a given home date which started from May 7th through June 6th will get ticket vouchers, as will the first 250 Mets fans between May 24th and June 17th.

Added Levine, “We’re all in on this. We’re excited to be part of this. We’re excited to have more and more fans in the building because our players love it.”

For its pandemic-truncated 2020 season, MLB made it compulsory that all teams play in stadiums sans supporters. In March, Cuomo declared that the Mets and Yankees could greet up to 20 percent capacity at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium, respectively, the same limit as at other large outdoor stadia in the State for professional sporting events.

Fans were asked to show proof of a recent negative coronavirus test, but that requirement, which the Governor reportedly described as “burdensome”, will be dropped. Under the new system of separate sections, all onlookers will still be required to wear face coverings.

Alderson said, “Fans are what make the game. Fans are also what make memories. And they make memories for players as well as themselves. The Mets already are vaccinating approximately 2,000 individuals a day at Citi Field and were in the process of opening a drive-through lane.”

Both executives indicated that they thought having separate sections, some with mandatory distancing, suited the interests of fans for the time being.

Alderson continued, “There are some people who are just not comfortable being in large groups, even at an outdoor facility. And so, from our standpoint, we still need some social distancing. Generally speaking, we think a gradual return is appropriate in light of some concerns that people have about being in large groups even if they’ve been vaccinated. So we’re working toward full capacity, of course, but we’re happy with where we are and where we’re going.”

Added Levine, “We’ve been polling our fans. I think the majority are vaccinated rather than unvaccinated who are coming in. And hopefully those numbers continue to rise. But we will have separate sections and accommodate all our season ticket holders, make sure that they’re fine, and other people coming in.”

Added Cuomo, “Theoretically, if you had 100 percent vaccinated, you could fill the entire stadium with 100 percent vaccinated.”

Alderson noted that the Mets have not been able to get at least 85 percent of their players and Tier 1 staff vaccinated, which would allow the team to loosen some restrictions under MLB protocols. He said that the team had reached approximately 77 percent among those personnel and that the Mets “continue to work on it”.

Alderson further observed, “At this point, it’s a case-by-case, individual-by-individual campaign on our part. We continue to provide education, and as time passes we get one or two more every few days. But we’re not at that level yet, and we see the kind of resistance within the framework of the team that we see publicly, and all of the same reasons are being made to us by them as we see in the public domain.”

Asserting that “virtually all” Yankees players had been vaccinated, Levine said the team was able to relax its restrictions very recently.

Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said the very thought of having more fans at home games was “exciting”.

He added, “We’ve obviously seen it here early in the year, with a number of fans being allowed back in and just how that changes the atmosphere and the feeling and everything. So, I’m excited about it. And it brings a smile on my face, knowing we continue to move that needle.”

Yankees catcher Kyle Higashioka remarked, “I can’t wait for more fans to be in the stands. I definitely am so grateful for at least just the 20 percent to be allowed in versus zero last year. So the sooner we can get back to normal, that’s going to be unbelievable for us.”

Cuomo concluded at the presser by stating, “Why do we get a vaccine? Because at the end of the day, we’re Yankees fans, we’re Mets fans, but we’re all on the same team on this one.”

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