Anthony Rizzo walks off the field at Yankee Stadium.
Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

That Eerie Yankee Stadium Smoke is a Health Threat MLB Can't Ignore

A cloud of smoke from the Canadian wildfires created 'unhealthy' air quality at Yankee Stadium Tuesday night. MLB needs to do the safe thing and postpone games.

As the Canadian wildfires continue to burn, excessive smoke from them has made its way to the skies over Yankee Stadium. They could affect MLB games played there for the foreseeable future, as MLB must make some decisions in regards to the health of its players.

Images and videos from Tuesday nights's New York Yankees game against the Chicago White Sox look like something from a Will Smith post-apocalyptic film due to the smoke from the wildfires traveling there.

Canadian Wildfires Caused Eerie Yankee Stadium Smoke Tuesday Night

Yankees players stand during the national anthem with smoke above them.

Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

On Wednesday, an air quality health advisory was in effect. New York state's Department of Environmental Conservation deems the air quality "unhealthy" for the New York City metro area, Eastern Lake Ontario and Central New York.

The DEC also said the air quality was "unhealthy for sensitive groups" in Long Island, the Lower Hudson Valley, Upper Hudson Valley and Western New York, according to CBS News.

A source with Major League Baseball on Tuesday didn't indicate that games would be delayed "despite potentially hazardous air quality levels," according to The Athletic.

The Athletic also points out that the source came forward anonymously "because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly."

Despite the lack of rescheduling for major league games, minor league games have been called off. The Yankees Triple-A affiliate, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, postponed their Tuesday matchup with the Norfolk Tides.

The postponement was due to "an abundance of caution for potential health concerns," according to a RailRiders press release.

The Athletic report also notes to the Environmental Protection Agency air quality index:

  • 0-50 is deemed good air quality.
  • 51-100 is deemed moderate air quality.

During Tuesday's fifth inning of the Yankees-White Sox game, the air quality index was 180 and shot up to 227 at 11:30 p.m. ET. These readings are in the "unhealthy" and "very unhealthy" categories, respectively.

Dan Westervelt, a climate scientist and an assistant research professor at Columbia University, said the poor air quality likely wouldn't affect the athletes on the field because of their age and physical condition but, rather, could affect younger and older fans with respiratory and heart conditions.

The players and managers didn't seem particularly affected by it, according to The Athletic.

"I didn't really think much about it other than that it looked odd out there," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.

"It seemed like it was a little foggy out there but nothing out of the ordinary," Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson said.

MLB Needs to Do the Safe Thing

A Yankee player walks on to the field at Yankee Stadium.

Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

While the players on the field might be unaffected by the air quality because of their physical fitness, it only seems logical to postpone some games or take a COVID-19-like approach and not allow attendance. If the league and players want to play, so be it. But the fans — who should reconsider attending in person — should be protected and get a refund for these games until the air quality is under control.

Major League Baseball did this in 2020 with the Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants during the California wildfires — when the air quality index also registered in the "very unhealthy" range — and the league should do it again here. It's time for Major League Baseball to step up to the plate and postpone these games and move them to a neutral site or designate a makeup time.

MORE: How the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics are Actually the Same