Game postponements and cancellations could soon domino across sports — particularly in the Northeast U.S. — due to a thick wave of dangerous smoke from Canadian wildfires.
Hundreds of fires spanning from British Columbia to Nova Scotia have blanketed large swaths of the Midwest and Northeast U.S. in a haze of yellowish-gray skies, creating air-quality levels officially deemed unsafe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The New York Yankees played Tuesday night at home against the Chicago White Sox despite New York City officials issuing an official health alert for all five boroughs and Yankee Stadium shrouded in the smoky haze – which prompted a social media frenzy.
New York City’s air quality ranks among the worst in the world.
The Yankees’ top minor-league affiliate, the Scranton-Wilkes Barre RailRiders, postponed their home game in Pennsylvania on Tuesday. The Syracuse Mets, the top affiliate of the New York Mets, similarly postponed their game Tuesday and moved a special Wednesday morning Education Day game to 6:35 p.m. before postponing it entirely.
A NWSL match between NJ/NY Gotham FC and the Orlando Pride set for Wednesday was also shifted to August.
Air quality is projected to worsen Wednesday, and the smoke is expected to remain in some form for at least the rest of this week, likely creating further issues for MLB and Minor League Baseball. The situation remains under close watch by the league, MLB Players Association, and MiLB.
Later Wednesday, MLB games in New York and Philadelphia and a MiLB game in Scranton-Wilkes Barre were all postponed, joining Syracuse. The WNBA’s New York Liberty on Wednesday also postponed a scheduled game at Barclays Center.
In 2020, MLB postponed two Seattle Mariners home games due to air-quality issues related to California wildfires.