Hazardous air quality threatens to choke fans at Yankees vs. White Sox game

Haze engulfs Yankee Stadium as the Yankees host the White Sox on June 6, 2023.
Michael Bennington
Wednesday June 7, 2023

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Apart from the news of Aaron Judge’s impending IL move, the air quality in the Bronx presents another big headache for the Yankees fanbase.

This week, New York City has been experiencing poor air quality, ranking among the lowest in the country. The cause of this decline is the smoke originating from wildfires in Canada, which has drifted southward. As a result, Yankee Stadium was shrouded in an eerie, smoke-infused haze, dampening the atmosphere during the Yankees vs. White Sox game.

As the Yankees and White Sox took the field, fans and players found themselves immersed in an actual haze. Smoke from the wildfires in Canada had drifted down to New York, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of a campfire and a sky obscured by thick clouds. Despite these conditions, a crowd of 38,049 fans gathered at the stadium to witness the Yankees’ game.

The smoke from the wildfires resulted in an air quality index of 153, indicating an “unhealthy” level, as reported by IQAir. Despite the deteriorating smoke conditions as game time neared, the Yankees and White Sox remained scheduled to play. However, in the nearby regions, the Yankees’ Triple-A team, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and the Mets’ affiliate in Syracuse opted to postpone their games due to concerns about air quality.

Hard for the Yankees fanbase to ignore the air quality

As an air quality alert loomed over New York City, the smoky haze became increasingly noticeable during pregame warmups and persisted as the game commenced. This week, New York City is experiencing some of the most severe air pollution in the nation due to the southward drift of smoke originating from ongoing wildfires in Canada. As the hotbed of the Yankees fanbase, it may impact the overall game experience.

Air quality ratings in the five boroughs of New York City exceeded 150 on Tuesday, as reported by AirNow, an online platform operated by the U.S. government. Such levels are categorized as unhealthy for everyone and significantly surpass the exposure recommendations set by the World Health Organization.

On Tuesday morning, the city was veiled in a smoky haze, casting an orange glow in the sky and obscuring the sun. Authorities issued warnings advising residents to minimize outdoor activities, particularly individuals with respiratory ailments or heart conditions who are more susceptible to hazardous air quality conditions. But a Yankees’ game still draw thousands out of their safe confines.

An air quality health advisory was issued on Tuesday by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for New York, Bronx, where the Yankees are located, Kings, Queens, Richmond counties, and the nearby suburban areas. The advisory was prompted by concerns over the air quality in these locations.

The air pollution caused by wildfire smoke is increasingly becoming a concern in the United States. According to a study conducted by researchers at Stanford University, the exposure of millions of Americans to smoke from wildfires has reached unprecedented levels compared to a decade ago. This could pose a challenge to the Yankees fans out to support their team.

Yankees AAA affiliate cancels the game

In the meantime, the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, made the decision to postpone their game against the Norfolk Tides on Tuesday night. The postponement was attributed to poor air quality and a proactive approach to safeguarding Yankees fans against potential health risks.

Furthermore, the RailRiders issued a statement mentioning their collaboration with Major League Baseball and experts to closely monitor the weather conditions and air quality index. This monitoring will help in determining the appropriate schedule for a makeup doubleheader while prioritizing the safety and well-being of the players and staff.

The RailRiders’ stadium in Moosic, Pennsylvania, is situated approximately 125 miles in the northwest direction from Yankee Stadium.

Yankees fans slam the air quality

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