Eastern Canada is experiencing one of the worst starts of wildfire season in recorded history, which calls into question whether Major League Baseball teams should put their players, staff and fans at risk.

The smoke from the wildfires was seen first-hand at Yankee Stadium during Tuesday night’s New York Yankees-Chicago White Sox matchup. Players told reporters postgame the smoke and air quality did not affect their play, according to SNY’s Andy Martino.

But poor air quality affected 18 states Tuesday, according to NBC News. That affects about 100 million people in the United States, according to BBC News. New York City ranked fourth in worst air quality around the world at noon Wednesday, according to IQAir, a Swiss air monitoring company. Even if environmental conditions don’t have an effect on well-conditioned athletes, it might not be the same for fans.

“Major League Baseball consults weather experts and decides whether to postpone games due to weather issues, in conjunction with the MLB Players Association,” The Athletic’s Brendan Kuty wrote Wednesday. “According to a major-league source late Tuesday, there hadn’t been any talks about potentially postponing Wednesday’s game, despite potentially hazardous air quality levels. The source spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.”

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Kuty spoke with Dan Westervelt, a climate scientist and an assistant research professor at Columbia University, who called the situation in New York “unprecedented.”

The Yankees’ Triple-A team postponed their game due to “an abundance of caution for potential health concerns,” according to a Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders press release, per Kuty.

“Westervelt said he wasn’t worried whether Yankees or White Sox players would be affected much by the poor air quality, considering they’re mostly young and in shape. But he said some people, particularly young children, older people and those with respiratory or heart conditions are ‘definitely going to notice the ill effects from this poor air quality.’ He said regarding those fans, he would ‘highly recommend to stay inside or avoid strenuous outdoor activities.’

“Westervelt said the city hadn’t seen air quality this poor since 2021 when West Coast wildfire smoke reached the area.”

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The Boston Red Sox head to Yankee Stadium on Friday to start a three-game series against the Yankees. It’s not clear how long the poor air quality will affect the New York area. MLB will continue to monitor the situation, according to Martino, and it ultimately will be up to the league if games will continue to be played under poor air quality conditions.

Featured image via Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports Images