Hannity pledges to treat 500 “hero medical workers” to Yankees game, but play is currently suspended

Major League Baseball suspended its season indefinitely on March 12, citing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic

Published April 28, 2020 5:30AM (EDT)

Sean Hannity (AP/Jeff Roberson)
Sean Hannity (AP/Jeff Roberson)

Trump backer Sean Hannity accepted a coronavirus charity challenge tossed his way by a Fox News colleague, posting on Twitter that he had purchased 500 Yankees tickets for medical workers in New York. 

"Challenge met," the Fox News personality tweeted on Sunday. "I called my friend Randy Levine of the NY .@Yankees and purchased 500 Yankee Tkts for The Hero medical workers all over NY. Randy and Hal Steinbrenner and the Yankees immediately donated 500 more tkts!! I now Challenge My friends .@LaraLeaTrump and .@EricTrump."

But it is unclear how or when the selected medical workers would even be able to use the tickets. Major League Baseball suspended its season indefinitely on March 12, citing concerns about the global coronavirus pandemic, which has so far killed more than 56,000 people in the U.S. and more than 17,000 in New York, per city data.

The New York Yankees did not respond to Salon's request for comment.

Hannity answered a challenge from "Fox & Friends" co-host Ainsley Earhardt, who in turn had been challenged by Pete Hegseth, who hosts the show's weekend edition. Earhardt tweeted Friday that she had delivered groceries to a local community center.

"Thanks for the #CombatCovid19challenge nomination, @PeteHegseth!! We spent the morning delivering groceries to our local community center. These will help the 200 cars in line to feed their families. I now challenge @MelissaAFrancis @seanhannity #givingback," Earhardt wrote.

The #CombatCovid19challenge has circulated among public figures on social media after Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Ted Cruz, R-Tx., kicked it off.

"America is strongest when we're united. That's why @SenGillibrand & I are launching the #CombatCOVID19Challenge – to encourage Americans to support each other as we all #CombatCOVID19," Cruz tweeted April 13, challenging Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, Houston's Democratic Mayor Sylvester Turner and Jim McIngvale, the founder of Gallery Furniture.

Levine, Hannity's apparent go-between for the purchase, served as labor commissioner for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and was a big-money booster for the late John McCain's 2008 presidential bid. Levine was reportedly shortlisted in 2018 to replace former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.

Asked earlier this month about plans for the 2020 season, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said, "From our perspective, we don't have a plan. We have lots of ideas. What ideas come to fruition depends on what the restrictions are  what the public health situation is  but we are intent on the idea of making baseball a part of the economic recovery and sort of a milestone on the return to normalcy."

CBS Sports reported last week that league officials were mulling a number of options, including isolating all teams to Arizona; dividing them between Arizona and Florida; or appointing them to one of three hubs  Florida, Texas and Arizona  where they would divvy up games among a number of major- and minor-league parks.

The league hopes to have a plan together by May 31, but the players' union would have to agree to any proposal, and many have expressed doubts. Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw has said he does not think current plans are "doable," and Los Angeles Angels all-star outfielder Mike Trout called the Arizona idea "pretty crazy."

The contingency states under consideration are 1,000 miles, 1,500 miles and 2,000 miles from New York, respectively. No league proposals to date have considered playing any 2020 season games live in front of fans.

By Roger Sollenberger

Roger Sollenberger was a staff writer at Salon (2020-21). Follow him on Twitter @SollenbergerRC.

MORE FROM Roger Sollenberger

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