The Pittsburgh Pirates and San Diego Padres are wrapping up their series Thursday at PNC Park, despite an unhealthy air quality index in western Pennsylvania.

The game was delayed 45 minutes due to poor air conditions caused by lingering smoke from the wildfires in Canada; this caused several MLB games to be postponed this month and air quality had also been a concern during the Wednesday night game.

However, all parties decided to play on Thursday despite the haze in the air.


Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates scores against the San Diego Padres during the sixth inning in Pittsburgh on June 29, 2023. McCutchen wore a face mask due to smoke from the wildfires in Canada that has engulfed downtown Pittsburgh and PNC Park for several days. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

«After collaborative discussions between Major League Baseball, the Major League Baseball Players Association, our team of expert medical providers at Allegheny Health Network, our players and staff, we have made the decision to move forward with our game today,» the Pirates said in a statement. statement. “We will continue to closely monitor air quality index levels around the stadium and respond accordingly.”

However, members of the Pirates were not thrilled with the decision, which is ultimately up to MLB.

Andrew McCutchen said he was «worried» about playing and wore a mask during Thursday’s game.

McCutchen before the game

Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates, right, wears a face mask as he celebrates after a win over the San Diego Padres in Pittsburgh on June 29, 2023. Smoke from the wildfires in Canada has been wafting over downtown Pittsburgh and PNC Park for several days. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

«Of course I’m worried» McCutchen told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette before the game. «You read the alerts. You read everything they say, trying to keep yourself safe from the outside. One of the main things is avoiding strenuous activity, and that’s what we’re doing for over three hours.»

«I really don’t know what we’re playing for,» catcher Austin Hedges told AP. «It seems like everyone is uneducated on this topic, which is a shame. It’s clear as day when you look at your phone and check the numbers. Like, it says don’t go out. They’re not telling you.» You don’t go out, and they don’t say it for no reason. We are no different from other humans.»

PNC Park

This view from PNC Park shows smoke from the Canadian wildfires descending on the downtown Pittsburgh skyline on June 29, 2023. (Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


Wildfire smoke also threatened the Belmont Stakes this month, but the air quality index returned to healthy levels just in time.

Associated Press contributed to this report.