This week, Danny revisited the conversation about the future of sports in 2020:
In early March, I predicted that the four major sports would not return in 2020. Well, now we’re entering the first week of May, and while there’s been some promising dialogue within the four major sports leagues, I’m not yet backing off that prediction.
Sports not named “golf” might not return until January 2021 at the earliest.
The NBA and NHL are having discussions about finishing their seasons in empty arenas and targeting several cities in which all teams would live and play. The pros of that idea would be that there are some locations in the United States that have not been hit that hard by Coronavirus. But the cons are that the players also will have a say in the concept.
One negative result to players traveling — and essentially quarantining — with their teams for weeks and possibly months, is that they’ll be separated from their families for an extended period of time. Some players have already suggested they’d prefer not to do such a thing, which is understandable.
So while NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman might believe they’ve found the solution, they’d be naive to think there will be zero pushback from the players.
I say that with the understanding that most of the country’s “stay-at-home” orders will continue to be extended into the summer. Here in Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker has already extended the order multiple times, and most recently, he’s extended the May 4 deadline to May 18.
Ask yourself this. Will businesses in Boston open up on May 19? There’s no chance. In fact, earlier this week, Massachusetts General Hospital suggested — through a new COVID-19 simulator — that it would be in the state’s best interest if the “stay-at-home” order remained in place through the end of August.
August? That’s right, August.
So then that gets me to MLB and the NFL. Baseball is considering similar strategies to that of the NBA and NHL with regards to playing at several specific locations. But the MLB is thinking of taking it one step further. It might realign the divisions based on geography.
That would be an extreme measure, for sure. But again, the players would have to sign off on the plan.
As for the NFL, it just had the Draft last week, in which commissioner Roger Goodell announced the picks from his basement. It was better than not having the Draft, I guess. But the question is, will the NFL regular season even start on time?
The league has not released the 2020 schedule yet. But usually Week 1 games are played at the beginning of September.
I know what you’re thinking: “That’s four months from now. Of course they’ll be ready to play by then!”
But will they? According to some of the medical experts and scientists that everyone tells us to keep listening to, there’s a chance of a “second wave” of the Coronavirus in the fall, which would undoubtedly cause chaos and force sports leagues to suspend play once again.
And there’s more than just football in the fall. It’s also the time in which the World Series is played, and when the NBA and NHL begin their new respective seasons.
For all the talk of these leagues playing in empty arenas, let’s not act like the players are immune to Coronavirus. Heck, the sports world shut down because of an NBA player testing positive, not because of a fan in the building testing positive.
Look, again, I hope I’m wrong with my prediction that we won’t see sports again until January of 2021 in the form of the beginning of new, shortened NBA and NHL seasons and perhaps some type of shortened NFL season that could hold the Super Bowl in March or April. But I’m just trying to be realistic based on the extreme precautionary measures that have already been taken the last couple months.
And if we’re being realistic here, the return of the four major sports might not happen in 2020.
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