This week, Danny discussed the validity of pro sports championships in the world of Coronavirus:
So, it looks like we’re getting closer and closer to normalcy. Coronavirus shutdowns all over the country are slowly being lifted, and pro sports is no exception to those re-openings.
We’ve been told all along that the NFL would begin as scheduled, in early September. But what we didn’t know was whether or not the NBA and NHL would finish their respective 2019-20 seasons, or if MLB would even play a single game in 2020.
But now, we’re being told that the NBA and NHL will in fact resume their seasons in the form of expanded playoff formats, beginning in late July. The NBA will return with 22 teams and will play all of the games at DisneyWorld in Orlando, while the NHL will return with 24 teams and will play their games in two different hub cities that have yet to be determined — one city for the 12 remaining Eastern Conference teams, and one city for the remaining Western Conference teams.
MLB and the MLBPA are still negotiating the details of a season that hasn’t even begun yet. If it does begin, it will be a shortened season with less than 100 games.
But the interruptions that Coronavirus provided has created an interesting argument: Should there be an asterisk attached to whoever wins the Stanley Cup, the NBA Championship, or the World Series in 2020?
My first reaction to that question is, “Of course.”
In the NBA and NHL, there will be no home court or home ice advantage whatsoever. So, automatically, there will be a major factor missing from the playoffs. Don’t try to tell me it won’t be bizarre watching NBA Playoff games and Stanley Cup Playoff games in empty, neutral arenas. It’s going to be some of the strangest stuff we’ve ever seen in sports.
But what I will say about both sports is that, at least they played close to a full season before the shutdowns began. With MLB, they’re 162 game regular season is getting cut in half. That’s asterisk-worthy alone.
The teams that win the championships will tell you an asterisk is BS. But be prepared for the rest of the teams in each league to tell you something different.
If the NFL plays a full season — which there’s still no guarantee that they will — then I think the Super Bowl champion will probably be the only champion of the four major sports that won’t be included in the Coronavirus asterisk debate. Though, if games are played in empty arenas all season, you’ll maybe get some people to question the validity of the team that hoists the Lombardi Trophy.
Questioning the validity of the four major championships right now is easy, as we sit back and try to envision what the games will look like when they resume.
And while asterisks will be thrown around over the coming weeks before those games have even begun, I definitely think it’s fair to wonder what we’ll all feel about the four major champions after watching each team do battle on a nightly basis. Chances are, I’ll feel differently. Winning a championship will still be difficult, and it’s not like it’s the players’ fault for the Coronavirus shutdown.
Look at that, I’m already talking myself out of placing an asterisk next to the name of the 2020 champions.
At this point, I’m just happy to have the conversation. Because that means sports will be back.
And we all need that.
Listen to “The Danny Picard Show” on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, and anywhere else podcasts are available. Subscribe to YouTube.com/dannypicard. Follow Danny on Twitter @DannyPicard. Check out all of his work at dannypicard.com.