How sports life will be lived in the future

The seats at Progressive Field in the future may look a lot like Cleveland Municipal Stadium in the past – empty. This time it would be due to fan distancing, not disinterest. Photo courtesy Michael Collins /

Unless you've been living under a rock of late (perhaps not such a bad option, come to think of it, as nobody can cough on you down there), you've no doubt heard our governor, Kentucky's governor, Timbuktu's governor, and every other state's governor talk of how things "won't be the same" when we return to life as we (sort of) knew it.

Okay, we get it: there's a change a-comin', and a hard rain's a-gonna fall, right?

Whilst we scurry for cover from disaster (either the next wave of COVID-19 or the presidential election: your choice as to what you fear more), wouldn't it be helpful if we knew what we were getting ourselves into? I mean, we have our gloves. We have our masks. We have a six-month supply of hand sanitizer and an 18-month supply of toilet paper. We are armed with a Louisville Slugger lest someone encroach upon that magical six-foot radius (and don't challenge me, bub, because I also brought a pair of recently calibrated yard sticks). Saddle us with any more protective gear to ensure our health and I boldly predict the next run on the hospitals will be for emergency hernia surgery from lugging all this stuff around.

But you're not reading this to be enlightened about dealing with the next pandemic, are you? You'd rather get past the first one before you try and tackle the second one, no? (Gotta crawl before you can walk, Elmo). That being the case, sit back and be prepared for the following to occur:

"Live" sporting events will change dramatically. Think about that 6-foot radius thing we are all following obediently. Now, pretend you're sitting at Progressive Field watching the Tribe play the Yankees. Obviously, it's a sellout. But wait a minute. We still have that 6-foot social distancing rule. So draw an imaginary circle with you being at the center, and make those dozen or so folks who are within the circle disappear.

Now, around the outside of the now-empty (with the exception of you, of course) circle, every 6 feet place a fan in the closest seat to the 6-foot rule without making the distance less than 6 feet at any point. With this method, you'll have a sell-out crowd of about 2,400 fans in Progressive Field. (Or, to put things in perspective for the older Indians fans, a typical crowd at old Cleveland Stadium).

Watching a game live will become a rarity, as precious few "live" tickets for the event will be available. And they will be E-X-P-E-N-S-I-V-E, baby. You'll need a co-signer to enter the park – trust me on that one.

But you will have an option. You see, you will be able to buy a virtual ticket. Mini-cameras will be mounted in each non-occupied seat, and you'll be able to watch the game just as if you were there! Regular TV will have been ratcheted back a notch to make the virtual seats preferable. It's possible that only those who purchase virtual seats will be able to see the game "live"; the rest of us shmoes might have to wait 24 hours or so.

The good news? Traffic to and from sporting events won't be an issue. You'll have your own personal beer vendor (the downside being that a beer will now cost 40 or 50 bucks). But suck it up, buttercup, at least baseball will be back!

And yes, it will be the same thing with the Browns and Cavs.

Next issue, we'll look at how other things we take for granted with our sports teams will have changed ...

Jeff Bing

Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 8:59 AM, 04.21.2020