Return to 'normal'? R-i-i-i-i-g-h-t

Now that we’ve shed our figurative “stay at home” ankle bracelets – at least, it’s figurative for most readers – many states are gradually re-opening businesses with the idea of getting the economy back up and running ASAP.

That includes sports. Perhaps not exactly as we recall them, but sports just the same. As of this writing, the plans for the four major professional sports return were changing quickly – seemingly at the rate of about once every couple of hours or so.

Let’s take a peek at the latest absurdities:

Hockey: The NHL continues to claim that the league’s fans want to see a champion crowned for the 2019-20 season. The league commissioner, Gary Bettman, says there will be a tournament starting the end of July (at the earliest) which will determine seeding (and get the players back into shape, theoretically).

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve waited, like, eight months for the weather to get nice again so I could go outside and social distance myself from the inside of my house, which I’m pretty sick of right about now. I don’t need no stinkin’ hockey to force me to stay inside. There, I said it.

Basketball: The NBA, at the direction of commissioner Adam (Hi-yo) Silver, want to do something as nutty as – perhaps even nuttier than -- the NHL. Silver also maintains that NBA fans want a champion crowned for the 2019-20 season.

I’m not sure who Silver sought out for opinions regarding the prospect of continuing the NBA season, but the smart money says it wasn’t anyone in Cleveland. I was just starting to forget how bad the Cavs were; why re-open that old wound?

Not only that, but the proposed set-up would require a seeding plan (similar to that of the NHL) and play would begin the end of July or early August. So, a season that began in 2019 would likely end precariously close to 2021?  

Baseball: I already voiced my displeasure with MLB last issue; there is no need to rehash that nonsense. The only thing that’s important here is that baseball wouldn’t start – best case scenario – until roughly the same time as hockey and basketball. At least baseball would have the argument that they were still playing some of their games during the period they were supposed to play – summer. Of course, even with the late start and proposed shortened schedule of 82 games, they will be playing well past Halloween. Boo! (Yes, the idea scares me too).

Football: The NFL has benefitted from the coronavirus timing, in that everything COVID-19 hit the fan here smack-dab in the NFL’s off-season. As of now, it looks like the NFL’s season may go as scheduled, although some games (especially the early season ones) may be played in empty stadiums. We’ll see how it plays out.

The bottom line is that, for the first time in history, all four of the major sports will be playing a significant number of games within the same calendar time frame, a circumstance they all try to avoid as much as possible during a “normal” year. The pie will be cut into much smaller pieces, with the NFL getting the most slices. Baseball, basketball and hockey will likely be left wondering why they all rushed back.

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 11, Posted 10:35 AM, 06.02.2020