Today I wanted to take a little time to update everyone on the current situation regarding pro sports and where the three major sporting leagues stand that are trying to either start or finish their seasons. The MLB, NBA and NHL have all spent considerable time trying to come up with options to resume their seasons, or in MLB’s case, beginning their season.
We will begin with MLB who is the closest to nailing down a plan to begin their season. On Monday the owners gave their approval for the plan, and it was presented to the players’ union on Tuesday, but the outcome was not known at press time.
The plan that was put forward is obviously subject to change due to the fluidity of COVID-19. The proposal has the season beginning in early July, and all signs point to a big July 4 opening day.
The schedule would be around 80 games, which comes close to half of a regular season. 78 and 82 game schedules also are a possibility, and the season would be carried out without fans for the foreseeable future.
The teams would not play teams outside of their region to cut down on traveling and would only face teams from their division along with teams in the same geographic division in the opposite league. For example, an American League Central team will only play teams from that division as well as teams from the National League Central Division.
They would play four three-game series against each division opponent and two three-game series against each non-division team.
They are hoping to open in as many home parks as possible, but if teams are unable to open in their home parks they would then either move to their spring training facilities or other major-league parks.
The playoffs would be expanded due to the shortened season from five to seven teams. The teams with the best record in each league would receive a bye in the wild-card round and advance to the division round. The other two division winners and the wild card teams with the best record would then face the bottom three wild cards in a best-of-three-wild-card-round.
The players’ union is the key to this proposal going forward, and there has been mixed reaction from the players that have talked about resuming play. The overall consensus obviously is to make sure that proper safety measures are in place to ensure that the players, staff and other employees who would be involved are being kept as safe as possible.
The NBA held a conference call with the players association on Friday and commissioner Adam Silver gave an update on where the league stands. As of now there is no proposal or anything that compares to where MLB stands, but what was discussed on the call does give fans an idea of what things will look like and how they are planning on resuming.
The NBA will not have fans in attendance if the season resumes this year, and they were told there might not be fans until a vaccine is available.
If the season resumes Silver told the players association that locations such as Walt Disney World in Orlando or Las Vegas would be the types of locations to resume at and play in one or two locations instead of playing at each teams home sites to cut down on travel.
When/if the decision is made to resume their season, there will be a three to six week period where the teams get back on the court and get back in shape.
At this time the league still wants to have a full four-round seven-game per series playoffs.
The NHL has created a return to play committee that meets weekly to discuss ideas about how to return this season. Like the NBA, the NHL is looking at the first step being to safely get the players back on the ice to begin conditioning and prepare for the resumption of the season.
The committee also is considering whether to keep the current playoff setting or to go with expanded playoffs. The season was close to finishing and the decision must be made whether to complete the season or begin with the playoffs, and if you begin with the playoffs what how does that look?
I know that got a little in depth, but I felt like sports fans are wondering when sports are going to resume, so I did some digging to find out where each league stands as of today.
NASCAR gets back on the track this week for the first time since the coronavirus shut everything down, and I wrote about their plan and how they are able to start in the May 4 edition of the paper.
Perhaps NASCAR will provide some sort of blueprint for other sports to take parts of as they try to start play.