Here comes the sports seasons, we think.
A member of the NFL Players Association said it best:
“For every answer you have, you get three more questions”.
So on a Thursday when over 10,000-positive cases were reported in Florida, and over 7,000 were hospitalized in Texas, and California bordered on having to step back to Phase 1, we don’t have solutions to anything yet.
But we do have questions.
The Angels’ Mike Trout, the Yankees’ Gerritt Cole, the Phillies’ Bryce Harper are trying to decide, play or opt-out? We are talking guys making 30-to-37M this season, if we had played the full schedule. Now they get a pro-rated share of the contract. But the bigger issues in those households is not money, but health, or maybe more so risk. Each of their wives is in the middle of a pregnancy. Think about the burden of that decisions coming up.
Commissioner Rob Manfred said it simply. We were never going to play more than 60-games. The Union screamed about them trying to save money rather than the season, but Manfred’s reasoning was simple. The CDC warned him of a bad fall outbreak of the virus again. Well the second wave came early and came hard, and is bad, is threatening everything now.
I don’t know I would say the NFL is in denial, but they continue plugging along with plans to open camps this month, and play the full 16-game schedule. We’ll see what the governors of the most infected states have to say about that. Bringing 90-players in, with all the support staff means a likelihood of 150-in each building for camp. That means alot of tests, and alot of risks.
Pete Carroll of the Seahawks, always ahead of the curve, had the answer to social distancing in players meetings. Take them outside and use canopies and the 3-different practice fields Seattle uses at their facility. QB meetings, that corner of the end zone. Running backs middle of end zone. Wide recievers in that corner. Defensive lineman at midfield on one sideline, the offensive lineman across midfield. The linebackers and DBs in the other end zones. Kickers in the parking lot. Can be done, as long as it doesn’t rain in Seattle or reach 118 in Phoenix, or have a 3-figure heat index in Miami-Tampa-Atlanta.
Pro basketball will utilize 7-different practice courts in the Disney Sports Complex in Orlando. There will be 3-different arenas to host games. There will be staggered starts for practice times. There will be just 17-players and coaches at those workouts. There will be be 4-hotels. Now they just need players not to try and go outside the bubble.
Hockey will host its playoffs in the Great White North, Edmonton and Toronto. Lots of sheets of ice, lots of rinks to practice in. Hotels next to the rinks where the games will be played. The other intangible. Hardly any virus outbreak now in Ontario or Northern Alberta. They have a chance to get thru this.
College football scares me, whether you are at Penn State, Eastern Kentucky or Utica College. You are talking about lots of players, having to be tested, living together. How do you prevent that outbreak going forward? In State College, they draw 107,000 for all 7-Nittany Lion home games. That’s over 7M per home game in revenue at Penn State. That’s a loss of 50M at least in gate revenue, if they don’t play, or play without fans. In Richmond, Kentucky, the Colonels draw 12,000 a game, and are a money maker supporting all the other programs at that 1AA-school. In upstate New York, Utica College draws 1500 per game for their Division III school. Not a money maker but a piece of a good small college program. Each has players, each has reasons to play, each at risk. I think the NCAA has a huge issue on its hands. And this decision cannot be about money.
Everytime you come up with an answer, how to test players, how to protect players, you then come up with three more questions. Quarantines? Negative test requirements? Outbreaks? The other team? And it goes on and on.
And so does the count nationwide, of those getting positive tests…those getting ill…those going to ICU….those dying.
The only words I do not hear right now from anyone except the doctors….”Universal Masks” for the next three weeks. That’s the only answer I know to the questions that are out there everyday.