“If I Were King…What I Would Do”
We’re into July.
Baseball playes are headed back to each Stadium for Spring Training 2.0.
NBA teams go the Orlando and the Bubble Setup for the playoffs.
NHL teams open full camps July 10th with the playoffs to follow
NFL is still 4-weeks away with fingers crossed
College football, already beset by problems, may have a real problem coming.
The Virus-Crisis is out of control again in the US.
A look at what I would do with each sport.
MLB has 60-players in each camp, undergoing testing right now, with the hope workouts will begin shortly. They have a 30-man roster and a 30-man taxi squad made of young prospects.
Would it not be better to split the squads, have all the prospects go to their Peoria spring training camp, and just have the 30-veterans go thru the next three weeks alone in San Diego? If players get hurt, you can bring back a taxi squad player to replace him.
Do the math, easier to social distance 30 players plus staff than 60 and the increased staff it takes to run a full camp, isn’t it?
NBA…They have only 17-players per roster and are testing them right now, with positive tests popping up daily. They go to the bubble in Orlando, all 22-teams, to begin the ‘seeding schedule’ to see who gets to the 16-team playoffs.
The key here will be players keeping safe once they get inside the bubble complex. The 22-teams will be whittled down quickly after the first play-in games and the first mini-round. Once you get to 8-teams, the safety issue become less.
But keeping players from going outside the hotels and the restaurants into the Orlando area will be the key.
There will be 7-practice floors, three different arenas, and 4-different hotels on the Disney campus, to keeping them apart should work.
NHL…They are preparing to have 24-teams report to two Hub Cities, likely Edmonton and Toronto because the Canadian cities seem health clean. There will be testing before they arrive and a quarantine in the hotel complexes they plan on using.
Teams and players will need to stay in their hubs not to get infected.
The league needs lots of sheets of ice for practice, and hotel restaurants serving only the teams.
And the 24-teams will be cut pretty quickly with the best of 5-series starting, sending 12-teams home in the first week.
Clean players coming in, staying clean, is the key here.
NFL…The nightmare has not started, but it might very soon.
Bringing 90-players into camp, with a staff of 60 more, coaches, trainers, doctors, equipment people, means 150-people to run a training camp.
You test them daily, 4500-tests in all, and put them up in hotels, and hope they don’t go out.
You fear, all these players working in close quarters, in meeting rooms, in staff meetings, meeting with positional coaches, don’t show signs once they get inside the building, then getting sick.
You could not handle all your offensive lineman getting sick because one player showed symptoms once camp begins.
Even if you follow thru and reduce camps from 90-to-75 players, you still have large numbers of players together.
Even if you cut the 1st and 4th preseason game, and just play two games, hoping to get to a healthy September, the risk of outbreak and spread is significant.
Might this idea work. Delay the season and the opening of camp. Wait till September to see if the spread comes under control. Move the start of the season back to October 1st, and either play a 12-game season, or if you must go to 16-games, go October thru January, push the playoffs into neutral sights and domes in February.
A real alternative, radical as it sounds, postpone the season till spring, open camps in Febrary, play a spring league in March-April-May.
NCAA….Outbreaks in large numbers already as teams allowed players to come back for conditioning in early June. Workouts stopped, facilities closed. No one knows. When you hear numbers like 23-32-37, the numbe of positive tests over a couple of weeks of conditioning drills, that becomes a red flag to me.
You are talking 85-players in every college camp, if not more. You are not putting them up in controlled hotels, but rather dorms and apartments.
There is big risk involved about their ‘off time’ on campus.
College football can’t control this virus and its spread factor. I’d think postponing everyone’s season and playing a spring schedule, makes more sense than pushing the envelope in a late summer camp, rushing into September, and hoping there is no outbreak.
This is all about the numbers, how many are together, and how quickly they could get sick.
If I were king, it would not be about the money, the fans, the sponsors, the TV deals, it should be about safety and health-morning, noon and night.