A 60-game season commences in late July, and training camp starts for all 30 Major League Baseball teams this week. It’s just another sign that we are getting close to normal.
Or is it?
The number of new U.S. coronavirus cases spike up in Texas, Florida and Arizona to the point Texas and Florida started to close down bars. Here in New York City, nothing opened yet as the city continues to be a ghost town with no end in sight it seems.
There’s a good chance we could see sports be shut down before it even resumed. Already, NBA players such as Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon, Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic, Sacramento Kings forward Jabari Parker, Kings guard Buddy Hield and Kings center Alex Len tested positive for coronavirus. Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews also had to be quarantined after he tested positive.
Grand Canyon’s men’s college basketball team has been quarantined after four players and two support staff members tested positive for COVID-19. Brooks Kopeka and Webb Simpson withdrew from the PGA’s Travelers Championship this week after several caddies were diagnosed with coronavirus. Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon became the first Major League Baseball player to be tested positive for coronavirus.
This comes after teams such as the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies shut down their minor league operations in Florida after several of their players tested positive for coronavirus. The NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning temporarily closed down their facility after several of their players tested positive.
Yes, coronavirus never disappeared despite our wishes. President Donald Trump can deny all he wants and put it behind him, but the invisible enemy has yet to be defeated. Now, it could threaten everything since people refused to wear a mask and social distance.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred put on a happy front when he announced there would be a season last week. There was a see no evil, hear no evil about the coronavirus. He never talked about it. After negotiations with Major League Baseball Players Association about pay and how many games to play going nowhere, he did not have it in him to tell the fans that the COVID-19 pandemic could pose a problem.
You can bet players will care. They will be out there risking their lives playing out there, and if a player gets sick on his team, he can spread it to his own teammates, putting a team in a bind. It’s surprising they have yet to veto this season. They serve as a sacrificial lamb just so owners can get their billions from the networks that cover their games along with postseason games. It should not surprise anyone if a good portion of players opt out of not playing this year, and no one can blame them. Already, Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals won’t be playing this season.
Right now, playing 60 games and postseason baseball seems like a stretch than reality. Who knows if we can get to Opening Day again with the way the coronavirus continues to spike up?
No fan likes to hear it. The virus wore so many people down. If we see everything shut down because of the invisible enemy, this country could be in trouble where there would be no hope. This means more deaths at a rate of a DSL internet speed.
As Dr. Anthony Fauci said this past week, the next two weeks serve as a critical time where the curve gets flattened or else we may be on the verge of another shutdown.
Fauci’s comments stood out when baseball announced its return.
No doubt New Yorkers look forward to watching Gerrit Cole and Jacob deGrom throw daggers in the strike zone while watching Pete Alonso and Aaron Judge put on a home run derby show when they are at the plate. But no one can escape the reality of what’s going on.
If there is no vaccine next year, we may not have sports next season. There’s no guarantee it can be found despite all this happy talk a person hears on television or radio.
Anything can happen from now to the end of July. It can go either way. Maybe flattening the curve can fight off the invisible enemy. It will be interesting how it plays out.
Everyone can look forward to baseball and other sporting events taking place in late July.
They also know the coronavirus lurks to be a party pooper once again.