Face It, Sports Are Toast for the Rest of the Year
A wonderful Tuesday to you, discerning readers of the Kruiser Morning Briefing.
We can file this under “Stories I Didn’t Want to Write but We All Knew I Would Have To.” In my role as Resident COVID Curmudgeon I have been throwing cold water on my sports fans friends and colleagues whenever they began looking forward to their favorite sport getting off to its weird COVID start. Sure, I’m kind of the jerk in most situations like that but I felt this one in my gut all along.
Actually, I was surprised that baseball got going at all, given what a dysfunctional mess the owners and the MLB players union are. Once they did come to an agreement I felt an hour or two of elation, then I began to be honest with myself about sports in the time of COVID.
Just about two weeks ago I wrote that the year is dead. Here was my boilerplate take on the MLB situation (and all sports) from that Briefing:
I watched my first baseball game of the year yesterday so you’d think I’d be more upbeat. Sure, it was just an intrasquad Dodgers game, but it was baseball. What I think will probably happen is that they’ll start playing, a few guys will test positive, and then MLB pulls the plug on the season. Same with the other sports.
I do love quoting myself.
What I had been telling my friends was that I thought they would play for a week or so before some players tested positive.
It took four days before they canceled a game.
Two MLB games have been postponed due to an outbreak of COVID-19 from the Miami Marlins.
Monday night’s game between the Marlins and the Baltimore Orioles has been canceled due to at least due to 12 Marlins players and two coaches testing positive.
Following that news MLB announced the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies game would also be canceled. The Marlins had spent the past weekend playing the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
As the kids like to say, that escalated quickly. ESPN went so far as to question some of their in-house experts about whether this threatens the whole season:
We’ll only be able to answer this accurately with hindsight — though it looms as a possibility that Monday’s news is an inflection point with ramifications not only across the rest of this season, but across all the major team sports endeavoring to attempt what MLB already is trying to pull off. For now, this is baseball’s first big test of its ability to stage the 2020 season, and it is more than a little disheartening that it came with just 92 games in the books. Baseball couldn’t get through its first weekend without a possible nightmare scenario emerging.
You don’t need to be an epidemiologist to figure out where this is going. The ESPN report hits the nail on the head: if things spiral out of control with baseball then the other pro sports are pretty well screwed. We have already seen some of the NCAA’s smaller conferences cancel all fall sports rather than figure out how to manage COVID protocols and keep the players and coaches safe.
The bigger conferences that are more dependent on sports revenue from football and basketball are still torturing themselves trying to find a way to make their seasons happen. Money does talk loudly.
The NFL is the most problematic of the pro sports. There are more players on the field at a given time and it’s a contact sport. You can’t tackle a running back and maintain proper social distance, after all. I wouldn’t be surprised if they made it illegal to touch quarterbacks this season. The NFL has been moving in that direction for years.
I hate to be the most negative sports fan in the room again, but as I mentioned last week, there is no guarantee that any of this madness is going to be constrained by a calendar. If most NCAA and pro sports just give up for the rest of 2020, that means they aren’t really going to figure out a way to work around the virus. We sports junkies may find ourselves in even greater withdrawal in 2021 if the COVID monster decides to be even more persnickety.
Most hardcore sports fans have spent our time in COVID limbo worrying about what the woke kneeling plague would do to ruin our enjoyment. Now, facing the prospect of not having any sports at all to watch, we might just wish we had some wokeness to grumble about.
Heartbreaking and It Was All Unnecessary
An Irish pub that drew crowds for generations. A coffee shop that sheltered Brooklyn residents on 9/11. A record store that stood for over 60 years in Times Square subway station.
The pandemic has wiped out all these New York businesses, and many more. https://t.co/SRaCbrYiQk
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 27, 2020
Which Is Why So Many of Them Won’t Be
— New York Post (@nypost) July 27, 2020
From the Mothership and Beyond
Orcs March On Minas Tirith In Mostly Peaceful Protest https://t.co/AmqdZfsDua
— The Babylon Bee (@TheBabylonBee) July 27, 2020
The Kruiser Kabana
Dresden from the Right Bank of the Elbe, below the Augustus Bridge (c.1750) is an oil on canvas by the Italian urban landscape painter Bernardo Bellotto. (National Gallery of Ireland). pic.twitter.com/KUKhx8SQL8
— European Art (@EuropeanArtHIST) July 28, 2020
Last Saturday was the 40th anniversary of the release of Caddyshack, which is one of the greatest achievements in film history.
I like you Betty.
I’m organizing a beer chess league for anyone who’s just over it all.
PJ Media Senior Columnist and Associate Editor Stephen Kruiser is the author of “Don’t Let the Hippies Shower” and “Straight Outta Feelings: Political Zen in the Age of Outrage,” both of which address serious subjects in a humorous way. Monday through Friday he edits PJ Media’s “Morning Briefing.” His columns appear twice a week.