Jim Moore: Sports should take 2020 off and try to return in 2021
Every day we hear about something else, another athlete testing positive for COVID-19, another athlete opting not to play, another league trying to make it all work anyway.
We’ve got restrictions and precautions galore. If you’re a baseball player, you can’t even spit anymore. If you’re an NBA player, you’re living in a bubble. If you’re a football player, you’re having virtual workouts and team meetings.
I’ve reached the “no mas” breaking point. As much as I appreciate efforts from all involved to get their seasons going, doesn’t it make more sense to take 2020 off completely and try again next year?
Bill Plaschke, a sports columnist for the L.A. Times, first suggested this in April. He said then that college football and the NFL should punt and start their next season in January. Have the Super Bowl in April. Have the college football and basketball seasons run at the same time and finish them up with a Final Four in April or May sandwiched around the national championship football game on Sunday.
If you wait until January, there’s a better chance that fans could return too. We won’t be looking at empty stadiums with piped-in sound and cardboard cutouts of fans.
By then, maybe they’ll have come up with a vaccine, and if not, at least we’ll have gotten through the second wave of the virus, which is expected to arrive this fall.
In the down time with no sports for the next six months, we’ll learn more about the virus and have a better handle on how to deal with it when sports return.
The curve was flattening for awhile, but now we hear more about spiking than flattening and a return to more restrictive phases that we experienced in the spring. Doesn’t it make more sense to take a full timeout from sports?
Have I enjoyed the return of the PGA Tour? Heck, yeah. It seems to be a sport best suited to return during a virus crisis with built-in social distancing. But several players and caddies have already tested positive, causing PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan to strengthen restrictions.
Point being, all of this is being done on the fly. There are too many unknowns, even for those who are the best scientists and doctors in the world.
I sometimes shake my head at the NFL. With free agency and the draft, they conducted business as usual. They seem hellbent on starting their season on time no matter what. Would I like my fall Sundays to be like they’ve always been, filled with NFL tripleheaders? Of course.
But I won’t be looking forward to watching a game at an empty CenturyLink Field in September as much as one from a packed Century Link Field in February – if given the choice.
And this 60-game MLB season that is scheduled to start July 23rd or 24th. OK, fine, it will be fun to see baseball again, but will the World Series champ really feel like a champ when it’s over? And be honest, how much have you missed the Mariners? In late March and April, I would have said a lot. In May, not as much. In June while owners and players engaged in ugly contract negotiations, I didn’t miss baseball at all.
So what’s another six months without sports at this point? Let them return in all their glory, with full seasons and stadiums instead of the jerry-rigged stuff they’re trying to do now.
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