Too Much to Watch?

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Maybe (and it’s a big maybe) a plethora of professional sports will return very shortly.  There certainly can be an argument made that it is foolhardy to come back when it appears the virus is also making a comeback.

But, for arguments sake, let’s assume that the current return of sports will come off as planned. A sports fan will find him or herself moving from four months of virtually nothing to watch except reruns of past games to figuring out what sport(s) deserve his utmost attention. All major sport organizations – MLB, NBA, WNBA, NHL, NFL, MLS, and NWSL are scheduled to come back in the next few months.

Here are the plans:

MLB – Baseball teams will start play July 23 and 24. Teams will play a 60-game schedule and there will be some significant rule changes for the season. There will be a designated hitter used by all teams. Extra innings will start with a runner on second base. Any position player can pitch and a pitcher must face at least three batters, if necessary, in a given half inning. Teams will play against their division rivals 40 times and their regional rivals 20 times. The NL East will play the AL East in the regional rivalry games.

NBA – The National Basketball association will resume on July 30. Twenty-two teams will participate for the eight spots in the run to the playoffs. All games will be played near Orlando at the Disney World athletic complex. Florida virus numbers have soared in the past ten days. Eighty-eight games will be played in 16 days to determine playoff seeding.

NHL – The National Hockey League is set to skate back on July 30. Twenty-four teams will vie for the Stanley Cup. Sixteen teams will play eight best-of-5 series and the top four teams in each conference will play a round-robin to determine seeds. With that said, some contractual issues came up again this week that might make players reconsider their willingness to compete.

WNBA – The Women’s National Basketball Association will begin play in July in Florida. The teams will play a 22-game schedule followed by the playoffs. All games will be played in Florida.

MLS and NWSL – Men’s soccer will resume with a tournament beginning in Florida on July 8 and the women will start this weekend.

NFL – Games in the National Football League kick off on September 10. But, each day more cases are reported and there has been an upsurge of late approaching the numbers which were seen back in April.

Since almost everything is televised somewhere these days, will there be too much to watch or will owners and players realize in the next month that the risk is too great to play at all? Schedules are made and ready to be implemented. Will the players risk their health for their paychecks? The next few weeks are critical for owners, athletes, and fans. Lately, the news is not good.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

1. The Phillies did not benefit from the revised MLB schedule. Only the Marlins and the Baltimore Orioles look like “patsies” on their schedule. The Nationals, Braves, Mets, Yankees, Rays, and Red Sox could all be better than
the Phils.

2. Baseball, by the way, will be played in the home ball parks and may allow fans depending on the particular state guidelines in place at the time. Some stadiums will have fans; some will not. Unfair advantage? Wait and see.

3. The 76ers had the best home record of any NBA team before the shutdown.  They were an amazing 27-2. However, they were 10-24 on the road. This is the second worse road record of the 22 teams competing in the playoffs. The rest of their games this year will be played in Florida. The 76ers need to figure out how to win on the road.

4. Baseball, basketball, hockey, and soccer will all have playoffs when the NFL is beginning and this is the time when we might see the surge in infections that some expect will occur when a second wave hits us. The outlook remains precarious at best.

5. At least there is golf. I have gotten used to watching without fans and still enjoying the competition. The PGA has had three terrific weekends and without the presence of Tiger. But, seven of their players were forced to
withdraw this past week in order to self quarantine. And golf allows for social distancing.

Gary Laubach About Gary Laubach

Gary began his broadcasting career with Twin County in 1972. Twin County eventually became C-TEC and then RCN. Gary holds the dual role of Director of Media Services and Sports Director/Broadcaster. He currently broadcasts about 140 sports and entertainment broadcasts a year, and oversees the scheduling of all sporting events for RCN.

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