Nearly three months ago, the sports world went dormant, beginning with the shutdown of the NBA after Rudy Gobert and others tested positive for the coronavirus. Within days, the MLS, NHL, and MLB were halted as well, and to this point, none of them have returned. However, it won’t be that way for much longer.
The NHL became the first professional sports league to announce their plan for a return to action, creating a 24-team tournament to decide the 2020 Stanley Cup champions. Atlanta may no longer have a hockey team, but for starving sports nuts, it is more than enough reason to smile.
The MLS recently signed a new collective bargaining agreement, avoiding a lockout and setting the stage for their season to resume, starting with a league-wide tournament taking place in Orlando. More details on that will be revealed in the coming days.
And yesterday, the NBA’s board of governors voted on a 22-team plan to resume their season. It passed by a vote of 29-1, with Portland being the only organization to resist. The season will start back up on July 31st and end in mid-October. Unfortunately, the Hawks were one of the eight teams not included because of their porous record, but again, seeing live sports back in action will be refreshing to all.
Also as of yesterday, coaches are now allowed back into their team facilities in the NFL. Precautions are still being taken, but it looks like football will start on time — both at the college and professional levels.
However, with all this promising news about sports returning, one league does not seem to have received the memo. The MLB is still in a fight with their players about money, which is the last thing a league that is struggling to retain viewership needs in these trying times. The owners want a short season with substantial pay cuts, while the players want a longer season while being paid the pro-rated salaries that the two sides agreed to back in March. It still looks like baseball will take place, but this embarrassing back and forth between the owners and the MLBPA isn’t helping gain any fans in a time where baseball should be at the forefront of sports returning. Spring Training could already be underway. Instead, we have millionaires and billionaires arguing about money. But regardless of baseball’s incompetence, sports are roaring back, and while this three-month hiatus has been painful, the second half of 2020 should be a dream come true for fans across the country.
The NBA and NHL will be in the thick of their playoff schedules, while college and professional football begin. And hopefully, as long as these money issues can be resolved, baseball will be in the mix as well. On top of that, golf will return, playing all their major tournaments in the second half of the year, with The Masters scheduled to take place in November. Three months sportless has been agonizing, but these next six months will be unlike anything we’ve ever seen. And after all that has happened already in 2020, I think we deserve it.