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The Extra Point

Finally, sports return

Chris Siers
Posted 7/21/20

As far as the sports world is concerned, the next two weeks are the most important fans and athletes have had in nearly five months since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Thursday, the MLB will finally begin the 2020 season with the long-awaited opening day...

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The Extra Point

Finally, sports return

Posted

As far as the sports world is concerned, the next two weeks are the most important fans and athletes have had in nearly five months since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Thursday, the MLB will finally begin the 2020 season with the long-awaited opening day.

The Yankees and Mets will begin the 2020 season on Thursday evening before the Giants and Dodgers close with a night cap.

The remainder of the league will follow suit and play on Friday.

Folks, this is it.

We finally have live action sports we can watch again.

In an age full of uncertainty and questions that nobody seems to be able or willing to definitively address, we finally have team-oriented competition.

Next week, the NBA will attempt to follow the MLB’s lead and finish the 2019-2020 season with eight additional regular season games, followed by the playoffs.

The games will be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports, located at Disney World in Orlando.

Assuming all goes well and the leagues are able to operate a schedule during the ongoing pandemic, the NHL will follow with the playoffs beginning in early August.

While the MLB, NHL, and NBA all have a celebrated number of fans, it’s no secret that football rules all.

And as those leagues begin to operate and begin playing, they all have a chance to show just how leagues can operate as a blueprint for football to follow this fall.

Currently, there is wild speculation that football may or may not play. If it is played, will a season play through an entire regular season?

Will we make it to the postseason?

Will we see a champion crowned?

All questions that nobody can answer.

But if those leagues beginning play now can not only find a way to start, but navigate their various formats, we almost certainly will see kickoffs this fall.

It may not be “normal” for what we know football season to look like for a few years, but we’re getting closer to seeing sports return to play.

Currently, there are plans for various Power 5 conferences to play their slated 10 conference games and eliminate any non-conference opponents on the schedule.

How this directly impacts the playoff committee (assuming we make it to the selection process) remains to be seen.

In addition to cutting down the number of games to be played, schools have discussed plans to limit fan attendance from anywhere between 25-50 percent capacity.

In the NFL, some franchises, such as the Green Bay Packers, have proposed plans to allow only 10,000-12,000 fans in attendance for games at Lambeau Field.

How all this shakes out, not even Nostradamus could accurately predict.

However, there is cause for optimism and excitement.

More and more Division I athletic directors are showing growing optimism a season will play to completion.

Coupled with opening day beginning on Thursday, well, we fans finally have a bit of positive news to be excited about.

•Chris Siers is sports editor of the Times-Gazette. Email him at sports@t-g.com.

Chris Siers is sports editor of the Times-Gazette.

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