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The Extra Point

Slight bit of hope

Chris Siers
Posted 4/10/20

It seems there's not much good news on the sports front these days. The COVID-19 pandemic essentially has changed life for anyone with any interest in any sport. Professional leagues have been halted, tournaments canceled, and even the 2020 Olympic Games have been delayed a year...

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The Extra Point

Slight bit of hope

Posted

It seems there's not much good news on the sports front these days.

The COVID-19 pandemic essentially has changed life for anyone with any interest in any sport.

Professional leagues have been halted, tournaments canceled, and even the 2020 Olympic Games have been delayed a year.

For the last month, it's been grim for sports fans.

Late this week, a glimmer of good news seemed to shine through the shroud of despair.

The MLB is weighing options for a possible restart to the season—and several of the options look unlike anything baseball fans have seen.

The latest possible models have all 30 MLB franchises returning to their spring training locations in Arizona for the Cactus League and to Florida for the Grapefruit League.

The teams would then be divided into three divisions within the leagues and the games would be played at the spring training locations, without fans in attendance.

While certainly not baseball that we as fans are accustomed too—it is actual baseball with real players playing games that have actual meaning.

For the last month, sports fans have been in a vacuum of space, devoid of any athletic competition.

And it's certainly a move towards getting back to normal.

Over the last week, several states have reported their peak in COVID-19 cases could peak one to two weeks earlier than projected and the overall projected deaths are also dropping due to social distancing and isolation.

This is by no means a mark of society beating this disease and marking an immediate readiness to return to life as normal, but it is a sign that we're moving forward.

While fans are itching for baseball to return in the US, teams have resumed playing in South Korea, who has been reported to have had the best handle on combating the pandemic.

There is also a growing consensus among college football coaches and athletic directors that football will be played in some form or fashion this fall.

Most recently, Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy announced his plans to return to football activities by May 1.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney has said he expects the 2020 football season to not just be played, but played with stadiums full of fans.

But the consensus isn't unanimous.

ESPN personality Kirk Herbstreit cast his doubts there would even be a season at all.

Even with differing opinions about how sports will look moving forward, it's a step in the right direction.

Three weeks ago, it felt like everyone was in a state of shock and awe, unsure how to cope with our favorite pastimes disappearing overnight.

Since then, the conversation has turned to not just when we resume play, but how those games will look.

While it likely will look unlike anything we've ever seen as sports fans, these scenarios aren't built on nothing more than hopes and dreams.

There has to be concrete data to base these possible outcomes.

And that should give some hope to sports fans everywhere—even if it's only a glimmer.

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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