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Please come back sports

It’s been 32 days since the NBA postponed their season when Jazz C Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. It feels like it’s been 32 months.

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So when can we expect to see sports on our tv again?

MLB

There have been a few plans discussed by the owners and the league to get baseball back in 2020. One plan is to have all 30 teams play their season in Arizona. That’s right 30 teams in the 14th most populated state in the country. 

That is a recipe for disaster for a few reasons. One is players aren’t going to want to move to Arizona and be quarantined from their families for four months. It’s difficult for them to move their families into a team hotel with them for that long. Another issue is the amount of fields in Arizona. All of the primetime games would be played at Chase Field in Phoenix, while all other games would be played at the 10 spring training facilities divided across the state.

A better plan, which USA Today writer Bob Nightengale wrote about, includes breaking up teams into new divisions, and play games as the Grapefruit Conference and the Cactus Conference. That means teams would stay in their spring training facilities in either Florida or Arizona. This would allow less travel and more players would be able to still have their families around in quarantine with them, because many have homes near their spring training facilities.

This plan would also reinvigorate many baseball fans. There would likely be a universal DH, which has been discussed for years. This would give the league a chance to see it in action. You’d see teams that normally don’t play each other, playing in the same division 12 times. Look at this possible realignment structure.

 

While it’s still likely that it could take longer to implement this radical change, I believe it would benefit the players, fans, owners, and tv rights holders. It’s a win-win for all involved.

 

NBA

The NBA playoffs should be happening right now. But now there is no certainty that there will even be a playoff for the 2020 season. The NBA has said they would need at least 25 days of “basketball activities” before they could even resume games.

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If the NBA decides to have a full four round playoff, they could do so and push back the 2020-2021 regular season. That season is scheduled to start in Oct. but they could push that back to Dec. if they decide to have a full playoff for the current season.

I like that idea, because the NBA 82 game regular season is too long anyways. There have been talks of decreasing the schedule to 64 games, so why not try that out now. Creativity is important to have in times like these. 

This idea gives the league a champion for this season, and allows tv stakeholders to cash out on the playoffs. The only downside is cutting the tv contracts for the next season, but the league can find a way to fix that.

NHL

The NHL has said that it wants to finish the regular season if and when sports are cleared to resume. That’s a tough task to ask for if they still want a postseason. 

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They also want to play games at neutral sites, and have cities in the U.S and Canada bidding for selection. Those local economies would benefit from hockey players staying there.

I believe that if play resumes, they should scrap the regular season and go straight to the playoffs, in order to salvage the beginning of the next season. It seems pointless to continue playing regular season games, the people want a champion.

NFL

The NFL season has not been delayed or postponed. Free agency went on as normal and the draft is still happening on April 23-25. The only difference is the draft will be done remotely, which could be a nightmare for many front offices that lack the ability to communicate anyways (Sorry Cleveland Browns fans). 

The NFL is making the right decision by continuing to hold the draft as scheduled. Fans are clamoring to see who their team drafts. Media members (myself included) are buzzing about mock drafts like crazy, and the tv network will have a record amount of viewership. 

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I hope sports is back sooner rather than later, but we need to ensure that it is safe to do so. There is no reason to rush back if it’ll create more problems down the line.

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