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SPORTS ARE BACK TO WORK
After almost four months of home confinement from Covid19, its time for sports to get back on track. Although being a professional athlete is not considered an essential worker, its essential that life as we know it gets back to some sort of normal...even if it is the "New Normal".
NASCAR was the first to venture back in June. Indy Car quickly followed. The NBA decided they would finish the season and move on to a post season in a bubble. MLB didn't have a plan right away and the commissioner did not take charge of the situation. Finally the players spoke out saying, "We want to play, work this out". Baseball has resumed with a 60 game season and a 'sort of' plan that changes by the hour. We await the NFL season but looks as if they have a stable plan to forge ahead. The NHL will crown a champion in Canada.
All of this happening with NO FANS in the stands...but fans are thrilled to have sports back on TV and the ratings are higher than ever.
But can all of these sports continue on without athletes, teams, media and families not getting sick from Covid19? Here is where we are. The NBA are playing in Orlando at DIsney World in a compound. Players have been told to stay inside of the compound and cannot leave without permission. We have seen two players that ventured out for take out only to be quarantined back in their rooms for a specified period. They are not allowed to play basketball or join their team until they test negative for Covid19. And then there was Lou Williams. A player who the Los Angeles Clippers really can't afford to lose. Lou was excused for a funeral but he was not excused to stop by a strip club on the way back. Now Lou Williams will stay in his room and quarantine until the team is sure he does not have the virus.
You think this virus is a joke? Ask the Florida Marlins who have lost 17 members of the team after testing positive. It has been reported that one or more of the players were at a bar in Miami the night before their road trip to Philadelphia. Since players are tested daily, by the end of the three game series, the results were disasterous.
Now they all remain in the same Philadelphia hotel, quarantined in their rooms until test results are negative. Currently MLB is not confirming if any players are sick or simply asymptomatic.
Players in every sport had the opportunity to opt out of they did not feel comfortable playing. And players like David Price, Avery Bradley and others have opted out. In baseball, there is no bubble. So each team had a 'talk' with their players to explain that they would need to create their own bubble if they wanted to play baseball. No shopping, no restaurants, no public places. No spitting, no eating, no seeds, no high fives. You need to wash your hands and wear masks as much as possible. Social distancing protocols have been put in place but lets face it, there is no social distancing during practice or during games in professional sports.
There just isn't.
You can tell a player he can only go from his house to the stadium, to the airplane, to the hotel, back to the airport and back home. That sounds reasonable considering the voracity at which this virus spreads. Unless you are single and 24 years old. Sorry...not sorry. If you are married, your wife is taking care of you and your needs as well as the kids.
Speaking of kids, Angels center fielder Mike Trout is about to have his first baby and he was as raw as I have ever seen a player. In his first interview, he said he is scared to death that he would bring the virus home to his wife Jessica and their unborn son. He can regularly be seen on the field wearing a mask. Manager Joe Maddon said the team had a talk explaining that each player would be responsible for living in their own bubble. So far, so good. But Joe has a lot of veteran leadership in players like Albert Pujols, Justin Upton, Anthony Rendon and Mike Trout. Let's hope there are lessons learned from what is going on with the Marlins and players will take the boring route of living in a bubble more seriously.
Next up, NFL Football will report to camp. First up, they will be tested every day for Covid19. Stay Tuned.
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