There’s probably a fair bit of noise in the data because it’s a holiday weekend and Mondays are often wonky anyway because of the weekend, but the Covid Tracking Project shows not only a daily high in tests for today (over 440,000 currently), it also shows a positive test rate under 5%, the lowest we’ve seen (and that’s after the antibody tests started getting broken out, thankfully). That seems like a really good testing day.
To the extent there were going to be any logistical hurdles tied to foreign baseball or basketball players coming back into the United States to play if a season happens, the Department of Homeland Security just issued an exemption to do away with any of those concerns.
The leagues/players being exempted from any travel restrictions, per the order: Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association, the Professional Golfers’ Association Tour, the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour, the National Hockey League, the Association of Tennis Professionals, and the Women’s Tennis Association.
The exemptions, in addition to the athletes themselves, will also include “essential staff, team and league leadership, spouses, and dependents.”
Baseball in Asia
It’s official: baseball in Japan is happening.
After the national emergency ended, the NPB wasted no time in getting a plan in place to get their season underway very soon:
NPB pulls the trigger and will open its coronavirus-delayed 120-game season on June 19. Commissioner Saito said that the priority on safety and the urgency of having games means plans for fans in ballparks are on a wait-and-see basis.https://t.co/fbhfIay5v4
— Jim Allen (@JballAllen) May 25, 2020
BREAKING: NPB can play ball from June 19, but minus the fans https://t.co/6XvzH8sBBr
— Japan Times: Sports (@jt_sports) May 25, 2020
New York is Open for Sports
Although the New York baseball teams have reportedly decided to do their Spring Training II in Florida, the state of New York is opening things up immediately if they wanted instead to train at their home parks:
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announces effective today that all professional sports teams in the state can begin training camps while following the appropriate health protocols.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) May 24, 2020
Obviously the impact here goes beyond baseball, as NBA teams will soon begin ramping back up, and NFL teams are going to want to begin offseason training activities soon. With protocols in place, they can do so in New York immediately.
TV and Golf
A couple sports notes on broadcasts and gambling, with the first being the huge ratings (and charity) for yesterday’s Woods-Mickelson-Brady-Manning golf event:
Turner’s “The Match” raised $20 million for COVID-19 relief.
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) May 25, 2020