It’s been a few days since the last COVID-19 update, not because there hasn’t been news, but instead because I just couldn’t get myself to do it. I’m not trying to avoid doing what I believe to be my job, but I just have to be honest – I had to get away from the pandemic for a couple days. Obviously you can’t actually get away from it, and my heart still goes out to the families of the many who are still dying. Maybe I’m weak. I needed some time to avoid feeling compelled to dig in further on the misery.
Among the news bits …
Fans in Texas Stadiums
I have to say, this is not an item I expected to see until much later in the summer or fall, though I suppose I now recall that there are other states that theoretically have gating plans that would allow for the same:
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has issued a revised order: not only will professional sports leagues be allowed to resume play in June, but outdoor stadiums will be allowed to host fans up to 25% of their capacity.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) May 28, 2020
In theory, that would mean that the Astros and Rangers, each of whom play in a facility with the ability to be open-air, could have fans in attendance immediately if the league kicked off in July. Very surprising.
That raises a number of questions, though:
1.) Would the teams actually proceed to being the first to have fans in attendance, knowing the possible risks and blowback? Would MLB permit it?
2.) Are fans even clamoring to go to stadiums right now? Does limited capacity make it less enticing?
3.) If fans can start coming back to some stadiums, how does that impact the current MLB/player negotiations that are explicitly about the idea that revenues will be hammered thanks to no fans at games?
4.) Will the weather permit the teams to actually have their retractable roofs open for all the games, or will it be too hot/gross? And if the roof is closed for weather, do you simply have to tell all the fans with tickets that the game – for their purposes – is cancelled?
5.) Will other states/teams wait to see how this plays out in Texas and then follow suit? Most of the talk has been about a hope that you could do very limited capacity at games in maybe September or October, certainly not July.
Baseball in Mexico
Baseball will be played in Mexico this year:
The season will be very short (48 games), and will not begin until August 7. But it’s baseball, and it could theoretically provide a place for displaced minor leaguers and other aspirational pros to try to play this year. Don’t get me wrong, the league in Mexico is sufficiently competitive that not just any minor leaguer can show up and win a job. But it’s something.
Another major sport in another country is coming back:
Exclusive: Premier League will restart on June 17 with Aston Villa at home to Sheffield United and Manchester City hosting Arsenal.
— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) May 28, 2020