NESN Diary: So, When Exactly Will Major League Sports Return? (And Other Random Thoughts)

Each day during the sports pause stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, NESN.com will publish a diary full of random thoughts, opinions, takeaways, and other cool tidbits we’ve stumbled across in the absence of actual games. Because why not? We’re all in this together.

OK. We know you’ve been itching to get sports back in your lives. So am I.

But, when exactly will that happen?

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has put professional sports in the United States on hold for the time being. But thanks to a lack of inaction from the federal government, states have taken it upon themselves to determine the proper guidelines for their particular region. And what we’ve been left with is complete chaos.

With 50 states left to fend for themselves, different sports franchises will be prepared to return to play at different times. But at least five states already have announced plans to lift restrictions, and each state has its own unique plan regarding how to resume “normal” life.

Florida and Arizona were the first two states to allow professional sports to resume. And, as of Monday, three other states have announced initial plans to allow professional sports to resume: New York, California and Texas.

Texas’ rules are among the most lenient. Governor Greg Abbott announced Monday sports league could resume activities beginning May 31, though fans will not be permitted to attend any events.

California governor Gavin Newsom on Monday also announced plans to slowly allow sports to resume in the state, though an official reopening date has yet to be set. Newsom laid out several guidelines for leagues to follow, including holding fanless events and “modifications and very prescriptive conditions” to current conditions.

Then there’s New York, where governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday revealed he’s “encouraged” major sports leagues to begin the reopening process and planning for fanless games, as well.

“… I think this is in the best interest of all the people and is in the best interest of the state of New York,” Cuomo said.

These are the only states in the country weighing reopening plans. Boston mayor Marty Walsh on Friday said he’d be open to allowing fanless games to be played at both Fenway Park and TD Garden. Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker, on the other hand, wasn’t willing to comment on the issue during Monday’s presentation of Massachusetts’ plan to reopen the state.

So, where does this leave us?

Though it’s only a handful of states, the fact they’re willing to reopen to some capacity is good news for both states and fans alike. Sure, states won’t be seeing even a portion of the revenue they’d see if fans were attending games regularly, but it’s certainly better than nothing. After all, it’s hard to restart a season when one state has two or more teams (let alone one) competing for a championship. The goal, after all, is to have an even playing field once sports return in 2020 — and beyond.

For now, however, we’ll just keep playing the guessing game until some major league sport steps up and breaks the mold.

Anywho, here are a few more notes from Monday’s news cycle:

— Could we get a Connor McGregor-Floyd Mayweather rematch in the near future?

If you ask McGregor, Round 2 of the epic matchup is right around the corner. Last week, McGregor vowed to pummel Mayweather in “the inevitable rematch,” and held firm on his claim Monday on Twitter.

“It was a great contest, just watched it back!” McGregor tweeted. “Early rounds all mine, and even later rounds when legs where gone, I still outlanded him. I received my credit from many notable names in the boxing world, which I was thankful for. None more so than from Mike. Excited for part 2.”

We are, too.

— We all know LeBron James is a stud when it comes to basketball. But what about football?

The Los Angels Lakers star has made quite the name for himself in the NBA over the last 17 seasons, but apparently dabbles in football, as well. In fact, James even did a little football training during the NBA’s 2011 lockout.

He even received a contract offer from Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

“To be honest, it actually was. I had no idea how long the lockout was going to be and myself and my trainer, Mike Mancias, we really started to actually train to be a football player when it came to like October and November,” James said. “We started to clock our times with the 40s. We started to add more to the bench presses and things of that nature. We started to add more sledding to our agenda with our workouts.

“The thoughts came into my mind. The thoughts came into my mind,” James added. “But never having the ability to finish my high school career of playing like my senior year, I have dreams all the time of playing football.”

Wowsa.

Would James have had a tangible impact on the NFL had he changed career paths? Who knows. But it certainly is fun to speculate.

— Sorry, guys. There won’t be a BIG3 season in 2020.

The league announced Monday it would not hold a season this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The BIG3 initially had planned on holding a preseason tournament in addition to its regular season to help fill the void left by the coronavirus outbreak, but the latter since has been canceled.

“Ultimately, we need the fan experience and the games themselves to be great,” the league said Monday in a statement. “While other leagues have more immediate financial considerations, as a rising league, we need to put the fan experience above all and ensure each season is better than the one before.”

*insert sad face emoji here*

The status of the proposed tournament has yet to be revealed. But we only can assume it will suffer the same fate as the BIG3’s regular season. (This certainly is not good news for “Big Brother” fans either, as the league had tapped Endemol to produce the tournament.)

— Brace yourselves. “Big Sexy” could be making a big comeback.

The 46-year-old hasn’t pitched in a Major League Baseball game since Sept. 2018. And despite failing to land a contract in 2019, Colon still thinks he’s got a little gas left in the tank.

“I thought that last year maybe I would have the opportunity,” Colon said, via ESPN’s Marley Rivera. “I know that if it didn’t happen last year, this year would be less likely. I’m getting older and the game is all about the young pitchers coming up. When you get older, teams no longer need your services.’

Colon would prefer to end his career with the New York Mets. But in the end, he just wants one more chance at MLB glory.

“If I had the opportunity, I would play in any league; go anywhere,” he said. “If any major league team wants an old man, I’m available!”

Bring. It. On.

— Sunday was the final night of “The Last Dance” documentary on ESPN. And before the final two episodes premiered, Kemba Walker shared the most important lesson he learned from Michael Jordan early in his NBA career.

Considering Jordan owns a portion of the Hornets, the Boston Celtics star learned a lot from the NBA legend in his eight years in Charlotte. But there’s one particular lesson he’ll never forget.

“The advice he always gave me just how to bring it every night, man,” Walker said Sunday, via the Celtics. “He always taught me, ‘Don’t get comfortable.’ Like, that’s his thing. ‘Don’t get comfortable. Don’t get comfortable.’ And I always heard it, too. Like, I ain’t getting comfortable, man! Like, I’m keeping this job forever! … That was just my mentality, like, I’m not getting comfortable. You know, I know who my boss is. You know? I’m not about to let (Jordan) down. So yeah. Man, he’s been very very influential in my basketball career.”

Stat of the Day
OK, Jordan was good. But there are a couple of other players that compare to the NBA legend. *ducks*

Tweet of the Day
SHOTS FIRED.

Video of the Day
The return of Big Ben is imminent.

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