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.
The future is not looking bright for sports.
Both the NBA and NHL have plans in place to resume their respective seasons, with the NBA slated to take place at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., and the NHL playing games in two separate hub cities.
And while things seemed to be going swimmingly, that all changed Friday.
The Philadelphia Phillies had eight members of their staff (including players) test positive for the coronavirus and shut down their facility. The Toronto Blue Jays had a player showing symptoms of the virus, prompting them to also shut operations down. Now, all MLB spring training facilities reportedly will be temporarily closed for cleaning.
But that was just the beginning.
Nick Watney became the first PGA player to get COVID-19. A San Francisco 49ers player contracted the virus, while members of the Tampa Bay Lightning also tested positive. Oh yeah, Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews also reportedly has it.
In all, the NHL had 11 out of 200 players come back with a positive test result since Phase 2 began.
What’s more, Florida saw its biggest single-day spike in cases with 3,822 on Friday. The state’s total now is close 90,000.
That certainly raises a lot of concerns with the NBA, considering its players all will be in Orlando to finish out the 2019-20 season and head into the NBA postseason.
MLB already is a mess trying to start the shortened 2020 season. Now throw this into the mix and it just gets harder to try to figure out how and when to start the campaign.
The spike in cases across professional sports is alarming and begs the question if it’s even safe for leagues to return. Is there really a safe way to play? Is it only a matter of time before an entire team contracts COVID-19? It only takes one player to get it to spread it.
It’s discouraging, sure, especially because the NHL and NBA appeared to be making progress with small group workouts. It was encouraging to see and provided a sense of normalcy we haven’t had since March.
I miss sports just as much as the next person and want them to come back more than I want to go on vacation. But is it really worth it?
The NFL has some time to figure out how it wants to go about the upcoming season. But for leagues like the NBA and NHL, time is running out. Things have a tendency to get worse before they get better, and I really hope that’s not the case in this spike in cases across the leagues.
Here’s what else happened Friday in the world of sports
— June 19 marked Juneteenth, a holiday to celebrate the enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas.
The sports world posted messages recognizing Juneteenth that provided helpful information on how a difference can be made in the Black community.
— MLB won’t be countering the Players’ Association’s 70-game proposal.
The union made the offer Thursday and it was denied Friday. As for what’s next? Well, the league won’t budge from 60 games, but the PA released a statement saying the “players remain committed to getting back to work as soon as possible.”
If you asked me back in March if come June 19 baseball would be in this situation, I wouldn’t have believed it. If either side wants any shot at a season, they need to come to an agreement quickly.
— Staying with baseball, the league reportedly will be shutting down spring training facilities in Florida and Arizona to undergo a deep clean. Players and staff won’t be allowed in until further notice.
According to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, MLB is hopeful to return next week.
MLB and the PA have yet to ratify health/safety protocols for return, but MLB is hoping to reopen camps early next week and want for the personnel who return to unofficial workouts at the facilities to do COVID test every 2 days
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) June 20, 2020
— Justise Winslow is not a fan of the NBA’s return-to-play plan.
The Miami Heat forward torched the league Friday, saying it’s “all about the Benjamins.”
The good news, though? If Winslow decides not to play for whatever reason, he won’t be in breach of contract. So there’s that.
— Mohamed Sanu’s recent workout videos have been insane.
The New England Patriots wide receiver posted a video of him running up a hill and catching passes, and also running up a hill with a resistance band.
Tweet Of The Day
Jayson Tatum has entered the chat.
Give a damn if you watch!! https://t.co/vhhXH8uQ5e
— Jayson Tatum (@jaytatum0) June 19, 2020
Stat Of The Day
The Warriors blew a 3-1 lead four years ago today.
Friday is the 4th anniversary of the Cavaliers completing their comeback from 3-1 down in the 2016 NBA Finals with a 93-89 win over the Warriors in Game 7 in Oakland.
LeBron James had 27 pts & 11 rebs and Kyrie Irving had 26 pts as the Cavs claimed their 1st-ever NBA title. pic.twitter.com/5NzQqze8Ff
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 19, 2020
Video Of The Day
This is awesome.
— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) June 20, 2020
Thumbnail photo via Douglas DeFelice/USA TODAY Sports Images