NESN Diary: Unpacking Last 90 Days Without Sports (And Other Random Thoughts)


June 9, 2020

Each day during the sports pause stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, 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.

It’s been 90 days since the sports world came to an abrupt halt as the NBA suspended its season after Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. Other leagues, as you’ll recall, quickly followed.

Now we’re at a point in the summer when I’d be getting ready to take on the madness of covering both the Stanley Cup and NBA Finals all while juggling baseball’s regular season.

I never expected this to last this long, but you never really can predict the future.

A lot has happened in 90 days. A lot of reports, a lot of rumors, a lot of back-and-forth. A lot of “when will sports come back?” A lot of, “what if sports don’t come back this year?”

During that time Tom Brady announced he wouldn’t be returning to the New England Patriots and signed with the Buccaneers, Rob Gronkowski un-retired, requested a trade and was granted that request to join his Brady in Tampa Bay, Michael Jordan became the meme of the year with his reactions from “The Last Dance,” Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale had Tommy John surgery and Celtics’ Jaylen Brown continued to prove he’s wise beyond his years and led a peaceful protest.

It seems so long ago, but I think we’re finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, especially when it comes to the return of one of the four major sports.

The NBA reportedly will resume July 31 and has a return-to-play format in place. The NHL also has a postseason format in place as some teams have returned to their practice facilities. While nothing officially is set in stone for the return of sports, it’s as close as we’ve come in the last 90 days.

Another good sign came Monday when the Boston Celtics released a video of Gordon Hayward and Jayson Tatum working out at Auerbach Center. Romeo Langford also was spotted at the end of the video. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I ever was so excited to see a two-minute video of a Celtics workout.

It provided what we’ve been missing over three months and added more hope that the NBA is on its way back. It was something Twitter went nuts over and was talking about. It was a sense of sports normalcy we’ve missed.

If all goes well, it’s likely the NHL won’t be too far behind the NBA.

We’re still not out of the woods. We have no idea how coronavirus numbers will change. But now more than ever, we’re optimistic. As it seems we are closer to getting sports back than we were 90 days ago.

Let’s take a look at what else happened Tuesday:

— Major League Baseball doesn’t seem to be making progress like the NHL and NBA are, though.

The MLB Players’ Association reportedly proposed an 89-game season to the owners, which reportedly is expected to be rejected.

It’s been back-and-forth between the two sides and time is running out if they want to start July 10.

Could commissioner Rob Manfred be forced to step in and implement a 50-game season? Would the players be OK with that? There’s still a lot of questions that need answers before that becomes a possibility.

I’m a die-hard baseball fan, and summer without my favorite sport just wouldn’t seem right.

Could commissioner Rob Manfred be forced to step in and implement a 50-game season? Would the players be OK with that? There’s still a lot of questions that need answers before that becomes a possibility.

But Boston Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke is remaining optimistic.

— Bubba Wallace is using his race car to send a powerful message.

Richard Petty Motorsports on Tuesday announced his No. 43 car for Wednesday’s Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway will feature #BlackLivesMatter on the rear quarter panel while the hood will say “Compassion, Love, Understanding.”

Check it out, it’s pretty awesome.

A post shared by bubbawallace (@bubbawallace) on

— Devin McCourty was honored Tuesday night in a virtual event for Boston Uncornered. The New England Patriots safety was named the “Uncornered Champion,” which garnered some high praise from ex-teammate Tom Brady.

?Devin, I just wanted to wish you congratulations on Boston?s 2020 Uncornered Champion Award,? Brady said. ?There could certainly not be a better recipient or someone that embodies everything that this award means. You?re an incredible man, you?re an incredible teammate and an incredible friend.”

— Robert Kraft’s got jokes.

The Patriots owner, while also saluting McCourty, decided to add a little humor to his speech after Brady’s aired.

?You could even see that fellow ? I forget his name ? who used to play quarterback who left, he really wishes he was still with you here,? Kraft said, smiling. ?I could hear it in his voice. But whatever happens, happens.?

— Could the Boston Bruins make it back to the Stanley Cup Final? Oddsmakers seem to think so.

The B’s are +650 to win the Cup and are featured in the top three most likely Stanley Cup Final matchups.

Tweet Of The Day

Stat Of The Day
It’s good to be The Kid.

Video Of The Day
An awesome gesture by Gronk.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images
Former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, owner Robert Kraft
Previous Article

Robert Kraft Cracks Tom Brady Joke While Honoring Devin McCourty

Boston Red Sox
Next Article

Red Sox Mock Draft Roundup: Experts Predict Boston’s First-Round Pick

Picked For You