Pro sports seasons resume amidst pandemic

by Liam Mathews | September 15, 2020 11:14 am

  1. One of the first questions that was raised when the Coronavirus shutdown began back in March was, what should happen with sports? When sports were abruptly shut down there was no concrete plan in place for how and when they should return.

All major professional sports leagues were shut down until further notice, some without even playing a game. As the shutdown went from weeks to months people began to question if sports would even return this year, or would leagues just scrap the 2020 season and start fresh in 2021?

While many fans were anxious to see their favorite team in action again, the players, coaches and management of professional teams were unsure whether or not to return to the 2020 season.

The first professional sports league to resume was Major League Baseball(MLB) which officially began it’s 2020 season on July 23, and will end on October 31.

Every MLB team will play 60 games, with 40 games against their division rivals and 20 interleague games. 

With the new MLB season there will also be rule changes. Extra innings now begin with a runner on second base, to reduce the chance of longer games. Teams in the National league are also now allowed to have a designated hitter.

Along with the rule changes rosters will also be different. Team’s are only allowed to have 26 players on their active roster and the active roster deadline for postseason eligibility was moved to September 15. Additionally the trade deadline was moved to August 31.

The MLB is also taking many precautions to ensure the safety of players and coaches. Players who test positive will be placed on the injured list and can not return to play until they have tested negative twice, at least 24 hours apart, haven’t had a fever within the last 72 hours, and have taken an antibody test. 

However, many have questioned the effectiveness of the MLB’s precautions, as teams like the Miami Marlins and St.Louis Cardinals had to temporarily suspend their games due to Covid Outbreaks.

Players, coaches and staff also have saliva tests daily.

The National Basketball Association(NBA), whose season returned on July 30, will have the remainder of regular season games and playoffs be played inside a “bubble” at Disney World in Orlando Florida.

The NBA’s bubble is just that, a bubble. Players will have to spend the remainder of the season in Orlando’s Disney World until their team is eliminated. Players will not be able to have any family members or friends join them in the bubble until they reach the conference semifinals. Social distancing guidelines will also be in place during interviews with the media.

Of the 30 NBA teams only 22 were invited to bubble, and only 16 of those teams remained for the playoffs which started on August, 17 and will end on October, 13. 

Teams were split up between different resorts in Disney World to limit contact with those not on their team, and were also allowed to use the many amenities at Disney World such as pools, golf courses, bicycles, gaming areas and anything else the theme park has to offer.

Players were also allowed to choose whether or not they wanted to wear a social justice statement of their choice on the back of their jerseys.

Players, coaches and staff are all tested daily for Covid-19, although no one has tested positive yet, the NBA is still taking many precautions. 

The National Hockey League(NHL) returned on August 1 and has a bubble similar to the NBA. The NHL bubble is actually two bubbles in Edmonton and Toronto Canada. The bubble’s have a 24 team playoff format and teams were not allowed to bring more than 31 players.

 

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