COLUMN: We just keep on waiting

Mark Spensley
Express Co-Publisher

     When, I must ask, will we return to being able to watch professional sports again? At some point the NHL and the NBA will conclude their seasons. But it just seems to be taking forever for the higher-ups to decide when, where and how.

     The NHL has been on pause for roughly 15 weeks. Training camps are being projected to start back up July 10 but now a few more hockey players have been confirmed to have contacted COVID-19. The NHL also has a CBA extension to approve. Players also have to approve a return to the ice and some are saying it is a 50-50 split on players actually wanting to come back.

     The where is also being discussed in hockey circles. Six locations are being mentioned. Las Vegas, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver are a few being mentioned. If the NHL does come back, the format will be a 24-team playoff.

     The NBA is also trying to figure out how to finish its season. Their plan is to bring in all 22 remaining teams to Orlando in late July and keep them all in one place, referring to this plan as a bubble. The problem with Florida is the rising coronavirus cases in that state has players very concerned and rightly so.

     The NBA hasn’t played a game since March 11. Eight regular season games will determine a 16-team playoff field.

     Baseball seems to be the sport making the most news right now. Teams were sent packing during the middle of spring training. The league presented the players a plan for a 60-game season which the players countered with a 70-game season.

     In the end, it sounds like the league is going to stick to their 60-game plan citing safety and health reasons. Let’s be honest about baseball, right now all decisions are about money. Don’t be surprised if you see the season cancelled in my opinion. Baseball also has an expiring CBA and both sides are trying to use the pandemic to play their cards. Baseball of all sports seems to argue the most over collective bargaining and, in the end, it’s the fans that pay for their greed. Another work stoppage may doom baseball in the long run. It’s gotten to be such an expensive fan experience.

     Meanwhile we have NASCAR and golf to tide us over. College football is trying to work its way back but again, I’m not holding my breath on that one either. Twenty-three Clemson players have tested positive and multiple LSU players are now in quarantine. Voluntary NCAA workouts have started all around the country. Numbers like Clemson and LSU will dictate which way the college football season goes.


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