With the NBA and MLB suspending their seasons earlier in March due the COVID-19 outbreak, many are wondering when their favorite teams will play again, if they do at all.
While the entire sports world is on hold, many sports networks such as ESPN are airing as many historic games as possible to quench the thirst of the fans. This may not be enough for long as many fans and team owners will be eager to see the players competing again.
Both leagues are theorizing ways in which to restart games and salvage the seasons as soon as possible, while ensuring the safety of the players and the fans.
The NBA, which was only about a month away from the end of the regular season, will likely be the most desperate to resume games at all costs. Even if that means playing all remaining games with no crowds at one neutral site to reduce risk of travel.
The cost of cancelling the entire season would be devastating to the league, so many believe that this season will continue at some point, even if the 2020-21 season has to be pushed back.
The MLB was set to start their regular season on March 26 before the postponement of games. In what was an already tumultuous offseason with the results of the Astros sign stealing investigation being released to the public, the highly criticized Commissioner Rob Manfred will have even more on his plate with finding a way to restart the season.
According to Jeff Passan, writer for ESPN, the MLB and the players’ association came to an agreement that the 2020 MLB season won’t begin until:
– There are no bans on mass gatherings that limit the ability to play in front of fans
– There are no travel restrictions
– Medical experts determine games will not pose a risk to health of teams and fans
The players will also receive a full year of service time, whether the season is played or not, which would prove disastrous for many teams. This would mean that players in the final year of their contracts could enter free agency without playing this year.
The Los Angeles Dodgers possibly have the most at stake, as they not only invested $100 million into renovating their stadium for the 2020 All-Star Game that they were to be hosts of in July, but they also traded with the Boston Red Sox for superstar right fielder Mookie Betts who only has one year left on his contract.
If the season is unable to be played this year, Betts, a former American League MVP, will become a free agent without having played a single game for the Dodgers.
No one knows when either league will be back nor what the resuming of play will look like, but all we can do now, like the rest of the world, is wait.