Professional Sports Still Face Major Challenges in Returning

Professional Sports Still Face Major Challenges in Returning
Several sports have returned or are preparing to return and that should give so many fans a lift during this COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
Yet the feeling that everybody is out of the woods isn’t there yet especially for sports that can’t be controlled in a bubble-like atmosphere like baseball and football.  
 
The NHL and NBA are in a bubble-like atmosphere, able to be more controlled. The NBA is staging everything at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida and the last round of COVID-19 tests taken there were all negative. 
 
The NHL will have its teams at two sites – Toronto and Edmonton.  
 
NBA teams all have three scrimmages and the eight regular season “seed” games begin on Thursday. The Sixers open their eight-game “seed” schedule on Saturday against the Indiana Pacers at 7. 
 
The Flyers begin round-robin play on Sunday against the Boston Bruins.  
 
MLS is in the middle of playing a tournament also in Florida and while two teams had to opt out due to the virus, the tournament has otherwise gone well. 
 
MLS reportedly plans to return to having teams play at their home fields and that is when another major challenge will occur. 
 
As written before, starting the leagues up again has been a major task. Finishing the season, will be just as challenging. 
 
That was brought to the forefront when the Jose Urena, who was supposed to start against the Phillies on Sunday, was replaced by Robert Dugger.  
 
Two other Miami players outfielder Harold Ramirez and first baseman Garrett Cooper were not in the lineup after starting the first two games. Catcher Jorge Alfaro, a former Phillie, missed the entire series.  
 
By Tuesday, multiple reports stated that 17 members of the Marlins travel party had positive tests. 
 
The Marlins games were postponed through at least the weekend.  The Phillies, who on Tuesday had no initial positive tests, had their entire four-game series with the New York Yankees postponed.   It was supposed to have been two games in Philadelphia on Monday and Tuesday and two in New York on Wednesday and Thursday. 
 
One weekend into the MLB season and it is already in peril.  
 
Now NFL teams are reporting to training camp, hoping for the best. 
 
The NFL is the one sport that didn’t have to shut down. The league was able to hold its draft as well, but now it will face huge challenges. 
 
The NFL Players Association and the league agreed to measures including canceling all the preseason games.  
 
The Eagles are set to open their season Sept. 13 at Washington. Getting through training camp for all teams will likely be a challenge.  
 
The MLS and NBA scrimmages have been well received. MLB, while playing in empty stadiums, has been enjoyable to watch.  
 
The athletes and coaches are all taking risks as we were again reminded during the weekend series between the Phillies and Marlins.  

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Author: Marc Narducci

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