Sports are back, and it feels so good.
Last week, both the NBA and MLB joined golf, combat sports, soccer and auto racing as the next major sports to resume activities since the COVID-19 outbreak took over the United States in early March.
The MLB opened its 2020 regular season Thursday with the Washington Nationals hosting the New York Yankees in a battle between aces Max Scherzer and Gerrit Cole.
Ultimately, it was Cole and the Yankees who ended up getting the 4-1 win to become the first MLB team to pick up a W during this year’s unorthodox season.
Yet, as good as it was to finally see opening day and players back on the field in general, it could be taken away soon. On Monday, news came that at least 14 players and coaches within the Miami Marlins organization had tested positive for COVID-19.
With that said, because of the MLB not competing in a contained bubble similar to the NBA, it will be hard to say how long a season can continue if this begins to spread or happen to other teams as well.
As of now, the MLB already has stated it has no plans to pause or shut down the 2020 season because of the Marlins’ unfortunate news. But it will be hard to keep that promise if things continue to spiral out of control.
The NBA on the other hand resumed action a day earlier than the MLB and has yet to see an outbreak in positive tests. In fact, the league barely has had to deal with positive tests at all as of late. It was announced July 20 out of 346 NBA players tested, none came back positive for the coronavirus.
This sense of security helped the NBA get back out on the court at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, where they have been playing scrimmages in their contained “bubble.” Each team will play three scrimmages through today before the regular season resumes Thursday.
So far, teams have been competing for the past week without fans, and it has gone about as well one could expect.
The games featured pre-recorded music, public address announcements and fan chants from the home teams’ arenas for the Orlando games. For example, when the Miami Heat play as the home team, they still play the traditional “Dos Minutos!” chant, giving them somewhat of a home-game feel.
Furthermore, the league made perfect use of video boards next to the court to eliminate some of the emptiness felt without a packed crowd.
As good as it was to just see the league’s best basketball players back on the court doing their thing, without fans, the games still didn’t have their typical feel. They have felt more like the NBA Summer League, especially with being played during all hours of the day.
Some of those “poster”-type dunks that typically would get the crowd going and up on its feet feel slightly less impressive now because of the lack of hype and excitement without fans.
Despite any critiques one could have or make about the NBA’s presentation style without fans, there’s no doubt fans are just thankful to see action again.
There already has been so much buzz about the league with players such as Bol Bol hooping the way he is, and things only will look to get better once the games actually matter. We just have to hope they can continue to be played.