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FROM THE CHEAP SEATS – The state of major league sports

Covid-19 continues to grip the nation and affect the sports world in ways that I never thought was possible. Leagues are starting back up while scrambling to get their seasons completed, all the while taking precautions along the way. Unfortunately, there is no play book to direct them as we are literally in uncharted waters. Here’s a rundown of some of the leagues and what they’re doing.

Major League Baseball: We’ll start here because baseball is my favorite. The season began the last weekend of July and within 1 week, the Florida Marlins had 12 players and 2 coaches test positive for Covid. The last I heard, they were still stranded in Philadelphia after opening against the Phillies. Their season was put on hold due to the situation.

Each team will play their division and the other conferences parallel division. For example, The Kansas City Royals will only play Central Division teams from both conferences. This will keep teams from having to travel across the country.

National Basketball Association: The entire league is down in Orlando preparing to put the final touches on their season. (They resumed play on July 31st.) I believe that most teams will play around 8 games before the playoffs begin. They have very strict guidelines for the bubble that they’re in. So far, they have been able to keep things under control, however, they haven’t started playing games yet, so the jury is still out.

National Hockey League: The NHL is going straight to the playoffs with a 24 team playoff schedule which is scheduled to begin on August 1st. They’ll be using round-robin and best-of-five series to crown a champion by October 1st. They’ll play their games in two Hub Cities, Toronto hosting the Eastern Conference and Edmonton hosting the Western Conference. The Stanley Cup will be played in Edmonton.

Major League Soccer: On July 8th, the MLS’s Back Tournament began with 24 teams at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in the Walt Disney Resort in Florida. Nashville and Dallas had to withdraw because of positive Covid tests.  The Tournament champion will qualify for the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League and they’ll resume play of the 2020 season after the tournament is completed on August 11th.

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National Football League: The NFL has cut down the preseason to one game and many players are beginning to opt out of the entire season. They’re expecting the league to begin on time but there are several in the upper echelon of the sport that doubt that they’ll be able to complete the entire season.

Of course, these games will be played without fans in the stands, however, the NFL is hopeful that they’ll be able to allow a certain number of fans in to watch. It’s rather funny to see baseball being played without fans but at least we’re getting to watch live sports again, for the time being!

–Rob Mooney, Metro Voice sports writer