I went to two Yankee spring training games in February.
I was toying with the idea of flying up to the Bronx for Opening Day but thought better of it as we were planning to go to London the following month.
The spring training games were the only baseball I saw in person and. For everyone else who attended a spring training game, that was it for them as well.
A week before my third and final spring training game, two NBA players tested positive for COVID 19, resulting in a complete shutdown of all sports. It would prove to the country that this virus was real, and we needed to take it seriously.
So, here we are five months later, and sports are back. Unfortunately, the fans aren’t.
We are relegated to watching games from our homes as broadcasters isolate themselves from each other and basically have a zoom chat while they are watching the game like we are. Announcers go to home games but broadcast games from an empty stadium when the team is on the road.
Fake fan noise is pumped in to make it sound like a game, and some stations digitize fake fans. Not sure if Trump approves of his favorite channel making things up, but I’m guessing he’s okay with it.
Baseball has been good.
The NBA and the NHL have played in “Bubbles” and have quarantined their players in one location for the NBA and two Canadian locations for the NHL. Both leagues are now in their playoff seasons, completing the 2019-20 year.
Both leagues are putting on great games, and the shortage of fans in the arenas doesn’t seem to bother the players or have any impact on the quality of the game.
But now, as we approach autumn, football will come forward with new challenges.
First, college football presents the dilemma of encouraging amateur players, who receive no compensation other than a scholarship, to play a high-contact sport. At the same time, their classmates are safely ensconced in their homes, attending online classes.
Even though many colleges profess to hold in-person classes, many are already experiencing COVID clusters and have opted to cancel in-person classes and have implemented online learning once again.
Then there are NCAA conferences that have already canceled fall sports, including football. The question remains whether all college programs will follow suit.
Then in the NFL, other concerns have arisen.
The virus seems to affect people of color, especially those with underlying conditions, including obesity.
Many offensive and defensive linemen are both young men of color and obese.
Some players have already opted out of playing football this year.
Unlike the NBA and the NHL, the NFL will not be playing in a bubble, and extensive travel will be required. Also, because different states have different COVID protocols established, it is possible that some games will be played in front of fans, possibly exposing the fans and players to exposure to the virus.
Since many medical experts felt that a second wave combined with the traditional flu would make the fall months even worse than what we experienced in the spring, there is a risk that even young athletes will be putting their lives and careers in jeopardy.
While I have enjoyed watching the Yankees play, I am not fully invested as in other seasons. It could be because a sixty game season is not a baseball season. It seems more like an extended spring training. It’s still entertaining to watch, but the results seem inconsequential to me. It’s nice if they win but hardly matters if they lose.
If there is a World Series and if the Yankees win the World Series. I will be excited, but it won’t be like anything I have experienced in the past.
It will be ironic if the Jets win the Super Bowl.
We haven’t been to a Super Bowl in what will be fifty-two years, and then we win it with absolutely no fans? Or maybe the Super Bowl gets canceled.
Bad dreams sometimes invade reality.
Like many things this year of COVID, we can just designate it as TBD.