by Lucas Burris
It’s been one month since the last professional sports game was played. The Los Angeles Kings defeated the Ottawa Senators 3-2 on March 11th, and then the sporting world came to a halt. Most of March was without sports, and April doesn’t seem to have much hope. If none of the major sports are played this month, it’ll be the first time since 1883. A 137-year streak could be broken.
Sports looked a lot different in 1883, as well. The NHL, NFL, and NBA hadn’t even been created yet. The only major sport we know today that was running was the MLB. The 1883 MLB champion? That would be the Boston Beaneaters, who went on to become the Atlanta Braves we know today, the oldest continuous baseball franchise.
However, the question remains: when will professional sports return? At this point, the earliest indications are that teams could beginning working out in May, with games beginning in late May and early June. That would be the absolute earliest sports would return, and they wouldn’t look like we’re used to. There would be no fans in attendance, limited personnel in the stadiums, and the possibility of every team and every game taking place in the same city or area.
The MLB is looking at having all games in Arizona to start the season. That would mean every MLB team would be there with limited access to the outside world. Players, coaches, umpires, and all personnel would need to be tested and quarantined together. Games would be played on the spring training diamonds of the Cactus League and at Chase Field, the home of Arizona Diamondbacks.
That may sound bleak, but at least the MLB has a plan in place. The NBA is still at a standstill with no reported word of a plan to resume under any circumstances until at least late June. No discussions for a plan are set to take place until May 1st. The NFL is still months away from beginning games, but there are already talks of delaying the start of the season.
The NHL, however, seems to have the most set-in stone plan in place. Regular season play is planned to resume in July and the 2020 postseason is scheduled for August and September. That would be a 4-month delay from the original playoff schedule.
The good news is that eventually sports will return. Maybe not in the capacity that we’re all used to, and maybe not with fans in the stands. But sports will return, and eventually, we’ll be back on the air to talk about them.