The situation that brought the world to a screeching halt over two months ago seems to be slowly dying down, and assuming the people flocking to places that have opened back up for business and those taking to the streets in response to the situation that is currently dominating the headlines don’t kick things back into high gear, it appears we may soon be able to return to a world where some forms of in-person human interaction are once again permitted.
In recent weeks, sports leagues in North America have been slowly gearing up to resume action like a few of their European counterparts already have by developing contingency plans that will allow them to continue their seasons while doing what they can to prioritize player safety despite the fact that the nature of virtually every major sport requires athletes to be in fairly close proximity to each other for a sizeable chunk of a game (if not the entire thing).
Last week, the NHL released the second step of a four-phase plan to outline the measures it’s planning to take. Although they’ve yet to announce when we’ll finally be treated to hockey again, we do know they’ll be forgoing the remainder of the regular season and introducing a 24-team playoff format that has been met with mixed reviews.
The NBA, on the other hand, seems to be interested in adopting a “central location” proposal that would likely have every team gather in Orlando to play games at Disney World. While the MLB also looked into that option, it appears it ultimately decided against it and will instead play a shorter season with schedules designed to minimize travel that would come with a pay cut that many multimillionaire athletes are not too thrilled about.
It’s still unclear where games are going to be played, but according to information conveyed to Peter Gammons by an MLB employee, if contests are held at stadiums around the country, players would have to make some adjustments when it comes to getting ready for games, as they’d be forced to suit up in luxury boxes and workout in restaurants as opposed to locker rooms (if you’re wondering what the hell that means, I regret to inform you I have no idea).
The difficulty of putting on MLB games:one club official says that if they play in their home park players will separate by dressing in upstairs luxury boxes, weights will be in restaurants, then they walk down through the stand to the field.
— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) June 2, 2020
As 12Up notes, this seems a bit odd when you consider all leagues are also planning on conducting extensive testing, but at the same time, I guess you can’t be too careful. However, it’s still not as odd as the “turning restaurants into a gym thing” so I really hope someone clears that up for me sooner rather than later.