Top photo of Dodger Stadium by Claudia Gestro
In his press conference on Monday, May 18, California Governor announced the second phase of the state’s plan to reopen the economy could begin and sports could begin in the state June 1.
Already the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers have opened their practice facilities, with adherence to rules set down by the NBA.
- No more than four players permitted at a facility at any one time.
- No head or assistant coaches can participate.
- Group activity is prohibited, including practices or scrimmages.
- Players are prohibited from using non-team facilities such as public health clubs, fitness centers, or gyms.
The NBA has decided if they will resume the season or just go straight to the playoffs, based on the standings when play was suspended. That would mean the Lakers are #1 in the West and the Clippers are #2, a ranking that could potentially see them meet in an epic, all Los Angeles Western Conference Final.
But there needs to be a decision made on whether to finish the season or go to the playoffs, and then a lot of basketball needs to be played.
If the NBA does get started again there will be strict rules about testing for everyone involved, from the players and coaches to all the support personnel working for the teams and venues.
There would be no fans in the arenas, and right now we don’t know where the teams would play. Some rumors are that all games would be played in Orlando, but that’s just a rumor. Everything would be on television so the fans could at least watch the games.
The National Football League has been planning to start training camp in July and then start the season as planned. Like the NBA the football teams would be playing without fans in the stands and the teams would observe stringent rules in regards to testing of players and support personnel, bot for the team and the venues where they practice and play. Anyone testing positive for COVID-19 would be removed and quarantined.
As of now we can expect to see the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers on TV.
There hasn’t been any news from the NHL. If and when they do start up, either to finish the season or get started with the next season, we can expect there won’t be any fans in the arenas and they will follow the same strict testing protocols as the other sports leagues.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has been very optimistic about having a season, but right now an agreement is being negotiated between the league and players’ league; the big issues being safety and how much the players would be paid.
Baseball will have protocols as well and it will significantly alter the way the game is played. There will be no more traditional exchange of lineup cards. Fighting is strictly prohibited. Batters are not even allowed to charge the mound. Players will stay six feet apart in the dugout and they will sit in the stands as well. No more showers in the clubhouse. Players will have to shower at home or in their hotel rooms when on the road. And one of the biggest changes: No spitting. That means no sunflower seeds, no gum and no chewing tobacco.
Players will be required to wear masks at all times, except when they are on the field. They will be required to stay in their hotels when on the road and they are not allowed to fraternize with the players on other teams.
There will be a three phase, three-week Spring Training Before reporting players and coaches will have to do a blood test plus either a nasal swap or saliva test. Those that test negative will be quarantined for 24 to 48 hours Those that test positive will be self-isolated until they have two successive negative tests.
The league would like to start the 82-game in July, with the teams using either their home parks or Spring Training facilities in Florida and Arizona.
Nothing is set in stone; some of these protocols could change and more could be added. Until the league and the players’ association come to an agreement. The commissioner is confident there will be a season, so fans will just have to wait and see.
The Dodgers and Angels will get the green light June 1, but the league and union will have to convince some of their star players it will be safe enough. Mike Trout of the Angels and Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers are two of the more prominent players with concerns.
Right now it’s wait and see for all the sports leagues, although NASCAR got its season underway on Sunday, May 17 at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. If the NASCAR season continues it will be a good sign for the rest of sports.
Photos by Claudia Gestro
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