Joe Gavazzi, Joe Gavazzi Sports
States are slowly returning to normal with a lifting of SOME economic restriction. We will soon know if COVID-19 is increasing with the lifting of those restrictions, beginning a recurring case of the virus. Overcrowded beaches and reports of crowded restaurants opening ahead of schedule, may tell a different story. If so, it will be yet another example of the arrogant, egotistical American who lacks the self discipline in the face of the pandemic. It is they who will be responsible for the economic downfall of the greatest nation in the world who currently has a 20% unemployment rate. This would also mean, at least a temporary halt to our sporting passion.
As of this date, in what continues to be a very fluid situation, here is how things stand with respect to the resumption of the upcoming seasons of sports. Hopefully, more will be etched in stone on my June first update.
Owners have made their offer to players. The goal is to agree on the non-monetary issues first. Then they will dwell on the financial agreement. Remember, the offer is for 82 games, which is roughly 1/2 of a scheduled season. Games would be played on home fields when possible, WITH NO FAN ATTENDANCE. The owners have offered a 50/50 revenue split. Stay tuned to see how, in the face of what is arguably the greatest pandemic the world has ever faced, the ego of these two sides, composed mainly of multimillionaires, will cheapen the integrity of the game and alienate a loyal fan base, with their petty arguments over money. This response, epitomizing the greed of the situation, is from Tampa Bay ace pitcher Blake Snell who said, “I ain’t playing for half price (3.5 million of 7 million), I gotta get mine.” Remember, in half a season, Blake would be making, at most, 16 starts, meaning Blake would make roughly $220,000 to work for 2 hours every five days. This is just what the millions of Americans who are in line at food banks want to hear. With that attitude, Blake, you can close your eyes because that’s how much you will earn if enough other MLB players have the same mind set. Now open them. You can watch the NBA and NFL.
Highly respected NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, is playing a waiting game, now with a June 1st decision date, Silver is absorbing all input from owners, players, and the scientific community, before making a decision. Trust it will be the best one, at least in interest of the common good. A most probable scenario is to skip the final 15 games of the regular season and proceed directly to the NBA playoffs with the usual 16 teams.
While there is a positive attitude from this bureau regarding the imminent return of professional sports, there is skepticism about college athletics. Consider the announcement this week from the state of California regarding its 23 universities of higher learning. Consider it to be a microcosm of the situation. “A high percentage of fall classes will be conducted online. The availability of on-campus housing will be greatly reduced and (get this!) STUDENT-ATHLETES SHOULD NOT EXPECT TO RESUME SPORTS BEFORE FACULTY AND STUDENTS RETURN TO CAMPUS.” WE SHALL SEE! This from a state where thousands of hardbodies are allowed to intermingle on the beach. Response, ranging from ripples to tidal waves are now emanating from the offices of athletic directors across the nation.
If intention translates to reality then expect the NFL to proceed as plan. They already announced their 2020 schedule, begging with a Hall of Fame opener on August 6th between the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Certainly, that would be the vote of President Trump! This may not come to fruition, but you gotta love their optimism.
I will return circa June 1st with a new update. One final note. At first, the lack of fan attendance at the games was thought to be a major factor. This week, scenarios are evolving where they will “pump in the crowd noise.” It speaks to the fact that, after all, crowd noise is at the heart of the matter. For sports has become a made for TV show. A TV show that makes it more exciting for us to bet on. My bet is that sports will return in the next 2 months. In the meantime, try to stay away from betting on international ping-pong, Korean league baseball, and horse races.