Tuesday, June 30, 2020

To Be Or Not To Be

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

Will we actually crown a real champion in 2020 with the Sports World in flux?

I have to really wonder as COVID-19 has reared it’s ugly head the past 90 days.

I have a feeling that the second wave is approaching.

As we speak, the worldwide death toll has exceeded 500,000.

You talk about luck.

How lucky was the NFL when the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49’ers 31-20 on February 2, in Super Bowl LIV in Miami Gardens, FL.

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 casualties range from the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, March Madness, College World Series and the delay of MLB.

We’ve seen the the NBA and NHL get regular seasons delayed, while postseasons will start this summer, so we hope.

As we deal in the present, will MLB’s 60-game season come to fruition as the second Spring Training is about to begin tomorrow.

How many players will choose not to play and decide they have enough money to stay safe with their families?

Will the abbreviated season look more like a bunch of prospects auditioning for jobs in 2021, while they gain earlier service team to inch them closer to free agency?

How legitimate will the records be and will there be awards winners? Time will tell.

At what point will MLB pull the plug and how many games will be played?

Will there be fans at any point?

What new rule changes in 2020 could actually be incorporated in the future?  Will purists be disgusted that the grand old game isn’t the same?

Ah, the questions.

Will the NBA’s Bubble burst at Disney in Orlando, FL leading to no champion?

How many players will test positive for COVID-19?

Will a marquee matchup be compromised if a superstar player is sidelined while another is playing?

Will the NHL crown a champion?

Will there be college or professional football this fall?

Who would have imagined that on The PGA Tour that the golfers would pull out of events when on the surface, this sport should have the least amount of problems social distancing.

If I were a betting man, the only two sports that I could see crowning a champion is NASCAR and the NHL.

The drivers are heavily protected by their fire suits. They don’t have to worry about sweating with other drivers in their vehicles. NASCAR seems to be rolling along every week while other sports seek answers.

I’m intrigued that their television partners announcers are doing remote broadcasts which could provide a glimpse into the future as to whether other sports would follow suit.

NHL players have their uniforms and they play in colder arenas. They appear to be fully protected.

At what point will we finally say that “Sports Are Not Important” in 2020?

If I had to venture a guess, I would predict by Labor Day.

If you’re a media outlet like us, that’s when you find out what you’re made of trying to create presentable, meaningful content.

But I have to admit that on our broadcasts, I always enjoy the guests that we talk to because everyone has various opinions.

What have I gotten out sports in 2020?

I never knew anything about the Sport of Cornhole other than the fact that you can play it out at Cracker Barrel while you’re waiting to be seated.

I’ve learned a lot about the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) and that if you love this sport, it doesn’t matter where it’s played.

I’ve been fortunate to enjoy baseball on many levels as a player in Little League and growing up as a Detroit Tigers fan.

I’ve enjoyed covering High School, College Minor and Major League Baseball, therefore, the KBO has been a pleasure seeing them play in front of no fans and with cheerleaders. Who could have imagined that?

I’ve enjoyed seeing the connections between the KBO and MLB.

You have a lot of good players that went on to play MLB from Korea.

Former MLB players have used this as an avenue to resurrect their careers. The one that stands out was former Milwaukee Brewers slugger Eric Thames.

Now former Washington Nationals Manager Matt Williams is managing in the KBO.

I’m quite pleased that ESPN as given the KBO some worldwide exposure. Then again, they’re desperate for programming. But we’ll take it.

But in the meantime, the only way to summarize the Sports World is “To Be Or Not To Be.”

Stay tuned.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at southfloridatribune@gmail.com or on Twitter @TribuneSouth.

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