Every problem has a solution.
Except in the case of death and taxes.
As we sit idly through the Corona Virus Pandemic shutdown, a pragmatic approach must be crafted as to when professional sports can return. Using June 1st as a target date, changes will have to be made to ultimately crown a champion in the NBA, NHL, MLS, and MLB for this year.
The Baseball season has not started, so a shortened season is the only sensible approach. Planning double-headers to fit six months of games into four months is totally unreasonable. A 108 game regular season is doable. The playoffs and World Series would still take place in October. Simple solution.
MLS just kicked off its season, so picking up the remaining schedule in June with the playoffs taking place in November works. MLB and MLS can come back strong in 2021.
Meanwhile, the NHL and NBA have to be more creative in finishing their respective seasons, which are already roughly 80% through their schedules.
In my best-case scenario, I would look to resume hockey and basketball on June 1st. It goes without saying that they would only restart if doctors and scientists say it’s safe to go back to work.
Once that hurdle has been cleared, June would serve as the final month of the regular season. Every fan base needs its teams to play some games to feel a sense of normalcy. The Red Wings and Pistons aren’t going to qualify for the playoffs this season, but the Motor City would appreciate its teams returning to the ice and court.
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The playoffs would start in July ending with the Stanley Cup Final and NBA Finals taking place in late August/early September, just before the start of football season.
Playing in their home buildings with fans in attendance would be optimal. However, if there are concerns, you could move the games to neutral sites in states that haven’t been hit as hard by the outbreak. The NBA Finals between the Bucks and Lakers from Omaha, Nebraska. Sign me up.
Another issue would be playing on ice in July and August. Last time I checked, the arenas have air-conditioning and if fans aren’t allowed into the games, the ice would be more than solid enough to eliminate injury concerns for players.
Looking to the future, the NHL would go back to its traditional schedule. Start in late October to give the final few competing teams from this season a long enough off-season to have a normal, full 2020-2021 season.
The NBA could make lemonade out of lemons by going to a permanent December through May regular season, followed by a June-July post-season. The NBA would not be competing against the NFL and College Football in October and November.
Heck, the French Open, Masters and Kentucky Derby have already been moved from spring to September.
Desperate times take desperate measures. Playing hockey in July may seem odd. The biggest question would be if Jeremy Jacobs and Delaware North can find it in their hearts to pay the electric bill to cool the buildings and keep the ice playable.
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