Wednesday evening we left the Barclays Center in Brooklyn after the first round of the Atlantic-10 Basketball championship tournament. I had this empty feeling with the increased cases of the Coronavirus.
And then it happened. Sports were shut down. Not just the NCAA conference tournaments. Not the NCAA Mens and womens basketball tournaments of March Madness, but all sports.
One-by-one. The NBA, NHL, MLS, boxing, golf. And the anticipated start of Major League Baseball has been pushed back for two weeks, but that is just an estimate.
The start of the 2020 Major League Baseball season could be on hiatus and longer than that two week time period.
It will take time to adjust as arenas and stadiums go dark. This is a circumstance, from this perspective, worse than the events and aftermath of September 11, 2001. Worse, because it has impacted you, me, the city of New York, the world.
The difference, an impact for a long period of time as we adjust.
It’s about the individual well being of all. We can’t fight a virus that is not under control and this comes as the sports analyst and by no means is this writer a medical authority or pretend to be.
It’s common sense and listening to the authorities that advise how to deal with this situation. But sports is on the sidelines. We are looking in, making adjustments, hoping for the best.
The transition to do other things is here. There always will be things to write about. Pick up a book, watch a classic movie. Check on family, friends, and neighbors.
And in due time, like all bad situations, this will pass. The Coronavirus and implications will become history, talked about for years to come, and we can resume our daily routines.
But, New York City in that state of emergency will not have a complete shutdown. A source, within New York City Government circles informed this columnist that a shutdown will not occur unless Coronavirus cases reach the thousands .
Thankfully, we are not at that point of this crisis. And hopefully we won’t get there.
In the meantime, the world of fun and games, sports as it is called, is on hiatus.
Down in Port St. Lucie Florida, at the New York Mets spring training complex, spring training games have been suspended. The game of baseball is in suspension.
“Obviously with the sensitive information , we have to take extra precaution,” said the Mets’ J.D. Davis.
He continues to stay prepared with the entire Mets contingent and hopes that the crisis will pass so the 2020 season can commence.
“As a team, we will continue to get ready for the season,” Davis said. “It’s definitely different. And we have to improvise to get better everyday and be ready. We don’t know the future, however, we have to have the mindset that we are having our opening day in two weeks.”
He said, the details are still coming in to players and personnel. Meetings are ongoing to answer any concerns with questions.
“Hopefully, in the next couple of days, we will have a better understanding on where to go from here,” Davis said.
That understanding could mean the players leaving Florida, Or, they head to their respective homes or come up north to their seasonal homes in New York.
The Mets season opener was two weeks from yesterday. It is assumed , when MLB resumes, that the team will still have their season opener at Citi Field.
Friday afternoon, the Yankees also remained in place down at their spring training facilities in Tampa. Similar to the Mets ,they are in a holding pattern.
The team released a statement to update fans and the media. They were scheduled to open the season at Baltimore two weeks from yesterday.
“The Yankees fully support this decision and will continue to proactively monitor current events in conjunction with medical experts, government officials and Major League Baseball,” said the statement.
The statement continued “We recognize that our great fans have a variety of questions. However, given the unprecedented nature and fluidity of what is taking place, we appreciate your patience as we diligently work through the many aspects and details of this continually evolving situation.”
In the meantime stadium workers are also victims of this Coronavirus pandemic. Concession workers and security personnel at Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, Madison Square Garden, and the Barclays Center will lose a substantial part of their income.
The players will still get paid. though reductions will come to their contracts as it pertains to a national emergency when games are suspended. According to an agreement with owners and players.
But those who secure and provide at the venues, they will be hurt in the pocket.
“Understand, but safety does come first,” said a long time concession worker who works at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium They earn from the individual vendors that have contracts with the teams.
With March Madness gone, and with sports in the dark, the waging of sports is also taking a hit. That industry, too, is in a holding pattern and this time of year the NCAA Tournament does see sports wagering at a peak.
The NCAA and with a loss of games will lose millions with the CBS and Turner television contracts that deliver these games to us. The eligibility of senior student-athletes, many who missed an opportunity to compete for a championship, reportedly will be extended.
Boxing promoters have cancelled their shows around the nation. Two in New York City in the span of four days, promoted by Top Rank and ESPN were called off Thursday evening.
The events were scheduled in the Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden. Initially, when the crisis in New York unfolded, fans were banned from events scheduled for Saturday night and St. Patrick’s Day evening.
Thursday, Top Rank had a final press conference at the Garden. The fighters, officials, and personnel were there and the shows were still a go.
Later, the New York State Athletic Commission got the call form Albany. The commission, that regulates boxing was informed to consult with Top Rank and cancel the shows for the safety of personnel and the fighters.
The Garden is dark, could be for months, and with a state of emergency, events with 500 people or more is a risk. The Theatre is in that category of risk.
Millions of dollars are being lost. The estimates and figures will continue to pile as this crisis continues and when it is finally resolved.
Yes, sports are in the dark. Even media, many who depend on income to report the games and events will see cutbacks and a loss of income.
Realize, we must stay safe. Take caution. The sports world will resume. And hope the Coronavirus, like a bad hurricane, will fly out to sea.
Comment: Ring786@aol.com/ Twitter @Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso