THE LIVING ROOM, NY – We’ve now gone almost two months without sports and it doesn’t look like things will be getting back to normal any time soon. While some sports like golf, NASCAR, and UFC have announced plans to restart without fans in the near future, the way forward for MLB, the NHL, and the NBA is less clear.
Basketball and hockey are near the ends of their seasons and would seemingly have an easier time finding some way to finish out with a possibly shortened playoff format. Teams in the NHL have about 12 games left in the regular season, NBA teams have about 18 games.
Some NHL proposals see them finishing out the regular season in June and July, a full Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule in July, August, and September with the conclusion of this season rolling right into next season’s start in October. It would be an interesting format but at least the NHL and NBA have the potential of finishing out the full season.
The way forward for Major League Baseball is less clear. Their season was put on hold before it even started. The best case scenario would see Opening Day in mid-June. Even then, it’s doubtful that the MLB would get in a full season before the weather in the northern latitudes turns for the worse, making baseball difficult. We’ll likely see a half season and the playoffs starting at the usual time in early October.
Whenever the major sports return, they will look and sound very different. The games, at least for the foreseeable future, would be played without fans in the stands. We’ve seen the odd soccer game played behind closed doors for various reasons and the sound is the most unsettling thing. The baseline hum of the crowd is not there. There are no cheers for the big moments. It’s unsettling but it could give fans a different perspective of the sports.
You would be able to hear the players talking to each other a lot more. It might give fans more insight on how the game is played on the field. The echo of the hockey puck hitting the boards would make the NHL sound like a beer league on a Tuesday night. A basketball hitting the hardwood floor would echo through an empty arena like it would at the local YMCA during a Sunday afternoon rec league. Baseball would sound more pure and the sounds of players sliding and the ball hitting the glove would not need to be artificially added like they are now on ESPN broadcasts.
With no fan noise, the quiet will echo. And the networks will need to be on high alert to ensure the player’s colorful language doesn’t make it to the ears of young fans at home. Whatever it looks and sounds like, I’m sure fans would appreciate having sports to watch again.
That’s all for me today. Stay safe. Sports will return.