According to The New York Times the other day, “nearly every sporting event, major and minor, has been canceled, moved or postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.” I did not know that – largely because I have been lying prone on a foam mattress under my couch in self-isolation, awaiting word of life outside – but they are the paper of record, so I believe them.
“The question now, to which no one really knows the answer,” The Times wrote, “is when games will come back.”
Well, I thought to be myself, if no one really knows the answer, I really have time right now to find the answer. So I got on the horn – that’s a late 19th-century expression for making a phone call – and contacted every single sports league and federation.
Here’s where we stand:
Olympics — The 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo had been pushed back to 2021. But the Summer Games are now going to push back to 2022, to coincide with the Winter Games – however, not in Beijing, where the Winter Games were originally scheduled. Rather, borrowing from Mark Twain’s phrase, “If you don’t like the weather in [fill in the blank], just wait five minutes,” the unprecedented Summer-Winter twin bill will be in Bismarck, North Dakota, for maximum climatic flexibility.
PGA — The tour returns June 11, with nearly a full slate of events for the rest of the year. Alas, there will be a stunning modification: If neither Tiger Woods nor Phil Mickelson is in the top 10 through three rounds, the event will end on Saturday after 54 holes, and the two golfing icons then will go head-to-head in “The Match” on Sunday. It will be marketed “winner take all,” but, heck, it probably won’t be.
NBA and NHL — In a groundbreaking compact, the two leagues will converge, with all 61 teams occupying Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Ariz. Originally intended to study the use of closed biospheres in space colonization, Biosphere 2 will be reconfigured to resemble Madison Square Garden and Xcel Energy Center, allowing the leagues to complete their 2019-20 seasons. Unlimited seating is available through Ticket Master and StubHub.
NCAA — Everything in Division I sports is on hold, forcing overcrowding in our institutions of higher learning’s virtual classrooms online as many student-athletes attend courses and seminars for the first time. Note: Even if college football season is canceled, all bowl games will be played as scheduled, with Alabama meeting Clemson for the national championship.
Horse racing — Taking advantage of the postponement of the Kentucky Derby and the indefinite closure of most racetracks, the nation’s thoroughbreds voted, 198,269-3, to never race again. “We’re done,” 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah said from his stud farm in Versailles, Kent. “If anyone had ever bothered to ask, we would’ve told them that we hate to race.”
UFC — Due to brush back from various localities and ESPN in regard to the wisdom of mixed martial arts bouts returning mid-pandemic – and in case the three cards planned for Jacksonville next month are scratched – Dana White plans to pivot to cockfighting and dogfighting pay-per-view events. Jim Gray has been hired as the sideline reporter.
World Series of Poker — I will host it Nov. 19-21 at my 1,300-square-foot home in Los Angeles. Yes, social distancing will be a problem, but we’ll figure it out. In addition, players’ $10,000 Main Event entry fee will include a choice of Toni’s fabulous pesto-crusted salmon on a bed of wilted spinach or Toni’s sublime chicken breast in artichoke champagne sauce.
Boston Marathon — Postponed until Sept. 14, America’s premier long-distance foot race will shift the competition to NordicTrack Commercial X32i treadmills at 1,400 Planet Fitness locations nationwide, via Zoom.
NFL — The season actually will start on schedule Sept. 10, with sold-out stadiums. The biggest concern will be proper implementation of former replay rules in regard to pass interference – and potential negative fan feedback – because, now, more than ever, you want to get it right.
Major League Soccer — There are no plans to ever resume MLS, unless five or six people create a groundswell.
Ask The Slouch
Q. Have you considered moving to Georgia? They opened up their bowling alleys last week. (Levi Goldfarb; Temple Hills, Md.)
A. There is a time to bowl, and this is not it; I am honoring the sport with a beer frame nightly at home.
Q. Would you consider MLB’s light punishment to the Red Sox in the 2018 video cheating scandal the proverbial “slap on the wrist”? (Jessica Abrams; Portland, Ore.)
A. Actually, it felt more like a “Go get ‘em, boys!” slap on the butt.
Q. Thanks for giving us some out-loud guffaws. When did you write for “I Love Lucy”? (Karen Hoffman; McLean, Va.)
A. That was before my time – I wrote for “Here’s Lucy.”
Q. When the NBA resumes play, will Commissioner Adam Silver mandate that defensive players stay six feet away from offensive players? Oh, wait! (Mike Kupiec; Green Island, N.Y.)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
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