In the midst of this pandemic, major league sports such as the MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL in the United States have started up again with changes and precautions taken to minimize the risk of players from contracting COVID–19.
The regular season of the MLB officially started on July 23. However, it is the only major league sport to experience a large outbreak of the virus among its players, causing the league to undergo various changes to stop the spread of COVID–19.
One of the most significant changes in MLB is that some teams may not be able to play the full 60 games in the regular season.
According to New York Magazine, “If it turns out that some guys play 60, some guys play 58, they have this new thing called ‘winning percentage,’” said MLB commissioner Rob Manfred in a statement following reports of a coronavirus outbreak among players and staff.
Furthermore, Commissioner Manfred warns the MLB Players Association “that the season may shut down if teams cannot control their outbreaks.”
Some protective measures that the MLB has taken are to keep players further away from each other in the stadium, prohibit players who are not actively in the game from sitting in the dugout and mandating players to wear masks in the dugout.
Following the start of the MLB, the regular season of the NFL began on Sept. 10. Both the MLB and NFL still require teams to travel between cities for each game. However, no fans are allowed to physically attend the games for player, staff and fan safety. Fans can instead watch the games on TV or on other sports broadcasting sites and apps.
In contrast to the MLB, the NFL has very few coronavirus cases among its players. The NFL is conducting frequent tests throughout its staff and players.
According to sportingnews.com, there are four confirmed positive coronavirus cases among players from “58,621 tests administered to a total of 8,739 players and team personnel league–wide.”
In addition to the tests, the NFL created a special list called “Reserve/COVID–19” for players who have tested positive for coronavirus as well as players who have come into close contact with those who have tested positive for coronavirus. It is important to note that not all players on the list have COVID–19.
On the other hand, the NBA and NHL play in the “bubble.” The “bubble” is an isolated environment designed to ensure safety among players and staff from COVID–19.
The “bubble cost[ed] roughly about 150 million dollars to build,” according to ESPN.
Additionally, both the NBA and NHL will have regular testing for coronavirus among their players and staff members.
All NBA games take place in the ‘Disney Bubble,’ or also referred to as the ‘Orlando Bubble,’ at Walt Disney World in Bay Lake, Florida, near Orlando.
The NHL has two ‘bubble’ locations for their games to take place. One is located in the city of Edmonton, Canada for the Western Conference Teams while the other is located in Toronto, Canada for the Eastern Conference teams.
Similar to the MLB and NFL, the NBA and NHL will have no fans in attendance to minimize the risk, so fans will have to watch the games in their homes. However, the games will use speakers and TVs to implement fake crowd noises into the game broadcasts.
While the MLB and NFL are starting their 2020–2021 season, the NBA is in its final playoff series and NHL is finished with their 2019–2020 season.
Recently in the NHL, the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup Finals against the Dallas Stars in a 4–2 series on Monday, Sept. 28.
The NBA finals have started between the Los Angeles Lakers from the Western Conference and the Miami Heat from the Eastern Conference. The teams will play in a seven–game series for the championship.
The Lakers have just defeated the Denver Nuggets 4–1 in the Western Conference while the Heat has just defeated the Boston Celtics 4–2 in the Eastern Conference.
The Lakers currently lead the series 3–1 just recently defeating the Heat on Oct. 6 102–96. The fifth game of the series will be on Friday, Oct. 9 at 6 p.m.
This is the Lakers’ first time in the NBA playoffs since 2013 and their first appearance in the finals since their last championship in 2010.