There has never been a day like this in the history of sports. Ever.
March 12, 2020 is the day that everyone will remember as the day sports stopped due to the pandemic of the Coronavirus.
There has never been a day where the NBA, the NHL, MLB, MLS, and the NCAA men’s and women’s tournaments were all suspended or canceled.
The PGA has canceled all events including the Valspar Championship which was scheduled to be played March 19-22.
The NBA announced that it would shut down operations for a minimum of 30 days.
MLB announced that it is canceling the rest of spring training and pushed back the start of the regular season two weeks till April ninth.
Rays pitcher Blake Snell had some thoughts on the Coronavirus earlier this week. “I think the media kind of hypes up the coronavirus. If they want to look out for our health, that’s cool. But I’m not too worried about it. If I get it, I get it. If I don’t, I don’t. Either way it was meant to be.”
Snell went on to say “I’m not really worried about it, so I don’t get it,”
Every single sporting event known to man has been canceled or suspended until further notice. No one knows when that may be.
The only event that comes close to impacting the sports world like this was the tragedy of 9/11 MLB and NFL canceled games in the days following the attack.
The NHL had given thought to playing games in empty arenas with only essential personal in attendance. But after the NBA shut down their season, the NHL quickly followed suit.
In its statement, the NHL said that “Our goal is to resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent, so that we will be able to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup.”
A disappointed Alex Killorn on a conference call said that he understood the measures that had to be put in pace for public safety, but that it still is disappointing to shut down the season.
The Lightning, favorites to win the Stanley Cup in some Vegas sports books were 43-21-5 on the season and trying to regain their mojo after a series of lackluster performances.
The benefit for the Lightning is that Steven Stamkos who is recuperating from surgery, and Victor Hedman who has missed the last three games with a lower body injury should be healthy for the playoffs.
No one knows when the NHL season will start up again. But we do know that they will probably mirror the NBA and be shut down for at least 30 days.
This would push the calendar to mid-April with three and half weeks to play in the regular season. With the playoffs possibly not starting till early May, it is not inconceivable to think that the Stanley Cup finals cold be played in mid July just as the NFL Is ramping its training camps.
The other challenge for the Lightning and all other NHL teams is maintaining their physical fitness during this time.
Will they be able to use the team facilities? Where will they work out? Will there be a one week training camp prior to re-starting the season?
The XFL announced that they have canceled the rest of their season. Commissioner Oliver Luck said that the XFL will return with a full slate of games in 2021.
The Tampa Bay Vipers of the XFL finished 1-3 in their inaugural season.
The good news is that in China where the coronavirus had a stronghold in some regions of the country, has subsided considerably and the Chinese government is close to starting up their basketball leagues in the near future.
For now we all sit and wait.
At some point we will have our favorite Tampa Bay sports teams to root for again. The arena’s and stadiums will be full of passionate fans rooting on their favorite players.
Until that day happens, stay safe and take all the pre-cautions you can to protect yourself.