Where Chicago Sports Teams Currently Stand Amid Pandemic
Sunday at 4:57 pm
Sports are very far from being a priority right now in the United States, but at the same time their value is rather important within this moment. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the entertainment industry is essentially shut down, and most of the businesses that comprise the tourism sector of the economy remain closed.
In short, there isn’t a whole lot to do, and as we try to stay home as much as possible to fight the spread of coronavirus, we need something to watch on television. Luckily, the NBA, MLB and NHL are all currently active and providing some sort of escape during a very trying year.
For us amateurs, sports provides exercise and the wellness benefits wherein. And with most of us not feeling comfortable to go back to the gym yet, it’s the best time for year to be exercise outside. For those who make a career out of sports, these times can be quite tough, as the business side is hampered by either being shut down, or having to operate in a stripped down format. One thing we all have in common right now, professional athletes, amateurs, weekend warriors, people who work for teams, is the need to prioritize safety.
Remember, it’s just a game or a pasttime, public health and safety comes first. That all said, let’s see how our local teams are doing.
The North-siders, despite having no semblance of a bullpen at all, are currently atop the Chicago sports pecking order. The three-time World Series champions entered the day with the best record in the entire National League, and they have done it without getting much of anything from their best overall player, Kris Bryant. He is out for the second day with gastrointestinal issues and will be getting tested again for COVID.
He has yet to homer and is only batting .120 on the very young season thus far. One thing certainly going in the Cubs favor right now is health and fitness.
Bryant and starting pitcher Jose Quintana are the only major injury absentees that they have had to deal with.
The Sox got off to a very rough start, but have since turned things around. They completed a sweep of the Kansas City Royals today, and we’re now starting to see why so many of us had really high hopes entering this season. Luis Robert, is a five tool star-in-the-making and Eloy Jimenez, acquired from the Cubs in a trade for Quintana, is going to be special for years to come.
If the baseball season can somehow actually be completed, the Sox should definitely be in the postseason, especially with this year’s expanded NBA/NHL model where even the mediocre get in to the playoffs.
We’re used to Bulls seasons ending in June, but typically it’s for a really exciting reason, not an awful one. Last month, it was announced that the Bulls, due to their atrocious record, would be left out of the NBA’s restart plan.
The top 22 of the league’s 30 teams (so more than 2/3, but the Bulls are still too bad to make the cutoff) were invited to play eight games in a “bubble” to finish the regular season. From these eight games, which began on July 30, the top seven teams in each conference will advance, with the final eighth seed in each conference being determined by a potential play-in tournament before the traditional 16-team playoffs.
It all ends on Aug. 14, with any play-in games taking place, if necessary, on Aug. 15 and 16. The postseason will then immediately follow.
As for the Bulls, well, an ESPN 30 for 30 miniseries, focusing on events of 20-30 years ago, is the most relevant thing about them in 2020.
The so-called Monsters of the Midway, who command an inappropriate amount of attention no matter what their record is, are still waiting on a real plan from the NFL. Chicago is eagerly anticipating what new quarterback Nick Foles will bring to the table, and if his presence pushes last year’s starter Mitch Trubisky to finally live up to his draft hype.
However, the National Football League has canceled the entire preseason, and they haven’t shown much of anything when it comes to accounting for player safety amid the pandemic. This plus the extreme contact nature of the sport means we likely won’t have a season at all.
The expanded playoff picture of the NHL restart got the Hawks in and they looked good in their opener, beating the Edmonton Oilers 6-4 in very exciting fashion. Game two of their playoff series is tomorrow night at the Rogers Centre, starting up at 9:30 Chicago time.
The Fire are currently training all this week at Seat Geek Stadium, having been dumped out early in the group stages of the MLS is Back Tournament. What’s next for them, and all other MLS teams eliminated from the tourney remains to be seen.
“It’s part of the progress,” Fire Head Coach Raphael Wicky said after getting eliminated.
“It’s part of what we have to deal with this year. Like I said, we have seen some really good moments of our team and we have now gone through a very disappointing loss against Vancouver, and we have to keep working.
“This was our third game together with this group. We had two more games in the beginning of the season but there were a lot of players not there.”
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly contributes to WGN TV, Sports Illustrated, Chicago Now and SB Nation.
Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.