Amaury Pi Gonzalez (left) and Manolo Hernandez-Douen Spanish play by play announcers for the Oakland A’s working at the Oakland Coliseum radio booth might see limited or no action at the Coliseum due to the current pandemic shutdown (file photo from twitter)
Sports in Limbo
That’s Amaury News and Commentary
By Amaury Pi-González
As individual states begin to gradually open up their economy across the country, after 22 million people have filed for unemployment during just the last three weeks, the country is getting is eager to go back to work. Never in our history all 50 States were declared in an Emergency.
But sports (as we are used to, with thousands of people in the seats) could be the last thing to come back,maybe not at all this year. We are a long way for most people in the country to be tested for Covid-19 and probably much longer until somebody develops a vaccine.
We are in uncharted territory. If the economy continues to be closed, the population could lose more people to unemployment at the end to Covid-19. Because of depression, mental issues, drugs, suicide and other stuff that only God knows.
As much as we who love and work in sports for a long time would hate to admit. Sports are not essential in life. It is psychological to have sports back as people would always need a escape. However, you might be able to open a restaurant or other business and develop a system where you could space people six feet apart, but for a 40,000 seat arena, that is totally another problem.
The best analogy of the importance of sports, is my personal experience as a TV Sports Anchor.I used to prepare approximately three minutes of sports for the 30 minutes 6PM Newscast,they were usually at the end after the weather segment.
I cannot remember how many times those three(3) minutes which I worked for eight hours produced, wrote and anchored (and sometimes edited) became 1.5 minutes or less. There will be breaking news stories and they would usually, cut my sports segment. In some cases, the news director will tell met to tape a segment and go home.There will be no live sports today. Yes, folks, although sports is big business in our culture remains the ‘toy department’ in the media world.
So what would have to happen? To go to a sporting event, might be a much bigger challenge than to get on a plane at the airport. People’s temperature (individually) would probably have to be taken at the gate, everybody would have to be separated by at least six feet, but the seating would be the biggest challenge for obvious reasons, i.e. people proximity,eating, talking, screaming, going to the restrooms.
There are no drive-thru windows at the park so you can eat at home or bring your food and eat it inside the car in the parking lot. Needless to say if you want to go to a game that begins at 1PM on a Sunday afternoon, you better be at the park at eight in the morning. Teams will have to hire more attendants at the park. I am sure you can come up with many other scenarios, but none is very pleasant and if we want the fans to have a nice experience, some of these changes will be anything but nice, actually it would create more stress and less enjoyment. .
The most logical option for sports to resume, MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL and MLS. For Baseball.Using the model proposed by the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball. 1-Play in empty stadiums (Arizona and Florida) 2-Players quarantined in hotel rooms nearby the area where they play(Arizona and Florida)as proposed 3-Coverage: Games televised live with the announcers not at the park location but at a television studio, separated by individual booths Print Media and Radio Broadcast probably determined by individual publications and radio stations.
Eric Garcetti, the Mayor of Los Angeles, second most populous city in the country said: “Coronavirus will likely halt sporting events with crowds until 2021”
Stay well. Adios.
Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Spanish radio voice for Oakland A’s baseball at 1010 KIQI San Francisco and 990 AM Sacramento for 41 home games and on tunein.com for 41 home games and does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com