Lionel Messi of the Manchester United who is the highest paid futbol player in Europe and in the middle of a four year $92 million deal (kitbag-us.com file photo)
Why We Need Sports to Return
That’s Amaury News and Commentary
By Amaury Pi-González
MLB, NBA, NFL, and the NHL. Those are the four biggest and most popular sports leagues in the country. No disrespect to MLS, but while the best baseball, basketball, football and hockey pro-players in the world play in these US leagues, the top soccer/fútbol players in the world do not play in the MLS, they play in Europe.
As a matter of fact Lionel Messi is the highest paid soccer player in the world and the highest paid athlete in the world with the FC Barcelona. Born in Argentina, Messi signed a four year deal in 2017 makes $92 million a year in salary, plus he compliments his salary with sponsorships with Adidas, Gatorade, Pepsi and other worldwide companies, total (playing and endorsements) around $400 million dollars. In China, a theme park called Messi Experience Park opened in Nanjing last year.
But leaving Fútbol/Soccer, the other three leagues are part of the physique of the country, followed by millions of fans and generating billions of dollars for our economy. In the USA during normal times, there is always one of these four leagues playing.
We are just beginning the second half of this year 2020, and there is no doubt this country can use some entertainment, trying to escape what has been the longest first half of a year, maybe in the history of the US. Adding to this shortage of quality entertainment, thousands of theaters/movie houses are closed. I know many have been watching movies on TV, but let’s face it,there is nothing like attending a movie in a nice theater with a big screen.
MLB will begin a 60-game season the 23rd of this month, so far a handful of players have opted-out, and they will not play, most by fears of the Covid-19, in situations with their families and the unpredictability of this virus.
Some other players might follow, or maybe not. MLB has been following the recent developments with the rise of infections in California, Texas and Florida, where almost one-third of the 30-teams that make the league play. Aproximately 20 players and staff members have tested positive for Covid, with the Philadelphia Phillies leading the list, with seven players and five staff members. SF Giants 2019 first round pick Hunter Bishop tested positive.
The NBA is scheduled to begin traveling to Florida next week, with arrivals between July 7 and July 9. They plan to re-start action July 30 at Disneyworld, Orlando, Florida. Adam Silver the Commissioner said “returning to work is not all about dollars and cents”. Unfortunately the Warriors will not be there. Some 16 players have tested positive for Covid so far.
NFL just cut the preseason to two games, with Week 1 and Week 4 to be eliminated from their schedule. Travel will be limited, maybe some staying at their home cities during preseason. The regular NFL season is scheduled to begin on-time (according to league officials) despite the pandemic. The first game schedule for the Texans at Kansas City Chiefs on September 10 and the regular season ending on January 3. Around 10 NFL teams have Covid cases.
NHL plans to return with 24-teams competing for the Stanley Cup, with the best of five series, round robin games in two hub cities, dates not determined yet. Unfortunately, the San José Sharks are not one of those 24 teams and will not be there. Some 16 NHL players have tested positive for Covid.
We need sports to comeback this second half of this year, and we need it badly. It is bad enough that people had to stay inside their homes, with everybody with at least one TV but none of these top leagues in action to watch anything but games from years ago.
Nobody could have predicted all the events so far during this 2020 eventful year. Just think that just three to four months ago we were living in a normal world, yes with all the problems always easy to identify, but we have exceeded the negative and it is time for the positive. Sports is able to do that, it is the best medicine for the mind in days like these. We are a sports nation, we need the entertainment value, but at this time it is more than entertainment, sports has become a much needed therapy.
“It’s not whether you get knockdown; it’s whether you get up” -Vince Lombardi.
Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Spanish radio voice for Oakland A’s baseball on 1010 KIQI San Francisco and does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com