By Ned Yarsky
The Coronavirus epidemic has caused businesses to close, massive layoffs and furloughs, and forced a new way of life. Despite all the calamity of the pandemic, however, sports are coming back into our daily lives, and hopefully the return will bring back some nostalgia of our pre-COVID American way of life.
There are, of course, new rules and a new format to sports in the era of coronavirus, so dial in sports fans.
Major League Baseball began its spring training a little late this year, on July 1. Officially, the season started over three weeks later on July 23, and has scheduled 60 games. A normal baseball season is 162 games.
Included in the amended season are new roster size rules. In the beginning, each team can start off with a 30 man roster. After two weeks, teams will have to cut down to 28 players. After another two weeks, 26 players, but for double headers (two games played in one day), teams will be allowed to add one more player to the roster.
After adding some fire power to their squad, the Nationals and their fans are still going to miss Anthony Rendon, who recently signed a deal with the Los Angeles Angels. To fill that spot in the roster, the Nationals have added stars like Starlin Castro and Eric Thames.
There have been some setbacks while transitioning to the new reality of social distancing baseball, though. Pitcher Sean Doolittle has been speaking out against the delayed test results. Understandably, he’s concerned that the delay in test results is dangerous to his health, his teammates’ health, and his family’s health. He wants to make sure he is coming into a safe environment, not just for himself but for everyone.
Despite the obvious setbacks to the season, and continuing reservations amongst players and fans, the Nationals are bound to be a team to look out for coming off of their history-making World Series Championship run last year. The team started this new, fanless-stadium baseball season with a three game series against the New York Yankees, which started July 23.
The Nats aren’t the only D.C sports franchise navigating the era of coronavirus sports, however.
D.C. United have dribbled their way through a slightly different story. While the Nationals got to finish their last season, United was left hanging when MLS suspended the 2020 season on March 12, only weeks after the season kickoff. The District’s home team futbollers were set to play in the Open Cup and Leagues Cup, but due to the pandemic, the tournaments were suspended indefinitely.
United fortunately made their return in the MLS is Back tournament, which started July 8 and marked the second opening kickoff for Major League Soccer in 2020. Like Major League Baseball, there will not be any fans, so those of us who live in Southwest will not see the mass