INDIANAPOLIS — This COVOID-19 outbreak is serious. While this thing started overseas in China late last year and was handled terrible over there, the magnitude wasn’t fully felt here in the United States until last Wednesday. All the fears of this quick spreading virus became a reality when the NCAA did the unthinkable – they announced that the Tournament the following week would be played in front of no fans. The conference’s then followed suit and by late Wednesday evening, the rest of the NCAA Conference Tournaments as well as the “Big Dance” would be played in front of empty houses.
Little did we know then, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus a few hours later, prompting the NBA to hit the pause button themselves. The scene in Oklahoma City when the Jazz were set to take on the OKC Thunder was something out of a bizarre movie. The NBA promptly postponed the season until further notice as the unthinkable from the NCAA became the start of several unthinkable announcements over the course of the last week.
Between the NCAA announcement last Wednesday afternoon to Formula One’s on Thursday morning, eight whole days later, the entire world has basically been put on hold sparring no one – the sports world included.
The NCAA is done, winter and spring sports included. The NBA has been halted indefinitely with now new reports surfacing that nothing will happen until June at the earliest and even then, some of the first games to be played again once they resume may take place without fans.
The NHL has paused. The MLS too. The MLB has postponed the start of their season until at least mid-May at the earliest.
NASCAR and IndyCar are halted until mid-May too as all three (MLB, NASCAR and IndyCar) are heeding to the CDC warnings to avoid public gatherings of more than 50 people until May 8-9-10.
F1 had too but with the outbreak in Europe getting more and more dire, they have now announced to wait until June, postponing their first seven races as a whole. Will others as a result follow suit?
We’re still a little less than two months from that new guideline, so a lot can change between now and then, but with the way this is trending, will NASCAR push back their Coca-Cola 600 and IndyCar their Indianapolis 500?
Plans are starting to be put in place just in case that needs to happen. While both series are planning to resume the second weekend of May, a lot can change between now and seven weeks down the line.
After all, Monaco to F1 is comparable to both and that has been pushed back already. The Masters is similar to PGA and that too has been postponed, albeit that was to take place in early April. The Kentucky Derby is back to September, so is the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Boston Marathon, the Indy Mini Marathon, both have been pushed back or canceled themselves.
In IndyCar and NASCAR’s defense, the only things postponed or canceled in the sporting world past the CDC guidelines have been the Spanish and Monaco Grand Prix’s as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Monaco and Le Mans is in or very near France and the Spanish Grand Prix is also in Spain for which both countries are dealing with a severe outbreak.
But, the only thing now that could take place in May is IndyCar and NASCAR but remember their announcements last weekend? Neither felt it was right to conduct races when everyone else was shut down.
As this is playing out, it appears they are going to be the last two standing in May now. The MLB I guess announce to carry on with business as usual in May but the CDC guidelines keep changing. Without anything between now and May, they’re saying they will need a couple of weeks for practice before they can just resume. Remember, pitchers and catchers report a couple of weeks before other players in Spring Training and they do this for very good reason. You can’t expect the MLB to just start on the first weekend available without much practice.
Who’s going to be first to hold an event again is going to take some guts. Who’s going to do so in front of fans is going to take even more stones. Think of the legal consequences of that decision.
So, will NASCAR and IndyCar start in May and be the only ones?