Mixed Messages

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    • Future of MLB season becomes cloudier.

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The return of baseball this summer grows more unlikely by the day as reports surfaced Tuesday that at least eight MLB owners don’t want a season. Those reports come a day after MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said, “The owners are 100% committed to getting baseball back on the field.”

Manfred’s comments came after the MLB Players Association told him to set the schedule, a solution which would need 75% approval from league ownership. The owners could be employing a scare tactic in an attempt to remind players there’s more than a half-season at stake. Whether the owners are telling the truth and want to avoid losing billions of dollars or are concerned for health reasons or just bluffing, there’s plenty of mixed messages coming from the baseball world.

League News:

  • More details are emerging around the NBA’s return to play in Orlando at Walt Disney World, which will include hotel amenities, access to pools, barbers, manicurists and pedicurists, a 24-hour VIP concierge, and daily entertainment, including movie screenings and DJ sets. There could also be special access to the Disney parks. The Athletic’s Shams Charania also reported details around teams’ 35-person traveling groups and game day processes.
  • As the English Premier League kicks off today behind closed doors, fans will be featured on video walls. Other components to minimize the impact of having no fans: club-specific wraps around stadium lower tiers, use of music, and a “celebration cam.”
  • The NFL announced the Pro Bowl would be in Las Vegas on Jan. 31, 2021. For the past four years, the annual all-star game has been held in Orlando after a long run in Hawaii. Las Vegas will also host the 2022 NFL Draft after the live portion of the event was canceled this year.
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Edmonton, Toronto, and Vancouver all are eligible to be a hub city for the NHL’s return. The hubs are yet to be announced, but Canada’s border restrictions were a hurdle – Trudeau said players would not be required to quarantine for 14 days after entering the country.
  • The US Open is set to go ahead as scheduled, beginning August 31, but without fans. The tennis tournament will help the USTA weather a tough financial year, even with international stars voicing their concerns about the event.