Jimmy Failla: Pro-sports and COVID-19 — As a fan, I think we should shut down this charade of a season

if we’ve learned anything in these COVID times it’s that shutdowns are contagious.

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The Major League Baseball season has gotten off to a wild start. But enough about Dr. Fauci’s first pitch.

The good doctor's opening night appearance did not prove to be a good omen for the league he loves and sadly, 18 members of the Florida Marlins have tested positive for coronavirus in the past week, causing the team to cancel all of its games through Sunday.

The COVID Chaos raises fresh concerns about the sustainability of the baseball season and presents larger logistical hurdles for other team sports, which is why we should shut them all down now.

NFL PLAYERS WHO HAVE OPTED OUT OF PLAYING THE 2020 SEASON OVER CORONAVIRUS CONCERNS

If we can’t keep a socially distant game like baseball infection-free, what hope is there for the close proximity worlds of NFL Football, NHL Hockey, or even NBA basketball, where everyone plays super tight defense except the Knicks?

The NBA has players quarantined inside a bubble at Disney World and the NHL is using multiple bubbles in the hub cities of Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta. It’s unclear what route the NFL will go but whether it’s no bubble, some bubble, or I can’t believe it’s not bubble, the reality is, no professional sports league will be able to complete its season should a large outbreak occur.

To its credit, the NBA has registered zero positive tests since entering quarantine July 9 but there’s no guarantee players will stay there, as one member of the LA Clippers is already being investigated for visiting a Strip Club.

Should any team see a spike in cases, the collateral damage on the scheduling side will be massive, as it has in baseball where five teams were forced to make changes in the wake of the Marlins shut down.

Heaven forbid there’s an outbreak on multiple teams the scheduling snafus get exponentially worse. They’ll be compounded by the fact that none of these image-conscious commissioners wants to be perceived as being indifferent toward player health, so the pressure to pull the plug will be massive.

And if we’ve learned anything in these COVID times it’s that shutdowns are contagious. If MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has to cancel the season, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is sending in the punt team faster than the Patriots can deflate a football.

The truth is, outside of E-Sports played on video game consoles, no league can guarantee player safety, so why are we risking anyone’s health for what’s already guaranteed to be a charade of a season?

There’s no way an NBA or an NHL title that’s won in a fan-free bubble, without the rigors of travel or the adversity of being a visiting team in a hostile arena, holds the same weight as a “normal” championship.

And while our country is desperate for the escapism sports provide us with, we can't get that escape under these conditions.

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Let’s not kid ourselves, watching baseball without fans is so jarring it takes you completely out of the experience, unless of course you grew up rooting for the Tampa Bay Rays. Even in cities like LA where they’ve used cardboard cutouts in the stands, it’s impossible to turn on a game and not be reminded of the societal upheaval we’re facing.

There’s also a fair argument to be made against using thousands of rapid response test kits on athletes that could be given to more vital members of the workforce, such as first responders and health care professionals, who often wait much longer for results.

Yes, the World Series is culturally significant. But should we really be allocating tests for the Fall Classic when schools might not open this fall?

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Don't get me wrong. I’m obsessed with watching sports. There were long stretches in my 20’s where betting on them facilitated paying my rent and not paying it, if we’re being honest.

But even I think this is a game of chance we should skip.

The risk of staging a watered-down version of pro-sports is not nearly worth the dwindling rewards of watching them so let's try this again in 2021.

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Hopefully by that point we'll have a vaccine and the sports world will have plenty of needles to administer it, assuming they haven't started the Tour De France.

In the meantime, if you need to watch a knockdown, drag-out, win at all costs deathmatch, allow me to suggest the presidential election.

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