Can we have sports and social distancing?

Barry Evans
Barry Evans

Sports today is a little confused. First of all, nobody seems sure that we are going to have any – except perhaps sometime.  It may even depend on what state you live in.  Some governors (depending on your point of view) are meaner than others, some are ready to permit it, some say that perhaps soon, and others are thinking about it (the next elections, that is).  My position is that we have had enough home, and need a good all-American release.  How that is done is up to those with the power since my authority in that area is extremely limited, and I see no suggestion that it will increase.  That is not surprising as my friends tell me that they have the same problem.

Now from what I read on the Internet and even in the newspapers, people are actually thinking about how the matter should be handled.  Some of the stuff seems a little weird to me.  For example, the baseball boys are coming up with all sorts of suggestions about when and how the game should be played.  They have even provided some new rules.  I wonder how they will work though.  For example, they are proposing that players not be permitted to eat sunflower seeds. (That includes no sneakiness by eating the whole sunflower.)  I am aware that they have more or less forgotten about popcorn and cracker jacks at ball parks, but sunflower seeds are a player’s joy.  If that holds, I predict lower batting averages.

Baseball also claims that they are going to keep social distancing in mind.  All I can say is that base stealing will increase tremendously if the fielders have to stay some distance from the bags – not to mention each other.  However, the biggest wonderment is how the umpires are going to call balls and strikes, if they are twelve feet behind the hitter.  This will be especially true, if the catcher is a big guy with lots of padding half way between the umpire and the batter.  There should be some interesting arguments. In addition, just think about when the catcher is waiting for the throw from the outfield and the runner is headed his way. Obviously, they can’t be permitted to smack into each other.  It is my understanding that the runner will have to veer away at six feet from the catcher, and the umpire will then decide whether he would have made it or not.

Football is not being excused from problems either.  Obviously, they can’t have the offensive or defensive linemen stand six feet apart.  I am sure the running backs would love it though as there would be lots of holes for them to find.  I have no idea what they will do, but I am sure that they will come up with something.  In the case of football, I do have one suggestion which is related to how things were done way back.  That is, the rules should be amended to preclude place kicking extra points and field goals.  If that is done, then teams will have to drop kick the ball for those points.  The beauty of this is that only the kicker will touch the ball and there will be one less unclean hand involved.  This is good as most of the players will not be carrying sanitizing liquid with them.

When some folks read the above, they will say “What was Old Evans on?”  Actually, it should be remembered with kindness and good will, that I was cooped up just like everyone else!

Barry Evans writes about Life in The Villages for Villages-News.com.

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