Legendary New York Yankees baseball catcher, the late Yogi Berra, exclaimed, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” With the rise of COVID-19 cases around the country, the chances that professional sporting leagues could resume seemed bleak. This wasn’t the case. Sports are back, and America is excited. MLB opened last night in D.C. The Yankees beat the Nats in a rain shortened game, 4-1.
As UFC, MLS, and NASCAR have been in full swing for a few weeks, it’s now time for sports fans to finally have the chance to see some NBA and NHL Playoffs, the 2020 MLB Season, and yes, in just a few weeks, the 2020-21 NFL season. With reasonably safe plans put into place by commissioners and executives, sports are back, and enthusiasts can finally kick back, relax, and enjoy watching their favorite teams battle it out.
Let’s check in with the talkies to get their takes:
Dick Vitale (ESPN Analyst) – @DickieV
- Dick Vitale is ecstatic that sports are almost back. He was thrilled to see Gerrit Cole get to work in a Yankees uniform. Vitale had some high praise for NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Like many, Vitale feels Silver has done a fantastic job of planning the season’s restart during a time in which the nation is in uncharted waters. With MLB, NBA, NHL, and NFL right around the corner, DickieV says sports aficionados should be excited and jumping out of their seats. Vitale continues to be a strong supporter of TheVFoundation. He strongly encourages individuals to donate and educate themselves on the foundation whose mission is to achieve victory over cancer.
Rachel Nichols (Host of ESPN’s The Jump) – @Rachel_Nichols
- Just one week ago, Rachel Nichols had a private conversation in Florida recorded externally without her knowledge, and it made the news. This week, even as the intensity of the resumption of games heats up, Nichols took time to admire how NBA players continue to fight for social justice. She underscored the fact that “these guys aren’t going to stop fighting for you.” Nichols also emphasized that it’s “downright incredible” how the NBA pulled off the Orlando Bubble in order to resume the 2019-2020 season. She quipped that there are 21 road teams and 1 home team. Disney employees were cheering “Let’s go Magic” before the players stepped on the court for their scrimmage. Nichols also pondered whether the Denver Nuggets’ “Tall Ball Lineup” will help the team succeed come playoff time.
Buster Olney (ESPN Columnist) – @Buster_ESPN
- From Mookie Betts’ mega-deal extension to the status of Jose Altuve and from the #BlackLivesMatter movement to MLB Playoffs, Olney was a source of information. Olney retweeted a variety of posts that addressed how ace pitchers, like Gerrit Cole and Jack Flaherty, are strong proponents of the fight for #BlackLivesMatter. Both superstars believe that stenciling #BLM on the mound is a “wonderful thing.” Olney also shared his thoughts on the 2020 MLB Playoffs. He also joked about Dr. Fauci’s opening pitch: “A socially distant first pitch.”
“If MLB, PA agree to a 16-team playoff field for 2020, that likely means, given the calendar limits, that the first round would be best-of-three. The heavy favorites, Dodgers and Yankees, might be playing for their lives right away.” Update: The parties agreed yesterday to expand the number of teams from 10 to 16.
Mike Golic & Trey Wingo on ESPN – @GolicAndWingo
- Mike Golic and Trey Wingo gave their brief rundown assessing an array of NBA Teams before the games begin within the bubble. The men opined that they believe Giannis will win his second MVP. Golic and Wingo also insist that Giannis is in the running for the Defensive Player of the Year Award as well. Golic and Wingo were also exuberant that MLB is back and underway.
Skip Bayless (FOX Sports) – @RealSkipBayless
- Skip Bayless is is looking forward to seeing how the remainder of the NBA season plays out. He feels as if the NBA bubble situation will work. It will be interesting to see if Bayless still feels this way after Patrick Beverley had to depart from the bubble for personal reasons a couple days ago.
“Never thought I’d be so happy to see live “preseason” NBA basketball. PG [Paul George] looked like PG and Kawhi like Kawhi. Clippers look deep and strong. HERE WE GO.”
Colin Cowherd (Fox Sports) – @ColinCowherd
- This past week, Colin Cowherd shared some of his opinions on the NBA. He predicted that in three months, Kawhi Leonard will have his third finals MVP. On another note, Cowherd gave his followers a rundown on who he believes will win the NBA Awards.
Colin Cowherd’s Awards Ballot:
- Rookie of the Year: Zion Williamson
- Most Improved Player: Jason Tatum
- Defensive Player of the Year: Giannis Antetokounmpo
- Coach of the Year: Billy Donovan
- 6th Man of the Year: Lou Williams
- MVP: LeBron James
Sarah Spain (ESPN) – @SarahSpain
- Sarah Spain was very active on her platform this week. She discussed all of the recent MLB fervor. Where will the Blue Jays ultimately call home? Baltimore? Pittsburgh? Buffalo? Connecticut? Was Mookie Betts worth his contract extension? Spain also had lots of great insight with regard to the WNBA and the league’s plan to tip-off its season on Saturday, 7/25 in the “Wubble” (Women’s Bubble). Spain also praised and showed love for American rapper, Snoop Dogg. Lastly, Spain posted a tweet marketing Seattle Kraken merchandise (the new NHL expansion team, whose nickname was announced on Thursday, 7/24).
“Snoop is a walking hit song. He could do this for HOURS and never miss.”
Dianna Russini (NFL Reporter and ESPN Host) – @diannaESPN
- Like Sarah Spain, Diani Russini is in awe of Snoop Dogg and excited to sport some Seattle Kraken gear. She humorously stated “I don’t need fans. Just send Snoop to every NFL game.” Russini wonders if former Oregon Ducks star, Justin Herbert, will be the starter, backup, or third string QB of the Los Angeles Chargers. Russini retweeted a video of Cam Newton and Julian Edelman on the football field practicing with one another. Could this perhaps be the next unstoppable NFL dynamic duo?
Rich Eisen (Rich Eisen Show on NBC Sports Network) – @richeisen
- Rich Eisen did not have his normal strong presence this week on Twitters. He posted a variety of movie scenes, character comparisons, and GIFs in which his followers could indulge. His feed concentrated less on sports and instead took a unique angle that focused on the movie and entertainment industry. Eisen was happy with how the Yankees performed during their opener.
Jeff Passan (ESPN MLB Insider) – @JeffPassan
- Jeff Passan was tweeting by the hour this week. It is evident that he is excited about the inception of the shortened 60-game 2020 MLB campaign. Passan had a great deal to say when relating to Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts’ 12 year, $365 million contract extension (up to $392 million with incentives). The Dodgers move “illustrated how much the franchise believes in Betts.” On a different note, Passan emphasized how the Toronto Blue Jays could “wind up as road warriors for the season.” Since the club is not allowed to play home games across the border, the Jays must find a new home stadium for the 2020 season. While Pittsburgh’s PNC Park was originally the front-runner, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf was not so quick to accept the Blue Jays request because of COVID-19. Passan was in awe at Giancarlo Stanton’s 459 foot home run.