Every-Thing Sports

Coronavirus: How it's impacting sports

fda.gov

When some people go to work, they go into an actual building or office of some type. Generally, you work with and around other people. There's always "water cooler talk" that takes place discussing the topics of the day that are most pressing. It could range anywhere from sports to politics to pop culture to whatever is hot in the news cycle. Lately, it's been the coronavirus (COVID-19). The virus originated in China and has spread all over the globe. It's similar to the flu, but has some differences. Nonetheless, it's still deadly and can be highly contagious unless proper precautions are taken.

Proper precautions being taken is what led me to this article in the first place. So many people let the media's coverage control their thinking. There's been reports of widespread outages of common items like toilet paper, hand sanitizer, hand soap, water, and other various items you'd normally see on shelves. Price gouging is rampant as well. I've seen disinfectants, cleaners, bleach, and other necessities to combat the spreading of the virus go for as much as ten times their normal value! So how is it effecting sports?

Games without fans

Italy is one of the countries that have been hit hard by the coronavirus. Italian based Serie A, one of the top soccer leagues in the world, has suspended all non-essential personnel to its matches, meaning, they have no fans and very few others in attendance. Other leagues around the world have similar statutes in places, or have canceled events altogether. Several non-sporting events have been canceled as well. Not all events have been this restricted or canceled however...

Restrictions in place

There are other restrictions placed upon other events that haven't been canceled. For example, media access to locker rooms have been instituted. Some leagues have mandated that the media will only be allowed to interview players in general media availibility before and/or after games instead of the locker room access. Players have self-imposed restrictions as well. C.J. McCollum of the Trailblazers came out and said he isn't signing autographs for the time being after the outbreak hit Oregon.

More potential fallout

When the NBA came out and said they may play games without non-essential personnel, LeBron James strongly disagreed. He went as far as saying he wouldn't play because he does it for the fans. The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo were thought to be in danger until the IOC came out and said the games will be played. Some organizations state-side have taken precautions, but no major cancellations or serious changes as of yet. There's been talk of making changes. I imagine leagues are monitoring the situation and will act accordingly.

All we can do as the public is stay calm and well-informed. All the unnecessary stuff, like clearing the shelves at stores and price gouging, needs to stop. Sports serve as a respite from our lives. If we can't have sports to serve as an escape, what do we have? Thank God sports radio hasn't been affected...yet. The fact that I even felt compelled enough to write this was too much for me. Sports is the one thing that helps us get through tough times. If those tough times begin to effect how and/or how much we consume our sports, you know things are getting bad. Bottom line: be careful, stay well-informed, and wash your nasty ass hands!

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THE LEFT TURN

NASCAR: Quaker State 400 preview

Photo via: WikiCommons.

This week, the NASCAR cup series heads to Kentucky Motor Speedway for the Quaker State 400. Built in 2001, this track is a 1.5 mile tri-oval with a dog-leg on the front stretch. The most dangerous part of the track has to be turn three as the corner is flat compared to the other three corners that are banked. This has been a major point of contingency for these drivers as most of the cautions end up being there. Look for turn three to be a hot spot come Sunday. Last year, both the Busch brothers finished 1-2 in one of the most exciting finishes of the season so there will be a lot of hype for this race to live up to.

Last week at Indy, as we all expected the race was a crazy one. Over the course of the race's 160 laps, we saw many horrific accidents including a scary pit road accident involving Corey Lajoe, Ryan Blaney, Justin Allgier, Ryan Preece and others. The wreck started when everyone got stacked up entering the pits and the calamity was on from there. During the wreck Brennan Poole struck Rear Tire Changer Zach Price as he was trying to avoid the wrecking cars in front of him. After the incident fans and media alike all held their breath as they awaited news on his condition. But when the camera panned to him being loaded into the ambulance, there was a huge sigh of relief as he gave everyone a thumbs up signifying he was okay. Another scary moment was both Erik Jones and Alex Bowman's vicious crashes. Both cars had tire failures that sent their cars directly into the wall. Fortunately both drivers were okay but their days were over.

In the end, tire wear would end up claiming one more victim as it took out Denny Hamlin as well. With seven laps to go, the four-time winner this season was in prime position to get his fifth victory until his right front tire blew out, sending him hard into the turn 2 wall. This mishap handed the win to his main rival in the championship, Kevin Harvick, as he went on to claim his third Brickyard 400 victory and fourth win of the year. When it was all over, many questioned why there were so many tire failures and if new owner Roger Penske would make an effort to possibly widen the pit-road after the massive accident on Sunday.

Needless to say, there are a lot of questions on what will be different at Indy in 2021. When I talked to spotter Freddie Kraft on Tuesday, he gave a lot of good insights on both topics. When it came to the tire failures, he talked about how the increasing corner speeds at the racetrack has put a lot of pressure on these Goodyear tires which eventually led to them coming apart. As far as Pit-Road and what they can do to fix that, he talked about how it is difficult to make changes to a track that is so historical. Which makes sense, but he followed this up by saying that maybe it would be wise to give up a little history and move the wall over and make it wider. It will be interesting to see what NASCAR does in the coming months.

On Friday, Associated Press journalist Jenna Fryer revealed a bombshell announcement that 7-time champion and NASCAR's biggest name Jimmie Johnson, had tested positive for coronavirus. As everyone knows, the world is going through the worst pandemic it's ever faced in this lifetime. With the sport coming back and racing again, it was only a matter of time until one of the drivers came down with it. Unfortunately it had to be NASCAR's most recognizable driver. Thankfully, Jimmie made a full recovery and was cleared to return this weekend at Kentucky. This was a big scare for everyone in the NASCAR world, but I have to give a lot of credit to Johnson for being as forthright as he was about his diagnosis with everyone who he works with. It will be good to have Jimmie back on Sunday.

The driver that I have winning this weekend is Kyle Busch. While this season has been a disappointment for the defending champion, Kentucky would be a great place for him to turn it around. Ever since the cup series has started going there, Kyle has always been in contention to win. In fact, he won the first cup series race that was run at this track back in 2011. In his nine starts there, Kyle has finished outside the top ten only once and even then he finished 12th, back in 2016. Last season it appeared that Kyle was on his way to a third victory at this track, but he came up one spot short to his brother Kurt in a fantastic last lap duel. After a late race restart this weekend though, I see Kyle redeeming himself and capturing his first victory of 2020. Look for Kyle to get back on track come Sunday.


All stats and information used in this article are brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com, the best websites for all NASCAR stats.

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