In the summer of 2020, a niche sport is far more likely to return to action before a major college or professional team sport figures it out. This past weekend we saw a new record in hot dog eating and next weekend Phoenix sports fans will get their minor league soccer team back on the pitch. The Diamondbacks appear to be on deck, but the coronavirus may have other plans. That tops our look at five big takeaways is the sports world on this Monday, July 6.
D-Backs’ relief pitchers Silvino Bracho and Junior Guerra both tested positive for coronavirus over the weekend and reportedly are asymptomatic and “feeling great”. They are two of the 38 MLB players/staff that received a positive test, out of the more than 3,100 tests given. That’s a 1.2% positive rate. Still, some of the game’s veteran players are opting out. In addition to Diamondbacks starter Mike Leake, Dodgers starting pitcher David Price and Braves starting pitcher Felix Hernandez announced they’re sitting out the 2020 season. Monday morning, Atlanta outfielder Nick Markakis opted out after talking to teammate Freddie Freeman (who has had fever and body aches due to COVID-19). Meanwhile, MLB will release the 60-game schedule Monday night with all this virus uncertainty looming over the sport.
This is the big national news in sports this weekend, with three minority stake owners of the Washington NFL franchise reportedly wanting out if a name change doesn’t happen. Major corporate partners are also putting enhanced pressure on team owner Dan Snyder, after years of failed pursuits to eliminate the nickname. Nike no longer sells Redskins merchandise online and team sponsors FedEx and Pepsi are reportedly pushing for a name change. Meanwhile in baseball, Cleveland announced it’s considering dumping the Indians nickname, in the wake of recent social unrest in the country.
Oh to be young and in love (and both be multi-millionaires). Not saying there’s love here between Devin Booker and Kendall Jenner (yet), but they’ve been seen and photographed together often during the past few months of social distancing, and it has a lot of folks online speculating about their dating lives. The pair was reportedly riding together in a classic car around Paradise Valley over the holiday weekend, days before Booker and his Suns teammates ship out for Orlando to resume the NBA season. No word yet if Jenner will be allowed inside the Disney World bubble to visit Booker in the coming weeks. However, the Suns are considered a long shot to extend their time in Orlando by making the playoffs.
Soccer seems to be the lone team sport that knows how to get back to business. Most European leagues have resumed their seasons and now its time for USL to get back on the pitch. Phoenix Rising FC last played way back on March 7. They’ll take on LA Galaxy II this coming Saturday night in a match that will air on ESPN+. No fans are allowed inside Casino Arizona Field, but the team is encouraging its fan base to drive thru and drop off signs on Thursday from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The signs will be displayed in the seats during Saturday night’s match.
MLS also gets underway with matches Wednesday night inside a bubble environment in Orlando. The tournament is scheduled to wrap up in mid-August, assuming the virus doesn’t wipe it out.
It’s one thing to be dominant in sports like Michael Jordan was in basketball or Tom Brady is in football. But then there’s the level that competitive eater Joey Chestnut is on. Dominance doesn’t even seem like an appropriate word to use to describe what he’s done over the past decade in the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. Saturday, Chestnut devoured 75 hot dogs and buns – 33 more than the next closest competitor! It’s his 13th win in the event, the most all-time. Perhaps we could coin a new word to describe this type of sports supremacy: Chestnutted? Or, maybe not.