Baseball is back
The New York Yankees played the defending champion Washington Nationals on "Opening Day" with a nasty thunderstorm that shortened the game to six innings.
Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton hit a home run in the first inning and sealed the deal right from the start. Final score of that game was 4-1.
It was followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers against the San Francisco Giants that was played on the West Coast. The Dodgers cleaned house and won the game 8-1. All the other teams will officially start today (Friday). According to the oddsmakers, the Yankees and the Dodgers are the big favorites to make it to the World Series if the season goes on as scheduled. For me, the dynamic of having no fans has been quite odd to watch during the exhibition games, but it is something sports fans are going to have to get used to, at least for this year.
The Phillies offense has been pretty good in the few exhibition games played. If their pitching can hold up, I think they will have a chance to make the playoffs.
Not all the news in baseball is good. The Toronto Blue Jays are not being allowed to play this season in Toronto by the Canadian government because of stricter rules about travel into the country. This will be a huge disadvantage for them for the whole season. It has not been determined where are they going to play their "home" games as of yet. The only team I can think of that had something like this happen was the New Orleans Saints after Hurricane Katrina occurred.
As I mentioned about two weeks ago, the PGA Tour was going to play two events back-to-back at the same course for the first time since 1957. They played the tournaments at Jack Nicklaus' home course in Ohio on the Muirfield Village Golf Club. There was a pretty striking difference in scoring in the two weeks because of the changing condition of the course and the weather.
In the first tournament Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa tied at the end of 72 holes and had a very exciting playoff. That playoff was the first time I missed having fans at the tournaments. This is because on the first playoff hole, Justin Thomas made a 50 foot birdie putt and then Colin made a 25 foot birdie put on top of him. Colin eventually won on the third playoff hole. I imagine it had to steal a bit of the excitement for the players as well, but I'm just glad golf is being played.
Tiger Woods came back on the tour to play in the second tournament called the Memorial. This tournament is actually typically held on that course. Tiger has won that event five times. Unfortunately, he is still struggling with his back problems. If his back doesn’t get any better, he will probably not be playing past another year or two from now. Spaniard Jon Rahm dominated the second tournament. In the last round, he had an eight-shot lead with nine holes to go. He eventually won by three shots at nine under par. He also became the No. 1 player in the world by winning the tournament.
The NBA is the about ready to start their season at the end of next week. In Orlando, using the "bubble" format, things seem to be working out really well to avoid the virus so far. They have daily testing for everybody (players, coaches, staff and media). That's certainly being diligent about safety.
I don’t think the 76ers have a chance this year to win the championship, but they could get to the Eastern Conference finals. And I'm guessing it would probably be against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Stay well, and stay cool.