Jun 22, 2020 - Sports

The longest professional sports drought since 1918

Illustration of a spot sign with "sports" written on it.

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Today marks 103 days since the last MLB, NBA, NFL or NHL game — the longest such drought since the fall of 1918, when the World Series was held in September amid WWI and the Spanish flu.

The big picture: Of course, there was no NFL or NBA back then, and the NHL had only been around for a year, so there wasn't nearly as much to miss. Television hadn't been invented, either, so unless your ancestors lived down the street from Ebbets Field, they probably didn't miss the Dodgers games.

Driving the news: Following a rough weekend, the comeback might have to keep waiting.

  • MLB: After the Phillies and Blue Jays shut down their spring training facilities on Friday following COVID-19 outbreaks, MLB decided to shut down and disinfect all 30 team facilities.
  • NBA: The surging number of cases in Florida, which posted a record high Saturday for the third straight day, has raised concerns throughout the NBA as it prepares to travel to Disney World next month.
  • NFL: Following a flurry of positive tests, the NFL Players' Association has advised players not to participate in group workouts ahead of the scheduled opening of training camps next month, where teams will be mandated to create "tiers" of access to try to manage infections.
  • NHL: 11 of the 200 players tested since training facilities were allowed to open on June 8 have tested positive, the league announced Friday. All players are required to report on July 10 ahead of the expanded 24-team postseason.

Elsewhere: Hundreds of college football players (including 23 at Clemson) have tested positive since returning to campus, and the fear among administrators that the fall season will be interrupted — or even canceled — is stronger than it's been all month.

"This is going to be a very bumpy landing. We haven't even brought back all our teams. And this is the most controlled setting. There's no one else on campus."
— Anonymous Power 5 athletic director, via Yahoo Sports

Meanwhile, abroad: Multiple countries have seen major sports return. The world's four biggest soccer leagues (England, Spain, Italy, Germany) are back; baseball resumed in Japan this weekend; and basketball resumed in China.

Go deeper: Florida, home to sports this summer, sees coronavirus cases spike

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