We are on the verge of a return to professional sports, and I could not be more excited. Over the next month to two months, the NBA, MLS, MLB and other individual sports will be filtering back into our television programming, and some are even warning that with leagues trying to cram in games and tournaments, we will have somewhat of an overload of sports between now and early winter.
The NBA has an odd plan to play a few regular season games and then a playoff, which will leave some non-contenders benched until next season, while the MLS is coming back with a tournament format that should be exciting. The MLB is struggling to come to an agreement, but thanks to a pact made back in March, the players and the league are locked in to a return of some sort.
The layoff and then the frenzied return of these leagues should make for must-watch TV. Basketball seems to be a sport that gets a little wonky when things go a little off-course, so we may see some surprising results in the early games and the playoff during that league. Should baseball get its business together, 2020 will be a wild season. As we have seen in the recent seasons of Royals success, a half of a season can swing things in a major way. The cruelly long regular season in baseball typically does its job of weeding out the best of the best for the playoffs, but even a bad team can get hot, especially in the early-going, and we could see some real underdogs reach the already expanded postseason.
I do not typically watch much soccer, but I can guarantee you I’ll be tuning in when Sporting KC comes back. That league has handled things well, and it sounds like the local squad has a nice chance to make a strong play in the tournament-style return to action.
Between now and then, the Royals have the number 4 overall pick in next week’s amateur draft. It looks like the team is leaning toward Zac Veen, a tall power-hitting outfielder out of Spruce Creek, Florida. Veen is committed to Florida to play college ball, but seems likely to jump if taken by the right team early in the draft. He is pretty universally ranked in the top-10 of draft prospects and looks to have an incredibly high ceiling if not the highest floor. His stature and swing have drawn comparisons to Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich, which is an exciting notion for a potential Royals prospect.
If you’re like me and just can’t wait to get your sports fix, there are a few options on the table to keep you busy between now and then. The KBO is still going strong and is a fun watch, and if you’re a fight fan, the UFC is putting on some good shows lately. Racing is back up and running for a Sunday watch. And of course we are just a couple weeks away from some local baseball teams hitting the diamonds. There are plenty of opportunities to travel to local cities to watch the high school boys play, and the Bravos are setting up shop in Sabetha and should put on a good show. Get your fill of local sports to get those competitive juices flowing again as we gear up for a return to a wild west-style late summer and fall of professional sports.
(Adam Clay is a sports writer for the Hiawatha World.)