Happy Juneteenth, the most quintessentially American of holidays, in that it celebrates both the nation’s ability to right seemingly intractable horrific historic wrongs through grassroots action faster than anyone ever could have dreamed, and also its ability to then revert to virtually the exact same horrific wrongs in all but name for the next century or so. We got issues.
And speaking of issues — if that’s not too inappropriate to compare the enslavement of an entire people with the siphoning off of tax dollars for sports, which it probably is, but segues gotta segue — here are a bunch regarding stadiums and arenas that reared or re-reared their heads in the last week:
- Plans for a minor-league hockey arena in Palm Springs have “stopped” thanks to the pandemic, according to city manager David Ready, but it’s not immediately clear whether that means just the timeline has been delayed or the entire project is up in the air, if that’s even a distinction anymore.
- Also up in the air: exact plans for David Beckham’s Inter Miami stadium complex, details of which were released this week but without any actual details. It looks like Inter will be playing in its “temporary” stadium in Fort Lauderdale for at least the next several years, if not indefinitely, which is absolutely par for Beckham’s Miami stadium campaign ever since he opened that cursed mummy’s tomb.
- Hidden in this Newsday article about Nassau County worrying about losing revenue with the Nassau Coliseum shut down is the fact that arena operator Mikhail Prokhorov is trying to defer $4.4 million in annual rent payments while he tries to unload his lease on the now-squeezed-out-of-the-arena-market place. Which makes a kind of sense since his business has ground to a halt, but what about everybody else?
- So few people buy tickets to Miami Marlins games that the team could make more money this year by playing fewer games and paying its players less, which should come as no surprise since that’s been the team’s business model for years.
- The NBA and MLS are both preparing to return to play this summer entirely in Orlando, and Orlando is in Florida, and Florida is set to become the nation’s new coronavirus epicenter with new cases going through the roof the last two weeks even as testing has largely leveled off, so that’s all gonna be interesting. But NBA players won’t be allowed to share snorkels, which should totally take care of any problems.
- Over in Texas, meanwhile, which is seeing its own spike in virus cases, college football players are testing positive in bunches, which could put the season at risk, though I suppose there are always more people in Texas who want to play football if they wanted to go to 200-player rosters.
- Also seeing a spike in positive coronavirus tests: construction workers at the new Los Angeles Rams and Chargers stadium. None of this should be surprising — obviously reopening work sites is going to increase the spread of the virus, and equally obviously more people are going to show up sick to work (whether they have symptoms yet or not) if there are more people in the general community who have it. The plan was supposed to be to first mitigate the number of infections through lockdowns, and then once cases were at a low level keep them under control via widespread testing and contact tracing, but since apparently most states have decided to reopen before waiting for that second part, it looks like much of America is going to have to prepare for the roller coaster.
- On that note, Anthony Fauci says he doesn’t see how the NFL season will be able to be played as usual if a second wave of infections hits, which seems to kind of overlook that many states are still in the first wave, but whatever. Maybe the NFL can play its whole season in New Zealand — okay, maybe not New Zealand. Vermont?
- Major League Baseball, meanwhile, is inching its way toward a late July restart, with games to be played at teams’ home stadiums, or in the case of the Toronto Blue Jays, probably their single-A ballpark, because Canada is still requiring two-week quarantines for anyone entering the country, though they did lift that for hockey. Location of the Blue Jays’ single-A ballpark? Florida, of course.
- And yes, it’s looking more and more like outdoor transmission of the virus is a smaller risk than was initially feared so long as everyone wears masks — a conclusion reached in part from noting that there’s been no measurable spike in infections after last month’s police violence protests — but also note that Columbia University virus expert Jeffrey Shaman tempers that optimism by saying, “Beaches—you’ve got open air, sunshine, people spread out on blankets—that’s OK. A baseball stadium—people lined up shoulder to shoulder, semi-indoors, for hot dogs and beer and for crowded restrooms—I’m not so crazy about that.”
- And as a reward for sitting through all that epidemiology news, here are a couple of fresh New York Islanders Belmont Park arena vaportecture images, which are mostly notable for conveying “loud” and “intimate” not through any actual innovations in arena geometry — the cheap seats still look a million miles from the action — but rather via having all the little CGI people raise their fists in the air in excitement! CGI people are so much easier to please than real people, even if they seem even less willing to wear their damn masks.