What Would Have Been: Live sports events shuttered by virus
With the national sports calendar now in its second month on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic, The Associated Press looks at what would have been held the week of April 13-19:
— Every player would have been wearing No. 42 on Wednesday for Jackie Robinson Day. Major League Baseball annually marks the anniversary of Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier on April 15, 1947. His number was retired by all teams in 1997 and everyone in uniform has had No. 42 on Jackie Robinson Day since 2009.
— The Cincinnati Reds have a five-game losing streak at Yankee Stadium, where they were scheduled to play this weekend for the first time since 2017. Cincinnati’s five World Series titles include the Big Red Machine sweeping the Yankees in 1976. New York has won 27 championships, five since the Reds’ last one in 1990.
— Three-time AL MVP Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels were scheduled to make their second trip of the season to Houston, though two-time AL Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander was likely to be out because of a groin injury. Trout has hit just .125 (5 for 40) with two solo homers and 11 strikeouts vs. the Astros right-hander, his lowest mark against any pitcher with at least 15 at-bats.
TRIVIA BREAK: The Yankees were scheduled to play a series at Texas, which has the only new MLB ballpark this year. Texas played 26 seasons in its former stadium, which opened in 1994. Which other MLB team inaugurated a new stadium that strike-shortened season. Bonus: How many teams still play in ballparks older than that? (answers at bottom).
NBA: The 82-game regular season would have wrapped up Wednesday, with the playoffs starting Saturday. Four teams had already clinched playoff spots when the season was suspended on March 11: Milwaukee, Toronto and Boston in the East, and the Los Angeles Lakers in the West.
NHL: The playoffs would have been well underway, and some teams could have already been preparing for the second round.
PGA TOUR: C.T. Pan almost skipped Hilton Head last year, but won the RBC Heritage for his only PGA Tour victory and a spot in The Masters. He would have been coming off his first appearance at Augusta, where The Masters has been postponed to November.
NASCAR: After the Cup Series’ traditional Easter weekend off, it would have been racing at Richmond. Martin Truex Jr. swept both races there last year.
INDYCAR: Alexander Rossi would have gone for his third consecutive win on the temporary street course through downtown Long Beach.
XFL: After a 10-game regular season, the top four teams would have been part of the first playoff weekend. Instead, the league has suspended operations and laid off employees.
TRIVIA ANSWERS: The Indians, who moved into Progressive Field in 1994 after sharing Cleveland Stadium with the NFL’s Browns. There are 10 MLB teams whose home stadiums are older, with Boston’s Fenway Park the oldest. It opened in 1912, two years before Chicago’s Wrigley Field.