Mac Engel: The idea of major league sports returning without fans needs to be sent down

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FORT WORTH, Texas — Construction has not yet begun at Colonial Country Club for the Charles Schwab Challenge, the UFC will have fights on an island, and now MLB is considering a plan to play games in empty stadiums.

It will be like every game is in Oakland.

Television is so starved for live sports programming that despite the circumstances the PGA Tour may yet play in Fort Worth next month for the Charles Schwab Challenge. One week, or so, later Arizona could be the home to all of Major League Baseball.

According to reports from ESPN and the Associated Press, MLB and the MLB Players Association have considered a plan to start the 2020 season with every team housed, and playing regular-season games, all over Phoenix.

You know how the old saying goes, “If you really need the money, you’ll play baseball in front of zero fans, in 115-degree heat, under a coronavirus quarantine.”

Meanwhile, the PGA Tour has yet to formally announce any change to its event in Fort Worth, scheduled for May 21 to 24. Colonial members are hopeful some form of the annual tournament will take place, but as of Tuesday construction of the temporary structures for the event had not started.

Take that as a sign.

We all crave for sports to return because it will be a sign that our lives will have returned to normal, too.

Exploring every option is a good idea, even if the concepts themselves are not.

We have to wait. All of us.

Until you can come back, neither can the players.

Players play the games, but you all make the atmosphere. Sports needs fans.

Without you in the stands, every game becomes that much “easier.”

You don’t know it, but you make the games much harder. Without you, it’s a pickup game, a scrimmage, or another round of golf.

The Oakland A’s, Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays would disagree, but to play an MLB game in an empty stadium, save for TV cameras, is not an MLB game. It’s an MLB practice.

We in here talkin’ about practice. NotAGame. Not a game! We talkin’ about practice. Not the game, man. How silly is that?

Amen, Allen.

Cubs v Cardinals in Scottsdale is not a regular-season game. Yankees and Red Sox from Surprise, with not a single obnoxious drunk fan watching in the stands is wrong.

While we all are desperate for anything that resembles our previous routine, and would watch live cockroach fencing, big time sports in empty arenas is a sequel to Jaws. It’s a terrible idea wrapped in a shameless money grab.

We may watch a game or two, but then we will quickly return to Season 5 of Exotic Joe and Tiger King, or whatever other viral hit Netflix has created that unintentionally makes us feel better about our life choices.

MLB’s stupid proposal to play ball for a TV audience from Arizona is not “for the good of America” as super agent Scott Boras told ESPN. This is an attempt to turn on the money for the players, teams and the networks, so baseball and its players can recoup the cash that they are losing.

I would do it as an owner. For players who don’t know how to manage their seven-figure incomes, they have to do it.

The only thing good for America is not playing baseball. The only good thing for America is to take care of this tiny, little issue so we can re-open, and return to our regularly scheduled programming.

UFC president Dana White announced he plans to host the league’s next major event on a private island on April 18. Call it “UFC Lord of the Flies.”

This insane idea will fly because it’s a sport that involves hand-to-hand combat between competitors in something called an octagon.

Every other sport sans fans is a dud.

Take the fans out of a significant basketball game. Suddenly LeBron James at the line for two free throws in an empty gym is an empty feeling, even if the game is tied with two seconds left.

Imagine Tiger Woods playing for the green jacket at Augusta with no fans crying their eyes out.

Does an NHL game without fans banging on the glass, or booing the horrendous officials, feel like a game?

No. Because it’s not.

People watching performers in close physical proximity raises the degree of difficulty of a game to levels us commoners can’t conceive.

Take any task, and now give yourself an audience. If you don’t feel a difference, you’re a corpse.

The players know the difference.

There is a reason they call it The Show.

It’s not a Show without you. Until you can come back to the games, no else should, either.

We all saw Jaws II. It sucked.


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