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Butherus: MLB pushes back Opening Day amid coronavirus fears

There are currently three types of people in this COVID-19 world we live in.

The first group are the dipshits that underestimate the threat of coronavirus purely because some fellow dipshit called it all a hoax on Twitter. Because they had an unvalidated sense of surety and poor hygiene habits, they’ve been walking around proudly declaring stupid things like “it’s like the flu” while they pass along the virus to every innocent bystander unfortunate enough to stand behind them in the beer line.

The second are the ones that get all their news from disreputable sources that were shared by their crazy aunt on social media. They are the dipshits currently causing a mass panic of paranoia and buying up every can of Lysol in a 50-square mile radius.

The rest of us, the sane and rational among us, are currently sitting on our toilets unable to read the latest sports news and unable to even wipe our butts because every square of toilet paper in the world is currently sitting in the back of Karen’s minivan.

Major League Baseball announced that they are shutting down the remainder of spring training and will likely postpone the season at least two weeks into the season. This comes just a few days after it was announced that media would no longer be permitted into the clubhouse. It was the latest in a long line of cancellations and precautions taken in the world of sports because of the pandemic caused by novel coronavirus.

COVID-19 has already forced the suspensions of the NBA and NHL seasons.

The NCAA tournament is being held behind closed doors. Pretty much any event that brings more than 250 people under one roof, as sporting events are prone to do, has been put on hold for the foreseeable future.

And since we, as a society, dragged our feet when the threat first appeared, it is the moral and right decision by the various league officials. It is expected that somewhere between 35 and 50 percent of Americans will contract this virus by the time it is all said and done. And while it is true that most of them, especially those that are young and free of any pre-existing conditions, are at a very low risk of actually dying from the virus, a lot of people are going to die. If you are one of those idiots that posted some inane bullshit about the flu killing more people, I would like to extend my condolences beforehand after karma kills your precious ‘meemaw.’

Unlike most of us who contact this disease, sports, however, is probably not going to survive. At least, not in the way that we’ve come to know it.

COVID-19 is about to reveal some very unfortunate truths for sports fans, mostly that the major sports teams don’t need fans, at least those with their butts in a seat, to be ridiculously profitable. Tampa Bay has been hinting at this for years. The Rays, just like most pro franchises, don’t need a single person to buy a ticket to a game thanks to lucrative television contracts. What happens when those teams truly embrace that new reality? The Rays just so happen to be in the market for a new home. What if they decide to buck the preconceived notion of what a sports venue should be and build something that caters completely to sports as a televised product?

The stadium of the future will be geared toward broadcasts and not being there in person.

There will be minimal seating for fans. Instead, the concourse will be permanent sets for live in-game updates from analysts. Postgame interviews will be done on sound studios with three-key lighting instead of in a scrum at players’ lockers. It’ll just be one giant TV studio with a retractable roof and a clay infield.

Even worse, there will be no independent media if this lack of sports persists. Newspapers and independent media outlets are already hurting, mostly because people are too stupid to read real, actual news unless it doesn’t cause cognitive dissonance. Imagine if there was no sports news and a large chunk of the news-reading population no longer had an incentive to buy a paper every morning. Poor Topkin is already doing his job while taking a 10 percent pay cut. With the exception of the mixed media guys who also work for the radio station (Hi, Carney and Solondz) there are only two independent, full-time beat reporters covering the Rays beat (Author’s Note: I just learned this morning that The Athletic also has had a Rays guy for like two years but because they didn’t follow their own example of hiring an experienced local like Smith or Auman and instead hired a carpetbagger from Wisconsin, nobody in Tampa has noticed nor cared.). If it wasn’t for the frontline journalism of beat reporters, 92 percent of sports media would collapse because of a lack of actual information to report.

So this is the world that we have to look forward to in a COVID-19 sort of world. No beers in the cheap seats. No news on your favorite franchise unless it comes from a slickly produced talking head or a sanitized press release from the team. Also, grandpa is dead.

Good work, coronavirus.

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