2021 in Sports

by Mémé

Now that the Super Bowl is behind us, what are you looking forward to this year in Sports, both spectator and participatory? For yourself, your family members, your community.

I still have my Red Sox season tickets. Since I can roll over the paid up balance from one year to the next, and I doubt there will be fan seating before mid summer, I have decided to keep them through 2022, which I expect will be the first full season with crowds. Sunk cost and all that, even though I have a right to a refund of cancelled dates.

81 thoughts on “2021 in Sports

  1. I have become less interested in sports this year, now that the social aspect (watching games together, talking about the games with friends) is no longer there.

  2. I am seriously considering getting two season tickets to our local minor league baseball team. I seriously doubt they’ll allow fans in the ballpark till mid-season and maybe not at all. And the night games are miserable in April and often in May, which I guess I will not have to actually worry about, and I have to work, and who will really want to go with me. There’s not a bad seat in the park and a whole season is $425 max, but there won’t be a full 70 game home slate, so less. Maybe way less.

  3. I am feeling pretty hopeful that I’ll be able to go to some baseball games this summer, but we’ll see. I’m not comfortable going until vaccinated myself, but we’ll see. The seating is pretty tight, so I don’t know how it will work if there are still capacity restrictions, etc.

    This is DS’s last year in little league which is a bit bittersweet although he can still play in the pony league next summer if he’d like. His birthday is just after the cut off, so he actually gets a “bonus year” as compared to his classmates. But it should be a fun year – as the “big kids” his travel team will go to a state tournament and Cooperstown, which he’s been looking forward to for awhile. Those are late in the summer, so I think it will happen.

    Hoping we will get to some NHL games this fall as well…that’s when we’ll really know things are back to “normal”.

  4. I will def get some kind of sports subscription like I did last year (fubo) so I can watch the Red Sox. I wonder whether the Olympics or figure skating worlds will happen – will we get sufficient vaccine by that time?

  5. I miss going to any sporting event. I really miss watching my kids in their activities. I’m happy that their practices have resumed, but I don’t get to go in and watch them. I’m looking forward to seeing them play and perform. I’m also looking forward to going to a baseball game, any game, on a nice summer day.

  6. DH has been following hockey, but he says tracking the COVID infections among the players and coaches is the most entertaining part.

  7. I am wondering if the Olympics will happen. My guess is no. Or, perhaps it will be a really watered-down version (e.g. only the top contenders in each sport invited, they all have to stay in a bubble while in Tokyo, few or no spectators, etc.). I used to be a huge fan of the Olympics, but my interest has waned in recent years with all the stories coming out about the physical, sexual, and emotional abuse that seems to go on in so many sports. I would probably still watch some events, though.

    Personally, after learning on this board that there is such a thing as an inflatable paddle board, I am thinking about getting one and doing some paddleboarding this summer. I am also dying to go back to in-studio yoga classes. (Yes, I do consider yoga a sport.)

  8. I’m hoping we can go to a Mets game when we go back east for my nephew’s re-wedding. And I’m hoping we can go to a football game at Arizona with DS this fall.

    DD and I are coaching two softball teams this spring/summer. Everyone from the team last fall wants to play again, but because softball goes in two-year groupings, half of them have to move up to 12U. So we’re going to have a 12U team in one league that plays in April to early May and then a 10U team in another league that plays in May/June. Should be interesting.

  9. I’m not a big sports fan in general. But I do love the Olympics. So I’ll be interested to see if Japan is able to host this summer. According to the IOC the 2020 Summer Olympics are scheduled for 23 July to 8 August 2021. The Japanese government is moving heaven and earth to make it happen.

  10. We have MN United season tickets, but I doubt we will be able to attend in person this year. I’m looking forward to going to games in 2022. I’d like to go to some MN Twins games too.

    Last year, DS1 qualified for a national tryout. If he had made the team, they would have traveled to Spain between Christmas and New Year’s. I’m hoping he will have a chance to try out again this year. I’m looking forward to being outdoors this spring for soccer and baseball and being able to watch in person. There are limited spectators for scrimmages and games right now, so DH goes in person, and I watch streams online. One highlight of covid though is all the streaming of games as we are able to watch my nieces play basketball.

    I’m enjoying watching college volleyball right now. My niece gets a bonus year as this year doesn’t count for eligibility, so I’ll get to watch her play in the fall again too.

  11. For the first time I didn’t know who the musical performers were at the Super Bowl. I saw The Weekend on the Grammy’s a few years ago and recognize one of his songs, but that’s it. The musicians that sang the Star Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful I didn’t know at all (and thought their versions were terrible). I know who Brady and Gronkowski are and had heard of Mahomes but the rest of them, no.

  12. “I saw The Weekend on the Grammy’s a few years ago and recognize one of his songs, but that’s it. ”

    You know you’re old when you and your spouse watch the halftime show and both go “Who the F is that??”

  13. I feel for the Olympians as there is a window of time and if they can’t do this summer or next that window will close.

    We have season tix for the Nuggets and hope that by the fall we can see some games.

    The thing that struck me this weekend is that Manning has been out five years and made HOF and in that time Brady has gone to 4 Super Bowls and won 3. Manning was able to win going to another team but now Brady has and did it in year one. Manning did make the SB in year one but lost. I don’t think Brady would’ve won another in NE but he’s chasing records and/or challenges that other’s can’t even imagine. He had to leave NE to recapture the motivation.

  14. We were big Yankees fans when we lived in NY (sorry, Meme) I loved being in the stadium for big games, it was fun when they had that incredible run. Seeing Alicia Keys and Jay Z play that “Empire State” song was amazing in the stadium with all those people. I miss it so much. Here we go to the Heat every so often even though we don’t actively follow – it’s an amazing spectacle, so loud and there is a funky/Latin vibe with the music and the food that is so fun. We are hoping the Marlins get good. The Stadium is sooo comfy and convenient!

  15. I knew who he is and recognized most of the songs, although I though the show was terrible.

  16. Last night my husband said that the Superbowl half-time shows got lame about 10 years ago, I said that is just because that is when you stopped knowing who the people performing were.

  17. I keep saying when we get home I’m going to do nothing but watch ESPN for a month. Although it had changed so much before I left I could barely stand it. I’m sure I’ll be disappointed when we return. We still have our NFL season tickets, but I’m not sure if we’ll attend games in person in 2021. We’ll see how the vaccination rollout goes. I can not wait to listen to baseball again. I don’t have to watch the games. I am perfectly happy to just listen to the radio broadcast.

  18. “For the first time I didn’t know who the musical performers were at the Super Bowl.”

    Me too! Talk about feeling old! OTOH, yeah, that flipped during the commercials, when I was explaining to DS who all those people were. Although even I didn’t recognize Travolta — he was one of those faces I was looking at going, wait, I know him, he’s SO familiar. . . .

    Sports for us usually now shifts to college basketball, but Covid is definitely messing that up. I am glad there’s hockey at least, although the past few Caps games have been frustrating as all get-out.

  19. I think the Japanese govt should just give up and cancel the Olympics.

    If everyone can get vaccinated by the end of the summer then why not do it in the fall? The average temps in Tokyo in October are high of 71 low of 58 and November high 62 low of 49. It might even be more pleasant for all involved than August with its high of a very humid 88 and a low of 57.

  20. I heard one issue is that there has to be some period of time for a break between the 2021 olympics snd winter 2022 in China. The committee and everyone involved said it is too much to do fall in Japan and then go right to winter 22 olympics.

    Japan already took a lot of money that would have to be returned if there are no olympics. Big financial mess for many parties if there are no summer olympics.

  21. I knew the songs of half time but I never pay attention to who is singing them. I knew “of” Weeknd but I couldn’t associate the songs with him. I used to listen to a Top 40 type local radio station on the way to work, I knew which songs were popular. My kids tell me that lots of performers now get popular on Tik Tok first. I try to keep up as best I can.

  22. “If everyone can get vaccinated by the end of the summer then why not do it in the fall?”

    This of course makes sense if we weren’t talking about a ginormous beaurocracy. I love the Olympics but can’t figure out how they will even select teams when all the qualifiers have been cancelled. In the individual events, you don’t just get to sign up for the Olympic trials; you have to be selected for the national teams and compete in qualifiers around the world and then be selected to attend trials…. Even if Japan is serious about having the Olympics this summer (and there was a bruhaha a couple of weeks ago when it was leaked that Japan had decided to cancel) the whole system of who gets to go needs to be reworked. It is so sad for the athletes.

  23. HFN,

    It doesn’t seem any more complicated than HSSs adapting to admitting students with no test scores, no extracurriculars, and unreliable grades. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

  24. However, the Olympics are optional. It might be a possible diversion from the task of managing COVID and rolling out the vaccines. Can a bureaucracy walk and chew gum at the same time? The answer is unclear.

  25. I hope you are right, Rhett.

    I’ve seen speculation in the “COVID speeds up the inevitable “ category that the time may have come to split the Olympics into smaller events taking place in multiple cities rather than one gigantic gathering. Not sure I can see that happening, because inertia is a powerful force, but it’s an interesting idea.

  26. The answer is unclear.

    It seems very clear. There are a million things that were done in record time due to the pandemic. The food distribution system, toilet paper production system, the vaccine creation and production system, the school system, the unemployment system all rapidly reworked how things happened. Telehealth, working remotely and on and on.

  27. There are a ton of people apart from the athletes who fly in from all over the world. These people are officialdom
    plus media, let alone the spectators. The vaccine rollout hasn’t even begun in many countries or will not begin at all this year. So how will the logistics of it all work ?

  28. Long term do people think the pandemic will change the scope of outcomes that people think are possible within a given timeframe?

  29. So how will the logistics of it all work ?

    Well think about it. Does the media need to be there if Japanese camera crews are capturing what’s going on. They can comment from their home offices like they do for any number of things now. Do the families need to be there? No. Does officialdom need to be there? No.

    The resistance to so many changes often comes down to, “But it’s the way we’ve always done it.” Why does the patient need to come into the office? Because that’s just the way it’s done. Why does everyone need to come into the office 5 days a week? Because that’s just the way it’s done.

  30. Rhett – I get all that. It comes down to do all the countries agree to have a minimalist scaled down version or decide not send their athletes at all.

  31. NBC paid a small fortune years ago to host the olympics. Do you think they want the Japanese feed? They probably realize now that all of their editors and most producers can be back in the States thanks to employees working in their basements for the last year. Most of their sports is actually produced and edited out of a facility in Stamford CT, but they still usually send the shots from all of their major shows including Today, Nightly, and late night. This boosts their daily programming and gets fresh eyes on their news shows, but that doesn’t happen if it is just the Japanese feed. Also, ABC perfected the art of introducing the athletes up close and personal. NBC continued this tradition when they took over the Olympics and ramped it up with the Today Show, and all of their streaming channels. Where does the money come from to return to NBC and all of the other global media companies around the world if there is just a “Japanese feed”???

  32. It comes down to do all the countries agree to have a minimalist scaled down version or decide not send their athletes at all.

    Why would they not send their athletes? It’s not like this is the 1980/84 Summer Olympics.

    Fun fact McDonalds almost lost its shirt due to the 1984 Olympics. The promotion was that for ever medal America won, if you had a certain game piece, you would get a free item. But when the Soviets and their allies boycotted the 1984 Olympics in Los Angles in retaliation for the US and its allies boycotting the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, America won way more medals that McDonalds had expected. As a result they ended up having to give away tons of free stuff.

    https://laist.com/2016/10/11/mcdonalds_olympics.php

  33. Do you think they want the Japanese feed?

    They can get a little of something or all of nothing. As Darth Vader would say, “Pray I don’t alter the deal any further.”

  34. Where does the money come from to return to NBC and all of the other global media companies around the world if there is just a “Japanese feed”???

    The Olympic Committee’s insurance company, obviously.

    In turn, the IOC does have cancellation insurance for Tokyo 2020, though detailed terms of this have not been publicly disclosed.

    Do you really think these multibillion dollar contracts don’t have pandemic provisions?

  35. Lauren – I for one would not be sorry if they did away with all of those effing “get to know the athletes” clips. That plus the commercials means that they NEVER show everyone competing and all of the finals etc. are at like 11 at night here. I’d much rather just see more of the competition!

  36. Great point L. I’d love to see more competition and less story pieces.

    The other day I watched a luge and skeleton competition from Germany. The announcers admitted they were in the US. The broadcast was fine. A lot of the smaller sports have not had live at the event announcers in a long time. I’m thinking about last winter Olympics and the Nordic events were using US based announcers. And now all the nba and nhl broadcasts use the home team feeds, with the away team announcers still at home. It works.

  37. It’s interesting to think about all that must go into negotiating these contracts, insurance, etc. The 2028 Summer Olympics are in Los Angles so probably the biggest cancelation risk is The Big One hitting months or weeks or even days before the games were scheduled to start.

  38. L, me too! It wastes so much time.

    I am happy to have the Australian Open to watch for a couple of weeks. very happy.

  39. I don’t get the concern over the “Japanese feed.” Seems to me that a whole bunch of networks could negotiate to have a single set of cameramen producing all sorts of images and angles and such and beaming those everywhere. The networks could then pick the feeds they want and produce them like usual — I mean, it’s not like the networks all have production studios in all the stadiums — it’s all done off-site anyway, it would just be farther away. Then they can have their announcers calling it remotely — I was surprised to discover my favorite hockey announcer has been entirely remote this year, and if you can cover something that fast-moving seamlessly, then I can’t imagine the Olympics would be any harder.

    Plus all that “get to know the athlete” stuff is filmed off-site and before the Games anyway. The only thing you’d really miss would be the post-performance interviews and Today Show “day after” interviews, but I really don’t care about that stuff at all. Or each network could send one designated interviewer to handle that at targeted sports.

    I’m with Rhett here. Yes, there is a very strong status quo bias, because you have 300,000,000+ sets of expectations in the US alone, plus massive amounts of money that were all pledged and spent based on that status quo. But if that status quo turns out to be infeasible for one reason or another, you can adapt or you can cancel. The problem comes when the people with the fiscal power place their bets on “it will all be fine by the time this starts,” and then you lose the opportunity to adapt in a reasonable way.

  40. I think someone mentioned when we talked/griped about the Olympics a few years back that there is actually a feed that shows all 16 (whatever) heats of the 100M, then all of the next round, until we get to the quarters (all of which might actually be shown on NBC), Semis, and Finals. Honestly never understood not showing any of the first couple of rounds. For that event anyway, they can edit it down and it’d take a whole 20 minutes between introing the runners, the race and the quick “here’s who finished 1-2-3 in heat 7”. I’d actually be ok if they skipped the heats where no one finished in the top third? of all the participants.

    I’ve never ever liked the ‘up close and personal’. And now with all the different channels, streaming outlets, you’d think they’d dedicate one to just showing the feed as it comes over, whatever the event, for those of us who just want to see the sports.

  41. And in terms of “the feed” there is only one feed.

    In 2001, the IOC created Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS), the body responsible for filming all the competitions at the Olympic Games and making these images, edited in real time and enhanced with graphics and animations, to the world’s broadcasters (this is known as the “world feed”).

    Each broadcaster therefore chooses which images of which competitions it wants to show from among those provided by OBS. For example, at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, broadcasters could choose from among 44,000 hours of broadcast coverage

    Click to access FicheInfo_DiffusionJO_TV_ENG.pdf

  42. Honestly never understood not showing any of the first couple of rounds.

    IIRC the NBC Olympic app allowed you to watch every(?) event at the Olympics. I assume this year (or whenever) the app will be available for Smart TVs, Roku, etc. If RMS wants to relive her synchronized swimming heyday, I think she can watch all synchronized swimming events.

  43. You really have to watch some of the Olympic coverage from other countries to see how much better they do it. They just show an event from start to finish without all the in-depth profiles and other crap. It’s wonderful.

  44. “Whatever you do pull up his drawers.” Is now my new favorite line. Thanks DD!

    We are hoping to get to an NHL game or two… but I doubt it will happen until 2022.

    MM – your DH is one lucky guy in that respect… the NJ Devils are in quarantine due to COVID. DH and I have upset at the postponement of the NJ Devils/ NY Rangers game. :)

  45. “But if that status quo turns out to be infeasible for one reason or another, you can adapt or you can cancel.”

    I think the Olympics desperately need an overhaul. It’s too much for one country to take on–too expensive–security, hosting, building all those stadiums for a few weeks. This might be a great kick in the ass that the IOC needs.

  46. To Denver Dad’s point, I used to watch a lot more Olympic coverage on TV in the home country. They would show hours and hours of coverage as is. They didn’t have the resources to add to the basic feed.
    I can’t recall if we even followed a schedule. The TV was turned on and we just watched whatever event was on.

  47. “IIRC the NBC Olympic app allowed you to watch every(?) event at the Olympics.”

    It was really clunky during the last Olympics, but I’m sure it will be much better this time around.

  48. “You really have to watch some of the Olympic coverage from other countries to see how much better they do it. They just show an event from start to finish without all the in-depth profiles and other crap. It’s wonderful.”

    That just sounds wonderful. NBC has a habit of only showing Americans.

    Fred, we spent our dink/early parenthood years there in the late 80s early 90s. It was very exotic to have that much snow. And Nick Tahou’s. Hopefully it is you that I remember discussing the Garbage Plate with PTM; if not, just ignore me.

  49. “I’m enjoying watching college volleyball right now.”

    I’m not. The conference in which my alma mater is a member canceled the season, and my alma mater’s team decided not to compete as an independent.

  50. “after learning on this board that there is such a thing as an inflatable paddle board, I am thinking about getting one and doing some paddleboarding this summer.”

    Don’t forget a PFD if you don’t already have one.

    As mentioned before, if your inflatable paddleboard gets chomped, it might not provide flotation.

  51. I think the Olympics desperately need an overhaul. It’s too much for one country to take on–too expensive–security, hosting, building all those stadiums for a few weeks. This might be a great kick in the ass that the IOC needs.

    They really need to scale back the number of events. The best argument I’ve heard is they should only have events where the Olympics are the top competition. So definitely keep track, swimming, gymnastics, and such, but get rid of golf, tennis, soccer, etc.

  52. “half of them have to move up to 12U. So we’re going to have a 12U team in one league that plays in April to early May and then a 10U team in another league that plays in May/June.”

    Will your entire previous team compete as 12U, including those still eligible to compete as 10U?

    Do you have a bunch of new 10Us to fill out that team?

  53. “they should only have events where the Olympics are the top competition.”

    I guess that preserves basketball, since the Olympics is the only place you could have a Dream Team now.

  54. “They really need to scale back the number of events.”
    I totally agree. But, they recently added break dancing, so I’m not sure the IOC agrees.

  55. I wonder about sports like downhill skiing and ski jumping, or bobsledding. They already have the World Cup, but the Olympics offered a chance for competitors like Eddie the Eagle or the Jamaican Bobsleigh team.

  56. “He had to leave NE to recapture the motivation.”

    I don’t think so. He had to leave NE for a team with more talent.

  57. “Does the media need to be there if Japanese camera crews are capturing what’s going on.”

    No. Look at the Tour de France– for years now, the commentary comes from teams in studios commenting on footage from cameras on cars, motorbikes, and helicopters.

    Another relevant example was ESPN coverage of Korean baseball.

  58. “Kevin Harlan’s radio call”

    He’s also the guy who made the ‘no regard for human life’ call.

  59. HFN – I was the one talking with PTM about garbage plates and Genny Light.

    So you lived here before the ‘Can of Worms’ construction on the east side of the city was completed. It was done by the time we moved here (late 1990). A big deal to all the real locals; I’ve never known any different than a normal freeway interchange.

  60. Hahaha Fred, yes, I drove through The Can of Worms to and from work downtown for a couple of years – probably deserved a sticker for that. Whoever thought it was a good idea to have two freeways criss cross like that – well, it bogles the mind. We moved away in 1994.

  61. “Don’t forget a PFD if you don’t already have one.”

    Oh, I always wear a PFD when paddleboarding, kayaking, or really doing anything in the water other than swimming close to shore in calm waters (preferably with a lifeguard around). I can swim, but I’m not a strong swimmer, so the PFD gives me peace of mind.

  62. Will your entire previous team compete as 12U, including those still eligible to compete as 10U?

    Do you have a bunch of new 10Us to fill out that team?

    No, the younger players are just going to play 10U. They would be pretty overmatched at 12U. Some of the players have friends who want to play and the league will help us fill out the team.

    I wonder about sports like downhill skiing and ski jumping, or bobsledding. They already have the World Cup, but the Olympics offered a chance for competitors like Eddie the Eagle or the Jamaican Bobsleigh team.

    The Olympics are still the pinnacle for those sports.

    Another relevant example was ESPN coverage of Korean baseball.

    Most college basketball announcers are working remotely this season. This has actually been going on for a long time. Back in the 90s when the NFL started the World League of American Football, a European spring league, the announcers were in the U.S.

    He’s also the guy who made the ‘no regard for human life’ call.

    He also did a fantastic call of a cat running on the field during a Giants-Cowboys game:

  63. I just registered for two races, 10/31 and 11/14, fingers crossed that they are a go. Hoping that high school sports can continue so that I can watch DD play lacrosse this spring and soccer in the fall. No real plans for professional sports in person.

    DD, that sounds like fun to coach both teams and have some continuity with the older players.

    Apropos of nothing, fit in a quick snowshoe hike with DH this eve before it got dark and saw an owl out in the woods – it made my day.

  64. Swim, that’s very cool about the owl. And hopefully your DD will get to play her sports.

  65. Update on the in-laws court case. To recap, their HOA hired a new manager about a year ago, and they accused her of stealing their orchids and other plants. They filed a case in small claims court, and the People’s Court wanted to bring them on the show, but the other person declined. So they went to court and lost. The MIL said the problem was they sued the manager instead of the board, but it sounds like the problem was they didn’t have any actual proof that she did it.

  66. RMS – road races, a half marathon and a 10k. I have a wonderful group of friends who I run with, we joke that we solve our own & the world’s problems while we run. Since running is a high risk activity, we have not gotten together as a group since October when case counts started to tick back up. I am spending my risk budget running occasionally with only one of the group, it’s keeping us both sane. I miss the rest of the group very much and if the races are a go, it will be a good sign of the overall environment.

    DD, that would have been SO interesting to see your inlaws on TV. I normally will not watch shows like that, but I’d make an exception for an orchid caper.

    Also, I am disappointed that Finn does not have a special tree that would allow for a tax deduction.

  67. “I am disappointed that Finn does not have a special tree that would allow for a tax deduction.”

    Me too.

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