Sure, some sports are back. But “sports” as we know them are largely still on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic. Today is Day 75 without sports. ⚾️🏀🏒🎾
Memorial Day and sports certainly go hand-in-hand, with so many events packed into the course of the three-day weekend. Come to think of it, the variety of sports we have on a typical Memorial Day might just make it the best holiday on the sports calendar.
Of course, we did have one glimpse of normalcy in auto racing Sunday with the running of NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte. But it wasn’t quite the same without the Monaco Grand Prix and Indianapolis 500 getting our engines revved earlier in the day.
MLB would be approaching the end of the first third of the regular season. The standings on Memorial Day are often seen as a precursor to how they’ll eventually look. In 2019, four of the six eventual division winners (the Yankees, Twins, Astros and Dodgers) were in first place on Memorial Day. (Meanwhile, the Phillies and Cubs were leading their divisions a year ago — and ended up missing the playoffs altogether.)
The NBA playoffs would be about ready to crown conference champions. In fact, several memorable Memorial Day games are being featured on NBA TV today (see below).
And finally, the second of tennis‘ Grand Slam events, the French Open, would be just getting started this week in Paris as we watched to see if Rafael Nadal would continue his absolute domination of Roland Garros and whether Serena Williams would finally win her 24th Grand Slam singles title to tie Margaret Smith Court for the all-time record.
With the cancellation of Wimbledon, the French Open’s new dates — Sept. 20 to Oct. 4 — put it in line to host the final major championship of 2020.
Still up in the air is the fate of the U.S. Open. New York governor Andrew Cuomo on Sunday gave his approval for pro sports teams to begin training camps in the state. That would seem to be good news for holding the U.S. Open on Aug. 31 to Sept 13 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows. However, the USTA’s executive director said last month it’s possible the Open could be postponed until November and played at Indian Wells in California — the site of the BNP Paribas Open, which was the first tennis tournament to be canceled back in early March.
As we try to move back toward normalcy on this Memorial Day, we’re still missing the red clay of Paris, the yard of bricks at Indy and the smell of freshly cut grass at the ballpark. Here’s to looking forward to a more normal holiday in 2021.
Although it might not seem like Memorial Day without sports, we can still fire up the barbecue grill. While MLB players are trying their best to stay in shape until games resume, MLB announcers are also finding ways to keep their skills sharp.
We’ve already seen Fox Sports’ Joe Buck and others doing play-by-play of everyday events. But the broadcaster who’s going to tie everything together today is the Los Angeles Dodgers’ TV voice, Joe Davis, who’s been doing his own grilling videos.
Step up to the plate, dig in and enjoy!
1935: In what’s later called “the greatest 45 minutes ever in sport,” Jesse Owens ties or breaks four world records in less than an hour at a Big Ten track and field meet in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
1965: In a rematch of their first heavyweight title fight, Muhammad Ali retains the crown he took from Sonny Liston a year earlier with a first-round knockout in Lewiston, Maine.
1981: After winning his third Indianapolis 500 a day earlier, Bobby Unser is disqualified for passing cars under caution. After a five-month protest and a lawsuit, he was declared the official winner.
Then, catch the 2017 World Baseball Classic final between the United States and Puerto Rico at 5 p.m. ET, and after an airing of “A League of Their Own” at 8 p.m., the day concludes with some more offensive fireworks in a 2012 Memorial Day game between the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels at 10:30 p.m .ET.
NHL (classic): At 4 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network relives Mark Messier’s legendary hat trick in Game 6 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Final as the New York Rangers defeated the New Jersey Devils 26 years ago today.
NBA (classic): It’s a Memorial Day celebration on NBA TV with some classic holiday playoff action, featuring a pair of memorable games between the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors. At 4 p.m. ET, it’s Game 4 of the 2015 Western Conference Finals in which James Harden scores 45 points to keep the Rockets alive. Then at 6 p.m. ET, the Warriors reign supreme in the West in 2018 by eliminating the Rockets in Game 7 for a fourth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals.
At 9 p.m. ET, it’s pop-up broadcast of Game 2 of the 1999 Western Conference Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and Portland Trail Blazers.
It’s back to the Warriors at 11 p.m. ET for a replay of their thrilling win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 7 of the 2016 Western Conference Finals.
Tennis (classic): Tennis Channel goes back in time with some classic French Open matches all day long.