SAN FRANCCISCO – There was hardly a cloud in the sky at Third and King for the San Francisco Giants home openers, with the exception of the long shadow cast by COVID-19 and a fanless season.
Even still, diehard fans of the orange and black made their way to Oracle Park to pay homage.
“It’s great to be here, but it’s not the same. I miss the crowds, I miss eating crab sandwiches,” said Jay Gementera who bicycled to the park with his son Jacob.
The Gementera’s weren’t the only ones trying to get the slightest bit of normalcy on this late July opening day.
“I was just in the dugout store for nostalgia purposes. I have everything I need. I don’t know what else to buy, I just wanted a little Giants around me. I’ve been hovering around the stadium now for about an hour and a half just wanting some baseball,” said fan Kurt Lunz.
But, with a COVID-19 breakout inside the Marlin clubhouse just four games into the season, what the finish line looks like is anyone’s guess.
“This is about as bad as it could get for the MLB, they couldn’t even get through the first week of the season without having an outbreak,” said sports marketing analyst Bob Dorfman, creative director at Baker Street Advertising. “I think they’re going to do whatever they can do to keep the season alive. There’s too much money on the line,”
The NBA has taken a different approach at the bubble in Orlando. Dorfman says the NBA stands a fighting chance of actually completing the season.
“I think the bubble is working, at least, so far it’s working, except for Lou Williams who snuck out and went to strip club. Assuming the players are in line, the bubble situation keeps the virus out,” Dorfman said.
With a lousy pre-pandemic record, the Warriors are out of the NBA bubble and the playoffs. As Chase Center sits unused, fans wonder what playoffs mean without a packed arena.
“If there’s going to be a buzzer-beater moment, there’s not going to be any people to get excited,” Warriors fan Rex Santos said outside Chase Center.
Just hitting early team meetings is the NFL, which plans to operate like MLB — no fans, but no locked down bubble either.
Dorfman is dubious on the potential for a complete COVID-free football season.
“You’d have to be crazy to think that this is not going to happen in the NFL – what happened in the MLB. It’s pretty much the same scenario, you’ve got 32 teams, you’ve got 16 games.”