Despite his city still being a Coronavirus hotspot, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he would be willing to let TD Garden and Fenway Park host Red Sox or Boston Bruins games this summer. Of course, fans would not be allowed to attend the games but Walsh told Michael Silverman of the Boston Globe that if the teams and necessary personnel are on board with safety restrictions and comfortable playing in the two venues, then he’d allow it.
“Yes, as long as the players and the teams and the support staff and all the people that are associated with it are safe and feel comfortable,” Walsh said. “Obviously, their health is important to me as well. Many of them are constituents of mine, and even if they’re not constituents of mine, I obviously want people to be healthy and safe. That’s going to be the biggest challenge that they’re going to have to figure out and meet if they’re going to move forward here.”
While Walsh hopes to have some answers on pro sports returning to Boston soon, he reiterated that while other cities may decide to allow fans back in the ballparks, his city won’t.
“There will be no fans in Fenway Park in July, there will be no fans in Fenway Park in August,” the Boston Mayor said. “We won’t even be near a situation where there’s herd immunity, and there certainly won’t be a vaccine.”
Walsh said he has spoken with the Red Sox recently regarding the MLB owners’ proposal to the MLBPA for a return to play but not the Boston Bruins or the Celtics. Earlier this week, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said he’s ‘not even contemplating’ canceling the 2019-20 NHL season but as of late Friday afternoon, the league and the NHLPA had not announced a formal plan for returning to the ice.
With regards to the Red Sox, Walsh has yet to see the owners’ plans on how to safely facilitate the 2020 baseball season to begin in early July but once he does, if it meets the city’s guidelines and safety measures then it’s ‘Play Ball!’. Walsh views sports leagues as a key component to beginning the vaunting process of rebuilding the economy and that’s why he’s willing to let Boston host games.
“We want to see the plan,” the Boston Mayor said. “We’ll have our public health experts take a look at it and make sure that they feel like everything is covered that needs to be covered moving forward here. We will treat it like every other industry in the city, same with entertainment. They’re personal teams and they have employees, and we want to make sure the teams and the employees are taking care of everything and looking through it all so that we can make sure if it does open it’s open in a safe way and the virus doesn’t spread.
Jimmy Murphy Analysis:
Certainly on the fan side and the psychological side, I think if baseball and the Boston Bruins could come back like sports we’re seeing in Taiwan and South Korea, I think that that’s good for people to have a distraction.
I think sports is one aspect of that. People have different reasons for distraction, and sports is one. I think it would help a lot of people’s psyches as far as having baseball and sports back.