98.5 The Sports Hub staff report
Speaking with the Boston Globe on Friday, Mayor Marty Walsh admitted that he’s willing to reopen both Fenway Park and TD Garden for the Bruins, Celtics, and Red Sox should their leagues return to action later this year.
For Walsh, that possibility centers around seeing what these leagues’ plans are to return to action, and so long as a return ensures definite safety for the players and those involved in smaller inner-workings of every team’s day-to-day operations.
“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 told the Globe. “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.”
But according to Walsh, these returns would come without fans in the stands.
“There will be no fans in Fenway Park in July, there will be no fans in Fenway Park in August,” said Walsh. “We won’t even be near a situation where there’s herd immunity, and there certainly won’t be a vaccine.”
(This nonnegotiable from Walsh is the No. 1 reason why the WWE is looking to move SummerSlam out of Boston.)
Fenway Park is the home to watch here, really, as baseball’s current plan to return to play indicates that the league wants teams in their home parks (even without fans), as players do not want to be away from their families and homes for months on end. MLB’s proposal centers around a July return and an 81-game regular season along with an expanded, 14-team playoff.
The NBA, meanwhile, is expected to make a decision on their season within the next two to four weeks. The NBA’s current path to a return to plan seems to be focused on two centralized locations (Las Vegas and Orlando are the rumored destinations), however, meaning that a return to the Garden may not be necessary for the Celtics to get back on the court this year.
And while the NHL is adamant that they will not cancel the 2019-20 season, little is known about their plan to return to play. Namely it’s still unknown whether or not teams will be playing at their home rinks if and when the NHL does get back to work this summer. There’s been talk of ‘hub cities’ becoming a part of the NHL’s plan to return, but those locations have not been established just yet. It’s believed that the Bruins have offered Boston as a potential hub city for hockey’s return.
“Certainly on the fan side and the psychological side, I think if baseball could come back like we’re seeing in Taiwan and South Korea, I think that that’s good for people to have a distraction,” Walsh told the Globe. “I think sports is one aspect of that.”
Speaking with the media on Friday, Walsh confirmed that Boston’s public health emergency will not be lifted next week.