Speaker 1: 00:00 Flashback to last September, the potteries were winding down, showcasing young players before sparse crowds. The SDSU as techs were starting a successful football season. The baseball playoffs were about to begin. The NFL season was underway and NBA and NHL teams were playing preseason games. This year, of course, sports have changed dramatically along with everything else. Joining me to discuss the upending of American sports by COVID-19 is veteran San Diego sports journalist and author J Paris, Jay, welcome back to midday edition. Speaker 2: 00:31 Hey Mark. Thanks for having me on always good to be with you. Nice folks. Speaker 1: 00:35 Well, Jay, let's start with some good news. The 2020 Padres are back in the playoffs for the first time in a dozen years. They've got one of baseball's most exciting young teams, but nobody can buy a ticket to watch in person tell us about this truncated season. What this odd post-season tournament's going to look like. Speaker 2: 00:51 Yeah, it even sounds funny. Doesn't it Padres in the playoffs? I mean, that's a sentence some 14 years in the making, uh, the last time they were in the postseason, Bruce bocce with was the manager, Jerry Coleman was in the broadcast booth and a Dodgers manager, Dave Roberts was playing left field. So that just shows you how long it's been. But really this has been a, um, this has been the dream. This has been the vision. This has been the plan of general manager, AAJ pillar to construct a team that can be sustainable if you will. Uh, yes, it's great that they're in the playoffs this year, but the way, uh, mr. Peller has constructed this team, uh, they plan on being on the playoffs year after year and really markets. It kind of goes back to what we thought or what the citizens thought or what Padre fans speculated would happen when Petco park was built. Speaker 2: 01:40 That was among the selling points for measure seed to get it approved by the voters was that, uh, this brand new stadium would create revenue streams that would, uh, be able, that would allow the Padres to be able to entice high price talent, which translate is two successful seasons. And you know, the first, uh, two out of three years after the, the Picco park open, the Padres were in the playoffs. I mean, they were in the playoffs in Oh five and Oh six and, and people were settling in and with a brand new ballpark and go, my goodness, this is going to be fun, but what happened nine straight losing seasons, a streak. They stamped this year with a thrilling season and they're back in the playoffs and Petco looks prettier, never. The only thing missing are the fans, those patient Padre fans who deserved to be in there hollering and screaming in high five and with each other. Speaker 1: 02:32 Yeah, I'll shut out this year. I mean, it's just amazing. Now, do you like the Padres chances and this odd post season? Speaker 2: 02:38 I do. I mean, they've struggled a little bit down the stretch, uh, offensively, but really the key is, uh, the Nelson limit and Mike Clevenger, they're top two pitchers, both, uh, prematurely left their last outings in a short series that, that starting pitching is so important. And those are really their top two pitchers. So that's the big question Mark going in? Do they have the pitching to get there, but, Oh my goodness, that offense is so much fun to watch with Fernando tatties, Manny Machado, Wil Myers, Eric Cosmo. There's a lot of, there's a lot of air there. And just to show you how, how things have changed. The Padres have gone 24 years without getting a single vote in the MPP balloting in the national league. This year, they'll have two players getting plenty of them in [inaudible] Speaker 1: 03:27 College football. The season was shut down this fall, no games out here, almost any place else. Then it all suddenly changed. The SDSU as texts are going to have a season after all tell us what happened. Speaker 2: 03:39 Well, um, you know, it's not about the money when they say that it's always about the money. I mean, uh, college football kind of said the quiet part out loud this year. Uh, it's a house of cards almost that these universities are built around their athletic programs that I've heard a good line that, uh, you know, a lot of these university presidents want to have a university. The football team can be proud of or the other way around, you know, it's somehow these bilayers got designated essential workers and they're running back into it, but you know, the sand could be thrown in the gears quickly. If the positive tests come up and they have to take some pauses and all this, but in the storyline is of course them having to play in Carson this year because of that construction, all of that got wiped away with the COVID-19. They're going to try to squeeze the eight games into eight weeks now, Mark. And that's a, that's a pretty tight window, but let's see where it goes. It's um, it felt like a college football Saturday, this past Saturday with the sec and all the big, big name schools getting back in it. Uh, I think it's easy to start this process. Let's see what the end game looks like. Speaker 1: 04:46 Yeah. And all on TV for now. And of course you say that the, as you note, the Aztecs is going to play up in Carson, the suburb of LA, where the church was played. And I guess they're going to start the, uh, construction out there on the Aztec stadium in mission Valley. Now, how are the fans reacting to all of this? A pottery fans can only follow the games on TV or radio, read them on bottom and the web, but in the newspaper, how are they feeling about it? Speaker 2: 05:09 You know, I, I think, uh, they're heartbroken, uh, in some ways that, uh, you know, the fans are excited about having a season out of stakes went 10 and three last year, they got seven starters coming back on that top rank defense. So they've got to figure out the quarterback situation. I think the fans are excited to for Aztecs football, but again, there's, there's just such a, sport's such a component of being there and, and a high five and your buddy and Sharon for a third down conversion, all of that is lost right now. So I think from a distance, those fans are happy, but, uh, you know, there's nothing like seeing it live Speaker 1: 05:46 Right. And I want to get into that in a second, but, but first, what about other college sports, soccer, lacrosse? Are they scheduled to play or is it just football? Speaker 2: 05:53 They aren't. And that's kind of, you know, if I was a parent, my boy was running out there playing. I mean, it's, it's okay for him to play, but my kid can't play the flute in the band, you know, it's okay for football to go on. But, uh, you know, I kid can't play soccer. It just, it just reeks Mark of schools grabbing money. And it just reeks of these teenagers in some regard in early 20 year old kids having really no representation looking out for them. And it, it just, um, it, it feels different. And, uh, I hope it all works out. And I understand what the, the rapid testing and the bubbles, these, these college kids are going to be, and that's fine. But once the practices, and once the games are over, uh, you know, they are going to be college kids. Speaker 2: 06:40 And we certainly saw that the spike at San Diego state with a positive COVID COVID test. So I would be reluctant to, uh, slap my kid on the rear end and send them out to play football during a pandemic. But, uh, they say they got the test. They say, they're doing the proper protocol. They say, they've got it under control. We don't know. And that's really the big mystery of this. Of course we're hoping for the best, but boy, when you're, when you're dealing with somebody who's health, it's a, it's a red flag. If he asked me before we wrap up, I wanted your take on what sports in person and what normal seasons and playoffs mean store collective psyche as a, as a country. There's an emotional toll as well to not have our sports. Right? Yeah. It's part of the landscape. Part of the fabric, you know, sports brings people together. Sports gave us something else to argue about other than politics. You know, we could argue about Padres Dodgers instead of Trump Biden for a while. So, you know, baby steps, uh, there were no sports now there's sports, at least, uh, you can watch and hopefully someday soon, and we're, uh, got this in our rear view mirror. We can all get back together and tailgate it again. Well, we'll see how this odd narrative plays out. I've been speaking with veterans, San Diego sports journalist and author J Paris. Thanks, Jay. Okay. See you soon, Mark. Speaker 3: 08:02 [inaudible].