Tucker brings hope

Rich Fyle column

From the drawers of the Top Secret Fyles:

Major League Baseball — following a 17-week delay to the start of the season last week because of the coronavirus pandemic — will have only a 60-game regular season in 2020. That will be the fewest amount of games in a season since 1878 — or 142 years ago.

With MLB’s long-awaited return a reality, the NBA and NHL follow Thursday and Saturday, with playoff-qualifying, and full-scale postseason in earnest, respectively.

Over the next two months, the pro sports menu is chock-full of entrees — including the PGA Championship (Aug. 6-9); Indianapolis 500 (Aug. 23); NASCAR at Daytona Speedway (Aug. 29); U.S. Open in tennis (Aug. 31-Sept. 13); NCAA football, hopefully, (Sept. 5); Kentucky Derby (Sept. 5); NFL kickoff (Sept. 10 and 13) and U.S. Open in golf (Sept. 17-20).

n Here’s a look at every interrupted season primarily because of labor disputes of the four major sports since 1970:

MLB

1972 — Season started late and teams played between 154-to-156 games, with the A’s beating the Reds in a seven-game World Series.

1981 — Teams played a disastrous, split-season slate with first-half division champs playing the second-half winners for an eight-team playoff. The Reds had MLB’s best record (66-42) through 108 games, but failed to qualify. The Dodgers beat the Yankees to win the World Series.

1994-95 — The ultimate catastrophe, with the 1994 World Series canceled because of a players’ strike. The 1995 start was also delayed, with teams playing 144 games. Atlanta beat Cleveland in the World Series.

NFL

1982 — Teams played nine games caused by a players’ strike, and a hefty 16 clubs made the playoffs. Washington beat Miami in the Super Bowl.

1987 — Another embarrassment, with teams playing 15 games, including three weeks “featuring” replacement players. The Broncos topped the Redskins in the Super Bowl.

NBA

1998-99 — Squads played a 50-game schedule caused by an owners’ lockout. The Spurs beat the Knicks in the Finals.

2011-12 — NBA boss David Stern ordered the season to start on Christmas. Clubs played 66 games, with the Heat topping the Thunder in the Finals.

NHL

1994-95 — Season started in late January due to a lockout, and teams played 48 intraconference games. The Devils won their first Stanley Cup, beating the Red Wings.

2004-05 — Season canceled.

2012-13 — Lockout caused squads to play 48 intraconference games. The Blackhawks topped the Bruins in the Finals.

Times sports copy editor Richard Fyle can be reached at rfyle@wdt.net

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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