ORLANDO - Basketball fans desperate for live sports back on television – particularly, fans of the Orlando Magic – there’s good news on the horizon: Not only will the Magic’s eight ``seeding games’’ be televised, but Fox Sports Florida will also be carrying the team’s three exhibition games against some high-level competition.
Fox Sports Florida, the television home of the Magic, announced on Friday that they will televise and live stream the Magic’s exhibition games against the Los Angeles Clippers (July 22, 3 p.m.), Los Angeles Lakers (July 25, noon) and the Denver Nuggets (July 27, 7 p.m.) from Disney’s Wide World of Sports in the coming weeks. The scrimmages between the Clippers and Lakers will be shown live, while the one against the Nuggets will be shown on tape delay due to scheduling conflicts.
Those three exhibition games were scheduled by the NBA to help teams get back in shape and back in rhythm following a four-month layoff because of the COVID-19 pandemic. NBA teams, who are being fully sequestered at nearby Disney World, will restart the regular season on July 30 and begin the playoffs on Aug. 17. All games will be played without fans in the stands – a rule put in place by the NBA in an attempt to keep players, coaches, referees and staffers safe from any potential outbreaks of the COVID-19 virus.
The Magic, 30-35 and eighth in the East at the time of the NBA stoppage back on March 11, restart their regular season on July 31 when they face the Brooklyn Nets at 2:30 p.m. at The Field House at Disney.
The Nets, who figure to be without at least six key players because of injury and/or illness, currently sit in the seventh seed and just a half-game ahead of the Magic. Orlando is already 2-0 this season against the Nets, winning once in Brooklyn and once in Orlando. A Magic victory over the Nets on July 31 would clinch the head-to-head tiebreaker for the Magic. Last season, the Magic and Nets both finished 42-40, but Brooklyn earned the East’s sixth seed by virtue of the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Orlando’s first ``seeding game’’ against Brooklyn will be televised by Fox Sports Florida. So, too, will be the games against the Kings (Aug. 2, 6 p.m.), Pacers (Aug. 4, 6 p.m.), Raptors (Aug. 5, 8 p.m.), 76ers (Aug. 7, 6:30 p.m.), Celtics (Aug. 9, 5 p.m.), Nets (Aug. 11, 1 p.m.) and Pelicans (Aug. 13, TBA).
The Aug. 7 game between Orlando and Philadelphia will also be televised by TNT. The Magic are 2-0 this season against the 76ers, winning both games at the Amway Center.
The Magic’s three exhibition games will be against three top teams in the Western Conference. The Lakers, featuring superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis and former Magic star center Dwight Howard, lead the Western Conference with a 49-14 record. Orlando shocked the Lakers in Los Angeles in January in one of its most stirring victories of the season.
The Clippers, featuring two-time champion Kawhi Leonard, sit at No. 2 in the West at 44-20. The Nuggets, who hope to get superstar center Nikola Jokic back following a positive test for the coronavirus, are third in the West at 43-22.
ORLANDO MAGIC SCRIMMAGE SCHEDULE
FOX Sports Florida
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FOX Sports Florida (Tape Delay)
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2019-20 ORLANDO MAGIC SEEDING GAME SCHEDULE (“home” games in caps)
The Field House
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FOX Sports Florida/NBA TV
Visa Athletic Center
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Visa Athletic Center
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The Field House
FOX Sports Florida/TNT
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Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by John Denton are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors.
With American professional sports beginning to return at a time when the coronavirus is washing through the nation unrestrained, the importance of prioritized COVID-19 testing for sports gives rise to important questions regarding the strain placed on resources otherwise available to the public.
As explained by Tom Haberstroh of NBC Sports Philadelphia, efforts by the NBA to secure a quick turnaround in testing amounts to the NBA getting preference over the general public at the laboratory the NBA utilizes. Haberstroh explains that, earlier this week, the NBA switched from Quest Diagnostics to BioReference. Coincidentally, Quest recently made it clear that individuals other than “hospital patients, pre-operative patients in acute care settings and symptomatic healthcare workers” will now have an average turnaround of 4-6 days between collection of sample and outcome of test.
BioReference apparently will be moving more quickly for the NBA, primarily because BioReference seems to be willing to give the NBA priority. As Halberstroh notes, the BioReference website advises that “[i]If you are looking for your COVID-19 PCR (swab) results please note that these may not be available in the patient portal for up to 5-7 days after collection.”
Zachary Binney, an epidemiologist quoted in Halberstroh’s article, separately observes that the MLS is using BioReference, and that the MLS is receiving test results within 24-48 hours.
“MLS is jumping the line, at *best* delaying the public’s results,” Binney tweeted. “It’s a scandal.”
“Scandal” may be a bit strong, if only because we’ve reached a point where things that once were blatantly scandalous are now met with barely a shrug. But it’s definitely a serious ethical consideration, and those with a strong internal compass when it comes to such matters will be troubled by the reality that, at a time when the number of cases are exploding nationally, sports leagues will be getting special treatment when it comes to getting test results quickly, necessarily slowing down the testing process for the general public.
That’s an important point because NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith made it clear nearly three months ago that he wants no special treatment for football.
“I don’t think that anyone in our larger community should suffer simply because we want football to proceed on time,” Smith said in late April. “We know that we are in a situation now where we cannot mass test the people who need it. . . . We have to make sure that they are taken care of first.”
For a while, it appeared that a rapid turnaround of tests for football players would not put a strain on resources for the public. Now, given that too many members of the public have ignored the pandemic and that too many voices in politics and media are encouraging them to ignore the pandemic, the situation has gotten worse and worse and worse.
With no sign that things are getting any better and with the NFL fewer than three weeks away from the start of training camp, the question of whether the NFL will have no qualms about jamming regular testing for 2,560 players (based on an 80-man roster) and coaches, trainers, and other essential staff into a pipeline that generates results quickly while slowing down the process for the rest of the populace becomes critical to the question of whether the NFL’s still-to-be-finalized testing protocol will work.
If De Smith’s comments from April resonate into August, there’s a real chance that it won’t.
Questions emerge about sports draining public resources originally appeared on Pro Football Talk
Sports leagues are aiming to return to competition later this month, but even if those precarious plans are successful, things will be different. The NBA and NHL plan to play in centralized sites, with multiple games daily at the same venues. Major League Baseball intends to play in home parks, but with at most a smattering of fans present. With that in mind, we asked The Washington Post’s sportswriters, columnists and editors to share their favorite sports venues, past and present, as a reminder of what they were like when they were full and loud.All England Club, Wimbledon, London
The perfectly ordered beauty is what you notice first. Then, the smell of thousands of petunias that perfume the grounds for the two-week duration of Wimbledon. But it’s the absence of things that make the All England Club my favorite venue in sports. The absence of corporate signage and jumbotrons. The absence of blaring music. Even the absence of color on tennis players’ outfits, which means the only colors you notice are the deep green and purple of the grandstands and structures, the blue sky above and grass underneath. It is the rare sporting venue that’s not in competition with athletes; rather, it’s a showcase for them — and for the masterful strokes that champions can produce with a 12-ounce racket and one small ball. — Liz ClarkeArthur Ashe Stadium, 11 p.m.-2 a.m.
Center stage at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center is something to behold at any time of day during the U.S. Open because of how massive it is (nearly 24,000 seats) and because of the beautifully diverse, passionate crowd it draws to the year’s final Grand Slam. But it’s the best late at night during the sweaty, delirious hours, when the only spectators left are die-hard sports nuts, players’ friends or fans who’ve had a little (or more) too much to drink. Even better if it’s not a match with top billing. That’s when 24,000 seats feels intimate — just you and some friends sticking out five sets together. Heaven. — Ava WallaceCameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, N.C.
Conspiracy theorists will believe I picked this 9,314-seat gem because it’s on the campus of my alma mater. And sure, I’ll admit to some romanticism here: It’s the only venue I have ever snuck into — skipping endless nights in the legendary tent city by wearing a Domino’s delivery uniform or going through the service entrance carrying a large bag of ice. But as a sports arena, nothing like it remains. The students are loud. The floor is close. The seats are cramped. The air can be hot. You might even despise the home coach. Who cares? It’s the best venue in college basketball — or any sport. — Barry SvrlugaCarrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.
From the outside, there never has been much reason to love the Carrier Dome, with its near-Brutalist shell and 1980s-chic bubble on top (the roof is being replaced this summer). And the lack of air conditioning in a building named after an air-conditioning company always has been a peculiar quirk (AC also is getting added as part of the current upgrade). But get past all that, and you’re left with the jet-fighter roar of 33,000 delirious Syracuse basketball fans jeering Georgetown Coach John Thompson off the court in 1990 (with the ejected Thompson egging them on all the way), or an even louder din when the Orange football team can muster enough talent to attract a 50,000-seat sellout (admittedly, this doesn’t happen much anymore). The stadium literally blew you away, the air pressure supporting the roof forcefully expelling fans out the door and into the cold Syracuse night. — Matt BonesteelChurchill Downs, Louisville
The home of the fastest two minutes in sports is identifiable by its iconic twin spires, and I always will associate it with elegance, grace and skill, starting with the horses, extending to the jockeys and finally, the spectators. Growing up, I watched the Kentucky Derby on television, and soon got to visit the track and watch the smaller races when my aunt and uncle got married at Churchill Downs in May 2009. It will always hold a meaningful place in my life, and one day, I hope to go back to see the buzzing track during its main event. — Samantha PellEstadio Azteca, Mexico City
Azteca is the RFK Stadium of Mexico, only twice as large. It’s old and crummy, but in my travels, no soccer venue carries the duality of sweet tradition and fervid intimidation. As a reporter, you are part of it — out in the open instead of tucked safely in a press box. It’s exhausting. When the house is full, the ramps are like L.A. freeways. It’s where Pele and Diego Maradona hoisted World Cup trophies; it’s also where the altitude and smog paralyze lungs, where U.S. teams almost always go to lose and where, after a Mexican goal, reporters hug their laptops to protect against the torrent of flying cerveza. — Steven GoffFenway Park, Boston
I miss Fenway Park. I miss seeing the iconic Citgo sign, walking across the bridge that runs over the Massachusetts Turnpike and past the Cask 'n Flagon bar and grill, where I’ve spent many a night.
I miss pointing out to my kids for the umpteenth time the exact spot where I stood, waited and slept in line for 18 hours before scoring a pair of 1988 postseason tickets. I miss the smell of sausages, the old man chanting peanuts and the countless jerseys with names of Red Sox legends — Williams, Yastrzemski, Evans, Ortiz and Betts — a true indication of just how long that person has followed his or her favorite team. I miss making my way through the old ballpark’s underbelly, cramped as it might be, before making our way up the tunnel where we are greeted by the bright red seats and the Green Monster in left, so huge and so close you feel as if you could reach out and touch it.
And I miss those tiny, uncomfortable seats, clearly made for someone smaller than my 6-3 frame, where I used to squirm with every pitch as if my life depended on it. I have mellowed since then, debatably, but I miss my summer home, and hopefully I’ll be able to visit again in 2021. — Tom HelebaFranklin Field, University of Pennsylvania
Sure, Franklin Field hosts football, but it shines brightest during track and field’s annual Penn Relays, a street festival of Jamaican patties and fried Oreos, of yellow and green and of red, white and blue. It’s the past and the present and the future, with all-time greats such as Carl Lewis in the infield chatting up the current cast of Olympians and watching the prep and collegiate runners making strides toward joining them. In the past 15 years alone, Matthew Centrowitz won the high school mile before he was golden; Noah Lyles and his brother, Josephus, challenged the mighty Jamaican sprint squads year after year; and Drew Hunter claimed the 3,000 meters as an unknown, the mile the next year and then the distance-medley relay as a senior with the kind of ferocious comeback of which legends are made.
But nothing compares to 2010, when Usain Bolt took to the famed red track in the 4x100 relay for the only time as a professional. Jamaican fans engulfed the homestretch, chanting and waving their flags in the 90-plus-degree heat, with the American fans screaming “U-S-A” as they tried to drown them out. Once Bolt got the baton, it was over. He powered his way through the finish with easy grace, pointed to his supporters at the finish and smiled the way only the fastest man alive could. For once, no one cared who won or lost. — Scott SilversteinHartford Civic Center
Ah, the Civie. The hybrid home of the Hartford Whalers and a shopping mall. More important to this Nutmeg Stater, it was the closest place I could go to watch NHL-caliber hockey. (I still have my first ticket stub of the Whalers vs. the Quebec Nordiques pinned to my desk at the office. Remember the Nordiques? Remember office desks?) The Civie’s place in pro athletic annals is, at best, inglorious. Arguably, the most notable event held there was WrestleMania XI, and similar fisticuffs could be seen in the stands whenever the Whalers played the Boston Bruins. As a sports fan in Connecticut, you’re pulled between the poles of Boston and New York. But the Civic Center and the Whalers were all ours. The Civie still stands in the form of the XL Center, but alas, we could not save the Whale. Its pro sports tenant departed and took with it the Civie’s charm. When I last visited, the echoes of “Brass Bonanza” had faded, drowned out by late-'90s mall Muzak. — Mike HumeHayward Field, Eugene, Ore.
At Hayward Field, the University of Oregon’s track and field facility, you look out to a Rose Bowl-esque view with evergreens and mountains, but the sport makes this venue feel more intimate and niche. The brownish-red track, a well-manicured grass field and soft blue skies complement each other perfectly in the summer. It can single-handedly convince you the Pacific Northwest is the country’s best region. And if you stop by on the right day during an Olympic year, you’ll watch athletes become Olympians every few minutes, one of the greatest moments in sports. — Emily GiambalvoHusky Stadium, Seattle
The old Chicago Cubs-loving kid in me will hate that I didn’t choose Wrigley Field, but little compares to the beauty and vibe of Husky Stadium, dubbed the greatest setting in college football. The views — water, mountains, skyline — are stunning, and the woofing crowd is a great complement. An atmosphere that includes “sailgating” before games is hard to beat. — Jerry BrewerMichigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Mich.
The home of Michigan football has upgraded in multiple ways over the years, but one thing always stands out: You walk up to the gorgeous brick structure knowing it can hold over 110,000 people, but it only seems to be a few stories high. The feeling of enormity hits you when you walk through an entry tunnel and realize you’re nearly at the top of a bowllike structure that was built into the ground. From the tradition and history, to the winged helmets to the old-school benches for stands to the “M Club” banner, the Big House is one of the best sports venues in the world. — Kareem Copeland
Even if the crowd isn’t college football’s loudest, the weather doesn’t always cooperate, and the Wolverines don’t always take care of business like the old days, its magic comes from its fierce commitment to traditions. Sheer, record-setting size is its calling card — 107,000+ seats dropped in a 120,000-person college town — but the golf course tailgates, the banner tapping, the Slippery Rock score updates, and the magnificent band and fight song are what visitors remember. Covid’s true power will be on display if the Big House remains empty and silent come September. — Ben GolliverOracle Park, San Francisco
The ballpark pulses to the point that you believe it has its own life force. The cramped confines give off energy. The ocean sways just beyond the right field fence. The air smells like garlic fries and, um, other scents one smells in San Francisco. The sight lines are perfect, the fans on top of each other and the field, so watching a ballgame there is great. It treats all the other senses, too. — Adam KilgoreOriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore
I was there that magical night when Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games played record in 1995, but I fell in love with Camden Yards going to a handful of games with my dad beginning when the stadium opened in 1992. There were small joys, such as Uncle Teddy’s pretzels and looking up at “THE SUN” sign above the scoreboard to see if the ‘H’ or ‘E’ would flash to indicate a hit or an error on a close call for the official scorer, and larger ones, including the distinctive brick B&O Warehouse along Eutaw Street. The skyline view of the Bromo Seltzer Tower may be gone, but almost 30 years later, the original retro ballpark remains the best. — Scott AllenPebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, Calif
Host of six U.S. Opens, Pebble Beach is the most iconic golf course in the United States, other than perhaps Augusta National. The sight lines are unmatched, particularly from the tee box at the 18th, the greatest closing hole in the sport. And who can forget Tiger Woods shooting 12-under 272 to win the 2000 U.S. Open there by 15 shots for the first leg of the “Tiger Slam?” — Gene WangRFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.
When it opened, fewer than 20 blocks from my house, I could ride my bike to Senators games. When I started at The Washington Post, the first press box I entered was at RFK — and immediately knocked a cup of coffee all over myself (getting a foul ball by Willie Horton). The first MLB player I interviewed was Senators rookie Lennie Randle: I walked into right field during batting practice and said, “Hi.” He said, “I don’t think you’re supposed to be out here.”
I covered many Skins games there, including the NFC championship that sent Washington to it first Super Bowl. Merely by its existence as a 45,000-seat “MLB-ready facility,” RFK was a key element in D.C. finally getting an MLB team back after a 33-year absence. Without RFK in 2005, would Washington have had a world championship in 2019?
In a period of hideous ballpark design, RFK may be the only multipurpose stadium that can, with eyes squinted, be called “almost beautiful.” The last time I walked out of the stadium, I stopped by the right field foul pole, looked back at the modernistic swoop of the place and thought, “I don’t care what anybody says, this is a majestic place.”
I also covered the Diplomats, saw World Cup games and listened to the Stones there. When my son was about to enter junior high, I took him and his best friend to the HFStival all-day rock concert. I stayed in the upper deck and had them check back every 90 minutes. As expected, they saw a lot of drunk, vomiting high schoolers in the restrooms, perhaps moderating future behavior by 10 percent (the best a parent can hope).
Fenway Park, Pebble Beach, the Olympic Stadium in Beijing and Madison Square Garden have their points, but for me, none compares to RFK. — Thomas Boswell
My favorite thing about pro sports is their communal tissue, and no venue was nearer to Washington’s guts than RFK. The bonds spanned generations and demographics; it didn’t matter what sport you loved, or even if you loved sports. This was a part of the District’s landscape, something you could point out from the top of the Cathedral or gaze at as you crossed the Anacostia. Maybe you remember the shaking stands, the flying seat cushions or “We Want Dallas.” Maybe it was the smoke bombs, the Lot 8 tailgates, the World Cup classics or MLS Cup. Maybe it was the anarchic freedom of those wacky early Nats seasons. Maybe it was the lightning strike at the Tibetan Freedom concert, or HFStival. Maybe it was the raccoons. In those final unruly years, I would wander into a giant storage room inside the building’s bowels and pick through the dusty old beer ads and promotional signs from seasons past. It felt like the attic of Washington sports, and I loved it. — Dan SteinbergRose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.
I love the airy mixture of the singular stadium and New Year’s Day and all the new-year hope. I love the stylish neon “Rose Bowl” sign out front with its old-Hollywood glamour, especially at night on the way to the car with a fresh memory of some latest American-football drama. I love the fact it’s in California and in peerless California air. I love the view of the San Gabriel Mountains from the press box. I love that even though the stadium holds 90,000, you can’t really see it from anywhere except almost right up next to it. I love that once, when I did a USC-UCLA doubleheader and arrived to the UCLA game in the third quarter, I had to park my car in a nearby neighborhood and amble down a hill in my good shoes to reach the stadium. I love that, on the golf course that doubles as a parking lot on game days, I once returned from a Rose Bowl game to see a car that had toppled into a sand trap. You talk about a hazard. — Chuck CulpepperTiger Stadium, Detroit
The corner of Michigan and Trumbull was basically the opposite of every modern stadium. Its concourses were narrow, dark and let’s just say not sparkling clean. Entering them was akin to leaving the regular world, wandering through a cave and emerging on the other side in a magical world of emerald green grass, clean white lines and the sharpest home uniforms in baseball. Even more anachronistically, affordable seats took priority over luxury boxes and club levels. Imagine a stadium with 52,000 seats and more than 20 percent of them available for five bucks. As late as the 1990s, we didn’t have to imagine in Motown. — Matt RennieMorgan and Kathy Wootten Gymnasium, Hyattsville, MD
It’s not a quintessential high school basketball gym. It’s too big and manicured to be considered that. But it’s an incubator for some of the country’s best amateur talent, and there’s few environments in the DMV that rival DeMatha Catholic High School hosting a conference game in the thick of winter. Fans are up against the court, breathing on the bench, hanging over the railing that rings the quasi upper deck. The building holds noise like a metal safe. The student section and band behind each basket make sure there’s plenty to hold. — Jesse DoughertyWrigley Field, Chicago
Your taxi turns off Lake Shore Drive and bends west, and slowly it comes into view, appearing, at least from a few blocks’ distance, not much different than it must have looked 100 years ago. For me, Wrigley Field is an immersive experience: the beauty, the neighborhood, the atmosphere, the history. And a lot of that history is personal. My mom used to say I was almost born at Wrigley Field: She attended a game with my dad, in the bleachers, the day before she went into labor with me. My dad went to games there as a kid with his own dad and rode his bike there as a teenager. On one of my first trips there as a sportswriter, I got Harry Caray, the fabled Cubs play-by-play man, to say hello on the air to my grandparents, who watched every game religiously at their home in the northwest corner of the city. I’m told my grandma almost choked on her tuna fish sandwich when she heard it. Most of them are gone now: my mom, my grandma, Harry. But with any luck, Wrigley Field will outlast us all. — Dave Sheinin
Which venues did we miss? Add your favorites in the comments below.
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