Baseball will be returning to Fenway Park in July without any fans. (PHOTO COURTESY: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)
By Matt Noonan
For those craving some baseball in Massachusetts, you are in luck.
As of next month, fans of America’s pastime will be treated to a slew of local games, including some Boston Red Sox contests, which will begin at the end of July.
As of now, the 2020 Major League Baseball (MLB) season – a 60 game season, to be exact – will commence for some teams on Thursday, July 23 while others will begin their quest for a World Series crown on Friday, July 24.
In addition to the Red Sox, we learned earlier this week that the Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL) will play an abbreviated season, beginning Thursday, July 2. Four of the league’s six teams play home games in Massachusetts.
The four FCBL teams – Brockton Rox, North Shore Navigators, Westfield Starfires, and Worcester Bravehearts – are currently scheduled to host a few games this summer with some fans in the stands. However, those current home dates could be canceled or pushed back due to the state’s ongoing reopening with the coronavirus. Games and scrimmages are not permitted in Massachusetts until the third phase, which is tentatively scheduled to begin Monday, July 6.
In addition to the Red Sox and FCBL, a few adult men’s leagues, including the Boston Men’s Baseball League (BMBL) and Intercity Baseball League (ICL) hope to begin one week after the start of the third phase. The BMBL hopes to start its season on Friday, July 12 while the ICL is planning to allow its nine-team league to begin to play one day later on Saturday, July 13.
Of course, plans for both leagues, along with others could be pushed back pending the state’s plan for allowing games and scrimmages to begin. Currently, the state’s second phase, which is what we are in now, only allows adult, amateur, and youth sports leagues to practice, not play games or scrimmages. And social distancing, along with good hygiene is certainly encouraged for all participants.
10 years ago I started a blog in my college dorm room.
It wasn’t the site you see today that offers a variety of content from podcasts to videos to polls on New England Division III basketball, football, and lacrosse teams, and much more, but instead just one person’s opinion on sports, both locally and nationally.
My goal was to ditch my little site after I graduated college in May 2010, but unfortunately, that plan never happened.
Instead, I continued blogging on local and national sports. I started a podcast and interviewed anyone that was willing to give me 15, 20 or 30 minutes to discuss a few hot stove topics over the phone – I am still amazed at the people that responded to a no-name blogger that was eager to interview them, but I am extremely thankful to folks like Bill Hancock (Executive Director of the Bowl Championship Series), Damon Amendolara (CBS Sports) and various SB Nation bloggers that made the beginning of this journey so much fun.
As time went on, I decided to expand my content coverage map to hyper-local sports in New England, including stories on Massachusetts high school football games at Gillette Stadium to the Hockey East championships at the TD Garden. Additionally, I got to cover other events at Gillette and the Garden over the past few years, as well, while also finagling my way into Fenway Park to blog about ‘Frozen Fenway’ and the Harvard-Yale Football introduction for their 135th playing of ‘The Game’ last November.
Starting Noontime Sports was truly the best thing for my career – I mean it. The sports journalism and media worlds are not the easiest to crack so having my own site with the freedom (and flexibility) to produce content on daily, weekly or monthly on whatever I want is certainly a luxury, but something I don’t take advantage of. This site has allowed me to experiment and try new things, which has helped me pitch ideas that worked here to editors or colleagues for other outlets.
Additionally, Noontime Sports has allowed me to pursue my love of producing content for social media to building a brand and identifying an audience – that is essential for any blogger, podcaster and producer. Once you know what your fans and friends crave, then produce it so they will keep coming back eager for more content.
I can promise you, the fans and readers of Noontime Sports, that I will continue to do my absolute best to provide you with content going forward on small colleges and high schools to the occasional Boston sports piece to interesting conversations on my podcast.
I can’t believe it has been 10 years, but today, I am thanking my 20-year-old self for starting this site and paving this journey, which has allowed me to pursue my love of sports media.
Here is to another 10 years – maybe more – of fun and engaging content on hyperlocal sports to anything else that makes this job so much fun!