Gov. Baker Paves The Way For Pro Sports To Return To Massachusetts

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Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker provided a glimmer of hope for live sports to return in the coming weeks. (PHOTO COURTESY: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan 

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker clearly misses sports – we all know he is a proud supporter of our state’s hometown teams.

So on Friday, Baker announced that the state’s professional teams would be allowed to begin practicing as soon as Saturday, June 6. That is also the same date Massachusetts residents should learn more about the second phase of the state’s reopening plan, which would begin Monday, June 8.

“I know we still aren’t to the point where we’ll have our pro sports teams back playing anything yet,” Baker said during Friday’s press briefing. “The leagues are obviously working hard to host games again. And I think we all hope that at some point, opening practice facilities will help make that happen a little sooner.”

Professional sports have been idle since mid-March when the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League (NHL) paused their respective seasons due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Since then, both leagues have been working diligently to find a way to restart their seasons safely in “hub cities.”

Major League Baseball (MLB) delayed the start of its 2020 season but continues to be stuck in neutral due to ongoing contract discussions between the players and owners.

Both Major League Soccer (MLS) and the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) have announced plans to return to the pitch in the coming weeks, which should excited local New England Revolution fans.

Baker believes live sports would certainly help all of us during this unprecedented time. Additionally, it would be a great outlet for many, who have been consuming older contests these past few weeks, including a 2007 playoff run by the Boston Red Sox on NESN.

“I think for all of us live sports, and especially pro sports would be a great thing to see again because not only will it be a significant milestone for those of us who are fans but it will also send a big signal that we’ve continued to do all the things that we need to do to contain and control the virus,” said Baker.

On This Date In History: Thursday, April 9th, 2020

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation 

It’s Thursday, which means we are one day closer to a brand new weekend!

Yes, Saturdays feel like Mondays and Sundays feel like Wednesdays, but hopefully, the thought of some extra sleep and time with the family brings a smile to your face!

But what also brings a smile to our face is ‘On This Date in History’ – we have a brand new one (below), so enjoy this trip down memory lane.


On This Date in History: Thursday, April 9th, 2020 

  • 1939: The Toronto Maple Leafs won the 1932 NHL Stanley Cup by beating the New York Rangers in the third and final game of the series by a score of 6-4.

    The 1932 Stanley Cup Finals was a best of five-game series – the third (and final) contest took place in Toronto after the second game was shifted from New York to Boston due to a scheduling conflict with Madison Square Garden on April 7, 1932.

  • 1947: Brooklyn Dodgers manager Leo Durocher was suspended for “conduct detrimental to baseball,” just six days before Opening Day. Additionally, Brooklyn’s Chuck Dressen was suspended 30 days while the Dodgers were fined $2,000.
  • 1959: The Boston Celtics won their third NBA Championship by sweeping the Minneapolis Lakers on the road.

    Bill Sharman paced the Celtics with 29 points while Bill Russell recorded a double-double of 15 points and 30 rebounds. Boston would win the NBA championship the following year against the St. Louis Hawks.

  • 1989: Major League Baseball (MLB) Hall of Famer Ricky Henderson stole his 800th career base in a 4-3 setback to the Cleveland Indians. Henderson, who played for both the New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics during the 1989 season, concluded his career with 1,406 stolen bases. He set the record for most stolen bases in a single-season with 130 in 1982.
  • 1993: The Colorado Rockies win their first game in franchise history by defeating the Montreal Expos, 11-4. The win snapped a two-game losing streak – Montreal blanked Colorado on Opening Day by a score of 3-6 before the Rockies registered their initial run in franchise two days later in a 6-1 setback.

    Colorado concluded its first season sixth in the National League West with an overall record of 67-95.

  • 1997: Major League Soccer (MLS) announced two expansion franchises for the 1998 season: Chicago and Miami. The two new clubs bumped the league’s total to 12 teams.

COVID-19 Cancels March Madness, NCAA Winter & Spring Championships

By Matt Noonan 

Due to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the NCAA has decided to cancel both its winter and spring championships for all three divisions, including March Madness, which was supposed to occur next week without fans in the stands.

The announcement of the cancelations was made this afternoon through a statement, which was seen both on the NCAA website and social media. The statement from the NCAA was the following:

Today, NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors canceled the Division I men’s and women’s 2020 basketball tournaments, as well as all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships. This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities.

Shortly after the cancelations were announced, D3Hoops.com confirmed both D-III tournaments were canceled, including contests that were scheduled to take place this weekend at Amherst CollegeBowdoin College, and Tufts University.

As noted in the report on D3Hoops.com this afternoon, the Tufts men’s basketball team learned of the news on a bus ride to Brockport, New York. The Jumbos were scheduled to tip-off on Saturday, March 14th against the College of Brockport in the third round of the NCAA D-III Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Prior to the NCAA announcement, multiple professional leagues began suspending its current season, including Major League Soccer (MLS), the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the National Hockey League (NHL). Additionally, both Major League Baseball (MLB) and Minor League Baseball (MLB) announced they would be delaying the start of their respective seasons for two weeks.

Finally, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) announced they were canceling both its basketball and hockey championships this weekend.

Sports Business: Discussing The Growth Of The MLL With Boston Cannons President Ian Frenette

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Boston Cannons President Ian Frenette speaks to members of the media during last month’s Boston Cannons Media Day. (PHOTO CREDIT: Reed Smith’s Photography

By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports)

Boston Cannons President Ian Frenette is not only excited about his team’s upcoming season, but also the direction of Major League Lacrosse (MLL), too.

It is an exciting time for the league, which announced its second commissioner (Alexander P. “Sandy” Brown) in February.

Additionally, the league will have a new team this year competing in Dallas – it was announced last November that Rochester would move to Texas and play its games at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco (the Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters and practice facility). MLL held its championship game last season in Dallas where fans were treated to an exciting 17-12 victory by the Ohio Machine. It was the first-ever MLL crown for the Ohio franchise, which fell short to Denver in the 2016 championship game.

Following his team’s Media Day last month, Frenette spoke with Noontime Sports about the league’s growth, as well as his team playing games in Beverly, Massachusetts (Endicott College) and Hingham, Massachusetts (“Cannons in Your Community“) this spring and summer.

On growth of the Major League Lacrosse (MLL): I think we have some serious momentum right now. We have a new commissioner, who just started a little over two months ago. I think we are seeing the biggest growth in a team that is now in Dallas, which used to be in Rochester. It is too bad (they) had to leave Rochester, but to take a franchise and move it into a place like Dallas, which has a tremendous growth curve in the game of lacrosse right now is a great thing for the league’s brand.

I also think the leadership that is happening inside of all of these organizations – there are more (people) running these businesses that understand how to run professional teams. We have kind of gone into another phase, which is huge. I also believe that the players expect more out of themselves (because) they are improving their game (every day). You also see (the sport lending itself) to social media (with people like Paul) Rabil, who is helping raise that bar. Everyone else wants to follow in his footsteps, so they can (make and create content) of their own.

On seeing more teams in the Major League Lacrosse (MLL) in the future: Right now, we are in a huge expansion mode as far as researching what those markets look like – it is all about finding good owners and people who are willing to grow with the league. It is not an immediate thing. What was (highlighted in a New York Times piece on Major League Soccer last summer) was most of those MLS places (don’t) have their own stadiums, and we are starting to see that a little bit now in our league as well. Ohio has its own stadium and venue, and Dallas is obviously world class with the Jones family. Atlanta has a very good venue with Kennesaw State University – it is the right size, not too big and I think there are other organizations that are looking at their own (venues and stadiums. They are probably asking), “how do we get there?” Once that starts to happen then you will see the businesses start to flourish. You also will start to see more eyes – maybe non-lacrosse or not even sports-centered eyes on what those products are and what does that venue mean to the overall community. All those pieces are important to putting this puzzle together.

On ‘Cannons in Your Community’: This opportunity kind of fell in our lap and we thought (about) taking our brand into communities that we think would want us. We started with Hingham and they have been nothing, but gracious about every element of what our production looks like, but just knowing the significant lacrosse culture in that town (helped).

In Beverly, Endicott College is a great venue and certainly supports a bunch of surrounding towns that are very heavy lacrosse centric towns, as well. Who knows what this means for 2019 and future opportunities, but logistically, things will be a little bit different (than what fans are used to at Harvard Stadium), but we are excited about it. Those venues should be sold out, so we are pretty excited about (these opportunities to play in Beverly and Hingham).

New England D3 Soccer: Williams Earns Top Spot In NSCAA Women’s Preseason Poll

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By NoontimeSports.com 

A trio of Massachusetts Division III women’s soccer teams earned spots on the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) preseason poll yesterday, including Williams College, which earned the top spot following a 1-0 national championship victory last fall against Washington University in St. Louis.

The Ephs captured their sixth New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) championship with a 2-0 win over Bowdoin College en route to claiming the program’s first-ever women’s soccer title last December. As noted in last year’s championship release, the Ephs’ title was the first national championship won by a member of the NESCAC.

Williams begin its title defense on Wednesday, September 7 when they travel to Hamilton College for a 4:30 p.m. kick-off.

Brandies University and Amherst College checked in 13th and 19th, respectively. Both teams met in the NCAA Tournament last fall with the Judges prevailing in penalty kicks. Michaela Friedman netted the game-winning goal during the shootout, which sent the Judges to the Round of 16.

The Judges’ initial game of the 2016 season is slated for Thursday, September 1 when they host MIT at 7:00 p.m. The Purple and White begin their campaign on Tuesday, September 6 when they entertain Mount Holyoke at 7:00 p.m.