This is the first big sports weekend in a while


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Here’s what you need to know right now from the world of sports:

The Blue Jays finally have a home

Just hours before the start of the season in Tampa Bay, the Jays announced that they will play “most” of their home games this season in Buffalo, NY. The team settled in Sahlen Field, which is the home of their triple A affiliate, the Buffalo Bison, after a potential deal to divide the Baltimore Orioles stadium fell through because government officials didn’t like it. Prior to this, the agreement with the Pittsburgh pirates collapsed for the same reason. And before that, the Canadian government decided not to allow jays to play in Toronto, so they needed a new home.

The reason the word “majority” was used is because Buffalo Stadium will not be ready to host the Jays’ first home streak July 29-30 against Washington. Sahlen Field needs a few tweaks to get it ready for the big leagues, and most importantly better lighting. So Jace and Nationals will be playing this streak in Washington. This is possible from July 31st to August. A 2 series against Philadelphia could have been played at Buffalo, but it is more likely that Jace will start playing there on 11 August, which will be their next home game after that. Find out more about the Blue Jays’ new (temporary) home here.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. spent some time at Sahlen Field before being called up by the Blue Jays. (Nathan Denette / Canadian Press)

Sport escalated quickly

After months of idleness caused by the pandemic, it suddenly feels like every league is back at once. Some are raising their seasons this weekend, others are playing higher stakes tournaments, and two of the big ones are gearing up for the final openings next week.

Here’s what to look for during a tiring, busy weekend for professional sports (nice to say that again):

Basketball

The NBA season repeats in six days, with the Toronto Raptors playing their first of three bouts tonight at 7:30 pm. ET vs. Houston in the Disney World bubble. The defending champions also have workouts Sunday against Portland and Tuesday against Phoenix. The regular season will resume Thursday night with a couple of games (including a match-up between the Lakers and the Clippers), and the Raptors will open Saturday night against the Lakers.

But you don’t have to wait that long to fix the hoops. The Canadian Elite Basketball League concludes its two-week tournament on Saturday with a couple of games, followed by two more on Sunday. Saturday Rookies (Niagara v Hamilton at 1:30 pm ET; Ottawa v Guelph at 3:50 pm ET) will air live on the CBC TV network and live on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports App and CBC Gem … Sunday’s games (Saskatchewan v Niagara at 1:30 pm ET; Edmonton v Fraser Valley at 4:00 pm ET) will air. You can watch every game in the tournament here,

The CEBL Summer Series is replacing the regular season and playoffs this year. This takes place in St. Catharines, Ontario, where seven league teams will compete in a round-robin tournament, of which the top six advance to the singles elimination stage. The top two teams bid farewell to the semi-finals on Saturday 8 August. The final of the championship will take place the next day.

An interesting twist to the tournament is that CEBL uses Elam Ending for all of its games. When the game is first stopped with four minutes remaining in the last quarter, the game clock is turned off and the teams play with the target score. This number is determined by adding nine points to the lead team’s score. For example: the ball goes out of bounds with 3:57 left and Niagara leads Hamilton 80-75. Teams now play to 89. So Niagara needs nine points to win the game and Hamilton needs 14. The beauty of this system is that every game ends with someone sinking the basket (off the floor or free throw line). The leading team does not kick the clock or deliberately break the rules to hit the ball with the back team. Learn more about Elam Ending glitter here and 10 reasons to watch the CEBL tournament here,

It’s also a great weekend for womens basketball. The WNBA reports its shortened regular season of 22 games (up from 36) on Saturday in its bubble in central Florida. It will be followed by the standard playoff tournament ending in October. Canadian national team star Kia New York Liberty Nurse will play in the rookie of the season on Saturday afternoon. Read about how she adjusts to life in a bubble here.,

Football

The MLS – Back Tournament playoff round kicks off on Saturday and all three Canadian teams have passed it. Toronto FC won their group, while Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps, both recovering from a slow start, reached an incredible 16th round. From this moment on, the tournament is held in singles. ET. Toronto meets the New York City Football Club on Sunday at 8:30 pm. ET and Vancouver meets Sporting Kansas City at 11pm. ET.

The final of the Women’s National Football League Championship will take place on Sunday at 12:30. ET. This is an unlikely match between the Houston Dash, who were selected fourth in the knockout phase, and the Chicago Red Stars with six seeds. The new champion will be crowned after North Carolina Courage, who won the title in the past two years, was upset in the quarterfinals. Houston has four Canadian players: defender Allisha Chapman, midfielder Sophie Schmidt and forwards Nichelle Prince and Megan Kelly. There is only one in Chicago, defender Bianca St. Georges, who scored her first pro goal in the Red Stars’ 3-2 semifinal win over Sky Blue FC. Read NWSL Commissioner Lisa Byrd’s thoughts on how the league was able to host its tournament during the pandemic, and where she thinks it is happening in this piece is from CBC Sports Signa Butler,

Sunday is also the last day of the English Premier League season, which resumed in mid-June. Liverpool won the league title about a month ago – for the first time in 30 years – but some things are still at stake. Manchester United, Chelsea and Leicester are fighting for England’s last two places in the Champions League next season (Liverpool and Manchester City are already involved). Aston Villa, Watford and Bournemouth are fighting to avoid two remaining relegation spots (Norwich has already been demoted). Leicester striker Jamie Vardy hopes to win his first Golden Boot trophy for leading the league in performance (he has a two-goal lead). This will be a quick turnaround for the next season of the EPL, which kicks off on September 12th.

Baseball

A shortened 60-game Major League baseball season opened last night when the Yankees beat the World Series champions 4-1 in a game that was called in the sixth inning by rain. Later, the Los Angeles Dodgers, which is one of the favorites with the Yankees to win the World Series, blasted San Francisco 8-1. Any other team is opening tonight / tonight. Jace collides with the Tampa Bay rays at 6:40 p.m. ET.

Not long before Dr. Anthony Fauci uncorked the first parade last night, which was a little outsideMLB and the players union have announced that they have agreed to expand the postseason from 10 to 16 teams. The top two teams in each division come into play, as well as the two wild cards in each league. In the first round, the senior seed in each league meets seed # 8, game 2 of 7, and so on. These streaks are the best of the three, and the taller seeds host every game. This is followed by the usual best-of-five division series, as well as top-of-seven championship and world league series.

Hockey

NHL players arrive at their assigned bubbles (Edmonton for the Western Conference teams, Toronto for the East) on Sunday. Each team plays one show game (Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday) before the so-called Stanley Cup qualifiers kick off the following Saturday (an extra round tied to the standard playoffs).

Details of the bubbles were released last night in the NHL. This included many procedural issues such as COVID-19 testing, hotel accommodation, food, entertainment, and an off-ice fitness center. But for fans, the most interesting thing has to do with how the games will look and sound on TV without spectators in arenas. To make empty buildings more aesthetic, the seats in the lower bowl will be covered with tarps. In addition, giant LED screens and banners will be placed behind benches, showcasing things like team logos and graphics and even videos of fans. Here’s a render of the artist:

(NHL)

Instead of the usual 20 cameras, 32 will be used to capture games – some of them are located in places they’ve never been. Crowd sounds supplied by video game company EA Sports will be streamed across arenas for players to hear. Unfortunately for those hoping to hear some of the colorful dialogue on ice, the games will be streamed with a five-second delay so that anything obscene can be edited. Learn more about life in the NHL bubble here,

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