The Cubs' struggles continued with a series loss in Milwaukee, the White Sox couldn't keep the Mariners off the board in the first home series of the year and the Blackhawks wrapped up the season. Here are some of the Chicago sports stories you may have missed from the weekend.
The Cubs snapped a six-game losing streak with a 14-8 win in Milwaukee on Saturday, but still lost the series with a 4-2 loss on Sunday.
Theo Epstein shouldered some of the blame for the team's slow start. Jon Lester provided some perspective on the Cubs' early pitching woes. The Cubs are also not making a big deal out of Kris Bryant's early slump.
Javy Baez and Anthony Rizzo talked about blocking out the negativity that comes with a 2-7 record and dealing with the, as Baez put it, "bullcrap."
The White Sox won the home opener against the Mariners 10-8 on Friday, but the bats couldn't keep up the rest of the series. The Mariners scored 29 runs in the three-game series and took two out of three.
Meanwhile, Tim Anderson was absolutely on fire all weekend, going 10-for-13 at the plate, and Daniel Palka is confident his season-opening slump will end soon. Also, Yoan Moncada is off to a hot start in 2019, but the White Sox are saying they never stopped believing in him.
The Blackhawks finished the 2018-19 season with a 5-2 loss to Nashville on Saturday. They finished the season with a 36-34-12 record, The team's 84 points was good for 10th best in the Western Conference.
The Blackhawks struggled defensively throughout the season. One way to fix that would be to possess the puck more. Would that be enough?
The group remains optimistic about the future despite going through a "lost season."
The U.K. has put forth a plan for the Premier League to return this summer, but fans will have to stay home and watch on TV.
The British government detailed the steps in a report called “Our Plan to Rebuild: The UK Government's COVID-19 Recovery Strategy.”
Inside the 51-page document it says the U.K. can begin “permitting cultural and sporting events to take place behind closed-doors for broadcast, while avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact,” in Step 2 of the plan, starting June 1.
Before moving on to Step 2, however, the report states the U.K. must pass five benchmarks, including: seeing a declining COVID-19 infection rate, a declining death rate (due to COVID-19), being confident that they will be able to provide intensive care across the U.K., and being confident that the healthcare system will still have plenty of access to PPE materials.
According to ESPN, the Premier League will also have to present a plan to the U.K.’s Department of Culture, Media & Sport before they’re cleared to play.
As for fans in seats, the report says “while reopening outdoor spaces and activities… comes earlier in the roadmap because the risk of transmission outdoors is significantly lower, it is likely that reopening… venues that attract large crowds (like sports stadia)... may only be fully possible significantly later depending on the reduction in numbers of infections.”
Soccer fans looking to watch games no matter who’s playing will have another option soon. Bundesliga, Germany’s top soccer league, will restart play on Saturday.
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Last night, live sports returned in the United States at UFC 249. Held in an empty arena without fans, with a load of coronavirus prevention guidelines and testing, some normalcy returned to the sports world.
President Donald Trump addressed UFC fans during the broadcast in a video from the White House.
"I'm standing in a very important spot, right outside the Oval Office, and you're looking at the White House behind me," Trump said. "It's an honor to be here and an honor to salute you. I want to congratulate Dana White and the UFC. They're going to have a big match.
"We love it. We think it's important. Get the sports league back. Let's play. Do the social distancing and whatever else you have to do, but we need sports. We want our sports back."
It's worth noting that UFC light heavyweight Jacare Souza tested positive for COVID-19 and his bout with Uriah Hall was pulled from the event, but the card continued otherwise. It's also worth noting that Trump and UFC president Dana White have a close personal relationship, with White speaking at the Republican National Convention in 2016.
Trump has reportedly held calls with the commissioners of the major sports leagues about how to get sports going again. As of now, the NBA, NHL and MLB seasons are suspended, and there isn't a clear return date or plan in mind. Reports of options have crept out, but nothing concrete is in place.
The NFL released its schedule in early May and is planning on starting in early September, as usual. However, there are contingency plans in place if the season needs to be delayed.