What To Watch: 4/1 – 4/3

All times Pacific.

Friday April 1st

New England Revolution vs NY Red Bulls – 4pm UniMas: These two were the cream of the crop last year in the east and should be again this year.

Minnesota Wild at Detroit Red Wings – 4:30pm NHLN: The Wild are holding on to the last playoff spot in the west while the Red Wings are two points out of the last spot in the east. So yes, there is a lot on the line.

Cleveland Cavaliers at Atlanta Hawks – 5pm ESPN: Two of the top teams in the east look to fine tune things before the playoffs.

Washington Capitals at Colorado Avalanche – 6pm NHL.TV: The Avs are playoff hopes are fading fast but whatever glimmer of hope they do have Ovi and the crew look to crush it.

Boston Celtics at Golden State Warriors – 7:30 ESPN: Warriors are zeroing in on the best season in NBA history. To get to 73 wins, they have to beat a solid Celtics team.

 

Saturday April 2nd

Liverpool vs Tottenham – 9:30am NBC: Liverpool looks to give the high flying Spurs a reality check with only a few games left in the season.

Pittsburgh Penguins at NY Islanders – 10am NHL.TV: The Isles are in hot pursuit of the Pens playoff spot. Seeding could be all the difference when it comes to the chase for Lord Stanley.

FC Barcelona vs Real MadridBarcelona vs Real Madrid – 11:30am beIN Sports: Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar, Bale, Rodriguez, Neymar, Suarez…yeah, there is some world class talent on the pitch.

Dallas Stars at LA Kings – 1pm NHL.TV: Playoff preview. Watch it.

Villanova vs Oklahoma – 3pm TBS: Game one of two to decide who gets to play for all the marbles come Monday. Keep and eye on Buddy Hield from OU. He is probably the best player in the country.

Colorado Rapids vs Toronto FC: 5pm MLS LIVE: The Rapids are worth watching….at least thus far. TFC brings a lot of talent and fire power so the Rapids defense will be tested often.

Detroit Pistons at Chicago Bulls – 5pm NBA.TV: Bulls have got to stop the bleeding if they want to be in the playoffs. It starts with beating the Pistons at home.

Sporting KC vs Real Salt Lake – 5:30pm MLS LIVE: These are played for MLS Cup just two short years ago in KC. They are very different now but it’s still a good one.

Syracuse vs North Carolina – 5:45pm TBS: This is may be an ACC matchup (UNC won the two meetings during the regular season) and UNC has the Cuse out gunned. But Syracuse has nothing to lose and their coach has been here before.

 

Sunday April 3rd

St Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates – 10am ESPN: Baseball is back! Two playoff teams from a year ago.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets – 12:30pm ABC: OKC has a playoff spot sown up but the Rockets are desperately trying to get in. This is a tall order for Harden and Co.

Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays – 1pm ESPN2: Division rivals in arguably the toughest division in baseball. Bat flip anyone?

Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins – 2pm NHL.TV: Flyers are desperately trying to hold on to that last playoff spot in the east.

Orlando City vs Portland Timbers – 5pm FS1: Orlando City is an outpost and no where near Portland, Oregon. Will the travel, atmosphere and weather effect the MLS Cup Champs?

Portland TrailBlazers at Golden State Warriors – 5pm NBA,TV: Both are bound for the playoffs but the thing to keep your eye on here is Damian Lillard. He can provide the Warriors plenty of headaches.

NY Mets at KC Royals – 5:30pm ESPN: Sunday night baseball is a rematch of last years World series.

 

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Business Decision

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

The Baltimore Orioles will host the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday afternoon in an empty stadium. It’s nothing either team did but with the current situation in Charm City, the powers that be came to the conclusion to play a day game instead of a night game with no fans in the stadium. While it may seem odd it isn’t the first time a sporting event has been played in an empty stadium.

Baltimore Riots

Major League Baseball (MLB) faced a similar situation over two decades ago in Los Angeles when the Rodney King riots broke out and shut down the city. The LA Dodgers and Montreal Expos made up the games later in the year with three doubleheaders in three days. The Orioles and White Sox will not have to do that but the Orioles will be a “home team” in Tampa this weekend as Major League Baseball moved the weekend series against the Rays from Baltimore to Tampa.

The empty stadium situation is not unprecedented in sports. UEFA, the governing body of soccer in Europe, has played games in empty stadiums before. In just about every case it was a punishment for racist conduct by a team’s supporters. Most recently CSKA Moscow supporters where locked out of Champions League matches against Manchester City and AS Roma after racist chants in precious Champions League matches. While locking fans out of a stadium is punishment in Europe, it is a matter of safety in Baltimore.

Not everyone agrees with the decision by Major League Baseball but it is their decision none the less. The fact is that baseball is a business. As a business you have to make business decisions while also being mindful of your employees and customers safety. MLB and the Orioles are doing that. Hopefully they nor anyone other league or franchise will have to make similar decisions anytime soon.