Pro leagues plan play after superstorm
With much of the Northeast immersed in the recovery from Superstorm Sandy’s devastating blow, the NFL and NBA plan to carry on with their schedules.
The New York City Marathon is still hoping that the course will be clear by Sunday and runners will be able to get to the starting line in Staten Island.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank on Tuesday said through his Twitter account the season-opening games Tuesday night in Miami, Los Angeles and Cleveland -- the Wizards flew out of Washington Monday 7 a.m. -- are set to tip off on time.
Of concern: Philadelphia is supposed to host its opener on Wednesday. And the Nets’ first game at their new Brooklyn home against the crosstown-rival Knicks on Thursday could be in jeopardy, too. The new arena is heavily dependent on mass transit and with the New York City subways and commuter rail out for what is expected to be several days, the league may choose to postpone that party if fans are kept away.
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin believes Sunday’s game in Jersey against the New York Giants to go on as scheduled and plans to prepare that way. Tomlin said he understands the league will be looking at any logistical issues caused by the storm’s aftermath may present but added the Steelers will stick to their weekly routine unless they hear from NFL officials.
Tomlin might have to wait a day for the final word. All 32 teams were notified Monday that the league’s offices would be closed through Tuesday.
The NFL had already moved its trade deadline back two days to Thursday because of potential complications from the storm. The deadline now is 4 p.m. EDT Thursday, when waivers for vested veterans also begin.
Around the league, the Giants, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles reported no damage at their practice facilities. The Baltimore Ravens, though, were running a generator at their complex. Players were off but the hope is electricity will be restored for regular practice Wednesday.
Five days before 50,000 runners take to the course that meanders through the streets of New York City’s five boroughs, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he expects the marathon to go on scheduled. Race organizers were moving forward with their plans -- leaving open the possibility of changes from past years.
"The marathon has always been a special day for New Yorkers as a symbol of the vitality and resiliency of this city," New York Road Runners President Mary Wittenberg said in a statement.
"NYRR continues to move ahead with its planning and preparation. We will keep all options open with regard to making any accommodations and adjustments necessary to race day and race weekend events."
Lower Manhattan was especially hit hard and many runners need to take the ferry to the start on Staten Island. Also, Bloomberg said it could be four or five days before the subways were running again. That could mean no trains on race day.
Record-setting Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps was in Rio de Janeiro, the site of the 2016 Summer Games, but his thoughts were back in Maryland.
"I’m kind of nervous to go back home because I don’t know if my house is going to be under water or not. It will be an interesting trip," Phelps said. "I know that we will all sort of bounce back from everything that is going on. It’s kind of wild seeing all the pictures and all the coverage -- it’s all I have been watching really since I have been here. It’s sad. it’s part of life."
The St. Cloud State women’s hockey team was stranded Tuesday in Rhode Island. The Huskies were supposed to catch a flight out of Boston on Monday after playing a weekend series against Providence College.
They hope to fly back to Minnesota on Thursday. Their home opener is Friday.
In response to the storm, Indiana State is giving fans several opportunities to make donations in the days leading up to their football game against Illinois State on Saturday.
Terre Haute Catholic Charities will give a free ticket to each fan that donates at least five pounds of items. Donors to the American Red Cross will also get a free ticket to the game.
Looking ahead on the sports calendar to August, Oak Hill Country Club, the site of 2013 PGA championship in upstate New York, lost several trees in the storm. But still standing is the famed Leaning Oak -- supported by a steel beam since 1956 -- on the right side of the 12th hole.
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