Associated Press sports writer Larry Lage couldn’t stop thinking about freelancers who needed help financially because of layoffs affecting the sports media due to the cancellation of sports during COVID-19. “I went to bed and was thinking about sports journalists who were paid by assignment,” Lage said. “I thought of them the next morning and I literally started to tear up, and I thought, to myself, you know what I’m going to try to do something.”
After COVID-19 began spreading in the U.S., Lage said many freelancers went without payments because they are paid by assignment and there were no assignments due to many sports leagues cancelling. The NBA announced on March 11 that they would suspend the rest of the season after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus. Then, the NCAA cancelled the March Madness tournament on March 12, and the NHL and MLS suspended their seasons on March 12 as well.
Mike Steele was a three-time minor league all-star before Tommy John surgery put his pitching career on hold. A growing number of pitchers face the surgery — which repairs ligament damage in the elbow — as a result of overuse and poor technique, according to Major League Baseball’s Pitch Smart program. The program aims to reduce pitcher injuries, particularly among youth players. “A lot of my past teammates and former players had the Tommy John surgery,” said Steele, a Michigan State University assistant coach for the 2006 and 2007 seasons, who had the surgery in February 2002 while playing for the Detroit Tigers. “Especially nowadays when you get a lot of kids who haven’t trained a lot.
It’s the crack of the bat on a warm summer night. It’s the smell of a ballpark hot dog floating through the air. It’s 12,000-plus chanting “Go Nuts” in unison. It’s the professional sports team of the capital city. It’s Lansing Lugnuts baseball.