Testing Replaces Tailgating, As Bills Set To Welcome In Fans

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window),Guess who’s NOT going to the game….??? CuomoPetition was created to BAN him ….. The people ALWAYS win File image by Idibri / CC BY 2.0 ORCHARD PARK (AP) — Testing is replacing tailgating in the Bills Stadium parking lot, with a limited number of fans being allowed to attend Buffalo’s wild-card playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday.Before that can happen, New York state guidelines require the approximate 6,700 fans plus another 200 employees and members of the media first test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of kickoff. Each person must show their ID and proof of a negative test before being allowed in the outdoor facility, which seats about 70,000.The tests will be held Wednesday and Thursday, and conducted by New Jersey-based BioReference Laboratories.The company is converting a portion of the expansive stadium lots into a drive-thru testing site. Tests will be done over 14-hour periods both days, feature 30 lanes to accommodate the number of people showing up, and have the results returned within close to a 24-hour period. “We have approximately 150 staff who are in Buffalo to pull this thing off, who were arriving Saturday, Sunday, training and getting everything set up and ready to go,” BioReference executive chairman Jon Cohen said Tuesday.Though the company has conducted more than 10 million COVID-19 tests since May, including NFL and NBA players and staff, this will be BioReference’s largest drive-thru event and the first mandatory fan-testing program in the country, Cohen said.The state considers the program a test run in granting the Bills permission to have fans attend a home game for the first time this season. Should all go well, the program has the potential of being used in opening other New York venues, such as indoor sports arenas, music halls and even Broadway theaters.“Everybody’s focused on what should be the game and the fans and everything, but this is also focused on how testing programs like this help re-open the New York State economy. That’s a very important issue,” Cohen said. “So it’s a broader brush than it just happens to be a sports event.”Though a Bills’ win would guarantee them playing at home again the following week, there have been no discussions as to whether fans would be allowed to attend a second game, Cohen said.“Everybody’s totally focused on getting the job done at hand, and then we’ll figure out if there’s going to be next steps,” Cohen said.In Buffalo, there’s relief that members of the so-called “Bills Mafia” can finally see their AFC East champions in action up close. It will also be Buffalo’s first home playoff appearance since a 30-27 loss to Jacksonville on Dec. 28, 1996, in what proved to be Bills’ Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly’s final game.Not surprisingly, the limited number of tickets sold out shortly after being made available on Thursday.“It’s goose-bump material,” long-time season-ticket holder Barbara Babiarz told Rochester’s WHEC-TV after landing two tickets. “I mean just the thought of being part of this playoff game as a fan when I couldn’t go at all for the whole season I just, there are no words to describe it.”Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he also plans to attend, while stressing fans be safe by wearing facemasks, maintaining social distancing in the stands, and while entering and exiting the stadium.Receiver Stefon Diggs, acquired in a trade with Minnesota in March, was already amazed by how many fans turned out in the early hours of Dec. 20 to greet the team at the airport after Buffalo clinched its first division title in 25 years following a 48-19 win at Denver.“I got a little bit of a taste of it,” Diggs said. “I really look forward to it because we haven’t had fans all year, and that’s something that we can try to take advantage of in the postseason. I try not to think too far ahead right now, but I’ve kind of been focused on this.”last_img read more

Miller: Dodgers and Cubs meet again, before meeting again?

first_imgMaddon also participated, which is why he colored his white hair brown before going back to his natural look prior to Friday’s first pitch.This sort of goofiness has long been part of Maddon’s approach, one that isn’t just outside the box and also incapable of ever being boxed.The fact his teams win so much — and last year did so at a level that left entire Chicago neighborhoods red-eyed for days — means his methods are more than just accepted. They’re celebrated.And why not? The baseball season is long and routine enough already, the games themselves now played beneath an outfield clock employed strictly to keep things moving.Besides, a short time before Maddon was making jokes about his wacky appearance, Roberts was in the Dodgers dugout going into great detail about the condition of Rob Segedin’s injured toe.Frankly, I don’t even care that much about Segedin’s nine other healthy toes, particularly when the champion Cubs are in town to face a Dodgers team that entered Friday a season-high eight games above .500.“I think that we’re kind of hitting our stride,” Roberts said “Going into this series, I really like our chances with the guys we’ve got going. … It’s going to be a fun series.”These teams met in early April, the Cubs winning two of three at Wrigley Field and conveniently forcing the Dodgers to squirm through a series of tributes commemorating the 2016 World Series title.Envisioning another postseason matchup between the two isn’t difficult, not even a little bit, and, following this weekend, is the only way they’ll face each other again this season.When spring training began, the Cubs were the top pick among oddsmakers to win the National League and the Dodgers were second. Nothing has happened yet to drastically alter those projections.Sure, the Nationals appear to be cruising in the NL East. But, at this point, I don’t believe in the Rockies or Diamondbacks any more than I believe in goats being capable of unleashing curses.The Cubs are trying to become the first team to claim consecutive World Series championships since the Yankees won three straight in 1998-2000.As daunting as that might sound, consider that the most recent National League team to do so was the Cincinnati Reds in 1975-76. Before that, among NL franchises, it was the New York Giants in 1921-22.Scary, right? Ah, sure. These Cubs just drowned more than a century’s worth of failure in champagne. So chasing away ancient eras is sort of their thing.“Last year, I felt they were the best team, and that’s the way it played out,” Roberts said. “But, this year, I feel we’re a better team. It really doesn’t matter what my thoughts are of the two clubs. It’s about going out there and playing.”It is about going out there and playing and, so far, the Cubs haven’t been playing great. But they did enter Friday four games above .500, which, like the Dodgers, also was a season-best.So maybe these teams really are beginning their respective climbs, heading again toward the same peak, one with enough room for only a single survivor.“Yeah, you want to play well against these guys because they’re a good ballclub,” Roberts said. “But the narrative of ‘We have to beat them because they eliminated us last year,’ I think we’re all past that.”He’s right. It is a new season, even if the most recent visitors are old foes, foes that looked awfully familiar rolling into town, despite the fresh coat of paint.jmiller@scng.com LOS ANGELES — He manages one of the most popular sports franchises on the planet, the team that is the reigning World Series champion, that last fall ended 108 years of historic frustration.So, naturally, Joe Maddon opened his pregame media session Friday by answering multiple questions about … dying his hair?Yes, and with a substance that, based on the photos, appeared to be similar to shoe polish.“Maaco,” Maddon corrected, a reference to the auto body repair specialists and the fact his hair was less dyed and more lacquered. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img And so marked the Chicago Cubs’ return to Dodger Stadium, where their previous visit came during a triumphant — at least for them — National League Championship Series.“We’ve been looking forward to this,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirmed before the game, “and getting these guys at our place.”Believe it, this is a big weekend series, arriving on a classic American holiday, no less, a riveting rematch of last season’s playoffs and a possible preview of this season’s.But it isn’t big enough to have prevented Maddon from ordering his players to travel from Chicago to Los Angeles on Thursday dressed like characters from the movie “Anchorman.”There the Cubs were, starting this vital business trip, outfitted in crazy sport coats, ridiculous pants and fuzzy wigs that suggested they might be tripping on something other than baseball.last_img read more