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Poll says 72 percent of Americans would not attend games until coronavirus vaccine developed

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A poll conducted by The Sharkey Institute at Seton Hall University found that 72 percent of respondents would not attend sports games until a cure for coronavirus (COVID-19) is developed. 12 percent would attend if social distancing practices were instituted and 13 said they would attend, feeling as safe as they had prior to the pandemic.

The sample size was 762 respondents, 348 of which responded from a landline phone and 414 responded via cell phone.

76 percent of respondents felt the leagues acted at the right time to shut down operations and an additional 16 percent felt that the leagues didn’t act quickly enough. Also of interest, 76 percent of fans said they would have the same interest in sports even if they are played without fans.

This poll is of interest, of course, to those running national sports leagues, including Major League Baseball. In recent days, we have learned that MLB was considering having an abbreviated schedule play out entirely in Arizona. Other ideas floated have included running the schedule deep into the fall, playing in largely warm-weather areas, and making use of frequent doubleheaders. Sports leagues and their associated business interests are losing money every day due to the pandemic, so it is understandable why many are willing to get creative to put on a show.

Ex-Angels employee charged in overdose death of Tyler Skaggs

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FORT WORTH, Texas — A former Angels employee has been charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl in connection with last year’s overdose death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, prosecutors in Texas announced Friday.

Eric Prescott Kay was arrested in Fort Worth, Texas, and made his first appearance Friday in federal court, according to Erin Nealy Cox, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. Kay was communications director for the Angels.

Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room in the Dallas area July 1, 2019, before the start of what was supposed to be a four-game series against the Texas Rangers. The first game was postponed before the teams played the final three games.

Skaggs died after choking on his vomit with a toxic mix of alcohol and the powerful painkillers fentanyl and oxycodone in his system, a coroner’s report said. Prosecutors accused Kay of providing the fentanyl to Skaggs and others, who were not named.

“Tyler Skaggs’s overdose – coming, as it did, in the midst of an ascendant baseball career – should be a wake-up call: No one is immune from this deadly drug, whether sold as a powder or hidden inside an innocuous-looking tablet,” Nealy Cox said.

If convicted, Kay faces up to 20 years in prison. Federal court records do not list an attorney representing him, and an attorney who previously spoke on his behalf did not immediately return a message seeking comment.