Opening Day blues

MLB Opening Day was yesterday, and as hard as I tried, I just could not get excited about it.  The Royals play their opening game tonight, and while I feel a tiny bit happier about that, it’s still nothing like what I usually feel when Opening Day comes around.

I am making an effort, I really am.  From the time the announcement came down that a season was going to happen up to now, I have been trying to get excited about baseball.

It’s just really hard to do right now.

Every time I think about Major League Baseball proceeding with a season, I find myself thinking, “Half those players are going to get COVID.”  “This season will be ended by early September.”  “It’s not like anyone can go to the games anyways.”  “It’s not about the game, it’s all about the money.”

Now, admittedly, bringing baseball back is not all bad.  It’s been weird not having new games to watch, even from the living room.  I miss the highlight reels, even the repetitive ones.  I miss having to confess to my co-workers, “Um, yeah… I fell asleep in the seventh inning, so I didn’t see that homer.”  I miss the bench-clearing brawls in all their glorious stupidity.  I miss seeing the perfectly cut grass of the myriad outfields and listening to the various broadcasters react to and analyze the games.  I miss baseball itself.

There’s also that ironic voice in my head reminding me, “At least the Royals can’t lose 100 games this year,” like they did last year and the year before that.

But even that can’t drown out the thought in my head that keeps insisting that going through with this season is stupid to the core.  The schedule is so short and compact, it’s almost laughable.  Then there’s the not-so-funny fact that all these players are at risk for exposure.

I will watch some games — it will be hard not to.  But it still won’t be the same.

I’m sorry baseball.  I just can’t this year.


Baseball is coming back

Players, owners, teams, the league… all the moving parts of the MLB universe have finally come together, and we are, at last, going to see some baseball for the 2020 season!

Major League Baseball is having a second Spring Training (or should we call it “Summer Training” at this point?) to begin in about a week’s time, on July 1st.  Then, we will be looking at a 60-game regular season, to be played over the course of about 66 days, from about July 23rd or 24th until September 27th.  The postseason will begin on September 29th, with the World Series to begin on October 20th, and a potential Game 7 to be played on October 28th.

With the COVID-19 pandemic still in full swing, access to games is going to be limited, of course.  No fans in the stands is going to seem a bit weird, but so long as we can watch games from the comfort of our living rooms, that seems like a minor concession at this point.  There will be a regimen of temperature checks and symptom checks, as well routine tests for the virus, not just among players, but also coaches, trainers, staff, etc.  Players who are high-risk or who have family members at high risk have the option to opt out for the season and still get paid.  Media interactions with the teams, meanwhile, will all take place through Zoom, in order to adhere to social distancing recommendations.

On the field, spitting will be banned, which makes perfect sense given the nature of how the virus spreads.  Non-playing players in the dugout will be required to wear masks.  Pitchers will bring their own rosin bags and will even be permitted to carry a wet rag in their back pocket so they won’t need to lick their fingers (does anyone else sniff a potential for some doctoring on this one?).  Social distancing, in general, remains strongly encouraged.

How well will this all work?  Obviously, it’s difficult to tell until things really get underway.  The potential for a widespread outbreak remains very real — just look at what happened among the Phillies last week — and for all we know, the season might end abruptly after the first thirty days.

Information about this new development is still coming, even as I write this.  This strange, strange season just keeps getting stranger, and while I’m happy that we’re going to see some ballgames, half of me is intensely curious about how long it’s really going to last.

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MLB suspending operations

This just in: Major League Baseball has announced that they are canceling the remainder of Spring Training.  The start of the 2020 regular season is also being pushed back.

Thanks a lot, COVID-19.

 


One month until Opening Day

Spring Training is underway, and regular season baseball is right around the corner!


34 days until Spring Training

It’s crazy to think we’re just over a month away.

76 days until Opening Day!


45 days until pitchers and catchers report

88 days until Opening Day!!


54 days until pitchers and catchers report

And 97 days until Opening Day!

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“365,” by Jack Buck

This poem feels very appropriate right about now, with Christmas less than two weeks away and snow in the forecast across the country this weekend.  The video below appears to have been a project someone created for school, but it’s fun to listen to the piece, in addition to reading it.

*

When someone asks you your favorite sport
And you answer Baseball in a blink
There are certain qualities you must possess
And you’re more attached than you think.
In the frozen grip of winter
I’m sure you’ll agree with me
Not a day goes by without someone
Talking baseball to some degree.
The calendar flips on New Year’s Day
The Super Bowl comes and it goes
Get the other sports out of the way
The green grass and the fever grows.
It’s time to pack a bag and take a trip
To Arizona or the Sunshine State
Perhaps you can’t go, but there’s the radio
So you listen-you root-you wait.
They start the campaign, pomp and pageantry reign
You claim the pennant on Opening Day

From April till fall
You follow the bouncing white ball
Your team is set to go all the way.
They fall short of the series
You have a case of the “wearies”
And need as break from the game
But when Christmas bells jingle
You feel that old tingle
And you’re ready for more of the same.
It will be hot dogs for dinner
Six months of heaven, a winner
Yes, Baseball has always been it.
You would amaze all your friends
If they knew to what ends
You’d go for a little old hit.
The best times you’re had
Have been with your Mom and your Dad
And a bat and a ball and a glove.

From the first time you played
Till the last time you prayed
It’s been a simple matter of love.


72 days until pitchers and catchers report

And 115 days until Opening Day!

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84 days until pitchers and catchers report

And 128 days until Opening Day!

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