It was alarming to see a Facebook post yesterday with the headline, “Today is the first Memorial Day without a Major League Baseball game since 1880.” A 140-year old tradition wiped out by virus. Even World Wars couldn’t stop baseball! I read the article by Jean Chery. When it does come back, there will be a Universal designated hitter, not just in the American League. This means another strike against the traditionalists, who believe the game should never change. Well, it at least has to adapt – that’s what asterisk (*) is for! If baseball does have an opening day in 2020, it will mean many an asterisk next to shorted season statistics. It might also mean no fans in the stands or restricted crowds and no hot dog vendors. Peanuts may be allowed in sealed packages as will Cracker Jack, but Popcorn will be Out!
Will others now have to wear masks, instead of just catchers and umpires? Coaches will certainly have to if they intend to “get in the faces” of umpires. At least, we won’t be able to read lips. Will players have to practice social distancing on the base paths? These are all questions that are currently being tossed-around the horn, even in jest. The players are ready, as are the TV crews. “Play Ball!” We should at least be watching the game at home where we can eat all the hot dogs we want. Then, once everybody gets warmed-up, we can start to think about fans at the ball parks. Play it Safe!
I missed my last five baseball games due to a rain-out, a funeral, and the Spring Training virus. It’s been over a year since I’ve been to Wrigley Field and nearly two years since I saw at Cub’s W there. It will soon be time for the All-Star Game. Will we still not see a pitch by then? The fans are getting restless and the economy is suffering. I’ve been doing some collecting to keep my love of the game alive. It’s good that the magazines and sports channels have focused on the history of the game these past few months. Even Armando Gallarraga has been in the headlines, still fighting for his perfect game from ten years ago. Historians are having a field day, while signs remain posted at the gates, “No Baseball Allowed.”