We interrupt the coming apart of the country for the national pastime.
Take me out to the… Oh, yeah.
Baseball is back in all it surreal Covid-19 glory. A 60 game sprint to the big dough bonanza known as the playoffs. Pretty exciting. I guess. As someone who did not troop down to the ballpark that often, it is in many respects the same as it ever was with a few modifications made by the pandemic and the people in charge over at MLB. Chief among these are universal DH’s (designated hitters) and relievers being required to face at least 3 batters-take that Tony LaRussa, and should the game go long, the guy who was out at the end of the last inning is rewarded with second base at the start of the next inning.
So minor league rules for major league players. Until the playoffs, assuming they make it to the end of this truncated season with enough players and staff still healthy, when they return to our regularly scheduled rules. Seems fair since they jetizened the entire minor league season.
So, it’s all good.
As might be expected, play is uneven. Some teams are doing quite well, others look like they could use few more weeks of Spring Training or whatever they called the 3 weeks of practice leading up to the start of official games. The problem is that 60 games go quick when you play everyday, and a first month flog means doom and despair for there is no time to make up lost ground. There will, however, be more teams eligible for the playoffs because, why not.
Watching the games is its own entertainment. Most ballparks have an assemblage of cardboard fans. The Yankees don’t but, you know. Music and crowd noise is piped in for reasons unknown. My favorite part is the players being announced to the grounds crew. One might ask why, but you know. Home run balls bounce off advertisements in wide sheaths covering empty seats. It’s like the whole season and every team is playing in Tampa.
The Blue Jays are playing in Buffalo. Canada kicked them out.
As I watch, I wonder if they will still hand out the usual awards at the end of the season. MVP. ROY. Cy Young winners. And if they do, will it mean the same-they’ll say it will-as a 162 game season? Is it asterisks o’plenty?
There is also the matter of a number of players taking a pass on the season so they don’t get sick, which seems reasonable, but then again it’s a year lost in a sport with finite playing time.
And so it goes.
I will, however, endeavor to persevere in the face of this hardship. And if I get bored, there’s basketball and hockey and soccer to watch, also being played for the benefit of the grounds crew. Disenchanted? Perhaps. But I’ve got enough beer and pretzels and ennui for any man.
©2020 David William Pearce