In a desperate move to get their share of the dwindling sports entertainment dollar, baseball begins tonight without fans in the stands. With substantial numbers of players testing positive for Covid-19, I wonder how long the season will progress. Then, looking at the NBA bubble approach, also without fans, hockey, auto racing, and limited schedule college football, we will finally have something to watch on TV besides old movies, and cornhole and dart tournaments.
From the WSJ: “To reach opening day, Major League Baseball devised more than 100 pages of health and safety protocols, navigated an ugly labor dispute and survived an abbreviated ‘summer camp’ without a coronavirus outbreak,”
“Now, after a four-month delay, America’s pastime is finally back. But starting was the easy part. The real challenge begins now, as MLB tries to complete the weirdest, most complex and most perilous campaign in the sport’s long history amid a surging pandemic. The 60-game sprint begins today in the nation’s capital, with the New York Yankees’ $324 million man, Gerrit Cole, making his long-awaited debut against Max Scherzer and the world champion Washington Nationals. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, will commemorate the occasion by throwing out the ceremonial first pitch inside a stadium with no fans to see it.”
But baseball remains the focus, since it is an everyday sport. The stadiums will be empty. TV and radio will be broadcast only by the home team. Vendors will not be roaming the ballpark.
So, will we get “piped in noise” (yes, that seems to be the consensus) and cardboard cutouts (stupid idea) for fans in the stands. Does the batter get his walk-up music? Can they high five after a home run? Will they chew gum or tobacco on the field? Who will “BOO!” the other team’s star player? Will fights still occur over antiquated “unwritten” rules of baseball?
Fast forward to the Seventh game of the World Series, bases loaded, bottom of the 9th inning. The count is 3-2, and the next pitch decides the World Champion. In total silence?? That just seems so weird, so counter-intuitive, so unsatisfying. Will the winners be crowned “The Pandemic Champions”, or have many *** placed next to their name?
Of course, with the current rate of infection in baseball players, with the season starting tonight, who knows if there will be a World Series this year?
But nothing, and I underline NOTHING, beats being at the old ballpark, with a beer and hot dog. Yes, I will miss going to the Giants game with my brother. How about you?