Major League Baseball is back! I should be excited as that exclamation point, but I’m not.
This year I’m a bit ambivalent about the baseball season beginning. The pandemic heads the hesitancy list, but other dynamics come into play, too.
Baseball has always been my favorite sport. It’s in my DNA, going back to my father’s father.
Now, our oldest grandson is headlong into the game, too. I couldn’t be prouder. Nana and I attended as many pre-pandemic games as possible. We’re hopeful that we can watch his high school games this spring. If not, then we’ll aim to follow his summer traveling league team.
Our grandson takes his pitching seriously.
I still love the game, or I wouldn’t have bought the MLB package on my satellite TV subscription. I watched parts of several games on Opening Day, April 1, including the Cleveland Indians’ loss to the Detroit Tigers.
Given all of the goofy stuff that happened, April 1 turned out to be the most appropriate day to start the season. Cleveland’s Shane Bieber struck out 12 Tiger batters and still lost the game. Snow squalls peppered the first few innings of the contest.
In Colorado, the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger hit a home run with Justin Turner on first. However, he only got credit for a single and was called out when Turner, thinking the outfielder caught the ball, retreated past Bellinger to first base. Bellinger got credit for a single, scoring Turner, but was called out for passing his teammate on the base path.
Rain canceled the Baltimore at Boston game, while the league postponed the entire opening series between the Mets and Nationals due to players testing positive for the coronavirus. I’m fearful that was a pitch high and tight to the rest of the season.
Young superstar Francisco Lindor recently “agreed” to a 10-year contract extension with the New York Mets for $341 million. And people wondered why Cleveland traded him.
I’m exceedingly glad for Frankie, but should any player make that much money for playing a kid’s game? The Mets think so.
Opening Day in baseball is a big deal. Most home openers conditionally “sold out” since most major league clubs limited attendance to allow for proper physical distancing due to the pandemic. The Texas Rangers weren’t one of them. Real fans filled the entire 40,300 seat stadium. Can you say “super-spreader?”
It’s great to have actual human beings in attendance watching and cheering for their favorite teams. It sure beats looking at those life-size cardboard cutouts of people that populated seats in last year’s shortened season. Still, health safeguards should prevail.
Besides the pandemic precautions, even politics has negatively influenced the game. MLB pulled the All-Star Game scheduled for Atlanta this summer and moved it to Denver, Colorado. The baseball commissioner cited the voter suppression laws recently approved in Georgia.
Perhaps my less than enthusiastic response to professional baseball’s return is proof of my evolving senility. I hope that’s not the case.
I remember taking my son to a New York Mets game 11 days after the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center. It was the start of filing through metal detectors to enter ballgames, but once in, it was back to hot dogs, peanuts, and Cracker Jacks while watching baseball.
Now 20 years later, the world is in another tough spot with the pandemic. Even baseball’s return doesn’t stir me. A balm is needed over Gilead and baseball, too.
Maybe if my favorite team wins the World Series, I’ll perk up. It’s a very long shot, but the world needs a blessed miracle right now.
© Bruce Stambaugh 2021