We post every opening day for baseball, but there has never been one like this.
With apologies to the Grateful Dead, what a long strange trip this is going to be.
There is no good in what will be happening on the diamond, other than men will be pitching a small cylindrical object that other men using a different and longer cylindrical object will try and hit.
Let's deal with the bad.
First and foremost, NO SPITTING ALLOWED. Playing baseball without expectorating is like Barbecuing broccoli. Every year in the minors some raw boned rookie from Oklahoma with a large chaw of tobacco stuck in his cheek swats the ball a country mile and people start dreaming about the next Mickey Mantle. Spitting is endemic to baseball. You cheat by throwing the spitball. Players chew sunflower seeds by the gazillion and spit out the seeds. Players spit chaw and they spit when they chew gum. Mark us down as a solid "NO" with the ban on spitting.
No high-fiving. What are the players going to do after a dinger? Fold hands and say "Namaste"? Count us out.
No fans. There is nothing like home town fans. Standing and cheering as one as Doc Gooden or Nolan Ryan or Bob Gibson or J.R. Richard is on the mound. The count is 3-2 and everyone knows some serious heat is coming for the third strike. Or how about this: Two on, two out, bottom of the ninth, home team down by two, winning run in the form of Dave Kingman walks to the plate. Kingman did one of two things: He struck out a lot, and when he made contact, he sent it out of the park. Fans are on their feet screaming so loud the pitcher walks off the mound, takes off his cap, and mops his head and walks a quick circle. The fans in return, scream even louder.
A few years ago in an NL playoff game the home team fans so rattled the opposing pitcher, he balked in a run. Fans matter. Baseball is fans. No fans.....no baseball. No baseball the way it was meant to be played- on a warm summer day, with the bleachers full of fans drinking cold beer or cokes and cracking open salted peanuts.
We know change is inevitable. We know the dastardly Covid-19 has inexorably altered our way of life. We know this is only temporary. That a sixty game season is sacrilege- nothing more than a cup of coffee over a 162 game season when the averages (the all important averages and stats that we live for) take hold over the long haul. Lowest ERA in a season? Don't know. But we will never forget Bob Gibson's was 1.12 in 68 or that Kofax was the NL leader in lowest ERA for five straight years from 62-66- something that will never be repeated. DiMaggio had a 56 game hitting streak. Great hitters come and go, but no one has been able to hit safely in 63 straight games for well over 50 years.
Hack Wilson had 161 RBIs for the Cubs in 31. That's the record that has stood for 89 years. It will last a 100 years - mark our words. Lou Gehrig, Jimmy Foxx and Alex Rodriguez had 13 straight seasons with more than 100 RBIs. By comparison, the incomparable Babe Ruth had only eight straight seasons with 100 or more RBIs.
We could go on and on. But we will end with this.
Who gets the honor, in this strange year, of throwing the opening pitch for the first game to open the 2020 Baseball season? Who else could it be but Dr. Anthony Fauci, in the Washington Nationals game today.
But of course it was Fauci. Who else could it be?
Let's play two. Enjoy the season. Better times are ahead.
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