Well, what a revolting development this is! I realize that a lot of people are suffering terribly and that a pandemic is nothing to joke about but damn! Without sports or, as those snobbish Brits say, sport, what the hell is there to live for anyway? Can’t enjoy nature if I’m stuck inside and the weather is not so hot anyway. Nobody in my family wants to be around me because I’m so grumpy. The basset hound shies away even when I make cellophane wrapper noises because he’s afraid I’ll kick him or something.
Fortunately, we are not alone. That is to say, we are alone, but there are others out there in the same spot and we have electronic means to communicate with each other unless the power goes out. Several readers have sent messages and so now is a good time to read and respond. So pull up a bean bag and pour yourself a hot chocolate or a few daiquiris and let’s share. Here’s one from Hector Szymanski in Wilmington, North Carolina:
Dear Mr. Baseball: I am really concerned about the suspension of the MLB season because I fear that great players like Mike Trout and Josh Bell will not only lose valuable statistics in their career totals but also the income that their families need to get by in this day and age. Can’t they just play for the television audience?
BA: Hector, I really hate to discuss contracts and financial problems about people who are not myself, but I think you can be assured that those people will still get paid. As for career stats, well, at least they won’t be getting injured, and some of them will have a chance to heal from injuries they already have. And, could you please move a little further back away from your keyboard? Thanks.
That thing about television prompts me to make my semi-annual plea that those blockheads at MLB TV use the off season (and times like this) to show tapes or films of games from the past. Wouldn’t you rather watch the fourth game of the 1966 World Series than another episode of The Big Bang Theory or Wheel of Fortune? No? Well, I would. Now here’s one from Cara Lott in Encino, California:
Dear Mr. Baseball: This sign stealing business has me really upset and I just think that the Dodgers won the World Series against those Puerto Rican cheaters and that Houston should forfeit their first 82 games this year so that they can’t repeat their crime. If we keep our borders closed both the fans and the games will be cleaner. Right?
Well, Cara, you could blame all of this on Carlos Beltran and Alex Cora if you want but those two players have, for the most part, been upstanding citizens in the past and, more importantly, there is no way that other people were not involved. And other teams, for that matter. Also, without players from other countries participating, the quality of play in the major leagues would revert to the relatively uninteresting form that it displayed in the late 40s and early 50s. We’ll call those the Al Campanis days.
Here is a more cheerful note from Ralph Rolph of Fort Lauderdale, Florida:
Dear Mr. Baseball: It’s really good for Florida to have all of those baseball teams going back home and those Spring Break college kids self quarantining! We have the place practically all to ourselves! No traffic jams! I love it!
Good for you, Ralph. Who knows, this could be the wave of the future. If weather trends continue, all of those pesky tourists and retired folks in New England and other heretofore frigid places can just stay put!
Finally, we have this rather worried note from Jerome Widely of Nome, Alaska:
Dear Mr. Baseball: Watching ice melt can be fun sometimes but I got this television for a reason and the reason wasn’t to watch politicians bicker and yodel. This is getting serious. What if this thing just goes on and on and there are no baseball games to watch? Football is bad enough during football season, and they are not playing either. I can’t watch giants colliding with each other while tossing a basketball anywhere but in the hoop either. This sucks! Not even hockey! This has got to end sometime, right? I’m losing it!
Jerome, here is the sad truth. If governments start to take this seriously, and it looks like that is starting to happen, widespread free testing will occur and the tough realities that places like Korea and Italy are already facing will begin to be dealt with even in slow moving countries like the U.S. Warmer weather is expected to help. Then, and only then, will we be able to get back to our carefree indulgence in watching good athletes do their thing. Hang in there and get to know your neighbors, if only from a distance.