Yes, the rumors are true. Baseball. Is. Back. On June 23, 2020 Major League Baseball announced the return to play. They announced the 2020 season will begin on July 23 or 24 and will consist of a 60 game schedule.
Baseball is back. It feels crazy even typing it. Baseball is back.
Upon hearing the news, I didn’t jump for joy and and get teary-eyed like I thought I would. I waited for months and months for the return of baseball or any type of sport for that matter. Don’t get me wrong, seeing the headlines that baseball was back made me excited and thankful that we even get a season and a sense of “normalcy” back in our lives. However, this baseball season will not be “normal”. It will be unlike any other season we have ever had before. The very thing that stopped the season from starting back in March is the same very thing that is still around and just as prevalent in the world today: COVID-19.
Personally, back in March when this all began, I thought the day they announced baseball was back I would start buying my tickets for games and packing my bag to head out to the ballpark. But this is not the case. Players will be playing in empty stadiums as there will be no fans allowed at games. Players and personnel will be tested every other day. Players will receive temperature/symptom checks twice per day. Players and personnel not participating in the game will sit in the stands, at least 6 feet apart. There will be a COVID-19 injury list. Any player who tests positive for COVID-19 will not be allowed to return until he tests negative twice. These are just a few of the ways Major League Baseball is keeping players and personnel safe, and limiting the spread of the virus.
I have always seen sports, baseball especially, as a way of escaping the “real world” and problems associated with it. When I watch baseball on my TV or when I am sitting in the seats at the ballpark, I tend to forget everything else going on and I only focus on the game unfolding before me. My realization came down to the fact that baseball and sports take place in our real world, and in our real world we are in the middle of a global pandemic.
Now in no way am I saying that this is not all going to work out. Like I said, I AM EXCITED! I am confident that MLB is taking the right steps to ensure a safe and successful season for players and personnel. Yes, I am sad that I can’t be there in person at games to feel the electric energy the ballpark brings and to support my team. But hey, something is always better than nothing and I will be repping and cheering while watching on my TV. BASEBALL IS BACK! I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of typing it.
As CBS sportscaster Adam Schein put it, “A sports fan wants sports. In the middle of a pandemic and social unrest, we need sports.” He couldn’t have said it any more perfect.
The day they announced the return of baseball, MLB posted onto their Instagram account saying how players will begin reporting for training on July 1 with the season following around July 24. For some reason, I did not believe it. I guess a part of me thought it was some kind of prank. I kept scrolling and came across a short video the Los Angeles Dodgers posted (For those who don’t know, the Dodgers are my team). The video started playing and it was an empty stadium. The video panned over the field while the “Let’s Go Dodgers” chant echoed. The video instantly gave me chills. I suddenly felt like I was at Dodger stadium with friends and family with a Dodger dog in hand and nachos in the other supporting my boys in blue. The video gave me a sense of reassurance. The stadium may be empty during the season, but the roar of the crowd and support from the fans is never ending and will always be there. Looking forward to sitting back and watching the first game of the year.