My heart aches. Right now, in Montreal, it’s snowing. The normal harbinger to the beginning of spring, is the crack of the bat is silent and seemingly far off. So too is my yearly tradition of catching some live games on the road as a treat during my business travels.
I tried to replace the joy of this with MLB The Show 2020 on PS4. It worked for a bit, but it’s really no substitute for the excitement and the drama of a real game, where things actually matter.
Let’s not forget as well all the story lines – just for the teams I enjoy to follow. Would there be a sophomore slump in the three white night rookies (Biggio , Bichette and Guerrero) for the Blue Jays? How would Hyun-jin Ryu fit in, and outs he have an impact? Do the Nationals have a repeat year or crumble without Rendon? Does Aaron Judge continue his pace? So many stories I was looking forward to.
Also I had trips to Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco and Toronto. Each had ball games tied to it, where I was trying to beat my record from last year of 5 different stadium visits, something I think I would have done with trips to Boston, Los Angeles and Baltimore surely scrapped.
Even forgetting the personal stories for myself. I just held out hope a real game would be played. Baseball has survived and thrived through all kinds of periods. It was the past time during the Spanish Flu, the Great Depression, two world wars, and all the way through troubles like September 11th, and the Great Recession.
However, it’s becoming clear – baseball- like most things is cancelled in 2020. This will, be a weird year even if things return by some decree. New divisions possibly, a restart of “spring training”, contracts expiring or trade deadlines without a season, and there may be teams who fold and never recover.
I’m a Montreal native and even as much as I yearn to have a team back in this city, my whole body knows I don’t want it at the expense of another passionate fan base losing their team based on this pandemic, as the Washington Post recently reported.
So where does this all lead us? Maybe we see baseball this season, although I am not betting on it. I am trying to take small comfort in the new ways teams are connecting fans and players. For example, next week, I’ll join a Zoom call with several players of the Blue Jays along with several thousand fans. Otherwise, I guess I will keep playing MLB The Show and hope by next season, I’ll be watching the real thing.