Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Miami's outbreak reveals the heroic - yes, heroic - nature of baseball's struggle

Four days into the 2020 season, we have reached a crossroads.  

Stricken by virus, the Marlins might have to shut down. The Yanks and Phillies wait in limbo. Over the next few days, an outbreak on any MLB team - anywhere - could trigger a league-wide freeze. After one weekend of play, the sports world is glimpsing the immense, Stygian reality of attempting to resume normalcy. At any time, one single infection could gut a team, an organization, a division, and maybe the entire structure of baseball.

For weeks now, from our sanitized basements, we've understood the dangers of trying to play a baseball season. Despite empty stands, and with a ridiculous fake crowd murmur, for three glorious nights we go to lament Clint Frazier's future, or argue over who should play first, Ford or Ferrari (my hilarious new nickname for the slimmed down Luke Voit.) For one weekend, we got to see Gerrit Cole, and Gleyber... and even, at long last, we got to witness what Giancarlo Stanton might do as a Yankee. Three games. Three nights.

Now... we wait. And while we wait, I need to say something I've neglected for weeks:

The Yankees - and MLB as a whole, both players and management - deserve our praise for this Quixotic attempt to restore normalcy to our lives. 

Yes, I recognize that it's a money thing - what isn't? - but thousands of people each day are putting themselves at risk, so that fans can escape for a few hours the relentless drumbeat of competing cable news outlets, and the braying of pundits who seem to be paid by the lie. 

We knew that playing baseball would be a nearly impossible mission. And today, with the news that Eduardo Rodriguez of Boston may have suffered a serious heart issue, we must live knowing that some young men will pay an enormous price for this season. The virus will hit players and coaches. It will take a toll on them and their families... and perhaps our consciences. 

With each new city, in every new hotel and every new clubhouse, the Yankees face a danger they have never known. 

For whatever it's worth, I doff my cap to the effort. 

If the season ends next week - and it might - they will have tried. 

17 comments:

JM said...

An A for effort. But it was always kind of stupid in terms of players' and coaches' health. I guess it was kind of like the Texas politician who said grandma should be willing to take one for the team to get the economy reopened.

Still, it was fun watching. We're scheduled for 6 pm on FS1. Here's hoping.

Anonymous said...


"We knew that playing baseball would be a nearly impossible mission. And today, with the news that Eduardo Rodriguez of Boston may have suffered a serious heart issue, we must live knowing that some young men will pay an enormous price for this season. The virus will hit players and coaches. It will take a toll on them and their families... and perhaps our consciences."

To Duque's point... It doesn't really go away. I've been negative for a couple of months now and still get symptoms that appear out of nowhere and then return to that part of hell from whence they came.

This is NOT the flu. This is an insidious bastard of an illness that wrecks havoc and can have life changing implications. I haven't gone a week without some repercussion either with me or a member of my family.

Conversely, not playing does not mean that they wouldn't get it at the grocery store or talking to a neighbor who isn't wearing a mask.

The whole thing is a ridiculously hard balancing act, exacerbated by the idiots who cram themselves into bars, refuse to wear masks because "freedom!" or, in the case of that NBA player, goes to a strip club for wings!

So, back to what Duque wrote... I too appreciate the effort, and was really glad to watch a few games. I hope they can still play but would understand if they stopped.

Doug K.

Anonymous said...

Amen, no one can say they didn't try. I do think it was the right decision to try to play a shortened season. I still hope that they can finish this thing, even if it means canceling some games. Playoff qualifications might have to be determined and ranked by winning percentage, with unequal number of games played.

The Hammer of God

Austria's Only Baseball Fan said...

Tonight the Yankees must come Dressed to Play: as per an MLB Tweet, "The team doesn’t have access to the clubhouse at the ballpark today."

Elsewhere, I see the Marlins are still set to play in Baltimore tonight. (Or did I miss something?)

Anonymous said...

" Tuesday’s Yankees-Phillies game has also been postponed, and the Yankees were set to leave Philadelphia in the afternoon to have a practice at Yankee Stadium Tuesday night." NY Post

Doug K.

Mattingly's Mustache said...

2020 Season - Roadtrip to Nowhere

Austria's Only Baseball Fan said...

Thanks, Doug. I rarely look at the NY Post, and devote only a small portion of my daily computer time to American news. At the time I made my (now) erroneous comment (please remember we are six hours ahead of East Coast USA time), I looked only at the official MLB websites for the Yankees and the Marlins, and both - when I looked - still had them set for games tonight, as originally scheduled. I think it was a Google search which sent me to the Twitter feed which contained the MLB's news that the Yankees would not be allowed inside the Philadelphia away-team clubhouse.

There is an interesting article about MLB versus The Pandemic From Hell in today's NY Times, with comments from players and managers, including Adam Ottavino. Most are realistic, with the exceptions of stuff like this, from Kansas City Royals player Ryan O'Hearn: "It seems like it's spreading like wildfire," O'Hearn said. "It's definitely a scary situation."

"SEEMS?" Has this guy been in hiding with any outside communication for the past five months?

Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside said...

So now the Yankees are gonna play Baltimore Wednesday instead of Phillies? I love the randomness!

Anonymous said...

Quick question: Am I only the only person who comments on this blog who has had this? It would be nice if it were true. I don't wish it on anybody.

Doug K.

Austria's Only Baseball Fan said...

BJPB - if the schedule on the Yankees' MLB site is to be believed, they will not play again till Boston comes to the Bronx on Friday.

Doug - I have perhaps been over-cautions, but I am leaving my small apartment house (nine flats over four floors) only when necessary: every seven to 10 days for groceries, once a month to pick up medications at the apothecary, my cat's annual exam and immunisation shot. Even though the mandatory rule on masks in supermarkets, banks, and post offices has only been reinstated for a week, I have always worn a mask when out, and maintain proper distance.

My only risks came in June, when our rate of new infections was at its lowest, as low as two per day. I won though an internet lottery the right to purchase a ticket to two concerts, where the audience in a 1-700-seat hall was limited to 100, and once to a movie, which also had extreme distancing. A few weeks ago, before the onset of what looks to be our second wave (daily new infections back up to 150+, numbers not seen here since mid-April), I bought a ticket for an opera at the end of September, but am now doubting if it can take place, even with pretty extensive precautions.

I don't even know anyone who has tested positive (and is willing to admit it). I got frightening news this week when a very dear friend in San Diego had to be hospitalised for a condition totally unrelated to the virus. She is 15 years older than me, and has a history of some bad health problems. She, too, was taking extreme measure to stay in place, but being stuck in hospital scares both of us.

I am truly sorry you got exposed and are still suffering the effects. I wish you all the best!

Anonymous said...

Thanks and stay safe. Hopefully sooner rather than later there will be a vaccine.

Doug K.

Austria's Only Baseball Fan said...

I am unable to keep up with the ever-shifting news. MLB now says: "Marlins won't play thru Sun.; BAL to play NYY," so there WILL be games on Wednesday and Thursday, but they are not reflected on the Yankee website schedule. So BJPB is right!

Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside said...

That’s cuz you can’t predict baseball, but I can.

smurfy said...

Doug, for God's sake, let it pas, unless Mozart wrote it.

smurfy said...

I say that it is very unlikely to go without teams dropping out. So, scratch the Ws and that ridiculous playoff BULLSHIT and make it a 2020 Covid Tournament: the best luckiest team wins!

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