We live in such a dark world. There is a lot of bad that happens, so much of it out of our control. There are natural disasters, mass shootings, war, terrorism, and tragedy and injustice shared in the news daily. Our own worlds have bad in them too, whether we want to admit or acknowledge that or not is beside the point, but we do. Life gets stressful. Money gets tight. Life gets hard. Work is long. Kids are tiring. Schedules are packed. So much to do, so many obligations.
We also live in a pretty great world, where a lot of good happens, miracles take place, lives are saved, illnesses are cured, people serving other people, heroes fighting for our country. We have family and friends and loved ones who care for us and our well-being. We have hobbies and skills and music and art and things that bring us joy.
We have sports. Oh, sports. We’ve always had sports.
As long as I can remember, the antidote to the darkness has been the light and distraction of sports. People love sports. People are obsessed with sports. People watched sports to escape reality, even just for a short time. It’s been true for a century now, especially with baseball. We’ve always had it, and even when we didn’t have it, a women’s league was created just to get it.
All these years, sports triumphed. Even after 9/11, we cried out for sports again. At least we have sports, we proclaimed. It’s what helped get us through such a horrific time. Ask anyone from New York. It brought us closer than ever before. The Yankees postseason run saved so many lives that year, so many hearts. It held us together when not much else could.
Yet now, here we sit, in yet another horrific time in our world. We are in a global pandemic, something none of us have ever gone through before. We’re in our homes, nowhere to go and looking for the light in the dark. We’re looking for sports. We’re looking for the distraction that has pulled us through in so many tough times that have come before us.
For the first time in however long you’ve been alive, no matter your age, baseball is not being played at the time it’s supposed to be played. You turn on the TV and there is nothing. NOTHING that even resembles sport on. All around the world, competition has ceased. Fans have nothing to cheer for. There are no roll calls in the Bronx, no See yas! from Michael Kay, no Why Susan I thank you from John Sterling.
The sports world is silent. Baseball isn’t here. And I have officially cried at least three times about it.
I miss baseball. I miss the Yankees. I miss sports. The Yankees have always been my go-to, my obsession, my secondary life after my actual one. I cannot fathom a whole year without baseball. I cannot imagine it. I cannot stress enough how much I love this game.
Which is why what I’m about to say will be all the more surprising to you.
I don’t want baseball to be played this year. Not like this. Not this way.
If we think long and hard about it, there would just be too many missing elements that won’t make the game what it should be. I want to watch baseball as much as the next person, and if it’s played, I will obviously watch. However, when we’re talking about a shortened season, games being played in certain locations, players being quarantined throughout, and no fans in the stadiums, we are going to be looking at extremely sub-par baseball.
We’re also going to be looking at players probably always on edge, and fans never satisfied.
Imagine Didi Gregorious’ three-run home run in the 2017 Wild Card game against the Twins with zero people in the stands.
Imagine Aaron Boone’s walk-off homer against Boston in 2003 to go to the World Series with not one person in the crowd.
Imagine Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit, his walk-off single to end his Bronx career, every championship we’ve watched. Who would Wade Boggs be waving to while riding around on a horse in 1996? Whose beer would have splashed into the grandstands after Tino Martinez’s grand slam in the 1998 World Series?
Does Tony Tarasco catch Jeter’s “home run” instead of Jeffrey Maier?
Do we really want this? Do we want to see the Yankees win this way? Where we couldn’t be there? We couldn’t celebrate with a parade? We couldn’t cheer them on in large crowds? We couldn’t even see one single game in the Bronx?
Is that satisfying? It isn’t to me. Not like this.
Yes, we’re Yankees fans. We’ve seen it all. We’ve seen championships. We’re spoiled to say, well hey, let’s just wait until next year. We always have a chance to win. We always compete. It’s always a memorable season.
But let me ask anyone out there who is a fan of, say, the Chicago Cubs or the Cleveland Indians.
Cubs fans, imagine the world we live in right now, in 2016. The Cubs winning the World Series was a historic moment in history. Can you imagine finally witnessing your Cubbies win it all for the first time in over 100 years and … no one being there for it? No one outside the stadium for it ready to abrupt? No parties, parades, pandemonium? Cleveland, is that how you want to celebrate your first World Series championship since 1948? Is that how you want to witness history? Is that how we want to remember the 2020 baseball season?
It always sounds cliché when players and ball clubs contribute their success to the fans or say “We are only here because of the fans” or “Without fans there would be no us.” But the thing about clichés is that they are often true. This one is true.
If it weren’t for the fans, the world of sports would be vastly different. It’d feel wrong and out of place, and in no way a welcoming distraction. It would be a daily reminder of the strange, unique, and scary situation we find ourselves in from a global pandemic.
I miss the game of baseball, but I miss normalcy more. I want normal again. I want traffic heading to the Bronx and billion-dollar hot dogs and beers, and fans making big plays into memorable ones because they were the soundtrack of history-making moments.
I want what baseball in 2020 cannot give us — witnesses to some of the most unscripted, unpredictable, and wildest stories in history: Sports.
Imagine the look and feel of Opening Day 2021 when the doors open to our favorite ballparks for the first time since 2019…