I love baseball, and I’ve got to admit I’ve enjoyed having some actual Major League games to watch over the past week or so.
Weird as it’s been seeing either no fans or cardboard cutouts in the stands, hearing canned crowd noise and knowing that the announcers are often not at the games but watching on TV screens just like me, I’ve still been happy to kick back at night, as I have for every summer since I can remember, and watch the Mets play.
I even signed up for one of those TV-streaming services (fubo.tv), because it carries the Mets’ SNY TV network, which Service Electric Cablevision does not offer in our market. (BTW, it should.)
My son Dave has warned me to enjoy the games while I can, because they may not go on for long. He’s very likely right.
I’ve felt somewhat guilty about enjoying them because I know that pandemic health concerns are still very much with us and that this re-start of baseball — and of other pro sports — may well not be a good idea.
One team, the Miami Marlins, had a week’s worth of games canceled last week, with more likely to come, because, as of Thursday, a reported 17 players had tested positive for COVID-19. There have been plenty of rumors, but no confirmation of how the virus spread to that many.
Whatever the reason — some reports indicate a trip to a nightclub in Atlanta may have been involved — the Phillies, Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals have also had their schedules altered by those test results and concerns over them.
All that happened just four days into the resumption of the 2020 season for a planned 60 games plus expanded playoffs.
While resuming pro sports remains a questionable decision and one that could easily be abruptly halted at any moment, the choice to play or not play at that level is being made by adult professionals and owners, most of whom have the resources to sit out if needs be.
Allowing college and high school sports this fall is another matter.
We all would like to see the resumption of in-person classes, but if the COVID-19 numbers continue to surge, that restart may itself have to be totally virtual.
At least with classrooms, though, there’s some chance to function with the greatest possible care — masks, social distancing, etc.
Playing sports? Particularly contact sports like football and soccer? To me, that makes no sense at all and is not worth the risk.
One of our sons played both high school and college baseball. There’s no chance my wife Mary and I would have allowed him to play under these circumstances, no matter how much I suspect he would have pleaded.
Fall sports are already off for area universities including Bucknell, Susquehanna and Bloomsburg, even while plans for in-person classes remain in place. Some college leagues are considering trying to play their fall sports in the spring instead.
That idea, I think, makes a lot of sense, both for colleges and for high schools. With fingers crossed and hands folded, perhaps by spring, the virus will have been sufficiently mitigated and/or a viable vaccine may be available.
Outside of disappointment and some conflict with other sports usually played in the spring, it seems to me there’s little downside in waiting.
And there’s plenty of healthy upside.
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