Today is Opening Day for major league baseball, ordinarily a big day on our calendar, although it doesn’t feel like it.
Opening Day is supposed to be in early spring, when the games in Boston and Detroit and other northern cities are played in the lingering cold, and not in searing heat of July. The stands are supposed to filled with fans hopeful that this will be their championship season, but this time around the stands will be empty and silent. The season is supposed to last for 162 games, leaving plenty of baseball to allow a team to claw back from a slow start in a game were even the best teams have losing streaks and only 20 points or so separate the best teams from the worst, but this time around each team plays 60 games.
Other time-honored traditions of the national pastime have been discarded as well. There will will be an American League and a National Team playing one another in a potential World Series, but over the shortened season they’ve been merged into one league. There’s been some inter-league play for the past several years, which offended our traditionalist sensibilities, and we find this outrageous. Teams will be playing their divisional counterparts, which means they won’t be facing the same quality of competition across the season, making it more likely a more deserving team will miss the playoffs.
The game will be less fair this shortened season, but there’s a lot about this year of the coronavirus that isn’t fair. Perhaps we should just be glad that we’ll have a diversion from all the rest of it, and hope no one gets sick.
— Bud Norman